New Video: The Dreamy Shoegaze-leaning Soundscape of Montreal’s No Joy

Since their formation in 2009, the Montreal-based shoegaze duo No Joy, comprised of Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd have quietly developed a reputation both nationally and Stateside as being one of the more beguiling and captivating presences within the scene — in particular having a well-known reputation for producing an enormous sound while being rather shy. In fact, principle songwriter and vocalist White-Gluz was known to prefer staying hidden off to the corner of the stage than stand center stage, and for their recordings, White-Gluz’s vocals were never too high or loud within the mix and were frequently obscured by layers upon layers of guitars; however, the duo’s latest effort CREEP reportedly finds White-Gluz and Lloyd playing and singing with a swaggering confidence and cool self-assuredness with the material pushing the band’s sound in new directions as it draws from industrial electronica, ambient electronic, pop and other sources in a way that’s dimly reminiscent of Violens’ fantastic Amoral. Almost unsurprisingly, former Violens frontman and primary songwriter Jorge Elbrecht co-wrote and produced CREEP EP, assisting in creating a soundscape that sounds and feels familiar and boundary-pushing.

CREEP’s latest single “Hellhole” features White-Gluz’s ethereal crooning over a twisting and turning arrangement featuring blazing power chords, heavy metal-like downtuned bass, twinkling and shimmering synths, four-on-the floor drumming and an anthemic hook to create a song that juxtaposes light and dark, air and earth, masculine aggression and feminine wiles.

The recently released music video for “Hellhole” features grainy VHS home video footage of Jasamine White-Gluz as a teenage, making a lovingly clumsy attempt at a Sheryl Crow video — and while White-Gluz was a typical, goofy teen, you can see the sincerity and ambition that drives the woman in the girl and vice versa.

DJ Manipulator and Louie Gonz are a Massachusetts-based hip-hop duo, who have recorded together in a variety of ways over the years; however, 2014’s Private Stock was the duo’s debut as a collaborative unit.  With “This Sound,” the silky smooth, looped jazz flute and xylophone-based first single off the duo’s highly-anticipated, soon-to-be released sophomore effort The Loops, the duo intends for the single and the album to be a bold reintroduction to the duo, whose DJ Manipulator-based production draws from golden era hip-hop while being a slick and self-assured collaboration with renowned Los Angeles-based emcee Blu.  It’s no bullshit, no frills hip-hop — two dope emcees adeptly trading quote worthy bars over a slick and soulful production.

 

 

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written about the up-and-coming, Halifax, UK-based indie rock trio The Orielles. Comprised of 21-year Sidonie B. Hand-Halford (drums), her 18-year old sister Esmé Dee Hand-Halford (bass, vocals) and their 17-year-old best friend Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar, vocals), the trio have quickly developed a reputation as being one of Northern England’s “most exciting local bands of recent years,” and one of their hometown’s best-kept musical secrets — and interestingly enough, the trio can trace their origins to when the Hand-Halford sisters met Wade at a house party and bonded over a shared love of Stateside-based 90s alt rock and indie rock.

With a growing reputation and profile preceding them, Heavenly Recordings head Jeff Barrett caught the band opening for their new labelmates The Parrots in late 2016 and immediately signed them to the label. And this year looks to be a hug year for the British upstarts as they just recently finished their first UK/EU tour, and their epic, 8 plus minute track “Sugar Taste Like Salt,” which draws from psych rock, New Wave and post-punk with lyrics that reference Quentin Tarantino’s Deathproof captured both the attention of the blogosphere and this site as it reminded me quite a bit of The Mallard‘s Finding Meaning in Deference, complete with the self-assuredness and confidence of a bunch of seasoned pros.

The Halifax, UK-based trio’s latest single “I Only Bought It For The Bottle” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it finds the band pairing ironically delivered vocals with a psych rock and indie rock-leaning arrangement featuring swirling and shimmering guitar chords played through effects pedals, a persistent and propulsive rhythm section consisting of a boom-bap-like drumming and a tight bass line to hold it all together. Interestingly enough, lyrically speaking, the song reveals a hilarious yet astute sense of cultural and critical observation that belies their relative youth. As the band’s Esmé Dee Hand-Halford explained in press notes “The track is loosely based upon [the] Nicolas Winding Refn film The Neon Demon as it talks about the idea of how beauty has become a currency and that we no longer desire substance, yet seek things based on appearance and face value. The microcosm of this idea comes through the lyrics, which explain a story of how the subject bought a bottle because it looked really nice and tasty, but it actually tasted like shit.” Certainly, in an age where the crude, ostentatious, ignorant know-nothings have the power of over millions of lives and yet repeatedly remind everyone of their idiocy, greed and selfishness, the song is absolutely fitting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last month, I wrote about the anthemic, remarkably self-assured, Snow Patrol-like debut single “Can’t Go Back,” from the rather mysterious indie rock duo Essx Station. Building upon the initial bit of response from their debut, the duo compared of Winter and Blunda have release their second single, the atmospheric and swooning “Awake or Dreaming.” And while still drawing some influence from Snow Patrol, the duo reveal that they can craft sincere, pop-leaning indie rock with anthemic hooks.

As the band explains “Awake or Dreaming” is “about the moment when you realize that your reality has finally exceeded your dreams. It’s about being happy with what you have so that you’ll have enough. As Lao Tzu said ‘If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. if you are at peace, you are living in the moment. This song is about the power of now.”  Considering the increasingly terrible news of the past few weeks, including the reprehensible terrorist acts in Manchester, this song should be a reminder of how we all must live, living to enjoy this very moment, complete with the knowledge that the next moment may not be guaranteed.

