Category: post-punk

New Video: Berlin’s The Underground Youth Releases a Brooding and Introspective New Single

Since its founding in Manchester in 2008 as a solo recording project by its creative mastermind and primary songwriter Craig Dyer, the prolific Berlin-based post punk act The Underground Youth has developed a cult-like following through the release of nine albums which have established a primal and intense sound.

Earlier this year, the band which also features Leo Kaage (guitar, production), Dyer’s wife Olga (drums) and Max James (bass) were in the middle of their first North American tour when the pandemic forced the band to cut their tour short and return home. Additionally, their original plans to head to the studio upon the completion of the tour also ground down to a halt with the members of the band spending several months in isolation as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns.

The Berlin-based act;’s forthcoming tenth album The Falling was written and recorded in Craig Dyer’s and Leo Kaage’s apartments-turned studios. The album is a marked departure from their previous work with the material showcasing a softer, more cinematic sound, centered around acoustic guitar and piano, as well as string and violin arrangements. Unsurprisingly, the album sonically and thematically is a product of the distressing, uncertain and very unfamiliar world we find ourselves living in right now, while expressing the frustrations, heartbreak and longing for a past we may never get back.

“Lyrically this album finds me at my most honest and autobiographical,” The Underground Youth’s Craig Dyer says in press notes. “I still shroud the reality of what I have written within something of a fictional setting, but the honesty and the romance that shines throughout the record is more sincere than it has been in my previous work. The idea was to strip back the band to allow for lyrical breathing space.”

The album’s first single is the introspective “A Sorrowful Race,.” Centered around an arrangement of strummed acoustic guitar, twinkling bursts of keys, a supple bass line, and brooding string arrangement paired with Dyer’s plaintive baritone, “A Sorrowful Race” is a cinematic yet unvarnished and painfully honest bit of self-examination of its narrator’s sense of ego, self-worth and feelings of envy. If you’ve ever felt resentment and hatred because someone else has attained the success you haven’t, the song should feel both familiar — and like a call out of your own ugliness and frailties.

“This track is something of personal attack on myself, and the narcissistic frustration at those whose success has overshadowed my own,” Craig Dyer explains in press notes. ” It could be perceived as egoistic, but the idea with this record was to be as honest as possible lyrically, that included addressing the feelings that were maybe harder to face.”

The recently released video by the band’s Olga Dyer employs a simple, DIY-like concept: Olga Dyer recording her husband singing the song in their living room full of books and records,.

The Falling is slated for a March 12, 2021 release through Fuzz Club Records,.

New Video: The Lounge Society’s Sociopolitically Charged, Dance Floor Friendly Satire

The Lounge Society — Cameron Davey (vocals, bass), Archie Dewis (drums), Herbie May (guitar) and Hani Paskin-Hussain (guitar) — is a rising Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK band, whose members are roughly around the ages of 16-17. And in a remarkably short period of time, the Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire-based act have developed a sound and approach that draws from a diverse array of influences including The Fall, Talking Heads, The Velvet Underground and Fat White Family among others.

The rising British act caught the attention of Speedy Wunderground co-founders Pierre Hall, Dan Carey, and Alexis Smith, and by the time the band’s manager had contacted the label, Hall, Carey and Smith quickly recognized that they were in a now-or-never moment to work with a band that by all accounts are lining themselves up to one of the next big things from Northern England. Because of their youth, the members of the and actually needed permission to miss their exams in order to come down to Speedy Wunderground’s Streatham, Greater London headquarters and studio to record material. And they needed an adult guardian to check them into the nearby hotel they booked for for their session.

Despite their relative youth, the young rising act made quite the impression on the Speedy Wunderground folks. “They are great. Really fun to work with — and a fucking amazing band,” Dan Carey enthuses. The day that the band entered the studio, things happened quickly: after messing around a bit with the members of the band trying out different amps and guitars. As soon as they were ready, Carey set the mood of the sessions by turning the lights off and turning on the smoke machine and lasers. And as they started to play, the building’s smoke alarm went off, which according to the band and the label was the first time that had ever happened.

