All posts by Sean Develin

Viva la New Revolution! The amazing Meresha is here

Very few indie artists emerge on the scene with the immediate success and appeal of Meresha. The 18 year-old Palm Beach County native (by way of Warsaw, Poland) came to the states at age 15 on a mission – take the music world by storm. Drawing from influences including Robert Plant, Joss Stone, Freddie Mercury, Björk, Hayley Williams and James Blake, Meresha composed “New Revolution,” her debut EP. Yet it’s not only her determination that sets her apart – as an accomplished vocalist, guitarist, drummer, and pianist, Meresha both sings and performs on each song on the EP. This is a foundation for long term success, even as we are just witnessing her initial rise. Drunken Mermaid caught up with Meresha just after the release of New Revolution and out front her upcoming show with Adam Lambert and Third Eye Blind.

drunkenmermaid.com: “New Revolution” is a great debut song and video that involved some industry heavy hitters. Tell us about what went into the making of the video. 

Meresha: Thanks. David Rousseau, who directed the “New Revolution” video, has an amazing story.  He has worked with Pitbull, Shakira and many others.  He was nominated five times for MTV VMAs.

Before I reached out to him, I read about him in the Washington Times.  As a kid, he used to sit on a car outside the Orange Bowl and listen to concerts that he couldn’t afford to go to.  He would visualize in his head what the music looked like.  That’s how he starting building his skills as a Director.

 

I knew how to paint a sonic picture with my music, but needed a partner who could convey the music in visuals. After reading that article, I knew David would be the right guy.  We guessed what his email address might be.  To our great surprise, he personally replied. Connecting was the hard part.  Once we started talking it was clear that we shared a vision on how to get my first major video out.  David was really easy to work with.  He and his team were very professional and got all the shots in during one (long) day.  He even organized that the torrential rain start only the second after he yelled “cut” on the last take…

 

drunkenmermaid.com: How did you develop your amazing voice and diverse musical talents? What do you take from your musical influences?

 

Meresha: Thanks.  That’s very kind.
Some of the early concerts I went to were with Paramore before they were really famous.  Between those experiences and seeing the Black Eyed Peas live, I got the idea of what I really wanted to do – make and perform my own music. I’m a huge music fan myself and have a bunch of Led Zeppelin, Queen and other LPs and CDs in my collection.  Someone called me the musical baby of Joss Stone and Björk.  That’s a lot to live up to.

 

I’ve been performing for about 7 years now.  When I was twelve, I composed my first song called “Fool Don’t Be”, which I recorded in a CD booth in Miami.  People who heard it encouraged me to further develop my music. Guess the lesson is to just try.  You’re then forced to learn the things you don’t know to get things done without embarrassing yourself.  Luckily along the way I’ve found a bunch of great teachers – for voice, guitar, drums, keys, dance, acting, etc.

 

I also learned music production myself by playing with what essentially is a recording studio in a software program. That let me put out my own original music to iTunes, etc. for the first time ever. I’ve been working hard at getting the music better since.  It’s great that my music has developed the point that radio stations are playing it, but it is still a thrill and surprise to hear my songs being played.

 

drunkenmermaid.com: What is your favorite song off of the New Revolution EP? Tell us about it.

 

Meresha: All the songs on the EP, mean a lot to me but probably “You” is my favorite.  It is the first love song I’ve written.  It’s not autobiographical, but I think people can relate.  The heroes of the song love each other, but neither knows what the other thinks until the end.

 

drunkenmermaid.com: You have a major hit indie song at 18. What does the follow-up to New Revolution look like (or should we say sound like)?

 

Meresha: Short term, I’m still focused on New Revolution. Most people still haven’t heard it or the other songs on my EP. A Remix EP will be out in about a week. 300 Producers submitted remixes and I selected some new takes on the song “New Revolution” to put out. Next year, I’ll have new material out, but I haven’t decided yet in what form.  The good thing about being an Indie is that I can follow the sound that inspires me.  Then I just have to hope others like it too.

 

drunkenmermaid.com: What would you like the world to know about you

 

Meresha: That I really appreciate any support. I’m an Indie.  That means I don’t have an army of label staff around the world to get my music out.  Every time someone watches my videos, clicks like, shares, comments, Shazams, etc. they are helping me.  Without this army engaging with my music, I can’t compete with label artists.  Main message – if you like an artist – let them and the world know.

