Category: New Audio

Although he can trace the origins of his musical career to a lengthy stint as the frontman of a local punk rock band,  the Copenhagen-born and-based singer/songwriter Mattis Jakobsen has begun to see both national and international for his solo recording project MATTIS, a decided and radical sonic departure from his previous work; in fact, if you had been frequenting this site last year, you may recall that I wrote about the Danish pop artist’s debut single “Loverboy,” a “viking soul” track that features a haunting spectral yet low-end heavy production with tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a sinuous bass line, hand clap-led percussion, brief, smoky blasts of guitar and an infectious, club banging hook paired with Jakobsen’s sultry and achingly tender vocals, capturing a heartsick narrator, who has fallen into a deep, emotional and spiritual abyss in which he’s desperately alone and disconnected.

“The Chain,” the up-and-coming Danish artist’s second single will further cement his growing reputation for crafting melancholy and heartbreaking pop anthems; however, the new single finds him is an old fashioned torch song that finds Jakobsen expanding upon his sound as it features a stomping and insistent beat with hand clap-led percussion and a propulsive baseline while lyrically, the song features ominous and sinister lyrics focusing on a relationship in which both sides may have clandestine and uncertain motives. And throughout the song, its narrator essentially tells his love object, that he shall soon break the chain that binds them together; that he will move on” — but interestingly enough while doing so, the song managed to remind me of a sinister and dysfunctional version of Billy Ocean‘s “Caribbean Queen” with an equally razor sharp and infectious hook.

 

 

 

The Portland, OR-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Jenny Logan may arguably be one of her hometown’s quietly kept and most talented secrets as Logan is a member of grunge of pop trio Loveboys, post-punk act Miss Rayon and guitar pop act Sunbathe, who I recently saw open for Typhoon at Music Hall of Williamsburg (more on that later). Along with that, Logan had a stint playing bass for Summer Cannibals and keyboards for a Seattle-based Rolling Stones cover band. Amazingly, the incredibly busy Logan managed to squeeze in the time to pursue her own singular musical vision with her solo recording project Deathlist, releasing her attention grabbing Deathlist debut last year, an effort which found Logan playing almost every instrument.

Slated for a March 9, 2018 release, Fun, the follow up to her Deathlist debut was written and recorded in the aftermath of the death of her best friend, and as a result, the material focuses on the grief and despair of a seemingly solitary mourner, with its narrator finding herself contending with a harrowing and impossible to answer question: how does one continue a conversation with someone, who will never be there again? And while the ironically titled Fun may feature some of the most achingly personal material that Logan may have arguably ever released, it points to one of the most universal experiences any of us will ever know: someone we love, respect and cherish will die, and we’ll brokenheartedly fumble through some portion of our lives, desperately trying to find some larger meaning to all the lingering ghosts of our pasts — or some convenient closure, when there never really is. Yet, we find a way to push on, to find some beauty and occasionally even acceptance within chaos.

Unsurprisingly with the material focusing on death and loss, Logan’s cites Christian Death, Sisters of Mercy and Suicide as inspiring aspects of the album’s sound, and while you’ll hear hints of that on album single “Charm School,” as Logan pairs buzzing and slashing guitars with throbbing, propulsive bass, forceful, industrial-like drum machines and razor sharp hooks; but I also hear hints of Sixousie and the Banshees, The Cure and Dirty Ghosts as the song manages to channel confusion, sorrow and anger — simultaneously and within a turn of a phrase.

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, have 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, the Brooklyn-based indie rock act’s latest single “Slenderman” strikes me as drawing from brooding, 90s alt rock/120 Minutes-era MTV as the song finds the band employing the quiet, loud, quiet strong structure — in which you’ll hear shimmering guitar chords, throbbing bass chords,  propulsive drumming paired with a rousingly anthemic hook. But what immediately struck me about the song, is that the band is an incredibly self-assured unit, and I’m looking forward to hearing more.

