Author: William Ruben Helms

I'm a music blogger, critic and photographer, who has had articles and photos published in 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.

Comprised of Reid MacMaster (vocals, guitar), Sean Hackl (guitar, vocals), Duncan Briggs (bass, vocals) and Owen Wolff (drums, vocals), the Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based indie rock/garage rock act Fade Awaays have emerged as one of their hometown’s up-and-coming acts, thanks in part to a reputation for rowdy live sets centered around material with enormous, arena rock friendly choruses and hooks and fuzzy, 90s grunge rock-like power chords. In fact, the band has played some of Toronto’s most famed and beloved venues including Horseshoe Tavern, Mod Club Theatre and The Danforth Music Hall, have opened for the likes of Wolf Alice, Public Access TV, Hot Flash Heat Wave and The Sherlocks. And building upon a growing profile, the band has played sets at some of Canada’s largest music festivals including CMW, NXNE, Trapdoor Fest and Indie Week.

The Canadian band’s debut single “Get Along” is a gritty and anthemic garage rock barn-burner, complete with distortion heavy power chords, thundering drumming, howled vocals and a mosh-pit friendly, shout worthy hook. And while the song sounds as though it were indebted to The Hives and others, the song as the band says “is about trying to make the best of a situation and trying to get along with the ones you love in hard times.” Certainly, in light of our current sociopolitical moment, the urgent song is centered around a much-needed message for anyone trying to survive our mad, mad, mad, mad world.

As the band adds, the song was a last minute addition to their growing repertoire. “We wrote the arrangement for the song and sat on the lyrics for the rest of our days in the studio. I can’t even remember what we were trying to write the lyrics about because it took us way too long. Nothing felt right – it felt too rushed to be interesting but eventually we ended up writing lyrics about our situation, trying to get work done and how to work together in the studio. ‘I hope we get along / staying lazy ain’t no job couch driven trying to get along.’ It felt more accurate, natural, and engaging.”

 

 

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays Stonefield Returns with a Decidedly Psych Rock-Inspired New Single

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Darraweit Guim, Australia-based sibling psych rock quartet Stonefield, and as you’d recall the Australian band comprised of Amy (drums, lead vocals), Hannah (guitar), Sarah (keys) and Holly Findlay (bass) began playing together when they were extremely young — the youngest member was seven while the oldest was 15. And as the story goes, the eldest sister Amy recorded their first song “Foreign Lover” for a school project, and then reportedly entered the song into Triple J’s national, unsigned band competition for youngsters Unearthed High as an afterthought. Much to her and her sisters’ surprise, the band wound up winning the contest, and within an incredibly short period of time after their Unearthed High win, the Findlay sisters had two singles receiving regular airplay on Australian radio and an invitation to play at Glastonbury Festival.

Since their attention-grabbing Unearthed High win, the Australian sibling quartet has been incredibly prolific as they’ve written, recorded and released two EPs, their self-titled full-length debut, their sophomore album As Above So Below and their third album Far From Earth through King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Flightless Records earlier this year. Stonefield is currently on a North American tour to support both their recently released 7 inch and their third album that will include stops at Desert Daze, Toronto’s Night Owl Fest, Mexico City’s Hipnosis Festival and a special NYC area show at Baby’s All Right to celebrate the release of the “Through the Storm” 7 inch, a single that finds the Australian sibling and and JOVM mainstays cementing their reputation as one of the world’s hardest bands, while pushing their sound towards a new direction — doom metal with hints of 60s psych rock in a way that brings Black Sabbath, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains to mind.

Interestingly, Far From Earth’s latest single “In The Eve” is  slow-burning, hypnotizing song that may arguably be the most decidedly 60s psych rock-inspired song centered around a propulsive and sinuous bass line, shimmering guitar lines, Amy Findlay’s ethereal vocals and a gently unfurling yet song structure — and sonically speaking, the song brings to mind JOVM mainstays Sleepy Sun, Secret Colours, and Elephant Stone but with a clean yet sensual sheen. The recently released video is equally hypnotic while visually drawing from 60s psych rock as it features the Findlay Sisters dressed entirely in white, wandering in a prototypically British field — and in some way it hints at some menacing ritual about to go down.

 

Arnaud Sigonney is a Bordeaux, France-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter (piano, keys, guitar, vocals), who first came to international attention when Hidden Shoal Recordings released Beautiful Lunar Landscape’s critically acclaimed 2007 debut EP Alone in This Dark Romantic Night. Sigonney took a break from music and returned in 2015 fronting the instrumental rock act Les Limbes; but interestingly enough, the material that comprises The Infinite Pleasure of Being, the debut album from his latest project Lunar Landscape were written throughout most of his musical life — and was recorded by Mario Gomes at Studio Carat with a backing band featuring Les Limbes’  Yoann Roy (bass), Franck Lantignac (drums), Line Senium (piano) and Marine Hebard (vocals).