Earlier this year,. I wrote about The Lounge Society’s debut single, the expansive yet breakneck “Generation Game.” Clocking in at 5:30, the band self-assuredly crafts a difficult to pigeonhole sound with the single featuring elements of shoegaze, psych rock, punk and Brit Pop held together by a propulsive rhythm section. “Generation Game” manages to capture the upstarts as a runaway train of rambunctious abandon, piss and vinegar and distortion pedaled power chords.

Building upon the buzz they received from “Generation Game,” The Lounge Society’s latest single “Burn the Heather” continues their ongoing collaboration with Dan Carey while being centered around a post-punk/punk funk strut that recalls Talking Heads, Gang of Four and Echoes-era The Rapture, complete with copious cowbell. And while being a dance floor friendly jam, the song finds the band continuing to write material that’s sociopolitically charged: The song’s title is derived from the annual local ritual of rich landowners burning moor-top heather for lucrative grouse-shoots. Locals in the valley have blamed that annual local ritual for frequent flooding that has devastated them financially and emotionally. Much like its predecessor, “Burn the Heather” is the sound and voice of England’s young people — and perhaps young people everywhere: hyper aware of their local and global world, articulate, pissed off, energized and ready to grab society by the horns.

Centered around strikingly macabre lyrics, “Burn the Heather” is a deeply personal song for the upstart British act. “‘Burn the Heather’ is a song deeply rooted in where we come from,” the band explain in press notes. “The lyrics are our interpretation of some of the darker aspects of where we live, and our personal reaction to them. Musically, ‘Burn the Heather’ is intended to be an adrenaline shot to the brain. We wanted this to be the second single all along. We don’t want to be just another post-punk band, and we knew ‘Heather’ would keep people on their toes. Unlike a lot of our tracks, the guitars are quite minimal and the rhythm really carries it, and we think it works really well. We want to make people move.”

Directed by Nick Farrimond, the recently released video fittingly follows the song’s macabre lyrics with rich landowner types hunting people — in this case, young people, dressed as prisoners in orange or perhaps red?) jumpsuits. (Editor’s note: Americans will see it this way. Across the country, the orange jumpsuit typically denotes prisoner.) Clearly pointing out the inequalities of power, class and wealth, the members of the band are hunted down — and there’s ton of carnage, as well as an ironic twist.

“Born from the sense of injustice surrounding irresponsible land owners who clear heather from the moorland for grouse hunting, (resulting in increased flood risks below in the valley where we all live) we decided to portray caricatured versions of grouse hunters, dressed head to toe in tweed and showing total disregard for the landscape and devoid of any values, morals or ethics,” the video’s director Nick Farrimond explains. “The band play the parts of grouse, making their way across the moors, dressed in fetching red boiler suits and unaware of the impending danger they face. What ensues is general carnage as the grouse are hunted one by one, each meeting a grizzly, untimely end…or do they? You’ll have to watch the video to find out.”

New Video: Mint Releases a Sultry and Ironic Visual for “Turbulence”

One the home of a prosperous fishing industry, West Marsh, Grimsby, Northeast Lincolnshire, UK has become a terribly bleak place. Its northern and eastern boundaries are formed by Alexandra Dock. Its western border is the smoggy Pyewipe Industrial Area. And its southern border, a major railroad line and Cromwell Road. Tourists have no particular reason to visit. The job outlook is poor and the area’s young people are desperate to escape. From what’s been conveyed to me, it’s the sort of hopeless place that should feel familiar to countless Americans — particularly, if you’ve been in the Rust Belt.

The emerging British post-punk quartet Mint — Zak Rashid. Veggie, Lenny and Bambi — hail from West Marsh, and they can trace their origins to when they all “attended” the same school and bonded while locking horns over their differing musical tastes: Lenny loved Nick Cave, The Birthday Party and The Pop Group and the remaining three band members loved indie classics and harder rock genres and styles 

The quartet went on to study at Grimsby Institute and while in school, they started Mint — but started taking it seriously in 2018. Of course, like a lot of contemporary indie bands, the members of Mint all have day jobs: Zak Rashid is a pro skateboarder and surfer by day and he taught himself graphic design on his free time. And when he’s not playing gigs, he runs the only surf shop in town while designing artwork for artists like Lucy Spraggan, Black Honey and False Heads. Lenny works at the cafe net door while Bambi and Veggie work shifts at the local soup canning factories. In a short period of time, they’ve already received airplay from BBC Radio 1 and play listing on Radio X; they’ve also made appearances playing at the major British music festivals. But last year they began to fully develop and realize their own sound: an idiosyncratic fusion of indie melodies to muscular instrumentation. 

