New Video: Rising Punk Act Kills Birds Releases an Uneasy and Furious Ripper

Rapidly rising Los Angeles-based punk act Kills Birds — currently founding members Nina Ljeti (vocals) and Jacob Loeb (guitar) with Fielder Thomas (bass) — was founded back in 2017 as a sort of secret musical side project for the band’s Ljeti and Loeb. The project evolved into a full-fledged band with the addition of Thomas. And since then, the members of Kills Birds have received attention locally and elsewhere for crafting material centered around jagged, post punk-like guitar driven melodies, slow-buying dynamics, and Ljeti’s urgent lyrics and delivery.

Kills Birds’ 2019 self-tiled full-debut, which featured the feral and uneasy “Volcano” was released to praise from the likes of NPR, Nylon, The Fader, The New York Times, Paste Magazine, Chicago Tribune. And they’ve been championed by the likes of Kim Gordon, Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, who invited the band to record their forthcoming sophomore album at this Studio 606 — and to join Foo Fighters for their November 10 Mexico City show. (I’m jumping ahead here but the tour also includes a December 14, 2021 stop at Elsewhere’s Zone One. You can check out the rest of those tour dates further below. They’ll also open for Sleigh Bells during their October national tour.)

Since I mentioned it earlier, Kills Birds’ sophomore album Married is slated for a November 12, 2021 release through Royal Mountain Records/KRO Records. Recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606, the album is a brutal, intense and deeply personal account of an abusive romantic relationship fueled by struggles with power dynamics. While being deeply personal and cathartic, the album sonically oscillates between quiet and loud dynamics in a way that’s beautiful, aggressive and devastating.

“Rabbit,” Married’s first single is centered around alternating explosively loud sections featuring chugging power chords and thunderous drumming, Ljeti’s howled vocals and quieter sections centered around Ljeti’s hushed whispers. Sonically and thematically, the song evokes the shock, awe, revulsion and shame of a narrator in the middle of a dysfunctional and abusive relationship that has her questioning herself and self-worth. Plus, the recognition that this particular relationship is a defining moment of her life — one of which, every relationship of her life will compare in some way or another. The entire affair is devastating honest and unsettling.

“Lyrically, ‘Rabbit’ is about the experience of being in an abusive relationship with a powerful person,” Kills Birds’ Nina Ljeti explains. “To be with someone who was praised by the public, but hurt you (and others) in private really eviscerates your self-worth. There’s nowhere to turn for help. Like many people who share this experience, this particular relationship defined the majority of my young adulthood, and I’m still dealing with the emotional consequences of it.”

The band’s Jacob Loeb continues, “‘Rabbit” was the first song written for the new album. Despite being one of the harder-hitting songs on the record, it was originally written on an acoustic guitar at Nina’s house. The goal was for the chorus to have an almost disorienting quiet/loud dynamic which really came to life when we plugged in and all practiced it for the first time. We tried to make the chorus start so quietly that the listener feels like something went wrong with their speaker and has to kind of lean in to hear Nina singing before the repetition of “how could I?” abruptly and violently re-enters, startling them and making the emotion visceral.”

een film crew filming the band during a rehearsal take, which also includes someone oqccaiosnally pulling out a light meter. Intimately shot, the visual captures the band’s feral live energy — with Ljeti being an explosive and furious presence. Lteji, who’s an award-winning filmmaker herself says “It’s interesting to be on the other side of the camera for “Rabbit”, especially since the concept of the video involves an unseen crew doing a rehearsal take of our performance. though i had no problem relinquishing control as a performer for Susie (the director) it’s not something i’m really used to anymore. so it’s an exciting challenge.” The entire band adds “For ‘Rabbit’ we wanted to depart from the lo-fi aesthetic of our first record and come back with something that was super vivid, bold and direct. The idea was to capture the raw energy of our live performance, particularly from Nina, in the sterile and stilted setting of a film set, with the camera itself becoming this kind of ominous force that manipulates and distorts what it captures.”

