Category: post-punk

New Video: Thus Love Shares Angular and Anthemic “In Tandem”

Brattleboro, Vermont-based outfit Thus Love — multi-instrumentalists Echo Mars (she/her) and Lu Racine (he/him) and bassist Nathaniel van Osdol (they/them) — is a rising indie trio with a bond cemented by their individual and collective experiences as outsiders looking in: They’ve ascribed to a DIY ethos that not only reflects their musical vision but their very existence as three self-identifying trans artists.

The band can trace its origins to Mars’ and Racine’s serendipitous meeting at a local print show back in 2018, when the multi-instrumentalists agreed to collaborate on a new musical project. The band’s lineup was finalized when Mars and Racine were finally able to convince their roommate van Osdol to join the band in 2019.

From the band’s inception, its members have lived together under the same roof, designed and produced their own merch, and even created their own recording studio from scratch. “I realize that most artists don’t live this way,” Thus Love’s Echo Mars says. “But for us, it was never really a choice. The art we make is so tied to who we are and the community we’re a part of, that this is the only way we can possibly do it.”

The trio was just starting to regularly headline renowned local venue The Stone Church when the pandemic struck and everything came to a sudden and screeching halt. “The pandemic hit everyone hard, but I think it was especially difficult for new artists like us that rely on live shows to spread the word,” Thus Love’s Lu Racine says. “At that point, we had a couple of demos and we weren’t sure what the future would hold.”

Rather than idly wait, the band decided to take their future in their own hands. Armed with their innate curiosity and a ton of YouTube videos, Mars constructed a makeshift studio in their downtown Brattleboro apartment and the band set to work recording during the odd hours when their next-door neighbors were out and about.

The end result is the rising band’s full-length debut Memorial. Slated for an October 7, 2022 release through Captured Tracks, Memorial is reportedly a remarkably self-assured and accomplished album, considering the circumstances surrounding its creation. While sonically, the album’s material draws heavily from classic post-punk and indie rock, the band manages to tap into that sound and approach and find a way to find their own voice — and to tell their story.

Looking back now, Mars is glad the band decided to forge ahead. “I obviously would never want to go through a pandemic again, but I’m pretty confident in saying that this album would not be coming out in 2022 if we hadn’t had the forced downtime.”

While the album does deal with grief and loss, the band’s Racine suggests that working through those feelings are a necessary prerequisite to true and meaningful healing. He points to his own process of transition as proof. “I was in a dark place for a long time even when we were making this record. I knew what I had to do, but it didn’t make it any easier. There was a long period of mourning.” Racine completed top surgery last September, an important step in a years-long journey to embrace his true self. “Even though I was struggling at the time, the happiness I feel now makes it all worth it. I will always have positive associations with this record.”

“In Tandem,” Memorial‘s latest single is centered around angular, reverb-drenched guitar attack, glistening and atmospheric synths and a relentless, motorik punch paired with a rousingly anthemic chorus. While sonically “In Tandem” brings 4AD Records‘ heyday to mind, the song is simultaneously rooted in bitterness, heartache and hope. As the the band explained to the folks at FLOOD, “Written in 12 hours of digestion of emotional turmoil, ‘In Tandem’ is a sonic promise to hold awareness of a fundamental truth: we are nothing but star-dust.”

Directed and edited by Erin Vassilopoulos, the accompanying video for “In Tandem” is simultaneously nightmarishly surreal and playful as it follows the band performing the song — and as a John Waters diva-esque monsters posing for pictures and eating breakfast at a divey diner.

New Audio: Ed Schrader’s Music Beat Releases a Sleek and Brooding Single

With the release of 2018’s Dan Deacon-produced album Riddles, the Baltimore-based post-punk duo Ed Schrader’s Music Beat — Devlin Rice and Ed Schrader — turned heads nationally and elsewhere. 

