Category: post-punk

New Video: Up-and-Coming Toronto-based Post-Punk act Releases Murky Visuals for Angular Album Single “Taking Pictures”

Currently comprised of Bria, Duncan, Lucas and Kris, the up-and-coming Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based post-punk quartet FRIGS have developed a reputation for a difficult to pigeonhole sound and approach that draws from the diverse array of influences each individual member brings  — and for a visceral live show that embraces the mercurial and experimental, as though built upon instinct and feel. 

The Canadian post-punk band’s self-produced full-length debut Basic Behavior was written and recorded over a 16-month period in two locations: the band’s home studio and Union Sound Company, and while lyrically the album is centered around Bria Salmena’s personal experience, the album is reportedly the product of several years of self-discovery as a unit. Naturally, recording at home allowed the band to take much-needed time to explore and experiment with sonic textures and production, and meticulously re-working their material. However, they felt that a degree of urgency was necessary to push them to finalize the album, and with engineer Ian Gomes, the band embraced the limitations of third-party studio time, which gave the sessions a sense of immediacy, and as a result, the album’s material is at points stark, chaotic, reflective and manic — often within a turn of a musical phrase. 

Basic Behavior’s latest single “Taking Pictures” features an arrangement based around propulsive drumming, slashing and angular bass and guitar chords, over which the band’s Salmena coos and howls throughout — while evoking a growing sense of disillusionment and fury without focusing on an actual narrative; in fact, it gives the song a primal and forceful urgency. As the band says of the recently released video for “Taking Pictures,” “We wanted a video that similarly eschewed narrative in order to portray this feeling through distorted perspective, overlapping subjects and a black-and-white pallet.  Adds the video’s director, Christopher Mills “The camera seems to be broken in a glitchy, 360 degree virtual space filled with multiple exposures of FRIGS, occasionally and inadvertently disrupted by glitchy abstract shapes in this dark and moody portraiture. For me, this song is like what Mazzy Star would play before a street fight. The toughness of this music evokes images of Ponyboy Curtis, with all of his friend running around the perimeter of town, looking for trouble. ”

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New Video: Chicago’s Ganser Releases Mischievous and Surreal Visuals for “Satsuma”

Over the past couple of months I’ve written quite a bit about the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser,  and with the release of their debut EP, This Feels Like Living, the members of the Chicago-based act received attention locally for an art rock-leaning post-punk/noise rock sound influenced by Sonic Youth and Magazine.  Now, as you may recall, the band’s full-length debut Odd Talk is slated for release later this month through No Trend Records, and the album’s material reportedly focuses on communication breakdowns, with the song’s narrators desperately seeking meaning in confusion and messiness, as though they were literally sorting through syllables and signals to find the right words to say what they wanted or needed to say.

“Satsuma,” Odd Talk‘s last official single will further cement their reputation for material that thematically can be grimly absurd yet comedic that points at the complexities and frustrations of human relationships paired with angular guitar chords and propulsive drumming that help evoke a sweaty, heart racing anxiety: the sort in which your thoughts are racing and pinballing within your head; but the difference here is that the song focuses on a weary reservation, on avoiding expectations and their inevitable heartache, of not showing your hand when things are uncertain.

Filmed by the renowned photographer Kirsten Micolli and directed and edited by the band, the recently released video for “Satsuma” follow a woman Kate Ziebart as she wanders a post-blizzard Chicago, who’s compelled to dance through the streets. Throughout the course of the video, the woman’s movement varies between graceful and frantic but she turns the mundane and routine to something altogether strange; in fact, her weirdness seems to be infectious, and everyone she passes begins to start acting as weirdly as she is — although the woman is actually completely unaware of her effect on her surroundings or on anyone else. 

Filmed by the renowned photographer Kirsten Miccoli in a post-blizzard Chicago earlier this year and self-directed and edited by the band, the video follows a woman (Kate Ziebart) as she wanders the city, compelled to dance, as she encounters each member of the band in turn as she goes. After being in Chicago, the video not only strikes me as only being possible in Chicago, it manages to evoke the accusatory and sarcastic nature of the song in a mischievously indirect fashion. 