 

 

 

 

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 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, which is slated for a March 9, 2018 release through Artoffact Records, the album reportedly finds the band crafting slickly produced, hook-driven material. In fact, album single “L’appel du Vide,” features angular and razor sharp guitar chords played through gentle amounts of reverb, a motorik groove, shimmering arpeggiated synths paired with propulsive drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook — and while drawing from 4AD Records-era post-punk and New Wave, the single will further cement their growing reputation for crafting urgent yet cinematic material. The album’s second single “Slaves,” features a propulsive bass line, slashing guitar chords, soaring synths and industrial clang and clatter, and while as urgent as its predecessor, it also manages to be the most direct and anthemic track of the two from the new album.

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

Initially begun as the solo recording of the Michigan-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and multimedia artist Ben Schneider, Lord Huron expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition of Mark Barry (percussion), Miguel Briseño (bass) and Tom Renaud (guitar) — and with the appearance of “The Night We Met“off  2015’s Strange Trails EP on the hit Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why, Schneider and company quickly saw a growing profile that included a period of extensive touring, with appearances at some of the biggest national and internationally renowned festivals. Adding to a growing profile, “The Night We Met” was recently certified platinum earlier this month.

The Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock band’s third full-length album Vide Noir is slated fro an April 20, 2018 release through Whispering Pines/Republic Records, and the album is the anticipated follow-up to their critically applauded and commercially successful Strange Trails EP.  Written and recorded over a two year period at the band’s Los Angeles-based studio and clubhouse Whispering Pines, the album’s material is largely inspired by Scheider’s restless nighttime wandering across LA. “My nighttime drives ranged all over the city—across the twinkling grid of the valley, into the creeping shadows of the foothills, through downtown’s neon canyons and way out to the darksome ocean. I started imagining Vide Noir as an epic odyssey through the city, across dimensions, and out into the cosmos. A journey along the spectrum of human experience. A search for meaning amidst the cold indifference of The Universe,” Schneider explains in press notes. Building upon Schneider’s work as a multimedia artist, the album will be accompanied by imagery, videos and immersive experiences crafted to expand upon the album’s narratives and themes as a way of deepening and enriching the listening experience.
The band has released two singles, “Ancient Names (Part 1)” and “Ancient Names (Part 2)” as a preview of what listeners, fans and critics should expect from the album. The expansive and mind-bending “Ancient Names (Part 1)” finds the band drawing from retro-futuristic psych pop, jangling and anthemic indie rock and atmospheric, synth-based dream pop while the song details the narrator’s story of coming across a fortune teller, who tells him how certain aspects of his life are predetermined; that destiny can’t be avoided. But instead of succumbing with a sense of defeat, the narrator feels a desperate urge to question what he’s heard and then to flee, even if he doesn’t know where or how. “Ancient Names (Part 2)” continues its immediate predecessor’s theme but possesses a frenetic, almost anxious vibe as it draws from New Wave, post-punk and even bhangra to close out the song. And of course, while revealing a band that can draw from incredibly diverse array of influences, often simultaneously, the album’s first two singles also finds the band asking the “big questions” but in accessible and rousingly populist fashion.

 

The members of Lord Huron will be embarking on a US headlining tour that begins on April 20, 2018 in Grand Rapids, MI and will have the band playing at some of the largest venues they’ve played to date including a hometown set at the Greek Theatre and a May 3, 2018 at the Beacon Theatre. Check out the tour dates below.

