Since the release of 2016’s full-length debut High HopesHalifax, Nova Scotia-based post-punk act Like a Motorcycle — currently Kim Carson (bass, vocals), KT Lamond (guitar, vocals) and David Casey (guitar, vocals) and Clare McDonald (drums, vocals) — have managed to muscle through the sort of tumult and instances that has busted up countless other bands: substance abuse, health issues, several lineup changes, and a former label that nearly bankrupted them. And despite all of that they’ve bravely — and perhaps stubbornly — kept on, honing on their long-held reputation for crafting anthems for disenfranchised rejects like themselves, who are working several different gigs, maneuvering five-figure college debts and barely surviving.

The Halifax-based post-punk outfit’s sophomore effort, last year’s aptly titled Dead Broke featured the anthemic, Ganser-like “Wide Awake,” a bristling and incisive commentary on a capitalist system that allows and celebrates rampant exploitation for personal gain.  

Adding to a growing profile in their native Canada, Like a Motorcycle has opened for the likes of Against Me!, Propagandhi, Headstones, The Vibrators, Japandroids, The Pack A.D., Art Bergmann, Danko Jones and JOVM mainstays L.A. Witch and METZ.

The Halifax-based post-punk outfit’s latest single sees them tackling a song by Los Angeles-based cult favorite punk act The Screamers, who despite the buzz surrounding them at the time, never recorded or released an album. “122 Hours of Fear” outlines the 1977 hijacking of Lufthansa Flight 181 from the point of view of a hostage on the flight. Beginning with blown out beats, reverb and pedal effected guitars, the song quickly turns into a tense affair centered around angular guitar bursts, glistening synth arpeggios in the background, howled vocals and thunderous drumming. And at its core is slow-burning sense of dread of the potentially terrible fate that awaits the song’s narrator, much like the original.

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New Video: James Wyatt Crosby Releases a Hazy, Nostalgia-Inducing Visual for Breezy “Shadow of a Ghost”

James Wyatt Crosby is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who’s currently based in the rural township of Tiny, Ontario Canada. (Yes, that’s a real place. Located in South Central Ontario, Tiny is — well, tiny, as it has a population of 11,787 or so.) Crosby’s full-length debut, 2017’s Twins featured “Deep In Yr Mind,” a track which amassed over 1.2 million Spotify streams, while landing on Nerdist’s 25 Best Underground Albums of 2017.

The following year, Crosby released the standalone single “Lemonade (No I Never),” which wound up being a surprise hit on Canadian college radio, at one point peaking at #1 on CFMU-FM. 2019’s Here We Are In Heaven EP wound up becoming a fan favorite, while seeing the Canadian singer/songwriter craft more addictive dream pop melodies.

Last year, the rising Canadian artist went on a forced recording and touring hiatus as a result of the pandemic; but 2021 has seen Crosby’s material appear on a handful of CBC and Netflix shows. Released earlier this month through Wavy Sun, Crosby’s latest single “Shadow of a Ghost” is a summary blast centered around layers of shimmering guitars, glistening synths, a sumptuous bass line, a simple backbeat and Crosby’s achingly plaintive and yearning vocals. The end result is an infectious and nostalgia-inducing bit of dream pop that sounds indebted to 120 Minutes MTV era alt rock.

“This song was written during a time when it seemed like the fabric of reality was coming apart at the seams right in front of me,” James Wyatt Crosby explains in press notes. “Life can be so beautiful but also so painful and disturbing and this song speaks about the way that loss and grief can change the way that you perceive yourself and the world around you. This song allowed me to move through some challenging times.”

Fittingly for such a nostalgia-inducing tune, the video is shot through a hazy filter, reminding us of summer days when things seemed far easier and far simpler.

Initially started as a bedroom solo recording project back in 2017, Orlando-based psych outfit Timothy Eerie has become a full-fledged band with a rotating cast of players. The Orlando-based psych outfit’s latest single “We’re Going To Make It” is a sunny and lysergic anthem for the end of the world — or our near dystopian future.

