Category: New Audio

Over the past year, I’ve written a bit about the  Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk trio Second Still, and as you may recall the trio, comprised of founding members Ryan Walker (guitar) and Alex Hartman (bass) along with Suki San (vocals) can initially trace its origins to when its founding duo met in Los Angeles, back in 2007. By 2011 Walker and Hartman had relocated to New York, where they spent a great deal of time searching for a vocalist, who they felt could match their intensity and creative output, and as the story goes, when Walker and Hartman met Suki San, they felt an immediate connection and began working together.

Second Still’s first show was an infamous party at the now-condemned McKibbin Street Lofts that was shut down by the police during the band’s second song. Building upon the buzz of that incident, the band recorded their debut EP, Early Forms as a limited edition cassette, which quickly sold out. Making the most of their time, the members of the trio wrote and recorded the material that eventually comprised their 2017 self-titled, full-length debut — and from singles “Walls,” “Recover,” “You Two So Alike,” and “Strangers,” the album’s material thematically focused on decidedly post-modern subjects: depression, frustration, anxiety and alienation among a throbbing, seething mass of humanity, with a visceral and urgent emotionality, while sonically seeming to draw from Sixousie and the Banshees and the early catalog of renowned indie label 4AD Records.

Equals, the Los Angeles-based post punk trio’s much-anticipated follow-up EP finds the band expanding upon their sound, pushing it towards new directions — while retaining some of the early elements that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and elsewhere. You’ll see hear the chorus and delay pedal effected guitar, sinuous bass-driven grooves and industrial-like drum machine beats paired with ethereal vocals and infectious, razor sharp hooks; however, the members of the band have begun employing the use of a couple of analog synthesizers, which adds an atmospheric element to their sound. Additionally, roughly half of the EP’s material (the A side) reportedly finds he band exploring a decidedly pop-orientated, lighter sound while the other half (the B side) find site band hewing towards the melancholy and gloomy roots. The EP’s first single “Opening” was a decidedly melancholy post-punk track that to my ears will further their growing reputation for crafting a sound heavily indebted to early 80s post-punk with clean, modern production values, and unsurprisingly, the EP’s latest single “Automata” continues on a similar vein as its predecessor, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Sixousie and the Banshees’ “Israel,” and “Happy House” but with a subtle bit of moody atmospherics.



Over much of the almost 8 year history of this site, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Bambara, comprised of founding, core trio twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh and their childhood friend William Brookshire, and as you may recall the trio’s soon-to-be released Andy Chugg-produced third, full-length album Shadow on Everything is their first for Wharf Cat Records, and it reportedly represents a decisive step forward with the band moving from the early noise rock and post-punk that inspired their first two albums with the new album being  a Western Gothic concept album. And while the musical center remains the trio’s tight and forceful rhythm section featuring Blaze Bateh’s frenzied yet incredibly metronomic drumming and Brookshire’s propulsive bass lines, which manage to be roomy enough for for Reid Bateh’s howled vocals and squalling, feedback heavy guitar.

Unlike their previously recorded output in which Reid Bateh’s vocals were deeply buried in the mix, Shadow on Everything finds the band placing Reid Bateh’s vocals at the forefront, symbolically placing the damaged characters and seedy locales of his lyrics at center stage — and while the overall sound is cleaner, as you’ll hear on “Jose Tries to Leave,” the album’s first single, the band has retained the forceful and nightmarish dynamism that has won them attention; but interestingly enough, the album finds the band experimenting with their sound as some of the material features violin and cornet arrangements, as well as ambient noise loops distilled down from hours of manipulated vocal collages the band shifted through to find the perfect texture.

“Doe-Eyed Girl” Shadow on Everything‘s second and latest single continues in a similar vein as it features Spaghetti Western-like guitar work, explosive bursts of feedback and a punk rock-like propulsive rhythm section that gives the song a cinematic yet menacing quality paired with an unusually empathetic portrayal of the damaged characters and nightmarish scenarios that have long inhabited their material imbued with a sweaty and furious urgency, fueled by a desperate and manic obsession.



