Driftwood is a perfect name for this band of restless musical spirits and road warriors as the group describes their work as rooted in the land while exploring genres such as Americana, folk, old-time, punk, pop and rock ‘n’ roll. It works beautifully as Driftwood naturally inhabit whatever influences they choose to employ on any given song. Playing more than 150 dates every year has turned Driftwood into a high performance machine, a super tight band that can thrill crowds and craft great records with relative ease.
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Luísa Maita perfectly personifies the multi-cultural character of her home city of São Paulo as she is the daughter of immigrants (Syrian and European Jewish) with a great love for traditional Brazilian music as well as the many off-shoots that have been developed by the many ethnic groups of Brazil. Maita is also thoroughly modern in her approach, incorporating electronic music into her sound as we hear on her new video for “Fio da Memória”, which also happens to be the title of her latest album. “The record is about what Brazil is today aesthetically, in this electronic age,” says Maita. “Fio da Memória” is a beautiful song with its gentle programmed beats and Maita’s stunning voice.
William Clark Green nearly became a rancher, like many good Texans, but we’re thankful that music intervened in those plans as Green brings some real rock ‘n’ roll punch to his straight from the heart country tunes. Like many notable Texas singer-songwriters, Green takes his cues from the storied legion of Lone Star State songwriters who have gone before and brings in the energy of rock and attitude of outlaw country. It’s a potent mix that make Green a tremendous live performer. On this live version of “Sympathy”, Green brings down the house and shows a musician quickly maturing to take his place alongside Robert Earl Keen, Joe Ely, and Billy Joe Shaver. Green tells PopMatters that he’s “never written a song with that much emotion in it in 45 minutes, and will never do it again.”
Londoner J Churcher recorded parts of his debut album, Borderland State, over the course of two years and then had the fortune of meeting producer Dreamtrak, who helped Churcher fully realize his musical vision. “Finding Roxanne” is a mesmerizing song loaded with emotion that’s underpinned by wall-of-sound synths and Churcher’s evocative and yearning voice. Churcher tells PopMatters that the song is “a homage to the agonies and ecstasies of falling in love”.
Norway’s Apoptygma Berzerk have made a name for themselves throughout Europe for their somewhat gothic synthpop that they describe as “futurepop”. The group formed back in 1989 at the very tail end of the new wave musical movement, which perhaps explains the darker turn in their music from earlier bands more inherently poppy. As the Cure and Depeche Mode evolved into heavier sounds, so too did Apoptygma Berzerk embrace the underside of the often bright and chipper synthpop of earlier ‘80s. Apoptygma Berzerk also have deep and ambitious goals as “The Genesis 6 Experiment” shows.
The band tells PopMatters that the track “unlocks understanding of mythology, legends, ancient history, and religious belief. The supernatural in the natural. The analogue roots of the digital tree.” It’s a stirring song laden with atmosphere and deep grooves. The song will appear on the band’s upcoming compilation, Exit Popularity Contest, due October 7th via the End Records. The album contains the group’s EP trilogy that only previously was available on vinyl.