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.

Over the last half of 2017, I had written a it about Trent Prall, a Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter and his solo recording project Kainalu, which derives its name for the Hawaiian word for ocean wave. And as you may recall, the music that Prall has created over the past decade or so draws from psych pop, psych rock, dream pop, Tropicalia, synth pop and funk, as well as childhood trips to Oahu, Hawaii visiting his mother’s family. Ultimately, those influences have coalesced and culminated in a breezy, retro-futuristic and somewhat nostalgia-inducing sound that the Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter has dubbed “Hawaii-fi,” as a homage to his Hawaiian ancestry and their influence on him and his work.


Prall’s breezy latest single “Folds Like Origami” reminds me a bit of Illumination-era Miami Horror and Tame Impala, as the song finds Prall drawing from late 70s and early 80s synth funk, disco, contemporary synth pop and dream pop in a seamless fashion while crafting crowd-pleasing, dance floor friendly hooks paired with thoughtful lyrics. As Prall explains in press notes, growing up in Hawaiian culture, folding origami was deeply rooted into every wedding he attended. The bride is supposed to fold 1,000 paper cranes symbolizing the patience she will have in the marriage; however, according to Prall, “it’s usually the bride’s family, who actually ends up doing the folding.”  Understandably, a young Trent Prall was amazed but the beauty and complexity of transforming something relatively basic and simple into something beautiful — without changing or adding anything to the material itself.

“I wanted to try and capture this imagery and apply it a person’s worldview. The line of the song for me is ‘The world opens up to you, it folds like origami. So drop the things you knew, they fold like origami.’ Recently, I’ve been getting more and more into meditation. I kind of see a parallel between origami with mediation. By finding peace within yourself, I think you can make your own beautiful in the world around you. Just like by finding a new shape within a flat piece of paper, you can create a beautiful peace of art” the Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter says. 



New Audio: The 60s-Inspired Heavy Psych Sounds of Sweden’s SVVAMP

Comprised of three long-time friends, Adam Johansson,  Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren, who all share vocal duties, the Jönköping, Sweden-based trio Svvamp can trace their origins to a mutual love of rock, folk and blues; in fact, the band has received praise for a classic rock-like heavy psych sound that draws influence from Cream, Eric Bell-era Thin Lizzy, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Neil Young and Crazy Horse — but with an unpretentious, genuine and downright uicontrvibed sound and vibe. And as a result, the Swedish trio’s self-titled debut landed in the Top 20 Albums of 2016 in the Doom Charts consortium of music journalists, critics and radio stations.

The Jönköping, Sweden-based trio’s highly anticipated sophomore effort SVVAMP 2 is slated for a June 8, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band making the massive jump from self-recording on a 4-track tape deck to a comparably expansive 6-track tape deck, allowing the band to expand upon their sound while improving the overall fidelity of their sound. Interestingly enough, there can be a comparison to when many psych rock bands began recording with increasingly state-of-the-art studio equipment (for their day), moving from 4 to 8 and eventually 16 tracks; however, as the band’s Adam Johansson explains, their sophomore effort finds the band stripping some elements of their sound down with all of the instruments being treated equally. “They all have their place in a song,” he says. “Obvious with 6-tracks now available, we’ve had a bit of fun with that.”

“Queen,” Svvamp 2’s swaggering and self-assured first single finds the band crafting a sound that deceptively sounds as though it were released in 1968 or so, thanks to its enormous power chord-based riff, and arena friendly hooks — nodding at Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” The Allman Brothers Band and Neil Young and Crazy Horse within a rather expansive, jam-like song structure while capturing a “you-are-there” immediacy.

New Video: Chilean Shoegazers MAFF Release Eerie 120 Minutes MTV-like Visuals for Cinematic “Act 2”

Currently comprised of childhood friends and founding members Richard Gómez (vocals, bass and guitar) and Nicolás “Nek” Colombres (drums), along with the band’s newest members, Valentina Cardenas (bass) and Martin Colombres (guitar), the Santiago, Chile-based shoegazer act MAFF formed back in 2012 but interestingly enough the band can trace its origins to Gómez and Colombres collaborating in a number of local punk bands before starting their latest project, which is largely influenced by The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Pixies, RIDE, Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. Now, if you had been frequenting this site a few years ago, you may recall that the Chilean shoegazers’ self-titled debut received attention both nationally and internationally among musicians, critics and fans for material that thematically explored innocence, mysticism, love, loss, freedom and timelessness among other things.

