Category: New Audio

Comprised of Jason Corbett (vocals, guitar), Shannon Hemmett (synth, vocals), Jahmell Russell (bass, vocals) and Adam Fink (drums), the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based post punk act ACTORS have developed a reputation for a decidedly modern take on the familiar post-punk sound, in a way that some critics have compared to The Soft Moon, Cold Cave and others.

Building upon a growing amount of buzz surrounding the band, their forthcoming full-length debut It Will Come To You, is slated for a March 9, 2018 through Artoffact Records, and from album singles “L’appel du Vide,” and “Slaves,” the band reveals an album featuring slickly, produced, hook-driven material that’s reminiscent from  4AD Records-era post-punk and New Wave with an urgent yet cinematic bent. The album’s third and latest “Face Comes To Glass” will further cement the band’s growing reputation for hook-driven, cinematic and moody post punk; however, the track finds the band employing atmospheric and shimmering synths along with angular bass and guitar chords, which makes the song subtly nod at John Carpenter soundtracks.

The Canadian post-punk act will be touring throughout their native Canada, the States and Europe throughout 2018. Check out tour dates below.

Feb 1 – Vancouver, BC @ Astoria
Mar 10 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw (It Will Come to You album release show)
Mar 22 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
Mar 23 – Boise, ID @ Vista Bar
Mar 28 – Sacramento, CA @ LowBrau
Mar 29 – Oakland, CA @ Golden Bull
Mar 30 – Los Angeles, CA @ La Cita (Part Time Punks)
Apr 2 – Eugene, OR @ Old Nicks
Apr 3 – Olympia, WA @ Crytatropa
Apr 4 – Everett, WA @ Obscurus
Apr 6 – Portland, OR @ Tonic Lounge (Out from the Shadows Festival)
Apr 12 – Vancouver, BC @ Astoria (Verboden Festival)
May 10 – Paris, FR @ Le Supersonic
May 11 – Lille, FR @ Le Bobble Cafe
May 17 – Stockholm, SE @ Debaser Strand
May 18 – Copenhagen, DK @ Stengade
May 19 – Hamburg, DE @ Gruner Jager
May 20 – Leipzig, DE @ Wave Gotik Treffen Festival

New Audio: Kool Keith Dan The Automator and DJ Qbert Revive Dr. Octagon for Surreal and Satirical First Single in Over 20 Years

Known as a co-founder of renowned and legendary hip-hop act Ultramagnetic MCs and for a lengthy and uncompromising solo career in which he has taken up a number of aliases and personas, while collaborating with an array of emcees and producers, Kool Keith is arguably one of hip-hop’s most idiosyncratic and eccentric personalities and artists — and throughout his incredibly prolific recording career, he has continually perfected and expanded upon his inimitable flow, full of surreal and fantastical tangents, grimly violent and nightmarish imagery, sexual and pop cultural references while effortlessly and frequently switching perspectives, moods and points of view within the same song.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site, you know that I’ve written quite a bit about Kool Keith and his various solo releases, reissues and collaborations but interestingly, the imitable emcee along with collaborators Dan The Automator and DJ Qbert have teamed to revive his alter ego Dr. Octagon 20+ years after the critically applauded, revolutionary debut effort  Dr. Octagonecologyst. “Octagon Octagon,” the first single from the trio’s long-awaited Dr. Octagonecologyst follow up, Moosebumps: an exploration into modern day horripilation is a bit of a return to form for the trio — but possessing a frenzied urgency that could only come from marathon 24-hour recording sessions at Dan The Automator’s studio.  And while reprising a lecherous and hopelessly incorrigible character with his off-kilter and imitable flow, the new single is arguably one of the smartest and most absurd yet satirical commentaries on capitalism, branding and advertising, as Kool Keith’s Dr. Octagon reveals himself as shamelessly opportunistic, putting his name to tampons, rice and beans, gasoline and anything else he could — even if it was ridiculous, because why not? Sonically, Kool Keith — er Dr. Octagon’s flow is paired with a minimalist production that manages to be both menacing and surreal, emphasizing the character’s surrealistic flow while featuring twinkling keys and DJ Qbert’s incredible scratching.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Beach House Return with a Gorgeous and Atmospheric Single from Forthcoming Album

Comprised of Victoria Legrand (organ, vocals) and Alex Scally (guitar, vocals), the  Baltimore-based indie rock act Beach House have released a handful of critically and commercially successful albums, including 2015’s Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, which were written and recorded within a two-and-a-half year period between 2012-2014 — and while being individual efforts, they’re meant to be viewed as closely related companion pieces, as metaphorically being two sides of the same coin, as they built upon similar themes and a related, overall sound centered around sparse and atmospheric arrangements of organ, guitar and Legrand’s ethereal vocals. 

