Author: William Ruben Helms

I'm a music blogger, critic and photographer, who has had articles and photos published in Downbeat, Premier Guitar Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, The New York Press, New York Magazine's Vulture Blog, Ins&Outs Magazine, The Noise Beneath the Apple, Glide Magazine, The Whiskey Dregs Magazine and others. Check out The Joy of Violent Movement Shop: https://www.joyofviolentmovement.com/shop Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement : Featured as one of the top photographers in New York City

New Video: Spaceface Teams Up with Mikaela Davis on the Glistening “Rain Passing Through”

Founded back in 2012 by Jake Ignalls, a former member of The Flaming LipsSpaceface is self-professed “retro-futurist dream rock” outfit split between Memphis and Los Angeles The band features current and past members of The Flaming Lips and Pierced. And since their formation, Spaceface has developed a reputation for crafting catchy songs that whirl, twirl, bend and stretch, attract and propel while sonically featuring elements of dream pop, funk, rock and post-disco. 

Spaceface’s forthcoming full-length album Anemoia is slated for a January 28, 2022 release though Montreal-based label MothlandAnemoia is the result of several months spent at Blackwatch Studios in 2019 where the band spent several months working with Jarod Evans writing material inspired by funk rock and the turn of the millennium psychedelia revival. Although the material can be initially perceived as a feat of efficient and minimalistic songwriting by Ignalls and a cast of friends and collaborators, centered around slick melodies, lush arrangements and effortlessly flowing rhythmic grooves, each spin reportedly will reveal a new layer while painting a positive but somewhat critical portrayal of modern life.

In the lead-up to the album’s release next month, Mothland and the self-professed retro-futuristic dream rock outfit have released four singles off the album: “Happens All The Time,” “Earth In Awe,” “Piña Collider,” which featured samples and choir vocals from actual CERN scientists and “Long Time.” Featuring guest vocals from Penny Pitchlynn, best known for her work with BRONCHO and LABRYS, “Long Time” is Tame Impala-like song centered around a breezy and lush arrangement consisting of glistening synth arpeggios, crunchy bass lines and thumping beats. But at its core, the song contemplates life choices and alternate realities through a series of “well, what if I did x instead of y.” 

“Rain Passing Through” Anemoia‘s fifth and latest single is a glistening, Oracular Spectacular era MGMT take on disco centered around Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, four-on-the-floor, a sinuous bass line and lush layers of space alien-like synths serving as a glistening bed for an ethereal yet sultry duet with Mikaela Davis.

“It’s about fleeting moments you have between former or future lovers in passing turbulent times, knowing that you probably shouldn’t take shelter within each other, but knowing that it’s okay to feel good and safe together even if it’s as ephemeral as the rain passing through on a stormy night,” Jake Ingalls explains.

The recently released video is a collaboration between Spaceface’s Ignalls, Erika Mugglin and Mac Hanson and it a trippy but tender look at a teenaged love triangle featuring a mixture of stock footage, material from Hanson’s personal archives and of the video’s three love-crossed protagonists.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays White Lies Return with a Space Age-Inspired Visual for Anthemic “I Don’t Want To Go To Mars”

Acclaimed London-based post-punk act and JOVM mainstays White Lies — Harry McVeigh (vocals. guitar), Charles Cave (bass, vocals) and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) — can trace their origins to a band that they started while they were all in high school called Fear of Flying. Although the band’s Charles Cave has publicly described Fear of Flying as a “weekend project” and one of many bands that each of the individual members were involved in at the time, Fear of Flying managed to release two Stephen Street-produced double A-side singles released through Young and Lost Club Records. 

Building upon the initial buzz surrounding them, Fear of Flying earned opening slots for The MaccabeesJamie T, and Laura Marling. They also completed a national tour as an opener. And capping off a a busy period, they played the inaugural Underage Festival. 

Two weeks before the trio were to start college, they decided that they would take a second gap year to write and perform new material, which coincidentally they felt didn’t quite fit Fear of Flying. “I felt as though i couldn’t write about anything personal, so I would make up semi-comical stories that weren’t really important to anyone, not even me,” Charles Cave reflected on that period. Fear of Flying ended in 2007 with a MySpace status that read “Fear of Flying is DEAD . . . White Lies is alive!,” before introducing a new name that the trio felt better represented their newfound maturity — and a much darker sound.

