Category: indie rock

New Video: Upcoming Scottish Indie Act Releases a Gorgeous and Atmospheric Cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Over You”

Comprised of Mairi Fenella Whittle (vocals) and Jack Boyce (guitar, piano), the Glasgow, Scotland-based indie rock/indie pop duo Fenella can trace their origins to when they were both studying and discovered a mutual love for Elektra Records’ mid-late 1960s releases, which included the work of Nico, The Doors, Love, Tim Buckley, as well as The Velvet Underground, Neil Young’s doom trilogy and jazz. After working and building upon Whittle’s song ideas, the duo made their live debut last year, and with some sporadic shows across their hometown, began to see growing local attention; in fact, the duo played at Glasgow’s King Tuts Wah Wah Hut for the venue’s New Year’s Revolution Festival earlier this year.

Signed to new indie label, Little Tiger Records, run by Riverside Music Business students, under the aegis of lecturer and Creeping Bent Records’ Douglas MacIntyre, the young duo have released a number of singles, including their latest single, an eerily atmospheric and haunting gorgeous, Scott Walker-esque/Mazzy Star-esque cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Over You,” that features Whittle’s aching, torch burning vocals paired with a simple and sparse arrangement of strummed guitar and piano.

Directed by Neil Mckenzie, the video employs a relatively simple concept — a close up of Whittle, as she’s staring directly into the camera, and at us with a pensive yet feral longing and eyes glassy from tears. At one point, we see her wipe tears from her eyes, and it further emphasizes the heartbreak at the core of the song.

New Video: Denmark’s Shocking White Return with a Noise Rock-Leaning, New Single Paired with 120 Minute MTV-era Visuals

Late last month, I wrote about the Aarhus, Denmark-based indie rock/noise rock trio Shocking White. Currently comprised of founding member Jan Petersen (guitar, vocals), along with Rune Randlev (bass) and Marco Bøgehøj (drums), the Danish trio have released four albums in which they’ve experimented with their sound, writing energetic post punk, nihilistic No Wave and feral garage rock primarily rooted in noise rock. And although the band was initially founded back in 2009, the Danish trio has started to receive attention both across Denmark and elsewhere across Scandinavia as they’ve played at some of the region’s biggest festivals, including Recession Festival, Pop Revo, Mejlgade for Mangfoldighed and Spot Festival. Adding to a growing international presence, the band has toured Denmark with Norwegian space rock act Kal-El and Canadian avant-garde punk act Alpha Strategy, and 2016’s “Tweet Scientists” 7 inch, which Copenhagen-based label Tigermilk Records released. Along with that, the Danish trio will be included on a forthcoming compilation featuring internationally-based alt rock/indie rock bands.

Ghosting, Shocking White’s fourth studio album was released last month and the album continues their ongoing collaboration with producer Rasmus Bredvig, who along with the members of the band recorded the album in 3 days at Aarhus-based Tapetown Studio. Now, as you may recall, I wrote about the album’s first single, “Into The Sun,” a single that managed to sound as though it drew influence from 80s grunge rock — i.e., Pixies, Sonic Youth and Nirvana — as the Danish trio pairs power chords played through reverb and distortion pedals with a rousingly anthemic hook, a propulsive and chugging rhythm section and a playfully pop-leaning sense of melody while thematically focusing on a profound and palpable fear of death that gives the song an underlying sense of menace and unease. The album’s second and latest single “Far From Bloom,” continues in a similar vein; however, the single also manages to be reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain, A Place to Bury Strangers, but with an anthemic hook.

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the video for “Into The Sun,” the recently released video for the song features footage shot in color-treated film negatives which create an otherworldly, psychedelic feel to the proceedings while being reminiscent of the thousands of videos I’ve watched during 120 Minutes-era MTV.

 

Formed in 2015 and comprised of Whitaker “Whit” Finberg (guitar, vocals) and Evan Veasey (guitar, vocals), the Ann Arbor, MI-based experimental pop/math rock duo Fallow Land can trace their origins back to a particularly trying period in Whit Fineberg’s life. After relocating to Chicago, the death of a dear friend, the breakup of a previous band and the end of a relationship, Fineberg found himself proverbially speaking on fallow land — and while he may have felt directionless, he also felt more inspired than he had in years. Fineberg spent his free time recording song ideas in his apartment and making frequent visits back home in Ann Arbor to visit family and jam with friends. And as the story goes, Fineberg crossed paths with Evan Veasey, a local musician, who he had heard of and had been familiar with by reputation; but who he hadn’t played with. When they met, Fineberg was impressed by Veasay’s guitar playing — and their unique simpatico as they began to write material pairing off-kilter meter and polyrhythm with conventional song structures to create a sound and songs that are experimental and prog rock-leaning while being accessible.