Released earlier this month, the album finds Sigonney and company effortlessly bridging neo-classical compositions with sprawling shoegaze while delving deeply into intimate emotional terrain — and interestingly enough, “Les nuits célestes,” The Infinite Pleasure of Being‘s gorgeous and meditative latest single is mesh of muscular and propulsive shoegaze with an ethereal touch, centered around hushed vocals and a towering yet hypnotic arrangement that recalls Mogwai and The Octopus Project, with a cinematic and elegant air.

 

 

Now, throughout the course of this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about Gold Coast, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Emily Hamilton and her acclaimed recording project San Mei, which began as a bedroom recording project but quickly received attention from this site and a number of major media outlets including NME, Indie ShuffleNYLON and Triple J. Her San Mei debut EP Necessary found the Gold Coast, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist decidedly moving away from the bedroom recorded synth pop that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and towards organic instrumentation and a sound that immediately brings Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cat Power, Feist and others to mind.

Hamilton met songwriter, producer and musical phenom Oscar Dawson, who has worked with Holy Holy, Alex Lahey, Ali Barter, British India, Robbie Miller and Joyride at BIGSOUND last year, and the pair immediately hit it off. According to Hamilton, taking Dawson on as a producer and collaborator found the duo refining ideas, exploring different soundscapes and laying down the foundation for her — and in turn, San Mei’s — sonic progression. As Hamilton explains in press notes “[Dawson and I] hit it off straight away and it seemed like he understood where I was coming from, even if I had trouble conveying certain ideas in the demos I made at home.”

Wonder” was the first single since the release of Necessary. Coincidentally “Wonder” was the first single off her forthcoming Heaven EP, which is slated for a November 2 release and interestingly, the single managed to be a subtle refinement of Hamilton’s sound and songwriting that found her creating radio friendly and arena rock friendly tracks, centered around a razor hooks, fuzzy shoegazer rock-like power chords and propulsive drumming — all while being incredibly earnest. “Heaven,” the EP title track is also the second and latest single of the EP, and its centered around layers of power chord-based guitar lines, four-on-the-floor drumming, Hamilton’s lush yet ethereal vocals, and shimmering synth lines.  And while the new track continues a run of arena rock friendly singles, it may arguably be the most shoegazer/dream pop-like track she’s written and released but underneath the song bristles with a bitter sense of frustration and dissatisfaction. In fact, as Hamilton says of the song, “This song is about when love is blind and it feels like heaven, but if you step back you can see things for what they really are. It’s about waking up to reality and letting go of something that’s going to end up causing harm, even if at first it felt like a dream.”

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers Release a Wild Lysergic-Tinged Visual for Album Single “Execution”

I’ve written quite a bit about long-time, Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers throughout its 8 year history, and over that same period of time, the band currently comprised of Oliver Ackermann (vocals, guitar), Dion Lunadon (bass, guitar) and its newest member Lia Simone Braswell have developed a reputation for an unwavering and uncompromising commitment to unpredictable live shows — and for being one of the loudest bands on the planet. They’re also known for never writing an actual set list, for writing new songs in the middle of their sets and for deliberately provoking and sabotaging sound engineers in a variety of cruel and innovative ways — and as a result, they’re arguably one of the most exciting contemporary live bands you will see.

Dead Oceans will be releasing Re-Pinned, a remixed record featuring re-imagined and re-worked A Place to Bury Strangers tracks from Slowdive, Trentemøller, No Age, METZ, Eric Copeland, Roly Porter, Davy Drones, and TBO. And to support the remix album and their latest effort, Pinned, the Brooklyn-based trio will be embarking on the second leg of their world tour with a NYC area date at the Doc Marten’s Union Square location — and you can check out the tour dates below; but before that, “Execution” is the latest single off Pinned and it finds the band adding subtle elements to their sound: scentered around noisy squalls of feedback,  a motorik groove, Ackermann’s pained, gritted teeth-like vocals and industrial clang and clatter, the song manages to feel much more tense and chillier while still remaining almost defiantly them.

Directed by Black Math’s Evan Fellers, the recently released video for the song is centered around jarring neon-tinged visuals thrown into an equally surreal  backgrounds and reality, creating a wildly lysergic visual mix. As Fellers explains “It was a blast to craft this dark nugget of visual energy for this edgy track by APTBS. Fueled by the contours of potential meaning found in ‘Execution’, a free-form fall into defining this world resulted in 70% confused trip, 26% weird brain juice on the run, 3% humor & 1% whatever the hell you want it to be.”