Officially forming back in October 2007, the members of the newly named White Lies delayed their first live shows for five months — with the hopes of building up buzz for the project. And as the story goes, a few days after their live debut as White Lies, the band signed with Fiction Records, who released the band’s first two singles — “Unfinished Business” and “Death,” which quickly drew comparisons to Joy Division, EditorsThe Killers and Interpol. As a result of the buzz that their first two official singles earned, the London-based JOVM mainstays toured across the UK and North America, including a headlining BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend Festival set, a slot on 2009’s NME Awards tour, and number of appearances across the international festival circuit.

2009 saw the release of the act’s breakthrough, full-length debut To Lose My Life, which was released on the heels of being prominently featured in multiple “ones to watch” polls for that year, including BBC’s Sound of 2009 poll and the BRIT Critics’ Choice AwardTo Lose My life earned the trio the distinction of being their first #1 album on the British Charts, and the first album by a British act that year to debut at #1. 

White Lies third album, 2013’s Ed Bueller-produced Big TV was a critical and commercial success with the album debuting at #4 on the UK charts — and album single “Getting Even” landed at #1 on the Polish singles charts.

The British trio’s fifth album, 2019’s aptly titled FIVE continued a run of commercially and critically successful material, which saw the band balancing an arena rock friendly sound with intimate and confessional, singer/songwriter pop lyrics. Album singles like “Time to Give,” “Tokyo” “Jo” and “Believe It” describe relationships on the brink of collapse and/or suffering through one of both parties’ dysfunction while rooted in the uncertainty, confusion, heartache and bitterness that romantic relationships often engender. And it all comes from a very lived-in, real place that feels uncomfortably familiar.

White Lies’ highly anticipated sixth album, the Ed Bueller and Claudius Mittendorfer co-produced As I Try Not To Fall Apart is slated for a February 18, 2022 release through [PIAS]. Recorded over two breakneck studio sessions, As I Try Not To Fall Apart reportedly features the JOVM mainstays’ most expansive material to date with the songs possessing elements of arena rock, electro pop, prog rock and funky grooves while still maintaining their penchant for crafting infectious hooks.

Earlier this year, I wrote about album title track “As I Try Not To Fall Apart.” Centered around glistening synths , big boom bap-like drumming, McVeigh’s plaintive and expressive baritone, a hypnotic, motorik groove, bursts of twinkling keys and their unerring knack for crafting enormous and infectious hooks, “As I Try Not To Fall Apart’ is a psychologically precise character study of a desperate man, who feels hopelessly stuck in as socially prescribed gender role while also trying to express his own vulnerability and weakness.

“We wrote this song quickly, late one night, and often the songs which come quickest are written from the gut and the heart, not with the head,” the members of White Lies explain. “We wanted the melody to feel like a hymn, to give the confessional lyrics weight despite being wrapped up as a pop song. It’s about accepting vulnerability as a man, and knowing it’s ok to be broken. There’s never been a more pressing time to spread the message that it’s ok to not be ok.” 

As I Try Not To Fall Apart‘s second and latest single “I Don’t Want To Go To Mars” is an arena rock friendly anthem, full of the swaggering bombast and enormous hooks that the JOVM mainstays have long specialized in –but while being arguably one of the more mosh pit friendly rippers they’ve released in some time.

I Don’t Want To Go To Mars’ has all the distorted bombast of White Lies best anthems neatly packed into a short story. The song follows a character seemingly being herded off Earth to live out a sterile and mundane existence on a newly colonised Mars,” the members of the British JOVM mainstays explain. “Fundamentally the song questions the speed at which we are developing the world(s) we inhabit, and what cost it takes on our wellbeing.” 

The accompanying video was created by the band and features archival footage of space race-era technology, science experiments, people traveling to amusement parks and the like paired with footage shot on an iPhone. White Lies’ Jack Lawrence-Brown says “Although the song wasn’t due an official video, we felt the strong imagery of the lyrics really leant itself towards a visual accompaniment. Using old archive footage, an iPhone, and our very own DIY spirit, we have pieced together a visual narrative to run alongside the song. A full force rebuttal of a concept that’s stalked people around the world for generations now; that the grass will be greener on the other side — of the galaxy.”

There are 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 artists I’ve covered throughout this site’s 11+ year history. 

The pandemic forced most of us –including yours truly — to think differently about how everything we’ve done has been done, about how our society works and how being an artist actually works (or doesn’t) now. From my experience and from the conversations I’ve had with artists throughout this site’s history, I’m reminded of some very important facts:

  • 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:https://joyofviolentmovement.com/shop/

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: https://www.patreon.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

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. 

Sash

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: https://www.photobooker.com/photographer/8582abd8-f01e-43eb-b2be-0ed57157687e?duration=1?duration=1 (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: https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

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 December and beyond. Hopefully you’ll continue to stick with me.

