This month, the world is still on fire – literally – so I have been collecting lots of music news to try and remind us of what life was like before 2020 knocked us for a loop. Check out my news section for other editions, but here are some recent tidbits!
Music News for August 2020
Kayla Marque Releases Right Brain — Music and Mental Health
Between the global pandemic and civil unrest we’re seeing worldwide it’s all taking a toll on many of us. Denver singer-songwriter Kayla Marque
is no different, having been hit hard with a series of losses over the past few years and now, this. “I am a black woman living through a global pandemic and revolution,” Marque stated. “My voice and my story matters.” Using her accumulation of grief and turmoil as pure fuel, Marque has poured her emotions, growth and experiences into the highly anticipated dual album Brain Chemistry. This exploration of music and mental illness couldn’t be more timely as Marque releases the first half of the album, Right Brain.
Trevor Hall Releases New Song, “My Own”
has released a brand new song titled “My Own.” This song follows the release of “Put Down What You Are Carrying (with Brett Dennon)” earlier this year. Hall spoke to American Songwriter saying, “The song “My Own” is a song that was written a few years back. It is one of the songs that I kept to myself for a while before releasing it out into the cosmos. It was written about the power of longing and that to long for the Beloved and to make that one your very own, whomever or whatever that one may be, is so special and so intimate. Hall will release a new, full-length studio album later this year.
Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli Announces Debut Release of Jazz Project
Lalli assembled the Bluebird Quintet in 2010 and recorded what would become A Blind Man’s Blue
. He was forced to put the record aside because, right at that point, Big Gigantic started to heat up. He poured all of his attention into the group, which slowly but surely became a festival-headlining phenomenon renowned for boundary-busting electronic music and groundbreaking technology. After a handful of Bluebird Quintet gigs in 2018 and 2019, 2020 presented the opportunity to finally finish A Blind Man’s Blue
Naked Giants Release The Shadow
are set to release The Shadow
in August via New West Records. The 11-song set was produced by Chris Funk of the Decemberists and follows the Seattle, WA-based trio’s Green Fuzz EP (2019) and debut album SLUFF (2018). Steadily building up their reputation as a tremendous live act, Naked Giants were named Seattle’s best live band by The Seattle Times at the end of 2018 and they were a highlight for me at Treefort 2019
Levitt Pavilion Denver Presents Daughtry’s Virtual Tour
solo acoustic Live From Home Tour will support Levitt Pavilion Denver
on September 11th and tickets are on sale now! This very special 19-date live stream tour will feature unique set lists, Q&A sessions, song requests and special surprises specific to the cities being highlighted. Live From Home directly supports Levitt Pavilion Denver and our staff through a portion of ticket sales and tips. There are three ticket options
for this solo acoustic show that include live stream access, merch, a virtual meet & greet with Chris and more.
Bethany Thomas Releases Debut Album BT/She/Her
Though the musical styles range from folk to soul to rock and back again, Bethany Thomas’ colorful, fiercely deployed vocals create a unified sound with an undeniably palpable emotional edge. Recorded last year between theatre gigs, then mixed and fully realized during a global pandemic, Bethany’s debut album BT/SHE/HER is personal, focused and defiant – set to rooted and melodic yet continually surprising arrangements that she co-produced with longtime collaborator Packy Lundholm (I Fight Dragons). “On BT/SHE/HER, I have proclamations and questions – for myself as much as anyone – about moving through the world in this bi-racial, fat, queer, wonderful body.”
Merci, Mercy – New Single and Lyric Video
Meet 19-year-old singer/songwriter merci, mercy
, whose disarming pop anthems are instilled with profound sophistication and spellbinding insight of youthful disarray. After being thrust into living abroad in China and Thailand as a young teen, merci, mercy is now back in her home country of Australia, but finds herself a stranger amidst familiar faces. Equipped with an arsenal of material, she’s set to showcase her knack for writing potent pop gems confronting mental health, self-doubt, and the cynicism associated with love.
