Category: indie rock

New Video: Florence Italy-based Shoegazers We Melt Chocolate Release a Lysergic “120 Minutes”-like Visual for “everyjoy”

Formed back in 2014, the Florence, Italy-based shoegazer outfit We Melt Chocolate consists of a group of friends, w ho have been active in their hometown’s music scene for some time, as the band features members of Interzone, Evanicetrip, Scum, Smell of trees, Shades of blue and others. And with a self-released demo and EP under their belts, the Florence-based act have developed a reputation for crafting lilting and noisy shoegaze that owes a debt to My Bloody Valentine, Lush and The Sugarcubes among others. 

We Melt Chocolate’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a June 28, 2019 release through Annibale Records and the album’s latest single “everyjoy,” is a perfect example of classic shoegaze as the song is centered around distortion and pedal effected guitars, four-on-the-floor-like drumming, a propulsive bass line, ethereal and plaintive vocals and a soaring hook, all of which emphasizes the song’s dreamy and lysergic vibes. Centered around the band performing the song in an empty studio with superimposed special effects and trippy light effects, the video brings memories of 120 Minutes-era MTV  to mind. 

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Dallas Green is a St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada-born singer/songwriter and guitarist, who started playing piano when he was eight and writing music when he was 14. Initially beginning his music career as a member of Helicon Blue, Green was a founding member of Canadian post-hardcore act Alexisonfire with whom he wrote and recorded four Platinum-certified albums and an EP — 2001’s self-titled album, 2004’s Watch Out!, 2006’s Crisis and 2009’s Old Crows/Young Cardinals and 2010’s Dog’s Blood EP — before officially breaking up in 2011.

Interestingly, Green’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful folk rock/alt-country solo recording project City and Colour, can trace its origins back to 2005 when he began releasing early versions of songs for fans to download. Many of those songs were written when Green turned 16 — and he complied those songs and rewrote many of those songs, eventually releasing them as his 2005 City and Colour debut, Sometimes.

2008’s City and Colour sophomore album, the folk-influenced Bring Me Your Love featured a wider arrangement of instrumentation, including harmonica, banjo, drums and lap steel and found Green collaboration with The Tragically Hip’s Gordon Downie and Attack in Black‘s Matt Sullivan. The album’s lead single “Waiting . . . ” peaked at #32 on the Canadian Hot 100. Building upon a growing profile on both sides of the border, Green and his backing band went on their first American tour, opening for Tegan and Sara and Girl in a Coma. The following year, Green went on a Stateside headlining tour with William Elliott Whitmore. 

January 2010 saw Green on another headlining Stateside tour to support Bring Me Your Love with opening act Lissie, which he followed with a UK tour opening for Pink and Butch Waters, with a handful of headlining dates. He ended that year collaboration with Polaris Prize-nominated artist Shad on a remix of one of “Listen” off TSOL, and an original song “Live Forever.

2011’s Little Hell features Green’s highest charting single, “Fragile Bird,” which reached #1 on the Canadian rock/Alternative Charts. That August, Alexisonfire formally broke up with a statement from the band’s George Pettit saying that Green had been planning to leave the band to focus on his solo work, as balancing the two projects became too difficult.

In 2014 Green collaborated with multi-Grammy nominated and winning pop artist Pink in You + Me and the duo’s full-length debut, rose ave. debuted at #4 on the US Top 200 Charts, #1 in Canada and #2 in Australia, eventually being certified Platinum and culminating in appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Green’s most recent full-length album 2015’s If I Should Go Before You debuted at #16 on the US Billboard 200 and #1 in his native Canada, marking his third consecutive chart-topping album in his homeland.  As far as other accolades, Green has won 3 Juno Awards, including two Songwriter of the Year Awards — and in Canada he has 3 Double Platinum-certified albums, 1 Platinum-certified album and 1 Gold-certified album, which may arguably make him one of the most commercially successful, Canadian artists of his generation.

His forthcoming sixth, full-length album is slated for release this Fall through the acclaimed Canadian singer/songwriter’s newly minted Dine Alone Records imprint, Still Records — and the album’s first single the Jacquire King-produced “Astronaut,” is the first batch of new material from Green in over four years. Interestingly, the single is one part, honky-tonk ballad about a lonely life on the road, far from friend and family, playing your sad, beer and whiskey-soaked songs on the road, one part, towering and anthemic hook-driven shoegaze that recalls Slowdive and The Verve.  “I always think of the relationships in my life that have been fractured because I ended up doing what I do for a living,” Green says of the new single. “I’m always gone, wandering around and singing songs. However, it weighs on my family and friends. I’m asking for ‘one more year.’ I left home at 21 to go play my guitar. It’s lonely, but it’s because I yearn to wander, I’m aware of how lucky I am. “

Along with the new single, Green announced festival dates and a North American tour that will feature back-to-back nights in Nashville, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and New York. One night in each of those cities will take place in a seated theater, featuring Green playing an intimate solo show with stripped down versions of songs across his catalog with Ben Rogers, the first artist to sign onto Green’s new label.  The second night will feature Green and his touring band playing in general admission rock and indie rock venues with Ruby Waters opening. You can check out the tour dates below.