Now, if you had been frequenting this website over the past few years, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based indie rock act Lazyeyes, and as some of you may recall, the band, which initially began as a trio and now currently consists of Jason Abrishami (guitar, vocals), Sam Maynard (guitar, vocals), Jeremy Sampson (drums) and Jermey Rose (bass, vocals) received quite a bit of attention after the release of their 2013 self-titled EP: The Deli Magazine named the band the “Best Psych Rock/Shoegaze band,” Purple Sneakers praised the EP as a “moody and anthemic record, equal parts shoegaze and dream pop,” Stereogum described their sound as a “a muscular, riff-happy brand of guitar based dream-pop” and they were a featured artist in the November 2014 issue of NME — and adding to a growing profile, tracks from the EP received airplay from BBC Radio, XM Radio and a number of FM stations across the globe.

2015’s self-released, sophomore EP New Year was eventually picked up and reissued by Burger Records‘ cassette imprint Weiner Records, and “Adaptation,” the EP’s first single received quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere, including this site. Some time has passed since I’ve last written about them — but their long awaited full-length debut Echoes is slated for a summer release through Egghunt Records and 2670 Records. Interestingly, Echoes first single, album title track “Echoes” is a brooding and seamless synthesis of 80s British post-punk and shoegaze as you’ll hear angular and propulsive bass chords, four-on-the-floor drumming and towering, pedal effected guitar pyrotechnics paired with rousingly anthemic hooks — and while the song may initially strike you as drawing influence from Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen, it reveals a band confidently expanding upon the sound that first captured attention.

 

 

 

Throughout the almost eight year history of this site, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Bambara, and as you may recall, the trio, comprised of twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh and their childhood friend William Brookshire will be releasing their Andy Chugg-produced third, full length album Shadow on Everything later this week — and the album, which is their first for renowned indie label, Wharf Cat Records, reportedly represents a decisive step in a  new direction for the band, with their sound moving from the noise rock and post-punk of their first two albums to incorporating a Western Gothic-inspired sound. And while the music center remains the trio’s tight and forceful rhythm section featuring Blaze Bateh’s frenzied yet incredibly metronomic drumming and Brookshire’s propulsive bass lines, unlike their previously recorded output, Shadow on Everything finds the band placing Reid Bateh’s vocals at the forefront, symbolically placing the damaged characters and seedy locales of his lyrics at center stage.

With the album’s first single ““Jose Tries to Leave,” the band retains the forceful and nightmarish dynamism that has won them attention here and elsewhere, but with a cinematic air, as it focuses on the lives and thoughts of desperate, fucked up and incredibly seedy sorts with a humanist’s sense of empathy and a novelist’s attention to psychological detail. “Doe-Eyed Girl,” the album’s second while continuing in a similar vein is imbued with a sweaty and furious urgency, fueled by manic and desperate obsession. Interestingly, Shadow on Everything‘s third and latest single “Sunbleached Skulls” is arguably one of the murkiest and bleakest songs of their growing catalog as Reid Bateh’s dark imagery centers around buzzing flies around sun-bleached bones, rotting flesh, dirt and grime paired with Brookshire’s propulsive bass and Blaze Bateh’s mathematically precise, metronomic drumming and shimmering bursts of Western guitar figures, seemingly writhing about in the dirt and grime; but underneath the bleak vibes and foul stenches of the song, there’s a strange sense of finding comfort and companionship in someone else, even if it’s fleeting. And much like its predecessor, the album’s single is incredibly cinematic track, that evokes a feverish and lingering nightmare.

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Preoccupations Release Surreal Visuals for Haunting New Single “Disarray”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Canadian post-punk act Preoccupations, and as you may recall the band which features Matt Flegel (bass, vocals), Mike Wallace (drums), Scott Munro (guitar) and Daniel Christiansen (guitar), initially formed under the highly controversial name Viet Cong, which put the band in the middle of a furious and tumultuous debate centered around the appropriation of terms, names and symbols associated with historical groups and actions that evoke the horrors of despotism, fascism, genocide and so on. Ultimately, the band decided it was best to change their name before the release of their highly-anticipated sophomore album, an album that that found the individual members of the band in an unsteady and uncertain positions: at the time, each  member and relocated to different cities across North America, which made their long-established writing process of writing and testing material while on the road both extremely difficult, if not highly impractical. Along with that, several members of the band were reeling from having serious, long-term relationships end, around the time they were preparing to enter the studio. And unlike their previously recorded efforts, the band went into the writing sessions without having a central idea or theme to consider or help guide them along, essentially making the recording sessions akin to collectively blind leap of faith. Eventually the album’s material wound up drawing from something specific and very familiar — the anxiety, despair and regret that causes sleepless nights.  

