The Japanese House Left Us Dreaming in L.A.

By: Elsa Lee

Amber Bain is one of those multi-talented, effortlessly poised artists who can command a stage with the sort of gentle presence that draws you in without you realizing it. The Japanese House is the moniker of her solo indie-pop act, hailing from the UK and now based in London. She has recently risen in popularity after releasing four EP’s: Pools to Bathe In, Clean, Swim Against the Tide, and Saw You in a Dream, as well as touring with The 1975. The release of the latest full length album Good at Falling resulted in a sold-out victory lap tour.

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The LA show was no less of a success for Bain, as a sold-out house at the Fonda echoed with cheers. Greeting the audience like they were old friends, she and her band started out with a rendition of “Cool Blue” from her 2015 EP Clean, and then segued effortlessly into tracks from her new album including “Follow My Girl”, “We Talk all the Time”, “Lilo” and “You Seemed So Happy”. The entranced crowd was reminiscent of a high school art class- equal parts hipster and artsy nerd, caught torn between dreaming and dancing by Bain’s smooth ethereal voice and mellow electronica beats.

The inspiration behind the Japanese House’s music was evident during the performance. The project’s name came from an experience Bain had as a child while staying at a property called the Japanese House, previously owned by actress Kate Winslet. As a child she presented herself as a boy to a neighborhood girl and earned her affection, but the girl was heartbroken when she learned of Bain’s “true” gender identity. The experience led her to question gender identity and sexuality more, and to seek an almost “androgynous space” for her music.

Amber Bain of The Japanese House.

Amber Bain of The Japanese House.

Bain is graceful as a performer and artist; she accepted a bouquet of roses from a fan and danced with them for a song before bashfully starting over when her most popular track “Saw You in a Dream” began in the wrong key. Her voice is one of those rarities that sounds even better in person. The setlist ended with the track “Worms”, and Bain’s smooth singing and encouragement to “invest yourself in something worth investing in.”

The Japanese House is currently on tour in North America. Tickets and more info here.

-Elsa

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Crywolf's Current Tour is an Emotional Journey

By: Elsa Lee

In the dark, cavernous space of Los Angeles’ 1720 venue downtown, the lights went out, ambient chords played over the speakers, and a countdown started ticking on the screen. Excited cheers echoed through the crowd. BolderBeat was lucky enough to catch Crywolf (aka Justin Taylor Phillips) on the last stop of his U.S. tour for his latest album, widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. I], and the night proved to be an unforgettable experience.

Crywolf.

Crywolf.

As the countdown ended and the room went pitch dark again, Crywolf took the stage and began to play the first haunting notes of the album’s opening track, “ATHETOSIS [here’s the lullaby you made me promise never to write].” And so began a tumultuous journey into the psyche of an artist whose specialty is taking listeners through a whirlwind of deep emotions.

Crywolf himself has evolved immensely over the years, from his start as a melodic dubstep artist and the release of his first Ghosts EP in 2013 when his recognition in the music world began. Over time his style grew and changed as he came to develop an emotional sound that straddles both the indie and electronic genres.

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As an artist who deals with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, music has always served as an outlet for Crywolf. widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. I] is an even further testimony to this fact. The album is largely inspired by the inner turmoil he experienced after getting his hard drive and thousands of dollars of equipment stolen in Chile. Flinging himself from piano to drums to guitar laced with his soulful falsetto, listeners got to experience a sliver of the passion that fuels his work.

His frenzy soon slowed as he stepped down from the stage and walked into the crowd. Haunting melodies that make up tracks like “Anachronism”, “Akureyri”, and “Slow Burn” from the debut 2015 album Cataclasm rang through the space and delighted his older fans. Attendees also got to hear a rendition of “Halloween, 1987”, a surprise to fans as he has said previously that he would never play that particular track live again. The crowd also got to watch a part of Crywolf’s recently debuted music video for “CEPHALOTUS”, which was shot completely underwater and features Phillips actually holding his breath for four minutes straight. He stated the inspiration behind it came from a desire to visualize his internal pain and struggle.

