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

Rising Los Angeles-based coldwave/darkwave/dark synth-riot act Violent Vickie — Vickie (vocals, production) and E (guitar, production) — have released material through a handful of labels including  Crunch PodEmerald & Doreen RecordingsRiot Grrl Berlin and LoveCraft Bar, which the act has supported with tours with Atari Teenage Riot‘s Hanin EliasThe Vanishing‘s Jessie Evans, Trans XThem Are Us Too, Aimon & The Missing Persons and others. The duo have also played sets across the US and European festival circuits with stops at Insted FestSolidarity FestShoutback Fest and Gay Prides and Ladyfests. 

Their single “The Wolf” was featured in a National Organization for Women film. Violent Vickie’s Vickie was also interviewed for the documentary GRRL as part of the museum exhibit Alien She. Adding to the band’s growing profile, their album Monster Alley was voted best album by KALX. And if you’ve been frequenting this site, you may recall that their latest album Division, which featured the dark yet dance floor friendly “Circle Square” was released last September.

Since the release of Division, the band has been busy writing and recording material, including their latest single, a Mazzy Star-like take on Johnny Cash‘s “Ring of Fire” centered around a sparse arrangement of strummed guitar and Vickie’s plaintive vocals fed through gentle amounts of reverb. Sonically, the track is a marked departure from the chilly, dark and aggressive coldwave and New Wave-inspired tracks they’re known for, while retaining the longing of the original.

New Video: Mount Kimbie Releases a Brooding Visual for Previously Unreleased Single “Black Stone”

Currently split between Los Angeles and London, the acclaimed electronic music duo Mount Kimbie — Brighton-born, Los Angeles-based Dom Maker and Cornwall-born, London-based Kai Campos — burst into the international scene with their first three critically applauded full-length albums: 2010’s Crooks & Lovers, 2013’s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth and 2017’s Love What Survives.

Since the release of Love What Survives, the members of Mount Kimbie have been rather busy: they’ve produced tracks by an eclectic array of acclaimed artists including James Blake, Travis Scott, Slowthai, Jay-Z, King Krule and a growing list of others. In the past year, Mount Kimbie have produced and featured on tracks on Slowthai’s #1 album Tryon, and have designed and cerated music for Undercurrent, an immersive, interactive multimedia installation that address the climate crisis, that also features contributions from Grimes, Bon Iver and The 1975. They also provided production work on Dave’s critically acclaimed We’re All Alone In This Together and James Blake’s “Say What You Will.” Additionally, Mount Kimbie’s Dom Maker has contributed to the soundtrack of Oscar-winning short film Two Distant Stangers, co-producing with James Blake, the closing track, which features Travis Scott and Westside Gunn.

The acclaimed duo mark the fourth anniversary of the release of Love What Survives with the release of two previously unreleased and unheard tracks from the Love What Survives sessions — “Black Stone” and “Blue Liquid” as a free download by signing up through email and for pre-order on white label 12 inch vinyl. “Black Stone,” is an instrumental track centered around layers of reverb-drenched, twinkling synth arpeggios and a chugging post punk influenced groove.

Frank Lebon, a longtime Mount Kimbie friend, collaborator and art director recruited up-and-coming artist Peter Eason Daniels to direct, the recently released video for “Black Stone.” Shot in a grainy, security footage-like black and white in London, the video captures people waiting for trains or buses, getting on trains or buses and waiting on a train or bus. “The video is about waiting, moving and stopping. Collective moments of solitude experienced between one place and another,” Daniels says. 

New Video: Fotoform’s Hallucinogenic Visuals for Brooding and Atmospheric “Running”

Deriving their name from a mid-century avant-garde photography movement, Seattle-based post punk outfit Fotoform — longtime collaborators and married couple Kim House (bass, vocals, synths) and Geoffrey Cox (guitar), along with newest member, former Death Cab for Cutie and The Long Winters member Michael Schorr (drums) — can trace their origins back to the formation of a previous project, the dark, goth-adjacent dream pop act C’est la Mort shortly after House and Cox married.

Specializing in what they dubbed “pointy-shoegaze,” C’est la Mort released their full-length debut through their own Dismal Nitch label, as well as various compilation tracks, including a limited split 7 inch with Stars for American Laundromat’s The Smiths’ tribute Please Please Please. After a series of lineup changes, House and Cox re-emerged as Fotoform in late 2016.

ouse and Cox released their Fotoform self-titled debut in 2017. Supported with tours of the West Coast and Europe, the album received airplay and praise both locally and nationally: Album single “I Know You’re Charming” was featured as a KEXP Song of The Day. The self-titled album was voted as one of KEXP Listeners’ Top 90.3 Albums of 2017 and it landed on several year-end lists, including The Big Takeover and Part-Time Punks. Building upon a growing profile, the band followed up with 2018’s Part-Time Punks EP, which was selected as one of The Big Takeover’s EPs of 2018.

