Category: post-punk

New Video: Belgium’s Whispering Sons Release an Ominous and Creepy Video for “Hollow”

Initially formed in 2013, the Brussels, Belgium-based post punk act Whispering Sons, comprised of Fenne Kuppens (vocals), Kobe Linjen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Tuur Vanderborne (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums) received attention nationally with the release of their debut EP, 2015’S Endless Party through Wool-E-Tapes with a vinyl reissue in March 2016 through Minimal Maximal. The following year, the band won one of their homeland’s most prestigious music competitions Humo’s Rock Rally, which they followed up with two 7 inches, 2016’s “Performance”/”Strange Identities” and  2017’s “White Noise.”

Building upon a growing profile across Belgium, the Brussels-based post-punk quintet released their full-length debut, the Micha Volders and Bert Vliegen-produced Image through Cleopatra Records here in the States and Smile Records throughout the rest of the world last year. Recorded over a ten day period at Waimes, Belgium’GAM Studios, the album finds the band attempting to capture their live sound — and the sense of anxiety and alienation that each individual bandmember felt when they relocated to Brussels.  

Now, as you may recall album single “Alone” was centered around shimmering and angular guitar lines, a propulsive and sinuous bass line, thunderous and mathematically precise drumming, an area rock-friendly hook derived from a cryptic bit of dialog spoken during Twin Peaks’ first season and Kuppens’ Ian Curtis-like vocal delivery. Much like its predecessors, the album’s latest single “Hollow” further cements the Belgian band’s reputation for crafting an ominous post-punk sound reminiscent of  Joy DivisionActorsDeathlistTrue Moon, and Second Still among others — but while evoking the overwhelming sense of dread, anxiousness, isolation and outrage of our current sociopolitical moment, in which we (as a collective whole) seem to be marching lockstep towards oblivion.

Directed by Pieter De Ridder, the incredibly cinematic and downright creepy visuals for “Hollow” further emphasize the end-of-days vibes of the song it accompanies. There’s no murderous cyborgs or aliens sent from the far reaches of space and time to exterminate humanity; there’s no Revelations-like four horsemen riding through towns with demonic glee; nor are there godly folk being immediate raptured to heaven; instead the doom the video focuses on, is as the old poem suggests — that the world will end not with a bang but with a whimper. In fact, the video follows a collection of young people, including the members of the band gathering at a proverbial “tree of life.” Every single person the band and the viewer encounters is looking up at the sky in a trancelike gaze. Whatever is coming from above, no one seems frightened or overly concerned; it’ll be as it’ll always be. It’ll leave a lingering chill down your spine.

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New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Plague Vendor Releases a Shimmering and Sci Fi Take on Post Punk

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Whittier, CA-based post-punk/ punk rock quartet Plague Vendor. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of f Brandon Blaine (vocals), Luke Perine (drums), Michael Perez (bass) and Jay Rogers (guitar) formed back in 2009, quickly developing a reputation locally and regionally for frenetic and raucous live sets. Eventually, they began playing an increasing number of live shows across California with those shows leading to 2014’s full-length debut  Free to Eat, an album that some critics described as terse, dark and thrashing post-punk.

Bloodsweat, the JOVM mainstays’ 2016 Stuart Sikes-produced sophomore album landed at number 2 on that year’s Best of List, thanks in part to frenetic and anthemic album singles  “ISUA (I Stay Up Anyway)“, “Jezebel” and “No Bounty,” which were delivered with a blistering and forceful swagger. Two years passed before the band released two singles “I Only Speak in Fiction,” and “Locomotive,” which were recorded with Epitaph Records’ head and Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz and Morgan Stratton, which served to revitalize the band and restore their focus before joining  acclaimed producer John Congleton for the By Night sessions.

The band’s third full-length album, which is slated for a June 7, 2019 release through Epitaph Records finds the band stretching and warping their sound to evoke a merciless and unrelenting sense of tension and apprehension that should feel familiar in our current sociopolitical moment. “New Comedown,” the third album’s first single was an explosive roar, centered around a propulsive rhythm section, thunderous drumming, layers upon layers of power chords, a mosh pit friendly hook and Blaine’s howled vocals — and while bearing a resemblance to the singles recorded with Gurewitz and Stratton, the song reveals some of the most confident and self-assured songwriting and playing of their growing catalog.

Sonically, the album finds the band meshing the powerful but polished sound of contemporary rock with the countless reinterpretations of classic punk and post punk — while being encouraged by Congleton to push their sound and approach in new directions: in fact, the band employs the use of chorused band in endless waves, lighting strike flashes of synth, motor man-machine drums and even a string section.

