Today’s post containing selected artist and their music is the first edition of the ‘7 Bands You’ve Gotta Hear‘ series that features overseas artists. This post begins with an incredibly diverse and talented artist, Justice Aaron, better known as Metaform. Other artists featured below include James Kerr of London; Matt Churchill of London; Heifervescent of Lancashire, England; Flat Ed of Carcassonne, France; Lillian Todd-Jones of Oxford, England; and Reebosound of Hannover, Germany.
Metaform – Tokyo, Japan
Metaform is the DIY music project, launched in 2005, of Tokyo-via-Los Angeles music producer and songwriter Justice Aaron. Metaform’s music has been compared to artists like Massive Attack and Tears for Fears, even though to his earlier fans he is considered to be a hip-hop artist. Aaron’s musical influences include Neil Young, Deftones and DJ Shadow. He’s also been featured in Remix and DJ magazines, among others. In 2008, he released his debut album, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, constructed entirely from dusted off vinyl samples. The album spent an entire month on the College Music Journal’s Top 20 and Alternative Press Magazine listed it as one of the Top 10 records of 2008, calling it “one of the best instrumental hip-hop records in years.”
Two years later, Metaform released the highly controversial album, The Electric Mist, which isolated a big portion of the fans he made from his debut because the newer album was largely synth-based. While he isolated many of his early fans with the release of The Electric Mist, he also picked up a whole new group of fans who praised the album’s dark and sexy electro-pop sound. Interestingly, the album was one of the most popular music torrents on the site Demonoid, where it remained in the Top 10 music torrents list for two years with a total of more than 300,000 downloads. Earlier this month, Metaform released Act 1 of his sci-fi opera trilogy, The Midnight Machine, that had been in the works since 2009.
“Winter City” – Metaform from The Midnight Machine – June 4th
Matt Churchill – London, England
Originally from Watford, Matt Churchill is a singer/songwriter based in London and a former member of the band Cedar. On May 6th, Churchill released his first EP, Cause/Affect. The EP contains three songs, two of them included below, which demonstrate Churchill’s accomplishments as an acoustic folk musician and a songwriter. He shared two of the songs with us, the EP’s title track and “Of My Time.” The EP is also available in a limited edition cut cover package, available via his website. Produced, mixed and mastered by Hyperlion from Pariis Opera House, the three tracks are layered with dreamy vocals and intricate counter melodies. His musical influences include Nick Drake, Buffalo Springfield, Elbow, Neil Young, and Beth Orton.
– Matt Churchill from Cause/Affect EP
“Of My Time” – Matt Churchill from Cause/Affect EP
James Kerr – London, England
London singer/songwriter James Kerr (not the Jim Kerr of 80’s super band Simple Minds) played in various bands over the years and opened for artists like The Bluetones, The Feeling, The Paddingtons, Wendy James (Transvision Camp), and Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols). But a couple of years ago, Kerr decided to strike out on this own, stating: “I’ve decided to go it alone and do everything myself, thus, removing the need to argue or get annoyed with anyone other than myself. I can cope much better this way.”
Last spring, Kerr released his debut album, from which we have two impressive singles, including the touching, rhythmic song of longing, “When We Were Young,” complete with hand-claps, a thumping bass, and a catchy, sing-a-long chorus. The second single, “The Ship,” has a dreamy, peaceful quality to it, and is more stripped down than the first single, consisting only of Kerr’s agreeable vocals and an acoustic guitar, with a brief infusion of an electric guitar solo and sparsely planted xylophone keys. His musical influences range from Bach to The Beatles and Jefferson Airplane to Jeff Buckley. We can only hope that more people will see the talent and potential that we do in Kerr’s solo project. We’re keeping our ears open for the next release from Kerr.
– James Kerr from James Kerr
“The Ship” – James Kerr from James Kerr
Heifervescent – Lancashire, England
Heifervescent is the Lancashire, England musical project of artist Andy Doran, who wrote, performed and produced each track from the May release of the album, Sheepyhead. Heifervescent’s songs are highly-charged pop rock tracks that overflow with electronic-influenced melodies and bright guitar hooks with moments of ambient string arrangements – all accompanying Doran’s fine vocal work. Long before he set out on his own to create Heifervescent, Doran was a singer/songwriter with Monkeyland, a fairly popular four- piece indie guitar band. In fact, Monkeyland, during the 1990’s BritPop craze, played alongside UK bands like Shed Seven, The House of Love, Power of Dreams and The Railway Children. However, when the decade came to an end, Monkeyland disbanded. Doran lists his major musical influences to be the Eels, Elbow, Doves, The Pale Saints, Susanne Sündfor and The Beatles.
In response to our question, ‘what is indie?,’ Doran wrote: “Music that retains all the original sentiments of the artist, in the recording, the mix and the presentation, with nothing taken out or added by corporate bystanders. Music that hasn’t perverted the course of justice.”
– Heifervescent from Wake Up Sheepyhead – May 1st
“Try Again” – Heifervescent from Wake Up Sheepyhead
Flat Ed – Carcassonne, France
Flat Ed is the one man band project of musician Stephane Iserable from Carcassonne, France. On June 21st, Flat Ed released his DIY debut album, Clapped Out, even though he began recording in 1995, releasing his first solo cassette that year. In addition to creating experimental and interesting pop, electro, folk and rock-inspired songs, Iserable has recorded and performed with various artists, and undertaken engineering, production and mixing for a variety of artists and bands for more than a decade. Clapped Out was recorded in France, England and Wales during an eight-year period that stretched from 2005 to 2013. With a couple of minor exceptions, Flat Ed played all of the instruments and did all of the vocals. “There’s a lot of care put into the words as well as trying to always get a unique and different sound for each track. I try to never repeat myself, if I do, I don’t release those tracks.”
“Late Autumn Walk” – Flat Ed from Clapped Out
“24 Hours” Flat Ed from Clapped Out
Lillian Todd-Jones – Oxford, England
Lillian Todd-Jones is an unsigned indie solo artist from Oxford, England who made a little splash on some indie blogs recently with her single, “Butter Soul,” that highlights her haunting vocals and demonstrates her skills as a talented songwriter. She has also been working closely during the past year with producer Gordon Mills Jr. (Ed Sheerhan, Newton Faulkner) since launching her music career late in 2011. Of this partnership, she commented: “It has been an amazing experience working with Gordon. When working together in his studio, the world seems to disappear, when it returns… there’s a new song.” The video for “Butter Soul” was shot by director Garry Wood in a dilapidated mansion and sees Lillian in various montages, mostly bedraggled in her own nightmare.
– Lillian Todd Jones
Reebosound – Hannover, Germany
John Reebo, a musician from Hannover, Germany, who has recorded under the moniker, Reebosound, for the past seven years, dropped his third album, Juicy Black, back in October, which also features a few of Reebo’s favorite guest musicians. Here are two tracks from the album that we think more people will want to hear. Reebo listed his biggest musical influences as the Eels, The Melvins, The Flaming Lips, David Bowie and Tribe of Noise.
“Lick My Blood” – Reebosound from Juicy Black
“The Ocean” – Reebosound from Juicy Black