Category: indie rock

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Piroshka Releases a Delicate Meditation on Love

Deriving their name from the Hungarian version of Little Red Riding Hood, the acclaimed indie rock All-Star fact Piroshka — Lush’s Miki Berenyi (vocals, guitar) Moose’s KJ “Moose” McKillop (guitar), Modern English’s Mick Conroy (bass) and Elastica’s Justin Welch (drums) — features members, best known for their individual work with some of the most acclaimed and beloved indie acts of the past 30 years or so. The JOVM mainstay act can trace its origins to the completed web of connections between its acclaimed members: Individually, Piroshka’s Berenyi and McKillop are considered shoegazer pioneers with their own respective bands, releasing a number of critically applauded albums before they got married and started a family. With their critically appalled and commercially successful 1995 self-titled, full-length debut Elastica exploded into the international scene as Brit Pop megastars — and as admirers, Berenyi and McKillop were familiar with Welch and his work with the band. Conroy joined Moose after Modern English split up for the second time. Welch eventually joined the reunited Lush in 2015. And when Lush needed a bassist for their final show in Manchester, Conroy filled in.

Lush’s final Manchester show laid the foundations for Piroshka’s foundation — but I need to add some much-needed and complicated background: Life is complicated and knotty after all. After Lush’s Chris Acland committed suicide in 1997, his grieving bandmates felt it was impossible to continue as a band without him. The band split up. Berenyi was so heartbroken by Acland’s death that she quit music and spent the next 20 years as a working mother. Because of a variety of personal and professional obligations, Berenyi didn’t agree to a Lush reunion and to touring until 2015. Welch, who coincidentally was a close friend of Acland’s was a logical choice to lovingly fill in.

At some point during the lead up to Lush’s finally show together, Welch asked Berenyi if she’d be up to something new once things ended. As Berenyi recalled in press notes, up until that point in her life, she hadn’t made music outside of Lush and solo work never had much appeal to her. “I need someone else to motivate me, and in this case it was Justin. He sent drum tracks with guitar parts and odd words, so I wrote some vocals and lyrics, which became ‘This Must Be Bedlam’ and ‘Never Enough.’ When Mick added bass, it sounded great. When Moose added guitar and keyboards — I’d never written like that before, it was such good fun.” “We sounded great!” Welch added in press notes. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Conroy agreed, adding “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed and it was good fun, too. And with Moose available, we thought, ‘let’s all have a bash, see what happens.’”

Now, as I said before life is often complicated and knotty — and with Piroshka there are some additional layers of entangled personal, professional and creative connections that are at the heart of the band: Bella Union’s label head Simon Raymonde was among the first people to hear the Brickbat demos and he quickly signed the band to the label. Raymonde’s former Cocteau Twins bandmate Robin Guthrie produced Lush’s debut album. And Raymonde’s current Lost Horizons bandmate Richie Thomas was a former member of Moose.

Building upon the attention they received after the release of 2019’s full length debut Brickbat, the band just released their highly-anticipated sophomore album Love Drips and Gathers today. Deriving its title from a line of a Dylan Thomas poem, Piroshka’s sophomore album is a deeply introspective effort, that thematically focuses on the ties that bind us — in particular as lovers, parents, children and friends. Berenyi and McKillop split lyric writing duties, and as a result the album features songs about Berenyi’s and McKillop’s relationship and family, the deaths of McKillop’s mother and father, and the death of longtime friend and 4AD in-house art director Vaughan Oliver, who died suddenly at the end of 2019.

Sonically, Love Drips and Gathers finds the quartet employing more of an ethereal ound than its predecessor while still reveling in energy and drama. “If Brickbat was our Britpop album, then Love Drips And Gathers is shoegaze!” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi says in press notes. “It wasn’t intentional; we just wanted a different focus. I’ve always seen debut albums as capturing a band’s first moments, when you really have momentum, and then the second album is the chance for a more thoughtful approach.” Mick Conroy adds “Brickbat was a classic first album; noisy and raucous. On Love Drips And Gathers, we’ve calmed down and explored sounds, and space.”