 

drunkenmermaid.com: Are you performing live in support of the EP? If so, where can we see you?

 

Meresha: My band is in rehearsals right now.  Nov. 21 we will be playing in front of a studio audience on Cape Cod TV, then on Dec. 12 we will play with Adam Lambert and Third Eye Blind in Boca Raton, Florida. That’s a hometown show for me, and I’m trying to get a loud crowd out for it.

 

Let’s make it happen – you can see Meresha at the 2015 No Snow Ball, Saturday December 12th, at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, Boca Raton.   

Drunken Mermaid’s Five Star Pick: Purdy’s “All Change” drops November 13

First things first: to Kate at Space Promotions – THANK YOU. Purdy may well be the best new artist we’ve encountered to date. Not kidding. Don’t believe us? Watch:

While we work on lining up an interview, here’s the press release for All Change/Dream In Colour. After what you just watched, none of these accolades should surprise you…

All Change/Dream In Colour is the final release from Purdy’s debut album ‘Diamond In The Dust’ out 13th Nov. All Change has already been played on BBC R2 Paul O Grady show: https://www.facebook.com/purdymusic?fref=ts

– “So slinky, it shouldn’t be allowed” Craig Charles BBC 6 Music

– “Great character, unique voice, a true artist” BBC Radio Ldn

– “There is a buzz reminiscent of the times when Paloma Faith hit the boards with ‘Stone Cold Sober’ and that’s no bad thing.” Blues and Soul Magazine

Purdy, the multitalented artist who grew up on Ian Fleming’s estate, performed with Lana Del Ray on Necker Island and has been praised by Mick Jagger has announced she will be opening for Jools Holland on his autumn 2015 nationwide tour! (Dates below.) This is after a performance at Wembley, aheadline UEFA 2016 launch show where she was photographed and featured in the The Mail Online, and a brilliant session with the world famous MOBOs! http://www.mobo.com/news-blogs/purdy-mobo-live-series

Live Shows

  • 2ndNov  – Jazz Café, London
  • 25thNov – Northampton, Derngate (Jools Holland Support)
  • 26thNov – Leicester, De Montfort Hall (Jools Holland Support)
  • 27thNov – London, Royal Albert Hall (Jools Holland Support)
  • 2ndDec – Newcastle, City Hall (Jools Holland Support)
  • 6thDec – The Kenton Theatre, Henley on Thames

Purdy has admirers in the highest of places. Jack Vettrianno saw Purdy at a book signing in Oxford and was captivated by her movie star looks. He asked if she would pose for some pictures and she became a muse for four of his paintings. Mick Hucknall is also a huge fan, and Purdy actually features on the new Simply Red album!

Ontario Tag Team: Winston Marley and Trench Town Oddities release “Bonk”

In from The Alex Ian Agency, we are checking out Trench Town Oddities and Winston Marley (pictured above) following the release of “Bonk.” Here is some Trench Town Oddities by way of introduction:

Drunken Mermaid recommends both bands. Here’s the release:

Acoustic folk-rockers, the Trench Town Oddities and rock-reggae band Winston Marley have released a new split CD entitled `Bonk!` earlier this month. The Ontario Canada bands each contributed 2 new songs to the release as well as a cover version of their favorite song from the other band.

“Bonk!” marks a new chapter for both bands who, in the past, have both released CDs engineered by Roy Nichol (current touring drummer for Canadian rock legends April Wine). For “Bonk!”, both bands decided to take a more DIY approach and decided to record the EP themselves with Trench Town Oddities/Winston Marley guitarist Bix at the controls. The recording took place in the spring of 2015 at various houses, sheds and alleys, coming out as a rawer, more back to basics release for both bands. “Although both bands loved the way our CDs sounded with Roy, who is an amazing engineering, we both felt that a more back to basics approach for our next release would be something we’d like to explore” say Trench Town Oddities frontman Sean Harley. “So what better way to test the waters then by doing a split EP ourselves” he adds.

Both bands are currently writing new material for their respect next releases and performing select dates throughout the fall of 2015. In addition, the Trench Town Oddities are also in the planning stages with an as of now unnamed Toronto band for a spring tour of Ontario & Quebec as well as gearing up for the summer  2016 festival season in both the North Eastern United States and Eastern Canada.

