Category: indie rock

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past month or so, you would have come across a couple of posts on Los Angeles, CA-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Stefan Weich. Weich specializes in a dreamy exploration of traditional music structures, alternate guitar tunings and analog synthesizers and has released music under a number of monikers, including Das Bowls, Chicle, Couch Baby and others; however, his latest effort, Granite Prism is Weich’s (true) solo debut and first album under his own name. Thematically, the album explores the Los Angeles-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s feelings of loneliness, aimlessness and his search for love and acceptance in a large, modern metropolis.

With Granite Prism‘s first single and video “Holy Nights,” Weich paired his plaintive falsetto croon with dreamily ambient synths, soft padded drumming and gently strummed guitar in a deliberate and carefully crafted song that sounded indebted to Brian Eno –but with a plaintive yearning at its core. The album’s second single “Louie,” continued on the same vein as Weich paired swirling and ambient electronics are paired with soft padded drumming, bursts of bluesy guitar chords and his plaintive falsetto crooning lyrics about a relationship in which both people are slowly drifting apart.  At the heart of the song is the unspoken and built up resentments that can cause people to slowly drift apart over time, and a lingering sense of regret of what happened — and how it happened.

Granite Prism‘s third and latest single “Toxic Landscape” is a subtly more muscular song and as a result it sounds as though it owes a sonic debt to shoegaze than ambient electronica as Weich pairs his plaintive falsetto with feedback-laden and buzzing power chords, strummed guitar chords played through layers of reverb, subtly forceful drumming and soaring synths in a song that to my ears reminds me quite a bit of A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve and Silversun Pickups. Much like the previously released singles, the song focuses on the slow dissolution of a relationship and its aftermath, complete with the feelings of bitterness, isolation, confusion, heartache and more — and in a way that’s reminiscent of 120 Minutes-era MTV indie rock.

 

Advertisements

 

Co-founded by Brian Harding and Amalie Braun back in 2011, indie pop duo Ex-Cops became blogosphere darlings with the release of their first two albums True Hallucinations and Daggers; in fact, the duo receive praise from the likes of Pitchfork, Vogue, MTV, StereogumBillboard, CNN, GawkerInterviewNylon, and Rolling Stone. Adding to a growing profile, the duo has had their music appear in a number of renowned TV shows including ShamelessStalkerAll Saints and others. And as a result of the attention the band has received over the years, Harding and Braun have worked with Ariel Pink, Daniel Johnston, and Billy Corgan, among others.

Harding’s solo side project Blond Ambition is a bit of a sonic departure as you’ll hear on the project’s debut single “Shasta.” As I was told in press notes, the project’s sound is a sugary confection of E.S.G., slinky Liquid Liquid and 77 Dead — and although that may well be true, to my ears I hear quite a bit of Station to Station and Low-era Bowie and 70s funk as congo-led percussion is paired with slinky bass line, bursts of ambient synths, a loose and boozy guitar solo with Harding’s falsetto. And while being breezy, percussive and summery, the song manages to be a sultry come on  to a object of affection/desire/lust.

 

 

New Video: The Darkly Surreal Visuals for The Kills “Siberian Nights”

Ash and Ice, the duo’s latest full-length effort and first full-length effort in over 5 years was released last week — and if you’ve been frequenting this site you’d know that I wrote about the album’s first single “Heart Of A Dog” earlier this year. Sonically, Ash and Ice’s first single proved to be a thorough refinement of their sound as the duo paired enormous boom-bap drum programming, skittering beats, buzzing electronics, scorching guitar chords and anthemic hook with Mossheart’s bluesy, cigarettes and whiskey soaked vocals to crate a swaggering and arena rock-friendly song that clearly draws from Delta blues but possesses a raw, insistent and urgent carnality. The album’s latest single “Siberian Nights” continues along a similar vein of the preceding single — boom bap beats, propulsive drumming, bluesy guitar chords, a sinuous bass line and subtly ominous electronics in a sleek, sensual song that shimmies and struts about with a cool self-assuredness.
The recently released music video is a stark and gorgeously surreal video that possesses a nightmarish logic; certainly as a photographer, there are sequences I absolutely envy — a scene of a horse running in slow motion and you can see every sinew and fiber flexing in unified movement; a barking husky in surreal slow motion with teeth snarled angrily and so on. In some way, the video evokes a lingering and inescapable fucked up dystopian nightmare.

