With the voice of an angel, Lapsley will make your heart ache. “Hurt Me” is the latest track from the 19-year-old English singer. A medley of synth and piano introduces the song with the line, “can’t look at you the same way, anticipating heartbreak,” hooking the listener with the promise of emotion in a sort of remixed ballad. She sings she “heard these scars never go away” and now she’s “running out of ways to numb the pain,” building up to the premise of the song – seeing her heartbreaker and letting out the pain she’s been holding inside. Lapsley’s heartbreak is an open book, a raw bleeding heart. Each verse crescendos into the chorus, a direct address that feels a stab to the heart: “so if you’re going to hurt me, why don’t you hurt me a little bit more? / just dig a little deeper / push a little harder than before.” Through her beautifully crafted lyrics, she surrenders to her pain, delivering the melody with grace that shows her fragility and power that screams “no more.”
“Hurt Me” showcases Laspley’s talent as a singer and songwriter, leaving potential for her to step into the mainstream light as England’s next star.
After their last show was rained out this spring, Purity Ring returned to Austin on Sept. 5 to perform at Austin Music Hall. The show was more than an hour behind schedule when solo artist HANA opened the show. She received a surprising amount of praise for an unknown opener. Her hypnotic electronic vibes and sweet voice got the crowd moving for the main attraction. Half an hour after HANA’s set, singer Megan James of Purity Ring ran on stage unannounced and said “the generator is blown out and we can’t perform.” The crowd gave several confused shouts before James laughed and said it was a joke. The other half of Purity Ring, Corin Roddick, joined her on stage for a performance and light show fans would remember.
September is my favorite month and we have some great tunes for this month’s playlist. Listen to the newest form Foals, Metric and CHVRCHES as well as some indie songs from Ofelia K, Tropical Zombie and fleurie.
I caught up with Marc Scibilia and his band on Sunday at Emo’s in Austin, Texas. He’s currently touring the United States in support of ZZ Ward and recently released his Out of Style EP. A talented singer, songwriter and guitarist, Marc Scibilia will soon be a name you’ll know. The band brought their energy to the stage, producing a massive full band sound throughout the set and impressing the crowd with his closing song “How Bad We Need Each Other.” I want to give a huge thanks to Marc and the band for inviting me out and welcoming me into their pre-show routine. See more photos from the show on flickr.
This post has been updated for the Across the Pond series.
Wolffe’s powerful and sonorous voice tease listeners with sweet raspy melodies while also delivering a fierce, piercing chorus on her latest single “Shoot You Down.” The music video, shot in New York, is as haunting and mesmerizing as the song itself.
London-based artist Wolffe was discovered by her manager last year after a recording producer posted 10 second videos on Instagram of her singing in a studio session. Now singed to Rocket Music Entertainment Group, co-founded by Elton John, Wolffe is writing and recording music, and has already released her first music video, which she also co-directed, for “Shoot You Down.” I caught up with Wolffe via email to discuss her inspirations and working on the music video. Read the interview below.
The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
How did you get your start in music?
Last year I got found on Instagram by my management and since then I’ve been working with Rocket. Before that I was in a couple of different bands, writing a lot of band songs and doing a bit of touring. I started out writing. To be honest I never thought I was a singer until I was about 17 or 18 when I was like “why don’t I try singing this” and I guess it went from there. I moved to London, enrolled in art college, dropped out and continued grafting!
How would you describe your music? What inspires you?
Pop-noir. It’s dark indie dream-pop. I’m inspired by everything – films, books (I read a lot of books), men, love, my fear of death, my fascination with religion, stories people have told me. Anything. I find it hard to write happy songs which I’m learning to get over. Considering I’m one of the happiest people, I let all my sadness and anger out through my lyrics (is that cliche?).
What artists have influenced you?
Radiohead, Muse, James Blake, The Weeknd, FKA Twigs, Sly and the Family Stone, Edith Piaf, Miguel, Young Thug
How did you come up with the concept for the music video?
When I wrote the song, I had a very strong idea in my head about how I wanted it to be shot. I wanted it to be filmic and seedy and dark. I was so lucky to have a group of amazing friends in New York who shot, co-directed and acted in the film. Every location you see was either a friend’s bar or a friend’s bedroom, so it was all very close to home. We filmed on the coldest day of last year in December. I was in charge of whisky provision to keep morale high!