In the lead-up to the album’s release, I managed to write about two of the album’s singles:

“Scratching at the Lid,” a shimmering and ethereal pop anthem centered around Berenyi’s imitable vocals, twinkling keys, a rousingly anthemic hook and a forceful motorik groove. But underneath the big hooks and breakneck gallop, the song is a deeply conflicted meditation focusing on McKillop’s relationship with his father and one’s relationships with their parents. 
“V.O.,” a heartbreaking and brooding mediation on heartache and inconsolable loss. dedicated to their friend and longtime collaborator Vaughan Oliver. Centered around heavily arpeggiated synths, shimmering guitars, Berenyi’s wispy delivery, a propulsive rhythm section and soaring strings, “V.O.” is a fittingly a 4AD Records/Cocteau Twins-like track that focuses on the funeral of a loved one in an impressionistic fashion.

“Loveable,” Love Drips and Gathers’ third and latest single is a swooning love song centered around Berernyi’s plaintive vocals and a delicate arrangement featuring shimmering guitars, a sumptuous bass line and gently rolling percussion. The song focuses on something that in my 42 years I’ve learned is extremely rare: stumbling across, true, deeply fulfilling love with another person.

I thought it was finally time to write an out and out love song! It was written very simply – led by the vocals and then finding the chords to meander around the melody,” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi says in press notes. “Justin’s percussion, Moose’s accent notes… there’s a lovely delicacy to the embellishments. I am getting very sentimental in my old age because when I first heard Mick’s bass (one of the last things to be added) my eyes started welling up.”

Continuing their ongoing collaboration with Conor Kinsey, the recently released video for “Loveable” features the central romanic couple of the “V.O.” video. We see the couple of on a beautiful sunny day, sharing the sort of intimacy and comfort held between those madly in love. And yet, there’s a sense that the visual is an achingly bittersweet flashback on the days and moments we can never get back.

New Video: The Trippy Visual For Velvet Starlings’ Anthemic New Ripper “Technicolour Shakedown”

Southern California-based garage rock Velvet Starlings` — wunderkind founding member, singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist and producer Christian Gisborne, drummer Foster Poling and bassist Hudson Poling — initially started as a solo recording project with Gisborne writing, recording and producing every instrumental part on the project’s 2015 self-titled debut, released when Gisborne was just 15. Velvet Starling’s sophomore EP Love Everything, Love Everyone was released in 2019. Both EPs charted in the top 5 at Specialty Radio and landed at #1 on KROQ’s Locals Only.

s 2019 Emerging Stage competition — and as a winner, he and his new bandmates will be playing a Summerfest main stage set on September 17, 2021. The band also recently announced a handful of live dates, which you’ll see below.

engineered the album in the middle of his living room, as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns. Sonically, the material is influenced by early  Jack White, Thee Oh Sees and Arctic Monkeys while revealing Gisborne’s own take on the sound, which he describes as “beach fuzz psych with a big cheeky nod to the UK Invasion.” He adds “in the gloom and doom of COVID, I found myself reminiscing all the time about the days when we would wait in line for hours to see our favorite bands. The songs on the first album reflect everything i felt I was missing out on.” Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, Gisborne says “I think a Rock ‘n’ Roll renaissance is coming after this crazy year of lock down. We’re hoping that a full front-to-back of Technicolour Shakedown will evoke the feeling you get at a rock ‘n’ roll house party — wherever the listener may find himself.” 

h out the project’s live sound. The collaboration can trace its origins to when Giborne met the Poling while waiting on a line outside a 2019 Cage The Elephant show. Quickly discovering a shared mutual love of The Who` and Spongebob Squarepants, the trio set up plans to jam at a rehearsal space. Previously, the Velvet Starlings founder and creative mastermind had long hired session and touring musicians but as his friendship with The Polings growing deeper, Gisborne recognized that the next era of the project would feature them as his bandmates.