Best known as the founding member of New York-based alt rock acts, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Boss Hog, Heavy Trash and Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer will be releasing his first solo album, Spencer Sings the Hits on November 9, 2018 through In The Red Records, and the Bill Skibbe-produced album, finds the renowned guitarist and frontman embracing a DIY approach while collaborating with Quasi‘s and Heatmiser’s Sam Coombes and M. Sord. Now, as you may recall, earlier this year, I wrote about “Do The Trash Can.” Spencer Sings the Hits’ first single, a blistering, scuzzy and abrasive ripper that drew from blues, industrial rock and metal centered snarling, garage punk attitude, caustic power chords and an oddly danceable groove.

Unsurprisingly, the album’s second and latest single is the swaggering and scuzzy industrial, garage blues “I Got the Hits,” and much like it’s predecessor, it’s an explosive ripper centered around explosive and abrasive guitar chords, a shit ton of double entendres and a propulsive junkyard groove that’s manages to be danceable and mosh pit friendly.

 

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed German Electro Pop Artist Roosevelt Releases Summery 80s-Inspired Visuals for Buoyant Single “Shadows”

Marius Lauber is a Viersen, Germany-born, Cologne, Germany-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, who writes records and performs with his solo recording project Roosevelt. Now as you may recall, with the […]

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d know that over the past couple of years of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Madrid, Spain-based indie rock trio The Parrots, and as you may recall, the band are one of the leading members of a collection of Spanish bands, who write lyrics almost exclusive in English; in fact, with the release of  “I Did Something Wrong”  off their Aden Arabie EP, the Spanish trio received both national and international attention for a boozy and riotous, garage rock/garage psych rock sound that has been compared favorably to Thee Oh Sees Black LipsRaccoon FighterHigh WaistedWhite Mystery and others.

Back in 2015, NME named the Madrid-based trio as one of  SXSW‘s “buzziest bands” and since then the members of The Parrots have been pretty busy: they followed up that year’s SXSW with the release of their critically applauded EP Weed for The Parrots, a critically applauded return to SXSW, which resulted in being signed by renowned indie label Heavenly Recordings, who released their full-length debut Los Ninos Sin Miedos, which featured the shambling and boozy Let’s Do It Again,” and the barn-burning, 60s garage rock-like  “A Thousand Ways.” Since then, the band has been working on their much-anticipated sophomore album but they’ve managed to release a one-off single, a shambling, ramshackle, garage rock cover of Latin trap artist Bad Bunny‘s smash hit “Soy Peor,” and as the band explains “We’ve always been big fans of urban music, trap and hip-hop. Not long ago, these styles started to be everywhere again in Spain, and with it we discovered many interesting new acts, both Spanish and Latin American. One of them was Bad Bunny, from Puerto Rico. The first song of his that we listened to was “Soy Peor” and we loved it. Since we started the band, we’ve always liked to cover songs that we like, usually it’s from bands that are more similar to our style — rock ‘n’ roll, punk . . . It’s the first time we picked a song in another style and tried to make it ours. The idea came up in a rehearsal, talking about choosing a new cover for a forthcoming show. People really dug it and a few weeks later we went to Paco Loco’s studio to record it.”

The Spanish band’s latest single “My Love Is Real” is the second official single from the band’s forthcoming sophomore album, and it’s a slow burning, old-timey rock ‘n’ roll ballad that sounds as though it should be played at a high school dance or a high school-era house party; but with a subtly sketchy late night vibe, that evokes the loneliness of of 3am-4am when most of the partiers have gone home, and you are by yourself drinking with your sorrows and regrets. Sonically and thematically, the song suggests the band growing up a bit but while still retaining the scuzz and grit that caught everyone’s attention. “With this in mind, we recorded the song at home and sent it to Tom Furse, he completely got the vibe and helped us create atmosphere we imagined.” Furse adds, “Joe Meek was my point of reference with ‘My Love Is Real’ – I used his guidance via Ouija board for a point of balance between lo-fi scuzz and the naive pop stylings of the song – which ended up with doing things like using the sounds of surf in the drums and doing crazy piano improvisations in the wrong key which I would speed up in the tape machine to get it in tune. My basic tenant was – ‘what would Joe do?”

Directed by Hector Herce, the recently released video for “My Love Is Real” continues an ongoing collaboration between the director and the band, with the video being something of a continuation from the preceding video for “Girl.” As Herce explains “My Love Is Real’ is set in imaginary 90’s. It is a brother video of ‘Girl’, previous single of The Parrots and follows the adventures of a loving trio. It is more metaphorical than narrative and more aesthetic than ethical. Codes that speak of romantic and human relations are hidden on its images.”