You make a cameo appearance in the music video. What was it like filming on set?
I did – only because I wanted to retain a filmic aspect to the video and let the story come out through the actors as opposed to playing the lead role. I really wanted to co-direct the video for “Shoot You Down” as I had such a strong idea of what I wanted. I was definitely happiest behind the camera, holding the whisky bottle.
What can listeners expect from you next?
Right now I’m locked up in the studio, lucky enough to be writing tracks with some really talented producers and writers. I’m working on an EP which I hope to have out in early Spring 2016. But there will definitely be more music arriving on my Soundcloud in the next two months, so you can follow me if you like “Shoot You Down!”
Los Angeles solo artist Lostboycrow, who chooses to be identified as his artist name, dreams of one day performing on Saturday Night Live. “Personally I just want to make music, write songs and be known as a storyteller and a performer,” he says. Lostboycrow crafts a unique fusion of R&B and pop sounds with his soulful voice that stands out from the crowd, proving that he will be around for a while.
The identity of Lostboycrow is not a stage name or a front – the name holds bigger meaning. Talking on the phone with Lostboycrow, it is apparent that he draws influence from everything in his life, whether that’s his discovery of Journey as a high school freshman, his competitive athletic side or his roots growing up in the Pacific Northwest. “I think that’s why Lostboycrow has been able to go the farthest of any venture I’ve been a part of,” he says. “I feel like it’s just my identity. All of these things just kind of bleed together.” The passion in his voice is clear and driving, making it obvious that he believes whole-heartedly in Lostboycrow. The name itself sits close to his heart.
As a young boy traveling with his family, he began to connect with the story of the Crow Indians in Montana. “I would read stories about them and it almost felt like I was remembering things and learning about things,” Lostboycrow says. “It was a beautiful, untouchable explanation. I wanted to have a name that played homage to something bigger than myself, and yet something that was unique to me and my experiences.” Creating an identity for himself also created an identity for his music.
He says his art is unlike anything he’s done before. His first song “Adolescent,” released in December 2014, presents smooth vocal melodies accompanied by electronic pop elements and R&B undertones. Lostboycrow followed up a month later with “HiyHiy,” showing off more of his lyrical abilities that bring us lines such as “I’m the midnight ride, I’m that ancient pride that can never go away” and “I don’t believe you know what I can do / I’m a medicine man.” The song dares listeners to question his passion and serves as a clear indication that Lostboycrow is here to prove himself as a storyteller and an artist.
The songs quickly gained recognition with music blogs such as Hype Machine and Hilly Dilly. Lostboycrow has since released three more original songs, each more popular than the last. His music video for “Start Something” debuted on idolator. Lostboycrow says the response has been overwhelming in a positive way. “All in all it’s been really nice to read, but honestly it just makes you work harder,” he says.
Finding his identity was part of Lostboycrow’s journey, but moving to L.A. last year helped to bring out his art. He says he found his sound with direction from the right producers. (All songs have been produced by flor’s Dylan William.) “It felt for the first time like these songs had been in me my whole life. It was the right time, the right people, the right place and the right energy to bring them out of me,” Lostboycrow says. The move to L.A. was not just intentional but necessary.
Born in Portland, Oregon, Lostboycrow says he always knew he would move to California, even calling it his “long lost lover” in “Start Something.” In L.A., he has been fortunate to find a family of like-minded artists who have fostered his dreams. “When you work hard and have the right attitude and put a sincere foot forward, you’re going to attract people who also work hard,” he says. “It’s an unspoken community of artists and producers who are all coming up together. The people genuinely love each other’s music and support each other.”
As for the future, Lostboycrow says his goals come to him in visions. Listening to him discuss his wildest dreams with such passion and belief, it’s not hard to believe he’ll accomplish everything he sets out to do. A few of those dreams are performing for huge audiences and being known as a songwriter into his 70s. For now, Lostboycrow says fans can expect more music and a possible tour. “I’ve always had visions of going on to bigger shows and bigger things,” he says. “I have high hopes and I’ve always been the craziest dreamer. I don’t think I’d be even where I am now without that.”
