Singapore nu-jazz outfit The Steve McQueens drop soulful new single ‘Firefly’

Singapore nu-jazz band The Steve McQueens have released their long-awaited brand new single ‘Firefly’ via Singapore based indie label Umami Records, exactly 143 weeks after their last release, full length album ‘TERRAЯIUM’ in 2017. The release comes fresh off the band’s ‘Nerd Lounge’ tour at the start of the year where they played shows at the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival, Tokyo Big Romantic Jazz Festival and the Esplanade Singapore.

The Steve McQueens have provided the following statement announcing the new song:

“Firefly generates its own light
Firefly generates its own beauty
Passion flies like fire
Passion dies with no desire
Passion is beauty
– The Steve McQueens”

‘Firefly’ is the lead single of The Steve McQueen’s new EP ‘Nerve Endings’, scheduled for release on 7 August 2020, featuring music from the band’s ‘TAPE’ tour in 2018. The band is currently writing and recording new material for their fifth album, ‘The Observer’, to be released in 2021. The band provides some insight into the thinking behind the project: “The Observer stands apart, an indifferent spectator at the ongoing culture clash between the jazz traditionalists and the new guard, smiles quietly to himself and just makes music.”

‘Firefly’ by The Steve McQueens is available everywhere at this link.

About The Steve McQueens

The Steve McQueens refuse to be pedestrian; they don’t live in the transient, or the touch-and-go. Swerving between cool seduction and gripping magnetism, they are ambitious to light the world up with their progressive brand of self- titled neo- vintage soul- funk. They have played to growing attention at festivals like the Tokyo Jazz Festival and Summersonic (Japan), Java Jazz (Indonesia), SingJazz (Singapore), Melbourne International Jazz Fest (Australia) and Jarasum International Jazz Festival (Korea). The quartet formed in 2013 as a forging of four mercurial talents in Singapore, a small country punching above its weight in Southeast Asia’s music scene. Critically acclaimed, The Steve McQueens will leave an indomitable mark on any listener with their music.

About Umami Records

Umami Records is a Singapore-based indie record label founded in 2013. Much like the “5th taste” reputation of its namesake, the label strongly believes in discovering new, interesting sounds that run underground and away from the mainstream. The label’s tight-knit, curated roster thus far has included releases from Linying, The Steve McQueens, brb., Evanturetime, CampFire, Martin Baltser, Phoria, Oriental Cravings, and more.

Israeli singer-songwriter Vanna releases debut single High Hopes via Umami Records

Israeli singer-songwriter VANNA has released her debut single High Hopes via Singapore based indie label Umami Records on Friday, 6 March 2020.

Produced by Roy Avital of Tel Aviv based indie-electronic trio Garden City Movement and mastered by Matt Colton (James Blake, Muse, Coldplay), High Hopes is a song about not giving up, even in the darkest, loneliest moments of one’s life. “In the end we must ‘run slow, with high hopes’, be patient, and face the future with optimism.” shares VANNA, “I wanted to let people know that they are not alone and there is always hope.” A gently fingerpicked acoustic guitar sits at the centre of Roy’s production which he combines with VANNA’s unique voice, wafting a piano, strings and other instruments in and out, immersing the listener into the raw emotions of this song.

A music video produced by award-winning independent filmmaker Matan Balalty, set in the beautiful forests of Mount Eitan in Jerusalem, accompanies the release of this single.

High Hopes is the title track of VANNA’s debut EP which will be released throughout 2020. Over the last 3 years, VANNA has been working closely with producer Roy Avital on this EP, delivering a delicate fusion of indie electronic, pop, and folk influenced by artists like RY X, Oscar and the Wolf, SYML and Sóley.

Born and raised in Tel Aviv, of Indian and Iranian parents, VANNA grew up immersed in music, culture and diversity. Creating music is her way of confronting and understanding the turmoil she feels within herself, and she hopes her songs will touch others going through the same struggle. She is also a graduate of the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.

VANNA’s next show will be at the Hateiva, Tel Aviv on 23 April 2020, and she is planning a tour to Singapore, India and Nepal in the fall of 2020.

High Hopes by VANNA is available everywhere at this link.

Details and image provided in a recent press release.

Nathan & Mercury drops two new singles “Fools (Reprise)” and “Fake Love”

Now leaning toward a more exciting sonic direction, Nathan & Mercury has raised the bar in terms of producing songs that combine a wide variety of music styles.

Fans will be elated to know that the pop/R&B outfit is back with two new singles, “Fools (Reprise)” and “Fake Love”—released on the very same day via Sony Music Philippines.

Written, composed, arranged, and produced by the band, both tracks update their foray into multi-genre experiments with newfound ambition and front-to-back confidence, discarding their inhibitions to make room for more past and present sonic convergence, soul and gospel influences, and shamelessly honest songwriting.

On Fools (Reprise)

The new iteration of “Fools” unpacks rare moments of emotional vulnerability and restraint. The reprise version, according to guitarist and vocalist Nathan Huang, includes a different set of lyrics and a more stripped-down arrangement, but manages to capture the moroseness of the original.

“We had a different vision in mind for Fools,” Huang shares. “However, we want to give off the same message, each line still sung with pain and yearning for better days. While Fools is already gospel-y as it is, we kicked it up a notch by adding in instrumentation and a much colorful play of the chorale. Short but sweet with a total running time of 1:28, Reprise, as we fondly call it, gives off a solemn and intimate vibe.”

On Fake Love

“Fake Love” sets the course of where Nathan & Mercury is headed as a musical group. “In as short as 3:34, we experimented on our usual repertoire by mixing in instruments we’ve never used before (i.e. brass),” Bassist Angelo Sison explains. “We mixed together several of our influences, particularly in pop and R&B, with hints of gospel and hip-hop. As a song, it speaks of not wanting anything less than real love—one that shouldn’t cost anything but is freely given.”

Guitarist Alex Samonte points out how difficult it is to produce and arrange “Fake Love,” which initially had 3-4 versions ended up getting scrapped at the very last minute. “We had to get a choir and brass players and the whole thingamajig, then took us a good while to gel everything together. But after a month or so of production, it all went well. I mean, I’d like to think it did.”

Both songs are intended to be released as a single track, given that it goes without saying that the two are connected: From being a fool to craving for real love. But according to Daniel Monong, the band’s drummer, they felt that “Reprise” and “Fake Love” can stand on their own individually. “So yeah, we’re releasing them on the same day because the two belong to each other.”

Fun fact: Nathan & Mercury spent a total of 30 studio hours for the whole production of both songs, not including the mixing and mastering. It’s also their first time to record for 13 hours straight in a single studio session.

Nathan & Mercury’s dual singles “Fools (Reprise)” and “Fake Love” are now available on Spotify and other music streaming/download platforms worldwide.

Details and images provided in a recent press release.