New Video: Monsieur MÂLÂ Releases a Playful Visual for Slinky, Genre-Defying “Koss 5”

French musical collective Monsieur MÂL  — Balthazar Naturel (sax), Robin Antunes (violin/mandolin), Nicholas Vella (keys), Swaéli Mbappé (bass) and Mathieu Edward (drums) —features musicians, who have played with a who’s who list of internationally acclaimed artists including De La Soul, Mayra Andrade, CHASSOL, Ibrahim Maalouf, China Moses and a lengthy list of others. 

Last year, the act released their tropical and summery debut single “Misemo,” a genre-blurring composition centered around a sinuous bass line, soulful horns, twinkling strings and stuttering polyrhythm within an expansive composition. And as the band explained, their debut single encouraged the listener, whoever they may be, that sometimes you just need to dance, and it all go for a little while, at least.

Since then, the act has released a handful singles including “Lunitudine,” “Cor Anglais in E Minor (Op. 3)” that have received attention and airplay from Jazz FM, WorldWide FM, Music is My Sanctuary, Soho Radio, TSF and Le GriGri Radio. Building upon a growing profile, the French collective’s latest single “Koss 5” further establishes their genre blurring sound and approach. Centered around plucked strings, twinkling and arpeggiated keys, skittering drums, the slinky and expansive “Koss 5” features elements of funk, jazz fusion with some Makosa rhythms. As the collective explains the composition is an emotional tribute to Manu Dibango, who some of the band members have played with in the past.

Directed by Stan Amsellem, the recently released video for “Koss 5” features a collection of actors of various age groups playing as the members of the band as kids, as adults and as older adults. In some way, the visual plays to the power of music and creativity, suggesting that as long as one is creative, they’re forever young.

News/Announcements: Shoutouts to Patreon Patrons

Pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns made it extraordinarily difficult for artists and creatives across the world to actually perform their craft and to make a living. With people getting vaccines in their arms earlier this year, there was some degree of returning to normalcy: I’ve been hanging out in bars and going to shows — both indoors and outdoors. As you can imagine, much like the countless artists I cover, I was looking forward to a full schedule of live music to see and to cover. But with the COVID-19 Delta variant being the latest scourge wrecking havoc across the world and the States, I’m beginning to worry about what the Fall and Winter will be like.

Not getting the vaccine isn’t smart nor cool. It actually makes everything we do and love extremely difficult. If you haven’t gotten a vaccine and you’re hesitant, I can tell you that the science and technology behind it are proven: researchers have been working with mRNA for decades and for a variety of uses. The researchers have tested it and it’s safe. Millions of people have had them with minimal side effects and minimal adverse effects. The side effects and adverse effects of COVID are a lot worse — and include death. I don’t think you want to die or to take your chances on leaving your loved ones, do you? Do you really want to risk getting your loved ones sick? Do you want to be broke from medical bills because you got really sick?

I didn’t think so. Go and get a vaccine as soon as humanly possible. You ensure that you protect yourself and your loved ones from the most serious side effects of COVID-19 and its known variants. And you also help to ensure that we can all have the lives we want, do the things we love and enjoy and make money. If we don’t get this under control almost everything we do will be impossible. It’s that simple.

And if you’re about to say to me “But it’s not 100% effective,” I can tell you that there’s only two things in life that’s 100% certain — anything that’s born will eventually die. And if you’re born human, you’ll pay taxes. Nothing else is certain. Condoms are 97% effective if used correctly. People still fuck with condoms knowing that there’s a small chance of pregnancy or an STI. So what’s your issue?

Back to our regularly scheduled programming, right?

Independent artists of all disciplines desperately need someone to champion them and their work. There’s only 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week, and there are so many options competing for your time, money and love. But what I can say is this: because this site has been a DIY labor of love, I’ve felt that I’ve had an intimate and deeply personal understanding of the financial and emotional plight of the artist I’ve covered throughout this site’s history.