The rising band’s latest single “Turbulence” is a seething and breakneck post-punk anthem centered around insistent and propulsive drumming, angular blasts of guitar and shouted lyrics expressing unease and anxiety with an increasing menace and uncertainty that evokes the vacillating thoughts and emotions of one seemingly in the middle of a mental breakdown. “It’s a nod to mental health seen through a cinematic plane crash” the band’s Rashid says in press notes. 

The recently released video ostensibly captures the fulfillment of the ultimate male fantasy — the horny teenager/young man being seduced by the sexually available and desirable teacher. Shot while adhering to social distancing guidelines, the student’s fantasy is reduced to being more along the lines of live sex shows and sexting — but it ends with a bitter and emasculating irony. 

Lyric Video: Moaning Releases an Angular and Uneasy Ripper

Over the past couple of years of this site’s almost ten year history — yeah, 10 years, y’all! — I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the rapidly rising Los Angeles-based post-punk trio Moaning.  The members of the band —  Sean Solomon (vocals, guitar), Pascal Stevenson (keys, bass) and Andrew MacKelvie (drums) — have been friends and collaborators in Los Angeles’ DIY scene for the better part of a decade through music and other creative pursuits in different media: Solomon is also a noted illustrator, art director and animator while Stevenson and MacKelvie have played in or produced and engineered acclaimed and rapidly rising acts like Cherry Glazerr, Sasami and Surf Curse.

With the release of 2018’s self-titled, full-length debut, the members of Moaning received attention from a number of nationally and internationally known media outlets including The Fader, The Guardian, DIY Magazine, Stereogum, and others for a moody and angular post-punk sound that — to some ears — recalled the likes of Joy Division, Interpol and Preoccupations. Now, as you may recall, the trio’s highly-anticipated Alex Newport-produced and  engineered sophomore album Uneasy Laughter is slated for a March 20, 2020 release through Sub Pop Records. The album is reportedly a much more collaborative effort than its immediate predecessor, that finds the band actively brightening the claustrophobia and uneasy sound of their debut, with the band trading guitars for synths and beats. 

Thematically, the album focuses on the everyday anxieties of being a somewhat functioning human in the madness of our current century — with the material touching upon the deeply personal and the universal. “We’ve known each other forever and we’re really comfortable trying to express where we’re at. A lot of bands aren’t so close,” the band’s Andrew MacKelvie says in press notes. Sean Solomon, who celebrated a year of sobriety during the Uneasy Laughter sessions adds “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.”

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s released singles: the brooding, 80s New Order-like single “Ego,” which featured a desperate narrator taking stock of himself and his relationships to others with a brutally unflinching honesty — and the cynical  A Flock of Seagulls-like “Fall In Love,” which featured a dysfunctional narrator, who’s ruled by distortions, self-loathing and the expectations of failure. Interestingly, Uneasy Laughter’s third and latest single is the explosive, guitar-driven ripper “Make It Stop.”  Centered around angular and distorted power chords, an enormous hook and propulsive drumming, the track features a depressed narrator, who’s stuck within his own obsessive compulsive thoughts and can’t seem to find a way out from himself and his own worst instincts.  Certainly, if  you’ve ever been in the throes of depression, the song would feel eerily familiar, evoking the dark and fucked up places your mind can go when things seem bleak. 

“The song is about questioning negative thoughts, but struggling to find a solution. Being stuck in your head,” Moaning’s Sean Solomon says in press notes about the song. “There was a period of time where I thought everyone hated me and was out to get me. Now, I realize no one actually is putting that much energy into thinking about me at all. Depression can be extremely narcissistic. I encourage people, who relate to this song to call someone and ask for help.” 