Crywolf’s fans are the very definition of what one would call a “cult following”, with every voice singing along ‘til the last note, and every face uplifted to the leader of their pack. Any person who wasn’t already converted left baptized in a turmoil of emotions.

We can’t wait to see where he takes us next. Keep up with Crywolf and stream widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. I] here.

-Elsa

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Yaeji's Current 'One More' Tour Is As Explosive As the Beats She's Dropping

By: Elizabeth Lee

It’s 10:23 PM on a Friday night in downtown Los Angeles, meaning there is no shortage of sweaty bodies swaying on the crowded floor of the Regent. The crowd is a strange spectrum of sunglass-wearing hipster chicks and nerdy teens, mixed with everyone in between. But that’s the thing about Yaeji. She is an enigma that straddles the border between cool and obscure with both her music and quirky style, proving that music knows no constructs. Tonight is her second of two sold out shows in LA on her current One More headlining tour.

Yaeji.

Yaeji.

Born Kathy Yaeji Lee, but known in the music world simply as “Yaeji,” the 25-year-old Korean-American singer, DJ, and producer has been seducing the electronic music world beat by layered beat. Her music is a mix of 4x4 traditional house rhythms mixed with hip-hop influences, laced with her half-whispered Korean/English vocals. She first started making music in her home state of New York while she was in college, after being introduced to Brooklyn’s underground music scene and throwing techno parties with her friends. Fast forward a few years later and Yaeji is in god mode after releasing two EPs and playing major festivals like Coachella and Sonar.

The crowd’s raucous screams as she finally appears onstage are as loud as ever, a testimony to the cult following she’s built over the years. Her live show brings a kind of magic that you can’t get simply by listening to a track. Experiencing a Yaeji set is like following her into one of the hazy Brooklyn basement parties where she traces her roots. She opens with beat-heavy tracks like “Feel it Out” and “Guap” to invite you to dance with her, then puts you under her spell with feelsy, quiet vocals in tracks like “New York 93,” “Feelings Change,” or her popular cover of Drake’s “Passionfruit.” She saves her most well-known track “Raingurl” for last. Her audience is so entranced that they try to scream the lyrics, even though they’re in Korean and it comes out as gibberish for most attendees.  

What many of them don’t realize is that a lot of Yaeji’s music is heavily influenced by her feelings of isolation and culture clash as she was growing up, and her eventual discovery of freedom and belonging in music. Onstage she is unpretentious and almost goofy, with her slightly awkward dancing and infectious smile. She serves as an inspiration to her fans or other aspiring artists, being one of the few Asian-American females in the electronic music scene.

Yaeji is currently on her One More in North America and still has shows scheduled through 2018. Keep up with her here.

-Elizabeth

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Trevor Hall's 'The Fruitful Darkness EP' Is A Labor of Love

By: Elizabeth Lee

In today’s profit-driven world, it can be hard to define yourself as an artist and maintain the initial passion that drew you to your art. Trevor Hall is one of those whose focus and love for music have lead him to fruition.

Trevor Hall.

Trevor Hall.

Raised in South Carolina, he recorded his first album at the age of sixteen and then traveled to California where he learned classical guitar, as well as the practices of yoga and meditation. Both of these areas of his life would play a major part in the making of his eastern-inspired sound. Trevor would also draw from his roots of spirituality when it came to building a fanbase and connecting with his listeners.

The Fruitful Darkness EP is Trevor’s first independent release, and it was funded entirely by supporters through Kickstarter. Trevor’s fanbase, known as “The Villagers” worked together to raise a total of $137,570, making it the #1 Kickstarter music campaign in 2017. The collaborative effort resulted in its debut at #9 on the iTunes Alternative Charts.

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Artistically, the album pushes boundaries by releasing in three separate installments of 3-5 songs all on specific lunar dates. Trevor’s smooth vocals and guitar weave through every soulful track, bringing to mind the folksy vibe of Bon Iver or songwriting prowess of Jack Johnson. He has a tendency to surprise too- when you hear him rapping over Asian-inspired acoustics, the listener is brought back to his roots and reminded of his leadership in the conscious music community.

