Category archives: SongWriter

  • We recently caught up with musician, singer, song writer and visual artist Yoni Wolf to discuss the new album from his band Why?.  Moh Llean will be released on March 3rd, and is the band's first release since 2013's Golden Tickets.What was the band’s motivation/inspiration for the latest album, “Moh Llean” and how is it different than the band’s previous releases?I can't say there is ever a specific motivation or inspiration. We are artists and we are drawn to making art in whatever state-- from whatever space we find ourselves. This one was no different, though of course it ends up with its own feel and identity based on our changes and developments as humans.Is there a particular story you wanted to tell or message you wanted to send with “Moh Llean.”I would say that whatever the album conveys thematically, it does so naturally without pre-conceptions or agenda.  That said, I think it is an attempt at openness in the heart and acceptance and peace.How did the hip hop element of the band’s sound come to be? Are you guys hip hop fans? Classic or modern day hip hop? Or, was it organic?I started out as a rapper. Hip hop is at my roots and core.  I don't think this album is very hip hop though.Tell me about the band’s creative process. Do you work remotely or do you go off to the woods to write together as a group?I wrote most of the stuff myself. My brother Josiah and I produced and arranged the stuff together.  We have a couple musicians-- [...]
  • Montreal based experimental pop/rock band Braids are set to release the follow up to the critically acclaimed album, Deep in the Iris  on May 20th. The four songs for the EP were recorded in August 2015 shortly after the band completed work on Deep in the Iris, but we're surely not talking about B sides here. With Companion, the band continues with a similar minimalist approach musically, but as you listen to the title track which begins by deeply focusing on the beautiful soaring vocals of Standell-Preston, the tension builds as the synthesizer takes a growing, more profound role in the track.  The vocals and music provide a fantastic balance of emotion in the build up, and as the song begins to fade out with a delicate piano, a whispering vocal joins in, "Remember when I pushed you in, you were surprised that you floated." The second track, Joni, takes a more powerful, upbeat approach with its booming, break-beat musical structure. Lyrically, the song addresses dealing with life's uncertainties and the personal challenges that come with it.  On the other hand, Trophies for Paradox gets back to the common topic of relationships and all the complexities that go with it. The music composition is also more complex with added guitar elements in the mix.  Perhaps, my favorite song on the EP is Sweet World.The composition of the track provides a pure energy rush as it unfolds with a driving style not found with the other songs on the EP.  Overall, this is a very strong re[...]
  • At The James Baldwin School in Chelsea, AFP's program is in its 3rd year, offering after school digital audio production, musical instrument instruction and performance coaching. Students range from 9th to 12th grade and come to the program with a variety of individual goals in mind. The sessions vary, and participants usually work individually or in small groups.The class combines a combination of elements which are often going on simultaneously. One group may be learning how to sequence beats to a metronome track on one computer, while another student is involved in the more advanced stages of a fully fleshed out track on the next. At the same time a vocal duo may be working out harmonies to a rock ballad, while others are learning how to build scales and chords on the piano. In all cases, the fundamentals of music making are uncovered and explored. The focus is always on building a working musical vocabulary and developing the ability to use music for self-expression.This year at Baldwin I have seen remarkable progress on every front. Beat-makers have progressed from struggling at playing simple kick and snare patterns, to building complete tracks and having their friends rap over them. Drummers who had never played a drum-set maintain a groove behind a full band. I’m especially impressed with Reshwan and Katana who had never met before. Within a few short months they have  become a powerful cohesive duet act eagerly learning the theory to support their development[...]
  • The AFP crew was inspired and motivated for the road trip up to the great city of Montreal. By the time the Greenpoint (Haven) rooftop event was in the books, it was late Sunday afternoon and Friday morning gave us just enough time to rest up for the 3 day festival.  We mapped out the car ride and the artist performance schedule.  Our Day 1 (Friday) plan was to arrive at Parc Jean-Drapeau by 3:30pm to see Run the Jewels.  After a couple of snags we arrived a little later,  but we did make it on time to see one of our more anticipated performances- The Kills.Sadly, the band had some technical issues on stage, but despite their frustrations they rocked on and ended with a killer rendition of No Wow.  Thirsty from the ride, we found ourselves guzzling Molson's at a rather rapid pace as we strolled over to see Chet Faker on an adjacent stage.  He quickly went into his popular hits like Gold and 1998 with the electric soul vibe that we have been digging.  It was obvious that many festival goers were excited to see the Australian perform, and he didn't disappoint.As we made our way to the main stages (Riviere and Montagne), some of the original sculptures and art installations caught our attention. By the way, Osheaga is not just a music festival, but also an arts festival (heavy on the music).  Some of the work was highly creative (images below) and seriously involved. The participating artists for 2015 were Station 16 Gallery, animators from the NFB, graduates of UQÀM’s D[...]