The Baltimore duo’s fourth album Nightclub Daydreaming is slated for a March 25, 2022 release through Carpark Records. The album’s origins can be traced back to 2019 when Schrader and Rice began writing material with the idea of making a fun, danceable album. The duo, along with touring drumming Kevin O’Meara road-tested the album’s songs while on tour with Dan Deacon in February 2020. 

Of course. the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt. As it turned out, sadly, that Dan Deacon tour was one of the last experiences that Schrader and Rice had with O’Meara, who had died in October 2020. O’Meara’s death weighed heavily on their minds as they finished working on the album. It was understandably, an unshakeable moodiness and heartache. As Schrader puts it, “The cave followed us into the discotheque.”

They then went to record and mix Nightclub Daydreaming over a breakneck two-week period with Craig Bowen at Baltimore’s Tempo House. Interestingly, the end result isn’t the album of “sunny disco bangers,” that Rice says the band set out for, but something far deeper and darker. Their long-held reputation for whiplash-inducing stylistic shifts between aggressive and noisy rock and operatic, gloom pop have given way to a single aesthetic that seamlessly fuses those impulses in propulsive, stark arrangements. 

“The fun thing about this record is that it’s all at once informed by our more recent lush productions with Dan Deacon, yet spartan and boiled-down, exuding a coldness wrapped in ecstasy, following our time honored trend of never giving people what they expect, but hopefully what they want,” says Schrader.

Along with the album announcement, the Baltimore-based duo released two singles off the forthcoming album and dates for an extensive Spring 2022 tour that the duo (optimistically) have on the books. (The tour includes an April 23, 2022 stop at Union Pool. As always, those dates will be below the proverbial jump.)

Earlier this week, I wrote about Nightclub Daydreaming‘s sparse and uneasy lead single “This Thirst.” Featuring a narrator, who finds his irresistible urges leading him through a surrealistic, chemical-fueled fever dream of desperate back-alley bartering and scheming, uncertainty and existential threats, “This Thirst” is a gritty yet sleek post-punk ripper centered around angular guitar attack, a forceful and driving groove, a rousingly anthemic synth-led chorus and Schrader’s cool delivery. The duo manage to make bleakness and anxiety intense and sexy.

“Berliner,” Nightclub Daydreaming‘s second single is dark and brooding bit of post-punk centered around rumbling and distorted bass, scorching angular attack and unrelenting four-on-the-floor paired with Schrader’s coolly delivered baritone. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Berliner” evokes a bleak and intense, creeping anxiety, flop sweat and bleary-eyed late nights fueled by booze and drugs, lingering ghosts, and fever dreams.

New Video: Aussie Post Punk Band S:Bahn Returns After a Lengthy Hiatus

Melbourne-based post-punk/alt rock act S:Bahn currently features the following:

Kristian Brenchley (guitar), a former member of WOMAN and Degrasser and a current member of The Tim Evans Band.
Denis Leadbeater (drums), a founding member of Rootbeer and a member of post-rock, improvisational duo Under The Sea.
Dik (guitar, vocals), a former member of Bastard Kestrel, an act championed by John Peel in the early 90s and the creative mastermind behind the minimal synth punk act mnttaB
Rene Schaefer (bass), a former member of The Bites and currently guitarist in cold wave act Banish

The act formed back in the mid 90s and quickly received attention for specializing in a Chicago and DC-inspired take on post punk. After releasing 1996’s debut effort, Stock Footage EP and 1998’s North Sea Clean, the members of the band went on to their own creative projects and day jobs. But after a long hiatus, the band reunited. Between lockdowns during the early parts of the pandemic, the band recorded their second full-length album, the soon-to-be released Queen of Diamonds.

“Exhaustion,” Queen of Diamonds’ latest single finds the band seemingly coming back to where they left off: Dischord Records meets Signals, Calls and Marches-era Mission of Burma inspired post punk centered around angular attack, thunderous drumming, half sung/half spoken verses and multi-part harmonizing on the song’s anthemic chorus. At its core is a searing yet world wearied indictment of post modern, consumerist life.

