New Video: Frankie and the Witch Fingers Release a Menacing and Trippy Visual for Mind-Bending “Sweet Freak”

Currently featuring core trio Dylan Sizemore (vocals), multi-instrumentalist Josh Menashe and Shaughnessy Starr (drums), the Los Angeles-based psych rock act Frankie and the Witch Fingers can trace their origins back to their formation about a decade ago in Bloomington, IN. Since the band’s formation the band has developed and honed a reputation for restless experimentation, multiple permutations and a high-powered, scuzzy take on psych rock, centered around absurdist lyrical imagery — fueled by hallucinations, paranoia and lust. And as a result, the band’s material manages to be simultaneously playful and menacing. 

With the addition of Shaughnessy Starr, the Los Angeles-based psych rock act went through another sonic mutation that resulted in a lysergic and claustrophobic sound — while further relying on their penchant for Black Sabbath-style riffage. Building upon a growing profile, the members of the Los Angeles-based act has opened for the likes of JOVM mainstays Thee Oh Sees, Cheap Trick and ZZ Top. 

Written while on the road, the act’s forthcoming album Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters . . . is slated for an October 2, 2020 release through Greenway Records and Levitation Festival’s label The Reverberation Appreciation Society. Recorded in a breakneck five day recording session, the highly-anticipated follow up to ZAM, Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters finds the band taking the turbulence of its immediate predecessor and making the material much more insidious, evil and ambitious while capturing the band in the midst of massive personnel changes — longtime bassist Alex Bulli left the band, and as a result the band’s Menashe wrote and played most of the material’s bass parts with occasional contributions from Dylan Sizemore. Much like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Infest the Rats Nest, Frankie and the Witch Fingers’ forthcoming album sees the band crafting expansive, maximalist material — with fewer moving parts. (Interestingly, Death Valley Girls’ Nikki Pickle will join the band as a touring member.) 

“Sweat Freak,” Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters . . .’s latest single features crunchy, power chord-driven riffs, punchily delivered yet surrealistic lyrics and explosive horn blasts within an expansive, constantly morphing and expansive song structure. Sonically, the result is a song that’s one part King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard one part Stooges and one part Tool-like prog rock with a menacing and malicious air. 

Done by Spaghetti Jesus, the recently released claymation video for “Sweat Freak” features trippy visual effects by Slob Dylan and 2D animation by Mitchell Zeni — and the video is centered around monstrous aliens performing weird and bloody experiments on people and each other.  It’s hilariously disturbing and absolutely brilliant. 

New Video: Hippo Campus’ Jake Luppen Releases a Glistening 80s-Inspired Pop Confection

Jake Luppen hasa risen to prominence for being the frontman and guitarist of acclaimed St. Paul, MN-based indie rock act Hippo Campus. While touring between 2018 and 2019 to support Hippo Campus’ most recent album Bambi, Luppen started writing new material as a n escape from the grind of endless tour and as way to process major and stress life events — in particular, the discovery by CT scan of an abnormal mass on his brain, which left him with the immediate impression that he was dying. 

Interestingly, the material Luppen started to write during that Bambi tour didn’t quite fit with his primary gig — and the end result was Luppen’s solo recording project Lupin. Luppen’s solo, full-length debut as Lupin is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through Grand Jury Music,  and as the Hippo Campus frontman explains in press notes, the album’s songs feel like he was meeting himself for the first time.  “With this record I wanted to get to the point, and say how things were, as opposed to dancing around them.”

For the Hippo Campus frontman, the creative process being the album was one of self-discovery that led to a much deeper self-confidence, in which he learned who he could be — and always had been — as an artist and as a person. With his previously released work in Hippo Campus, Luppen took a much vaguer approach to his songwriting, frequently eschewing the personal in favor of broader, shared experiences of his bandmates. Striking out as a solo artist allowed (and perhaps, even forced) him to do the complete opposite. Instead of focusing on looser ideas and generalities, Luppen found the bravery to write about his life — including, the breakup of a long-tern relationship, the aforementioned health scare, sexual exploration and discovering his own personhood with incisiveness, earnestness and honesty. 

Co-produced by Luppen and BJ Burton, Luppen’s debut effort is centered around sobering thematic concerns — but is paired with a bright and infectious soundscape reportedly inspired by by Charli XCX’s Pop 2, Tears for Fears, 80s New Wave and Prince. Fueled by Luppen’s desire to make 80s music through modern technology — or should i say 80s music for the 2020s? — the album also features synth and programming contributions from Jim-E-Stack and Buddy Ross. The end result is a shimmering yet off-kilter pop sheen that Luppen has said was guided more by intuition and feeling than anything else. 