Blue,” which was recored for voter outreach and the Christmas-themed “They Say It’s Always Lonely” to benefit local food banks. Both singles found the trio expanding upon their sound with the addition of synths. The trio went into the studio with Evan Foster to record the material for their forthcoming sophomore album Horizons in early 2020. And as a result of pandemic-related quarantines and restrictions, the Horizons sessions resumed a year later with Foster — and with Matt Bayles recording drum parts.

Slated for an October 15, 2021 release, Horizons reportedly finds the band pivoting even further from the towering wall of guitars-based sound of its predecessors towards a much more nuanced sound drawing equally from shoegaze, dream pop and post-punk: Pairing synths with layers of guitars and driving bass, the band’s sound seems indebted to the likes of The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Chameleons, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and others.

Horizons’ latest single, the brooding “Running” serves as a taste of what listeners should expect from the new album: atmospheric synths, swirling layers of guitars, driving bass lines, thunderous drumming and soaring hooks paired with House’s ethereal vocals. Essentially, the new single sees the band pairing patient, painterly textures with forceful motorik pulse in a way that makes the song feel — and sound — like a slick mesh of Garlands-era Cocteau Twins and Souvlaki-era Slowdive.

“‘Running’ was the first song we wrote with the new lineup (myself, Geoff, Michael), almost a statement of purpose as we rethought how we approached our sound and writing,” Fotoform’s Kim house recalls in press notes. “With one less guitar we had more space to play with and fill- or intentionally not fill. It was inspiring, and in some ways freeing, to reconstruct and re-envision everything. I’d just started playing around with a drum machine and 16-track at home, and this one was a result of really stripping back everything to the bass and vocals and then building it up from there. 

“At its core ‘Running’ is about peeling back the layers to connect with your innermost self. Summoning the courage, patience and stillness to distill it down and uncover what truly matters, to listen to our hearts and tap into the subconscious,” House says. “It’s about facing fears and insecurities and having the courage to go after what will truly make you happy (or “make your heart happy” as my dad would say), which oftentimes might be in the opposite direction of what we’re running toward, whether in relationships, life paths and choices, etc. The hardest thing sometimes is to look deep within and listen to ourselves, to follow our instincts and face what we may know is true but are too afraid to admit for fear of change, risk, loss, disappointment, or failure.”

House adds, “On a personal level, ‘Running’ was written in the midst of a period of significant change and reflection. I had just left my role as Footwear Design Director at Nordstrom. It was a whirlwind of a job I held for many years – one which required lots of travel in the US and Europe, intense long hours, and barely enough room for other passions or pursuits. It was rewarding, but almost all encompassing.”

The recently released video for “Running” manages to emphasize the brooding and trippy late night vibes of its accompanying song — all while being gorgeously shot and slickly edited.

Besides the new album, the trio — much like the rest of us — is looking forward to getting back to live shows and touring. They’ve also been writing and working on new material, including a split 7 inch with Savage Republic.

New Video: KUNZITE’S Hallucinogenic and Playful Visual for Euphoric “LEMON SWAYZE”

KUNZITE — RATATTAT‘s Mike Stroud and Abuela’s Agustin White — can trace their origins to each of the project’s individual members occasionally crossing each others paths while admiring each other’s work: When Stroud was busy touring with RATATAT, White went on a spiritual journey that found him exploring yoga, meditation and psychedelics. Throughout their friendship, the duo had been looking to do something together — and KUNZITE allowed the duo the ability to merge their mind and missions with a sound that blends psychedelia with beat-heavy electronic production and live, organic instrumentation. 

The duo’s debut effort, 2018’s Birds Don’t Fly was written and recorded mostly through email. But their forthcoming sophomore album VISUALS, which will be released through Lowly/Wilder Records on August 20, 2021 sees the duo writing and recording material together — in the same space and at the same time. Interestingly, during the album’s recording project, the duo realized that they sounded best when they harmonized.

