Category: math rock

New Video: Netherlands Releases a Stark Visual Full of Existential Dread

Formed by its creative mastermind, Timo Ellis, a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has collaborated with Yoko Ono, Cibo Matto, John Zorn, Melvins, Gibby Haynes, Ween, Joan As Police Woman, Spacehog, White Hills and others back in 2010, the New York-based act NETHERLANDS currently features Chealsea “Thee Chuq” Wierbonski, John Musto and Damien Moffitt. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past handful of years, you may recall that the New York-based band has developed a reputation for adhering to a sound and approach that actively rejects restraint for ambitious maximalism featuring pummeling drumming, dexterous guitar shredding, rapid fire tone, tempo and time signature changes — while being remarkably hook-driven in a way that sort of recalls Melvins, Torche, Mastodon and Jane’s Addiction.  

Building upon a growing profile, the members of NETHERLANDS have played with a number of renowned and acclaimed acts across a diverse and eclectic array of genres and styles including Napalm Death, Melt Banana, Mutoid Man, Yob, Black Flag, EYEHATEGOD, Candiria, Valient Thorr, Child Abuse, Mutilation Rites, Primitive Weapons, Freshkills, Vaz, Naam, Martin Rev, The Giraffes, The Death Set, BANGLADEAFY! DN’T, Unstoppable Death Machines, Mouth of the Architect, White Hills, Gull, Godmaker, Spacehog, The Austerity Program, No Way, Moon Tooth and Radkey.

Recalling an industrial-leaning take on King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Murder of the Universe, Netherlands’ latest single “Zombie Techno” retains the pummeling sound and sludgy power chords that has won them attention but while arguably being one of the most danceable — yes, really danceable — songs they’ve released to date.  “The theme of his song, as well as our entire new wave of material, is a comment on the illusion of community and civic participation that’s become the currency of all the new media platforms,” the band’s Timo Ellis explains. “Virtually everyone is constantly feeding overlapping algorithms that are sustained by a near-constant supply of curated narcissism, which while outwardly appearing to be ‘issue driven,’ much more often than not, don’t actually reflect any kind of real world action or real coalition-building or organization, whatsoever.”

Directed and designed by Kenny Curwood, the recently released video for “Zombie Techno” is centered around incredibly stark New Yorker cartoon-like animation, which shows human history and the human condition but through the lens of psychedelic, existential dread. Ultimately, the visual features an indifferent universe that sarcastically smirks and mocks humanity’s attempt to make meaning of their lives, as well as putting existence to a danceable rhythm.  

Deriving their name from one of the more vigorously outre films by Japanese animation studio Studio GhibliPom Poko is an up-and-coming Norwegian quartet, comprised of Ragnhild (lead vocals), Ola (Drums), Jonas (Bass) and Martin (guitar). The members of the band can trace their origins back to about 18 months ago when they met while they were all studying at Trondheim Music Conservatory.  Interestingly, the members of the band cite a wide and eclectic range of influences on their sound including Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure, Vulfpeck, Palm, KNOWER, Hella, Death Grips, Jenny Hval and Nick Drake among others. Interestingly, they manage to defy easy description or categorization, as well as anything resembling a prescriptive approach. “We’ve all done lots of improvised music in the past, and I think that shapes the way we play, even though the tunes are not improvised. We like when new and strange things happen in an old song, and that music can change over time by being played live, because that removes predictability and the ‘recipe’ that some genres of music have.”

With the release of their first three officially released singles, the up-and-coming Norwegian band have received attention both nationally and internationally, receiving praise from the likes of Interview Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash Magazine, DIY Magazine and NME, who picked the band as one of the acts to watch out for this year. Building upon a growing profile, the band’s full-length debut effort Birthday is slated for a February 22, 2019 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records. And the album’s latest single is the breakneck, math rock meets indie rock “My Blood,” which is centered by an arrangement featuring rapid-fire time signature changes, key and tone changes, thunderous drumming, enormous heavy metal-like power chords and a gorgeous melody underpinning it all. Sonically, the song strikes me as an amalgamation of The Cardigans, Cinemechanica and Bo Ningen while sounding (and being) wildly inventive.