Last month, I wrote about the swaggering Technicolour Shakedown album single “Back Of The Train.” The rousingly anthemic psych rock stomper was centered around fuzzy power chords, thunderous drums and Gisborne’s guttural howls. Sounding a though it could have been released in 1964, 2008 or even two weeks ago, the song as the Velvet Starlings founder told Flood Magazine “is about struggling as a musician while taking nothing for granted. ‘Back Of The Train’ centers around a sneaky low note 60s guitar riff and drums so over-compressed it would make The Sonics cringe. I think it’s awful in the best way possible.” He goes on to further describe it as the story “paying dues and making sacrifices while making sure to enjoy the ride along the way.”

thunderous power chords, blown out drums. The end result is the sort of crowd-pleasing ripper that you can imagine sweaty crowds bouncing up and down to in a darkened, divey club. “The track is an anthemic ode to going out and to live music experience, and colorfully describing the energy of catching your favorite and on the local scene and being packed in a venue like sardines — and loving every minute of it!”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Penelope Isles Release a gorgeous and Surreal Visual for CInematic “Sailing Still”

Acclaimed Brighton-based indie rock act Penelope Isles is led by sibling duo and co-songwriters and co-vocalists Lily and Jack Wolter. 2019 was a breakthrough year for the Wolters: they released their self-produced full-length debut Until The Tide Creeps to critical applause globally. That same year, the act toured extensively to support the album: they shared stages with the likes of The Flaming Lips and The Magic Numbers, playing over 100 shows — and touring the States three times, including a stop at the inaugural New Colossus Festival.

Since the release of Until The Tide Creeps, The Wolters have been busy with their own solo recording projects and collaborations with other artists, including Lost Horizons. They also spent time working on their highly-anticipated — and still not officially announced — sophomore album. (Word on the street is that we’ll be receiving details on that in the near future.)

in the UK — or if you’ll be in the UK during the late fall — you can check out the tour dates and ticket information on the band’s website. Hot on the heels of the tour announcement, the duo released “Sailing Still,” their forthcoming sophomore album’s first official single. “Sailing Still” is a cinematic track, centered around a brooding yet shimmering string arrangement, gently strummed guitar, thunderous drumming, a soaring hook and Lily Wolter’s achingly tender vocals. Sonically bearing a resemblance to Lily Wolter’s work with the aforementioned Lost Horizons, the heartbreakingly gorgeous track evokes a deep yet familiar yearning for peace in a mad, mad, mad world.

Directed by Jack Wolters, the recently released video is a gorgeously shot fever dream that follows Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter as she walks through and in a series of different locations throughout their native UK including a winding stone staircase at the shore, endless meadows, the forests, quirky stores and elsewhere. The visual is edited in a way that each passage leads to a stranger and more surreal passage.

“Before the enforced break due to COVID-19, we spent pretty much all of 2019 driving ourselves around Europe and America having some incredible adventures as a band and it seemed that everything since then had been falling apart,” Penelope Isles’ Jack Wolter explains. “Writing and recording new music as a huge part of the recovery process and when making this film for ‘Sailing Still’ I wanted Lily and I to get back on the road somehow, as travelling has been such a massive part of our band ever since we began. So I had this idea of filming Lily in a myriad of places and scenarios, both urban and rural, coastal and inland. Mountains and rivers, council flats and tunnels, cafes and bridges. We drove up and down the country for a week, sleeping in the van, and waking up at the crack of dawn to start filming again. Reconnecting as a band again but also spending time together as brother and sister was special for filming this real heartbreaker of a song.”

New Video: Laura Carbone Performs “Nightride” at Rockpalast

With the release of her first two albums — 2016’s Sirens and 2018’s Empty Sea — Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer  Laura Carbone received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a sound and approach that frequently draws comparisons to PJ Harvey, Shana Falana, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent and others.