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “FROSTY,” a song that found the duo changing things up quite a bit with Stroud taking up lead vocal duties. But at its core, the song is a summery, beach friendly jam centered around a cosmic groove, easy going bass line and Stroud’s laid-back vocals. VISUALS‘ fourth and latest single “LEMON SWAYZE” was recorded between Stroud’s upstate New York barn-based studio and White’s Oregon-based domed shaped studio. Sonically, the track is a decidedly dance floor friendly jam, centered around rapid-fire, four-on-the-floor, buzzing guitars, a sinuous, motorik groove and a rousingly anthemic, euphoria-inducing hook — with a playful nod at Cyndi Lauper. As the story goes while recording the song Agustin stood in the middle of his Oregon-based domed studio and felt a channel of energy through the line that came through the studio, and began singing the first thing that came out of his mouth — which are heard on the final track.

“‘LEMON SWAYZE’ was created with the mission of bringing listeners to their feet, dancing in exaltation while on a crazy joyride,” the members of KUNZITE explain. “The track’s title was inspired by a vision Agustin had of lemons as spaceships, induced by the consumption of a favorite cannabis strain, Lemon Cake.”

Directed by Felix Heyes, the recently released video for “LEMON SWAYZE” follows a day-in-the-life of an effortlessly cool older dude, who is a mix of Captain Lou Albano, Hulk Hogan, Colonel Sanders and The Sopranos’ Paulie Walnuts as he wears a green Adidas track suit and drives around town in a lemon yellow convertible, full of lemons in the back seat. And as he zooms around town, he’s rocking out and having the best life anyone could have, which includes some absolutely hallucinogenic sequences that remind me a bit of segments of 1,2,3 Contact and Sesame Street. “The video’s lead actor, Michael ‘Keysey’ Keyes, is a Colonel Sanders-esque character who also has Hulk Hogan’s mustache, and he asked me if I knew what ‘proanoia’ was,” Felix Heyes says of the video for “LEMON SWAYZE.” “He said, ‘Well, you know how paranoia is the feeling that unknown things are conspiring against you? Proanoia is the feeling that unknown things are conspiring to help you.’ And then he drove off in a 1971 Mustang full of lemons. Being ‘proanoid’ pretty much sums up my experience with KUNZITE and the team behind this music video!”

MMYYKK (pronounced “Mike”) is a rising Inland Empire, CA-born, Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. 2019’s highly praised Electro Soul EP found the Inland Empire-born, Minneapolis-based multi-hyphenate artist further establishing a difficult to pigeonhole sound and approach that draws from soul, future funk, R&B, hip-hop, jazz and fusion — and seems equally indebted to Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Herbie Hancock, and Stevie Wonder.

MMYYKK is also an accomplished ambient artist: Last year’s Mellow Moods and Meditations was released to praise. Earlier this year, he produced PASSAGE, a Black mental health and wellness initiative done in collaboration with the folks at Okayplayer. Building upon a busy year, the Inland Empire-born, Minneapolis-based artist will be releasing the Science EP through London-based label Rhythm Section INTL in September.

Science EP‘s first single is the slinky “Divine.” Centered around MMYYKK’s sultry falsetto, glistening synth arpeggios and a strutting bass line, the flirtatious “Divine” sonically will draw comparisons to D’Angelo and Thundercat, as the crafted manages to be effortless yet carefully crafted. Interestingly, underneath the funky grooves, the song is a much-needed and loving ode to Black women. “Black women taught me how to love. Women literally save the world every day. This track was a way for me to express appreciation and sing praises to the women in my life,” MMYYKK explains in press notes.



New Video: Amyl and the Sniffers Release an Explosive yet Vulnerable Ripper

Acclaimed Melbourne-based punk act Amyl and The Sniffers — Amy Taylor (vocals), Gus Romer (bass), Bryce Wilson (drums) and Declan Martens (guitar) — formed back in 2016 and shortly after their formation, they wrote and self-recorded their debut EP Giddy Up. The following year, saw the release of the Big Attractions EP, which was packed as a double 12 inch EP with Giddy Up released through Homeless Records in Australia and Damaged Goods in the UK.

The band exploded into the international scene with a set at The Great Escape Festival, a series of sold out London area shows and a Stateside tour opening for JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. They added to a busy year with a headlining tours across both the UK and US before signing to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Flightless Records for distribution across Australia and New Zealand and Rough Trade for the rest of the world. The year was capped off with a Q Awards nomination for Best New Act and won the $30,000 Levis Prize.

storm, and then promptly released their self-tiled, full-length debut to critical applause globally while further cementing a feral and anarchic take on ’77 era punk. Adding to a breakthrough year, Amyl and the Sniffers won an ARIA Award for Best Rock Album. 

too, Mötorhead and Wendy O. Williams, Warthog, Power Trip, Coloured Balls and Cosmic Psychos. Taylor’s delivery and lyrics were inspired by her love of hip-hop and garage rock.

