Category: New Audio

Comprised of John Blonde, Chris Pace, and Brian McNamara, the Brooklyn-based electronic music trio House of Blondes can trace their origins to 2008 when founding members Blonde and Pace met at Smoke and Mirrors Studio. Along with local musicians Mike Ignethron and Paul Reyes, the then-constitued quartet had intended to work on an indie rock-based project; however, as Blonde’s interest in synthesizers and electronic music grew, the project gradually changed into a minimalist electronic project in which Pace and Blonde began working with each other exclusively. The end result was that the duo wound up co-writing and recording the material, which became House of Blondes’ critically applauded debut effort, Clean Cuts along with contributions from producer/engineer George Vitray and instrumentalist Brian McNamara, who would eventually become a full-time member.

While playing an increasing number of shows locally and elsewhere over the last couple of years, including two shows with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Psychic TV at the now-defunct Brooklyn Night Bazaar, the members of House of Blondes also spent an intense period of time writing and recording the material that would comprise their recently released sophomore effort, Stranger Still, which was released this past summer. Stranger Still’s 9 tracks are from a combination of live in-studio performances, improvisational jam sessions and much more formally structured songs and as a result the material feels and sounds looser, and intimate as it draws from dub, trance, cosmic house and Kraftwerk‘s motorik grooves. But perhaps more important, to my ears, the material while retaining the space age feel that first captured my attention is warmer, more human. It somehow evokes the sensation of floating through the cosmos and observing the rippling and undulating of the fabric of spacetime as much as it evokes more earthly phenomenon such as pushing and shoving your way through a New York rush hour commute and stopping to stare at clouds parting overhead, without bothering to care if you got in someone’s way.

Album single “Are You Boys Alright?” is an icy and starkly minimalist and atmospheric song consisting of a sparse, gently echoing beat, hazy, droning synths and chanted lyrics. Much like Brian Eno’s ambient sound recordings, the song requires a bit of attention and patience, as it slowly reveals subtle layers of nuance in repeated plays — all while evoking the undulating ripples in a pond and of smoke dissipating into the ether.

Now, Chris Moore is a New York-based producer and mixer who’s been making electronic music since he was a teenager. As Moore told me by email he “quit for a while to focus on production and mixing work.” Last fall, Moore began writing and recording tracks under the moniker Cloud Leopard, initially as a way to get back into the swing of writing and recording.

Moore met House of Blondes’ frontman John Blonde at a bi-monthly electronic music night, hosted and booked by a mutual friend. Moore had been DJ’ing some of his own tracks and eventually Blonde and Moore began chatting about Moore’s production work. Eventually Blonde asked Moore if he’d be interested in doing a remix of some material off the band’s recent album.

As Moore told me by email, his remix of album single “Are You Boys Alright?” is his first remix under the Cloud Leopard moniker. “For the remix, I wanted to combine the cosmic vibe of the original with a dancier energy,” he explained. “So it’s sort of a combination of 70s German kosmische-like Cluster or Manuel Gottsching’s more electronic stuff with a 80s chicago/detroit house / early-90s uk ambient techno vibe.” Certainly, as a result the remix is more propulsive as it shimmers and glistens with a dance floor-ready sheen.

(Album Art Credit: Kurt Sawilla)

Comprised of Brennan Ross (vocals, guitar, and bass), Michael Thieven (drums), Carl Johnson (guitar, vocals), Michael Dawson (lyrics, keys), Amanda Scandrett (keys) and Paul Guthrell (saxophone), the Regina, Saskatchewan-based sextet Library Voices are a collective of childhood friends, who grew up going to basement shows and obsessed with sci-fi.

Several months of relentless and exhausting touring to support Summer of Lust came to a head in what the band describes as “one of the saddest hostels in Amsterdam.” The next day, during a tour stop in Paris, hundred of rats swarmed their tour van. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the tour quickly went south — and when the band returned to Regina, they all decided that they needed some time apart.

After a two year hiatus, the members of the Canadian sextet reconvened and began working on the material that would comprise their forthcoming effort Lovish, which is slated for a November 6 release through Nevado Music. And much like the band’s previous efforts, the album was recorded in an old funeral home and was mixed by Dave Plowman and Alex Bonenfant, who have worked with METZ, Crystal Castles, and July Talk.