Be sure to listen to parts I, II, and III of The Fruitful Darkness EP and catch Trevor on his A Night in the Village Tour this spring across the United States and Europe.

Keep up with Trevor Hall here.  

-Elizabeth

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Illenium Ends 2017 With A Sold-Out Tour And A Slot At Coachella

By: Elizabeth Lee

2017 was a huge year for the world of electronic music. We saw the return of old veterans such as deadmau5 and the coming of his new protege REZZ with her unique, dark industrial sound. A huge genre turn around occurred, as big room house faded and set the scene for dubstep and its subgenre riddim. Long-standing king of bass music Excision pulled off one of the most successful first festivals in history with the birth of Lost Lands Music Festival in Ohio. But there was another name who had been rising to fame long before this last year. 2017 was the year everything paid off for Denver-based producer Nick Miller, otherwise known as Illenium.

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Illenium came from humble beginnings as a producer who released several remixes on Soundcloud and then eventually his debut EP Ashes in 2016. His music captured the hearts of fans who were looking for the emotional depth and complexity no other other artists seemed to be able to replicate. From there he shot to fame, touring and playing major festivals across the US and the rest of the world. September 2017 saw the release of his sophomore album Awake.

Nick Miller.

Nick Miller.

BolderBeat was lucky enough to catch the last stop of his sold-out Awake tour at Shrine Expo Hall in Los Angeles on December 28th.

The venue was packed and buzzing with an excited crowd warming up to the sounds of artists Dabin and Said the Sky. Delivering over an hour and half of music, once Illenium took the stage each person watching was enraptured and caught in a beautifully woven soundscape. With a live keyboard and drum pad setup, he dropped tracks such as “Sound of Walking Away” ft. Kerli and “Rush Over Me,” his song with artists Seven Lions, Said the Sky, and HALIENE. Fans of his older album would also recognize classics such as “Afterlife” and “It’s All on U.” Dabin and Said the Sky returned to the stage to join him for a few tracks on electric guitar and piano. Besides his ability to create a fully immersive experience, Illenium also demonstrated his versatility as an artist as he played his unreleased collaboration with Kill the Noise and Mako. This track strayed away from his usual melodic style and into heavier dubstep. He continued to delight the crowd throughout the night with a mixture of heart-wrenching melodies and energetic beats.

As a recently announced artist on the 2018 Coachella lineup, we’re looking forward to what’s next for Illenium. Keep up with him here.

-Elizabeth

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Chewy&Bach's Debut Single "Potion" Is Hypnotizing Electro-Americana

By: Elizabeth Lee

In a world of music and a sea of artists, it is always refreshing to find a track that showcases a fresh take on multiple genres and creates a sound of its own. 

Chewy&Bach.

Chewy&Bach.

Electro-Americana production duo Chewy&Bach do just that with the release of their new single “Potion.” Justin Long (guitar/vocals) and Elliot Olbright (production/sound design) started collaborating as a business venture in 2016, both coming from very different artistic backgrounds. The two found a kind of harmony in music, complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Their style is described as “a love of the roots perfected through electronic music.”

Listen to "Potion":

“Potion” is a superb example of their admirable talent, drawing you in with smooth melodies and hypnotizing the listener with its ambience. The track features the soulful R&B vocals of Tucker Riley, whose voice is layered with psychedelic guitar and keyboard harmonies drenched in dreamy reverb. This unique track is a perfect debut for the duo, as it showcases their ability to combine modern electronic production techniques with their passion for blues, funk, and soul.

Keep up with the latest on Chewy&Bach here.