se with sick green walls. It sucked but it was also nice. We spent heaps of time in the backyard listening to music, thrashing around in shorts, eating hot chips. The boys had a hard time being away from the pub and their mates, but it meant we had a lot of time to work on this record. Most of the songs were really intuitive. Main thing, we just wanted it to be us. In the small windows we had in between lockdowns, we went to our rehearsal space, which is a storage locker down the road at National Storage Northcote. We punched all the songs into shape at Nasho and for the first time ever we wrote more songs than we needed. We had the luxury of cutting out the songs that were shit and focusing on the ones we loved.

ur for two years, you get really good at playing. We were a better band and we had heaps of songs, so we were just different. The nihilistic, live in the moment, positivity and panel beater rock-meets-shed show punk was still there, but it was better. The whole thing was less spontaneous and more darkly considered. The lyrics I wrote for the album are better too, I think. The amount of time and thought I put into the lyrics for this album is completely different from the EPs, and even the first record. Half of the lyrics were written during the Australian Bushfire season, when we were already wearing masks to protect ourselves from the smoke in the air. And then when the pandemic hit, our options were the same as everyone: go find a day job and work in intense conditions or sit at home and drown in introspection. I fell into the latter category. I had all this energy inside of me and nowhere to put it, because I couldn’t perform, and it had a hectic effect on my brain.

y brain evolved and warped and my way of thinking about the world completely changed. Having to deal with a lot of authority during 2020 and realising my lack of power made me feel both more self destructive and more self disciplined, more nihilistic and more depressed and more resentful, which ultimately fuelled me with a kind of relentless motivation. I became a temporary monster. I partied more, but I also exercised heaps, read books and ate veggies. I was like an egg going into boiling water when this started, gooey and weak but with a hard surface. I came out even harder. I’m still soft on the inside, but in a different way. All of this time, I was working on the lyrics. I pushed myself heaps and heaps, because there were things that I needed to say. The lyrics draw a lot from rap phrasing, because that’s what I’m into. I just wanted to be a weird bitch and celebrate how weird life and humans are.

ounding like a dumb cunt. So anyway, that’s where this album comes from. People will use other bands as a sonic reference to make it more digestible and journalists will make it seem more pretentious and considered than it really is, but in the end this album is just us — raw self expression, defiant energy, unapologetic vulnerability. It was written by four self-taught musicians who are all just trying to get by and have a good time. 

is an Australian car show and the Nanny cares about social issues and she’s read a couple of books, and Mr Sheffield is drinking beer in the sun. It’s a Mitsubishi Lancer going slightly over the speed limit in a school zone. It’s realising how good it is to wear track pants in bed. It’s having someone who wants to cook you dinner when you’re really shattered. It’s me shadow-boxing on stage, covered in sweat, instead of sitting quietly in the corner.”

Earlier this month, I wrote about Comfort To Me’s first single, “Guided by Angels,” a riotous, mosh pit friendly ripper centered around Taylor’s frenetic energy and punchily delivered vocals, buzzing power chords and a pub friendly, shout along with a raised beer in your hand hook. But underneath all of that, “Guided by Angels” is fueled by a defiant and unapologetic vulnerability and a rare, unshakeable faith in possibility and overall goodness; that there actually are good angels right over your shoulder to guide you and sustain you when you need them the most. Comfort To Me’s second and latest single “Security” is a Highway to Hell-era AC/DC-like anthem full of swaggering braggadocio, boozy power chords, thunderous drumming, shout along worthy hooks and Taylor’s feral delivery. Interestingly, much like its immediate predecessor, the song is fueled by a rare and infectious earnestness and vulnerability for most punk rock with the song’s narrator boldly and unapologetically declaring that they need and are looking for love — right now!

nuing the band’s ongoing collaboration with John Angus Stewart, the cinematically shot visual for “Security” follows Amy Taylor in a cemetery at dusk in a blue bubble coat and jeans dancing and bopping through the entire video’s run. Much like the video for “Guided by Angels,” we’re reminded that Taylor is an atomic bomb of furious and frenetic energy, exploding across the screen.

Live Footage: Primal Scream at LEVITATION Festival

ea devised by the members of JOVM mainstay act The Black Angels in the back of a tour van back in 2007: “Let’s invite all of our favorite bands and all of our friends for our version of a music festival.”

The inaugural Austin Psych Fest was in March 2008 — and by popular demand, the festival expanded to a three-day event the following year. Within a relatively short period of time, Austin Psych Fest became an international destination for psych fans across the globe, with the festival featuring lineups that included up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from the festival’s founders, The Black Angels. A few years ago, the festival was renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, but in in its almost 15 year run, the festival has helped spark a new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of similar events across the globe, including Levitation Festival events in Chicago, Vancouver, France and a SXSW showcase, as well as other special events in Europe and Latin America.

last year, Levitation Festival’s record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society announced the launch of a new live album series, Live at LEVITATION. Comprised of material played and recorded throughout the festival’s decade-plus history, the live album series specifically captures and documents key artists in the contemporary psych rock scene. Of course, many of these moments were also important moments of Austin’s live music scene. 

