DC’s own Incredible Change is back with new music following their 2015 eponymous LP with latest effort “Slipping On Ice.” The local synthpop outfit has gone through several iterations since their inception, and currently consists of Brock Ross and Greg Balleza on production and Ken Quam on drums. The track also features AIVA on vocals, a DC-based singer and frequent Incredible Change collaborator.
Ross spoke to CCP about the inspiration for the release: “Originally, I intended to put out another song before this, but with all the currents events and election, this song took over. And the title fit. This track is definitely a slower tempo, and has a slight tempo increase through the middle. Towards the end of the song, I feel we did some interesting layering of AIVA’s vocals that give the track a definite lift, and fits with the meaning of the song, picking yourself back up.”
It’s an earworm of a track, with gliding synths and AIVA’s silken pipes on full display. No show dates on the books yet, but look for Incredible Change to be performing in the DMV sometime this spring. Stream “Slipping On Ice” below.
There’s a new female voice in music, and she goes by the name of XMeKate. Of Italian and Greek descent, Katharine Kadenacy’s bicultural upbringing had a significant influence on her aesthetic, which draws from Greek mythology and classic literature. In fact, shrewd listeners will recognize the LA singer’s pseudonym as a reference from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Kadenacy takes inspiration from Kate, who much like herself is a strong female character that rises above hardship, having lost her mother to cancer last year.
Despite this tragic narrative, pain leads to power, and now XMeKate has transformed her grief into a potent couple of EPs that are due for release this year. Produced by Andrés Rebellón (Marina & The Diamonds), part one of the EP, Expectation (out February) explores intimacy and heartbreak, while part two, Too Much (out late summer) tells the story of life after loss.
Her first single “Cigarettes” documents a story of betrayal — by way of a catchy vocal hook, melodious synth lines and and warm, hopeful horns. ‘No more lies, not even if they’re white,’ XMeKate pleads from the perspective of the transgressor on the track. The urgency is apparent in her vocal, and you can’t help but root for the resilient young artist. Hear “Cigarettes” below and keep an eye out for the accompanying EP in February.
The musical talents of South London newcomer Hudson Scott became apparent at an early age. Having borrowed a trumpet from a local brass band at the budding age of seven, he took to the instrument quite readily (refusing to return it, in fact) and soon began to devour records by the greats such as Miles Davis and Chet Baker. His career thus began as a sideman, serving as a backing musician for Foals, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs et al., eventually stepping into the limelight with his debut EP Clay earlier this year.
He’s just revealed the glittering new track “Panning For Gold,” co-produced by Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, Låpsley) and Duncan Tootill. It’s an under-the-radar love song, radiating with ’80s pop sensibilities and modern electronic flourishes. In a confessional manner, the artist makes an appeal for a fundamentally human yet increasingly elusive need — ‘Truth be told, I’d like to fall in love, I’m panning for gold,’ he sings.
Conceding as much, Scott says: “‘Panning For Gold’ is about looking for love, sensing that it’s about to arrive and then doing your best not to trip yourself over. It’s about that initial excitement when you first meet someone great, when you’ll do whatever, put yourself out all the time, just to hang out. I don’t want to sound like a doe-eyed sadsack, but it is what it is.”
To the contrary — it’s refreshing and disarming vulnerability — in a way that is not excessively saccharine. Enjoy below.
Canadian artist Hannah Georgas may not be a household name just yet, but as the recipient of Emerging Artist of the Year at XM’s Verge Music Awards in 2011 and numerous accolades since, it’s obvious that she’s a rising star. The Toronto-based singer has released three albums to date, including her latest, For Evelyn that came out June this year. The new critically-acclaimed record, named in honor of Hannah’s “compassionate, patient, kind and beautiful” 98-year-old grandmother, was produced by Graham Walsh (Preoccupations) and mixed by Nicolas Vernhes(Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, The War on Drugs).
For Evelyn encompasses a range of emotions and offers an intimate look into Hannah’s psyche as she navigates her insecurities and anxieties surrounding loss. Musically, she sits somewhere between the vocally emotive sounds of singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles (whom she’s actually toured with), and the synthpop stylings of Metric. Her album, however is deeply personal.
Currently on tour this month in support of the LP, the songbird will be gracing the District with her presence at Songbyrd October 6 alongside Firekid and DC’s Wylder. In advance of the show, Hannah took the time to talk to CCP about the inspiration for the new record, working with Graham Walsh, finding balance, being featured on HBO’s GIRLS, and her dream of performing on Jimmy Fallon.
