Category: indie rock

 

Comprised of a group of high school classmates and friends, the Hershey, PA-based quartet The Ocean Blue quickly rose to national prominence with the critically applauded release of their debut effort through Sire Records back in 1989 — and of course, that also meant major radio and MTV airplay. The quartet went on to release two more well-received records through Sire, Cerulean and Beneath the Rhythm and Sound and a fourth album See the Ocean Blue through Mercury/PolyGram before leaving the major label game in the late 90s, which arguably made them one of the earliest and better known acts to do so.

In the 2000s (and that phrase just looks and sounds utterly doesn’t strange doesn’t it?), the band released several independent releases including Davy Jones Locker and Waterworks before going on a lengthy hiatus, which ended with the 2013 release of Ultramarine through Korda Records, a Minneapolis-based (where the band  cooperative label that the band helped launch.

Recently, the band re-issued their first three Sire Records releases on vinyl — for the first time in over 20 years — and to celebrate the occasion the band played a small handful of special shows playing material from those albums live, to celebrate the occasion.  And from what I hear, the band is working on a full-length of new material, slated for release sometime next year.

But in the meantime, the band shared a lost and previously unreleased single from the Sire Records days, “City Traffic” which consists of shimmering guitar chords played through gentle layers of reverb, soaring organ chords, propulsive drumming and plaintive vocals in a song that sounds as though it possesses elements of The Smiths and 120 Minutes-era alternative rock thanks to its anthemic hooks.

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Over the past year or so, Memphis, TN-based  quartet Nots and their Stateside label home Goner Records have become JOVM mainstays as I’ve written quite a bit about both the band and their label; in fact, Goner Records have quickly established themselves as the label home to some of the country’s best hardcore punk and hard rock bands, as they have been the label home to the likes of Ex Cult, whose Midnight Passenger and Cigarette Machine EP have been two of the best (and angriest) punk albums I’ve heard in about 5 years, OBN IIIs who have released several albums of swaggering power chord party rock in the vein of early AC/DC, the late Jay Reatard and several others. And with the release of their debut effort, We Are Nots, the Memphis-based quartet comprised of Natalie Hoffman (guitar) and Charlotte Watson (drums), Madison Farmer (bass) and Alexandra Eastburn (synths) started to receive national attention for material that sounds as though it owes a debt to the 60s era garage rock, punk and new wave – but with a frenetic, unhinged and very visceral feel.  Personally, I think the Memphis-based quartet’s debut effort should have received much more attention as their sound and aesthetic can be compared favorably to The Fall, Bikini Kill, Protomartyr, The B52s and others.

Renowned British indie label Heavenly Records licensed Nots’ We Are Nots and are releasing the effort across the UK on the 20th. The quartet will touring across the UK and the Ehe European Union to support the British/EU release of their debut effort — and to further celebrate the British/EU release of We Are Nots, the band in concert with Heavenly Records released a 7 inch of non-album material featuring “Shelf Life” as a B side to their latest single “Virgin Mary.”

“Shelf Life” is a messy, murky, lo-fi garage psych rock song comprised of relentless, chugging guitar chords, propulsive drumming, layers of distortion and feedback and shouted vocals that rushes in and out in a breakneck 1:43. And although the song kick ass, it manages to reveal a band that’s subtly and playfully expanding their sound while remaining familiar.

 

 

 

 

Long-time friends Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams conceptualized their current band, Ulrika Spacek during a single night in Berlin, a project that would be influenced by Television, Pavement, Sonic Youth and krautrock. Upon their return to their house KEN, a former art gallery in Homerton, the duo of Edwards and Williams began working on the material, which would eventually comprise their forthcoming full-length debut, The Album Paranoia slated for a February 5, 2016 release through Lefse Records and Tough Love Records. Three expert musicians were recruited to flesh out the project’s live sound and to complete their live show, which combined art installations with music.

The Album Paranoia’s first single “She’s A Cult” consists of angular and chugging guitar chords played with a gentle amount of reverb,  a tight rhythm section comprised of a propulsive drum beat and a throbbing bass line paired with soaring and anthemic hooks and ethereal vocals that float over an overall grungy mix. Although incredibly contemporary, the song sounds as though it could have been released during the 120 Minutes-era of MTV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Vincent Davies (vocals, guitar and bass), Ranald MacDonald (vocals, keys, guitar and bass), Josh Lewis (guitar and bass) and Oscar Robertson (drums), the London-based quartet Hidden Charms formed last year and with the release of their double A single “Dreaming Of Another Girl”/”Long Way Down,” the London-based quartet quickly received attention nationally as the the single received extensive airplay from the likes of radio personalities Zane Lowe of Beats 1, Annie Mac and Huw Stephens of BBC Radio 1 and John Kennedy of XFM (aka Radio X).  And of course, as a result of their growing national profile, the band has opened for Benjamin Booker, Hanni El Khatib and X Ambassadors and had a four-week Club NME Koko residency.

Building on their rapidly growing the British quartet’s latest single “Love You ‘Cause You’re There” consists of buzzing and bluesy guitar chords, propulsive drumming, anthemic hooks and howled vocals in a song that sounds as though it were directly influenced by The Black Keys and 60s mod rock (think of early The Who, The Kinks and The Animals) — and possesses a similar self-assuredness that belies their youth. Of course, at its core is an aching longing — the sort of longing that comes up from lonely nights drinking in shitty dive bars, reminiscing over someone who may not be right for you and yet you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few months, you may recall that I wrote about the British and Brazilian industrial rock band Plastique. Comprised of vocalist Anelise Kunz, multi-instrumentalist Fabio Couto and producer Gabriel Ralis, formed back in 2010 and with the release of their self-titled debut and their sophomore effort, #SocialScar, the trio received both national and international attention for a sound that’s inspired by Nine Inch NailsGarbagePJ HarveyGoldfrappBrody Dalle, The Smashing PumpkinsThe Prodigy and The Beastie Boys. Adding to a growing national and international profile, the band was named one of the Top 5 in Marshall’s Ultimate Band Contest in 2013.

Naturally, wanting to build upon the steadily growing buzz around the band, the members of the trio initially went into the studio with the intention of expanding upon the sound that had won them attention. But once they started writing material they realized that they all feeling an inordinate amount of pressure to come up with something new, and as the story goes they went on a hiatus with the hopes that some time off would help. As the band’s Anelise Kunz mentioned in press notes their first single in some time “Quake,” “came out as a sign of hope . . . there was no pressure, the vocal jam just happened, and soon we were all involved in getting this one ready to go!”

“Lips,” Plastique’s latest single is informed by a series of demos the band had recorded while working on their previous single “Quake,” and in many ways that spirit of experimentation informed the track. Sonically, the song pairs layers of scuzzy, heavy metal-like guitars, industrial clang and clatter, propulsive drum programming and anthemic hooks that you can imagine a crowded club of enthusiastic fans shouting along to paired with Kunz’s sneering, growling punk-leaning vocals. In some way, the song (to my ears, at least) reminds me of the punishing forcefulness of Ministry (in particular, “What About Us?” one of my favorite Ministry songs) with the attitude of Garbage (in particular, “Supervixen“). Throughout the song you can tell that the band does not fuck around; they’re going to take names and kick ass — but with an irresistible sultriness.

 

 

New Video: Follow A Partying Death on His Day Off in White Reaper’s New Video for “Make Me Wanna Die”

Comprised of Tony Esposito (vocals, guitar), Ryan Hater (keyboards), Sam Wilkerson (bass) and Nick Wilkerson (drums), Louisville, KY-based quartet White Reaper have become yet another mainstay act on the site. After the release of a blistering and urgent […]