Directed by the band, the recently released video features an enormous collage the band made. “The whole band made a collage for the video. It was really fun piecing different elements together,” Solomon explains in press notes. “We’ve also added  some extra surprises. The dimensions of the collage are 1920 by 40,000 pixels. It’s a big ass thing!”

New Video: Rising Oslo-based Psych Act Mayflower Madame Releases a Menacing Visual for “Vultures”

Rising Oslo Norway-based psych rock/post-punk act Mayflower Madame — Trond Fagernes (vocals, guitar, bass), Havard Haga (guitar) and Ola J. Kyrkjeeide (drums) — formed back in 2011. The band’s hazy, smoke-laden sound was conceived in and inspired by their gritty surroundings: they first rehearsed in a desolate, industrial building, where they shared space with a local carwash company. Shortly after their formation, they recorded a four-track demo, which lead to them being named “Unsigned Band of the Week” on one of Norway’s biggest radio stations. 

The band then spent several years touring and playing shows across Scandinavia, carefully honing their sound along the way. The band’s full-length debut, 2016’s Observed in a Dream featured eight tracks of psych rock/shoegaze paired with dark romanticism in a way that was icy, brooding and hauntingly majestic. The Norwegian psych act toured across North America and Europe, followed by 2018’s Premonition EP — four songs of apocalyptic love songs. 

Building upon a growing profile, Mayflower Madame supported Premonition EP with more touring and appearances across the European festival circuit with stops in France, Germany, the UK and Eastern Europe. So far, the band has shared stages with the likes of Killing Joke, Moon Duo, Night Beats, Psychic Ills, Froth, The Underground Youth, Crocodiles, Cosmonauts and La Femme. Most of this occurred between recording sessions for their forthcoming sophomore album. 

Slated for a March 27, 2020 release through a collaboration between French label Only Lovers Records, Portland’s Little Cloud Records and Parisian label Icy Cold Records, Prepared for a Nightmare reportedly finds the members of Mayflower Madame further developing their unique blend of psych-noir and post punk with elements of shoegaze and noise rock.  “Vultures,” the album’s menacing and propulsive first single manages to recall The Black Angels, My Gold Mask, and Chain of Flowers, as its centered around forceful drumming, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars and rousing hooks and an enormous sound. 

Directed by Astrid Serck, the black and white video is a hypnotic visual featuring a combination of collage-based laminations and imagery, live footage of the band performing and a dance sequenced performed by Norwegian drag artist Remi Johansen Hovda. The video manages to capture the tense and uneasy vibes of the song — and at points it feels as though someone or something is lurking just over your shoulder. 

New Audio: Nottingham, UK’s Hurtsfall Releases a Joy Division-Inspired Single

Featuring current and former members of acts like The Death Notes, In Isolation, Gossamer Veil, Dick Venom & the Terrortones, The Midnight Circus, Every New Dead Ghost, Arcane Winter and Tenpole Tudor, the Nottingham, UK-based post-punk act Hurtsfall — founding members Mike Sinclair (bass), Jamie Laws (keys) and Dave Perkins (drums), along with Sam Harrison-Emm (vocals) — can trace its origins back to 2017, when its founding members started a new band. The emerging British act solidified their lineup when they found Harrison-Emm after a lengthy and exhaustive audition process in 2018.

Since the band has solidified their lineup, the members of Hurtsfall have established their own sound, which pairs goth overtones with synth pop sensibilities while developing a following centered around an energetic live show. So far, the le Nottingham-based band has opened for Strange Circuits, one of the first acts to sign with Wax Trax! Records — and building upon a growing profile, the band’s recently released their latest single “12 Long Years.” Centered around angular and propulsive bass chords, forceful yet mathematically precise drumming, shimmering and atmospheric synth flourishes and Harrison-Emm’s Ian Curtis-like baritone, “12 Long Years” will immediately recalls Joy Division, as well as more contemporary acts like ACTORS and others — and while murky and brooding, the track manages to be dance floor friendly.  

