I’ve written quite a bit about the Seattle, WA-based heavy metal quartet Thunderpussy over the past handful of years, and as you may recall the act quickly exploded into the national scene as a result of a string of critically applauded live shows and co-signs from Rolling Stone and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band released their Mike McCready-produced self-titled debut through Stardog Records/Republic Records, and the album which featured the Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath meets Joan Jett-like anthem “Speed Queen” and the bluesy “Velvet Noose,” further cemented the band’s reputation for crafting self-assured, arena friendly rock.
The strutting, AC/DC-like “Never Know” is the first bit of new material from the band since the release of their self-titled debut, and while centered around enormous hooks, a booze-fueled 12 bar blues and Molly Sides’ sultry vocals — and while continuing a run of arena friendly rock, the song which features a new drummer, also manages to possess a different energy and air; that of an ambitious band that wants to take over the entire world.
“‘Never Know’ was a labor of lust!” The band says in press notes. “We dove deep, got stuck and let it go. Turns out it came back to us with a new energy and a new drummer! This was our first experience recording in LA with a group of producers that blew us away. We feel like the sound is something we’d been searching for a while and ended up being there all along. You truly never know what will happen when you let something go. If it’s mean tot be, it always finds a way back!”
8/9: Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl #
8/10: Philadelphia, PA @ Milkboy #
8/11: Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery #
8/13: Nashville, TN @ High Watt #
8/15: Indianapolis, IN @ Hi-Fi Indy #
8/16: Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Rock Club #
8/17: Saint Paul, MN @ Turf Club #
8/19: Bozeman, MT @ The Eagles Ballroom #
8/20: Boise, ID @ Humpin’ Hannah’s #
9/30: Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction *
10/1: San Diego, CA @ House of Blues – Voodoo Room *
10/3: Las Vegas, NV @ The Bunkhouse Saloon *
10/4: Los Angeles, CA @ House of Machines *
10/5: San Francisco, CA @ The Midway San Francisco
# w/ Hollis Brown
*w/ Ramonda Hammer
True Moon is a Malmo, Sweden-based post-punk/dark wave quartet, comprised of founding members Karolina Engdahl (vocals, bass) and Tommy Tift (guitar) — both of whom are former members of Swedish Grammy-winning act Vånna Inget, along with Linus Segerstedt (guitar) and Fredrik Orevad (drums). The Malmo, Sweden-based quartet can trace their origins to when its founding duo of Engdahl and Tift felt a desire to create something more raw and visceral than the material they were working on with their then-primary gig. “Karolina and I are bored with the Swedish music scene at the moment,” Tift explained at the time. “It feels like everyone has the same blueprint, like there’s an industry rulebook now for how bands must sound. We wanted to do something different.” Vånna Inget’s 2013 full-length effort Ingen Botten found the band sonically exploring New Wave and dark wave, and as Tift went on to say they felt a need to explore it more themselves. “It was like an urge and we just had to do this,” True Moon’s Engdahl adds.
“We were listening to artists such as Joy Division, Killing Joke, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and early Cure. There is a purity and honesty and integrity to that music that’s missing from the current scene,” the band’s Tift said back in 2017. “Those bands weren’t making music to be pop stars or rock stars, it is pure expression and pure art, and that’s the aesthetic we were pursuing.” Segerstedt and Orevad were recruited to complete the band’s lineup, and they began working on their 2016 self-titled debut, an effort that received attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere for crafting material that actively went for the sort of raw, urgent and unpolished feel and sound reminiscent of Martin Hannet‘s work with Joy Division.
As a result of attention they received from their self-titled debut, the Malmo-based post-punk act played shows across Sweden, the UK and the States, opening for Killing Joke, King Dude, MCC, Against Me! and a number of others. Building upon a growing national and international profile, True Moon’s highly-anticipated sophomore album II is slated for a November 1, 2019 release through Lövely Records — and the album finds the band continuing their ongoing collaboration with with producer Jari Haapalainen, who also contributes guitar to the proceedings. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Poison” continues the raw and urgent aesthetic and feel of their full-length debut — and while clearly being indebted to Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees and others, the track reveals some ambitious songwriting, as it possesses an enormous, arena rock-like quality.
Over the last few months of last year, Liam Brown, an up-and-coming songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as pizzagirl quickly became a mainstay on this site. And as you may recall, with the release of last year’s An Extended Play EP, Brown was championed by Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. Brown also opened for the acclaimed — and all too tragic — British indie act Her’s, during one of their last UK tours.