 

 

 

Comprised of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Timo Ellis, who has recorded and played with the likes of Yoko Ono, Cibo Matto, John Zorn, Melvins, Gibby Haynes, Ween, Joan As Police Woman, Spacehog, White Hills and others, and has released over 25 wildly varied solo albums as TE and other pseudonyms; Ava Farber (synthbass), Joel “Moon Daddy” Willis (drums) and Chealsea “Thee Chuq” Wierbonski (synthbass) the New York-based act NETHERLANDS since their formation back in 2008 have developed a firmly-held reputation for a maximalist approach that follows Ellis’ personal mission statement of making music that can be equally light-hearted, brutal and ecstatic centered around power chord led shredding, pummeling drumming, soaring vocals and madding hooks.

And while generally possessing a difficult to describe sound, the band which draws from heavy metal, arena rock, post-hardcore and math rock, the members of the New York-based act have played with a number of renowned acts across a variety of genres and styles including Napalm Death, Melt Banana, Mutoid Man, Yob, Black Flag, EYEHATEGOD, Candiria, Valient Thorr, Child Abuse, Mutilation Rites, Primitive Weapons, Freshkills, Vaz, Naam, Martin Rev, The Giraffes, The Death Set, BANGLADEAFY! DN’T, Unstoppable Death Machines, Mouth of the Architect, White Hills, Gull, Godmaker, Spacehog, The Austerity Program, No Way, Moon Tooth and Radkey.

​The New York-based act’s Black Gaia is slated for release this Friday through Records and Tapes Records, and from the album’s latest single “Army!,” the album will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting pummeling and furious material centered around equally enormous power chords and arena rock friendly hooks, distorted synthbass and Ellis’s shouting politically charged lyrics, lambasting rampant commercialism and greed — all while drawing from math rock, psych rock and thrash metal in a way that reminds me of Cinemechanica. Arguably, this song may be one for the most explosive and forceful rippers I’ve heard all year, and it’s so fucking necessary.

NETHERLANDS will be touring with Mastodon and Dinosaur Jr. throughout September. Check out the tour dates below.

Mastodon, Dinosaur Jr, Netherlands – 2018 tour:
Sep 1 – Edmonton, AB @ Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Sep 2 – Calgary, AB @ Grey Eagle Resort & Casino
Sep 4 – Saskatoon, SK @ O’Brian’s Event Centre
Sep 6 – Winnipeg, MB @ Burton Cummings Theatre
Sep 7 – Duluth, MN @ Duluth Heritage Center
Sep 8 – Sioux City, IA @ Anthem @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Sep 11 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
Sep 12 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre
Sep 14 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Clyde Theatre
Sep 15 – Grand Rapids, MI @ 20 Monroe Live
Sep 16 – London, ON @ London Concert Theatre
Sep 17 – Kitchener, ON @ Elements
Sep 19 – Hamilton, ON @ FirstOntario Concert Hall
Sep 20 – Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theatre
Sep 21 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore

New Video: French Trio Jean Jean Return with Creepy Visuals for the Cinematic and Anxious “Event Horizon”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the  Paris-based instrumental space rock/math rock/experimental rock trio Jean Jean, currently comprised of Edouard Lebrun (drums, samples), Sebastien Torregrossa (guitar) and their newest member multi-instrumentalist Gregory Hoepffner, and as you may recall although the act has gone through a series of lineup changes in which the band started off as a trio and had a brief period as a duo, before expanding back to a trio with the release of their self-titled debut EP and 2013’s full-length debut Symmetry, which they supported with hundreds of live shows across the European Union, Japan and the US.

Interestingly though, when the band was a trio featuring Lebrun and Torregrossa, they wrote and recorded a follow-up EP that they scrapped because they felt something — or someone — was missing. Lebrun and Torregrossa were initially unsuccessful in their search for a third musician to further flesh out their sound, until their longtime friend Hoepffner, who had been responsible for the band’s visuals signed up to join the band. And as Lebrun recalls in press notes, things immediately clicked. “He [Hoepffner] brought this glue linking the drums and the guitars, adding another level,” Lebrun says.