`Bonk!` is available at all major online retailers including iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp and others.

Ummagma’s “Frequency” drops November 13

Our friends at Shameless Promotion PR have turned us on to Ummagma. Here’s their video for Orion:

From the release:

Canadian-Ukrainian duo Ummagma have confirmed details for the UK release of their EP ‘Frequency’. This mini-album will be available through Raphalite Records and is slated for release on November 13th. Alongside five original tracks, the EP features remixes from Cocteau Twins legend Robin Guthrie, Wales’ celebrated Lights That Change, and Malcolm Holmes of Orchestral Maneouvres in the Dark (OMD).
Ummagma consists of Shauna McLarnon, who hails from Canada’s Yukon, and Alexander Kretov, who is from Ukraine. They are currently based in Peterborough, Canada. Since bursting onto the music scene in 2012, they have made a significant impact on the underground music scene. Their potent combination of uplifting and melancholic textured dreampop, shoegaze, postpunk, ambient and electronica rapidly gained them a sizeable international following despite the numerous issues they faced living between Canada and Ukraine.
‘Frequency’ follows the band’s two debut LPs ‘Antigravity’ and‘Ummagma’, which were simultaneously released in 2012. This release represents a slight departure from the first two albums, which whisked the listener through the romanticism of first meetings, big love, adventures abroad and optimistic dreaming through to the realities of birth, loss, death and departure. In contrast, ‘Frequency’ explores such themes as space and distance, timelessness, escapism, and the search for tranquility.

Canadian-Ukrainian duo Ummagma have blazed quite a trail for themselves in their short history. They’ve landed press coverage and radio play in more than 50 countries, including Rolling Stone Russia, and have managed to strike an endearing chord with a good number of ‘first wave’ shoegaze and dreampop artists, particularly from Creation Records and early 4AD rosters.

“Ummagma have something very special about them that you don’t find in many bands, that is an honest, believable & beautiful lyric delivered by an honest, believable & beautiful voice,” says Malcolm Holmes of OMD. “When you combine this with the swirling ambience of lush layered guitars, this duo end up with their own unique sonic landscape.” 

“This new release feels like a farewell kiss to a dear friend while, at the same time, embracing new horizons. Our music always reflects what is happening in our lives and, as we have left Ukraine for Canada because of the war happening there, this also means new beginnings. Now we are searching for new grounding, and still questioning everything we’ve just been through in the past few years. This comes out in this music. There is light here – now we must grow it and spread it,” explains Ummagma vocalist Shauna McLarnon.
While Ummagma may have been influenced by the likes of Cocteau Twins, David Sylvian, Peter Gabriel, The Sundays, Pink Floyd andSlowdive, they don’t immediately wear their influences on their sleeve. They have their own beautiful and unmistakeable sound and lead you on sonic trips and awesome detours. Ultimately they tell a story in an aesthetic that is wonderfully unique, invigorating and absolutely loaded with hope.

AND WE’RE BACK. That’s Right, Dear Readers – it’s Winters End!

Our Winter’s nap ran long this year at Drunken Mermaid, and we have a lot of catching up to do. Features to run. The reveal of our new YouTube brand channel. A status on our Drunken Mermaid IPA, still hiding away in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Our new features on models and indie film makers. But there is no better way to declare Winter’s end than to feature Winters End, the awesome brother- sister duo out of Sydney, Australia (Have you noticed that Sydney is like our favorite place for indie talent, outside of Sweden?)

We recently caught up with frontwoman Marissa Pinto from to talk about the band’s new single Mayfair, due for release in August.

drunkenmermaid.com: So our readers can get more of an idea about you, tell us about Winters End – where did your name come from?

Marissa: We’re Marissa and Christopher Pinto, brother and sister indie electronic band Winters End from Sydney, Australia. Our band name was chosen as I’m born in Winter and Christopher is born in Spring. Commonly mistaken for “Winter’s End,” our lack of apostrophe in our name is due to the band name being a collective term, as in ‘All winters end eventually’. Being from Australia, and avid board-riders, we’re used to hot weather, and so we really feel the lack of warmth in the cooler months of the year.

drunkenmermaid.com: You released Walls back in July 2014. The single had a big effect on your career and saw you play not one but two international music festival stages. Tell us about your time in Canada and Los Angeles. 