Riding high from “Circles'” success with 1.6 million plays on Spotify, machineheart’s vocalist Stevie Scott says it is just the tip of the iceberg for them. The band looks forward to touring and sharing an album later this year. On the way to start their summer tour, I chatted with Scott from Tucson, AZ.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
How did you get started in music?
We’ve all been doing music since we were kids pretty much. Carman and Trevor have been playing since they were teenagers, and then we met a couple years ago. I was doing another project and the boys were doing other various projects. When we met, we kind of clicked. I had never been in a band before.
Being from various backgrounds and working with different sounds, how did you collaborate to end up with machineheart’s sound?
That’s the beauty in a band, I think. People come together with different backgrounds and experience in music. I think that’s what really give machineheart its sound. I come from British-loving Anglophile kind of thing. I love very ethereal stuff. The boys come from Seattle and have that more rock ‘n’ roll front like Nirvana and Radiohead. Together it feels good and right and special. Someone actually recently referred to us as an intergalactic take on Fleetwood Mac, but I love that.
You guys are from L.A. That’s a place that has always been a culture capital for musicians. How do you like it?
Everyone there is creating. Everyone is doing something in the entertainment industry. I think it really inspires you and challenges you to really do your best, because there’s so many talented people – not in a competitive way to beat someone out to take their place. We always just try to compete with ourselves – try to have a better song, a better show than our last one.
With so many indie and alternative bands coming up right now. How do you differentiate yourselves?
We didn’t start with the idea that we wanted to sound a certain way, like “we have to be this alternative band.” I think that’s where we find a lot of freedom for ourselves. We didn’t have any requirements of what we were going to be. We just tried it out and it worked. We really liked that. Obviously with everyone having put in years of hard work, when we came together it was so easy.
Are there any artists you would ever like to collaborate or tour with?
Oh my gosh, yeah. I think everyone definitely has a dream list of who they would like to collaborate with. There’s the iconic ones, for me, like Stevie Nicks or Kate Bush or the musical artists that everyone looks up to. The boys love Dave Grohl. I mean the list goes on and on. That’s a good question. I’ll have to think about that.
You were just in Austin, TX for South By Southwest. How was it?
That was our first show in Texas. We had such a blast. We were talking about L.A. being a creative mecca. I think Austin is creative. There are so many talented people trying to get their music out there. We are grateful to be doing what we’re doing. There are hundreds of people just as talented as us or as passionate as us that are wanting to be doing what we’re doing. We are very thankful.
Machineheart just played Bunbury and you have Summerfest and Fashion Meets Music Fest coming up. Festivals are a different environment than touring. Do you prefer one or the other?
Festival are so fun and laid back because you play once in the day and then you’re done. You get to hang out with other friends or bands or bands you’re fans of. We get to listen to great music. I love the festival environment. There’s also fashion and all of the people there are so hungry to be inspired or to inspire. We definitely love festivals.
Is live performance an important aspect for you as a musician?
That’s probably what we consider our strong suit – more because of the energy we experience on stage and that exchange between the audience and us. It’s so special. It’s not how it used to be where everyone would go to shows constantly, but it’s a little more rare. So when fans come out to shows we want to give them an experience they won’t forget. It’s really magical. It’s not just a one way conversation but we really do feed off the energy. Fans singing those songs back to us is just as important. It’s more of a dialogue [than a monologue].
Do you have an albums in the works right now?
We do have an album in the works. It’s actually done. We just got out of the studio. It should be released sometime later this year. We’re very excited about that actually because we’ve only released “Circles” up to this point. We love playing and connecting with our fans but people are really going to be able to dig in so much more with the album and get a better taste for who we are. “Circles” is just the tip of the iceberg for us.
I personally can’t stop listening to “Circles.” It was at the top of the Hype Machine charts and it was on Spotify’s U.S. Viral 50 playlist. Did you expect that kind of reaction?
No. It’s just so exciting when something connects with people. Obviously that’s what we hope for as a band. That’s why we do this. It’s really cool to see it happen. It’s kind of fun too to watch the little number count go up online. To see numbers and actually be able to equate that to people now when we play shows and people are singing along with us, that’s when for us it really hits home.
Catch machineheart on tour this summer with Vinyl Theatre.