 

TOUR DATES
March 24—Tempe, AZ—Innings Festival
April 20— Grand Rapids, MI—20 Monroe Live
April 21—Chicago, IL— Riviera Theatre
April 22—St. Paul, MN—The Palace Theatre
April 23— Milwaukee, WI—Riverside Theatre
April 25—Kansas City, MO—The Truman
April 26—Indianapolis, IN—The Vogue
April 27— Royal Oak, MI—Royal Oak Music Theater
April 28-29—Cincinnati, OH—Homecoming Festival
April 30—Boston, MA— House of Blues
May 1—Philadelphia, PA—Electric Factory
May 3—New York, NY—Beacon Theatre
May 4—Washington, DC—The Anthem
May 4-6—Atlanta, GA—Shaky Knees Festival
June 1—San Diego, CA—House of Blues
June 2—Los Angeles, CA—Greek Theatre
June 3—Oakland, CA—Fox Theater
June 5—Portland, OR—Crystal Ballroom
June 7—Seattle, WA—Moore Theatre
June 15-June 17—Dover, DE—Firefly Festival

After 2014’s full-length effort, Voir Dire, the Chicago, IL-born and-based members of Minor Characters, the trio of long-time friends and schoolmates Andrew Pelletier (guitar, vocals), Shelby Pollard (guitar) and Thomas Benko (drums) felt a collective sense profound angst and confusion that almost broke the band up. “Getting that out was such a stressful moment in all of our lives that I think the band kind of imploded and deflated because of it,” the band’s Andrew Pelletier recalls in press notes. “We weren’t playing anymore and we decided to take a number of months off. In that interim, I did a little bit of traveling.”

Coincidentally, Pelletier’s traveling primarily took place during 2016, arguably one of the most politically contentious periods in at least 50 years, and naturally those trips criss-crossing the States and to Asia wound up influencing the Chicago-based band’s frontman, who eventually wrote a series of deeply personal vignettes focusing on his observations on the sociopolitical moment and thoughts but paired with sardonic reflections on the band’s health; but reportedly underneath it all, is a desire that many of us have felt — a desire to pack up your shit and leave for a while, despite the fact that American culture is inescapable. There’s literally a Starbucks or a McDonald’s on every corner with minor regional and cultural differences on the menu and an episode of Law & Order on TV.

As Pelletier says in press notes, “The insanity of the current government would be…I wouldn’t call it a source of inspiration, but certainly a source of disillusionment turned into inspiration. There are many things in my life that I put off,” the band’s frontman adds on a more personal note, “one of them being travel, especially to Asia because I’ve always wanted to go to Asia, and then also being in a relationship I put off for many, may years.” After his travels, Pelletier reconvened with his bandmates Pollard and Benko, along with Joe Meland (piano, string arrangements) and a series of collaborators at SHIRK Studios, where instead of a breakneck recording sessions, the band allowed the songs to morph with every recorded iteration, which would give each individual version a unique life. As the band’s Pollard says, “We’re doing string arrangements on this record, horn arrangements, there’s organ. There’s all of these components that, because we gave ourselves such unlimited amount of time to focus on, ‘Is this song ready?’ we were really able to figure out what each track needed individually and then it just so happens that it fits together.”The end result is the band’s forthcoming album We Can’t Be Wrong, which is slated for an April 6, 2018 release — and while the album’s latest single “Pimps of Freedom (Whores of D.C.)” will remind some listeners of The Bends-era Radiohead and JOVM mainstays Husky, possesses a breathless and bristling sense of outrage, as the song thematically focuses on the crony capitalists in DC deregulating then dismantling the government and handing it over to make money. “Vulnerable people’s lives are in their hands, and they’re passing handouts to the wealthiest of us, rather than the neediest. It’s whorish and abhorrent. But at the end of the day, it’s all so fucking entertaining. I can’t stop tuning in. All day long. Everyone I know can’t stop watching this madness. And what am I actually doing about it? Nothing. But this generation is turned up, and so we have to push back anyway we can. It’s a monstrous, captivating live television show, and it’s in full fucking high-definition.”  With this song, the Chicago-based band has managed to put into words, the seemingly futile horror and anger that many of us have felt on a regular basis, while gently attempting to rouse the listener out of the doldrums, to get up from the couch, to put the phone down and do something.

