Author: William Ruben Helms

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

New Video: Russian Baths Release an Uncomfortably Intimate Visual for “Poolhouse”

Over the past few months,  I’ve written a bit about the Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Russian Baths, and as you may recall, with the release of their  debut single “Ambulance,” the band comprised of  Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner, quickly received attention for a sound that the band has said nods at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others; however, “Slenderman,” the first single off Penance, which was released earlier this year, nodded at brooding, 120 Minutes-era MTV alternative rock, as the song featured the familiar alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure and rousingly anthemic hooks while “What’s In Your Basement”  was an mosh-pit worthy song that nodded at Bleach and In Utero-era Nirvana and Finelines-era My Vitriol.

Interestingly, “Poolhouse,” Penance‘s latest single is an expansive, shoegazer rock-like song that manages to bring Sonic Youth to mind, as the band employs the use of jangling dissonance to create a an eerily gorgeous song that feels immense and downright oceanic. As the members of the band explain, “‘Poolhouse’ is about an existential crisis. It’s about feeling so overwhelmed that you can’t see the way out. It’s about moments of clam and hope being submerged in waves of pressure. It’s about losing your breath because of fear.” 

 Shot in an uncomfortably intimate close up that features the band’s frontwoman Jess Ress as she’s doused in continuous steams of water, the recently released video for “Poolhouse” evokes of submersion that the song focuses in, with the video’s protagonist struggling to keep calm. 

Advertisements

Comprised of Novak (vocals, guitar) and John Henry (drums, vocals), the Sydney, Australia-based rock duo Polish Club can trace their origins to when the occasional drinking buddies decided to book a room and see if they could play together. The result is a bruising, bluesy garage rock with elements of classic, Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson and others and as the band’s drummer John Henry explains, their sound was “just about playing to the strength[s] of the people involved. We play hard and fast and loud with kinda simple guitar lines and Novak has a voice that manages to push a lot of air. We probably sound so big because his voice is actually physically very loud. Like, if he sings without a mic in a room, you can’t talk to the person next to you.”

Opening for the likes of Courtney Barnett and Gang of Youths in their native Australia, the duo quickly received a reputation for sweat-soaked and bloodied, barn-burner sets, and as a result they’ve managed to sell out headlining shows, and play their country’s festival circuit. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the duo’s forthcoming full-length debut Alright Already is slated for an August 10, 2018 release through Universal Australia, and the album’s second official single “Come Party” is a swaggering, face-melting, power chord-based bruiser that sounds indebted to AC/DC, The Black Keys, Grand Funk Railroad, Thin Lizzy and 38 Special, complete with an enormous, arena rock friendly hooks. Unsurprisingly, the new single reveals a band that’s ready to kick ass, take names — and then take over the world while they’re at it.

 

With the release of 2006’s full-length debut Olessi: Fragments of an Earth released through Stones Throw Records, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician and producer Georgia Anne Muldrow quickly established herself as a key member of her hometown’s avant-garde hip-hop/jazz/soul scene; in fact, while on Stones Throw Records, Muldrow befriended and collaborated with Madlib, Oh No, MED, Wild Child, DJ Romes and her future partner Dudley Perkins, also known as Declaime.

Along with Perkins, Muldrow co-founded SomeOthaShip Connect Records in 2008 and through their label, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician and producer released forward-thinking, genre-defying material under a number of monikers and  including Ms. One, Pattie Blingh & The Akebulan 5, Blackhouse, an electro fusion project with DJ Romes and the critically renowned jazz project Jyoti, which garnered Jazz Album of the Year honors at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards back in 2011 for Ocotea.  Since then Muldrow has developed a reputation as a musician’s musician, who has been praised and championed by Yasiin Bey, BilalErykah Badu with whom she collaborated of Badu’s New Amerykah Part Two and Robert Glasper, with whom she collaborated with on the Miles Ahead soundtrack.

Fittingly, Muldrow signed with Brainfeeder Records and her first Brainfeeder release is the Mike & Keys-produced “Overload,” a somewhat anxious yet swooning track centered around a slick and retro-futuristic and soulful production featuring stuttering beats, arpeggiated keys and an infectious hooked paired with Muldrow’s effortlessly soulful, Erykah Badu-like vocals — and while being clearly indebted to the neo-soul sound of the late 90s and early 00s, the song is about “the process of building loving relationships in spite of the malfunctions of Western Society.”

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Introducing the Genre Defying Globalist Sounds of Ekiti Sound

Leke a.k.a CHif is a Lagos -born, London-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer/songwriter, who has carefully honed his skills with a variety of artists and producers both in Europe and Africa, and briefly as a sound designer in Nollywood — and unsurprisingly, all of Leke’s experiences have influenced his solo recording project Ekiti Sound, a project that finds him adding his name to a growing list of genre-blurring artists that draw from an eclectic array of sources — while being undeniably Nigerian; in fact,  the slickly produced “Ife,” Leke’s latest single off his forthcoming Ekiti Sound debut Abe No Vex pairs thumping tweeter and woofer rocking Chicago house music, African polyrhythm, arpeggiated synths and an anthemic, club rocking hook with shouted traditional lyrics by frequent collaborator Prince G, creating a seamless (but incredibly subtle) synthesis across the African Diaspora. As Leke explains “Ife” in Yoruba means “the greatest love,” and the swaggering club banger manages to gently swoon a bit at its core, as it promotes the sort of love that should unify all creatures on this planet.