Marissa: Walls did quite well and received quite a bit of global exposure through the positive reviews it received from online blogs, as well as radio play in the US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, and Australia. This success resulted in us being invited to play at two music festivals: Indie Week Canada in Toronto, where we were lucky enough to play 5 showcases, and Youbloom Music Festival in Los Angeles. We had an amazing time at both festivals, and we look forward to returning to North America.

drunkenmermaid.com: That’s quite an adventure – most indie bands never get invited to one international festival, let alone two.

Marissa: We were quite taken aback, especially as we were the only Australian band at both festivals so it was quite incredible to be included and asked over. With more bands remaining independent in the current music industry climate, I think this is something that we will see happen more and more with time.

drunkenmermaid.com: Who are your major influences? What do you take away from them?

Marissa: Christopher and I both have varied tastes in music, ranging from trance music to psychedelia. Weirdly enough, Christopher and I were both inspired separately, and at different times, by the same song: Midnight Juggernauts’s Road To Recovery, to form a band, and so we did.

drunkenmermaid.com: We caught your Balcony TV performance of Waking Dream. It must have been amazing performing at such an iconic location. Can you tell us about it?

Marissa: It was amazing, and such a fun experience. Balcony TV is a wonderful platform for new and established artists to perform through, and really helps with global exposure due to its international spread. We were humbled to be included with such notable artists who have performed before us, some of whom we really look up to.

Without further ado, here’s Waking Dream:

drunkenmermaid.com: We heard in the Balcony TV shoot that you are releasing your new single, Mayfair, later this year. What can listeners expect from the track?

Marissa: Yes, we will be recording our next single Mayfair in July with producer Lachlan Mitchell (The Jezabels, The Whitlams, Phil Collins) at Jungle Studios in Sydney. The track is in its pre-production stages currently. Not to give too much away, Mayfair is a big sounding track. We’re looking forward to its release.

drunkenmermaid.com: What is your favourite original track to date?

Marissa: Mayfair is my favourite track. I like its anthemic and epic sound.  Christopher’s favourite track is a newer one of ours called Passenger, which is a tribute to the inner children in all of us.

drunkenmermaid.com: What would you like your fans to know about you?

Marissa: It’s always the same answer: Just how important our fans and audience are to us. They are the reason that we have succeeded as we have, and the reason we continue to do what we do. I guess of interest is that we both have professions outside of music. I am a midwife and Christopher is a high school teacher.

drunkenmermaid.com: Cheers then – that means you do three things that matter! 

You can watch the video for Walls on our Facebook page and follow them on the Winters End web page, Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud.

Can’t wait for Mayfair to drop. Stay tuned – got a winter’s worth of awesome stuff to post and it’s coming steady on staring this week!

AronChupa releases visuals for his smash I’m an Albatraoz

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends Stateside, and indeed to everyone – it’s a holiday we can all relate to. This year, rather than turkey – we give you an Albatraoz:

Jesse at Space Promotions has turned us onto Swedish sensation AronChupa, whose track I’m an Albatraoz has gone viral in Scandinavia and is beginning to infect the ROW like an insane, wonderful pandemic. Here’s the visuals and the official press release:

Swedish DJ/producer/songwriter Aron Ekberg – otherwise known as AronChupa – has unveiled the official music video for his smash hit single ‘I’m An Albatraoz’.  Aron had spent quite some time wanting to create music in English, so he asked his sister if she could sing on a track that he began producing. The result was “I’m An Albatraoz,” which exploded to #1 on Spotify in Sweden and topped the viral charts. “I think this is insane and unreal, but very, very fun,” says AronChupa on his success. “I will try to live in this moment as much as I can, because it could all be over tomorrow.”

Somehow, we doubt it will end that soon. This is going to go up and up like a rocket now that the BBC has picked it up, and soon the States…Look for Drunken Mermaid to interview AronChupa in early 2015.

Of Ghosts, Gothicana, and…The Agency

Drunken Mermaid loves storytellers, especially when they spin tales of the Wolfman, an assassin, a private having an affair with his captain’s wife, a demon that steals brides-to-be in the night, a detective hunting a serial killer…und so weiter….

Describing their unique mix of folk, rock and blues as Gothicana (best original genre term since KW Jeter coined “Cyberpunk”, btw), The Agency has just released its second album, Of Ghosts. The Agency is: Steven K Driver – Vocals/Guitar, Garry Cosgrove – Drums, Steve Beyer – Guitar, Andy Ludbrook – Bass, Kerry Ramsay – Vocals, and Scott Wall – Piano.