Adding to a period of incredibly difficult luck, during the recording sessions for Lovish, the band’s frontman Carl Johnson was jumped, beaten unconscious by a random assailant.  Johnson suffered a severe concussion, a hematoma (blood pooling) in his brain, a loss of smell, and a very difficult and long road to recovery. For a few months, it remained uncertain if Johnson would be able to continue to write and perform music and it left the band and the album in a state of limbo, in which they all feared their work may never see the light of day.  Eventually Johsnon was able to contribute seven songs to the album while bandmate Brennan Ross contributed and took up vocal duties on the remaining four.

The band’s latest single “Zzyx” is actually inspired by an incredible, seemingly improbable yet true story. As legend has it, in 1944 a radio evangelist and self-proclaimed doctor started squatting in the middle of the Mojave Desert. He recruited a number of Skid Row bums to build a 60 room mineral spa, complete with a church, a radio station and an airstrip. He named the compound “Zzyx,” the last word in the English dictionary, referring to it as the “last word in health,” and he dubbed the airstrip, the Zyport.

Incredibly, the radio evangelist remained on the property selling phony medicinal remedies and potions and scamming gullible senior citizens for the better part of over 25 years — until the federal government evicted him from the land. And as the band notes in press notes, Lovish‘s latest single was written as an ode to a strange place, where people were desperate to believe in something and desperate to live forever.

Although in press notes, it says that the band’s sound has been described by some media outlets as having elements of surf rock to my ears that seems incredibly off, as their sound seems to sound as though it draws a bit more from glam rock, proto-punk, power pop and U2 as the song possesses an emotional immediacy and urgency around anthemic hooks, power chords, enormous blasts of horns, and earnest vocals. I’ve played this song a number of times, and every time I can picture a sweaty room of young people yelling along to the chorus, and feeling as though the song speaks deeply and passionately to them about their lives — and with a forceful honesty.

He chose the name Zzyzx with the intent that it would be the last word in the English language, referring to it as “the last word in health”. When you arrive to the location today it looks more like the DHARMA Initiative basecamp in the television show Lost. We all want to live forever. We are all dying to believe in something.

Comprised of Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson, the Liverpool-based quintet The Vryll Society were discovered by the visionary and late founder of Deltasonic Records, Alan Willis. who noticed potential in the band and guided the quintet through their development as a band and as songwriters. Over the course of a year, the band locked themselves away in their rehearsal space jamming and writing material that inspired by Funkadelic, Aphrodite’s Child, krautrock and shoegaze. 

“Coshh,” the second single off the band’s soon-to-be released debut EP, Pangea consists of a tight, motorik groove consisting of wobbling bas lines  and propulsive four-on-the-floor-like drumming, gorgeously shimmering guitar chords played through layers of reverb and delay pedals, trembling and atmospheric electronics and anthemic hooks paired with ethereally falsetto vocals, and the end result is a gauzy shoegazer sound that possesses a mesmerizing cosmic sheen.

Over the past few years, there has been a movement within shoegaze as a number of contemporary bands including Presents for Sally, Blackstone Rngrs, Lightfoils, MAFF and others have pushed the boundaries of what shoegaze is supposed to sound like while remaining true to its psychedelic roots — and the members of The Vryll Society have boldly placed themselves on that a growing list of bands participating in what may arguably be one of the most interesting periods in the genre.

Comprised of Charlee Cook, Chance Cook, Will Hicks, and Dom Marcoaldi, the Nashville, TN-based experimental quartet Linear Downfall have developed a reputation for a sound that blends abrasive, almost psychotic noise with gorgeous melodies. And as the band notes, their music is meant to tap into the highs and lows of life and challenges the listener to look inward. After the self-release of three full-length albums, an EP and some rather extensive touring across the US, the band managed to catch the attention of The Flaming Lips, which interestingly enough led to a side project featuring members of the band, that they dubbed Electric Würms.

Last year may have arguably been the most productive and prolific period in the band’s history, as they completed a tour to support their third full-length album Fragmental Hippocampus, released the first Electric Würms album, Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk and released a 5 song EP as the band was busily putting the finishing touches on their forthcoming effort, Sufferland, which is slated for a November 6 release. As the band notes in press notes the new album will be released with a full-length film meant to correspond with the material on the album. In some way, it would seem that the material on the album would be — at least informally — the film’s score. 

With that in mind, Sufferland‘s first single “The Question” is a tense and uneasy song consisting of propulsive, tribal drumming, feedback, electronic squeaks, squawks, bleeps and bloops. twisting and turning organ chords and obscured by the abrasive, and menacing post apocalyptic noise is a trippy, off-kilter sense of melody that makes the song evoke that unsettled feeling you’d have after waking up from a very fucked up dream.