Centered around reverb-drenched vocals. glistening organ arpeggios, scorching guitars and forceful drumming, “We’re Going To Make It” is indebted to 60s psych rock but with a modern twist: the song’s narrator knows that the hope for a better world may be desperate and foolish, which gives the song a bitterly ironic bite, just under the trippy vibes.

Pierre Grech is a Toulon, France-based singer/songwriter, composer, producer and guitarist, who has long been influenced by folk, indie rock, hip hop, jazz, contemporary classical and electronica. Grech began writing songs as a child but he can trace the origins of his music career to the early 2000s: He was the frontman of experimental electronica act SLiDD — and around the same time, he co-wrote and arranged material on three Jen H. Ka albums. 

As a solo artist and bandleader, Grech has played shows across Paris and Southern France with re-arranged and re-imagined renditions of his material in several different iterations including electro rock, acoustic, cello-guitar duo, rock trio and more. But over the past few years, the French singer/songwriter, guitarist, composer, arranger and producer has been refining and honing his songwriting and compositional approach, as well as his guitar playing. The end result is Grech’s latest project _telemaque_,which finds the Toulon-based artist drawing from his long-held influences while crafting pop that’s energetic yet sensitive.

Grech released his _telemaque debut EP June earlier this year. And as you might recall, the EP featured EP title track “June,” gorgeous track that brought OK Computer-era Radiohead and JOVM mainstays Husky to mind while featuring shimmering acoustic guitar, Greech’s plaintive falsetto, propulsive drumming and a soaring hook paired with earnest and accessible songwriting.

Greech’s _telemaque_ debut album Silent Creatures is forthcoming — but in the meantime, the album’s first single “December Sun” is what Greech says is the most rock leaning song on the album: shimmering guitar chords are paired with an insistent, throbbing groove, propulsive beats and a scorching guitar solo are paired with Greech’s plaintive vocals. Sonically, the song sees the French singer/songwriter refining his sound and approach. While bearing a resemblance to Radiohead, the song features a subtle nod at kraturock and folk.

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New Audio: AURUS Returns with a Mesmerizing New Single

Bastien Picot is a rising Réunion Island-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter, producer and creative mastermind behind AURUS, a rising electronic music project that specializes in an orchestral-leaning take on electro pop that has drawn comparisons to NakhaneWoodkidPeter Gabriel and others. 

With the release of 2019’s “The Abettors,” which featured Sandra Nkaké, Picot exploded into the French scene: The track thematically raised awareness of a system that exploited and took the living for granted. He started off last year with sets at  MaMA Festival and Bars en Trans Festival, opening for Vendredi sur Mer at L’Olympia, and being named a “revelation” of Chantier des Francos

Building upon that momentum, the rising French artist released his self-titled debut EP last June. Since the release of the EP, Picot has been busy: he recently released his highly-anticipated full-length debut Chimera, which feature the brooding and cinematic, Security-era Peter Gabriel-like “Momentum,” and the yearning, Amnesiac-era Radiohead meets contemporary alt pop-like “AWOL.” Conceived, written and recorded between Reunion Island and Paris, the album is an intuitive and tribal journey, in which what may seem irreconcilable meets and merges: Sonically, the songs mesh brooding atmospherics, tribal bets, military rhythms, and elements of trance, pop ballads and more with lyrics sung in English and Reunion Island Creole.

Chimera‘s latest single “Horus” is a mesmerizing, brooding and difficult to pigeon hole song: Featuring lyrics sung in alternating burst of English and Reunion Island Creole, the track begins with a cinematic opening organ and mournful yet regal horns before morphing into stunning electro pop centered around yearning church-like vocals, trippy yet propulsive polyrhythm, atmospheric synths and Picot’s unerring knack for infectious hooks paired with devastatingly earnest songwriting within material that’s simultaneously challenging and accessible.