Much like countless bands before them, Legrand and Scally have written and recorded a large number of songs throughout their career, some of which have been played live or released that for whatever reason just didn’t quite fit their album-based material. Over the years, some of those songs have proven to be increasingly difficult to find and listen to, and to accommodate their fans, they released B-Sides and Rarities, a 14 track compilation of songs that they’ve recorded and released that just didn’t make their albums, and two previously unreleased singles “Chariot” and “Baseball Diamond,” recorded during the Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars sessions. As a music journalist and fan, B-side compilations can offer a revealing look into a band’s creative and editorial processes as they write and record an album.  

Interestingly, the Baltimore-based dream pop duo will be releasing a new album later this spring through Sub Pop Records in North America, Bella Union Records in Europe and Mistletone Records in Australia and New Zealand, and the as yet untitled album’s first single “Lemon Glow” will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting tender yet atmospheric material centered around Legrand’s ethereal vocals but this particular track is a bit more jangling and finds the duo (to my ears at least) subtly drawing from shoegaze as it possesses an equally subtle cosmic glow.

Throughout the bulk of this site’s almost 8 year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Detroit, MI-based proto-punk/punk rock band Death, and as you may recall, the band which featured The Hackney Brothers — Bobby (bass, vocals), David (guitar) and Dannis (drums) — formed back in 1971, and initially they were an R&B and funk-based act  — until The Hackneys caught The Who and Alice Cooper live. As the story goes, after those concerts, David, the youngest of the siblings pushed his two older brothers towards a more hard rock-leaning sound; a sound that interestingly managed to presage punk, post-punk and the Afropunk movement while necessitating a name change. And from that point forwards the band went by Death. As Bobby Hackney famously explained in a 2010 interview that David’s concept was to spin death from the negative to the positive. “It was a hard sell,” Bobby Hackney recalled.

In 1975, the Hackneys went into Detroit’s United Sound Studios with engineer Jim Vitti to record a handful of songs written by David and Bobby, and according to the Hackney family Clive Davis funded the recording sessions; but while doing so, he had repeatedly implored and cajoled the band into changing their name into something more commercially palatable.  David refused, and his brothers while initially okay with a name change went along with their brother’s vision. Davis pulled out his financial investment, leaving the band with seven of the twelve songs they had planned to record. 1976 saw the extremely limited release of the “Politicians In My Eyes”/”Keep On Knocking” single, which was recorded during the United Sound Studios sessions and their full-length, which was released to very little fanfare.

By 1977, the Hackney Brothers decided it was time to end Death, and then relocated to Burlington, VT where they released two gospel rock/Christian rock albums in the late 70s and very early 80s as The 4 Movement. However, by 1982 David Hackney had returned to Detroit while Bobby and Dannis remained, eventually forming a reggae band Lambsbread. From what I understand there was a point where The Hackney Brothers had discussed reforming Death but unfortunately, David Hackney died of lung cancer in 2000. However, as the two surviving Hackney Brothers claim, David told them shortly before his death that although they were misunderstood and forgotten in their day, history would prove them and their work together as being truly revolutionary — but that it would mostly likely be after his own death. In a wild yet very true spin of serendipitous fortune that seems as though it were written by a screenwriter, Bobby’s sons had stumbled across the original Death masters hidden away in their parents’ attic, several years after David’s death. Bobby’s sons were impressed by their father’s and their uncles’ work that they began covering Death as a loving homage that began to receive attention both nationally and internationally.