While opening for The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Carbone and her backing band quickly established a reputation for a powerful live show, which she further cemented with a headlining tours across the European Union and North America. (If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you might recall that I caught Carbone when she played Baby’s All Right back in 2019. A lifetime ago, it seems.)

s the story goes, Carbone and her backing band were slated to go into the studio last May to record what would be her highly-anticipated, third album. But as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, Carbone’s plans were indefinitely shelved at the time, much like countless other artists across the globe. While she was touring across the European Union, Carbone and her band made an appearance on the beloved German live concert series Rockpalast. For Carbone, who grew up in a small, southwestern German town watching Rockpaalst as a music obsessed youth, appearing on the show was the achievement of a lifelong dream: Rockpalast has recorded and broadcasted a who’s who list of influential and important artists, including Siouxsie and The Banshees, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Sinead O’Connor, David Bowie, R.E.M., Echo and the Bunnymen, Screaming Trees, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley and the Wailers and a very lengthy list of others.

Because of pandemic-related shutdowns, Carbone and her band came up with an interesting idea: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Released last fall across Europe and today across North America,  Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is just that. Taken from her October 2019 Rockpalast set at Harmonie Bonn, the live album is a centered around a career-spanning set featuring material from her first two albums and a rather unexpected cover. Hewing as closely as humanly possible to their live sound, the album was mixed by  in Los Angeles by The Jesus and Mary Chain‘s Scott Van Ryper and mastered by Philipp Welsing at Hamburg‘s Original Mastering with no overdubs.

Because of pandemic-related shutdowns, Carbone and her band came up with an interesting idea: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Released last fall across Europe and today across North America,  Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is just that. Taken from her October 2019 Rockpalast set at Harmonie Bonn, the live album is a centered around a career-spanning set featuring material from her first two albums and a rather unexpected cover. Hewing as closely as humanly possible to their live sound, the album was mixed by  in Los Angeles by The Jesus and Mary Chain‘s Scott Van Ryper and mastered by Philipp Welsing at Hamburg‘s Original Mastering with no overdubs.

So far I’ve written about two of Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast’s singles:

“Who’s Gonna Save You,” which captures Catrbone and her band’s forceful live sound and the Berlin-based artist’s irresistible stage presence. And while the song finds the band deftly balancing menace and sultriness, the song should serve as an introduction to an artist, who has quickly added her name to a growing list of rock goddesses.
“Cellophane Skin:” Performed as the first song of the set’s encore, the live rendition finds Carbone and company taking the tension of the original and informing with a feral intensity developed while touring. And as a result, the song finds its narrator — and perhaps, even the artist herself — turning into a seductive, yet vengeful force of nature tearing down the bonds of poisonous social norms that have imprisoned her, while demanding that we — men particularly so — examine and check ourselves.

Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast’s third and latest single “Nightride” is a slow-burning and brooding bit of psychedelia-tinged post punk that sonically and lyrically nods at The Doors “The End” as though covered by PJ Harvey. Full of dark and uneasy imagery including a full moon on a clear night, a dark yet irresistible stranger, a road trip through the forest, sporadically lit by the moonlight and headlights, the song thematically is an existential journey — to the dark and murky depths of a human soul, to something and/or someone.

New Video: Colleen Green’s Anthemic “It’s Nice to Be Nice”

Colleen Green is a Dunstable, MA-born, Los Angeles-based lo-fi rock/indie pop singer/songwriter and guitarist. Green’s career started in earnest with her full-length debut, 2011’s Milo Goes to Compton, an effort initially released as a cassette and later on vinyl through Art Fag Recordings.

The Dunstable-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s debut caught the attention of Seattle-based indie label Hardly Art Records, who signed her and released her sophomore album, 2013’s Sock It To Me. Green’s third album, 20115’s I Want to Grow Up was released to critical acclaim with LA Weekly readers voting her that year’s Best Solo Artist. The album was also her most commercially successful album to date, perhaps as a result of album single “Wild One” being featured on the Netflix series Love.