-Elizabeth

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Hollow Are Making A Lot More Noise Than Just "Sleep Talkin'"

By: Elizabeth Lee

The goal of The Hollow (a band we once joined on tour aboard their "CrowBus") is very straightforward: “to deliver exceptional music that makes you fall in love with rock and roll all over again.” Since the alternative-rock band was formed in 2013, they have done exactly that, aiming to transform the landscape of contemporary rock and roll music. They released their first EP in 2015 and are now on the tail of an extremely successful tour in 2016, which has featured sold out shows, national support appearances, and festival slots.

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“Sleep Talkin” is their latest single, accompanied by a newly released music video, which dropped November 4th. The video is a testimony to all that The Hollow has worked for, collaborating with Kind Dub, AlphaPixel Digital, Evergroove Studio and many others. The song focuses on honesty and open communication in relationships, as the video shows a couple heading to sleep with unspoken words.

Watch "Sleep Talkin'":

Visually, the video is evocative and eye-catching, serving as a metaphor for the narrator’s struggle. The single keeps with the band’s hard-hitting, focused style of rock'n'roll, with a heavy rhythm section, skillfully layered guitar-laced with strong vocals, and powerful lyrics. The Hollow draw their influence from rock icons such as MUSE and Queens of the Stone Age, and it shows even in the mood of the video.

Check out “Sleep Talkin” and be sure to catch The Hollow at their next live show, December 9th at Peak 31 Union Station in Colorado Springs.

Keep up with the band here.

-Elizabeth

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Danny Shafer Bringing Back Open Stage Nights At New Boulder Venue

By: Elizabeth Lee

Singer-songwriter Danny Shafer will be bringing his Open Stage nights back to Boulder starting tomorrow, Tuesday, November 7th. After a 16-year run hosting the open mic night at Boulder’s now defunct Conor O’Neill’s, Shafer is ready to reconnect with the amazing community he’s helped create over the years at a new venue. Here at BolderBeat, we’ve heard stories from numerous local musicians who started playing out at Danny’s previous open mic night, so his new stage is sure to bring even more local talent together.

Danny Shafer.

Danny Shafer.

With over 200 shows a year on his own, Shafer has been bringing his original country and bluegrass tunes to audiences at venues such as The Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, The Boulder Theater, The Fox Theatre, and Swallow Hill as well as many others across the country. His acclaimed songwriting skills and fingerstyle guitar are a treat to witness in person.

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For a fun night of tradition, community, and awesome music, be sure to catch Shafer’s Open Stage every Tuesday at Boulder's new Oskar Blues Taproom (formerly World of Beer). You can sign up for 15 minute sets starting at 7PM and the music begins at 730PM.

RSVP on Facebook and keep up with Danny here.

-Elizabeth

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

MLIMA Maintains Fresh “Mountain Groove” on New Self-Titled EP

By: Elizabeth Lee

Colorado’s Denver-based premier jazz fusion ensemble MLIMA are back with their long-awaited first album, a record which has been over a year in the making. The group have been going interstellar in the Rocky Mountain music scene since their start in 2012 with their funky, space-jazz sounds. Their self-titled debut album is their first collection of seven studio tracks which they wrote, recorded, and produced together. The six-piece band is comprised of Jessica Jones (lead vocals), Zach Simms (saxophone/vocals), Lance Croucher (drums), Jack Breitenbach (percussion), Jeph Kennedy (guitar/vocals), and Ryan Thrush (bass). The group also brought in Ben Rafferty on keyboard for this album.

Listen to MLIMA’s new record:

MLIMA does not disappoint on their debut, delivering a cohesive collection of tracks that show off their patented “mountain groove” sound. The record takes the listener on a sonic journey, which is fitting for their psych funk vibes. The album is a balanced mix of jazzy, smooth brass mixed with funky, swinging rhythms and soulful vocals. Tracks such as “Sunshine” (the debut single from the release) and “Booty” are playful and showcase MLIMA’s ability to get audiences dancing, while others like “Outro” and “Stank” deliver musical talent with soaring guitar riffs and vocal solos.

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We’re excited to see what’s next for one of Denver’s most unique and talented ensembles! Be sure to catch their magic live by getting yourself to one of their upcoming shows.

Keep up with MLIMA here.

-Elizabeth

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.