The learning curve of producing his own material, being singularly at the helm of his sound for the first time, as well as writing his most personal material to date was a deeply vulnerable experience. An experience, in which he reconciled that it was okay to be his true, weird and sensitive self, to make mistakes and to enjoy the parts of himself and his personality that he usually didn’t have an opportunity to indulge. “I spent a lot of time thinking I had to hide behind other people or other things, but I realized, ‘No, I’m fully capable of doing this myself, I’m fully capable of having this vision.” Luppen explains. “I didn’t think that I was but no, there was this whole other part of myself I’d been stowing away out of fear this entire time.”

“May,” the album’s first single is a shimmering, 80s synth pop banger, centered around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering and thumping beats, an infectious hook and Luppen’s achingly tender falsetto delivery. Sonically speaking, the song brings Prince, Gordon Voidwell and Cut Copy to mind as it’s a hook-driven, pop confection built around earnest (yet kaleidoscopic) songwriting. 

The recently released video for “May” is a rotoscoped, animated visual made by Adam Fuchs. While capturing and evoking the song’s shimmering, kaleidoscopic vibe, the video feels like a hallucinogenic fever dream. 

Adrian Recordings · Spunsugar – Run

With the release of last year’s attention-grabbing debut EP Mouth Full of You. the rising Swedish act Spunsugar firmly established a unique, genre-blurring sound and approach. which features elements of industrial electronica, post-punk, noise rock, shoegaze and dream pop. And as as a result, the band earned airplay from BBC 6 Music‘s Steve Lamacq.

Building upon their growing profile, the Swedish indie rock act’s highly-anticipated, Joakim Lindberg-produced,  full-length debut Drive-Through Chapel is slated for an October 2, 2020 release through Adrian Recordings.  The album reportedly finds the rising Swedish act seeking to emulate the sounds of beloved acts like Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, and others — but while simultaneously crafting some of their hardest hitting material to date. Earlier this year, I wrote about the brooding single Happier Happyless,” a track that sonically recalled 4AD Records while also nodding at contemporary acts like Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and countless others, who have actively pushed the sonic boundaries of shoegaze and dream pop. 

“Run,” Drive-Through Chapel‘s latest single is centered around layers of blazing. pedal effected guitars, a forcefully insistent, industrial thump, rousingly anthemic hooks and earnest songwriting. The end result is a breakneck banger that recalls Lightfoils, The Sisters of Mercy, Chain of Flowers and others — but while possessing the swooning urgency of youth.

 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Brothertiger Releases an Atmospheric and Brooding New Single

Throughout the course of this site’s ten year history, I’ve written a bit about the Ohio-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and electronic music artist John Jagos. Known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed JOVM mainstay act Brothertiger, Jagos started the project while he was studying Ohio State University. Since then, Jagos has released a handful of EPs, including his critically applauded debut Vision Tunnels, Out of Touch, which featured  “Out of Touch” and “Beyond The Infinite,” and last year’s A Chain of Islands EP. Jagos has also released three full-length albums: 2012’s Golden Years, 2013’s Future Splendor and 2015’s Out of Touch. And each of those efforts helped to establish his sound a sound that sounds as though it were influenced by Tears for Fears,  St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy.

Slated for a September 11, 2020 release, Paradise Lost is Jagos’ first full-length album of original material in five years. “This record was, for me, the culmination of a lot of time and development,” the JOVM mainstay says in press notes. “Since my last album was released 5 years ago, I had been building on top of that sound, trying to make it even more dynamic and distinct. This record is also my most personal, and I think that shows not only in the subject matter, but in the choice of sounds as well. I find that in electronic music, you can capture an emotion honestly with synthesized sound, not just with lyrics.”

Sonically speaking, the album reportedly finds Jagos expanding upon the sound that has won him critical applause — with the album ranging from hook-driven indie pop to club-banging electronica centered around the Ohio-born, Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics that thematically touch upon aging gracefully, longing for purpose and celebrating life’s simple pleasures among others. Earlier this year, I wrote about the shimmering, Washed Out-like “Livin'” a track that thematically focuses on confronting the weirdness and uncertainty of life as you get older. Continuing a run of brooding and atmospheric material, Paradise Lost’s latest single “Shelter Cove” is centered around shimmering synths, Jagos’ plaintive and subtly effected falsetto and a soaring hook, the song manages to evoke the bracing chill of dipping into cooler than expected water for the first time. 