Of course, the pandemic has forced me to see things very differently — and changed my thinking on a lot of things. And if you add the conversations I’ve had with artists, I’ve been constantly reminded of the following:

  • Art costs money to produce — and without money, it can’t exist because it can’t be produced.
  • Artists are small businesses. So supporting an artist is supporting a small business. 
  • A small bit of support can go a long way. A $20, $30, $40, $50 or $60 purchase of someone’s work can often mean the purchase of groceries, paying their bills or even the confidence that they can continue with their art.  
  • That same $20, $50 or $60 doesn’t really mean shit to Amazon. 
  • Supporting a local artist/small business can keep money within your community. Caring about your community and ensuring that your hardworking neighbors can make and spend money makes your neighborhood vital.
  • Amazon and the other mega-conglomerates don’t give a fuck about your community or your neighbors
  • Lastly, you won’t be giving your money to companies that actively fuck over their neighbors, the environment or their employees. And that alone should make you feel better about the decision. 

Throughout the 11 years I’ve been doing this — seriously, 11 years! — I hope that my work has led you to artists and bands whose work has become a part of your lives, as they have become part of mine. I also hope that my photography has managed to add some beauty to your day, inspired you to see the new world in a new light — or make you go out to see some of these artists live.

Of course, as always, I’m asking you, dear readers and friends for your support to keep this thing going. And there’s a number of ways that you can support JOVM:  

You can buy photographic prints — from my live concert photography to street photography and even some outdoor/nature photos. I also still have a shit ton of JOVM bumper stickers. All of this stuff is beautiful and could use a loving forever home. You can check out the store here:

You can support by becoming one of my Patreon patrons. Every dollar means something. Seriously, it does. There are different patronage levels and different rewards for your support. For more information, you can check out the Patreon page here:

Of course, while I’m on the subject: I want to send shout outs — and thank yous — to those folks, who have supported me and my work throughout the past year with their patronage. 


Alice Northover

Bella Fox

Jenny MacRostie

Janene Otten 

Thank you, y’all. Your support means so very much. 

If you’re in the NYC area, you can hire me for photography work. Seriously. I do headshots, portraits and event photography. You can hire me through Photobooker. My listing is here: (If you’re outside the NYC area and you’d still want to hire me, we can talk.) 

If you’re not already a fan of this site on Facebook, please feel free to become a fan here:

Many people out there are struggling to survive. Believe me, I get it and I’m empathetic to that. The past 18 months have been the most difficult and desperate for a lot of us. To that end, there are many ways that you can support:

  • If you dig what I do: Keep reading! Please, keep reading!
  • Pass the word on to friends, family members, associates and anyone else, who will support independent journalism, music and criticism. 
  • Retweets, Facebook shares and reblog things you might dig. Sites need active eyeballs and clicks to survive. Every pair of eyeballs reading and clicking on JOVM means some ad revenue in the coffers. And those hardworking artists I cover will also be grateful for your love and support, too. 
  • Towards the bottom third of every post, there’s a related post section. If you dug the post you’re looking at it, feel free to check out the related posts. You might find something else you could love. 

I’m looking forward to sharing new music and new things in August and beyond. Hopefully you’ll stick with me through the journey.

Last year, I spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the rising Los Angeles-based indie electro rock act Carré that features:

  • Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world.
  • Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that JusticeSoulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream.
  • Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels ClineJonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot.

Deriving their name for the French word for “square,” “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed back in 2019 — and as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.” The members of the Los Angeles-based act specialize in a French electronica-inspired sound that frequently blends aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops. Thematically, their work generally touches upon conception, abstraction and distortion of reality through a surrealistic outlook of our world. Their visuals tend to feature geometric shapes and patterns.

The act specializes in a French electronica-inspired sound that blends aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops. Thematically, their work generally touches upon conception, abstraction and distortion of reality through a surrealistic outlook of our world. Their self-titled EP was released last year through Nomad Eel Records — and the EP featured the Uncanny Valley-era Midnight Juggernauts meets Tour de France-era Kraftwerk-like “Freeform,” a free flowing and improvised jam centered around glistening synth arpeggios, shimmering blasts of guitar, an insistent motorik groove, hi-hat driven four-on-the-floor and ethereal vocal samples.

“Freeform” was given the remix treatment by Parisian multi-instrumentalist Alex Tran, a.k.a. A.T.M. and interestingly enough, the A.T.M. remix adds a decidedly French house touch to the proceedings with glitchy sequences, muscular guitars, harder hitting beats, vocodered vocals while retaining the song’s free flowing and improvised jam-like feel and dark industrial vibes while essentially giving the song a dance floor friendly air.