Since the release of their full-length debut, the acclaimed Colombian shoegazers went on a lengthy hiatus in which Gomez fathered a daughter, Augusta, who wound up inspiring their soon-to-be released EP Melaniña, an effort that derives it’s name from an amalgamation of the word melanin, chosen because Augusta Gomez is slightly albino with the Spanish word for little girl, niña. The album artwork, which was created by the band’s Nicolas Colombres, features an image of little Augusta, who witnessed the entire creative process of the EP.  “During our break between albums, I learned to be a father and learned to play the guitar. I started to write music surrounded by new feelings in my life,” Ricardo Gomez says in press notes. “It is always fascinating to keep learning new things, and I was fortunate to have these two moment’s crash together in the same period of my life. I locked myself in my home studio and started to write music”. “She’s been my source of inspiration,” Gomez continues. “This is my gift to her.”
Melaniña’s latest single “Act 2” was written and conceived as a sequel to “Act 1” off the band’s self-titled album, and as a result the incredibly cinematic instrumental track features some impressive guitar pyrotechnics, with guitars played through effects pedals paired with a propulsive rhythm section — with an expansive yet dreamy vibe familiar to classic shoegaze that also nods at Finelines-era My Vitriol and Collapse Under the Empire.
Directed by Tim Busko, the recently video continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with the Pennsylvania-based director and filmmaker, and much like its predecessor, the black and white video is comprised of shaky, handheld images of household items — radios, teacups, breakfast food, household plants, model planes, kids playing and natural phenomenon with a creepy yet hallucinogenic feel.

Camille Trust is an up-and-coming, Tampa, FL-born, New York-based soul/pop artist, who’s influenced by the likes of Janis Joplin, Lauryn Hill and Etta James — although with her energetic and dynamic stage presence and raw, unvarnished honesty, her work seems much more indebted to the likes of Mary J. Blige. Now, as you may recall, I caught the Tampa-born, New York-based soul/pop artist performing an opening set Baby’s All Right that featured sultry covers of Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About” and Stevie Wonder‘s “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” and a collection of singles that she’s released over the past few years, as well as material off her recently released EP — including her latest single, “Lose You,” which pairs Trust’s effortlessly soulful vocals with a modern production consisting of stuttering beats, brief horn blasts, twinkling keys and an explosive, radio friendly and rousingly anthemic hook; but underneath the swaggering and thumping production, is a plaintive and urgent plea to a lover, who seems ready to bolt.


New Video: JOVM Mainstays Tinariwen Return with a Mournful Meditation on Time, Friendship, and the Tuareg Way of Life in Visuals for Album Single “Nannuflay”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the internationally renowned Algerian Tuareg pioneers of the Desert Blues, Tinariwen, and as you may recall the act can trace their origins back to the late 1970s when the band’s founding member, guitarist Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, joined a small group of Tuareg rebels living in refugee camps in Libya and Algeria. The group of rebels Ag Alhabib hooked up with had been influenced by radical chaabi protest music of Moroccan groups like Nass El Ghiwane and Jil Jilala, Algerian pop rai, and western artists like Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, Carlos Santana, Dire Straits, Jimi Hendrix, Boney M, and Bob Marley  — and they started writing music that meshed the traditional folk music of their people with Western rock, reggae and blues-leaning arrangements. Upon relocating to Tamanrasset, Algeria, Ag Alhabib started a band with Alhassane Ag Touhami and brothers Inteyeden Ag Ablil and Liya Ag Ablil that had played traditional Taureg music at various weddings, parties and other occasions across both Algeria and Libya. Interestingly, as the story goes, when the quartet had started, they didn’t have a name; but people across the region, who had seen them play had begun calling them Kel Tinariwen, which in the Tamashek language (the tongue of the Taureg people) translates roughly as “The People of the Deserts” or “The Desert Boys.”