New Video: Winnipeg’s Anthony OKS teams up with Begonia on a Soulful Meditation on Adult Love

Initially starting his career as a member of acclaimed Winnipeg-based hip-out outfit The Lytics, Anthony OKS stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist back in 2018 with the releasee of his debut single, “Cadillac,” feat. Cadence Weapon. The collaboration with Cadence Weapon received attention from Toronto-based website Sidewalk Hustle, while further establishing his reputation for delivering on head nodding bangers and introspective and soulful headphone tracks with equal force. He also picks up gigs DJ’ing across his hometown.

Since the release of “Cadillac,” the Winnipeg-based artist has been busy: he’s shared stages with Grand Analog, Shad and the aforementioned Cadence Weapon — and he’s played sets at Real Love Summer Fest, Bastid’s BBQ and Tokyo’s Varit Roppongi Bar.

As a member of The Lytics and as a solo artist, the Winnipeg-based emcee has toured across the world, playing in front of thousands.  His sophomore EP In The Garden is the culmination of years of self-reflection, hard-earned wisdom and an identity shift. The EP’s six songs see the rising Canadian artist digging deep into change, whether in his personal life — in the past year, he was introduced to 50 new family members in Nigeria and Sierra Leone — in his hometown and globally, as the Black Lives Matter movement has grown into communities worldwide. The EP also builds on his 2019 debut Take Time, offering some of the most introspective and honest material to date.

“I use music as a tool to get different things out of me,” Anthony OKS says. “I talk a lot with my people but I don’t always get as deep as I could get. I’m a pretty private person, but music gives me that gateway to let some things go I probably should.

Released earlier this year, through LHM Records, the EP features attention-grabbling singles “Clearly Now” and “All About You.” Continuing upon the momentum of those two previously released singles, the EP’s third and latest single is the duet “Fortified Bond,” featuring Polaris Prize long-lister Begonia contributing her soulful, pop belter vocals for the song’s uplifting hook paired with a Mos Defd-like neo-soul leaning production featuring thumping beats and twinkling Rhodes.

The Winnipeg-based emcee contributes thoughtful and vulnerable verses detailing his own personal growth, of finding a life-sustaining, powerful and meaningful love with someone else in which there’s complementary and mutual growth. And while celebrating that sort of love with a contented sigh that comes from living a full and messy life, the song’s narrators recognize that adult love is lucky and rare.

The gorgeously shot, recently released video employs a vivid color scheme that’s split between footage of Begonia and Anthony OKS rocking out and goofing off in a meadow during golden hour, and of Anthony OKS driving around Winnipeg in a blue Cadillac.

New Video: Wajatta (Reggie Watts and John Tejada) Release a Playful, 8-Bit Visual for Upbeat, House Music Anthem “Do You Even Care Anymore?”

Deriving their name as an amalgamation of its members’ last names, Wajatta (pronounced wa-HA-ta) is an electronic music duo that features acclaimed comedian/musician Reggie Watts and electronic music artist, producer and DJ John Tejada. With the release of 2018’s Casual High Technology and last year’s Don’t Let Get You Down, which was released through Flying LotusBriainfeeder Records, the duo established a sound that they describe broadly as “electronic dance music with its roots in Detroit techno, Chicago house, ’70s funk and New York hip-hop.”

The duo’s latest effort, the Do You Even Care Anymore EP is slated for a Friday release, and the EP’s material reportedly encompasses the next evolution of the duo’s sound. “It has developed into something a bit deeper,” Wajatta’s John Tejada says. “While our process and Reggie’s vocal improvisation work is still the same when we record, there’s just something new that we settled into this time. The music and the lyrics got a bit deeper.”

The EP’s latest single, title track “Do You Even Care Anymore” is centered around a classic, Larry Levan-like production featuring a bop jazz bass line, which reminds me of the sampled bass line in Black Sheep‘s “The Choice Is Yours,” tweeter and woofer rattling beats, twinkling bursts of synths, and a mischievous horn line sample. Reggie Watts contributes a soulful jazz standard influenced croon singing lyrics that poke and prod the listener into waking up from the mundanity of their lives, and start fully enjoying the only life they will ever know.

Directed by Mike Manor and featuring backgrounds by Waneella, the recently released video features Wajatta in an 8 bit universe rocking out for passerby and clubgoers. During the video, we see the 8 bit Reggie Watts being a warm and comforting presence encouraging all to live in the moment.

