With Mundo Musique, Rich and I try to feature as many independent bands and musicians from around the globe, many of whom are personal favourites. We also attempt to showcase artists who are DIY-ers and have decided to follow The Revue and us on Twitter. Today’s Mundo Musique, though, starts off with a band that is making waves internationally followed by four independent solo artists who are striving to achieve the same stardom.
THE NAKED AND FAMOUS
I was speaking with an acquaintance last week while on a work trip, and we, not surprisingly, started to talk about music. When I said to her that I was going to see a New Zealand band, she only could think of The Flight of the Concords, arguably New Zealand’s biggest music export. However, things are changing for the small country with The Naked and Famous leading the way.
Started in 2008 by Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith, The Naked and Famous captured the attention of international listeners with the anthemic, “Young Blood”, which speaks of younger generations’ battles with identity, self-discovery, and recognition. In September of this year, they released their second full-length album, In Rolling Waves. They are in the midst of touring to support the album, just having completed the North American leg of their tour and they’re now in Europe. Their Stockholm show, which I was fortunate to attend, was rousing and jubilant with the young crowd dancing, jumping, and singing along. The band is extremely tight on stage yet still quite humble, as evidenced by their huge smiles and shocked expressions when they came out to a roaring crowd.
The Naked and Famous will return to North America in early 2014 when they will be supporting Imagine Dragons. You can find upcoming tour dates in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and North America on the band’s website.
The first single from their album, “Hearts Like Ours”, follows the same formula as “Young Blood”, with its keyboard opening, steady build, and euphoric ending. The video is simple yet sends a strong message of youthful innocence and exuberance.
“Hearts Like Ours”
There’s a beauty in Shelby Earl’s voice and songwriting. Her voice is lush and soothing on one song, then fiery and intense on the next track. Her songwriting is honest and personal, joyous at times and remorseful at other times. Her indie-folk, alt-country style will make one recall Lucinda Williams and Neko Case, but Earl is a stunning singer-songwriter in her own right. Her terrific first album, Burn the Boats, which was released in 2011, was widely applauded by critics. Her latest venture, Swift Arrows, which was released in July of this year, is stunning and remarkable. On “The Seer”, the Seattle-based musician is at her most vulnerable, singing softly at the beginning before erupting at the end on this slow burner.
You can follow Shelby Earl on Facebook (click here) and find out where she’s playing. Hopefully she will play more extensively in the coming months, so more people can see this rising star.
Sweden is becoming a mecca of music, and I’m not just talking about ABBA, Roxette, or Ace of Base. Avicii, Robyn, Swediesh House Mafia, and Icona Pop are among the top-selling artists around the world. Julia Vero, a project by Stockholm-based Julia Boman, is hoping to follow in their foot steps. Opening for The Naked and Famous in Stockholm, Vero has an image and presence similar to Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells, dressed in black and dancing throughout her 35-minute set. Her music is a cross between Sleigh Bells’ noise pop and Robyn’s dance pop music. Her style is best represented by “Hollow”, which is rhythmic, catchy, and at times captivating to the ears. She might be the next big Swedish artist to make it big internationally, so get to know her (here’s her Facebook page, but it’s mostly in Swedish}.
Lina Fouro is an Afghan-Canadian who hails from Toronto. She has long been involved in the arts, whether it’s writing poetry, acting, or modeling. Now, she’s delving into the music industry. She’s released some songs on SoundCloud, and she’s in the midst of completing her first full-length album, The Love Cycle. While music from the album still awaits to be released, in a previous interview, she describes the album as combining electro-influenced pop, funk, house and progressive music with a unique touch of both hip-hop and Afghan/Persian beats. As fans await the arrival of her debut album, here’s a track she released for public consumption. You can also visit her website to get more information and details by this aspiring singer-songwriter.
Classically trained pianist Brian Hazard is an aspiring singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. As Color Theory, Hazard is producing music that combines electronic-dance music with synth-pop, in particular ’80s synth-pop. On his website, Hazard admits he’s a huge fan of Depeche Mode, and his style is similar to the iconic band. If you were an ’80s child or want to discover a modern take on ’80s synth pop, check out Color Theory’s video below for “What He Said”. If you like what you hear, you can check out his website, where his albums are available for purchase.
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