New Audio: Portland’s Blackwater Holylight Returns with a Trippy and Expansive Take on 60s Psych Rock

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Portland, OR-based rock act Blackwater Holylight, and as you may recall, the band comprised of founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass),  Laura Hopkins (guitar, vocals), Cat Hoch (drums) and Sarah McKenna (synth), the band, which can trace its origins to when one of Faris’ previous bands broke up, and she wanted to begin experiment what her own version of what “heavy” should and could be both sonically and emotionally with the primary aim to celebrate vulnerability all of its forms. But along with that, as Faris explains in in press notes, because she was the only female in her previous band, she wanted to see how her “songwriting and vulnerability could glow taking the drivers seat, and working with women.” 

RidingEasy Records will be releasing Blackwater Holylight’s self-titled review on April 6, 2018 and from the Breeders-like alt rock meets shoegaze “Sunrise,” and the Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath heavy, power chord dirge and strident, feminist anthem “Wave of Conscience,” the Portland-based quartet have shown that their material draws from a wide array of sources with a piss and vinegar-fueled, kick ass and take names sort of self-assuredness. And unsurprisingly, the album’s latest single “Willow” continues in a similar vein while being their most expansive and most 60s psych rock-inspired song they’ve released from the album to date, as the band shifts tempo and mood while centered around some explosive guitar pyrotechnics and ethereal harmonies. 

Although she is all of 25, the New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and studio engineer Eva Lawitts has had a rather accomplished music career –beginning  as a high schooler, she’s had stints in the likes of Vagabon, Citris and others, touring across the US a number of times — and as a studio engineer, she runs Wonderpark Studios with Chris Krasnow.

Interestingly, Lawitts’ solo recording project Stimmerman finds the accomplished New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and studio engineer stepping out on her own as a creative mastermind and frontperson; in fact, with her Stimmerman debut, Pleasant Vistas in a Somber Place EP, Lawitts wrote, arranged and performed all of the vocal, guitar and bass parts with Beach Fossils‘ touring drummer Russel Holzman and acclaimed trumpeter Adam O’Farrill on an effort that as she told New Noise Magazine were drafts of a songs written for a new album by a now-defunct band she was in. “I had completed most of the instruments by fall 2016, the band I had written the songs for broke up in December, and I spent the firs half of 2017 racing around on tour with a horde of other musicians and bands, mostly getting really depressed in vans and hotels around about the sudden lack of direction in my life, and attempting to complete these songs on my own,” she explained. And as a result, the EP’s material reflects a childish moroseness and an impotent bitterness and frustration.

Reportedly, the EP’s latest single “Tough Talk” were culled from half-remembered conversations during a particularly intense period of touring, as well as her running commentary on those memories, followed by a sort of conclusion about how even attempting to reach a conclusion about what it all was supposed to mean was futile, and those observations give the song a bilious fury and frustration — while sonically, the song finds Lawitts drawing from prog rock, indie rock, noise and punk in a way that reminds me of The Mallard‘s Finding Meaning in Deference.






Palace Winter is a Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop duo, comprised of Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born and-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager. Individually, Coleman and Hesselager have played in a number of different bands over the years, but they were familiar with each other, and along with a mutual appreciation of a strong melody and melodic sensibility, and a mutual appreciation for each other’s writing styles, the duo were encouraged to start writing together.

2015 saw the release of their debut single, which followed-up with 2016’s debut EP Medication and their full-length debut Waiting for the World to Turn, all of which were released through Copenhagen-based label Tambourhinoceros to critical applause from the likes of The Guardian, NME, The Line of Best Fit, and airplay from KCRW, KEXP, Norway’s P3, Denmark’s P6, as well as by BBC Radio personalities Guy Garvey, Lauren Laverne and Tom Ravenscroft. Oh and let’s not forget, they have a Hype Machine #1 under their belts. Adding to a growing profile, they’ve opened for Noel Gallagher, played sets on the European festival circuit, including Meltdown Festival curated by the aforementioned Guy Garvey, Roskilde Festival, Green Man Festival, Sziget Festival, Latitude Festival and Secret Garden Party among others.
Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of Palace Winter will be releasing their sophomore album Nowadays on May 4, 2018 and the album will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting atmospheric and melodic synth pop that decidedly nods at 80s synth pop and Junip, as their material is largely centered around ethereal synths/keys, strummed rhythm guitar and an insistent, propulsive beat
as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Empire.” However, underneath the breezy, radio friendly yet cinematic air is material that thematically focuses on the loss of innocence and the tough, and sobering life lessons of adulthood — but with the recognition of the freedom and power of taking charge of your life.



Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Welsh-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sarah Howells, best known as Bryde, and as you may recall Howells quickly exploded into both the British and international scene with the release of “Help Yourself” and several other singles, as they received praise from NylonThe Line of Best Fit and Earmilk and airplay from BBC Radio 6BBC Radio WalesRadio X and Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1, thanks in part to a sound that had been compared favorably to Jeff BuckleySharon Van EttenBen Howard and London Grammar — while thematically focusing on complex, ambivalent, and hopelessly entangled relationships among other things.

Howell’s much-anticipated full-length Byrde debut Like an Island is slated for an April 13, 2018 release through Seahorse Music, a label that Howell founded to release records by-like minded women and help them achieve more visibility in a male-dominated industry.  With the 90s alt rock-like, power chord-based “Peace,” Howell further cements her growing reputation for crafting incredibly self-assured, earnest and anthemic songs grounded in the gritty, psychological realism of a woman maneuvering complicated relationships, her own emotions and society’s expectations of her — and while this song sounds as though it draws from PJ Harvey, Howell manages to write material that feels and sounds as though it were based directly from her own life experiences.

“‘Peace’ is about the warm glow of two drinks and real connection with another person,” Howell explains. “It’s about the end of anger and the settling calm after a storm. Being able to be entirely yourself and still be liked. I had to make it the loudest track on the album because if something’s a not a little subversive.”








White China is an up-and-coming indie pop act, currently comprised of Gianluca Buccellati, who is based in New York and his brother Sanj Buccellati and Aaron Bernards, who are both based in Los Angeles, and with the release of a handful of singles, the trio have received attention for a sound that’s been described as “boujee cowboy music.” Although with “Freak Dreams,” the latest single off their forthcoming full-length debut, I, strikes me as eerily atmospheric and introspective pop, that brings to mind the likes of Beacon, Seoul and others as shimmering and gently undulating synths and ethereal crooning float over a motorik groove.

Interestingly, the song as the band’s Gianluca Buccellati explains was inspired by “a phase where I was saying out late. I would see the sunrise frequently,” and asking yourself “are we going to keep this up, or is it time to go home?” Certainly, if you’re a night owl, that question is a familiar one, as you’re stumbling home yet again at 6am from some club or some bar, with the sad recognition that you’re not getting any younger.



New Video: JOVM Mainstays Preoccupations Release Surreal Visuals for Haunting New Single “Disarray”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Canadian post-punk act Preoccupations, and as you may recall the band which features Matt Flegel (bass, vocals), Mike Wallace (drums), Scott Munro (guitar) and Daniel Christiansen (guitar), initially formed under the highly controversial name Viet Cong, which put the band in the middle of a furious and tumultuous debate centered around the appropriation of terms, names and symbols associated with historical groups and actions that evoke the horrors of despotism, fascism, genocide and so on. Ultimately, the band decided it was best to change their name before the release of their highly-anticipated sophomore album, an album that that found the individual members of the band in an unsteady and uncertain positions: at the time, each  member and relocated to different cities across North America, which made their long-established writing process of writing and testing material while on the road both extremely difficult, if not highly impractical. Along with that, several members of the band were reeling from having serious, long-term relationships end, around the time they were preparing to enter the studio. And unlike their previously recorded efforts, the band went into the writing sessions without having a central idea or theme to consider or help guide them along, essentially making the recording sessions akin to collectively blind leap of faith. Eventually the album’s material wound up drawing from something specific and very familiar — the anxiety, despair and regret that causes sleepless nights.  