Building upon a growing profile, the release of his sophomore EP, season 2 further cemented Brown’s reputation for crafting swooningly heartfelt, shimmering synth pop with a decidedly anachronistic sound and feel. But 2019 may be the JOVM mainstay’s biggest year to date, as his highly-anticipated full-length debut, first timer is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through Heist or Hit Records, the label home of the aforementioned Her’s, Baywaves and Honey Moon among others.
first timer‘s second and latest single “ball’s gonna keep on rollin” is a hook-driven, 80s synth pop bop with shimmering synths, explosive blasts of horns, dramatic drum rolls and Brown’s pop star vocals — and while sounding as though it could be part of the soundtrack of Stranger Things, the track details the journey of a showbiz wannabe — from wide-eyed, hungry and humble origins to buzz-worthy artist to superstar to broke, washed up and bitter former star. In many ways, the success that the song’s protagonist desperately wanted to attain was his worst nightmare.
“It’s a Twilight Zone-type of tale of hunting for the big ‘success’ whatever that may be,” Brown explains in press notes. “Anyways, just remember that if the grind is getting you down, that ball’s gonna keep on rollin.”
Last month, I wrote about the up-and-coming Sydney, Australia-based dream pop/garage rock act Sunscreen. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Sarah Sykes, Alexander McDonald, Hugo Levingston and Oliver Ellis quickly developed a national profile with the release of their attention-grabbing debut EP 2017’s Just A Drop. As a result of the buzz surrounding the band, they opened for the likes of DMAs, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Jen Cloher and Ali Barter and played sets at Farmer & The Owl and Grampians Music Festival.
Slated for an August 23, 2019 release, the Sydney-based dream pop/garage rock quartet’s Simon “Berkfinger” Berkelman-produced sophomore EP High Over Love reportedly finds the band crafting material that reflects the psyche of a romantically confused young person, desperately trying to survive in the big city. Written over the course of the past couple of years, the EP explores and touches upon romantic idealization, heartache and self-possession with a frank and earnest vulnerability. “High Over Love,” the EP’s first single and title track was a shimmering and hook-driven bit of guitar pop that’s one nods heavily at The Pretenders and Chrissie Hynde — but while focusing on a narrator, who’s reeling from a confusing and uncertain love. Interestingly, “Think About You” is a swooning and propulsive track that continues a run of hook-driven and earnest guitar pop singles — and while bearing a resemblance to The Smiths and The Pretenders, the song as the band’s Sarah Sykes explains is “Sunscreen’s love song. It’s about thinking about someone all day. This song is reminiscent of all things new, bright, and exciting — the feeling when you just can’t get close enough to someone.”
Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a couple of posts on the up-and-coming Brisbane, Australia-based indie rock quartet Future Haunts, and as you may recall, with the release of their debut EP Rubicon and its follow up single “Make Time,” the Brisbane-based quartet exploded into their homeland’s national scene, landing opening slots for Middle Kids and Horror My Friend, Hockey Dad, as well as a set at Hidden Lanes Festival.
After making a handful of live appearances last year, the members of Future Haunts spent the bulk of the year writing and self-recording new material at Plutonium Studios that included the anthemic 120 Minutes-like “Weather Vane.” Interestingly, “Fall In Line.” the Aussie indie rock act’s latest single continues a run of hook-driven and anthemic singles — and in this case, while the latest track sonically may remind some listeners of Arctic Monkeys and The Drums among a long list of others, the song may be the most politically charged songs the up-and-coming band has written to date, as the song is directly influenced by recent events in their homeland.
Over the past couple of years in both Sydney and Brisbane, strict lockout laws — laws that force bars, pubs, clubs and music venues to refuse new customers from entry at 1:30AM with a last call at 3:00AM were passed with an objective to reduce and curtail alcohol-fueled violence. While some of the recent data complied by officials in both of those cities have shown that alcohol-fueled violence has decreased, many people, who are involved in nightlife have raised concerns about the impact on the economy and their businesses. “‘Fall In Line’ was written around the time lockout laws were being introduced in Sydney and Brisbane,” the band’s Ben Speight explains in press notes. “The live music community in Brisbane has worked extremely hard to develop one of the best places to go and engage with artists, and there really was a lot of uncertainty what consequences this would have on live music and the broader nightlife scene.