Building upon a growing reputation for crafting dark and moody post-punk centered around themes of anxiety, uncertainty, creation, destruction and futility will be releasing their third album New Material is slated for release on Friday through Jagjaguwar Records, and the album, which finds the band recording and producing themselves is as the band’s Matt Flegel said in press notes, “an ode to depression. To depression and self-sabotage, and looking inward at yourself with extreme hatred.” Interestingly, much like their sophomore album, the band met without having much written or demoed beforehand — and according to the members of the band, it was arguably one of the most collaborative writing sessions they ever had as a band, with the sessions being extremely architectural in nature, with some ideas (proverbially speaking) being built up while others were torn down to the support beams. And although they didn’t initially know what the songs were about or where they were going with them, they had resolved to let the material show and not explicitly not tell. 

However, the writing and recording sessions reportedly led to a reckoning for the band’s Flegel. “Finishing ‘Espionage’ was when I realized. I looked at the rest of the lyrics and realized the magnitude of what was wrong,” says Flegel. In fact, the murky and angular  Manchester/Joy Division-like first single “Espionage,” while being among the most danceable songs they’ve written and released, focuses on a narrator, who has finally become aware of a disturbing penchant for self-sabotage in every aspect of his life. “Antidote,” New Material’s second single was centered around propulsive, industrial clang and clatter based rhythm meant to convey a sweaty anxiety, while being about how people forget that we’re all talking, walking, shitting animals, who have an infinite amount of knowledge within their fingertips but still manage to repeatedly make the wrong choices. 

“Disarray,” New Material’s third single is a meditative and slow-burning single featuring shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, organic drumming and boom bap-like drum machine work during the song’s bridge. And while superficially nodding at Turn On the Bright Lights-era Interpol, the song captures something much darker and uncertain — as it’s centered around someone, who from their perspective, views everything they’ve ever known to be a lie. As the band’s Flegal recalls, When I was writing ‘Disarray,’ it started off with an image of a mother combing her daughters hair that came into my mind, I liked the metaphor of splitting the braids and combing through the tangles, and wrote the rest of the lyrics around that image. This song sat untouched for close to 6 months as a recording with just bass and drums before we came back to it and wrote and recorded the guitar line while out of our minds one night in the early AM.” 

Directed by Ruff Mercy, the recently released video pairs animation and live footage of the band’s Flegel walking on a deserted beach while singing the song’s lyrics, shot with a grainy, almost Instagram-like filter. At points, animated and cartoonish figures and lines burst into the proceedings and superimposed over Flegel’s face to convey deep, inner turmoil and chaos. 

New Video: Chicago’s Ganser Returns with a Tense and Propulsive Single Paired with Badass B-Movie Visuals

Last month, I wrote about the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser, and as you may recall the act, comprised of  Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals), Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals), Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) formed back in 2014  — and with the release of their debut EP This Feels like Living, the quartet received attention locally for a art rock-leaning post-punk/noise rock sound that was influenced by Sonic Youth and Magazine. 
The Chicago, IL-based post-punk quartet’s forthcoming, full-length debut Odd Talk is an April 20, 2018 release through No Trend Records, and the album reportedly focuses on communication breakdowns — with the song’s narrators desperately seeking meaning in confusion and messiness, as though they were figuratively sorting through syllables and signals to find the right words to say what it is you want or need to say. Album single “PSY OPS” found the band walking a careful tightrope between angular Wire-like post-punk and the furious, bruising punk of Memphis‘ Ex-Cult and Nots but with explosive bursts of discordant noise, and the whole thing was held together by a rhythm section that was propulsive, frenzied and yet strangely danceable. Over that, Garofalo shouted and barked lyrics that sounded and felt like absurdist non-sequiturs. 

Odd Talk’s latest single “Avoidance” is arguably the most decidedly straightforward post-punk songs they’ve released as it features propulsive and angular bass chords, slashing guitar lines, tribal-like drumming and blasts of synths over which Garofalo’s voice rises and falls with increasing frustration, followed by a weary sort of acceptance. Interestingly, the song is about the sharp pain of miscommunication with someone you love and the exhaustion of trying to be understood when your language is just completely wrong. And ultimately, it makes communication and trying to be understood absurd and pointless. 

Centered around edited stock footage taken from 60s and 70s B movies, the video features classic muscle cars racing in a desert landscape towards an unknown end further emphasizing the absurdity at the heart of the song. 