Thematically, I Want To Grow Up found Green at a familiar yet profound existential crisis: Although almost always cool, she didn’t necessarily feel so at that point: Seemingly too young to be free of insecurities, she was old enough to be sick of them running — and ruining — her life.

Green’s forthcoming third album Cool is her first album in six years. Slated for a September 10, 2021 release through Hardly Art, the album’s material reportedly finds her figuring out what it means to be grown up — and realizing that being an adult, who has somehow managed to live and survive through a full and messy life is pretty damn cool. Co-produced by Gordon Raphael and Green and featuring beats by hip-hop producer Aqua and drumming from Brendan Eder, the album was recorded in several different Southern California-based studios including Glendale’s comp-ny, North Hollywood’s Tenement Yard and Los Angeles’ Cosmic Vinyl. Sonically, the album sees Green retaining the lo-fi aesthetic that has won her praise and fans globally while pushing her songs to a higher level: burnt out on bad feelings, Green wanted to have fun with melodies and beats while keeping her lo-fi aesthetic intact.

The album features “I Want to Be a Dog,” a single released to praise from the likes of The New York Times, The Fader, Stereogum, Under the Radar, DIY, BrooklynVegan, Spin, Our Culture, Closed Captioned and others. Cool’s and latest single “It’s Nice to Be Nice” is a breezy bit of power pop centered around chugging power chords, an athemic chorus and razor sharp hooks. But underneath the big choruses and power chords, the song thematically is a reminder — both to the songwriter and the listener — that in life, you often get what you give, so it’s important to be the best person you can be. And in a world that regularly seems on the verge of collapse, the song’s message seems rather pertinent.

y Renee Lusano, the recently released video was shot on a boat, just off the Los Angeles coast. We see Green making herself a simple dinner of spaghetti and meatballs and hanging out on the boat. But we see someone, who has finally gained comfort in her own skin and mind. As Green calls it, “a nice video for a nice song.”

New Video: Bad Bad Hats’ Triumphant Return in Wacky Visual for Anthemic “Detroit Basketball”

Rising Minneapolis-based indie rock band Bad Bad Hats — currently founding members Kery Alexander (vocals, guitar) and Chris Hoge (bass) along with newest member Con Davidson (drums) — can trace its origins back to when Alexander and Hoge met while attending Saint Paul-based  Macalester College: the band’s founding duo had admired each other’s music on MySpace and the pair began writing songs together in 2010, eventually recording a collection of demos that would eventually comprise their debut EP.

Alexander and Hoge recruited their friend Noah Boswell (bass) to solidify their initial lineup and flesh out their sound. After playing in and around the Minneapolis area, the trio caught the attention of Afternoon Records, who signed the band and released their debut EP and their Brett Buillion-produced full-length debut, 2015’s Psychic Reader and 2018’s sophomore album Lightning Round.

hanges. Noah Boswell left the band and was replaced by Con Davidson — and as a result, some duties have been reshuffled: Hoge, who initially played drums is now playing bass. The Minneapolis-based trio recently signed to Don Giovanni Records, who will be releasing their highly anticipated third album, Walkman on September 17, 2021.

lkman’s first single “Detroit Basketball” derives its name from the call-and-response chant Pistons fans routinely fill Little Caesar’s Arena with during game night. The phrase stuck in Alexander’s head, and she later drew on it for inspiration. “Detroit Basketball” finds the rising Midwestern trio further refining their sound: sonically, the track is a breezy mix of power pop, 120 Minutes MTV-era alt rock and 00s pop punk centered around Alexander’s deeply personal songwriting, a rousingly anthemic, sing-along worthy chorus and an infectious hook. But underneath the song’s breezy infectiousness, the song balances bittersweet and sour as it’s one- part tell off to a lover that jilted its narrator, one-part feminist anthem in which its narrator boldly tells the world what she deserves and one-part tale of heartbreak by a cold and indifferent former lover — with a sort of winking acknowledgment of the whole ordeal’s shittiness.