In 1980, Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi issued a decree inviting all young Tuareg men, who were living illegally in Libya to receive full military training, as part of his dream of forming a Saharan regiment, comprised of the best young Tuareg fighters to further his territorial ambitions in Chad, Niger, and elsewhere across Northern Africa. Al Alhabib and his bandmates answered the call and received military training. Whether or not the founding members of the band truly believed in Gaddafi’s military ambitions would be difficult to say — but on a practical level, a steady paycheck to support yourself and your family certainly is an enticement. Five years later, Ag Alhabib, Ag Touhami and the Ag Ablil brothers answered a similar call by leaders of the Libyan Tuareg movement, who desired an autonomous homeland for their people, and wound up meeting fellow musicians Keddou Ag Ossade, Mohammed Ag Itlale (a.k.a “Japonais”), Sweiloum Ag Alhousseyni, Abouhadid Ag Alhousseyni, and Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni — all who had sang and played guitar. At this point, the lineup of Tinariwen was completed and the members of the collective began writing songs about the issues and concerns of their people.

The members of the band built a makeshift studio and then vowed to record and distribute music for free for anyone who supplied them a blank cassette tape. And within a short period of time, their cassettes were a highly sought-after item, and were traded throughout Saharan Africa.

In 1989 the collective had left Libya and relocated to Ag Alhabib’s birthplace of Tessalit, Mali; but by the next year, Mail’s Tuareg population revolted against the Malian government — with some members of the collective participating as rebel fighters in that conflict. After the Tamanrasset Accords were reached and agreed upon in early 1991, the members of Tinariwen, who had fought in the conflict had left the military and devoted themselves to their music full-time. By 1992, some of the members of the band went to Abidjan, Ivory Coast to record a cassette at JBZ Studios, which they followed up with extensive gigs for their fellow Tuaregs across Saharan Africa, which helped furthered the reputation they had developed primarily by word-of-mouth.

A collaboration with renowned French, world music ensemble Lo’Jo helped the members of Tinariwen receive a growing international profile, which included their a live set at  Africa Oye, one of the UK’s largest African music/African Diaspora festival. Building on the increasing buzz, the band released their full-length debut The Radio Tisdas Sessions, which was their first recorded effort to be released outside of Saharan Africa. Since their formation, the collective has gone through a series of lineup changes, incorporating a younger generation of Tuareg musicians, who haven’t fought during the military conflicts of the elders, including bassist Eyadou Ag Leche, percussionist Said Ag Ayad, guitarist Elaga Ag Hamid, guitarist Abdallah Ag Lamida, and vocalists Wonou Walet Sidati and the Walet Oumar sisters.

Despite their lineup changes, Tinariwen has received international acclaim, particularly over the past decade, as they’ve regularly toured across the European Union, North America, Japan and Australia, frequently playing sets at some of the world’s biggest music festivals — including Glastonbury, Coachella, Roskilde, Les Vieilles Charrues, WOMAD, FMM Sines,  Printemps de Bourges and others, as well as some of the world’s best known music venues, as they continued with a sound that evokes the harsh and surreal beauty of their homeland, centered around the poetry and wisdom of a rough and tumble, proud and rebellious people, whose old-fashioned way of life is rapidly disappearing as a result of technology and encroaching Westernization. Along with that, a bloody and contentious series of religious and ethnic wars have splintered several nations across the region — including most recently Mali and Libya, where members of Tinariwen have proudly called home at various points of the band’s existence.  Unsurprisingly, Tinariwen’s latest album Elwan (which translates into English as The Elephants) thematically focuses on the impact of Westernization and technology has had on their people, the band’s life of forced exile, and their longing for their ancestral homeland.

Elwan’s latest single “Nannuflay” is an atmospheric and shuffling blues centered around a hypnotic groove and a gorgeous, looping guitar line that features the renowned pioneers of the Desert Blues collaborating with guitar god Kurt Vile and the imitable, grunge rock pioneer Mark Lanegan, that manages to be a powerful connection between Saharan Africa and the West, and a mournful longing for a past that the song’s narrator knows he cannot have back; but along with that, there’s a tacit acknowledgement that time is passing by — sometimes faster than anyone wants to admit.

Directed by Axel Digoix, the animated video for “Nannuflay” follows an older Tuareg man, who returns to the camp where he grew up for a party. The man remembers both the joys and torments of the nomadic life, he once lived with a friend, who has since died, including childhood memories of life in the sand dunes, the adventures they had as teenagers, the fights, dramas and responsibilities of their adult lives. Throughout the video, the two men’s friendship details the lives of the Tauregs and the duty and obligation they feel towards each other and to passing along as much of the old traditions as humanly possible.