Interestingly, By Night‘s second and latest single is a shimmering yet brooding and tense bit of post-punk centered around motorik-like drumming, buzzsaw-like guitars and a shout-along-worthy hook — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance of The Cars, the futuristic, sci-fi punk song captures a narrator, who has partied and fucked around to the point of losing what’s left of the sanity.

Over the past month or so I’ve written a bit about the Detroit, MI-based trio Ritual Howls, and as you may recall with the release of three full-length albums and a number of EPs, the act which is comprised of Paul Bancell (vocals, guitar), Chris Samuels (synths, samples, drum machine) and Ben Saginaw (bass) have developed a reputation for crafting a cinematic twangy and dance floor friendly industrial post-punk — although last year’s The Body EP found the trio employing the use of more expansive arrangements paired with a sculpted sound and production.

Rendered Armor, the Detroit-based industrial, post-punk trio’s latest effort was released last week through felte records, and from the VOWWS-like “Alone Together” and the twangy Violator-era Depeche Mode-like “Thought Talk,” the album finds the band sonically continuing in a similar vein as The Body EP — but while balancing an uneasy intimacy with a wide screen, cinematic quality. “Devoured Decency,” the album’s latest single is a murky, mid-tempo, post apocalyptic song centered around thumping beats, arpeggiated synths, a throbbing bass line and a soaring hook. As the band’s Paul Bancell explains “This song started as a synth melody. I believe Ben’s bass accidentally ended up holding the song together, with his bass line working over multiple riffs. My wife Dana sings backing vocals on the song. It’s another post apocalyptic song – in some ways a call to stop being polite and decent when everything is going to shit around us.”

Ritual Howls will be touring with The Faint to support their forthcoming full-length album, and it includes two NYC area dates — July 29, 2019 and July 30, 2019 at Bowery Ballroom. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
04.13 Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex (Record Release)  
07.27 Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
07.29 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
07.30 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
08.02 Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts *
08.03 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
08.04 Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall *
08.05 Pittsburgh, PA @ Get Hip Records
08.06 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop *
08.07 Detroit, MI @ El Club *
08.09  Chicago, IL @ House of Blues *
08.10 Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave II (Downstairs) *
08.12 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe *
08.13 Kansas City, KS @ Madrid Theatre *
08.15 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live *
08.16 Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn *
10.04 Tampa Bay, FL @ Absolution Festival
 
* w/ The Faint, Closeness

 

 

With the release of 2014’s full-length debut, Dogging, the Sydney-based punk act Low Life featuring core trio Mitch Tolman, Cristian O’Sullivan and Greg Alfaro quickly received national and international attention.

Recorded over a two year period, the acclaimed Aussie punk band’s sophomore effort Downer Edn (read as Downer Edition) finds the band expanding from a trio to a quintet with the addition of Oily Boys and Orion’s Dizzy Daldal (guitar) and Yuta Matsumura (guitar) — with Matsumura rejoining the band to allow Tolman to be a full-time vocalist. And with the addition of Daldal and Matsumura, the band has gone through a decided change in sonic direction; in fact, as you may recall, the album’s first single, the icy Joy Division-like “Lust Forevermore” featured a lush, post-punk/New Wave inspired sound, complete with an anxious and urgency tension. Interestingly, the album’s second single “The Pitts” is a seamless synthesis of grimy, feedback-filled punk and lush post-punk, as the track is centered by a mosh pit friendly hook, shouted and howled lyrics — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to 120 Minutes-era alt rock, the song possesses a post-modern anxiousness.

 

 

 

Over the course of three full-length albums and a number of EPs, the Detroit, MI-based trio Ritual Howls, comprised of Paul Bancell (vocals, guitar), Chris Samuels (synths, samples, drum machine) and Ben Saginaw (bass) have developed a reputation for crafting a cinematic twangy and dance floor friendly industrial post-punk — although last year’s The Body EP found the trio employing the use of more expansive arrangements paired with a sculpted sound and production.

Interestingly, the trio’s forth, full-length album Rendered Armor is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through felte records continues in a similar vein as The Body; in fact, the upcoming album’s latest single “Alone Together” is centered around twangy guitar, ominous atmospherics, shimmering synths and a dance floor friendly thump — and while sonically bearing a bit of a resemblance to acclaimed post-punk duo VOWWS, the song is the tale of a classic love song, complete with an aching longing that’s set in a doomed, near apocalyptic world, much like our own. As a result, the song balances an uneasy intimacy with a wide screen cinematic quality.