New Video: French Instrumental Trio Jean Jean Releases Creepy Yet Cinematic Visuals for Anxious and Dread-Filled Album Single “Anada”

Currently comprised of Edouard Lebrun (drums, samples), Sebastien Torregrossa (guitar) and their newest member multi-instrumentalist Gregory Hoepffner, the Paris-based instrumental space rock/math rock/experimental rock trio Jean Jean began as a solo recording project before expanding into a duo — and as a duo the project released their 2010 self-titled debut EP, and their 2013 full-length debut Symmetry, which they supported with hundreds of live shows across the European Union, Japan and the States; but as the story goes, the then-duo wrote and recorded a follow up EP that they scrapped because something — or someone — was missing. Lebrun and Torregrossa were initially unsuccessful in their search for a third musician to further flesh out their sound, until their longtime friend Hoepffner, who had been responsible for the band’s visuals signed up to join the band, and as the band’s Lebrun recalls in press notes, things clicked right away. “He [Hoepffner] brought this glue linking the drums and the guitars, adding another level,” Lebrun says.

The band’s recently released album Froidpierre is the first featuring the band as a newly constituted trio, and the album, which was recorded in a cabin named Froidspierre (or cold stone) in the French Alps is reportedly a marked departure from their previously released work. “We were tired of complex and festive tracks; we wanted to avoid over-doing things, to stop doing patchwork and have proper songs with real hindsight. The songs are shorter because they were composed with a sense of urgency.” And while these were all very conscious decisions, it was also driven by a sense of urgency as the band’s Lebrun frequently had to take the first night bus from the suburban studio to his home in Paris. Interestingly enough, as the band notes as they were writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise their latest effort, each member of the band while being aware of the fact that they all had great creative chemistry and something musically powerful was happening, something in the air just wasn’t right.

During the third day of the recording sessions Torregrossa went out on the balcony to smoke a cigarette and suddenly he felt an uncontrollable sense of fear throughout his own body. With a racing heart, he rushed back inside without looking band. The next day, Lebrun managed to be in the exact same spot and he couldn’t shake the persistent feeling that there was a presence behind him. Just as he turned around, he caught what looked like a ghost out of the corner of his eye. Frozen in fear, he stared at this presence and got lost in its inverted human-like silhouette. As Lebrun recalls, it felt as though he were slowly sinking into quicksand until somehow he managed to get away; but he felt unsettled and uneasy throughout the rest of the night. Hoepffner felt a strong sense of discomfort as he was sitting in the studio’s kitchen — so much so that, after a few days, he made sure to never enter a room on his own. At night, he someone or something whispering his name. And while he spent time trying to convince himself that someone was trying to play an elaborate prank on him, Hoepffner couldn’t shake having impressions of a wasted life, without any rational explanation. The band’s friend and photographer Maxime slept in a room that was made entirely of stones and was once a former stable, and one night he heard a woman’s voice calling his name, and felt something lean on him, and a cold sensation overtake his entire body.

Sometimes, they all would hear strange noises and banging on the walls that kept them awake most of the night. They  all spoke about something with a beastly scream and of objects suddenly and unexpectedly being knocked down. Although it was only until after the recording sessions were complete that the members of the band shared their own experiences, the sensation of anxious, uncertain dread and fear, of being on the edge, of not being able to trust your senses and your reason. Album single “Anada” is centered around a thunderous drumming, shimmering and gently undulating synths and guitar — and while being reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Mogwai, The Octopus Project and Remember Remember, the composition evokes an unshakeable, dark, menacing and inexplicable presence that’s lurking behind you, felt but unseen. And as a result, the incredibly cinematic track feels and sounds as though it should be included as part of the soundtrack of a psychological thriller that would capture the anxious dread of our current sociopolitical moment.

Filmed by  Maxime Leyravaud and the members of Jean Jean, and edited by the band’s Gregory Hoepffner, the recently released video features some almost Stanley Kubrick-esque like footage shot during the band’s Fall 2017 Japan tour that’s split between the band capturing portions of everyday Japanese life with a surrealistic touch and the band performing live.

Live Concert Photography: The Goodnight Darlings with herMajesty at Mercury Lounge 2/28/18

Featuring core members Kat Auster (vocals); Wilson (guitar), who has had lengthy stints touring with in the backing bands of The Fugees and Wyclef Jean; and Jaramillo (drums), the New York-based indie act The Goodnight Darlings have received both local and national attention for a sultry, dance floor friendly sound that draws from 80s pop, hip-hop, Combat Rock-era The Clash, New Wave, post-punk and shoegaze. The local indie rock stalwarts headlined an early show at Mercury Lounge that featured JOVM mainstays herMajesty as the night’s opener. Check out photos from the show below.