“‘Shelter Cove’ was one of the last tracks I wrote for Paradise Lost,” the JOVM mainstay says in press notes. “I was sort of at a crossroads at that point in terms of how I wanted to wrap up the record. I found the pad sound on my Juno 60 after running it through a bunch of compression and saturation, and I knew I had to make a song around it. The song is about some specific times on tour, driving through northern California on the Pacific Highway, finding swimming holes with my friend and sound tech Will. We’d look up some spots on our days off and drive to them. Last time we did was in October. We went to Pfieffer Beach near Monterrey. It was really windy and it clearly wasn’t swimming season, so everyone at the beach was dumbfounded watching two pale idiots running into the ocean.”

New Video: Meridian Brothers Release a Dystopian Yet Hopeful New Single

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written quite a bit about Bogota, Colombia-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, Eblis Alvarez, who’s perhaps better known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed, forward-thinking cumbia act Meridian Brothers. Now, as you may recall, Meridian Brothers newest album Cumbia Siglo XXI is salted for an August 21, 2020 release through Bongo Joe Records — and the album, which is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the act’s critically applauded (and largely acoustic) ¿Dónde estás María? continues the Colombian artist’s long-held reputation for restlessly pushing his sound and approach in new and radical directions whenever possible. 

Largely inspired by Cumbia Siglo XX’s experimentation with traditional cumbia in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which led to a completely new form of the genre, Cumbia Siglo XXI sees Alvarez using a multitude of guitars, synths, algorithmic software, vintage drum machines and whatever tech that the acclaimed Colombian artist could get his hands on. The end result is material that seemingly draws from Kraftwerk, while blending EDM “sidechain” techniques and traditional cumbia.

I’ve written about two album singles so far: “Puya del Empressario,” an infectious yet let field take on cumbia that sounded a bit like like The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk meets JOVM mainstay El Dusty with a mischievous sense of adventurousness — and “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia,” a mischievous synthesis of chip tune, electro pop and cumbia that came from the Island of Misfit Toys. The album’s latest single  “Cumbia de la fuente,” is a yearning and plaintive track centered around strummed acoustic guitar, glitchy synths and glitchier drum machines and Alvarez’s aching vocal delivery.  And while sounding as though it came from some incredibly dystopian future — one just as hellish as our own — the song conveys a sense of hope for something beyond this. 

“‘Cumbia de la fuente’ is a stopping point of the whole theme of the record, both in lyrics and in sound concept,” Meridian Brothers’ Alvarez says in press notes. “rThe song is a prayer and an amulet, a search for something that modern human beings are not used to do, due to mechanisation and modern industrial societies. A scream to the nowhere, looking for some answer, which is not given by scientific fetichism nor the political argument, nor the philosophic reason.”

The recently released video for “Cumbia de la fuente” features some trippy and brightly colored drawings that seem inspired by an intense hallucinogenic trip. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Mint Field Release a Cinematic and Mediative Visual for Lush and Slow-Burning Single “Delicadeza”

Initially founded in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico by Estrella del Sol Sanchez and Amor Amezcua, the Mexican shoegazer act quickly received international attention with the release of their debut EP Primeras Salidas, eventually playing sets across the North American festival circuit, including Coachella and SXSW, as well as venues across both the States and their native Mexico. Building upon a growing profile, Mint Field’s full-length debut, 2018’s Pasar De Las Luces found the act establishing a clearer sense of what they wanted to do sonically — primarily, as a result of finally having access to the tools to do so. The end result was an album’s worth of material that drew from dream pop, krautrock, stoner rock and shoegaze, imbued with sorrow and nostalgia. 

The past couple of years since the release of Pasar De Las Luces has been rather eventful for the Mexican shoegazer act: they’ve toured extensively across the North America and the European Union, playing over 100 shows. Continuing that momentum, the band recorded Pasar De Las Luces’ follow-up, last year’s  Mientras Esperas EP, which they supported with further touring across the States, Canada and Mexico — with two sold out shows in Mexico City .

During that same period, the band relocated to Mexico City and upon relocating to the Mexican capital, the band went through a massive lineup change: Amor Amezcua left the band, and the band then expanded into a trio with the addition of Sebastian Neyra and the band’s newest member, Ulrika Spacek’s Callum Brown. Capping off a series of monumental changes for the acclaimed Mexican act, they signed to Los Angeles-based post punk label Felte Records,

Slated for a September 25, 2020 release, the band’s Syd Kemp-produced sophomore album Sentimiento Mundial was recorded at London’s Wilton Way Studio, and the album reportedly sees the band’s sound shifting towards a decidedly minimal, rhythmically focused approach. The album will feature the meditative “Natural,” and the motorik groove-driven “Contingencia,” which were both released earlier this year. Sentimiento Mundal’s third and latest single “Delicadeza” is a lushly textured song centered around del Sol Sanchez’s ethereal vocals, swirling and shimmering, pedal effected guitars and propulsive drumming that manages to recall the lengthy introductory sections to Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)” and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve– but while being fittingly delicate. 

