The Captivating Power of Ancient Greek Music: Daemonia Nymphe

 

I stumbled upon Greek music band Daemonia Nymphe while searching for Dead Can Dance news. You can say that they are sister sounds and their cousin The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices are also making global waves with their new recording. So I got curious and listened to their two songs. It is great to have a reference point beforehand because it is easy to digest the music and appreciate the depth of their craftsmanship.

Daemonia Nymphe are comprise of Spyros Giasafakis and Evi Stergiou established around 1994. As you recall this was the start of many interesting music and various genres that were deemed ‘underground’ were at the time, regaining recognition. What drew me to the band is my fascination with ancient Greek music, which I also explored in the 90s. Stumbling upon them has a sort of nostalgic appeal.

Further research into their style tell me that their lyrics are drawn from Orphic and Homeric hymns and Sappho’s poems for Zeus and Hekate. In the music market they are categorized under neoclassical or neofolk for lack of better label. We have to remember that labels are important in the business or marketing sense-but never in the creative realm. The vocals are provided by Dessislava Stefanova leader of the London Bulgarian Choir (she sung in Hollywood films such as Troy, 10,000 BC and The Brothers Grimm).

 

F R X N S Divided by Eight Questions(an Interview)

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I wrote about FRXNS a few days ago. This time let’s get to know the duo behind it. Yes, from musical group that can turn heads because of that distinctive sound? Why not?!  I have an imagery of this sonic tidal wave: a raging sheath of drums, bass, guitars around a vocal style that can sound a bit like Thurston Moore or the late  Ian Curtis. 

What’s the origin of your band name?

We we’re @ Karina Broce’s art show “Ashes to ashes dust to life” where she did installations of the remains of their ancestral house that burned down when we saw an interesting article on the wall written in coal. It goes something like “The fractions of a legacy…” we cannot recall exactly what it said but that was the jist. The word struck us as something positive – that you can create something beautiful out of fractions. The pseudonym FRXNS came to life when we realized Fractions was not a very smart choice on a digital marketing perspective. It’s funny cuz when you search “Frac/tions” youtube, math stuff comes up and who wants that? Haha.

Out of the five songs you wrote and recorded for the EP,  what’s the longest to complete?

I wrote and arranged all the songs on the EP years before it was recorded except for “Other Half” and “Now, Somehow” which was a collaborative work between me and Kara so those two took time to complete. Other half was the longest because we had to fill it in with different riffs to make it aptly sound like new wave.

How did you form the band together?

Music is the only thing Kara and I like doing. We have a lot of outside the box ideas that we want to materialize and perform so the decision to be in a band together was just automatic.

What are your top 5 bands today?

Top 5 bands today would be Fazerdaze… Uhhhh… This is a hard question, can’t think of any. We listen to a lot of new bands on Spotify. Their songs are good but nothing has really struck us to worship a whole album yet. But if you ask our top fave bands of all time that would be The Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Morrissey, New Order, Joy Divison and, Rico Blanco.

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Describe a typical frxns jam session.

We like having people over to our home, coffee, drink, jam… Old school. If it’s just Kara and I, we purposely put guitars on our bedside so we can just grab it incase a random tune comes up.

Where can fans get your EP?

We are out of physical copies but our EP is still available on digital format (Spotify, iTunes, Youtube etc) just type “FRXNS”.

Any future gig you want to promote?29133197_1895727777134891_8393799996985573376_n

We have a regular set at Tippy’s Bistro every last Saturdays of the month from 9pm – midnight. We play originals, new wave, alternative and indie covers. Everyone’s invited!

What’s next for the group musically?

We have a new song “Timeless” which we recorded with Nicolo Abadiano on Bass and Shaolin Javier on drums. We’ll put it up on Spotify soon. We are also working on 2 new songs. We tried to inject muffs/shoegaze/dream pop to our sound which is very melodic and melodramatic. The gameplan is always to keep playing. It’s all about the music.

There you have it folks. Be sure to like their Facebook band page for updates. 

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Music Radar Alert: F R X N S

Been a fan of Joy Division, The Cure, The Smiths and New Order in my college days-Four bands that influenced Bacolod band FRXNS or sometimes referred to as Frac/tions. The artfully chosen band name will come to light soon when I get to interview one of the band members. But for now, let us marvel at the emotional intensity of their songs and the unique energy that they bring on stage during their gigs. I say that because I’ve been to few of their live shows.  The first thing you will notice is that they have a distinctive sound. It reminds me of early Smashing Pumpkins ( Siamese Dream era) though I never saw or read them referenced the band. But perhaps the Pumpkins are/were part of their fave music.

They have a new single out. This is also accompanied by a music video off their 5 track EP, which is also available on Spotify http://bit.ly/2j8Lnhe.

Other Half is the title of the single and the stunning music video is directed by EJ Guevarra. Needless to say I like his visual style because it is so minimalist and makes use of subtle lighting. The song laments the breakdown of a relationship. And if you are into that kind of thing/lyrics then you will have something for your exposition. But I am more into their music. Gossamer keyboard sounds caress full on shoegaze  guitar following a rather somber chord pattern.  I like it. It is so seductive in a Gothic way if you know what I mean. Main band members are  Kara and Jasper Borbajo. These two are also principal singer/songwriters and arrangers. So yeah do listen to the music of F R X N S of better yet go see their gigs. You will really enjoy it.

New Gigs and New Music from Joe Symes and the Loving Kind

The music scene in Liverpool is very much alive and exciting. All you have to do is Catch Up with them through this fantastic show called Made in Liverpool. Yes you don’t have to go back to the 60s or 70s because fresh and hot music is available today. One of the bands I am exciting to mention is Joey Symes & The Loving kind making their way in this blog with their morning fresh music!

