Connect with us

Album News

Crystal Drake Explores the Nuances of Femininity on New Album ‘Sirens’

Crystal Drake – the soul-pop singer whose earthy vocals have been described as “refined” and “emotionally charged” – is releasing her album Sirens on September 3rd.

Published

on

Crystal Drake – the soul-pop singer whose earthy vocals have been described as “refined” and “emotionally charged” – is releasing her album Sirens on September 3rd. A ten-track pop album inspired by the seventeenth-century Venetian all-female music ensemble of virtuosic orphans named the Figlie Del Coro “Daughters of the Choir,” Sirens is a celebration of power in feminine identity and of embracing the realities of being watched as we age into competence. “It is a lighthearted spin on owning the beautiful but sometimes bitter realities of being feminine in our culture,” says Drake.

Obsessing about the clothing, veneer, and attitudes we choose to wear (or not) in our daily lives, Drake started writing songs about the metaphorical veils through which we are perceived. It was during this time she learned about the virtuosic Figlie Del Coro who performed for large crowds veiled behind grates. “These talented muses to composers like Vivaldi were shielded from the viewership to “protect their sanctity” but also to make the listening experience more pleasurable, distanced, and other-worldly for the audience. It was more lucrative for patrons not to see that some of the women were differently-abled or, as perceived at the time, playing inelegant and unfeminine instruments like bassoon or cello,” says Drake.

Visitors from around the globe projected their own opinions on these performers, referring to them at once as angels and messengers of God or “sirens.” Instead of being uncomfortable with this history, Drake chose to celebrate these women and to write about what modern women, especially musicians, can learn from them.

Sonically the inspirations for Sirens washes of watercolour, evolving out of the hard edges of Drake’s last album and inviting you into a warmer, rounder, softer musical world. Starting with the track “Upstream,” Drake enters into a hopeful but carefully-paced plea for divine help in the form of an imaginary (or perceived) friend upstream. The song is enveloped in watery synths and anchored by a cautious, detuned piano, admitting the fragility of asking for a lending hand. Later in the album, listeners are greeted by the title track – a call to female-identifying artists to take up space with their work and to move forward boldly and rebelliously so their voices and stories can be heard.

Lamenting over the lost history of the Figlie del Coro, Drake imagines how angry they’d be if they knew their history and talents were lost to antiquity and channelled that into the lilting, irreverent vocal with its surrounding, haunting production. Drake touches on several other topics through the other tracks in the album, several of which are based on the Figlie del Coro. Covering everything from policing women’s looks, cultural fear of overt sexuality, embracing both the ambitious and joyously restful parts of ourselves, realities and societal pressures of women’s ageing, and new beginnings, Drake leaves no stone unturned as she explores the nuances of femininity – both historically and in modern times. Her powerfully earnest singing borrows from gospel and soul traditions with songwriting that is thoughtful, grounded, and moving – nudging us to feel and remember that we are divine.

Cover art for ‘Sirens’ by Crystal Drake

Dawn Jones is the curator of the V13 imPRESSED Column. Previously known as imPRESSED Indie Music Blog, Jones and her team joined forces with V13 in 2020 to collaborate on an exclusive column on V13's site (imPRESSED) to bring a niche focus to the rapidly evolving indie music genre. Dawn is also the founder of Pressed PR - a boutique PR agency that focuses on PR for independent creatives. Pressed PR’s team works on a variety of campaigns partnering with independent filmmakers, independent artists, and independent labels. Pressed PR’s music clientele has landed in the pages of Billboard, Atwood Magazine, EARMILK, HYPE Magazine, and many others.

Album News

Slightest Clue Release Their Rocking, Five-Track EP ‘Carousel’

Vancouver indie rockers Slightest Clue recently released their ‘Carousel’ EP, inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship.

Published

on

Slightest Clue
Slightest Clue

Vancouver’s Slightest Clue is like the secret after-school project of four kids who would have passed each other without a glance in the hallway at school, but once they’re plugged in and ready to play their distinct blend of post-punk, alternative rock, and dark pop, all bets are off.

Produced by Matt Di Pomponio, their new EP, Carousel, is inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a formative romantic relationship, spanning the trajectory from love to this loss of connection. The closing track, “Carousel,” marks the ultimate bittersweet reflection with unique harmonic layers to portray those contrasting emotions, shifting between grand and quiet tones.

Commenting on the album, the band states:

“The main theme is love, loss of relationship, and connection. The arc of the story is our foreshadowing of the end in our first song ‘These Days’ speaking on the day to day fights and how neither person can seem to get back to a happy place in the relationship. ‘Why Can’t I Call You?’ is the initial spark of infatuation and obsession with someone before you know them. ‘When You Wake Up’ talks of the blissed out honeymoon stage where everything is working and nothing could go wrong. ‘Suit Uptight!’ represents the mounting frustrations and resentments building tension from unmet needs. And finally our closing track ‘Carousel’ is the end and the bittersweet reflection of a cherished relationship that can no longer return.”