Building upon a growing reputation for crafting dark and moody post-punk centered around themes of anxiety, uncertainty, creation, destruction and futility will be releasing their third album New Material is slated for release on Friday through Jagjaguwar Records, and the album, which finds the band recording and producing themselves is as the band’s Matt Flegel said in press notes, “an ode to depression. To depression and self-sabotage, and looking inward at yourself with extreme hatred.” Interestingly, much like their sophomore album, the band met without having much written or demoed beforehand — and according to the members of the band, it was arguably one of the most collaborative writing sessions they ever had as a band, with the sessions being extremely architectural in nature, with some ideas (proverbially speaking) being built up while others were torn down to the support beams. And although they didn’t initially know what the songs were about or where they were going with them, they had resolved to let the material show and not explicitly not tell. 

However, the writing and recording sessions reportedly led to a reckoning for the band’s Flegel. “Finishing ‘Espionage’ was when I realized. I looked at the rest of the lyrics and realized the magnitude of what was wrong,” says Flegel. In fact, the murky and angular  Manchester/Joy Division-like first single “Espionage,” while being among the most danceable songs they’ve written and released, focuses on a narrator, who has finally become aware of a disturbing penchant for self-sabotage in every aspect of his life. “Antidote,” New Material’s second single was centered around propulsive, industrial clang and clatter based rhythm meant to convey a sweaty anxiety, while being about how people forget that we’re all talking, walking, shitting animals, who have an infinite amount of knowledge within their fingertips but still manage to repeatedly make the wrong choices. 

“Disarray,” New Material’s third single is a meditative and slow-burning single featuring shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, organic drumming and boom bap-like drum machine work during the song’s bridge. And while superficially nodding at Turn On the Bright Lights-era Interpol, the song captures something much darker and uncertain — as it’s centered around someone, who from their perspective, views everything they’ve ever known to be a lie. As the band’s Flegal recalls, When I was writing ‘Disarray,’ it started off with an image of a mother combing her daughters hair that came into my mind, I liked the metaphor of splitting the braids and combing through the tangles, and wrote the rest of the lyrics around that image. This song sat untouched for close to 6 months as a recording with just bass and drums before we came back to it and wrote and recorded the guitar line while out of our minds one night in the early AM.” 

Directed by Ruff Mercy, the recently released video pairs animation and live footage of the band’s Flegel walking on a deserted beach while singing the song’s lyrics, shot with a grainy, almost Instagram-like filter. At points, animated and cartoonish figures and lines burst into the proceedings and superimposed over Flegel’s face to convey deep, inner turmoil and chaos. 


Born Teren Delvon Jones, Del the Funky Homosapien is an acclaimed Bay Area-born and -based emcee and producer, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he wrote lyrics for his cousin Ice Cube‘s group Da Lench Mob, which initially included the legendary West Coast emcee, filmmaker, screenwriter and movie star before they broke off into a distinct group of its own.

With the assistance of his cousin Ice Cube, Del released his 1991 solo debut album I Wish My Brother George Was Here, an album that was a commercial successful largely due to the popularity of album single “Mistadobalina.” Del wasn’t pleased with the limited musical range of the album and severed his production-artist relationship with Ice Cube for his sophomore album No Need for Alarm, an album that introduced the Oakland hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics, which featured Souls of Mischief, Casual, Pep Love, Del and producer Domino while bringing the Oakland sound to a larger audience. Interestingly, the album is also considered instrumental for expanding what would become the freestyle-based golden era of hip-hop.

Although Del didn’t produce another solo album for about five years, he collaborated on the Hieroglyphics crew’s 1998 debut 3rd Eye Vision; however, by the time he was about to release his third solo album Future Development, his label Elektra Records terminated his contract. Initially, the album was only available as a cassette through the Hieroglyphics website before being re-releassd through the Hieroglyphics Imperium label in 2002; but before that, he collaborated with Dan the Automator and Kid Koala in hip-hop supergroup Deltron 3030 and their critically applauded, 2000 self-titled debut and along with his Deltron 3030 collaborators on two singles on Gorillaz‘s eponymous, smash hit 2001 self-titled debut — “Clint Eastwood” and “Rock the House.” He followed that up with his fourth solo album Both Sides of the Brain, and Hieroglyphics 2003 sophomore effort Full Circle. 

Since then Del has managed to be incredibly prolific releasing albums both through tradition labels, as free downloads and with pay-as-you-wish efforts with specific incentives for those who pay certain prices for the album, including a chance to collaborate with Del in the studio and so on.