Caelin Amin (bass, vocals) and Armand Terrell (drums, vocals) join the duo of Fineberg and Veasey for live shows and the band has in a relatively short period of time built up a regional reputation, playing shows in Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Toronto and sharing bills with The Bronzed Chorus, Shipley Hollow, All is Well, Amateur Eyes, We Love You and Growing Fins among others. And with the June 30, 2017 release of the duo’s forthcoming Chris Bathgate-produced EP Pinscher, Fineberg and Veasay hope to expand their profile. Interestingly enough, Bathgate, who once shared a bill with a previous band Fineberg had been in, was chosen to helm the controls of the EP because of his keen understanding of songwriting and attention to craft; in fact, as the duo mentions in press notes, after listening to their material, Bathgate helped push the duo and their material to new directions, simply by asking them “What does this song mean to the world?” and “What’s the most important part of the song?”

The EP’s latest single “Faux” will further cement the duo’s growing reputation for an unusual songwriting approach as the band pairs complex and shuffling polyrhythm, a propulsive bass line, shimmering and atmospheric-leaning guitar work and what sounds like either buzzing synths or buzzing feedback with a soaring and anthemic hook. And while possessing a heady intellectualism, the song captures the innermost world of its narrator with an uncanny attention to psychological detail, capturing the narrator’s desire to destroy his ego; but just under the surface is a twinge of heartache.

 

 

 

 

.

Dale Nicholls is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has spent stints residing in Detroit, MI; Dublin, Ireland; Paris, France; New Zealand and elsewhere. When Nicholls returned to Los Angeles, he ended his previous band and initially started his latest project Sky Chefs as a solo recording project, but has recently expanded into a full-fledged band, featuring members of Cherry Glazerr, The Black Keys, Pageants, Psychic Temple and the backing bands of Fiona Apple, Lou Reed and Chris Cohen.

Last year, was a busy year for Nicholls and his backing band, as Sky Chefs released their full-length debut, three EPs and a single and building upon a growing profile, the project’s Chris Schlarb-produced, sophomore effort Ghosts & Goblins carefully walk the tightrope between sly, winking nature and wry, heart-wrenching confessionals as the material thematically focuses on brokenhearted lovers, embittering relationships, our new, perpetually anxious age, batshit crazy families and family members, designer riot gear and the seemingly comic absurdity of living in Los Angeles. And reportedly, the material may arguably the most straightforward Nicholls has written — the material was mostly written and composed in Dublin and Los Angeles, whereas some of his previously recorded material was written in piecemeal and as patchwork affairs in several different locales.

“Poltergeist,” Ghosts & Goblins’ latest single as Nicholls explains is about “toxic relationships and self-destruction. Framed in a spooky groove, with lots of fun percussion. This was the first tune we tracked for the record. Once we got a take, we drenched everything in reverb and went out for shawarma.” Sonically speaking, the shuffling and strutting “Poltergeist” sounds as though it draws from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’Red Right Hand” and Tim Cohen‘s solo work and his work with Magic Trick, complete with a loose, boozy, improvised vibe, 60s psych rock-inspired organ, a soulful horn line and a propulsive bass line paired with Nicholls’ equally boozy crooning describing a viciously dysfunctional and fucked up relationship fueled by a confusing push and pull, deceit and tortuous, zero sum mind games. And as a result, the song possesses a murky undertone.

 

 

 

 

Currently comprised of founding members Beau Croxton (guitar, vocals) and Mike Groehler (production), along with Willie Mosto (guitar), Paul Truitt (keys/guitar), Forrest Hackenbrock (bass), and James Esposito (drums) — and a live horn section featuring Carter Yasutake, who’s played in the backing bands of David Byrne and St. Vincent and Charles Bradley; Jason Disu, who’s played in the backing bands of David Byrne and St. Vincent, and LCD Soundystem; and Noah Drielblatt, who’s played with Blitz the Ambassador, the members of the Brooklyn-based indie rock/garage rock/blues act Damn Jackals have received a bit of attention locally for a sound that draws from 70s Bowie, T. Rex, Johnny Thunders, The Stooges and Television — while to my ears nodding at The Black Keys, as you’ll hear on “Freezing Blues,” the latest single off the band’s soon-to-be released debut EP, That’s It.

And much like the classic rock and bluesy influences behind their sound, Damn Jackals’ latest barn burning single, as the band’s Beau Croxton explains is about “the type of cold, loneliness that reduces the heart to burning carnage and leaves the subject so crippled with emptiness and anger that he is rendered utterly unrecognizable.” And as a result, the song possesses an anthemic, arena rock-friendly hook that manages to express a boozy bitterness.

 

 

 

 

 

Ward White is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who is arguably best known for his work as one-half of the critically applauded chamber pop duo McGinty and White, which features Joe McGinty, a former member of Psychedelic Furs, and the creator of The Loser’s Lounge tribute series; in fact, the duo’s debut effort together received praise from  The New Yorker and The New York Press.  And while a member of McGinty and White, White has quietly developed a reputation as a solo artist of note as 2013’s Bob and 2015’s Ward White is the Matador were released to critical praise from iTunesNew York Magazine, Magnet Magazine and CMJ for a songwriting approach and sound that has been compared favorably to Scott Walker (one of the great and sadly under-appreciated songwriters of the past 50 years or so), 1970s  David Bowie, T. Rex and others.

