JOVM celebrates Patti Smith’s 74th birthday.
Throughout the course of this nine-plus year history of this site, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering long-time JOVM mainstays Bambara. Last year, the Brooklyn-based trio — brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh and their childhood friend William Brookshire — released their critically applauded third, full-length album Shadow on Everything. Sonically, the album’s material was a decisive and new direction for the band: the material found the band moving away from the noise rock and punk rock of their previously released material — 2013’s DREAMVIOLENCE and 2017’s Swarm — to incorporate a more Western Gothic-inspired take on punk rock and while still centered on their tight and forceful rhythm section, the album had the band place Reid Bateh’s vocals at the forefront, symbolically placing the damaged characters and seedy locales of his lyrics on center stage. And in some way, it captures something wholly and uniquely American.
While Shadow on Everything was constructed around one central narrative with each of its songs sort of functioning like chapters in a novel, the band’s fourth album Stray, which is slated for a February 14, 2020 release through Wharf Cat Records, plays more like a short story collection, featuring a group of inter-related characters, set in the band’s native Georgia. Interestingly, Stray’s second and latest single is the slow-burning David Lynch soundtrack-like “Sing Me to the Street.” The brooding and meditative song features an atmospheric arrangement of shimmering and swirling synths, a sinuous baseline, Blaze Bateh’s metronomic drumming. Interestingly, while continuing a run of material centered around Reid Bateh’s moody and dramatic baritone, Palberta’s Ani Ivry-Block and Public Practice’s Drew Citron’s harmonies serve as an ethereal counterpart, giving a brief glimpse of gorgeousness through the gloom. Many of the Stray’s characters are named, like the album’s hard charging and explosive “Serafina” but as the band’s Reid Bateh explains in press notes, he used a different approach for “Sing Me to the Street,” ‘”Sing me to the Street’ is about loneliness, isolation, and the dreamy allure of chaos. The song follows an unnamed character wandering the streets of a vast city that feels both alive and abandoned, as he attempts to silence the persistent song of oblivion singing in his head.”
Co-directed by Will Hart and Bambara, the recently released video for “Sing Me to the Street” was filmed by Will Hart, and the video captures and evokes the loneliness and unease of an enormous city at night — and it does in a way that feels indebted to film noir and French New Wave cinema.
Live concert photography of Hennessey and Girl Skin at Berlin Under A on Sunday.
Comprised of Lucy Jowett (vocals), Joe Clarke (guitar) and Jacob Marston (drums), the up-and-coming Leeds, UK-based art punk trio Dead Naked Hippies formed back in 2016 and since their formation they’ve received praise from BBC Introducing, KCRW, DIY, Clash, DORK Magazine, Metro and PRS Magazine for a face melting take on art rock and art punk centered. Adding to a growing profile, the Leeds-based trio have shared stages with Dream Wife, IDLES, Queen Zee and DZ Deathrays, and have played at Live at Leeds and last year’s Leeds Festival.
The trio’s latest single “Rare” will further cement their growing reputation for crafting blistering and furious punk rock centered around a pummeling and angular guitar line, thumping and forceful four-on-the-floor drumming, and a shout along in a sweaty mosh pit worthy hook; but at the core of the song is a rebellious and cathartic rallying yell. As the band’s Jowett explains in press notes, “It is a song about self love. I think we’re quick to judge the term & deem it laughable or irrelevant in fear of being arrogant, or weird. But if you take a hard look at the society we live in, it’s clear to see why so many people struggle to feel content in their own minds and their own bodies. I’ve always struggled with myself and it sickens me to think that so many other people feel the same. It needs to change.
“We’re used by advertising companies, so they can make money out of our discontentment. Bombarded with images of fake realities, only to make us feel like ours isn’t enough. We’re made to feel like our creativity and passion will never be as important as serving a functional purpose in society. It’s dull, boring and I’m fucking mad about it. Most importantly, I want people to know that they’re not alone.”
OBJECT AS SUBJECT is a Los Angeles, CA-based art punk band initially formed as a solo project by Tucson, AZ-born, Los Angeles-based, classically trained violinist, turned punk rocker Paris Hurley (vocals, drums, dance, composition) responding to the rampant sexism and misogyny she experienced while on the road with Balkan punk/metal act Kultur Shock. Hurley is among a handful of incredibly accomplished musicians I’ve written about throughout the years — at 16 she made her Carnegie Hall debut; and shortly after relocating to Seattle in 2003, she found her way into formative decade long collaborations with acclaimed composer and arranged Jherek Bischoff and experimental dance theater collective Degenerative Art Ensemble.
After an 8 year stint with Kultur Shock, Hurley relocated to Los Angeles, where she began assembling OBJECT AS SUBJECT’S current lineup, which includes Emilia “Pony Sweat” Richeson (dance, drums, vocals), Sorority‘s Gina Young (bass, vocals), Tales Between Our Legs’ Megan Fowler-Hurst (dance, drums, vocals) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). The band works collaboratively under Hurley’s direction, flushing out hyper-specific, detailed songwriting with the personality of each performer.
The Los Angeles-based art punk act’s full-length debut PERMISSION is slated for a release this Friday through Lost Future Records, and the album’s latest single “Pom Pom Moves” is a furious, blistering, feminist anthem that’s full of righteous outrage and indignation — and while being completely of the sociopolitical moment, the song which is influenced by Hurley’s experiences on the road was written several years before the #metoo and #timesup movements. As Hurley explains:
“I wrote this song in my late 20’s. It came out as a single flood of words written down one day in the tour van with Kultur Shock, before Trump even running for office was part of our collective reality, something like 7 years into an 8 year stint of spending months at a time on the road in Europe, completely inundated by sexism + misogyny. From dudes acting as if I were about to touch an open flame anytime I got near a piece of gear, “No, no, no, no! Don’t touch that! I’ll get it! I’ve got it! It’s not safe for you. Let me show you how it’s done,” to guys grabbing my body and handling me like property in attempts to take photos with me as I walked through a venue, to endless marriage proposals from complete strangers, to hyper-sexualized comments about me and my performances that ignored my role in the band as a fucking fierce musician, to the seething glares of hatred from men at the market, to the unrelenting assumption that I must be the girlfriend of the men I was traveling with, to not feeling safe walking by myself after shows, to inescapably boring and incessant talk about pussy – either getting some, having gotten some, or about how if you didn’t drink enough alcohol or lift heavy shit by yourself, you were one – I was surrounded.
One night after a show in Belgium, a guy asked to see my ‘pom pom moves.’ He felt entitled to his own private show, emboldened by the presence of a group of laughing friends surrounding me, miming the movements he wanted me to do in the air above his head, hips swinging. I think what he really wanted was to see my armpit hair up close. There was that guy at the outdoor festival in Croatia who chanted, ‘Show us your boobs,’ on repeat as I took the stage, the guy in the front row of that show in Serbia who stuck his camera up my skirt while I was on stage performing, oh and the Bosnian border patrol officer who looked through my entire suitcase thing by thing, handling my underwear and vibrator while we were locked in a room together with his gun.
Pom Pom Moves is the telling of these stories – my stories – and the transformation from fear + shame to power that came with owning + voicing them.”