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Over the years, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based art rock/glam rock/indie rock act and JOVM herMajesty. And although the band has gone through a number of lineup changes, the band which is currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter  JP (vocals, samples, guitar), David (bass, lead guitar), Joan (bass) and Konrad (drums) has maintained a reputation for crafting lush, moody and contemplative material that’s heavily indebted to Roxy Music, David Bowie, U2 and others. Since the release of the My Body Your Mind EP and a series of standalone singles, which included gorgeous cover of Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot,” “One by One” and others, the band has developed a regional profile with the New York-based rock act opening for the likes of  The B52s, Tom Tom Club, Say Hi to Your Mom and The Boxer Rebellion — and have made frequent tour stops in Rochester, Providence, Philadelphia and Boston, as well as regular shows at Rockwood Music Hall and The Bowery Electric in the Lower East Side. Of course, their set included those singles and their latest single, the shimmering and disco-tinged “Weightless,” which you can check out below.

 
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For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmgRTPnz

New Video: Up-and-Coming Miami-based No Wave/Post Punk/Art Rock Act Donzii’s Dance Floor Friendly Debut

Donzii is a Miami, FL (by way of New York)-based post-punk/art rock/performance art/no-wave act featuring Jenna Balfe (vocals), Dennis Brewster Fuller (bass), Monroe Getz (drums) and Nick DeLucca (guitar), and their debut single “Mines,” which was released by Grey Market Records earlier this year manages to sound as though it were released in 1982 as it consists of early hip hop-like backbeats, an angular and funky bass line paired with Balfe delivering surrealistic non-sequitur-like lyrics with a chilly yet aggressive nonchalance, and while dance floor friendly, the material manages to hint at an underlying dark yet seductive nihilism.  

Directed by Tara Long, the recently released video is like a Dario Argento-like fever dream that features the members of the band pointing out the very odd nature of routines, communing with nature and brooding artfully among other things. 

Nostalgist is a Seattle, WA-based post-punk/shoegaze act led by founding member and primary songwriter Asa Eisenhardt (vocals, guitar)  — and with the release of 2013’s Monochromatic EP and 2015’s Of Love and Days Ago, the Seattle-based project received attention for a heavy and moody sound that’s been influenced by Lowlife, Slowdive, Lycia, The Comsat Angels, The Chameleons, Killing Joke, Fields of the Nephilim, Hum and Red House Painters among others.

Recorded and mixed throughout 2016 and 2017, Disaffection, the long-awaited follow up to Of Love and Days Ago features guest spots from renowned drummer Aesop Dekker, who’s been a member of Khorada, Worm Ouroboros, Extremity and a former member of ex-Agalloch; Alex Entrekin (drums), who joined on as the project’s new drummer; and Monte McCleery (bass) who’s also a member of Seattle-based doom act Un. Interestingly, the effort features five originals and a cover of Catherine Wheel’s “Texture.” Disaffection‘s second and latest single “Smoldering Amber” finds the band drawing from post-punk, shoegaze and grunge, as the song is centered around a familiar structure — quiet, loud, quiet, with the quieter verses featuring towering and shimmering guitar chords over which Eisenhardt’s mournful vocals ethereally float over, and the blistering power chord-based chorus, held together with a propulsive rhythm section and arpeggiated synths. Without a doubt, the song will immediately bring 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind with a cinematic quality; but underneath the surface is a plaintive and aching yearning that gives the song a Romantic quality.

As Nostalgist’s Asa Eisenhardt says in press notes, “This is the most lyrically intimate thing I’ve written to date. As with many of my songs, it chronicles the beginning, middle and end of some manner of relationship, but here the words are especially dramatic (even for me, ha) and visceral. Infatuation is the most central theme. The instrumental arrangement emphasizes a dub rhythm in the verses, and I expect that influence to become even more prominent in future material. Dub was an enormous influence on ’80s post-punk, so following the throughline from bands I hold near and dear as influences (Comsat Angels, The Chameleons and Killing Joke to name but a few) and investigating that sound continues to be a natural progression for me.”

“At the same time, I do my best to really blend things up when I write, and both the mix and contrast of the heavy and the ethereal in ‘Smoldering Amber’ is easily the most pronounced of the songs on Disaffection. The verse section is minimal and grooving, but the chorus is huge and lumbering. The bridge is fragile and deliberate, the outro is hard-charging, uptempo and intertwined with synth melody. Dynamics are another dimension of musical color one can explore and manipulate, really. All in all, I think this track is especially exemplary of our elemental makeup”.