New Audio: Franz Ferdinand’s Emotional Rescue-Era Stones-like New Single

Currently comprised of founding trio Alex Kapranos (lead vocals, guitar), Bob Hardy (bass) and Paul Thomson (drums, percussion and backing vocals), along with newest members Julian Corrie (keys, synths, guitar and backing band), who joined last year, replacing founding member Nick McCarthy and recently added Dino Bardot (guitar), the Glasgow, Scotland, UK-based indie rock/post punk act Franz Ferdinand formed back in 2002.  And with the release of their first two singles “Darts of Pleasure” and “Take Me Out” the members of the Glasgow-based indie rock act quickly saw commercial and critical success — with “Take Me Out,” becoming the band’s signature song, as it eventually peaked at #1 the UK Singles Chart, and earning a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. Additionally, not only did their eponymous, 2004 full-length debut received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album and won the Mercury Prize, the band established themselves at the forefront of the early 2000s post punk revival movement. Along with that, the band has won two Brit Awards — one for Best British Group, as well as one NME Award.

Their 2005 Rich Costey-produced sophomore effort, You Could Have It So Much Better was released to critical and commercial success with the album peaking within the Top Ten Charts in multiple countries, and as a result, the album received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album and “Do You Want To” receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. However, with 2009’s Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, the members of the Scottish indie act moved away from the post-punk sound that first won them international attention to a much more dance floor oriented sound — all while continuing an impressive run of commercial and critical success. They promptly followed that up with a remix album of Tonight, titled Blood, which was released that summer.

2013 saw the release of Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action but they managed to follow that effort up by teaming up with Sparks to form indie supergroup FFS, which released their self-tiltled album in 2015. Now, for the sake of this site, you may recall that Franz Ferdinand’s fifth, full-length album Always Ascending is slated for a February 9, 2018 release and from album single “Feel The Love Go,” the band continues with a disco-leaning take on the Gang of Four-like post punk that first won them international attention — but with warm blasts of Hall and Oates/blue-eyed soul era saxophone that gives the song a quirky quality. “Lazy Boy,” Always Ascending’s latest single, much like its predecessor is a sleek, dance floor friendly track with a funky, disco-inspired bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming and a slick hook; but interestingly enough, the song finds the quintet at their most adventurous and mischievous, as the song also features twinkling synths while giving off a loose, Rolling Stones “Emotional Rescue”-like vibe.

 

Initially releasing singles like “Seeing Is Forgetting” and “Half-Empy Happiness” under the intentional cloak of mystery, the Montreal-based DJ, production and electronic music artist duo The Beat Escape quickly received attention across the blogosphere for crafting moody and atmospheric pop that’s deeply indebted to 80s synth pop — i.e., Depeche Mode, The Human League and others —  while evoking the sensation of a half-remembered dream.

However, with the forthcoming release of their highly-anticipated full-length debut, Life Is Short The Answer’s Long through Bella Union Records on April 27, 2018, the Canadian pop duo have removed some of the mystery surrounding them; in fact, the duo comprised of Addy Weitzman and Patrick A Boivin can trace the origins of The Beat Escape to a college short film they had collaborated on together. “We made a short oddball work; a video piece that followed two characters through a psychedelic waking dream,” the Canadian pop duo explain in press note. And since that initial collaboration, the duo have collaborated on a series of projects — but interestingly, their full-length Beat Escape debut finds them thematically speaking coming full-circle while further developing the sound that grabbed the attention of the blogosphere and elsewhere.

Interestingly, the album’s first single “Sign of Age” pairs a propulsive and undulating Giorgio Moroder meets motorik groove with a deliberately, almost painterly and textured quality that makes the song feel as though it’s gently drifting along. And in some way, the song will further their reputation for crafting pop that evokes being roused from some half-remembered dream; but unlike their previously released material, the duo balances this with a melancholy and spectral minimalism.