Although currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ripley Johnson (guitar, vocals), Dusty Jermier (trumpet, bass), Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) and Nash Whalen (organ), the renowned San Francisco, CA-based psych rock act Wooden Shjips can trace their origins back to 2003 when Johnson started the band with the intention of finding a group of non-musicians and creating music with them — with the underlying idea behind it being that untrained players would have a new outlook on what music is and how it’s played, and as a result bring something fresh to the table in a way that many of the garage punks of the early 60s and the Velvet Underground did. In fact one of the longest tenured members of the band, Jermier was originally recruited to play saxophone, an instrument he had never even picked up before while other members from their earliest iterations often had such a lack of interest in playing live for anyone that the band didn’t bother looking for gigs.

Eventually, the band settled to its current lineup — but this time, the intention was different: Johnson, a fan of seemingly impenetrable albums an arcane, small-press poetry books, was fascinated by the idea of books that went unread or became largely out of favor and/or of print that were rediscovered by collectors or some bored critic looking for something different, and praised for being lost and under-appreciated gems. And unsurprisingly, the band set about to make purposely obscure albums that Johnson envisioned leaving in libraries, thrift store bargain bins and on park benches. Eschewing a MySpace page, a Soundcloud account or a website with MP3 downloads, the band gave away a limited pressing of 300 copies of their debut 10 inch vinyl album, paying the shipping costs for out of town requests — and unexpected, the album received some rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, which raised the album’s cachet and the band’s profile, thanks in part to a sound that the band has described as “a minimal, droning kind of garage band-influenced psychedelia with a noticeable 60s Krautrock influence” with some comparing the band to Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Soft Machine and Guru Guru.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the members of Wooden Shjips released 2006’s “Dance California”/”Clouds Over the Earthquake,” to mark the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which sold enough for the band to break even on their investment, and “Summer of Love 2007,” a single inspired by groups, who worked to make the world the kind of place they wanted to live in, like the Diggers, a local anarchist collective that founded the first Free Store and served free meals to Golden State Park to any and all comers with the proceeds from the single going to Food Not Bombs. Interestingly, their second real gig as a band was a single release show, opening for the psych rock legend Roky Erickson.
The band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut was recorded in the band’s rehearsal space on an half-inch eight-track console that Jermier found, making the album an strictly analog affair aimed at getting high-quality and high-fidelity on an extremely low budget. Some tracks were layered up demos while others were live studio jams with drum parts added later, since they only had two tracks of the drums and no way to keep instruments from bleeding into each other noisily. But despite — or perhaps because of its DIY fashion, the album was released to critical applause that lead to the “Loose Lips”/”Start to Dreaming” 7 inch released by Sub Pop Records.

Since then, the band has released three more full-length albums, 2009’s Dos, 2011’s West, 2013’s Back to Land and two compilations 2008’s Volume 1 and 2010’s Volume 2 — and they’ve managed this while the band’s Johnson has been busy with his side project Moon Duo, his acclaimed dup with Sanae Yamada that has released four full-length albums and one EP.  Interestingly, V, the Bay Area-based psych rock band’s fifth full-length album and first album in over five years, finds the band reportedly expanding upon their sound while lightening the overall vibes, with the material being decidedly laid back, almost summery jams.

Written last summer, Johnson viewed the material as a necessary antidote to the pervasive political anxiety and apocalyptic panic; in fact, as Johnson says in press notes,
“We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.”
V‘s first single “Staring at the Sun” is an expansive, laid-back, shimmering delay pedal effected, guitar pop with a steady groove that sounds as though it owes a big sonic debt to Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Psychic Ills‘ Inner Journey Out paired with a slowly building narrative centered around the gentle push and pull between the desire for sun and escape and the pressing tug of anxiety and uncertainty — with peaceful resistance to that anxiety and uncertainty winning the day and guiding the overall tone.   At one point, the song’s narrator seems to say “come on, man slow it down, daydream in the sun for a bit,” and you know what, goddamn it, the guy is right. Even in the face of a world constantly on the brink of annihilation, of a government on the verge of collapse and a social order being shredded apart, sometimes you need to push the reset button or you’ll go crazy.