If you haven’t noticed yet, hey released their new EP early this year. The EP is titled Acoustic Variations. The band have to say about this release and the gigs that followed after(understand that this was a correspondence early this year but I was drowning in work):

“The band’s last release ‘Things Get Better’ was a three week BBC Introducing & BBC 6 Music feature and the band have recently been filmed by LFC TV ( Liverpool Football Club ) and also The Arts Alive Show on Virgin media channel 159. We also recently played at The Royal Court Theatre in the city centre for the JFT96 event and also headlined the 02 academy 1 in Liverpool for the official aftershow party for Noel Gallagher’s high flying birds for a second time and we are currently recording our second album at Peter Gabriel’s Solid State Logic studio’s in Oxford due for release  in the new year.”

Jammerzine has something positive to say about the album:

This EP is also a total 180° departure from the last album in many ways. It is considerably more subdued in it’s delivery. The album “Joe Symes and the Loving Kind” was a lot more rigid in it’s delivery where as “Acoustic Variations” is more subdued while the band is more comfortable in their surroundings. Some of the songs, such as “Fine Line” almost have a vintage quality to them while “I’m Gonna Find Out Some Day” gives the hooks of a modern classic of a band with experience.

Check out their tour poster below to catch them live:

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What’s Up with Irish Band The Stunning?

Of course you know The Stunning! Everything Rises was a smash hit in the 90s. Every kid who grew up in that period must have owned Once Around the World. This Dublin-centric band catapulted the Irish rock scene to the world, originally dominated by the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Dishwalla, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Soundgarden. I do love these bands and everything about the 90s! I mean wouldn’t you? It was a decade of The X Files, MTV and so much more.

The Stunning are touring the US soils this November along with fellow Irish rocker James Vincent McMorrow. Read the press release below:

THE  STUNNING

 
The legendary Irish band’s long-awaited return to US this November – 
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 5th ~ CONNOLLY’S, KLUB 45, TIMES SQ, NYC
 
1990 was a pivotal year in Ireland. The national football team had done the country proud in the World Cup in Italy and Ireland had her first lady president. There was also a new soundtrack to that summer, the debut album by a young band from the west of Ireland. Coming out of Galway city, The Stunning took Ireland by storm, and shifted the focus from a Dublin-centric rock scene to the provinces, paving the way for many more artists to come.  They released a string of hit singles and 2 number one albums and toured relentlessly, building up a following that would make them one of the most successful Irish bands ever. Their debut album ‘Paradise In The Picturehouse’ spent five weeks at number one in 1990 and became one of the best-selling Irish albums of all time. Two years later, the follow up ‘Once Around The World’ also hit the number one spot, and the band went on to sell over 100,000 albums in Ireland alone.  They toured the US and the UK with the likes of Bob Dylan and the B52’s.
“Brewing Up A Storm” has become an anthem of sorts – a rallying call at football internationals and a guaranteed floor-filler in pubs and clubs around the country.   Breaking up and making up – Despite two number one albums, winning major music awards and a huge fanbase, the band split in 1994. They eventually reformed in 2003 for the re-release of their debut album ”Paradise in the Picturehouse’’ and the subsequent run of dates turned out to be one of the highest grossing tours in Ireland that year. In 2012 around 30,000 people turned out to see them play a concert in their old hometown of Galway city.
 
Things have changed dramatically since their early days of constant touring – now the band have their fingers in several pies and the challenge is to find the time to gig – lead singer Steve Wall is also an actor, appearing in shows such as Vikings (MGM/History), Sile nt Witness (BBC), Crossing Lines (Netflix) and Moone Boy (SKY/Hulu); Joe Wall teaches in BIMM – Dublin’s  ‘school of rock’; Jim Higgins is a much-in-demand bodhrán player, touring with folk-legend Christy Moore; Derek Murray works as a sound engineer with Tommy Tiernan, one of Irelands finest comedians,  and Cormac Dunne plays with practically everybody west of the Shannon. 
Tickets available on their web site or at the door night of show – BUT it may sell out!
Website: Photos, info, etc: thestunning.net/media
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JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW
@ Webster Hall November 7th
 
 Dubliner James Vincent McMorrow has just released his new LP – ‘We Move’ – out September 2nd via Caroline Records. The follow-up to 2013’s acclaimed ‘Post Tropical’ marks a breathtaking and radical sonic shift for the Irish artist, in what is his most expansive, generous, and ambitious work to date. The 10-song collection features production from Nineteen85 (Drake, dvsn), Two Inch Punch (Sam Smith, Years & Years), and Frank Dukes (Kanye West, Rihanna), as well as mixing from the legendary Jimmy Douglass (Donny Hathaway, Timbaland). 
Unlike his previous releases, ‘We Move’ was written in constant transition. McMorrow decamped to Los Angeles in late-2014 for six particularly fish-out-of-water months, where the new songs began to crystallize. He then recorded between Toronto, his home city of Dublin, and London over the course of roughly the next year. The album’s backbone was formed in each of these places by a few key producers that McMorrow met during his travels, who were able to finesse the record’s warm, vintage yet forward-thinking feel.  The result is an album about movement – geographically, mentally, and emotionally. Far from the dense, protective imagery at the heart of ‘Post Tropical’, ‘We Move’ is McMorrow’s most honest statement yet, touching on anxiety and social unease.
 
This Fall McMorrow will head out on a full band headline North American tour, playing his biggest venues to date. Full itinerary below. Tickets will go on-sale July 8th, but fans can get exclusive early access to his ticket pre-sale by pre-ordering ‘We Move’ from the official US store: shop.jamesvmcmorrow.com
HE IS IN NYC on 11/7 @ Webster Hall go to his website for tickets before it sells out! http://jamesvmcmorrow.com/
My big thanks to Anita Daly of Daly Communications!