The recently released video is a frenetically shot, black and white, visual that captures the energy of the band’s live show.

Polaks Records will be releasing Queen of Diamonds tomorrow.

Houston-based post-punk/darkwave act Victorian Death Photos are purposely shrouded in a cloak of mystery: Featuring two anonymous artists, a man and a woman, who publicly go by He and She, the mysterious duo’s latest project can trace its origins back to their previous multimedia collaborations together. Interestingly, Victorian Death Photos was initially meant to be a metal album — but the best laid plans of mice and men, and they say.

Once they started working on original material together, they wound up zeroing in on a “haunted synthy post-punk electronic sound,” which wound up comprising their Victorian Death Photos debut, The Basement Tapes EP released earlier this year. “We went with it,” She says in press notes. Interestingly, the mysterious Houston-based duo’s latest single “RadIum Girls” is the first batch of new material since the release of The Basement Tapes EP. And as the duo explain “Radium Girls” is based on a true story: In the early 1920s, female workers in watch factories, painted watch dials with radium paint. The women were repeatedly told that the paint was harmful. But after being around and ingesting massive amounts of radium, the female factory workers wound up contracting severe radiation poisoning: the end result was teeth failing out; bone deterioration in the jaw — to the point that they’d have to have bones removed.; stillborn babies and eventually death.

Centered around thumping boom bap-like drumming, buzzing bass synths and guitars fed through reverb and delay pedal, She’s ethereal vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook, “Radium Girls” evokes a slow-burning and creeping sense of unease and dread, while sonically bearing a resemblance to Garbage‘s self-titled debut and Version 2.0.

Reykjavik-based post-punk/industrial act and JOVM mainstays Kælan Mikla — Sólveig Matthildur,  Margrét Rósa, and Laufey Soffía — had a breakthrough year back in 2018: The Cure’s Robert Smith championed the Icelandic trio, and handpicked them to open for the legendary British act’s festival stops through the UK and US. Adding to a big year, Kælan Mikla played at that year’s Roadburn Festival. And they toured with King Dude. Interestingly enough, all of that happened before the release of their critically applauded  third album Nótt eftir nott. 

Undir Köldum Norðumljósum, the Reykjavik-based trio’s upcoming, Barði Jóhannsson-produced fourth album is slated for an October 15, 2021 release through their longtime label home Artoffact Records. Undir Köldum Norðumljósum reportedly sees the trio crafting lush and cinematic material centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, ethereal vocals sung in their native Icelandic, spine-chilling background screams, relentless motorik grooves and programmed drums while pulling the listener into their unique world full of folklore, fairytales, magic, spells and mysticism. The album will also feature a guest spot from Alcest, who toured with the trio across the European Union before the pandemic.

So far I’ve written about “Sólstöður,” a brooding and cinematic track centered around droning and shimmering synths, nightmarish screams and an ethereal and gorgeous vocal melody. Sonically, “Sólstöður,” evokes horror soundtracks — especially those featuring witches and demons slinking out into the night to perform ancient rituals involving human or animal sacrifices. “’Sólstöður’ is an ode to the darkest night of the year, when witches summon winter spirits in the frozen vastness of Icelandic landscapes,” the members of the Icelandic trio explain in press notes. “The song represents the strength of unity, Kælan Mikla in its truest form, fueled by the power of harsh and raw nature.”

Undir Köldum Norðumljósum‘s second and latest single “Ósýnileg” originally premiered as part of Adult Swim’s Singles series. Continuing a run of remarkably cinematic singles, Ósýnileg” centered around shimmering and atmospheric synth arpeggios, relentless motorik grooves and rapid-fire four-on-the-floor beats, blood-curdling screams and the trio’s equally ethereal vocals Undir Köldum Norðumljósum‘s latest single may be the most dance floor friendly of the singles released off the album so far — while evoking howling wintry winds and unexplained phenomena.

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!”