Directed and shot by 26 year-old Mexico City-based filmmaker Santiago Padilla Arouesty, the recently released video is a cinematic and meditative portrait of our zeitgeist — one in which our sanity, well-being and humanity are held together by an extremely delicate thread. 

Throughout the past three year or so I’ve written about Montreal-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer Jasamine White-Gluz, the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded JOVM mainstay act No Joy.  Initially starting out as a series of emailed guitar riffs between White-Gluz and her then-bandmate Laura Lloyd, the project has always been centered around White-Gluz’s penchant for restless experimentation. And throughout the project’s history. it has gone through a number of different sonic permutations with subsequent albums showcasing her love of delay-saturated jangle, industrial distortion and sludgy droning over disco-like beats.

Back in 2018, White-Gluz collaborated with Spacemen’s 3 Pete Kember, (a.k.a. Sonic Boom) on a collaborative EP that saw her trading the guitars she had long been known for, for modular synths — with the effort’s material baring a resemblance to Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past handful of months, you’d recall that Gluz’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced Motherhood is slated for an August 21, 2020 release through Joyful Noise Recordings and Hand Drawn Dracula in Canada. The album is the Canadian-based artist’s first full-length album album in five years, and reportedly, the album finds her returning to the project’s early, DIY recording, shoegazer roots. But the album’s material finds Gluz continuing to expand upon her overall sonic palette with the incorporation of elements of trip-hop, trance and nu-metal. Interestingly, some of the album’s genre-defying sound was inspired by the JOVM mainstay’s tours with genre-divergent artists: while touring with Quicksand, No Joy picked up post-hardcore fans and ambient techno fans while touring with Baths. “As long as people are open minded about music, they can hear different things,” explains White-Gluz, “Maybe because there are a lot of layers.”

So far I’ve written about two of Motherhood‘s singles —  “Birthmark,” which managed to be a seamless and trippy synthesis of Brit pop, shoegaze, trip-hop and shoegaze with a soaring hook and the Amoral-era Violens-like “Four.” “Dream Rats,” Motherhood‘s latest single features White-Gluz’s sister Alissa White-Gluz, a member of deathcore supergroup Arch Enemy, Centered around thunderous drumming, synth choirs, twinkling strings, power chord shredding and soaring hooks, the song is a maximalist fever dream that recalls the aforementioned Violens but while being a radio friendly 3.35.

“I’ve never collaborated musically with my sister before,” Jasamine White-Gluz says in press notes. “When we were kids we would sing and play music together but as we’ve both become adults and touring musicians we’ve never had a chance to work together. This is the heaviest song on this record so it felt fitting to have her on there. There is something special about her being on this album, specifically because it’s an exploration of family and motherhood.”

Zooni · The Details

Zooni is a rapidly rising Brighton, UK-based art pop/indie rock act — Peter Martin, George Godwin, Ben Clark and Matt Glasbey — that was discovered by Mercury Prize and BRIT Award-winning producer Charlie Andrew.  Last year was a momentum changing year for the British act: they released their debut EP,  which they supported with a sold-out show at London’s The Waiting Room and a set at that year’s The Great Escape.

Zooni · Dissolve

Much like countless bands across the world, the members of Zooni hope to play shows as soon as humanly possible; in fact, they have some shows slated for the fall. But in the meantime, earlier this year, they released the critically applauded single “Dissolve,” and they’ve followed it up with their latest single, the ethereal “Details.” Centered around shimmering and angular guitars, propulsive and hypnotic drumming, atmospheric electronics, twinkling keys and plaintive vocals, the delicate yet painterly song sonically reminds me of OK Computer-era Radiohead and Forever So-era Husky — but within an expansive, prog-like song structure.

 

 

 

 

 

Brighton-based art-pop makers Zooni return today with new single ‘The Details’.  The follow up to their February single ‘Dissolve’. ‘The Details’ is a
 powerful yet fragile mix of poetic lyrics and transcendent textures. Combining hypnotic beats with delicate piano and angular guitars it is available to stream below …

 

Discovered by Mercury and Brit award winning producer Charlie Andrew (Alt J, London Gramma, Marika Hackman), Zooni – Peter Martin, George Godwin, Ben Clark, and Matt Glasbey – played a Sold-Out headline show at The Waiting Room (London) in the summer of 2019, following on from an unforgettable appearance at The Great Escape Festival in that same year – and still hope to be playing some UK shows later this year.