Jindoss is a mysterious, Saint Malo, France singer/songwriter, who released their debut EP Rendez-vous earlier this year. The EP features “Saturday Night,” a single that quickly and boldly established the French artist’s sound: swirling and brooding shoegaze centered around shimming, reverb-drenched guitars, plaintive wailing and boom bap drumming. The end result was a song that to me seemed like a synthesis of PJ Harvey-like atmospherics and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve-like textures.

The mysterious French producer’s latest single “Dancing” continues the brooding atmospherics but in this case, the song finds Jindoss’ sound quickly moving more in the direction of Massive Attack and Portishead: plaintive wailing is paired with layers of glistening synth arpeggios and thumping beats. The track slowly builds up in intensity and crests until it’s brooding and slow-burning fade out.

Kristen Allen-Farmer is a classically train multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer singer/songwriter, and creative mastermind behind solo recording project Dream Tonic. Interestingly, with Dream Tonic, Allen-Farmer blends her lifelong love of dance music with a classically trained approach to composition and songwriting. The end result is material that is often simultaneously dreamy and gritty.

Allen-Farmer’s latest single, “I Taste” is an infectious club banger centered around synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, wobbling synths, industrial clang and clatter, squiggling Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a sinuous bass line and the classically trained artist’s breathy and sultry cooing. Featuring elements of house music, electro pop, French touch, indie dance and others, the slickly produced song brings Little Boots and others to mind — but while being a Halloween-themed song that tells the tale of a wanton vampiress, who enjoys the hunt and chase for new blood and new victims.

New VIdeo: JOVM Mainstay Sam Fender Releases a Frenetic Visual for Anthemic Yet Intimate “Get You Down”

Over the course of the past couple of years, I’ve managed to spill copious amounts of virtual ink covering North Shields, UK-born, Newcastle-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Sam Fender. 2019 was a breakthrough year for Fender: His Bramwell Bronte-produced. full-length debut, Hypersonic Missiles was a commercially successful and critically applauded effort, which was supported with some relentless international touring that included two North American tours with a festival stop at Lollapalooza and sold-out shows in Los Angeles and NYC. Fender also made appearances Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. And Fender was featured on CBS This Morning Saturday in a segment in which CBS anchor Anthony Mason chatted with the British JOVM mainstay about his seemingly sudden rise in notoriety. 

Although 2019 was full of some momentous, life-changing achievements for the rising, young British singer/songwriter, the year unfortunately, ended on a frustrating and disappointing note: Fender had to postpone and then reschedule a handful of sold-out, end-of-the-year dates.

Before the pandemic struck, last year looked promising for the JOVM mainstay. Fender was hand-picked by  Elton John to play at his annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Party — and he received a BRIT Award nomination for Best New Artist. 

Much like countless other artists across the world, Sam Fender’s plans were put on an indefinite pause but he did manage to keep busy, writing and recording the standalone single, the anthemic 80s-inspired slow-burn “Hold Out,” and a bluesy cover of Amy Winehouse‘s “Back To Black,” which he performed on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge series. But along with that he also wrote and recorded his highly-anticipated sophomore album Seventeen Going Under

Released earlier this month through Interscope RecordsSeventeen Going Under is the most intensely personal album of Fender’s growing catalog with the material finding Fender turning the mirror on himself — particularly his adolescence and the trials and tribulations of growing up. As a result, the album is a relatable journey that careens through an often misspent youth, navigating tumultuous relationships with both friends and family and trying to figure out what comes next and how to get there. Naturally, his birthplace of North Shields serves as the setting for the album’s songs, which see him chronicling cherished memories, difficult encounters and the events that he can’t unsee. “The whole record is about growing up and the self-esteem issues that you carry into your adult life,” the acclaimed, British JOVM mainstay explains. 

Seventeen Going Under‘s third and latest single “Get You Down” is a big, breakneck Born in the USA era Bruce Springsteen-ilke song centered around Fender’s earnest delivery, a soulful horn solo, strummed guitar, a sprinkle of soaring strings. While being an unvarnished and honest look at himself and his life, revealing a man, who has desperately fought against the destructive patterns and cycles of his own upbringing and his battles with crippling self-bout, the new single centered around Fender’s unerring knack for crafting rousing arena rock anthems. “This song in particular is about how insecurity has affected my relationships. Definitely one of the more personal ones,” Fender notes. 