For this tour, Green has partnered with PLUS1. $1 from every ticket sold in Canada and the States will be donated to charitable foundations — Crisis Text Line here in the States and MusiCounts and Indpsire in Canada. Since launching in 2013, Crisis Text Line has provided free, 24/7 confidential support for those in crisis across the country, exchanging over 100 million messages from folks across the country. If you or someone you know needs help, have them text 741714 in the US to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor.

TOUR DATES
Festival Dates
Jun 27 – Lansing, MI @ Common Ground Festival (Solo)
Jun 29 – Peterborough, ON @ Peterborough Musicfest (Solo)
Aug 3 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival
Aug 5 – St. John’s, NL @ George Street Music Festival
Aug 4 – Saint John, NB @ Area 506 Festival
Aug 17 – Elora, ON @ Riverfest
U.S. Tour Dates
Sep 20 – Tacoma, WA @ WAMU Theatre (w/ ALICE IN CHAINS)
Oct 09 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East**
Oct 10 – Nashville, TN @ James K. Polk Theater (Solo)*
Oct 14 – San Francisco, CA @ Palace of Fine Arts (Solo)*
Oct 15 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore**
Oct 16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Ace Hotel (Solo)*
Oct 17 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre**
Oct 21 – Boston, MA @ Royale**
Oct 22 – Boston, MA @ Berklee Performance Center (Solo)*
Oct 24 – New York City, NY @ Webster Hall**
Oct 25 – New York City, NY @ Town Hall (Solo)*
Canadian Tour Dates
Nov 08 – Victoria, BC @ Save On Foods Memorial Centre^
Nov 09 – Vancouver, BC @ Pacific Coliseum^
Nov 10 – Kelowna, BC @ Prospera Place^
Nov 12 – Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome^
Nov 13 – Edmonton, AB @ Rogers Place^
Nov 15 – Regina, SK @ Brandt Centre^
Nov 16 – Winnipeg, MB @ Bell MTS Place^
Nov 19 – Sudbury, ON @ Sudbury Arena^
Nov 22 – Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena^
Nov 25 – Ottawa, ON @ Canadian Tire Centre^
Nov 26 – Kingston, ON @ Leon’s Centre^
Nov 29 – Halifax, NS @ Scotiabank Centre^
* = w/Ben Rogers
** = w/Ruby Waters
^ = w/Jacob Banks and Ben Rogers

New Video: The Soft Calvary Releases a Hearing Impaired Friendly Visual for New Single “Bulletproof”

Earlier this year, I wrote about The Soft Calvary, a new shoegaze project formed by husband and wife duo Steve Clarke and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, and their self-titled, full-length is slated for a July 5, 2019 release through Bella Union Records. Interestingly, for The Soft Calvary’s Steve Clarke, the album is equal parts labor of love and long-held dream finally realized — and perhaps more important, the first album that he has masterminded from start to finish with the assistance of his wife and his brother Michael, who produced the album.

Reportedly, the album’s material comes from and radiates both midlife crisis and elation — particularly, the sigh of finally finding real contentment and peace after living a messy life, full of heartache and confusion. And as Clarke emphasizes in press notes, an album that he “needed” to make, as it can also be seen as a way of rewriting his own narrative: Divorced in 2011, Clarke admittedly spent the next three years in a haze. He had played bass and sung backing vocals in bands as a session musician and as a touring member since the late 90s, while also working as a tour manager.

At one point, he began working as a tour manager for the reunited Slowdive. “I was hungover in the back of my van trying to work out how I was going to fit all the band’s gear into this confined space whilst I still had all of mine from the show that I’d played in London the night before,” Clarke recalls in press notes. “The second of two sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo with David Brent!” Coincidentally, that same day Clarke was introduced to Goswell. A year later, they were living together in Devon, before marrying last year. Rachel not only turned his world “upside-down,” as he recalls, she also unwittingly produced “the catalyst” for the new project. “I’d always had ideas but never felt that anything I had to say was worthy of anyone’s attention, let alone my own,” he says in press notes. “I wish that I could have done this fifteen years ago but, in reality, I simply couldn’t have. But I’m not one to overly wallow. I’d rather plough the various levels of confusion into songs.”