Each member, Malcolm McLaren, Hannah Kruse, Sean Ries, and Nick Sciarretta, brings distinct influences and experiences: a stage actor whose playlists go from Talking Heads to Sonic Youth to Björk, a hook-obsessed recovering choir girl, an electrical engineer whose personal idol is John Bonham, and a guitarist who played for (and left) 10 other bands before deciding this was the one for him.

Slightest Clue ‘Carousel’ [EP] album artwork

Slightest Clue ‘Carousel’ [EP] album artwork

Continue Reading

Album News

Craft Recordings Thrilled to Announce Titles for Record Store Day 2024

Craft Recordings announces their titles for Record Store Day 2024 available at participating independent music retailers on April 20th.

Published

on

Collective Soul ‘Dosage’ album packshot
Collective Soul ‘Dosage’ album packshot

Craft Recordings is thrilled to announce its titles for Record Store Day 2024. This year’s lineup—available at participating independent music retailers on April 20—includes eight exclusive releases that span a variety of genres—from chilling cult-classic soundtracks and long-sought-after alt-rock reissues to jazz, new age, and beyond.

Among the offerings is a 25th anniversary pressing of Collective Soul’s Platinum-selling fourth album, Dosage (featuring the mega-hit “Heavy”), At The Drive-In’s electrifying sophomore album, in/CASINO/OUT, and the first-ever vinyl pressing of Filter’s The Very Best Things collection. Also making its debut on wax is the chart-topping Inner World album from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama—a first-of-its-kind release from the Tibetan spiritual leader, which blends his spoken-word meditations with music from a renowned collective of artists, including Anoushka Shankar.

Other highlights include a sought-after mono edition of Everybody Digs Bill Evans on 180-gram vinyl, while film buffs will delight over the return of two cult-classic soundtracks, 1972’s Black Girl and 1977’s Orca. Finally, the acclaimed Jazz Dispensary Series returns with The Freedom Sound! The People Arise—an empowering setlist of deep cuts by Joe Henderson, Gary Bartz, and Azar Lawrence, among others.

Craft Recordings Record Store Day releases April 2024

Craft Recordings Record Store Day releases April 2024

A full list of participating Record Store Day retailers and more information can be found here.

#1 At The Drive-In – in/CASINO/OUT (1-LP, Purple & Green Smoke Vinyl)

#2 Bill Evans Trio – Everybody Digs Bill Evans (1-LP, Mono, 180-gram Vinyl)

#3 Collective Soul – Dosage (1-LP, Translucent Lemonade Vinyl)

#4 Dalai Lama – Inner World (1-LP, Gold Vinyl)

#5 Filter – The Very Best Things: 1995-2008 (2-LP, Mercury Swirl Vinyl)

#6 Various Artists – Jazz Dispensary: The Freedom Sound! The People Arise (1-LP, Freedom Blue Swirl Vinyl)

#7 Jazz Dispensary: The Freedom Sound! The People Arise

#8 Various Artists – Black Girl – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Reel Cut Series] (1-LP, 180-Gram Clear Black Swirl Vinyl)

Continue Reading

Album News

Cosmic Ninja Evolve Their Genre Bending Style on New EP ‘Filth’

Bristol rock ravers Cosmic Ninja evolve their genre-bending sound on their brand new EP ‘Filth,’ released earlier this month.

Published

on

Cosmic Ninja, photo by Pacific Curd Photography
Cosmic Ninja, photo by Pacific Curd Photography

Cosmic Ninja has been taking the UK by storm over the last few years with their eclectic sound and raucous live show. The band has just released their most accomplished and exciting work in their new EP, Filth.

Their energetic appeal, disregard for genre conventions, and punk ethos have made the band stand out in a deeply creative scene. Filth is packed full of tracks that feel distinctive and
packed full of unique character while embedded with Cosmic Ninja DNA.

Recorded with John Mitchell (Enter Shikari, Architects) at Outhouse Studios in Reading, the EP bursts with energy and intensity throughout, melding impassioned political lyrics with dizzying electronics and huge riffs. From the angst-filled raps to the soaring, memorable choruses, the diversity and guile shown on the new EP are staggering, and with their sights set on themes like the political status quo, injustice, equality, and mental health, their message feels clearer and more important than ever.

A track that exemplifies the feel of the EP is “Stone Cold,” a track as dynamic and unpredictable as anything you’ll hear this year. Euphoric synths compliment a sound that skitters from groovy to melodic to spiky before reaching its apex with a colossal metal breakdown. Everything about the track feels laser-focused and precise, embodying everything that Cosmic Ninja is.

Filth is blessed with an abundance of similar highlights and moments of awe-inspiring creativity throughout. The powerful, socially conscious messaging that adorns these tracks feels vital and relevant, and the conviction in the dual vocals makes for a release that feels as authentic and pure as it does all-encompassing.

Cosmic Ninja ‘Filth’ EP album artwork

Cosmic Ninja ‘Filth’ EP album artwork

Continue Reading

Trending