New Audio: Introducing Tameca Jones and Her Upbeat and Contemporary Take on Classic Soul Austin, TX-based soul singer/songwriter Tameca Jones first came to attention when she joined the locally acclaimed band, 8 Million Stories. When the band split up a few years later, Jones turned to covering a […]

Comprised of Russ Flynn and Alexandra Stewart, the Brooklyn-based duo ACES craft a painstakingly meticulous sound that pairs Flynn’s sparse, shimmering and atmospheric production with Stewart’s tender and breathy vocals and soaring, anthemic hooks. Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past week or so, you may recall that I’ve previously written about the duo’s first single “What Do You Think They’ll Say About Me,” a song that managed to evoke sunset drives, slow-burning romance and of wisps of smoke gently dissipating into the ether— while just underneath the surface the song possesses an achingly desperate vulnerability and longing.

Flynn and Stewart’s latest single “I’m Already Gone” is an R&B leaning track that pairs eerily, atmospheric synths, skittering, four-on-the-floor drum programming with Stewart’s breathy, achingly tender vocals and brief blasts of guitar to craft a slow-burning, moody and tense ballad that’s one part old-fashioned torch song, and one part wishful and tender farewell. From both “I’m Already Gone” and “What Do You Think They’ll Say About Me,” the duo of Flynn and Stewart have quickly proven that they specialize in a gorgeously, spectral and delicate pop sound.

Featuring members of Bad SportsWiccansRadioactivity and The Wax Museums among others, the Austin, TX-based quartet VIDEO have quickly developed a reputation for a sound that posses elements of punk rock, hard rock and melodic dissonance; in fact, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few months, VIDEO may be familiar, as the members of the band consider themselves the pioneers of a new subgenre, which they’ve dubbed “Hate Wave.”

The band’s latest full-length effort, The Entertainers is slated for an October 30 release through Jack White‘s Third Man Records and as I’ve mentioned you might remember that I’ve written about the album’s first single “New Immortals,” a scorching, trash punk song with a sneering, in-your-face because we don’t give a fuck about anything vibe. The band initially released “New Immortals” as a 7 inch with the latest single, a live recording of “Nothing Lasts Forever.” Clocking in at a little under 90 seconds, the song is a furious, nasty and noisy bit of trash punk that kicks ass, takes names and sounds a though it would incite a furious mosh pit — or a riot.

Orange Red is the musical project of Gothenburg, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist Jonas Love, who has largely been influenced by shoegaze, 90s pop, Brian Eno and Angelo Badalamenti — and as a result, “Ocean,” the title track and latest single off his soon to be released EP, Ocean is comprised of twisting and turning synth chords, shimmering guitar chords, ethereal vocals and drum programming. Sonically, the song reminds me quite a bit of Dream Koala’s Odyssey EP as it has a hauntingly dreamy feel that belies it’s overall moodiness.

Although they’ve had a number of lineup changes over the years, the Athens, GA-based quartet Maserati, currently comprised of Coley Dennis (guitar), Matt Cherry (guitar). Chris McNeal (bass) and Mike Albanese (drums), have developed a reputation for a sound that draws heavily from post-rock, psych rock and prog rock since their formation back in 2000. Over the last few years, the band has increasingly been pursuing a sound that meshes elements of space rock, krautrock and psych rock with a retro-futuristic leaning.

The band’s forthcoming album Rehumanizer slated for an October 30 release through Brooklyn-based label Temporary Residence, Ltd. marks the first album that the band completely self-produced, as well as an effort in which the band openly employed technology as a songwriting tool.

As a result, Rehumanizer’s first single “End of Man” meshes a trippy motorik groove comprised of cascades of buzzing and shimmering synths, forcefully propulsive drumming and angular guitar chords played through layers of reverb and delay pedals paired with vocals fed through vocoder to craft a song that sounds inspired by Kraftwerk, Hawkwind and The Sword simultaneously. The album’s second single “Rehumanizer II” meshes propulsive and undulating synths, angular guitar chords reminiscent of A Flock of Seagulls‘ “I Ran ” and U2‘s “Wire,” and four-on-the-floor drumming to craft a furious and tense composition that clearly draws equally from 80s synth pop as it does from krautrock, complete with a chugging motorik groove. Both tracks are taut yet incredibly cinematic, as though they should be part of the soundtrack of a post apocalyptic, sci-fi thriller.