First off, give us a bit of background info. How did you get into music and when did you first discover that you had musical ability?
My dad was a really great piano player and performer. He was always playing the piano and singing around my family when I was little. I think his energy rubbed off on me. My mom put me into piano lessons when I was five, and I started writing songs as soon as I could figure out my way around the piano. Music was an important topic and outlet in my household.
On your last couple of records you worked with seasoned producer Graham Walsh. How did that come about and what was it like working with him?
I met Graham in 2011 when we worked on my self-titled album together. I was a big fan of his project Holy F*ck and wanted to reach out to him. We’ve developed a great sense of trust and comradery. It feels really comfortable going to him with my songs and bouncing off ideas together.
The new album, For Evelyn is dedicated to your grandmother. Can you speak about the significance of your relationship with her and the thematic connection to the record?
I’ve always admired her openness and patience. She’s a strong and powerful woman but so humble in her demeanor. I wanted to acknowledge her compassion and the positivity she’s shown me. The album is very much about my ongoing challenge of overcoming my fears and rising above it. I feel like she’s someone who has been through it all and can now reflect upon it.
The single “Don’t Go” is particularly poignant. Can you elaborate on what this song means to you?
I have been thinking a lot about mortality and the thought of losing my mother. It’s definitely an overwhelming and heartbreaking feeling, and I felt inspired to write about it.
What is your favorite song off the new album to perform?
It’s been really fun performing “Crazy Shit” and “Waste” with my band. We have those two songs placed towards the end of the set and I always look forward to playing them.
Your track “Millions” was featured on a episode of HBO’s GIRLS. How did you feel about that, and do you watch the show?!
I’ve watched every single episode of that show. I’m a big fan of Girls and love Lena Dunham, so I was super excited to find out that my song would be on the show.
Who are some artists you’re listening to at the moment? Do you have a favorite album of the year?
I’ve been listening to the new Frank Ocean album a bunch. His last record inspired me a lot too. My friend Jeffrey Innes has a project called High Ends and he put out an album called Super Class. I listen to it a lot. Sylvan Esso, Perfume Genius, Wye Oak, Christine and the Queens are other artists I’ve really gotten into over the past couple of years.
You’ve received numerous awards and accolades in Canada . . . what does success mean to you? Any other goals you’re currently striving for?
I feel like success is being able to create a balance between your work and personal life and finding happiness amongst it all. I feel really thankful that I do what I love for a living, and I’m still sometimes trying to find that balance. There a lot of things that I’d like to accomplish and goals that I would love to achieve with my music. I want to continue to work with people that I really admire and make music that’s inspiring. I also want to play on Jimmy Fallon because he’s the best.
Last but not least, what is the best and hardest thing about being on the road?
The best thing about being on the road is getting into a groove playing live and feeling really comfortable on stage. The worst thing about being on the road for me is living out of a suitcase and not having the comforts of home. I also misplace things a lot and that sucks when you’re running around from place to place!
Watch a video of Hannah performing the track “Lost Cause” live, and if you’re in the DC area be sure to check out her show at Songbyrd this week! For Evelyn is out now on iTunes and available for streaming on all major digital outlets.
On any given night of the week in the DMV, there are myriad options for live music, which is why we’ve started the segment DC Live to call out our picks.
To begin this installment, we have Brooklyn’s Sleigh Bells who will be playing U Street Music Hall September 7. On their forthcoming fourth studio album, JessicaRabbit, the duo trade in their abrasive punk/pop sound for a more experimental, synthesized aesthetic with the help of producer Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Fiona Apple) and mixer Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, Tyler the Creator). For a sample of their so-called controlled chaos, listen to new single “Hyper Dark,” come out to the show and look for the release of their album November 11 on the band’s new label, Torn Clean.
Next on the lineup, we recommend checking out DC-based band Tigers Are Bad For Horses, who will be playing in support of Highasakite at DC9 this Thursday, September 8. The homegrown group, who we’ve featured before are an electronic/alt pop duo that blend jazz-influenced, multi-textured production with piano and melodic vocals. Hear their latest effort, “Embers” below. You best bet that CCP will be represented at this show, so come out and say hi.