Amp Live is a Texas-born, California-based producer and DJ, who is known as one of half to the hip-hop duo Zion I, and for critically applauded remixes of material by Radiohead, Tokyo Police Club and Jamie Lidell. And as a solo artist, he’s released two albums and an EP — 2010’s Murder at the Discotech, 2014’s Headphone Concerto and 2017’s Atmosphere EP and 2011’s Therapy at 3, a collaborative effort with Eligh.


Interestingly, Del and Amp Live will be teaming up on the forthcoming album Gate 13, an album that sonically draws from and mixes hip-hop, funk and electronica while finding two of hip-hop’s most inventive artists collaborating with Goapele, Eligh, Simi, Zyme, Adult Karate, Mr. Micro and James Melo, essentially creating a “portal into something progressive, futuristic, and fun,” as the duo says in press notes. Interestingly, the album finds the renowned emcee evolving his imitable style, as he studied both comedy and battle rap, with Del making a concerted effort towards conciseness. “I told Amp about it, and he kind of showed me what his interpretation of what that would be,” Del says in press notes. “When I heard it, I thought it was tight. I didn’t even know he was going to do it.” Amp Live adds “Del has been talking about doing more straightforward, aggressive writing. Everything that I was messing with kind of had the same theme,” the producer says of the album’s tracks. “Even when I flipped them after, I tried to stay true to the original feeling.”

“Wheel of Fortune,” Gate 13‘s first single begins with a thumping, boom-bap beats and arpeggiated synths and Del’s imitable flow, complete with some of the most ridiculous word play, complex rhyme schemes and insanely funny punch lines you’ll hear in some time, as he throws massive haymakers at any and all who dare to battle him. About halfway through the track Amp Live drops a dub reggae break, which he follows with a manic tempo — and throughout Del effortlessly and dexterously handles it in a free flowing, almost mischievous fashion. Dope emcees being challenged by dope producers is what all hip-hop should aspire to, no matter what the era.






Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Paris, France-based electronic music producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist, Behad Netjabakshe, best known in electronic music circles as Uppermost. And as you may recall, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist has developed an internationally recognized profile with the release of material through renowned labels like Sony BMGMinistry of SoundBugEyed RecordsStarlight Records and his own Uppwind Records; in fact, singles like “Equivocal” landed at #3 back in 2009 and his Biscuit Factory EP landed at #1 on the JunoDownload electro-house charts. Additionally, Netjabakshe has received attention for his remixes of  Daft Punkdeadmau5BurialCrystal CastlesJonathan CoultonSyl JohnsonCongorock and others — and he’s had his work playlist by a number of superstar producers and artists including  TiestoArmin van Buren and Steve Angello.

Las year, saw the release of Origins 2011-2016, a comprehensive compilation that featured ed some of Netjabakshe’s most popular tunes, including “Flashback,” “Beautiful Light,” “Reminder” and “Mistakes,” as well as new, original material including the shimmering and anthemic M83-channeling singles “Thousand Colors,” and “Emotion,” the Pink Floyd-channeling,  cinematic “Reminder,” the 45:33 and Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundsystem-leaning “Alive,” and a lush, cinematic rendition of “Constellation” performed with members of the Paris Symphonic OrchestraOrigins 2011-2016‘s highly anticipated follow up, Perseverance is slated for release this Friday, and the album reportedly features some the most personal and impassionaied material Netjabakshe has released to date while collaborating with vocalists with backgrounds in folk, hip-hop and pop.

Last month, I wrote about the album track “Atoms,” a collaboration with Birsen that paired her gossamer-crooning with arpeggiated analog synths, a motorik-like groove and an infectious hook — and while being both dance floor and radio friendly, the song possessed an aching humanity, as it pointed out humanity’s vulnerability and smallness in an incomprehensibly immense universe.  Building upon the buzz around the album, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist released the album’s latest single, the swaggering “Perseverance,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter Harry Pane, that pairs Pane’s soulful vocals with an ominously thumping production consisting of twitter and woofer rocking beats and arpeggiated synths and an anthemic hook; but despite the seemingly ominous vibes, the song is actually extremely uplifting, as it features lyrics that focus on determination, dedication and — well yeah, perseverance in the face of life’s obstacles.