 

Theodore is a critically applauded, Athens, Greece-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and composer, whose schooling in piano and traditional Greek folk music eventually led to a professional music career in London, where he studied Music Composition in 2011. As a composer and singer/songwriter, Theodore meshes classical compositions and arrangements with subtle electronic production and rock instrumentation to create a sound that’s atmospheric, cinematic that nods at psych rock, prog rock and experimental rock — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist cites Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Manos Hadjidakis, Vangelis Papathanasiou, Nils Frahm, The National, Olafur Arnalds and Max Richter as being major influences on his work and sound. “I like a composer or a band because when I listen to the music or attend a concert I am just getting lost in the atmosphere,” Theodore explains in press notes. “I understand that orchestral music is something that I am really into and I will try to test my self in the future.”

Theodore has written compositions for Matina Megla’s Window, Vladan Nikolic’s film Bourek and he was commissioned to write a new, live score for Buster Keaton’s classic, 1928 silent comedy The Cameraman, which he and his band performed during  a screening at the Temple of Zeus. But interestingly enough, his sophomore album It Is But It’s Not, which was performed live at London’s Abbey Road Studio 2 has been his breakthrough effort as the accompanying performance video has amassed more than 2 million YouTube views — and as a result, the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has played sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Reeperhbahn Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag, Release Festival and SXSW. Adding to a growing profile, he has opened for Sigur Ros and DIIV, and has received praise from a number of major media outlets, including Clash Magazine, Music WeekTsugi, FGUK, Gaffa and Szene, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne. Oh, and I must add that “Towards (for what is to come)” is currently playlisted on NPR’s All Songs 24/7 and Germany’s Flux Passport Approved.

Theodore’s third, full-length album Inner Dynamics is slated for a November 2, 2018 release and the album finds him thematically looking inward to examine the dichotomies (and dualities) of his identity in order to seek new creative potential. “On It Is But It’s Not, I tried to explore how the opposite elements in the universe interact, how they fight and how without the one you can’t have the other.” Theodore says, adding, “For Inner Dynamics, I was trying to express my urge to connect the conscious and subconscious part of myself so I can be creative. It’s an understanding that humans are not just one thing, and they shouldn’t try to hide certain elements of their personality because society likes to put labels of who we are. It’s the different sides of my self that makes who I am.” Inner Dynamics‘ third and latest single “Disorientation” clocks in at a little over 6 minutes, and it finds Theodore’s sound nodding at dramatic film scores, Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead-like atmospherics, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Rush-like prog rock expansiveness, centered around Theodore’s yearning vocals and slick production.

 

Josie Bolvin is a Quebec-based, classically trained pianist and opera vocalist, as well as an electronic pop producer, singer/songwriter and artist, best known as MUNYA— and as the story goes Bolvin had only written one song when she was asked to perform at last year’s Pop Montreal. Ironically, at the time, Bolvin had never intended to pursue music full-time but after playing at the festival, she quickly realized that what she was meant to be a musician. So Bolvin quit her day job, moved in with her sister and turned their kitchen into a home recording studio where she wrote every day. These recordings would eventually become part of an EP trilogy — with each EP comprised of three songs — named after a significant place in Bolvin’s life. Her self-released debut North Hatley derives its name from one of Bolvin’s favorite little villages in Quebec. Now, if you’ve had been frequenting this site earlier this month, you may recall that her second EP, Delmano is slated for an October 5, 2018 release through Fat Possum Records and derives its name from Williamsburg Brooklyn’s Hotel Delmano.

Delmano‘s first single “Hotel Delmano” was a breezy and mischievous, synth-based tale of melancholy surrealism, centered by Bolvin’s ethereal vocals singing in her native French. Interestingly, as Bolvin explained, the song is largely inspired by a dream Bolvin had that was inspired by the video for Vendredi sur Mer‘s “La Femme à la Peau Bleue.”  “I watched it so many times that she entered my dreams once we were having a drink at Hotel Delmano. The song is about that dream.”  Sonically, the song sounds as though it should be a part of the soundtrack of a Michel Gondry film in which its sad protagonist gets thrown into a whimsical and colorful world while recalling La Femme, Polo & Pan, and others. The EP’s second and latest single “If I’m Gone Tomorrow (It’s Because of Aliens)” will further cement Bolvin’s growing reputation for crating breezy and ethereal synth pop centered around shimmering synths and Bolvin’s equally ethereal vocals; however, unlike its predecessor, it’s the first song that the French Canadian singer/songwriter and producer has written and released entirely in English. But underneath the breezy and mischievous air, is a bitter break up/bitter tell off of a callous and indifferent former love. As Bolvin says, “When I was a kid I really loved the movie Independence Day,” she explains of the track. “One night, years later I was home alone and I kept hearing really weird loud noises, not like a truck driving by, but a truck crashing into a building over and over. It freaked me out so bad I called my boyfriend and told him that if I’m gone tomorrow it’s because of aliens…he wouldn’t stop laughing at me. I was so mad he wouldn’t take me seriously I didn’t sleep that night and instead I wrote this breakup song.