The live series’ first album Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION featured two different Kikagaku Moyo sets — their 2014 Levitation Festival set, which was one of the Japanese psych rock act’s first Stateside shows and their return to Levitation back in 2019, during a sold-out Stateside tour, which included a stop at Warsaw that year with Japanese krautrockers Minami Deutsch.
The series’ second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION featured the festival’s founders The Black Angels. The Black Angels live album is comprised of material recorded at Austin Psych Fest 2010, 2011 and 2012, and captures a rare glimpse of the festival’s earlier, more humble days. And of course, for Black Angels fans, like myself, the album features live version of six songs from their first two albums — Passover and Directions to See a Ghost.

e (vocals), Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keys), Simone Butler (bass) and Darrin Mooney (drums) — have embraced an eclectic and diverse array of styles and sounds from psych pop, degenerate rock ‘n’ roll, euphoric rave and industrial gloom while going through a complicated series of lineup changes that have also included The Stone Roses’ Mani and My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields, and the death of beloved guitarist Robert “Throb” Young. They’ve collaborated on material with George Clinton and Kate Moss. And throughout their run, they’ve managed to capture the mood and tone of the UK several times over — while surviving narcotic oblivion and countless personal traumas.

Slated for a November 19, 2021 release through The Reverberation Appreciation Society, Primal Scream — Live at LEVITATION is centered around the British legends’ 2015 LEVITATION set, a career spanning set, which pulled hits from landmark records like Screamadelica, Give Out But Don’t Give Up, XTRMNTR and others. To build up buzz for the album, LEVITATION, The Reverberation Appreciation Society and Primal Scream released two singles off the album: muscular renditions of Give Out But Don’t Give Up track “Jailbird” and XTRMNTR track “Accelerator.” The accompanying live footage serves as a reminder that Primal Scream is one of the best live bands in the entire world.

A/Canada and British and European stores, a Rough Trade vinyl exclusive and a very special American feature as part of the annual Ten Bands One Cause charity initiative. That feature will launch around National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October — and will benefit Red Door Community, where no one faces cancer alone.

New Video: Rising Artist Alewya Releases a Club Friendly Banger

Dubbed “this decade’s triple threat” by Love Magazine, Alewya is a rapidly rising London-based singer/songwriter, producer and visual artist. Born in Saudi Arabia to an Egyptian-Sudanese father and an Ethiopian mother, Alewya has spent her life surrounded and nurtured by diaspora immigrant communities: she grew up in West London and after spending several years in New York. she returned to London. Upon returning home, the rising British artist developed and honed her ear for music through the sounds of the Ethiopian and Arabic music of her parents and the ambient alternative rock albums pop her brother.

lation of the Saudi-born, Ethiopian-Sudanese, British-based artist’s name from Arabic to English into “most high” or “the highest,” and interestingly enough, her work generally is thematically concerned with transcendence. She sees her music as an accessible space for her and her listeners to connect on a deeply spiritual level — with her work challenge the listener to remember the last time that they felt truly connected to themselves and their emotions. “I want to move people to themselves. I want them to feel the same way that I felt when I had a taste of a higher power and felt there was a presence over me,” Alewya says. “I want people to feel that.” 

nking Timbaland-like mesh of trap, reggae and electro pop. Since, the release of “Sweating,” the rising British artist has been busy releasing a handful of equally self-assured singles, including her latest single “Spirit_X.” Featuring around skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling beats, arpeggiated synths paired with Alewya’s punchy delivery in which she alternates between fiery bars and sultry crooning. The new single sonically is indebted to the relentless energy of classic drum ‘n’ bass music, and manages to evoke the sensation of getting lost in thumping beats and strobe light.

“I know that the rave can be utilized as ritual and ceremony to transform, uplift and energize a person,” Alewya explains. “I love giving visceral experiences. I love drum and bass for that specific reason. ‘Spirit_X’ encompasses all of the above in my way.”

Directed by the artist and Simon Lane, the recently released video for “Spirit_X” follows Alewya as she wanders a subterranean maze of abandoned tunnels before encountering an underground and extremely communal rave from a dystopian future that seems very familiar — and defiantly pro-Black. Visually, the video references The Prodigy’s “Firestarter.”