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act Secret Shame over the past year. The act, which is currently comprised of Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar), formed in 2016, and can trace its origins to the desperate need that its members felt to create. “If I couldn’t sing or play music, I would tear my skin off.” the band’s front person Lena explains in press notes. Shortly after their formation, the band released their self-titled debut EP, which quickly established the band’s dark and atmospheric sound paired with lyrics that thematically touch upon issues of domestic abuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration. 

The band’s full-length debut Dark Synthetics was released last year to critical acclaim, while further establishing their sound an enormous, reverb heavy sound seemingly influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Building upon the growing momentum the band has received since the release of their full-length debut, the members of the band went on a short tour to support the album, which included an apt Friday the 13th stop at The Broadway and a Halloween set that featured Joy Division covers. Along with that, the rapidly rising post punk act recently announced a series of remixes of Dark Synthetics material they’ll be releasing while they return to the studio to record new music slated for release later this year.

Now, as you may recall I wrote about two of the singles in the growing remix series: XOR‘s icy, industrial take on the guitar-led “Calm,” which retained the song’s intensity, vulnerability and ache, along with Lena’s powerhouse vocals — and Skinquarter‘s early Depeche Mode-like remix of the Siouxsie and the Banshees-like “Haunter.”   The latest remix of the series finds None of Your Concern turning the aforementioned “Haunter” into a propulsive club-banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats while retaining Lena’s vocals. Sonically, the remix — to my ears at least — reminds me a of a slickly produced synthesis of KraftwerkFrom Here to Eternity and From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder and of course, the aforementioned Siouxsie and the Banshees.

The members of Secret Shame will be hitting the road to support the vinyl release of Dark Synthetics. After a handful of North Carolina dates in February, Secret Shame will embark on an East Coast and Midwest run throughout March and April that will include an April 2, 2020 stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates
1/26 – Asheville, NC – The Lazy Diamond
2/07 – Winston-Salem, NC – Monstercade
2/08 – Chapel Hill, NC – Nightlight
2/09 – Wilmington, NC – Reggies
2/12 – Asheville, NC – Static Age
3/28 – Charlotte, NC – TBD
3/29 – Raleigh, NC – Slims
3/30 – Richmond, VA – TBD
4/01 – Philadelphia, PA – TBD
4/02 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Vitus %
4/03 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Skidmore College
4/04 – Boston, MA – Dark Spring Boston
4/06 – Pittsburgh, PA – TBD %
4/07 – Columbus, OH – TBD %
4/08 – Louisville, KY – TBD %

 

Led by songwriter/producer and founder of Ice Queen Records and founding member Joseph Lekkas, the Nashville-based indie rock act Palm Ghosts can trace its origins back
to when Lekkas lived in Philadelphia. After spending a number of years playing in local bands like Grammar Debate! and Hilliard, Lekkas took a lengthy hiatus from writing and performing music to book shows and festivals in and around the Philadelphia area. When he started Palm Ghosts, the project initially began as a solo recording project and creative way for Lekkas to deal with a rather incapacitating blunt of depression and anxiety. Lekkas then spend a long Philadelphia/Northeastern winter recording a batch of introspective songs that he dubbed “sun-damaged American music” that would eventually become the Palm Ghost debut album.
After a short tour in 2013 to support the Palm Ghost debut album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Nashville, enticed by the city’s growing indie rock scene. Once he settled in to his new hometown, Lekkas set up a small home studio in the guest bedroom of a rental house on Greenland Avenue in East Nashville, where he eventually wrote and recorded the sophomore Palm Ghosts album, 2017’s Greenland, an album that
featured elements of electro pop, folk and indie rock, influenced by his adopted hometown’s long-held “song-is-king” culture. 2018’s Architecture found Lekkas further influenced by the sounds of the 80s — in particular, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, New Order and The Cure among others — although the album’s first single “Turn the Knife” to my ears, managed to bring New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen to mind but with male/female harmonies.
Palm Ghosts’ latest single “Wide Awake and Waiting” continues a run of material that’s deeply inspired by and indebted to 80s post-punk: this time, the new single brings Joy Division and New Order’s “Ceremony” to mind. And at its core, the song is centered around a similar aching longing, shimmering synth arpeggios and an angular and propulsive bass line.