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of 2015, you may recall that I had written about White’s Ward White is the Matador, an album that while clearly drawing from 70s classic rock and AM rock, also possessed an experimental art rock sheen. And while unquestionably, a very New York rock sound, at points the material lyrically and thematically covered things that we become conscious of as we get older — that life is increasingly about a series of loss; that most relationships throughout one’s life will inevitably end; and of a rapidly disappearing New York into eccentrics and lunatics, and improbable situations.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about White, and as it turns out, White has been rather busy. Over the past couple of years, Ward has relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles — and his soon-to-be released tenth full-length album As Consolation chronicles his relocation to the West Coast; in fact, the album’s first single “Dude” will further cement his reputation for crafting 70s AM radio friendly rock in the veins of the aforementioned Scott Walker, David Bowie, T. Rex and Roxy Music — with a winking and witty irony; but under the surface is the hazy confusion of being disconnected, of being a stranger in an even stranger place that you can’t quite figure out with people who seem completely alien to you. And as a result, the song evokes the recognition of not fitting in — while wondering if people are looking at you with disapproval and disdain because you can’t quite tell.

 

 

Earlier this month I wrote about the sibling indie rock quartet  Stonefield. Healing from Darraweit Guim, a small rural town in the southeastern Australian state of Victoria, the sibling quartet featuring Amy (drums, lead vocals), Hannah (guitar), Sarah (keys) and Holly Findlay (bass) can trace the origins of the band and their music careers to when they began playing together at a rather young age — ranging from the youngest being seven and the oldest being 15. The band’s first song “Foreign Lover” was recorded by the band’s eldest member, Amy Findlay for a school project — and was then reportedly entered in Triple J’s national, unsigned band competition for youngsters Unearthed High as an afterthought; however, the Findlay Sisters wound up winning the contest, and within an incredibly short period of time, they had two singles receiving regular airplay and an invitation to play at the Glastonbury Festival.

Since then, the members of the sibling quartet have released two EPs and their self-titled, full-length debut and with a growing international profile have toured extensively,  including at some of the world’s largest festivals. Adding to a growing profile, the Australian indie rock quartet  has opened for a variety of renowned acts including Fleetwood Mac, Meat Puppets — and a Stateside tour with fellow countrymen King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard earlier this year.

Stonefield’s sophomore full-length effort As Above So Below was released earlier this month through Rebel Union Recordings/Mushroom Records and the album’s first single “Changes” was a dreamy and swirling bit of psych rock featuring a propulsive, motorik-like groove and some impressive guitar work, played though massive amount of effects pedals. And while nodding at The Mallard’s Finding Meaning in Deference and The Fire Tapes’ Phantoms, the track reveals a cool-self assuredness that belies their relative youth and some ambitious songwriting. The Australian sibling quartet’s latest single “Sister” is featured both on the “Changes”/”Sister” 7 inch and on their recently released album, and the single is a doom-laden, power chord dirge that sounds as though it were influenced by Black Sabbath and stoner rock. And much like “Changes,” “Sister” reveals some ambitious songwriting by a band, who seems poised to kick ass and take names — right this very second.

 

 

 

L.A. Witch is a Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock trio that has started to receive attention for a ragged, scuzzy, reverb-filled garage rock/punk rock sound that some have compared favorably to the likes of The Black Angels and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and if Kim Deal were inspired by Nirvana among others —  although as you’ll hear on their boozy, bluesy-leaning “Ain’t Comin’ Home,” the band’s sound reminds me more of JOVM mainstay artists The Coathangers, Sharkmuffin and Death Valley Girls; but with a dingy, honky took vibe that subtly nods towards 60s psychedelia. Interestingly, this version was recorded live during their Levitation Festival a couple of years ago, but I think it’ll give the listener a good sense of their live sound, as they will be road testing their new material throughout the rest of the year — and the tour will include two NYC dates, more on that below.

Tour Dates

04.21.17 – Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory

04.22.17 – London, ON @ Call the Office

04.23.17 – Montreal, QB @ L’Esco

04.25.17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory

04.26.17 – New York, NY @ Berlin

05.01.17 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar

05.02.17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Vague Space

05.03.17 – Denver, CO @ Hi Dive

05.04.17 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar

05.05.17 – Norman, OK @ Opolis

05.06.17 – Austin, TX @ Levitation Presents at Hotel Vegas

05.07.17 – Dallas, TX @ Transit Bike Company

05.09.17 – Indianapolis, IN @ Pioneer

05.10.17 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas

05.11.17 – Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s

05.12.17 – Milwaukee, WI @ Milwaukee Psych Fest

05.13.17 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar

05.14.17 – Springfield, IL @ Alter Fest

05.16.17 – Amarillo, TX @ Golden Light

05.17.17 – Taos, NM @ Mesa Brewing

05.18.17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar

05.19.17 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar

06.02.17 – Nelsonville, OH @ Nelsonville Fest

06.24.17 – Pomona, CA @ Glass House