Directed by Sam Campbell, the recently released video for “Ife,” was shot on location in Ikeja, the capital of Lagos State and features three beautiful. traditional Nigerian dancers, who do some of the traditional dances of the Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa tribes with an infectious and life affirming energy.

 

New Video: French Electro Pop Duo Synapson Teams Up with Sengalese Singer/Songwriter Lass on a Breezy and Genre-Defying Single

Synapson is a French electronic music production and artist duo, comprised of Alexandre Chiere (keys, saxophone, beats, vocals) and Paul Cucuron (drums, turntables, production and mixing) and since their formation in 2009, the duo have been critically and commercially successful — they’ve sold over 150,000 physical copies and have amassed over 100 million streams; however, they may be best known for their remake/re-work of Burkinabe singer/songwriter and musician Victor Deme’s “Djon’maya,” which they renamed “Djon Maya Mai,” and their original track “All In You,” featuring Anna Kova. Both tracks were smash hits in the duo’s native France, as they charted at #12 and #10 respectively. 

The duo’s soon-to-be released album Super 8 will further cement their reputation for a sound that possesses elements of nu-disco, deep house but it finds them at their most ambitious, as they collaborate with a diverse, international cast including French act M83’s Mai-Lan,  Archive’s Holly, Kaleem Taylor, L. Marshall, Idyllwild’s Casey Abrams, Miami-born, Paris-based rapper Beat Assailant, Jamaica-born, London-based Taneisha lJackson, Tim Dup, Haute’s Tessa B. and Blasé, Sengalese singer/songwriter Lass and a list of others. 

Super 8’s latest single “Souba” synthesis of French electro pop, house music and Afropop as its centered around a slick yet soulful production featuring a looped, shimmering guitar line, a sinuous bass line, thumping beats and a club rocking and radio friendly hook. And unsurprisingly, the two step inducing track will remind the listener that electronic dance music translates language and culture, and that perhaps most important, it’s music that’s always a beneficial unifying force. Additionally, the track will establish the duo on a growing list of French electronic music acts that blur genre lines with a globe spanning bent. 

The recently released video employs a simple but endearing concept — we see Lass and the members of Synapson hanging out in and around a prototypical European car. At points the videos features the members of the trio brooding, but for the most part they’re hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. 

New Video: The Cinematic and Dreamy Visuals for Rueben and the Dark’s Anthemic Album Single “Dreaming”

Led by primary songwriter and creative mastermind Rueben Bullock and featuring multi-insturmetnalist and vocalists Shea Alain, Brock Geiger, Ian Jarvis and Dino Soares, the Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based indie folk act Rueben and the Dark have […]

New Video: Introducing the Power Chord-based Rock of Vancouver’s SAVVIE

Savannah Wellman is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based singer/songwriter and musician, whose solo recording project SAVVIE as Wellman described in an email to me “is sexy, gritty rock ‘n’ roll, delving into the murky depths of lust, love, and everything in between.” Wellman’s latest single “Creature of Habit,” is the follow up to 2015’s debut effort Night Eyes, and the power chord-based, arena rock and radio friendly hook-driven single was produced by John Raham, who has worked with The Belle Game, Dan Mangan, and Dralms sounds as though the Canadian singer/songwriter was drawing from The Black Keys, as well as JOVM mainstays The Coathangers and Anna Rose. As the Vancouver-based singer/songwriter explains in press notes “everyone has their vice, and ‘Creature of Habit’ begs the question — is that a bad thing? is it worth fighting? Sometimes it most definitely is, but sometimes we need to hold on to what makes us happy.” 

Directed by Nakasone Folk, the video as Wellman told Billboard is “a take on the idea of struggling with trying to be different. It kind of takes us through a cleansing, the idea of wanting to let go and cleanse yourself of these habits that you might hold onto, but at the end seeing in your reflection that they never really leave you. It’s still a a part of you, and maybe in some cases, it’s not all that bad. Some habits can get the best of you, and sometimes they’re the release you need.” And as a result, the video features a lot of inky and murky blacks, brilliant and heavenly whites, and mystical cleansing rituals; it’s sexy but darkly so and fitting. 

Over the last half of 2016, I had written quite a bit about the Philadelphia, PA-based indie rock quartet Oldermost, and as you may recall, the band led by its creative mastermind and primary songwriter Bradford Bucknam received attention from this site and elsewhere for a 70s AM radio rock sound that immediately brought to mind  Nick Drake, and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd with the release of singles like “Honey With Tea”  “Finally Unsure” and a gorgeous cover of  Graham Nash’s I Used To Be A King,” that emphasized the song’s bittersweet nature.

Now, up until recently, some time had passed since I had written about the band, which had spent the better part of last year writing and recording their fourth, full-length album, How Could You Ever Be The Same?, which is slated for a July 13, 2018 release through AntiFragile Music. Reportedly, the album finds the band continuing to move towards more complex sonic territory while the material carefully blends neuroticism and mysticism. Album single “The Danger of Belief” was a rollicking and anthemic track centered around a twangy guitar line, a propulsive bass line and shuffling drumming that seemed to draw from Tom Petty while possessing the intimacy of old friends, who have the same arguments, know how to needle each other, and yet they wouldn’t have it any other way. “Same To Me,” the album’s second album is a wistful track that brings to mind, a dusty, beer soaked honky tonk at 3am or so, when you’re left with that last half pint of beer, that last bit of whiskey and the lingering ghosts of regret; in this case, the song focuses on how relationships subtly change as the people within them change — but oddly enough, they’re rooted in a comfortable routine, and old memories.