TWIN XL – “Problematic” Single & Video
Rising alt-pop band TWIN XL
– comprised of Cameron Walker-Wright (Nekokat) and brothers John Gomez and Stephen Gomez (The Summer Set) – has released their latest bop perfect for all of your summer playlists. “Honey, you’re so problematic,” the infectious trio sing in their relatable and catchy new single “Problematic” out on all digital streaming platforms now via Another Century/The Orchard. The single follows “Melt” and is the latest offering from their highly anticipated forthcoming debut album.TWIN XL also premiered the official music video for the track directed by their go-to collaborator Jade Ehlers (Tessa Violet, flor, MAX).
Michi – “Sugarbaby” Single and Video
, Michelle Guerrero makes sticky Angeleno pop informed by classic R&B. Guerrero grew up playing piano and dabbling with the guitar. Growing up in a Latino home filled her with the appreciation for diverse music, and was heavily influenced by Motown and Soul. In early 2020, Guerrero released the lead single “Night Moves” from her forthcoming debut EP. She quickly followed up “Night Moves” with the second EP single “Don’t Know How to Behave” in April. Now, Michi shares the music video for her latest single “Sugarbaby.” The sound of indeterminate voices chattering in the background and a doo-wop inspired electric guitar lick open the song, and paints a vivid image of spotting a lover across a crowded cafe.
Dead Swells Release Self-Titled Debut Album
is an indie rock quintet based out of Charleston, SC. Frontman and songwriter Paul Nederostek started the project after having written a handful of songs that commanded a wider vision, so a band was born. A product of years of tireless work, the upcoming record speaks to the frontman’s endless pursuit of perfection. The album’s overarching theme is a chase for that “good feeling,” a journey of a person always looking for a solid flow of dopamine.
Willbeaux – Waiting For Summer
(Will Sheehan) is a dynamic producer and DJ inspired by the energy of the city where he lives, here in Denver, Colorado. It’s no secret that Willbeaux is here to make you dance, and he’s succeeded immensely with this irresistible single “Gravity,” the first track from the artist’s new album. Sporting catchy hooks, a bumping bassline and melodic saxophone by Tanner Fruit of NoBide, this single forces you to get out of your seat and dance like no one’s watching. Carrying the seemingly reminiscent vibes of summer, vocalist Michelle Rocqet crafted the lyrics to correspond with the production’s energy and sense of positivity. “‘Gravity’ is all about a summer crush,” Rocquet explained.
The Blossom – “Angel Fangs”
Sydney-raised, LA-based singer-songwriter and producer The Blossom
(a.k.a. Lily Lizotte) has released her latest single, the intimate “Angel Fangs,” which follows her debut EP, Bleeding Buttercup
. She also appeared on Future Classic’s Shelter in Place, a compilation highlighting emerging musicians from around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blending together dreamy shoegaze, guitar-driven indie, and Lily’s multilayered approach to her vocals, Bleeding Buttercup
plays with the restrained sonics of bedroom pop to explore the emotional terrain of that private space.
KIDS – Lost Cities
is an alt indie rock band from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Its members Matthew Barrios, Joshua Diaz, Christian Gonzalez, Josiah Sampson and Andrew Woomer are unified by one simple motive: stay true to yourself. KIDS uses cinematic instrumentation as a vehicle for their storytelling. Sweeping soundscapes and epic brass sections play to their animated nature while showcasing their sophisticated musicianship. A self-expressed band of “sadboys,” KIDS sings songs of love and loss through a lens of escape and imagination. Since their conception in 2012, KIDS released a full-length record in 2015 and just released their sophomore project, Lost Cities
, via Tooth & Nail Records in July 2020.
Youth on Record Debuts Podcast Series About Creatives Interrupted By Pandemic
Hosted by Shawn King of the band DeVotchKa
, “My Youth on Record: Interrupted” is a collection of stories and interviews by creatives all around the world answering one question: How has your life changed during the pandemic? The podcast series was created by Youth on Record
’s staff and a team of musicians, activists, and former and current Youth on Record participants. Covering a range of themes from shifts in artistic practice and career goals to parenting in a pandemic to the Black Lives Matter movement, the podcast
features candid and evocative conversations with creatives from around the world, as they reflect on a rapidly changing cultural and professional landscape.
Let me know what else I should cover in these round-up posts.
As always, check out my other music content!