Led by Castle Face Records co-founder John Dwyer, Thee Oh Sees have a long-held reputation for being insanely prolific and 2016 is no different as the band will have released two new albums by the end of August — one being a live album, aptly titled Live in San Francisco recorded over three nights at The Chapel; and the second album being the first entry in a planned series. Live in San Francisco is DVD/album that will give fans a real taste of their renowned thrashing and sweaty live shows and while slated for a July 1, 2016 release, it also manages to be a teaser as it features live versions of material, which will appear on their forthcoming full-length Weird Exit. Oh, and along with that the band will be on an incredibly lengthy tour with Amplified Heat, Straight Arrows, Alex Cameron, Magnetix and my personal favorites The Blind Shake opening for Dwyer and company during various dates — and it includes two NYC area dates: 11/11/16 at the Bowery Ballroom and 11/12/16 at Warsaw.

In the meantime the first single off Live in San Francisco is a live version of a song, which will appear on the band’s forthcoming Weird Exit, “Gelatinous Cube.” And in almost prototypical Thee Oh Sees fashion the song is a towering barnburner of a song — layers of scorching and scuzzy guitar pyrotechnics paired with a throbbing and propulsive rhythm section and Dwyer’s falsetto; in other words, the song possess a primal, guttural fury that quickly fades out from sheer exhaustion. “Plastic Plant,” the first single off Weird Exit continues the guitar pyrotechnics but filters them through dreamy psych rock, gritty garage rock, prog rock and tons of effects pedals and pairs them with propulsive drumming and Dwyer’s falsetto. Of course, both singles will further cement Dwyer and company’s additionally long-held reputation for thrashing and kicking ass in songs with extremely atypical song structures.

Tour Dates:
06-18 Vancouver, British Columbia – Levitation Vancouver
06-25 Oakland, CA – Burger Boogaloo
07-01-03 Keflavík, Iceland – ATP Festival, Ásbrú
07-30 Denver, CO – Underground Music Showcase
08-05 Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon Festival
08-06 Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon Festival
08-07 Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon Festival
08-14 Helsinki, Finland – Flow Festival
08-16 Stockholm, Sweden – Debaser
08-18 Paredes, Portugal – Paredes de Coura Festival
08-19 Hasselt, Belgium – Pukkelpop
08-20 Berlin, Germany – Columbia Theatre
08-21 Biddinghuizen, Netherlands – Low Land Festival
08-23 Praha, Czech Republic – Futurum Music Bar
08-24 Zurich, Switzerland- Mascotte*
08-25 Geneva, Switzerland – Palp Festival *
08-26 Asolo, Italy – Amo Festival
08-27 Ravenna, Italy – Hana-Bi
08-31 Tel Aviv, Israel – Arena
09-02 London, United Kingdom – Coronet !*
09-3 Leeds, United Kingdom – University Stylus !*
09-04 Dorset, United Kingdom – End of the Road Festival
09-06 Biarritz, France – Atabal *
09-08 Valada, Portugal – Reverence Festival
09-09 Granada, Spain – Planta Benja
09-10 Benidorm, Spain – Fuzzville
09-12 Barcelona, Spain – Apolo *
09-13 Toulouse, France – Bikini *
09-14 Paris, France – La Cigale *
09-15 Lille, France – Aeronef *
10-08 Miami, FL – III Points Festival
10-14 Joshua Tree, CA – Desert Daze 2016
10-15 Joshua Tree, CA – Desert Daze 2016
10-16 Joshua Tree, CA – Desert Daze 2016
11-01 Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre
11-02 El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace
11-05 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jack’s #
11-06 Memphis, TN – The Hi Tone Cafe #
11-07 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge #
11-09 Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall #
11-10 Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts ^
11-11 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
11-13 Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw ^
11-15 Providence, RI – Aurora ^
11-16 Montreal, Quebec – La Tulipe
11-17 Toronto, Ontario – Danforth Theater
11-18 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
11-19 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
11-23 Missoula, MT – Stage 112
11-25 Seattle, WA – Neumos %

# Amplified Heat
^ Straight Arrows
% Alex Cameron
* Magnetix
! Blind Shake

 

New Video: Boogarins Returns with Yet Another Breezy and Contemplative Song, and Gorgeous Visuals

Boogarins latest single “Tempo” is an contemplative song with an expansive song structure consisting of alternating dreamy and moody section with a loud, anthemic section featuring buzzing guitar chords and feedback — and much like the album’s previously released singles the latest single sounds as thought it draws from Pink Floyd, 60s garage psych, Tropicalia and jazz, which gives the song a breeziness that belies its thoughtful and psychedelic nature. According to press notes, the song’s lyrics speak about stopping time and freeing yourself from the everyday grind of work, school and obligations and escaping from the pressures of daily life.