The band will be embarking on a tour to support their newest effort and you can check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

April 13 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar [tickets]

April 14 – Bellingham, WA – Shakedown [tickets]

April 20 – Half Moon Bay, CA – Old Princeton Landing [tickets]

April 21 – Santa Cruz – Michael’s On Main [tickets]

April 29 – Austin, TX – Levitation Festival

May 25 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios [tickets]

May 26 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile [tickets]

June 1 – Nelsonville, OH – Nelsonville Music Festival

June 2 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle [tickets]

June 4 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar [tickets]

June 5 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern [tickets]

June 7 – Los Angeles, CA – The Lodge [tickets]

June 9 – Sonoma, CA – Huichica Music Festival


New Audio: Black Summer’s Subtle Yet Moody Remix of Australian-born Viral Sensation Xavier Dunn

Xavier Dunn is an up-and-coming, Sydney, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, producer and electronic artist, who first came to international prominence with a series of acoustic covers that included 3 Hype Machine #1s, a Spotify Global Viral Charts #2, a Spotify US Viral Charts #1, a Spotify Australia Viral Chart #1 and over 22 million Spotify streams to date. Last month, Dunn released the critically applauded “Isic Tutor,” an ethereal bit of neo soul that features Dunn’s tender and aching falsetto paired with a ambient production consisting of thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and gently swirling synths and electronics within a song that immediately brought to mind Beacon’s For Now EP and The Ways We Separate — but centered around the ebbs and flows of a rather tumultuous relationship and in part the strange wisdom of Isic, an AI character from the video game Battleborn.

Recently, one of Australia’s most exciting up-and-coming producers — and perhaps one of their youngest to reach national attention, Black Summer, a 14 year old EDM producer, who was first discovered by Triple J when he was 11, remixed Dunn’s ambient “Isic Tutor,” and while retaining the aching and tender falsetto vocals of the original and some of the ethereal and ambient electronics of the original, adds skittering drum programming and a live drum sample, which manages to gently speed up the tempo while remaining unhurried and moody. 

Biig Piig is an up-coming 20 year-old, London-based pop artist, who has lived a rather nomadic life in a wide array of cultures as she was born in Spain, moved to Ireland, where she spent several years before finally settling in London, where she eventually joined the Nine8 Collective, a London-based crew of 27 creatives, who collaborate and support each other through a number of different artistic disciplines. As a solo artist, the British-based singer/songwriter has received attention for material that assimilates the sort of life experiences — she once worked as a poker dealer and as a tequila bar waitress — that gives her work an intriguing blend of maturity and youthful naivete. In fact, her stage name reportedly came about after drunkenly reading the name off a pizza menu and relating it to a sense of self-acceptance. “The more I called myself it, the more it made sense. I’m just a mess really. Still cute tho,” the up-and-coming London-based artist jokes in press notes.

Biig Piig’s latest single, the Dylantheinfamous-produced “Flirt” is the first official single from her forthcoming debut EP, Big Fan Of The Sesh, and it features the up-and-coming pop artist’s coquettish and jazz-inflected vocals over a dusty, soulful yet minimalist J. Dilla, Madlib-like production consisting of twinkling keys and boom bap beats but underneath the surface is a song with a narrator, quietly suffering through the feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and overthinking that typically happens when you’ve started to like someone but don’t quite know what you want to happen — or if you even want it to happen. And while capturing a fairly universal experience, Biig Pigg gives the song subtle yet detailed bits of realistic and intimate psychological detail that makes it seem as though the song was inspired by her own experiences. Interestingly, the EP is conceived as the first of a trilogy of audio-visual stories mixing the deeply personal with the universal, centered around a main character, a young woman named Fran — and the material generally focuses on that first doomed, major relationship, losing yourself in city life but somehow managing to come out o the other side.  “I’d hope,” says Biig Piig, “that anyone that feels they’re in a situation like that would find some solidarity in some of the tracks; understanding that you don’t owe anyone anything, and if you’re in a cycle that makes you unhappy, best believe you can change it compadre.”




