In the ten years that’ve passed since master sitarist Rishi Dhir started Elephant Stone, the in-studio three-piece and live four-piece have reared five acclaimed albums and toured a considerable amount through North America and Europe, respectively. Dhir’s highly-reputed instrumental performances have earned him recording opportunities with Beck and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and it’s only recently that Dhir’s taken a break from his Alex Maas collaboration MIEN and the Acid House Ragas project that he’s returned to this Montreal psych-pop outfit.
The jumble of traditional Hindustani, classic rock, and contemporary psych meets a dystopian sci-fi narrative on Elephant Stone’s upcoming sixth album, Hollow, out on February 14th. Elephant Stone returns to Austin in March for SXSW, and before all you single-minded folks dig yourself a hole on Valentine’s Day for Hollow, use your trunk to suck up its just-released final single,”We Cry for Harmonia”!
Photo: Bowen Stead
Think you know a lot about the historic Athens scene? Ya know, R.E.M., B-52’s, Pylon, and all those folks? Okay, who doesn’t…but…what about that other historic Athens scene? Well, if the spelling of her stage name didn’t tip you off, Σtella (pronounced “Stella”) not only hails from Greece but is determined to put Athens on the modern cultural map right up there with its Georgian counterpart.
Σtella’s saccharine vocals are at the top of her aural acropolis, but she’s also got killer chops on guitar, bass, synth, piano, and drum programming – all amounting to infectious, retro-inspired electro-pop. This catchy, surface-level synth-pop optimism does a great job of obscuring Σtella’s desolate lyrics the first listen-through, already heard on her 2015 self-titled debut and 2017’s Work For You. Tomorrow Σtella shares thirteen new tracks on her third LP The Break, and today you can begin to unleash the beats with one of the record’s centerpieces, “Monster”!
Photo: Artemis Flessa
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Big time fans of Chicago five-piece Tortoise will instantly identify Jeff Parker as their guitarist, and while Parker has spent the vast majority of his career within that carapace, he’s also flexed his multi-instrumental jazz skills alongside Joshua Redman, Meshell Ndegeocello, Chicago Underground Trio, Rob Mazurek, and of course, his own solo work. Parker’s thorough embodiment of music from decades past, coupled with his lack of fear when it comes to experimenting with new sounds, have continued to make Parker a standout composer in an unending realm of countless jazz acts.
And now joined by The New Breed, the ten-piece backing band named after Parker’s 2016 LP, Jeff Parker is about to release one of his boldest records yet. Where The New Breed served as a tribute to Parker’s late father, the upcoming Suite for Max Brown and its eleven tracks (nine original – two interpretations) are dedicated to his mother, Maxine, who’s thankfully still around to appreciate it. Parker performed the majority of instruments and self-engineered most of Suite for Max Brown, out on Friday – and before you fall in love with a new set of standards that blur between abstract and machine-driven, toss some shades on and slide on over your hump day with “Go Away”!
Photo: Jim Newberry
Remember the ’90s modern rock jam band Sister 7? Well, they’re still technically around and keeping a couple toes in the Live Music Capital as Sister 7, but co-founders Patrice Pike (vocals) and Wayne Sutton (guitar) have also shed some of the angst of their twenties in favor of funk, soul, R&B, and matured optimism – this time as Pike & Sutton.
The eponymous name change comes alongside a return to joint songwriting after years of more-singular collaboration, and on the upcoming debut LP Heart Is A Compass (co-produced by the duo and Emmylou Harris/Ben Harper/Jenny Lewis producer Jim Watts), Pike & Sutton are joined by members of Golden Dawn Arkestra, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, and Foo Fighters’ touring band. Help Pike and Sutton celebrate three decades together with the third single off Heart Is A Compass (out April 3rd), and radiate your moral bearings on “Bright As The Sun”!
His name may not ring a bell right off the bat, but you’ve almost certainly heard his music underlying a lyrical heavyweight at one point or another. Born in Las Vegas, Grammy winner Cam O’bi has spent the past half decade not only producing for some of Chicago’s top talents but indeed steering the city’s sound more so than any of his contemporaries. O’bi’s backed up Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Noname, SZA, J Cole, Moses Sumney and more, leaning on a formula of rounded out harmonic layers, tender keys, and light percussive elements.
Recently Cam O’bi has stepped out from behind the producer’s curtain with a microphone comfortably in his hand; he’s gearing up for his debut solo LP Grown Ass Kid, featuring appearances from O’bi’s rich network of hip-hop/R&B collaborators and of course, the auteur himself front and center. Keep on the lookout for Grown Ass Kid later this year and kick back on MLK Day with the record’s second single, “Grammy’s Babies”!