The band’s recently released album Froidpierre is the first featuring the band as a newly re-constituted trio, and the album, which was recorded in a cabin named Froidspierre (or cold stone) in the French Alps is reportedly a marked departure from their previously released work. “We were tired of complex and festive tracks; we wanted to avoid over-doing things, to stop doing patchwork and have proper songs with real hindsight. The songs are shorter because they were composed with a sense of urgency.” And while these were all very conscious decisions, it was also driven by a sense of urgency as the band’s Lebrun frequently had to take the first night bus from the suburban studio to his home in Paris. As the band collectively mentions in press note, as they were busily writing and recording the material that would comprise their latest effort, each individual member of the band recognized that they had a great creative chemistry and that while something musically powerful was happening during the sessions, something in the air wasn’t quite right.

During the third day of the recording sessions Torregrossa went out on the balcony to smoke a cigarette and suddenly he felt an uncontrollable sense of fear throughout his own body. With a racing heart, he rushed back inside without looking back. The next day, Lebrun managed to be in the exact same spot and he couldn’t shake the persistent feeling that there was a presence behind him. Just as he turned around, he caught what looked like a ghost out of the corner of his eye. Frozen in fear, he stared at this presence and got lost in its inverted human-like silhouette. As Lebrun recalls, it felt as though he were slowly sinking into quicksand until somehow he managed to get away; but he felt unsettled and uneasy throughout the rest of the night. Hoepffner felt a strong sense of discomfort as he was sitting in the studio’s kitchen — so much so that, after a few days, he made sure to never enter a room on his own. At night, he heard someone or something whispering his name. And while he spent time trying to convince himself that someone was trying to play an elaborate prank on him, Hoepffner couldn’t shake having impressions of a wasted life, without any rational explanation. The band’s friend and photographer Maxime slept in a room that was made entirely of stones and was once a former stable, and one night he heard a woman’s voice calling his name, and felt something lean on him, and a cold sensation overtake his entire body.

Sometimes, they all would hear strange noises and banging on the walls that kept them awake most of the night. They  all spoke about something with a beastly scream and of objects suddenly and unexpectedly being knocked down. Although it was only until after the recording sessions were complete that the members of the band shared their own experiences, the sensation of anxious, uncertain dread and fear, of being on the edge, of not being able to trust your senses and your reason. Naturally, these experiences whether consciously or subconsciously managed to influence the sound and tone of the album’s material; in fact, album single “Anada,” evokes an unshakably, dark, menacing, and inexplicable presence lurking behind you, felt but unseen. Froidspierre’s latest single “Event Horizon”  is an incredibly cinematic composition centered around shimmering, arpeggiated synths, buzzing power chords, thumping and propulsive drumming and a soaring hook, and much like its immediate predecessor, the composition evokes an anxious and creeping dread. And unsurprisingly, the gorgeously shot video filmed by the band’s longtime friend, photographer Maxime Leyravaud and the band further emphasizes the creeping dread in the song; of shadowy figures seemingly coming out of the dark — for you.

New Video: The Eerie Character Study-based Visuals for Fallow Land’s “Faux”

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 and all that comes with it; but just under the surface is a twinge of heartache and confusion.

Directed by Stephen Levy and Jordan Anstatt, the recently released videos for “Faux” is a slow-burning, incredibly patient character study of a romantic couple on the verge of a complete breakdown while traveling together. And while driving, the male half of the couple inexplicably pulls over, gets out of the car and disappears. I won’t give away the ending but it’s a startling and eerie twist that leads to several different interpretations.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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Comprised of Akira Kawasaki and Atushi Kiyota, who were both members of influential, underground Japanese band Nine Days Wonder, and Daisuke Niitome, who has drummed and composed music for a number of jazz, funk and hip-hop acts, the Tokyo, Japan-based instrumental trio mouse on the keys has developed a reputation for a unique sound that bridges jazz, math rock, hip-hop, minimalist electronica and avant garde jazz as their compositions feature two minimally phrased pianos, two keyboards and dynamic drumming as you’ll hear on the swaggering and gorgeous “Earache,” a prog rock-leaning single off their recently released Out of Body EP which consists of twinkling keys, moodily swirling electronics, buzzing synths and stuttering, off-kilter percussion. And while being an angular and heady composition, it also manages to possesses an accessible and funky swagger.