Directed by Hector Dockrill, the recently released video for “Get You Down” stars the British JOVM mainstay as the song’s narrator, desperately struggling with his self-doubt, his upbringing and with keeping a major romantic relationship together. Told through a kinetic yet gorgeously shot series of flashbacks, the video follows the car racing protagonist as he practices for a major race — and then gets into a near fatal car wreck during the race.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Palm Ghosts Release a True Crime-Inspired Visual for Dance Floor Friendly “Bloodlight”

Led by singer/songwriter, producer and Ice Queen Records founder Joseph Lekkas, the Nashville-based indie rock act Palm Ghosts can trace its origins to when Lekkas resided in Philadelphia. After spending a number of years playing in local bands like Grammar Debate! and Hilliard, Lekkas took a lengthy hiatus from writing, recording and performing music to book shows and festivals in and around the Philadelphia area. Lekkas initially started Palm Ghosts as a solo recording project — and as a creative outlet to cope with an incapacitating bout of depression and anxiety. 

During a long prototypically Northeastern winter, he recorded a batch of introspective songs that at the time, he dubbed “sun-damaged American music” that would eventually become the project’s full-length debut. After a short tour in 2013 to support the album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Nashville, enticed by the city’s growing indie rock scene. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past handful of years, you may recall that Palm Ghosts’ third album, 2018’s Architecture was a change in sonic direction for the project with Lekkas writing material influenced by the sounds of the 80s — in particular, Cocteau TwinsPeter GabrielDead Can DanceNew Order,  The Cure, and others. 

Much like countless other acts across the world, Lekkas and his bandmates spent much of forced downtime of the pandemic, being as busy as humanly possible: The members of the JOVM mainstay act wrote a ton of new material. The past year or so of isolation of lockdowns and quarantines, socioeconomic and financial uncertainty and protests and demonstrations helped to fuel an immediacy to the material the band had been busily writing.

Earlier this year, the Nashville-based outfit released their fourth album Lifeboat Candidate, a fittingly dark, dystopian effort full of confusion, fear and dread, informed by the events and circumstances of last year. And while the world feels little changed since last year, the JOVM mainstay’s fifth album Lost Frequency is a much different album. Initially scheduled for release last year, Lifeboat Candidate harkens to the before, when things seemed normal — or at least less uneasy, less desperate. After a difficult 18 months of pandemic, 700,000+ deaths in the US alone, financial despair, political uncertainty and more, having some respite, some sort of escape is what most of us urgently need. In a loose sense, Lost Frequency feels almost celebratory — and perhaps a bit more nostalgic, than its immediate predecessor. But the material lyrically brings confrontation to the forefront, reminding the listener that at this juncture, normalcy is devastating. 

 Lost Frequency‘s first single “Bloodlight” continues a run of hook-driven material indebted to The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Depeche Mode and the like with the song being centered around tweeter and woofer thumping beats, shimmering guitars, hypnotic, motorik grooves, atmospheric synths and an enormous hook. And while dance floor friendly, the song lyrically is a seething indictment of humanity and its treatment of Mother Earth. 

“‘Bloodlight,’ the album opener, is a dark dance track that compares the  climate crisis to a crime scene,.” Palm Ghosts’ Joseph Leekas explains in press notes. “Luminol is a chemical commonly used in  forensics for the detection of blood stains. Nothing vanishes without a trace  and particles of blood adhere to surfaces for years.  

“The same applies to what humans have done to the earth. The damage will remain long after we are gone.”  