 

 

 

New Video: The Veggie Filled Visuals for Annabel Allum’s Anthemic, Scuzzy, and Sarcastic “Eat Greens”

Annabel Allum is a Guildford, UK-based singer/songwriter, who after several years of playing live in her hometown and elsewhere across the UK released her 2015 debut EP Absent to critical applause from the likes of The Line of Best Fit and Gold Flake Paint, as well as airplay from John Kennedy’s Radio X program. She’s also opened for Big Deal and Blaenavon and has played at The Great Escape Festival and SXSW. Adding to a growing profile, Allum will not only have acoustic demos of some of her songs included in the forthcoming feature film Spaceship, the up-and-coming Guildford-based singer/songwriter also acts in the movie, revealing that she’s one of her homeland’s super talents.

Building upon a growing national profile, Allum continued 2015’s success with an equally big 2016 — her single “Tricks” received regular rotation on Tom Robinson and Melita Dennett’s BBC Radio 6 programs and on Radio X, praise from Clash Magazine, The 405, The Line of Best Fit and Gold Flake Paint, as well as her first London headlining show at 229. Interestingly enough, Allum has spent the past year reinventing herself and her sound, quickly developing a reputation for being one of the most snarling and sarcastic new voices; in fact, “Eat Greens,” the latest single off her forthcoming All That For What EP is about the relentless pressure there is to do the right thing, to behave in a certain way, to be a certain way because everything else is wrong. Drink in moderation. Don’t smoke, ever. Get 8-10 hours of sleep. Eat a healthy diet. And yet, somehow that seems — way too safe, way too boring. Sonically, Allum pairs her sneering and sarcastically delivered vocals with ‘an arrangement that’s indebted to Brit Pop as it features power chords, an anthemic, shout worthy yet ironic hook, a propulsive rhythm section and a subtle use of electronics during the song’s bridge.

The recently released video was based on a concept that Allum came up with her. As the up-and-coming British singer/songwriter explains “I came up with the vid concept pretty early on. It’s a metaphor for doing what you feel is right and the conflict of doing what you’re told is wrong. The one frame shot is representative of the consistency of an opposing lifestyle, and a hypocritical one. Also… any excuse to eat my greens!” The growing pile of greens and healthy juices seems both punishing and insurmountable.

As I’ve mentioned a number of times on this site, I frequently multitask while writing about the various songs, videos and other materials I post — and while at lunch, I was eating, writing about a particular band and once I was finished I stared to tweet about something or another when I came across “Here Comes The Light,” from the Birmingham, UK-based rock duo Glass Cut Kings. Comprised of Paul Cross (vocals, guitar) and Greg McMurray (drums, vocals), the Birmingham-based duo specialize in arena rock-friendly, power-chord based rock that sounds indebted to Silversun Pickups, The Black Keys, Foo Fighters and others, complete with rousingly anthemic hooks. Naturally, what caught my attention was the fact that for a duo, they create an enormous and forceful sound — and those guitar riffs remind me of 70s glam rock.

 

Last month, I wrote about  the Leeds, UK-based shoegazer quintet Colour of Spring and their 120 Minutes-era MTV-like single “Echoes,” a single about “losing the innocence of youth..” The up-and-coming British band, which is comprised of Shane Hunter (vocals, guitar), Robin Deione (guitar), Tom Gregory (bass), Mark Rochman (drums) and Charlie Addison (keys) have receive praise from NME and The Line of Best Fit for a sound that has been compared favorably to Wild Nothing,  Beach Fossils and others. Continuing to build on the buzz they’ve been receiving both in their homeland and elsewhere — including this site — the band has released their latest single “Love,” a towering and swirling bit of classic-leaning shoegaze that while seemingly drawing from RIDE and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve, manages to also nod at Finelines-era My Vitriol.

As the band’s Shane Hunter explains, “‘Love’ is about the initial prospect of being in love, where everything is confusing, awkward and exciting all at the same time. You’re learning someone else and they’re learning you, all of your idiosyncrasies that you daren’t share with anyone else. There’s so many prominent, strong emotions that it can get really overwhelming. You don’t want to to blow it being your usual stupid self!” And as a result, the song feels like the anxious self-talk of someone trying to psych themselves out and not try to fuck something up — but on a certain level, they’re human and they’ll inevitably find a way to fuck it all up and do it again, as we all do at some point.

Kat Leon is a Connecticut-born singer/songwriter, whose musical career started in earnest as one half of the Los Angeles, CA-based indie electro pop act Sad Robot, with Long Beach, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist Nick Perez — and throughout her stint with Sad Robot, Leon developed a reputation for crafting material that was largely inspired by death and the occult.

With both of her parents suddenly dying within months of one another, Leon was plunged into a period of profound and heartbreaking grief. And after taking time to grieve the loss of her parents, Leon began her latest solo recording project, Holy Wars, which is deeply and profoundly influenced by some of the darkest days of her life; in fact, the project in many ways is to her an extrapolation of the tumultuous feelings and thoughts she had felt during that period — an the result is her debut double EP Mother, which is slated for a June 30, 2017 release and Father, which is slated for release later on this summer.  Both EPs are dedicated to her respective parents and while being understandably dark, the material isn’t completely nihilistic, and as you’ll hear on Mother‘s first single “I Can’t Feel A Thing,” the material is meant to be a cathartic release paired within a rousingly anthemic, arena rock-friendly sound reminiscent of Paramore — but with a hint of profoundly adult angst, the sort of angst that comes from recognizing  that death is a permanent parting, that there are no real answers, and that the only thing anyone can do is figure out a way to move forward to the best of their ability.