The Tokyo-based trio will be embarking on a month-long tour of Canada and the US with renowned Japanese act LITE to support Out of Body and it’ll include a NYC area stop at Le Poisson Rouge on March 18. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
# = w/ LITE

Feb 16 – Saint-Hyacinthe, QC @ Le Zaricot
Feb 17 – Sherbrooke, QC @ Center Culturel De L’universite
Feb 22 – Jonquière, QC @ Cafe Theatre Cote Cour
Feb 23 – Québec, QC @ Le Circle
Feb 24 – Shawinigan, QC @ Maison de la Culture Francis-Brisson
Feb 25 – Trois-Rivières, QC @ Centre Culturel Pauline-Julien
Mar 01 – Rimouski, QC @ Cabaret Espace-scène/salle Desjardins-telus
Mar 02 – Carleton-sur-Mer, QC @ Quai des Arts
Mar 04 – Cap-aux-Meules, QC @ Pas Perdus
Mar 07 – Saint Catharines, ON @ FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
Mar 08 – Toronto, ON @ Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Mar 09 – Ottawa, ON @ Zaphod Beeblebrox
Mar 10 – Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
Mar 11 – Joliette, QC @ La Mitaine
Mar 13 – Detroit, MI @ The Loving Touch #
Mar 14 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall #
Mar 16 – Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage #
Mar 17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle #
Mar 18 – New York, NY @ (Le) Poisson Rouge #
Mar 19 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair #

 

 

 

Currently featuring Annie Lipetz, Josh Pollock, Mark Nelson and Sonny Pearce the members of San Francisco, CA-based psych rock/indie rock act Dooms Virginia can trace their origins to two disparate events — the first being the formation of their original project Annie Girl and The Light, a nationally touring punk act, which had opened for the Against Me! and others; and the second being, frontwoman Annie Lipetz’s long held obsession and fascination with Roy Sullivan, a man, who in his lifetime had been struck by lighting more than any other person. As the story goes Roy Sullivan came to Annie in a dream and told her that he discovered that the source of lightning’s attraction to him was a strange and power energy. In the dream Sullivan put this power into a totem and offered it to Lipetz and as soon as she took hold of it, a new and very different artistic voice emerged and new material came poring out. In exchange for this inspirational and powerful totem, Lipetz promised to pay tribute to Sullivan by renaming her band’s name to the town where he had been lain to rest.

And as you’ll hear on the band’s latest single “Devour,” the band’s more punk rock sound has become increasingly frenetic and forceful sounding as though it draws equally from math rock, punk rock and garage rock — in particular I think of Cinemechanica and The Blind Shake song others but with an overpowering urgency. As the band explains of their latest single “The media is lying to the masses, and it’s time to wake up. We have to fight against racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny and hate,” and may this single get you raring to fight — right now.

 

 

 

New Video: Tokyo, Japan’s LITE and Their Funky Take on Prog Rock

Comprised of Nobuyuki Takeda (guitar), Kozo Kusumoto (guitar / synthesizer), Jun Ozawa (bass) and Akinori Yamamoto (drums), the Tokyo, Japan-based instrumental rock band LITE have over their 14 years together and four full-length albums and six EPs developed both a national and international profile for mischievously playful and complex compositions featuring edgy riffs, complex rhythms and a prog rock and math rock-leaning sensibility, a well-regarded live show and a relentless touring schedule across the US, Europe and Asia. And with “-D,” the first single off the Japanese quartet’s fifth full-length and second proper Stateside release Cubic, the band has released a composition that playfully bridges funk, jazz, prog rock and hip-hop as angular guitar chords are paired with a regular yet ethereal horn line from trumpeter Tabu Zombie, a sinuous bass line and old school-like breakbeats which hold together a composition featuring three distinct yet incredibly funky sections together. Sonically, I’m reminded of the Josh Roseman Unit‘s Treats for the Nightwalker (in particular, their rendition of Burt Bacharach‘s “Long Day, Short Night,” which Dionne Warwick sung) and of a contemporary batch of Afrobeat and Afro-pop inspired acts that includes Superhuman Happiness (think of “Half-Step Grind” off their excellent Hands) and others.

Cubic is slated for a release through Topshelf Records on Friday and the Japanese quartet will be touring to support and build up buzz for the album with a handful of West Coast tour dates, which you can check out below. And interestingly, as the band was in the middle of seven date West Coast tour, they released an official music video comprised of the band performing the song in a studio in front of alternating colored lights — and in some way it gives a sense of what their live show would be like.