Category Archives: art pop

Ummagma

A few years back I featured Ummagma on the old blog. At that time I said this about them.

Ummagma is a Canadian-Ukrainian duo comprised of Alexx Kretov and Shauna McLarnon, blending the ethereal with sublime resonance, beats and rhythm to create richly layered soundscapes. In mid-July, Ummagma released two CD albums (“Ummagma” and “Antigravity”) and won the 2013 Alternative Eurovision, representing Ukraine from 21 countries. Although this music encompasses several music genres — indie rock, post-rock, dream pop, ambient/ethereal, space rock and progressive rock — there is a common remarkable theme, elevating atmosphere and stirring effect in Ummagma’s music.

Like so many independent artists they keep on moving on.

On the trail of their collaboration with dreampop pioneer A.R.Kane earlier this year, Ummagma has been turning a lot of heads in the last few years, winning praise from the likes of Joe Foster (Creation Records) and The Veldt, collaborating with members of OMD and Swervedriver, and winning the Alternative Eurovision on Amazing Radio. They also feature in Wire Magazine’s new Wire Tapper CD.

Recently they released an awesome re-mix of one of their gems. As with all their releases this is a soaring piece of music that will take you higher, complex yet simple it just moves you along with it.
Add to that a beautiful video and I just had to post this, their latest release.

Enjoy, I know I am.

Lama ~ Robin Guthrie Mix

And just for kicks, here’s the original version, love ’em both myself.  What say you?

Lama

 

📷 Oleksandra Kostiv

Robyn Cage

I was introduced to an amazing talent this morning, courtesy of Noisetrade.
Robyn Cage hails from Salt Lake City, UT but with her flaming locks and her awesome sound I’m thinking there has to be some Gaelic blood somewhere in her history.

Keep reading and I’ll give you a link to find some awesome music from Robyn Cage.

Robyn Cage’s expressive voice and impassioned live performances have captivated audiences from Boston’s Symphony Hall to the stages of NYC. A professional actress, trained at the Boston Conservatory and praised by The New York Times and Variety, Robyn turned to songwriting in 2009 and recorded her “Raining Sideways” EP with producer Alex Houton. In 2014 Robyn teamed up with two-time Grammy-nominated producer Darryl Neudorf (Neko Case, Sarah McLachlan) to record “Burning Now”, then headed to L.A. to record with Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning producer Dan Burns (Carina Round, Early Winters). Robyn relocated from NYC to her mountain home in Park City- her music is a synthesis of New York’s culture and Utah’s desert wilderness.

So are you ready for some music? You betcha. OK let’s get to it.

First up Robyn’s most recent video release, and the title track from her latest album.
A terrific video shot in the desert out west, beautiful scenic backdrops abound.
Robyn’s voice is simply awesome, and I’m sure if she says it’s gonna rain, it’s gonna rain.
Love it.
Born in the Desert

Directed, Filmed & Edited by Bryce Johnson
Song by Robyn Cage and Cari Cole
Music Produced by Dan Burns

CREW
Director: Bryce Johnson
Production Assistant: Darryl Dobson, Laura Johnson
Drone footage: Jake Johnson
Props: Nan Kemp, Kevin Kemp
Photographers: Carla Boecklin, Victor Rybovich, Darryl Dobson
Hair & Makeup: Amy DeVore
Wardrobe & Styling: Hannah Reilly

 

Next up a really beautiful song of longing with the ethereal voice of Robyn Cage.
This will just warm your soul. And probably be on your play list for a long time.
Burning Now

Cast:
Girl: Robyn Cage
Guy: Paul D. Hunt
Song by Robyn Cage and Darryl Neudorf
Music Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Darryl Neudorf
Vocals Engineered by Eric Limburg and recorded at @ The Granger School of Music
Vocal Arranging by Cari Cole

 