The album in many ways is an exercise in creative and personal therapy. The first songs Clarke wrote specifically for the album are Goswell-inspired paeans to fate, love, new beginnings and hope. But as he began to open up, the past found a way to seep in — the years of frustration, confusion, anxiety, heartache. If there’s a theme to the material, reckons Steve, “it’s recovery versus new doubt. I’m there, in the middle. The word that kept coming back to me was ‘resilience.’ With the right mentality and people around you, especially family, we get through and find a level of hope.”

The writing sessions were in some way an extended conversation between the couple. Clarke, as Goswell says “is always writing, his head always full of lyrics.” Goswell, as Clarke says “reins me in when I get obsessed. She’s a good editor. She says my songs can still work without sections of words, that leaving spaces is OK.” As Clarke began to assemble songs, he invited a handful of dear friends including Mercury Rev‘s and Midlake‘s Jesse Chandler (keys), Tom Livermore (guitar) to assist with the album’s overall sound and tone. “I’d grown up with guitar bands and I didn’t want it to be overly guitar-y,” Clarke says. “We evolved things by trying out ideas. We’d be build things up, and then stripe them back and build them again.”

Interestingly, as the album progressed Goswell formed Minor Victories with members of Mogwai and Editors while all of those bands had gaps in their schedules, eventually writing and recording an album, which Goswell and Clarke contributed vocals and lyrics for. “It got the cogs turning on a writing and lyrical level, and gave me a certain amount of self-belief,” Clarke recalls.

After completing their album together, Clarke found a name for the band and the album, seemingly out of thin air — The Soft Calvary. “I can’t explain its literal meaning,” he says. “It just made sense.” Might Rachel be the calvary? “Maybe! it would be subconscious, but that makes sense too, strangely.”

Now, as you may recall, Goswell and Clarke’s full-length debut’s first single “Dive” was centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive backbeat paired with the duo’s gorgeous dual harmonies. And while being one part deeply contented sigh, one part sweet, romantic swoon there’s a creeping sense and tacit acknowledgement that such a wondrous dream will fade. The album’s second and latest single finds Goswell and Clarke pairing their ethereal harmonies with shimmering guitar lines, a soaring hook and propulsive, electro pop-like beats, which gives the song a subtle, dance floor friendly vibe. And much like its predecessor, the song ‘s narrator expresses a deep unsettling sense of doubt — the sort of doubt that comes from a lived-in, messy life with its regrets, mistakes and triumphs but there’s an underlying sense of hope, that this time it’ll be different. 

The recently released video features Clarke and Goswell dressed in black, standing in front of a black background: Clarke sings the song’s lyrics while Goswell uses British Sign Language to sign the song’s lyrics. “For a long time now I have wanted to do a video that incorporates BSL (British Sign Language) due to my son being Profoundly Deaf with no hearing. He also has additional needs with CHARGE Syndrome that brings many added complications,” Goswell explains. I live within two worlds both Hearing and Deaf; and have learned alot in the last nine years about the many barriers Deaf people can face in our society. One of the main points I was taught very quickly is how music is accessible to Deaf people. Of course music can be felt through vibration but visually I feel so much more could be done to enhance the experience. We made this video with the support of Sign Up BSL to translate ‘Bulletproof’ so that the song flows properly in BSL. Sometimes with signing videos – they can be a literal translation of the words (Sign Supported English) which will make little sense to the Deaf viewer. Our hope is that we have achieved this and also that one day as my son gets older and develops his language skills he will be able to understand this song.”

New Video: Up-and-Coming Kiwi Band Miss June Releases Feverish Visuals for Mosh Pit Banger “Best Girl”

Miss June is an up-and-coming Auckland, New Zealand-based indie rock quartet, comprised of Annabel Liddel (vocals, guitar), Jun Park (guitar), Chris Marshall (bass) and Tom Legget (drums), and in their homeland, they’ve received attention for a jagged, feedback-driven alt rock meets New Wave and No Wave sound that’s been described as “some unholy union between Sonic Youth and Le Tigre” and for a formidable, attention-grabbing live show that has earned them opening slots for Foo Fighters, Shellac, Wolf Alice, Idles and Die! Die! Die!