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about one of the most exciting, young British indie rock acts I’ve come across in some time, the  Halifax, UK-based trio The Orielles, comprised of Sidonie B. Hand-Halford (drums); her younger sister,  Esmé Dee Hand-Halford (bass, vocals); and their best friend, Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar, vocals). And as you may recall, with a great deal of buzz surrounding them in the UK, Heavenly Recordings head Jeff Barrett caught the band opening for their new labelmates The Parrots in late 2016 and immediately signed them to the renowned indie label.  The trio followed that up with a breakthrough 2017 that included a series of incredibly self-assured and attention grabbing singles,  The Mallard‘s Finding Meaning in Deference-like “Sugar Taste Like Salt,” the psych rock-like “I Only Bought It For The Bottle,” and the funky, almost dance floor friendly freakout of “Let Your Dogtooth Grow.”

February 16, 2018 will mark the release of the up-and-coming British trio’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, Silver Dollar Moment and quickly following upon the announcement of the album, the band released the album’s first official single “Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor as it finds the trio mischievously experimenting with their sound, meshing and smashing elements of psych rock, pop and disco/boogie, in particular Luther Davis Group’s “You Can Be A Star” and Rita Lee’s “Chega Mais,” while fusing an anecdote of spotting an unaccompanied blue suitcase on a train platform, which was followed by allegorical discussions and theories about what was in it and why it was left behind — with the band touching upon Schrodinger’s Cat and James and the Giant Peach among others. Certainly, this single will further cement their reputation for crafting self-assured and increasingly genre defying material.

 

 

 

 

 

Deriving their name from a skateboard trick from an 80s skateboarder film, the Los Angeles, CA-based shoegazer act Nightmare Air are comprised of a trio of grizzled vets — Dave Dupuis was once a member of Los Angeles-based act Film School; Swaan Miller developed a reputation as a singer/songwriter with the release of a stark, attention-grabbing acoustic album that was released through Important Records; and Jimmy Lucido, who was once a member of The Strays. And through their various projects, the members of Nightmare Air, at one point or another, have opened for the likes of Smashing Pumpkins and The Jesus and Mary Chain among others.

2017 was a big year for the members of Nightmare Air as they headlined clubs and played the major festival circuit, which included appearances at SXSW and Starry Night Festival — and adding to a growing profile, they shared stages with The Kills, The Dandy Warhols and Cat Power. Building upon the growing buzz surrounds them, Nightmare Air’s newest album Fade Out is slated for a March release through Nevado Records — and the album’s latest single “Who’s Your Lover” will further cement the act’s reputation for crafting rousingly anthemic tracks that effortlessly mesh angular post-punk with textured shoegaze in a way that reminds me a bit of Hierarchy-era Lightfoils and others, but with a soaring synth line, wrapped around Miller’s seductive cooing.

Nightmare Air will be opening for the legendary and amazing Gary Numan throughout the European leg of his tour to support Savage (Songs from a Broken World). Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates

Mar 2. Stokholm. Kagelbanan

Mar 3. Malmo. Kulturbolaget

Mar 4. Olso. Parkteatret

Mar 5. Copenhagen. Pumpehuset

Mar 7. Utrecht. Tivoli

Mar 8. Antwerp. Trix

Mar 9. Luxembourg

Mar 10. Oberhausen, Germany

Mar 12. Portsmouth. Pyramids Centre

Mar 13. Warwick. Arts Centre

Mar 14. Leicester. O2 Academy

Mar 16. Edinburgh. Assembly Rooms

Mar 17. Middlesbrough. Empire

Mar 19. Preston. Guild Hall

Mar 20. Hull. City Hall

Mar 21. Sheffield. The Foundry

Mar 23. Isle Of Man. Villa Marina

Mar 24. Liverpool. O2 Academy

Mar 25. Northampton. Roadmenders

Mar 28. Belfast. The Limelight

Mar 29. Dublin. Olympia Theatres