“The song’s a bit of a nod to all those who work hard to create and nurture a positive culture and to keep pushing on no matter what. The message behind the song is still just as relevant today, in the context of other knee-jerk decisions made to placate a few very loud voices in very high places,” Speight says.
Currently featuring Ross Farrar (vocals), Anthony Anzaldo (guitar), Justin Davis (bass), Andy Nelson (guitar) and Jake Casarotti (drums), the Rohnert Park, CA-based punk act Ceremony can trace their origins to 2005, when they formed as a sextet with Farrar, Anzaldo, Davis, Nelson, Casarotti and Ryan Mattos (guitar) under the name Violent World before eventually changing their name.
With the release of their earliest work — in particular, 2005’s Ruined EP and Violence Violence, 2008’s Still Nothing Move You, the band quickly developed a reputation for a relentlessly brutal and bruising hardcore punk sound compared to the likes of Infest and others. Building upon a growing profile, the Rohnert Park, CA-based punk act toured across the world with bands like Blacklisted, Converge, and AFI before releasing 2010’s Rohnert Park.
Shortly before they signed to Matador Records in 2011, the band went through a lineup change with the departure of Ryan Mattos. The following year saw the release of the band’s fourth album Zoo, an album that was a radical sonic departure from the band, as it saw them moving from the bruising hardcore sound of their earliest efforts towards a pre-hardcore, post-punk inspired sound much like Pink Flag-era Wire. 2015’s The L-Shaped Man found the band sonically moving further towards post-punk with a sound that was compared to the likes of Joy Division and others.
The band’s soon-to-be released sixth album In The Spirit World Now is slated for an August 23, 2019 release through Relapse Records and the album reportedly finds the band’s sound further pulling from the post punk influences that’s driven their last couple of albums — but there’s also a bit of a rock influence. And unsurprisingly, the band has managed to evolve their sound while remaining true to themselves as songwriters and artists. Interestingly, the album’s latest single, the hook-driven “Presaging the End” is centered around shimmering and slashing guitars and a motorik-like groove, the song finds the acclaimed punk act sounding much more like The Fixx — in particular “The Sign of Fire” and “Red Skies” but while retaining a punk rock intensity and earnestness.
Currently comprised of founding members James Bagshaw (vocals, guitar) and Tom Walmsley (bass) along with Adam Smith (keys, guitar), the Kettering, Northamptonshire, UK-based indie rock/psych rock act Temples initially began as a home studio-based project back in 2012 featuring two musicians, who had known each other for years from Kettering’s local music scene.
The duo uploaded four self-produced tracks, which caught the attention of Heavenly Recordings founder and label head Jeff Barrett, who signed the band and agreed to release their debut single “Shelter Song” later that year. Shortly after signing to Heavenly Recordings, Bagshaw and Walmsley recruited Samuel Toms (drums) and Adam Smith to flesh out the band’s live sound — and to complete the band’s first lineup.
Since then the band has released two critically applauded and commercially successful albums — 2014’s Sun Structures, which landed at #7 on the UK Charts and 2017’s Volcano. Building upon a growing national and international profile, the British indie rock act has made appearances across the UK, European Union and North American festival circuits. They’ve shared stages with the likes of Suede, Mystery Jets, Kasabian and The Vaccines among others — but over the past years, they’ve transitioned into a headlining act that has also made their Stateside national television appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Last year, saw a major lineup change for the acclaimed British indie rock act. Samuel Toms left the band to focus on his solo recording project Secret Fix, and later joined the equally acclaimed Fat White Family. Temples also left their longtime label home Heavenly Recordings and signed with ATO Records, who will be releasing the newly constituted trio’s highly-anticipated third album Hot Motion.
Slated for a September 27, 2019 release, Hot Motion reportedly finds the band continuing to craft an intricate and nuanced sound — but while digging into a deeper, darker creative well of sorts. The album’s second and latest single, the shimmering and hook-driven “You’re Either On Something.” And while the track manages to possess a lysergic and technicolor quality that will bring of Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles, Tommy-era The Who and Currents-era Tame Impala to mind, the track hints at something much darker under the surface — perhaps, the relentless and gnawing desire to escape a world that’s become increasingly disappointing and mad. “I’m really proud of ‘Your’e Either On Something’ lyrically because I feel deeply connected with the words — they’re so truthful,” the band’s James Bagshaw says in press notes. “On that track, I can hear influences of stuff that I listened to when I was growing up. There’s almost a nostalgia to that track, even though it’s very forward-looking.”