Lastly, we urge you to get acquainted with Tamaryn, another NYC-based artist who makes dark rock, dance pop. Her recent record, Cranekiss released last year on Mexican Summer, serves as a “post-adolescent love letter” to their early musical influences. Stream the sensual, synth-laden single “Hands All Over Me” below. Currently on tour supporting Lush, you can find Tamaryn performing at 9:30 Club September 21.
Earlier this summer, Bobbie Allen aka Young Summer shared the first single (“Alright“) off her upcoming EP, and now the DC artist has revealed the third threnody from the record. The cut, called “Fallout” is another gorgeous pop ballad, with lush synth textures infused with Allen’s signature sensibility. There’s also a sublime interlude around 2:35 that is worth the listen alone. Considering that Aqualung — an acclaimed pop artist turned producer of the early aughts — co-penned some of the tracks, we’re not at all surprised that this EP is shaping up to be one of the best pop collections of the year.
Brace your ears for the “Fallout” below. And if you’re looking to catch Young Summer live, she’ll be playing at NYC’s Mercury Lounge August 31.
Nascent German artist NOVAA has been busy recently, releasing three singles in a matter of months. The third single, “Sex,” is clearly designed to get your attention and will be featured on her upcoming EP, Stolen Peaches. And with early comparisons to Tei Shi, Bjork, and Grimes, it’s no wonder we’re digging the singer’s otherworldly vocals and supernatural synths.
Originally the EP, due out in October was meant to be called Peaches, but the story goes that while NOVAA was working on the record, her car was broken into and her laptop full of material for the album was stolen. Despite the setback, NOVAA decided to reconstruct the remnants of these ideas — begetting the new title Stolen Peaches and her own her genre she’s designated ‘Organic Electronic.’ See for yourself below.
Bat and Ball make a bold entrance on their new single, “Cruel Cats,” an intriguing left-of-centre pop song that commands attention through crashing synths and syncopated drum beats. The brainchild of brother-sister duo Abi and Chris Sinclair, along with Harri Chambers, Bat and Ball formed in 2013 when the trio were studying music at Goldsmiths College in London. They’ve been steadily building their repertoire through live appearances and the release of an EP, and now they’re getting ready to deliver their debut album this fall. While recording the album, the trio recruited Ted Garfath Gibelin to join Chris on guitar duties–and drummer Ben Penfold to abet Chambers on keys. The album will purportedly explore the modern propensity for anxiety, and the distance between our flawed selves and the people we wish we could be. That tension is reflected in their singular musical style, Abi’s vocal prowess, and lyrically through their unconventional poeticism.
Check out the crafty “Cruel Cats” below. Bat and Ball’s forthcoming LP is slated to release October 2016 via Hush Tongue Records and The state51 Conspiracy.
Washington D.C. songstress Young Summer, aka Bobbie Allen hit mainstream success with her 2014 debut LP Siren. Now she returns with a new EP that’ll be out sometime this summer — and the first taste of the extended play called “Alright.” Known for her lush melodies, synth-washed production and romantic lyrical laments, the new single falls right in line with what we’ve come to expect from the homegrown artist. Even as Allen sings about unrequited love — submerged in a sanguine sonic soundscape the track feels cathartic rather than punitive. Allen admits as much, confessing that the sparkling production is like a “protective armor.” See for yourself below and to hear the new songs live, catch Young Summer performing at U Street Music Hall July 22.
Blood Orange, aka Dev Hynes has just put out his most personal and political record to date, dropping Freetown Sound on Domino three days ahead of the scheduled July 1 release. The album title is a nod to the capital of Sierra Leone, where Hynes’ father was born.
In a press release the acclaimed Brooklyn-based artist and producer states: “I have just finished making an album about my life, my upbringing, being black in England, being black in America… my movement to this country at the age of 21, the same age that my mother moved from Guyana to London, and my father from Sierra Leone to London.” The statement also notes that Freetown Sound is a “confluence of Hynes’ past, present, and future that melds his influences with his own established musical voice.”
The entire album is a must-listen, but we’re especially delighted that Dev came together with another of our favorite artists, Empress Of, to collaborate on a song that is one of the LP’s finest — “Best To You.” The track combines the best of both artists’ worlds: Blood Orange’s skittering ’80s synthpop aesthetic and Lorely Rodriguez’ gorgeously verdant vocals.
Stream via Spotify below, and as a bonus check out the empress’ recent collab with Darkstar. The single, “Reformer” will be out on Darkstar’s new EP Made To Measure July 15.