Interestingly, the members of the band reached out to their fans on social media and asked them to shoot footage of two different moods: the first being “man’s world,” a world full of soul-crushing and demeaning imagery of urban life — commuting and rushing about, working, studying and starting at computer screens; and the second being images of sanctuary and safe places — friends, being out in nature, music, art and anything that would make you feel open, free and whole. As a result of their open call, the band received hundreds of submissions, which were then edited and crafted into a gorgeous, surreal and coherent whole by Cobrandit Films’ Owen Mack.

If you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d likely know that I’m often multi-multitasking while working. A fair number of posts come about while watching the New York Yankees, the New York Giants or the New York Rangers or some crime show on Investigation Discovery. Yesterday, I was listening and writing a post while watching the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim vs. New York Yankees game when the London, UK-based indie rock quintet Heavy Heart‘s latest single “Pretty Thing” came up in the related artists list on Soundcloud. And I was immediately drawn to the lush, melodic, and anthemic, power chord and propulsive drumming-based 90s alt rock sound that should remind the listener of several acts including Pixies, A Northern Soul-era The Verve, The Posies and others; in fact, as a result, the British quintet has started to receive international attention as they’ve received some breathless praise from a number of blogs, have played shows in London, Barcelona and New York — and in the middle of a song-a-month project, which will likely garner even more attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featuring primary and founding members Courtney Ewan (singer/songwriter) and frequent collaborator Andy Bishop,  Twin River wrote the material of their soon-to-be released sophomore effort Passing Shade, an effort whose name draws from a lengthy dream sequence in Patti Smith‘s memoir M Train while they were over 3,00 miles apart — Ewan had relocated to Montreal while Bishop remained in his hometown of Vancouver. Initially, the material took the form of stripped-down, heartbroken ballads about lost love and as Ewan explains in press notes “I always write on an acoustic guitar, which I think is the vestigial influence of being 15 and playing acoustic guitar in the basement because my mom wouldn’t let me have an amp. Nine times out of ten, when we get the band together, we end up increasing the tempo.” In fact, when Ewan and Bishop got together to flesh out the original demos, the material turned into a barn-burning rock numbers with infectious pop hooks with a subtle hint of atmospherics — and done in way that manages to channel both 60s psych pop and garage rock and the contemporary fascination with that sound.

“Knife,” Passing Shade‘s latest single is a jangling and muscular garage rock song featuring gorgeous shimmering guitar chords and a classic psych rock guitar solo and a propulsive rhythm section paired with Ewan’s vocals which evoke vulnerability and heartbreak simultaneously. From this single, I think the act will throw themselves into a growing list of contemporary garage rock and psych rock acts including High Waisted, Raccoon Fighter, The Coathangers and several others — and the band does so with a cool, swaggering self-assuredness that belies the heartache, yearning and badassery at the core of the song.

Campfires in Winter is a Croy, Scotland, UK-based quartet that has quickly exploded onto the UK scene; in fact, the band has received praise across a number of major British media outlets including The Herald, Metro, The Scotsman, The Daily Record and The Sunday Mail, as well as airplay on BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio Scotland — including plays on Steve Lamacq‘s, Vic Galloway’s as well as praise from Cocteau TwinsSimon Raymonde. Adding to a growing national profile, the band has made appearances at Liverpool Sound City, Belladrum Tartan Heart, Brew at the Bog and Wickerman festivals.

Over the past two years, the Scottish quartet has been in the studio with Andrew Odell and Andrew Bush, best known for his work with The Twilight Sad, De Rosa, We Were Promised Jet Packs and more, writing, revising and recording new material, material that will comprise the band’s forthcoming full-length debut, slated for release later this year through Olive Grove Records. “Kopfkino” the still unnamed full-length debut effort’s first single is an anthemic and arena-rock friendly song that has the Scottish quartet pairing shimmering guitar chords, a propulsive, motorik groove, fluttering electronics and crooned baritone vocals within an expansive song structure that includes a gorgeous and lengthy bridge that subtly reminds me of The Who‘s late 70s work.