As a result of the growing buzz around the band, Drag City Records, re-released Death’s original recordings in 2009, 35 years after its initial recording and release, and from those recordings the material proved David Hackney correct, revealing that Death’s sound and aesthetic managed to be 3 years ahead of the punk revolutionary while simultaneously playing an important role in Black music history, as they managed to fill in the gaps between Parliament Funkadelic, Bad Brains and Fishbone, while presaging the likes of Lenny Kravitz, TV on the Radio, Prince,  Unlocking the Truth and a list of others. Since the re-issue of their early demos and their full-length, Death with its current line up featuring the surviving Hackney Brothers — Bobby (bass, vocals) and Dannis Hackney (drums) with Bobbie Duncan (guitar), have had a documentary about their incredible story, released new material and spent time touring and playing on the festival circuit, including an incredible Afropunk Festival set, which has introduced the trio, their story and their sound to eager and appreciative new audiences.

Death’s latest single “Give It Back” was originally written by the band’s Bobby Hackney in 1979 and re-recorded last year but interestingly enough, the song concerns itself with persistent and troubling social and environmental issues that he saw almost 40 years ago, from increasing political, racial and social animus and disarray, global warming and the pollution of our water and air, and a growing sense that dreams and hopes you once had have been lies created by larger powers to keep you involved in a sick and demented system that exploits and destroys human lives and the only home we’ll ever know. The overall theme of the song is as you’ll hear in the lyrics “We’ve taken from this world, now it’s time to give it back” suggesting that there’s only one time to get it right, before we fuck it all up royally — and they pair that with a classic, Detroit rock ‘n’ roll groove that immediately brings The Dirtbombs to mind.

 

 

Comprised of founding trio, twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh and their childhood friend William Brookshire, JOVM mainstays Bambara initially formed in Athens, GA and as you may recall, after they relocated to Brooklyn, where they recorded their full-length debut DREAMVIOLENCE, the trio exploded into the national scene, thanks in part to a punishing, shoegaze and noise rock-inspired sound that drew comparisons to A Place to Bury StrangersWeekend, and others. However, with 2016’s sophomore effort, Swarm, the trio’s sound increasingly incorporated elements of stark, New York hardcore punk and thrash punk centered around Reid Bateh’s lyrics describing life in a stark, grimy, merciless city, full of neurotic, unhinged and deeply unstable characters trying to survive with whatever dignity, decency and shred of their own sanity they have remaining. And as a result, the album’s material possessed a tense, bristling fury.

Slated for an April 6, 2018 release, the Brooklyn-based trio’s forthcoming, third, full-length  Andy Chugg-produced Shadow on Everything is their first for Wharf Cat Records, and it reportedly represents a decisive step forward with the band transcending the early noise rock and post-punk that has long inspired them — with the new album being a Western Gothic concept album. And while the musical center still remains the trio’s tight rhythm section featuring Blaze Bateh’s frenzied yet metronomic drumming and Brookshire’s sinuous bass lines, which allow space for Reid Bateh’s squalling, feedback tinged guitar and howled vocals; however, where Reid Bateh’s vocals were buried in the mix for their previously recorded output, Shadow on Everything finds his vocals pulled towards the front, symbolically placing the damaged characters and seedy locales of his lyrics directly on the proverbial center stage. Additionally, the album finds the members of Bambara expanding upon their sound and instrumentation as it features violin and cornet arrangements with the material interspersed with ambient noise loops distilled down from hours of manipulated vocal collages the band shifted through to find the perfect texture.

Although “Jose Tries to Leave,” Shadow on Everything‘s first single features shimmering, almost Spaghetti Western-like guitar work paired with a propulsive and forceful rhythm section consisting of Blaze Bateh’s metronomic and thunderous drumming and Brookshire’s angular bass chords but unlike any of their previous work, the new single has a cinematic (and dramatic) air, capturing the lives and thoughts of desperate and seedy souls with both a novelist’s attention to psychological detail and empathy — but just underpinning the whole affair is a murky sense of menace and murder just around the corner.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays WINDHAND Return with a Lysergic and Epic Doom-Laden Dirge

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so of its almost eight-year history, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND. Currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums), the Northern Virginia-based metal act formed back in 2009 and with the 2010 release of a self-recorded two track CD, the band quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath.  Building upon a growing profile, their 2012 self-titled debut became an underground hit and sold out multiple vinyl pressings within a few months.