Directed by Nick Hawl, the recently released video for “Bloodlight” stars Ben de la Cour, Jessica Bell, Charles Hager and Cole Morse in a dark and uneasy police procedural that follows two cowboy hat wearing detectives investigating a brutal and bloody double murder. But as the story slows unfurls, we see that something is dangerously wrong: one of the detectives was obsessed with the victim — and towards the end of the video, we see a vicious yet fairly obvious plot twist that hits upon the themes of the song.

New Video: Jess Chalker Returns With a Trippy Visual for Sultry “Cynical”

Sydney-born, London-based singer/songwriter and producer, Jess Chalker started her music career as the frontman of Aussie New Wave act We Are The Brave. And since We Are The Brave’s breakup, Chalker has become a highly sought-after collaborator: She has worked with Sam FischerVintage Culture, IsamachineGold Kimono, and Passenger — and she was part of the Grammy Award-winning songwriting and production team that cowrote Lisa Loeb‘s lead single on the acclaimed artist’s kids record Feel What U Feel. Additionally, the Aussie-born, British-based artist wrote “Darkest Hour” for the Amazon Original series Panic, performed by Tate McRae.

Chalker finally steps out into the spotlight as a solo artist with her full-length debut Hemispheres. Slated for a November 5, 2021 release through her own imprint 528 Records, the album was completed under the massive weight of the pandemic, and as Chalker grappled with the loss of her day job and heartbreaking health issues. 

Much like countless others across the globe, she found herself spiraling and turned to music for the creative outlet she needed. Collaborating with friends across Sydney, Los Angeles and London, including Dan Long, Josh Humphreys and Chalker’s former We Are The Brave bandmate Ox Why, Chalker wound up finishing what would turn out to be a deeply emotional album. And interestingly enough, she managed to find much longed-for freedom in the process: “Releasing this album is terrifying and thrilling to me,” the Aussie-born, British-based artist says in press notes. “I grew up in a religion that discouraged us from pursuing career success, where women weren’t allowed on stage to address an audience directly. I think it’s why I’ve always tried to avoid the spotlight but, after the year we’ve all had, my perspective on things has changed quite a lot. I’m not wasting any more time doubting myself.”

Sonically, the album reportedly finds Chalker and her collaborators crafting material featuring guitar-driven hooks and retro synths paired with the Aussie-born, British-based artist’s expressive vocals. Thematically, the album deals with themes that explore the dichotomy between depression and hopefulness, self-doubt and self-love and more. 

In the lead up to the album’s forthcoming release, I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s previously released singles:

  • The Chalker, Rich Jacques and Martjin Tinus Konijnenburg co-written “Don’t Fight It.” Centered around glistening synth arpeggios, reverb-drenched drums. Chalker’s expressive vocals, the track hints at Peter GabrielKate Bush and Prince, while full of the bittersweet longing and uncertainty of a narrator who’s physically and emotionally lost. 
  • The breezy and defiantly upbeat “Stupid Trick.”Centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths, Chalker’s plaintive vocals, the song thematically focuses on the innocence and desperately intense feelings of teenaged love, before gradually learning what love really is and what it really means. And while bringing up memories of Pat Benetar‘s “Love is a Battlefield,” Rod Stewart‘s “Young Turks” and others, the song continued a run of material driven by Chalker’s unerring knack for paring earnestly written material with a razor sharp hook. 

“Cynical,” Hemisphere‘s latest single is a smoky pop song centered around Chalker’s achingly tender vocals, twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, a sinuous and propulsive bass line, and a bluesy guitar lines. But while being sultry and full of longing, “Cynical” possesses an underlying tension, tumult and tension that should feel familiar to anyone, who has been in a complicated, dramatic relationship full of fiery passion that will burn out or blow up in everyone’s faces,

“Musically this song feels quite drama-filled,” Chalker says, “There’s a tension in it that’s familiar, like the tumult of being in one of those relationships you know won’t go the distance but feels good in the moment.”

Directed by Thomas Calder, the recently released video for “Cynical” is part lyric video, part music video in which we see Chalker rendered in blown out, psychedelic colors,.

Pre-order the album now via Bandcamp (https://jesschalker.bandcamp.com)