New Video: Benin City Returns with a Thumping, House Music-Inspired, Club Banger

Comprised of Joshua Idehen (vocals, spoken word), Shanaz Dorsett (vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Tom Leaper, the London-based trio Benin City have received both national and international attention for a sound that meshes Afro-pop, hip-hop, spoken word and electronica in a seamless, club banging fashion. The trio’s forthcoming sophomore effort Last Night is slated for a April 6, 2018 release through Moshi Moshi Records, and the album reportedly is an ode to London’s nightlife and club scenes with the trio commenting on what their hometown’s nightlife scene has meant to them while expressing anger, frustration and weariness over a rapidly disappearing scene.

For countless people across the world, especially those in a city like New York, the disappearance of beloved clubs, bars and music venues create much larger, universal questions: What does it mean for your town and its culture? What does it mean socioeconomically? With nightlife being both an escape from the soulsucking horrors of the daily grind and a way for weird kids passionate about dance, music, art and fashion to find a supportive loving alternate family, where do these kids go to find that kind of support and love? What happens to them if they never find the support and love they needed? Where do they find a sense of belonging and purpose? And if they have found all of that in a beloved club or bar, what happens when that spot closes?

Interestingly, each individual member of Benin City has spent the past decade in London’s nightlife scene in a variety of roles including artists, ravers, bartenders, bouncers, bar backs, scenesters, drinkers, partiers and weekend warriors, and as a result the album’s material emphasizes a deep, inconsolable sense of loss. As the trio’s Joshua Idehen explains, “London nightlife has been our way out, our release, our daily escape. We’ve been clubbers, barmen, part / full-time drinkers. We’ve served cocktails and downed shots. We’ve found ourselves on dancefloors and lost our dinners on nightbusses. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve engaged in dumb drunken squabbles and we’ve found ourselves in strangers’ houses. We’ve danced to songs we didn’t know the name of. We made landmarks out of hidden corners of London: Passing Clouds, Ghetto, Trash Palace, Plastic People, Vibe Bar, Cable, Crucifix Lane. Those places, and the stories they held are gone for good as London becomes pricier and ever more grey. On this album are some of those stories: this is an ode to London’s nightlife.”

Towards the end of last year, I wrote about album single “All Smoke, No Fire” a track that featured a minimalist yet propulsive and club rocking production consisting of stuttering beats, an eerily repetitive and chiming synth line and an enormous yet sinuous hook over which Idehen and Dorsett rhyme about prototypical club situations — while noting that those who engage in and love nightlife culture need it to survive with their dignity and sanity intact, even if the bouncer is a no-neck having asshole or if someone spilled their drink over that dope new outfit you brought just for that one night of freedom; but underneath it all is a subtle and undeniable sense of loss and unease over your personal headquarters disappearing — forever.

Last Night’s latest single “Final Form” is a thumping and sinuous house track production featuring arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, chiming percussion paired with a rousing and anthemic hook — and in some way,  the song strikes me as a swaggering and modern synthesis of Snap!’s “Rhythm is a Dancer,” and Stardust’s club classic “Music Sounds Better With You” but with an ecstatic yet deeply personal bent. As the British act’s Joshua Idehen explains, the song was inspired by a night at Zoo Bar, “I once went to Zoo Bar in the West End with a poet I really fancied. It was a Saturday night, and neither of us drank but we felt like dancing. They were playing soulful house (this was back in the noughties). Spurring and daring each other on, we started with the running man and ended up at last orders, dripping in the worst sweat, making up entirely new dance moves, downing large glasses of tap water. She, a Dragonball Z fan, kept saying ‘nah, you haven’t seen my Final Form. Next song I will be over 9000.’ Obviously, that stuck with me.”

As for the video treatment, Idehen explains, “Our last video for “All Smoke, No Fire” was in memory of all the clubs that have shut in the last five years, so we wanted our next video to celebrate the mainstream and alternative scenes still thriving in London. Working with George Bushaway, we crafted a narrative of two clubbers working up the courage to lose themselves in three very different dancefloors: Lindy hopping with Swing Patrol in Holborn, Jungle/Garage raving in Fire down [in] Vauxhall, and a soca night at Ruby Blue, Leicester Square.” The video focuses on these two lonely men, feeling self-conscious, awkward and as though they couldn’t possible belong — that is until they figure out a way to let go, and embrace the moment, absorbing the joy, ecstasy and community of the room they’re in, while being authentic to themselves.