“We have all these man made constructs which mask us from intensely sobering existential dread,” Mike Manor explains. ““It’s like by default we’re all on the Titanic waiting to feel alive only when we hit the iceberg. I look at the song as a call to enjoy our lives mundanely as our true selves and to make it easier on each other by not being such judgemental d*ckheads all the time.”

New Video: Golem Dance Cult Releases a Horror Movie -inspired Visual for Goth-like “Nosferatu Waltz”

Split between France and England, the emerging, self-described “industrial heavy rock dance” duo Golem Dance Cult features two experienced musicians and longtime friends: producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Charles Why, who has played in Lotsa Noise, Nexus and L-Dopa and vocalist Laur, who has played in Sparkling Bombs, Kevin K Band, Vague Scare and Other-ed. Golem Dance Cult can trace its origins back to when its members were teenagers, playing in their first band together, a band in which Laur played drums.

Although the duo have written material remotely, both as a result of the distance currently between the two and the pandemic, their work is centered around a couple of simple parameters: the intention behind everything needed to be spontaneous, with each member following their instinct. Additionally mistakes should be expanded upon. The end result is a rock-inspired approach paired with electronic production — without the formal structure of either genre.

The duo’s recently released debut EP Grotesque Radio, features “(In My Time Of) Living On Mars” and “Marry Me, Frankenstein” and its latest single “Nosferatu Waltz.” Centered around an angular bass riff, a forceful motorik-like groove, wiry blasts of buzzing guitar, Laur’s croon, “Nosferatu Waltz” will bring comparisons to Bauhaus‘ famous “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” with a playful nod to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

Directed by the band, the recently released video for “Nosferatu Waltz” is split between footage of the band appearing as spectral and creepy figures shot in a grainy, old-fashioned black and white and extracts from Friedrich Wilhelm Murneau’s Nosferatu, Victor Halperin’s White Zombie, which starred Bela Lugosi and Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast.

“I had this idea for a bass riff variation on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker for a while so it flowed naturally from there,” Golem Dance Cult’s Charles Why says. He continues, “Inga Liljestrom lent us her amazing voice on this track and has a cameo at the end of the video.” Laur adds “Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu The Vampyre was the first horror movie I ever watched when I was like 10. Once you go black you can never go back they say…Vampire music is in my blood… “

New Audio: Italy’s IC2 Releases a Brooding Yet Dance Floor Friendly Single

IC2 is the darkwave/post-punk solo recording project of a rather mysterious Villa Latina, Italy-based producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. The emerging Italian artist’s latest single, the brooding yet dance floor friendly “Falling Down” is centered around glistening synth arpeggios, thumping electronic drums, wiry bursts of distorted guitars, crooned vocals and an enormous hook. Sonically, “Falling Down” may remind some listeners of post-punk heavyweights like Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure and Joy Division — as well as contemporaries like ACTORS, Bootblacks and others.

New Audio: Montreal’s Fredy V. & The Foundation Release an Uplifting and Anthemic Ode to Self-Determination

Montreal-based collective The Foundation features some of the city’s best musicians, who also play in the Canadian city’s top R&B, hip-hop, funk, gospel, soul and jazz acts. The members of The Foundation gained collective experience from production and performing on a weekly, nationally aired TV show — and they used their momentum of their show to write and record their critically applauded debut EP One Step.

The Foundation also collaborates with some of the French Canadian city’s top and upcoming R&B, hip-hop, soul and funk acts, including Mel Pacifico and Fredy V — both, who are full-time members of the collective. The collective’s latest single “On The Rise,” marks the one-year anniversary of the release of their debut EP. But song is also a bold mission statement of stops, description the group’s current direction and mindset.

Featuring glistening synths, twinkling keys, thumping beats, hand-claps, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, wobbling bass synth, “On The Rise” is centered around a warm and roomy, New Jack Swing meets neo-soul with a hint of classic Chic-like production. Fredy V. contributes self-assured and thoughtful verses describing the sacrifices he had to take to get to where he is right now, including distancing from the people and habits that didn’t align with his goals. Pacifico contributes her soulful vocals to the song’s uplifting and infectious hook.Unsurprisingly, the new single is informed by and inspired by the collective’s experiences during the pandemic: Both individually and as a collective, The Foundation was forced to reflect on the direction of their careers in music — and their lives.

Thematically, the song touches upon self-empowerment, maturation, self-determination and accountability — that come about as someone matures and is actively attempting to make serious moves for themselves. The song — and the band — seem to say to the listener, “well, if you wanna fulfill your dreams, stop the bullshit and get to work. It ain’t easy but once you get there, it’ll be worth it.”