Bands x Brands: Banks & Glass Animals

Banks (who uses her last name as a mononym) emerged just last year, releasing a steady stream of songs combining the bared emotions of Fiona Apple with the hazy, electronic-R&B instrumentation of the Weeknd and the blue-eyed soul of the XX. It’s a combination that quickly gained her a solid online following, a record deal with Capitol’s Harvest Records imprint followed and plenty of media buzz.” Her debut album, Goddess, is set for release in September. via Washington Post

“Oxford four-piece Glass Animals are signed to super-producer Paul Epworth’s new label Wolf Tone – which, given his talent-spotting track record with Adele and Florence + The Machine, says something for their commercial appeal, sitting as they do directly between Alt-J, Wild Beasts and In Rainbows-era Radiohead. That singer Dave Bayley is a qualified doctor perhaps explains their brainiac aesthetic, all intricate beats and time signatures, but their songs have heart to go with the giant brain. ‘Black Mambo’ is straight-up sexy R&B, ‘Pools’ is an immediate blast of tropical rhythm, and recent single ‘Gooey’ shimmies and slides along magnificently. Best of all is pleading love song ‘Hazey’ and its east-meets-west instrumentation. An assured debut.” via NME

Bands x Brands: Kiesza & Eli “Paperboy” Reed

For our latest installment of Bands x Brands, the two artists we want to highlight are Kiesza and Eli “Paperboy” Reed. Both are very different but also interesting for brands to take a look at.

Kiesza is a great new artist originally from Canada, now residing in NY when not touring. She came onto the scene this year with the wonderfully creative video for “Hideaway” which combines great dance music with her passion for dance. Yesterday, she released the equally catchy “Giant In My Heart” proving she is a new artist to be reckoned with. Kiesza is already working on her own fashion line for the end of 2014.

Eli “Paperboy” Reed might not be as new as Kiesza, but surprisingly he is still pretty unknown in the US. Hailing from Boston, Eli has had huge success in Europe (especially France) touring with his band and releasing albums. In the US, he has been sadly overlooked, so far. With a retro style strongly influenced by late 60s/early 70s Chicago Soul, his sound is strangely familiar yet original too.

Toyota recently used the above track for their RAV4 campaign in the US:

- Maurice Bernstein

Bands x Brands: Two Must Hear World Cup Albums

With World Cup Fever taking grip, I want to highlight two album releases that are worth checking out. Forget some of the more commercial ventures (I’m not going to mention them by name). As always, I recommend brands take an authentic approach with music and see the long term benefits.

Gilles Peterson’s Sonzeira- Brasil Bam Bam Bam (Harvest Records)
The acclaimed British radio DJ put together a collective under the name Sonzeira to create an album of remakes of Brazilian and non-Brazilian classics with artists such as Seu Jorge and Brazilian treasure Elza Soares.

Fatboy Slim’s Fatboy Slim Presents Bem Brasil (Astralwerks)
This release is more of a curated album and mixtape to get you in the mood for World Cup. Highlights are Jorge Ben Jor’s track “Taj Mahal” and Gilberto Gil’s “Todo Menina Baiana.” It is also worth checking out Slim’s remake of his classic track “Weapon of Choice.”

For more insight on music surrounding the World Cup, check out Billboard’s Judy Cantor-Navas’ excellent coverage.

- Maurice Bernstein