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UkrX_ikRUYSunday, May 24th at The Bowery ElectricMemorial Day Weekend we're kicking off the season properly with an incredible line-up of some of NYC's best bands, performers and DJ's on two levels.ROCK, FUNK, HIP HOP, ELECTRONICA, AMERICANADOWNSTAIRS: Live Music: $9 Advance Tickets, $10 at the doorXNY, Soul Khan, Blythe Sword, Bad Faces, Digital Diaspora, Statik VisionUPSTAIRS:  Live Music until 10pm, DJ's til late:  NO COVERMAP ROOM:  Graham Norwood and Amy MilesDJ's: Sameer & Gatto - 10pm til lateHosted by Art for Progress,  Doors: 7pm,  Music: 7:30pm
  • NYC non-profit Art for Progress hosts this special event Wednesday, April 22nd at The Bowery Electric to celebrate Earth Day and to raise awareness. The night will feature an outstanding line up of artists with local pop rockers Wyland headlining the night. The amazing Blythe Gruda will open the show and feature some very special guests followed by a one woman psychedelic rock performance from Brooklyn's Idgy Dean. Indie rockers Polyvox will close out the night with a set of synth driven beats. Tickets are $10 and include the chance to win amazing door prizes from Gibson Guitars and tickets to The Museum of Natural History.
  • Happy New Year from Los Angeles, California! This month, I'll be featuring fashion stories from the "Golden State," kicking it off with 20 year old L.A. songstress, Layne Putnam, otherwise known as LAYNE. Recently, I met Ms. Putnam at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to chat about her three favorite fashion items. I was greatly impressed with her bright spirit and ambition. Raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Putnam released her first album entitled Better Than Me at 15. "Growing up in the Black Hills gave me the desire to want to explore and invent,” says Putnam. One of her biggest influences has been her father, Kenny Putnam, a musician who spent many years touring with Roy Clark. There were always instruments around the house, and those seemed to fascinate Putnam more than conventional toys. Unlike most teens, she was playing almost every weekend at different venues throughout South Dakota, and was featured twice on public radio and multiple times in the newspaper. By age 18, she already dropped a second release called Mind Games, and moved to L.A at to pursue her dreams.On January 2nd, LAYNE will release her new EP called Warrior. The young indie-popper has a very clear idea of the album's overall sound: “I want people to see the production we’ve spent so much time creating come to life, and to hear the huge wall of sound---even if there are only two or three players on stage.” You can check it out on iTunes, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud, and her first [...]
  • Art for Progress’ summer music education program has met two more times since my last post, and a lot of great stuff has been going on. We have been exploring jazz theory, analyzing Etta James’ “At Last”, using the solfeggio system to develop ear training, and have delved into some vocal exercises in order to tune up our voices, and to reinforce the ear training work. Participants have each been asked to select a song to work on, and we’ll be applying the new techniques we’ve developed to singing those songs in the upcoming final session. One student, who is originally from Bangladesh, is even working on a song by his favorite Bengali pop band! In addition to all of this subtler harmony work, there’s been some good ol’ rocking out, as well. The group has expanded its original repertoire of rock songs, and has been honing the arrangements to prepare for our final recording session of the summer. We have recorded versions of four original songs thus far, and as we get closer to the perfect take, we have also been studying the various tools used in the recording and mixing process, and learning how to make the tracks pop out of the speakers.“At Last”, by Etta James is a timeless classic, which was revisited a few years ago by Beyonce in the movie “Cadillac Records”. While the melody is arresting and unforgettable in its uniqueness, it also contains some very exemplary chord changes, which are great for illustrating the use of ii-V-I progressions and some other essential jazz[...]
  • Welcome to We Learn Dances, an occasional series on the people, parties and (most of all) music that make clubland the wonderful place it is. The focus will be on the slightly more refined, artistically oriented end of the nightlife spectrum—yes, such a thing exists, believe it or not—rather than on the superficial pleasures afforded by either the bottle-service scene or the EDM world. At least, that’s the plan.We’re kicking the series off with a man who’s intimately familiar with the concept of sophisticated dance music, Dennis “Citizen” Kane. He’s been an integral part of NYC’s nightlife since the mid-’90s, when the Philly transplant hit NYC and established himself in the underground scene as one of its most knowledgeable DJs; since then, he’s since played scores of venues across the city and around the world. He’s established a pair of respected record labels: Disques Sinthomme, which has released a wide range of work featuring the likes of Max Essa, the Beat Broker, Liquid Liquid’s Sal Principato and Richard “Padded Cell” Sen, and an edit imprint, Ghost Town, which has seen contributions from Brennan Green and Bicep, among many other notables. He’s a talented producer himself, with material out on such respected labels as Tummy Touch, Ubiquity and Adult Contemporary (track down his mix of Yagya’s “Rigning Sjö” on that last label—it’s killer.) His website, dsgtnyc.com, hosts a rather amazing podcast that’s featured sets from such international stars as DJ Harvey, Prins[...]