For some reason as a young singer you have to perform covers, maybe it’s so that the listener can compare it with something they know and it makes them comfortable. So here we have Robyn doing a very daring cover of a David Bowie classic. And certainly putting her own stamp on it. This brings out the power of her voice which has been subdued to this point on the earlier songs. And boy what power it has, I’m just loving this.
Plus another standout video.
Space Oddity

Directed by Bryce Johnson
Makeup by Amy DeVore
Song mixed and mastered by Jarryd Wark
“Space Oddity” by David Bowie

 

One more cover, since I cannot resist anyone covering this song, an old favorite.
I love the fact that Robyn attacks it in the same way that Nina Simone did, this is the way to perform this song. Her voice is perfect in this live performance at the Secret Circus Studio. And her piano playing is brilliant. Love it, love it, love it.
Oh man, that final note, wow, chills.
Feeling Good

“Feeling Good” written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd in 1964. Nina Simone recorded the song for her 1965 album I Put a Spell on You and it became a standard.

 

The toughest part of this journey through Robyn’s catalog has been which to include and which to leave out. Tough decisions, so much good stuff here.
But we have to close, so going to close with another of Robyn’s brilliant original songs.
This is a beautifully crafted song, very unique. And of course there is a wonderfully shot video to highlight the song. Robyn’s voice lust to beautiful for words. Enjoy it.
The Arsonist & The Thief

Directed, Filmed & Edited by Bryce Johnson
Song written by Robyn Cage
Music Produced by Dan Burns

CREW
Director: Bryce Johnson
Co-starring: Dustin Crump
Production Assistant: Nan Kemp
Makeup: Amy DeVore
Wardrobe & Styling: Haute Attitude

Check out more of her videos here.

 

Oh yes, I didn’t forget. Treat yourself to a free download of Robyn’s amazing album at Noisetrade. But don’t be cheap, leave a tip. I assure you the music is worth it. And you can listen to it before you download it.

Get it here.

📷 Carla Boecklin Photography

Miccoli

Here’s a wonderful treat for you today a few tracks from a great sounding group from the UK.  Welcome Miccoli.
Miccoli, their name taken from the sibling trio’s surname, formed in 2010 after spending most of their childhood studying and making music. Growing up in Birmingham, England, they were brought up listening to Simon and Garfunkel, Don Mclean, The Police, Fleetwood Mac and the sounds of Motown, to name just a few of their diverse musical influences.
Twin brothers Adriano (vocal and acoustic/electric guitar) Alessandro (piano, vocal and acoustic guitar) and their younger sister Francesca (vocal, piano and harmonica) have toured extensively, giving the band the opportunity to explore their musical identity and fine tune their live set – a compelling blend of haunting, melodic and eclectic sounds, interlaced with breathtaking harmonies.
So, do we want to hear some music?  You betcha.
First up their awesome beautiful new single, Idle Stranger, a true gem from the opening chords.  The harmonies are gentle and sublime, the backing instrumentation is so good it’s surreal.  Chill inducing sounds all through this track.  Beautifully filmed in Venice, Italy this is a video to savour. This track has the promise to become a number one hit.
Idle Stranger

More photos from Venice

I do like to hear new bands cover other artists songs, and I always say if you are going to do it, pick a great song and do it well.  Miccoli more than do that, they take this Fleetwood Mac classic and totally own it.  They impart a very different feel into this beautiful track. I just love it.
Rhiannon

Here’s another great song, beautifully sung by Miccoli. Their harmonies as always sublime. This young group really deserve to go far if they keep producing awesome music like this.
All My Life

All My Life Video by Concepts Communications

One last cover, this is the Tracy Chapman classic re-imagined Miccoli style.  I remember when Tracy Chapman first released this song, we were all astounded by such a great song from a new young talent.  It blew up the charts.  And this version gives the same impression, a worthy do over for a classic song.
Fast Car

Finally today a bitter-sweet (too short) teaser for their forthcoming album to be released later this year.