 

New Video: Mexican-Panamanian Singer Songwriter and Multi-instrumentalist Michelle Blades Releases a Topical Post Punk Anthem

Michelle Blades is a Mexican-Panamanian singer/songwriter and self-taught multi-instrumentalist, who grew up in a family of salsa musicians — and as a result, a young Blades soaked up notions of her heritage, studio life and production. When Blades was seven, her family fled Panama as a result of the vestiges of violence and unrest left by Manuel Noriega, eventually relocating to Miami, where they all learned English and lived in different recording studios and apartments. 

Ironically, music was all but forbidden at home and many of Blades’ artistic aspirations were halted by the family patriarch until she moved out when she turned 16. She then spent time juggling a number of different jobs including — being a journalist for the local CBS affiliate, producing a biweekly show, Focus on South Florida, selling smoothes, working for MIA Skatepark, and pursuing a passion for film and video by producing skate videos for her website 2TEN AM Productions. Interestingly, this love of film would wind up being important for her aspirations and her career, as it paved the way for her to direct and produce music videos for several artists. 

After buying a ukulele with her first paycheck, Blades relocated to Arizona, where she immersed herself in Phoenix’s and Tempe’s DIY scenes, learning guitar, drums, synths and bass, eventually recording and releases EPs under her own name and with the noise punk trio North Dakota. Along the way, Camaraderie Limited Records, a small Paris-based label invited Blades to go on a month-long tour of house shows and while discovering Europe for the first time, she also made friends, who would change her life. As the story goes, during her third tour of France, Blades befriended the team at Midnight Special Records — and it prompted a move to Paris, where she created the bulk of her work to date, collaborating with the label and artists in a familial sort of collective of like-minded souls. 

Since relocating to Paris, Blades has been rather prolific as she has released 2015’s Ataraxia, 2016’s Polylust EP, and 2017’s Premature Love Songs EP, written music and arrangements for Laure Briard, played bass in Fishbach, put together a Transatlantic band Michelle Blades y Los Machetes, and directed videos for Clea Vincent’s “Retiens mon desir” and “Chateau Perdu” among a list of others. 

Slated for a March 29, 2019 release, Blades’ forthcoming album Visitor continues the Mexican-Panamanian multi-disciplinary artist, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s ongoing collaboration with Midnight Special Records. The forthcoming album’s third and latest single “Politic” is a remarkably topical song that to my ears sounds like a seamless synthesis of campy B52s-like garage rock/garage pop, angular and neurotic More Songs About Food and Buildings era Talking Heads-like post punk and Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs as the song is centered around arpeggiated synths, looping garage rock guitar lines, a propulsive groove, an infectious hook and lyrics delivered in wild yelps, squeals and howls. At its core, the song expresses an anxious, existential frustration — with everything. The recently released video is centered around live footage of Blades and her backing band performing the song shot with trippy filters and colors and strobe lights galore. 

Live Footage: Up-and-Coming Belgian Post -Punk Act Whispering Sons Perform “Alone” on “Muziek bij een”

Initially formed in 2013, the Brussels, Belgium-based post punk act Whispering Sons, comprised of Fenne Kuppens (vocals), Kobe Linjen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Tuur Vanderborne (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums) received attention nationally with the release of their debut EP, 2015’S Endless Party through Wool-E-Tapes with a vinyl reissue in March 2016 through Minimal Maximal. The following year, the band won one of their homeland’s most prestigious music competitions Humo’s Rock Rally, which they followed up with two 7 inches, 2016’s “Performance”/”Strange Identities” and  2017’s “White Noise.” 

Building upon a growing profile across Belgium, the Brussels-based post-punk quintet released their full-length debut, the Micha Volders and Bert Vliegen-produced Image through Cleopatra Records here in the States and Smile Records throughout the rest of the world last year. Recorded over a ten day period at Waimes, Belgium’s GAM Studios, the album finds the band attempting to capture their live sound — and more importantly, the sense of anxiety and alienation that each individual bandmember felt when they relocated to Brussels.  Now, as you may recall Image’s second single “Alone” was centered around shimmering and angular guitar lines, a propulsive and sinuous bass line, thunderous and mathematically precise drumming, an arena rock-friendly hook that’s derived from a cryptic bit of dialog spoken during Twin Peaks’ first season and Kuppens’ Ian Curtis-like vocal delivery.  And while naturally drawing some comparisons to the likes of Joy Division, Actors, Deathlist, True Moon, Second Still and others, the song bristles with an icy ominousness. 

Check out this incredible live footage of the up-and-coming Belgian act on Muziek bij een on EEN Belgium’s Dutch language station.