2013 saw WINDHAND sign to Relapse Records, before collaborating with Richmond, VA-based band Cough on a split single “Reflection of the Negative,” which was released to critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork and others. WINDHAND promptly followed that up with the release of their critically applauded sophomore effort Soma, an effort that received praise from Stereogum, Spin, LA Weekly, Revolver, Invisible Oranges, MetalSucks, Metal Injection, Rolling Stone and NPR — with Pitchfork naming the album as one of the third best metal releases of the year. Adding to a breakthrough year, the members of the Richmond, VA-based doom metal band had spent the bulk of 2013 and 2014 touring North America, the European Union, and Australia with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak, as well as the festival circuit, wth appearances at Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest. They closed out a breakthrough and breakneck period with a critically praised split album,in which they collaborated with Swedish doom metal act Salem’s Pot.

2015’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Internal Flower featured album singles Crypt Key.” and “Two Urns” which unsurprisingly managed to further cement their reputation for crafting sludgy, murky, punishing and downtempo dirges.  At the end of last year, the members of the band announced that they would be releasing a split album with fellow Virginians Satan’s Satyrs, which Relapse Records will release on Friday, and as you may recall, the album’s first single “Old Evil” was a mosh pit worthy sound that featured some impressive psych rock meets metal god guitar work and an anthemic hook that belies the lurking evil within the song. The split album’s latest single “Three Sisters” is an epic, slow-burning and lysergic dirge with a scorching and smoking guitar line, explosive burst of organ and wobbling bass over which Cottrell’s vocals ethereally float over, like a feverish dream-like portent.

New Audio: Indie Rock Supergroup MIEN Return with a Shimmering and Menacing New Single

Comprised of The Black Angels‘ Alex Mass (vocals, samples, loops), The Horrors‘ Tom Furse (keys, programming), Elephant Stone‘s Rishi Dhir (bass, sitar, keys) and The Earlies‘ John-Mark Lapham (keys, samples, programming), the indie All-Star supergroup and side project MIEN can trace its origins to roughly 2004, when Rishi Dhir, who was playing sitar and bass with a previous band on a SXSW bill with The Brian Jonestown Massacre had a chance encounter with The Black Angels’ Alex Mass. Dihr also had a chance encounter with The Earlies, who he would similarly collaborate and share a stage with. Interestingly, Mass, Dihr and Lapham bonded over a mutual love and appreciation of The Association‘s “Wantin’ Ain’t Gettin;” in fact, upon learning that Lapham had a deep desire to cover it, they all began the slow process of putting together the version they’d always dreamt of. Unfortunately, while that never came to fruition, it created the collaborative and creative sparks that would become MIEN.

In 2012, Dihr was playing bass with The Black Angels, and at the time they were sharing bills with The Horrors, whose Skying was on heavy rotation for him. Dihr made the acquaintance of Tom Furse, and they made a pact to work together on something in the future. As a quartet, the members of MIEN made another pass at covering The Association but coincidentally around the same time, there was a Lapham demo, based around a Beastie Boys sample that eventually became the murky and hallucinatory “Black Habit,” the first single off the band’s self-titled debut. 

The album’s second and latest single “Earth Moon” continues on a similar ambient and kaleidoscopic vibe; however, the song finds the act pairing propulsive yet atmospheric electronics with shimmering sitar — and while being as menacing as its predecessor, it’s oddly enough the most Black Angels-like song they’ve released to date. 

Comprised of husband wife duo Aslyn and Kalen Nash, the Joshua Tree, CA-based synth pop duo DEGA features two accomplished, veteran musicians: Ashlyn had released two solo albums, Lemon Love through Capitol Records and The Dandelion Sessions through Lemonade Records, and she has a stint was a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist for Grammy nominated artist Kesha. Kalen Nash was guitarist and vocalist for Athens, GA-based indie rock act Ponderosa, a band that released their critically applauded, Joe Chiccarelli-produced album Midnight Revival, which was released through New West Records.

Unsurprisingly, the origins of the Nashes latest project can be traced back to 2008 when they first met and eventually fell in love — and although they married in 2011, they were so busy with their own respective musical projects, that they hadn’t seriously considered working together. Eventually, the loneliness of the road led the Nashes to consider a different path. “I remember a phone call when I was out with Kesha and Kalen was on tour with Ponderosa,” recalls Aslyn. “We were a country apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. I told him that we needed to start collaborating so, at the very least, we could see each other more often.”