I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Geowulf over the past couple of years, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Noosa, Australia-born friends and collaborators, Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin have known each other since they were both teenagers. However, their musical collaboration began when Kendrick, who grew up in a rather musical home started to seriously pursue music a few years ago. Kendrick enlisted the help of her old friend to help flesh out some of her early demos.
After a string of successful, critically applauded singles that included “Saltwater,” which received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s Top Ten and landed at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts; the Mazzy Star meets Fleetwood Mac-like “Don’t Talk About You;” the Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much;” the jangling, 60s girls group pop-inspired single “Hideaway,;” and The Smiths-like “Sunday,” the JOVM mainstays released their Duncan Mills-produced, full-length debut, Great Big Blue last year.
Building on the growing profile, the duo’s highly anticipated sophomore album My Resignation is slated for an October 25, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings, and the album finds the Aussie JOVM mainstays collaborating with acclaimed songwriter and producer Justin Parker on a number of tracks.Reportedly, the album finds Kendrick writing what may arguably be the most brutally honest to date with the album touching about loneliness — in particularly, learning to accept it and to love the space it provides; but viewed through the lens of a 20 something trying to maneuver the weight of the expectations put upon by others and upon themselves. The album also touches upon heartbreak, growth and self-actualization. In fact, in some way, the material finds the duo maturing and trying to maneuver the difficulties and complexities of adulthood.
“I See Red,” My Resignation‘s first single was a subtle expansion of the sound that first caught the attention of this site and elsewhere across the blogosphere. While employing the use of shimmering synths, the track is primarily centered around jangling guitar lines, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring hook and Kendrick’s crooning — and while sounding incredibly self-assured, the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in place. “‘I See Red’ was written after an argument with my sister,” the duo’s Star Kendrick explains in press notes. “The song was a realization that you are only ever your most raw, horrible self when you’re with the people you love to death and who love you.
I have been very proactive over many years in going to therapy, talking openly about mental health and have constantly taken steps to control emotions, moods and even my temper – having a family history of mental illness, this is something my siblings and I have had a lot of awareness about.This song is about that process and what I’ve learnt. The ebbs and flows of trying to be the best version of yourself.”
My Resignation’s latest single “Round and Round” continues a run of sugary pop confections, centered around warmly atmospheric synths, shimmering acoustic guitar, Kendrick’s imitable crooning and a soaring hook — and while bearing a resemblance to the material off their debut with a subtle nod to Slow Air-era Still Corners, the track was actually written in an extremely negative headspace and environment as it seethes with frustration over the narrator’s repetitive patterns. “I was frustrated with maybe a lack of self-control and an inability to break patterns in my life… In a few areas,” Geowulf’s Star Kendrick explains in press notes. “This song is my way to poking holes in how I handled that. The rest of the album follows a similar, emotional narrative, and is all about exploring those old things & how I’ve tried to leave them behind.”
Forming back in 2009 under the name Les Poules a Colin (Colin’s Chickens, a reference to a popular French folk song “La Poule a Colin), the Montreal-based bilingual indie rock/indie folk act Rosier (French for rosebush) — Colin Savoie-Levac (mandolin, banjo, lap steel), Marie Savoie-Levac (bass), Sarah Marchand (vocals, piano), Eleonore Pitre (guitar) and Beatrix Methe (violin, vocals) — have developed a reputation for reimagining age-old folk songs in a fresh context. The band recently changed the name after making the decision to take their music and their story in a new direction. In fact, as the band told Atwood Magazine, the rosebush embodies the quintessential values of an ever-inventive group of musicians, who are eager to celebrate life as it is — the peaceful coexistence of strength and vulnerability. “Rosier is our true selves,” the band said to Atwood Magazine. “We are romantic people [ . . .] who evolve and grow together as one.”
“Vie Pneible,” (which according to the band’s Beatrix Methe translates as “A Painful Life’) the first single off the band’s forthcoming self-titled EP continues the band’s ongoing thematic concern of time and its passing that sonically and thematically brings Neil Young’s “Old Man” to mind — but centered around an old-timey arrangement of shimmering acoustic guitar, plinking keys, a soaring hook and a gorgeous harmony. Interestingly the song reportedly deals with temporality and mortality in a decidedly overt fashion, which makes the song a sort of bittersweet musing on the passing of time, of getting older, and wondering what you’ve done with yourself and your life. But the song isn’t completely melancholy; there’s an implicit understanding that the passing of time generally means the accumulation of experience and wisdom — and in turn, new perspectives.