Drunken Mermaid spoke with Steven Driver last month, just before their Halloween show at the Washington Arts Centre and immediately following their album release.

drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us about yourselves. How did The Agency form?

Steven: We’ve all know each other for a while now and various combinations of us have played in bands together off and on for about 15 years (we started young). The Agency… really came about when I was talking to Garry about writing some stuff and he challenged me to do it myself. I wrote a load of songs and took them to Steve Beyer (guitar) to record them at our rehearsal room Tonfabriek. I suppose at that point I’d been writing for myself more than with a band in mind but Andy (Ludbrook – bass) got involved and we co-opted Scott Wall (piano) and various other friends and recorded the first album For the Brave and Troubled. That’s kind of a raw record and it’s kind of a souvenir of us finding our feet a little bit. When it came to thinking about the second album Of Ghosts, it was clear that we were a band now and my initial writing was different to the first album because writing songs with a singer/songwriter and band ideas in mind is different. It becomes a lot more about leaving space. The first album was released in 2012 and I think that’s really how long this incarnation of the band has been together if there was some planning and writing from 2011.

drunkenmermaid.com: What is your favorite original song or album to date? Why?

Steven: We tend to go with whatever is latest. It’s easiest to be passionate about our latest material. For us the first album For the Brave and Troubled was really about finding our sounds and it’s quite a raw record. Our second album and just released Of Ghosts is different because whilst the first album was just me writing songs the second was me writing songs with a band in mind and then we fine-tuned them together. The reviews for both albums have been positive but more people seem to be picking up Of Ghosts and probably the material with songs like She is more accessible. The songs are stylistically different and people have been picking up on and favouring different songs, which is pleasing and kind of what we were hoping for.

drunkenmermaid.com: Who are your major influences? What do you take from them? What do you add or do differently?

Steven: Our influences vary massively between the various members of the band. There have been lots of comparisons with and mentions of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds but to be honest we’ve delved into their back catalogue since reading the comparisons rather than before. When we go round the band for influences Andy usually goes with the Beatles, Steve with the Velvet Underground and Garry with Mogwai. We also listen to bands like the National and the Felice Brothers. Our hope is that because our influences are so varied the sound we create is unique if it also has some people feeling nostalgic. Reviewers have heard all kinds of things and drawn favourable comparisons. Largely due to the vocals on our music we tend to be compared with bands fronted by a baritone.

You decide – here’s She:

drunkenmermaid.com: What song do you wish you’d written? How would it sound as performed by you?

Steven: There are so many but largely played by us they would be slower and darker. The only cover we’ve talked about doing is Ghostbusters. We’ve done covers in the past and Garry is in a wedding covers band as well, so we tend to stick to original material ourselves.

drunkenmermaid.com: Are you signed to a label?

Steven: We have our own label: Solarbear Records. It’s great to have such tight control over our music and marketing. However, we’re very much open to working with labels that can help improve our distribution and profile.

drunkenmermaid.com: What would you like your fans/ audience to know about you?

Steven: That it is all a little more tongue in cheek than people might think at first. We’re actually quite jolly and approachable fellows.

drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us about your live gigs.

Steven: We can only go off what other people say but we have some loyal followers that are extremely enthusiastic about our live performances. One thing that has been repeated is that people talk about the power of the band. Others talk about the sense of space in our music. There’s a fair bit of ‘banter’ when we play live so that we can show the more tongue in cheek side. Some people claim to follow us to hear Andy’s stories in between songs which I would wager are rather tale tales about his time in prisons and such in Mexico.

drunkenmermaid.com: What does the future hold – is there a particular direction you’d like to take your music?

Steven: At the moment we’re still promoting Of Ghosts and playing gigs to support the release. However, we’ve actually got much of album three written. So, we’re going to take some time out soon to rehearse and record that. Our sound matured between album one and two. That will probably carry on to album three, too. Our sound tends to be quite varied but with a very definite thread and something very recognizable in the way the way the guitars are played and the vocals. So far the new material is, if anything, even more varied.

Sounds like our sort thing. You can keep up with The Agency at Solarbear Records and follow them on Facebook.