Ashlyn and Kalen Nash formed DEGA with the idea that they could shed any and all of their preconceived notions about their previous work and freely explore new sounds and musical ideas — in this case anthemic, synth-based indie pop in which they merged their talents and ideas into a unique sound and approach. Now, as you may recall, the duo’s self-titled debut effort is slated for release later on this month through Lemonade Records, and the album reportedly is one of the most personal either has released to date as it focuses on the highs and lows of their lives together; in fact, album single “Phoenix” focuses on Asyln’s pregnancy and miscarriage during the recording sessions. With both Asyln and Kalen touring with their various projects, the duo would record whenever they were both in the same city and had free time, and as result, the album took two years to complete with sessions helmed by  Justin Loucks and Jon Ashley at various studios across the States.

Don’t Call It,” which I wrote about late last year was a carefully crafted yet urgent song that remind some quite a bit of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy as layers of shimmering synths were paired with a sinuous bass line, African-inspired percussion and a soaring hook. The duo’s latest single “Mirrors” continues the 80s vibes of its predecessor — but in this case Purple Rain and 1999-era Prince, as well as A Flock of Seagulls as the song features some blistering guitar work paired with propulsive drumming, layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths and a rousingly anthemic hook. And while being a remarkably slick, radio friendly track, it reveals some incredibly ambitious and earnest songwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Dean Rodney, Jr. (vocals, rapping, songwriting), Matthew Howe (guitar),   Charles Stuart (bass, co-songwriter, background vocals), best known for being a member of Grace Jones‘ touring band, and Andrew Mclean (drums) with Felipe Pagani (guitar) joining in on live shows, the London-based indie act The Fish Police formed back in 2010 and is a unique and pioneering act, as it features neurodiverse personnel — Rodney, Jr., Howe and Mclean are all on the autistic spectrum, with Howe and Mclean being trained by the band’s Stuart at the London creative arts charity and label Heart n Soul.  Sonically, the neurodiverse act have developed a reputation for an electronic-based sound that draws from hip-hop, soul, 16 bit era computer game soundtracks and Afro-punk among others

The Fish Police’s forthcoming EP Edging Myself to the Middle reportedly sees Dean Rodney, Jr. taking on a slightly bigger role in terms of bringing musical ideas to the creative table.  Interestingly, because of his autism, Rodney, Jr. sees life through a very different angle and consequently, the lyrical themes and concepts he explores in his lyrics are humorously surreal while possessing a deceptive, childlike simplicity. After all, along with the aforementioned influences of hip-hop, soul, computer game soundtracks and Afro-punk, the band is influences by cartoons, fast food and Japanese culture — and as a result they band has built up quite a bit of buzz; in fact, the band will be playing sets at this year’s SXSW.  Edging Myself to the Middle‘s latest single “Cactus” is inspired by one of the cacti in the meeting room of their label’s offices, and the song finds the band pairing Rodney, Jr’s inventively surreal and childlike lyrics with glitchy electronics and funky and propulsive groove reminiscent of Fear of Music-era Talking Heads. But the bigger point is that this band should remind the listener of the inherent value of everyone — and that everyone has a story that should be told that respects their dignity and humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of their debut track “Ambulance,” the Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Russian Baths, comprised of Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner, received attention for a sound that the band has described as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others; however, “Slenderman,” which I wrote about last month, reminded me much more of brooding, 90s alt rock/120 Minutes-era MTV as the song featured the familiar alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure — in which you would have had heard shimmering guitar chords, throbbing bass chords and propulsive drumming paired with a rousingly anthemic hook.

 

Interestingly, “What’s In Your Basement,” the latest single off the Brooklyn-based act’s forthcoming EP Penance continues the 90s alt rock vibes — but this time, their latest single is blistering and abrasive, mosh pit worthy grunge rock that brings to mind Bleach and In Utero-era Nirvana and Finelines-era My Vitriol, with a similar balls-to-the-walls self-assuredness.

Penance drops on February 23rd.