The recently released video for “Detroit Basketball” is a playful and absurd romp: The video begins with the band disappearing off the face of the earth, and a devoted fan attempting to find them. We see that each of the members have started new, very weird careers — presumably as a result of the pandemic: Hoge has become devoted to placing miniature chip bags in bottles. Davidson has become a competitive puzzler. Alexander has become a motivational speaker for a rip off TED-like series. They each get summoned to reunite. Of course, there’s a workout montage. (I mean there has to be a workout montage) And then the band’s triumphant return — at a backyard birthday party in front of that devoted fan.

Denver-based indie rock trio Hello, Mountain — Stephen Pamas, Jack Falk and Patrick Smith — formed in back in 2014. And since their formation, the Denver-based trio have specials in what the act describes as glossy indie rock with sincerity.

Hello, Mountain recently released their sophomore album Swim. The album’s latest single “Talk To You” is centered around shimmering guitars, plaintive vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook within an alternating loud verse, even louder chorus/hook song structure. While sonically bearing a resemblance to Radiohead and Massive Context EP-era Hands, “Talk To You” is a swooning and earnest love song written with a pop leaning accessibility.

New Video: The Dill’s Groovy “Lover Baby”

Dylan Hudecki is a Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and grizzled Hamilton music scene vet, best known for stints in bands like By Divine Right and Junior Blue. Back in 2018, Hudecki stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist with his solo recording project The Dill — and the project’s full-length debut Greetings From.

Released through Dead Radio Love Records, a boutique imprint of Riverfest Elora, Greetings From was a vinyl release featuring a best of selection of the 52 songs he had written as part of a larger magnum opus titled 52, which features 113 different Canadian artists collaborating with Hudecki and took the better part of 15 years to write and record. Late last year, Hudecki took 12 of the remaining 40 songs left off the vinyl, had those tracks remixed and remastered and released it as a book-end effort titled Beside to close out the last chapter of 52.

rock musicians including The Weakerthans and Bahamas’ Jason Tait, Broken Social Scene’s Sam Goldberg, Rheostatics’ Don Kerr, Twin Within’s Steve McKay, Monster Truck’s Jeremy Widerman, Chalk Circle’s Chris Tait, Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt and a list of others. Sonically, Besides is centered around playful eclecticism paired with Hudecki’s wry and sobering observations on navigating life’s great disappointments.

For Hudecki, the experience has shown I’m that good things do come to those, who wait. “I’ve got great friends, plain and simple,” Hudecki says. “If it wasn’t for them, this project wouldn’t exist. The spirit of collaboration kept me going. I had to finish it for them, if no one else.”

Besides’ latest single “Lover Baby” which features Bahamas’ Don Kerr (drums) and Monster Truck’s Jeremey Wilderman (guitar) sees Hudecki pairing his wry, deadpan delivery in English and French with a scuzzy and bluesy guitar-led groove that would thrill Jack White or Dan Auerbach and an enormous hook. At its core, “Lover Baby” is a playful yet earnest plea of eternal devotion. After making music that was full of guitar tracks and multi-layering, it’s great to try to be minimal and evolve as a songwriter to keep it to the basics,” the Hamilton-based artist says.

The recently released video for “Lover Baby” features Hudecki dancing around the streets of Hamilton, Ontario in a monkey mask. “Sometimes, we just need to go for a walk and dance down the street for the hell of it — taking the piss out of life,” Dylan Hudecki say of the video treatment. “I cruised around Hamilton, Ontario dressed as a monkey while filming the video for my new song, ‘Lover Baby.’ It was an interesting feeling to be looked at as odd and unusual – ostracized for being different – which ultimately felt freeing.”