The Kiwi-based band has recently signed to acclaimed New York indie label Frenchkiss Records, who will be releasing their double A-side 7 inch “Twitch”/”Best Girl” on June 10, 2019. Building upon a growing profile, the band will be playing shows in London, Los Angeles and New York; in fact, they’ll be playing three shows in town: June 17, 2019 at Elsewhere, June 18, 2019 at Berlin Under A and June 20, 2019 at Union Pool with Twen. (You can check out the tour dates below.) The double A side 7 inch’s latest single “Best Girl” immediately recalls riot grrrl-era punk and 90s alt rock, as the track is centered around Liddel’s sultry vocal delivery, fuzzy distortion pedaled power chords, thunderous drumming and and an rousing, arena rock meets mosh pit friendly hook. The song as the band says in press notes “is anthem for anyone, who has been misled from birth, into battle for a spot that doesn’t exist.” 

Directed by Chi’lita Collins and shot in the band’s hometown of Auckland, the recently released video for “Best Girl” features the band getting out of a broke down hoopty and passionately performing the song in a wind-swept  suburban backyard. But just behind them is some surrealistic, logic-defying action — a man wearing a suit and a tiger face paint pulls a passenger out of the trunk, who begins dancing on top of the car. Their drum kit is set on fire, another older, Rick Rubin lookalike tries to put it out and stands next to the man in the suit, watching dispassionately. Simply put it’s a 120 Minutes-era MTV fever dream. 

Deriving its name from the Trollhattan, Sweden kindergarten, where its somewhat mysterious creative mastermind attended as a boy, the up-and-coming indie recording project lodet specializes in breezy, 70s AM rock inspired pop melodies as you’ll hear on its debut single “Calling.” Centered around four-on-the-floor drumming, shimmering guitar chords, plaintive vocals and a soaring hook, the song sonically bears an uncanny resemblance to Paracosm-era Washed Out but with a rickety, analog feel that emphasizes the song’s swooning nature.

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Release Insane Visual for Thrash Metal Ripper “Self-Immolate”

Over the course of 2017, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard released five albums — with each album being in a completely different genre and style from its predecessor, further cementing the band’s reputation for being restlessly experimental and prolific.   

For a band that has been as wildly productive and prolific as the Melbourne-based JOVM mainstays, not releasing new music last year was extremely odd; however, they were busy with other things, including — a relentless tour schedule that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. Additionally, the band re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever, and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic.

Now, as you may recall, the band released their 14th album Fishing for Fishies earlier this year, and the album found the band creating a sonic world in which the organic meets the automated; where the rustic meets the robotic; where the past and future collide in the beautiful present with the band crafting material that’s essentially boogie blues that struts, shimmies and stomps through several different moods and terrains. “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”

Interestingly, the acclaimed Aussie JOVM mainstays have written, recorded and released a couple of standalone tracks that simply don’t fit on their most recent album because they’re on a completely different tack — one of those tracks is the thrash metal ripper “Self Immolate” which finds the band piling power chord riff upon riff upon riff, thunderous drumming and McKenzie taking on a growling vocal delivery reminiscent of Slayer’s Tom Araya and Sepultura’s Max Cavalera. Interestingly, the track is a reminder that they’re not dabbling dilettantes when it comes to thrash and thrash metal — and that they can pummel eardrums with the best of them. 

Directed by frequent visual collaborator John Angus Stewart, the recently released video for “Self-Immolate” sees the members of the band burnt alive in a Satanic ritual in the middle of nowhere. 

Comprised of Jack McEwan, Luke Parish, Danny Caddy and Luke Reynolds, the Perth, Australia-based quartet Psychedelic Porn Crumpets quickly developed a reputation in their native Australia for crafting enormous riff-based psych rock. Earlier this year, the members of the Perth-based psych rock outfit made their Stateside debut — and they managed to kick ass and take names with a series of acclaimed SXSW sets.

Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets’ latest album And Now For The Whatchamacalit is slated for release on Friday, and the album is reportedly a culmination of the experiences they’ve lived while on the road — and a gradual refinement and evolution of the band’s sound. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Hymn For A Droid” will further cement the band’s growing reputation for crafting riff-based psych rock as the song is centered around arena rock friendly riffs and a motorik groove within an expansive song structure. Play it as loud as possible and rock out hard, friends.

“This track reminds me of a Rhino at full charge,” the band’s Jack McEwan explains in press notes. “I was absolutely cranking it while recording. Pretty sure my housemates didn’t get a lot of sleep the week this was being crafted. The lyrics were based on the end of a relationship, those months you’re questioning where your life will end up and if you’re making the right decisions. You’re almost robotic, ticking along like a drone that repeats the same lines over and over in your head, and then you go out with your mates for the first time in ages, take a bunch of thought juice and everything makes more sense. . I wanted the chorus to come out of nowhere like an instant realisation, confusing at first and then the next time you hear it all becomes way clearer.”