Category: post punk

New Video: Chicago’s FACS Shares Tense and Propulsive “When You Say”

Back in 2013, Chicago-based post-punk act Disappears — founding member Brian Case (vocals, guitar) along with  Noah Leger (drums), Jonathan van Herirk (guitar) and Damon Carruesco (bass) — released two related yet very different efforts that I love quite a bit –the atmospheric and tempestuous Kone EP and the tense, ranging Era. Era‘s material featured narrators, who rapidly vacillated between anxiousness, dangerously unhinged obsession, self-loathing, envy, unadulterated blind rage directed both at oneself and at the entire world. And much like the interior monologues of Underground Man in Notes from the Underground or of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, Era captures the dark and frightening recesses of a wounded psyche — and a furious roar into a cold and indifferent void.

In 2017, Carruesco left the band. The remaining members — Case, Lager and van Herrik — eventually decided to continue onward, but under a new name, and new sonic direction and songwriting approach as FACS. With 2018’s full-length debut, Negative Houses, the trio have quickly establish themselves as a heavy band, although they don’t necessarily feel like one: Case’s fluttering and wiry melodic guitar lines are paired with an insistent, rhythmic pulse.

Since Negative Houses, the Chicago-based outfit has released three more albums, including 2021’s Present Tense. Each of those albums have seen the members of FACS perfercting their unique brand of intense, catharsis-inducing art rock/post-punk, while pushing their sound and approach in new directions. The Chicago-based outfit’s fifth album, Still Life In Decay was recorded by Sanford Parker at Electrical Audio Recording and is slated for an April 7, 2023 release through Trouble In Mind Records. Bassist Alianna Kalaba, who took over for founding member Jonathan van Herik after the release of Negative Houses makes her amicable last stand with the group. Alongside Leger, the band’s rhythm section dance and twist around each other like double helix in which collectively they approach rhythm from outside the groove, rather than inside it, creating a lattice in which Case can weave his guitar lines in an around, like creeping vines.

Reportedly, Still Life in Decay is a decidedly focused effort that sees the band at their most solidified. The apocalyptic chaos of that defined their previous album is pushed away in favor of examination with a remarkable clarity — while being a sort of addendum to Present Tense.

“When You Say,” Still Life in Decay‘s uneasy first single is centered around the propulsive rhythmic lockstep between Leger and Kalaba that’s punctured with Case’s reverb-drenched and slashing bursts of guitar. Throughout, Case shouts repeated phrases with a desperate urgency, as though desperately trying to hold on to something — to anything, really — while the freeform lyrics touch on themes of resignation, cynicism, classism and a search for identity and meaning in a crumbling society. But at its core is a primal and forceful meditation on the exposed ugliness, inequities and divides within our “post pandemic” lives and world.

Directed by Joshua Ford, the accompanying video for “When You Say” performing the song in silhouette in a red-lit studio. Three cathode ray TVs of varying sizes are behind them, full of VHS-era fuzz and distortion — including close-up footage of the band’s members playing their instruments. The video captures the band at their tightest and most forceful.

New Video: Object of Affection Returns with Anthemic “Con-Man”

Los Angeles-based post punk outfit Object of Affection features members of acclaimed local acts Death BellsLOCK, and Fury. The project sees its members tapping into the primitivism of their diverse projects while elevating their capacity for both atmosphere and melody. While hints of gloomy punk, brooding New Wave and down-and-out Regan-era alt rock reverberate in their sound and approach, it’s not in pastiche; but rather in a sort of sonic kinship to the austerity and fatalism embedded in the previous generation’s dejected anthems. Plus. holy shit, things are really fucked.

Since the release of the project’s 2020 self-titled, debut EP, they’ve been busy: They’ve released “Through and Through” through Suicide Squeeze — and they’ve already shared stages with the likes of CeremonyFiddleheadSpecial InterestGulch, and a growing list of others. Building upon a growing profile, the members of Object of Affection signed to Profound Lore, who will release their highly-anticipated full-length debut, the ten-song, Alex Newport-produced Field of Appearances on March 3, 2023. 

Field of Appearances reportedly sees the band expanding upon their sonic palette with the addition of drum machines, synths, acoustic guitar and auxiliary percussion, highlighting their evolution — and a growing sense of experimentalism. Each of the album’s ten songs are part of a cohesive and complete statement, while standing part on their own, with the material exploding in character, contract and excitement. Thematically, the album’s material touches upon reflection, insufficiency and Déjà vu among others. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about the album’s lead single, album opener “Half Life,” an anthemic track that’s one-part angular post-punk, one-part mosh-pit friendly grunge with rousing hooks and a forcefully propulsive rhythm section. Bearing a bit of a resemblance to Ceremony‘s In The Spirit World Now, “Half Life” is rooted in an uneasy and palpable sense of existential dread right around the corner The song thematically touches upon the inevitable passage of time and the aching effects of hopelessness — both are which are often a weird part of life. 

“Con-Man,” Field of Appearances‘ latest single continues a run of material that meshes elements of of post-punk and grunge: Centered around a quiet-loud-quiet song structure featuring angular guitars, propulsive drumming and rousingly anthemic hooks, paired with a feedback-driven bridge, “Con-Man” is a remarkably accessible, almost pop-leaning track that throbs with palpable disgust — and a sense of betrayal. The song as the band explains is about “being ripped off and how we deal with wounded pride in the aftermath.”

Employing the use of silhouettes, strobe lights to create a sense of brooding unease.

You can pre-order and/or pre-save the forthcoming album here: https://linktr.ee/objectofaffection

New Video: Wings of Desire Share Dreamy, Krautrock-Inspired “Runnin'”

Rising British indie duo Wings of Desire — James Taylor and Chloe Little — draw inspiration from several eclectic sources, including early 00s New York post punk, Factory Records, krautrock and the work of philosophers like Alan Watts, Noam Chomsky and Wim Wenders.

Sonically, they attempt to key into a specific lived in experience: “We were inspired by a trip to Berlin where we visited the legendary Hansa Studios, and got drunk at Neues Ufer. Built in 1913, the building was later used as a cabaret and chamber music hall during the Weimar era, and converted to a recording studio in the early 1970s. Because of its outstanding acoustics, the studio has played host to David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, U2, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Killing Joke, Manic Street Preachers, R.E.M. and Living Things among others. It’s been said that Bowie wrote “Heroes” at a window of the studio, from which he saw his producer and longtime collaborator Tony Visconti kiss backing vocalist Antonia Maass, by the Berlin Wall, an image that’s referenced in the song’s lyrics.

Hansa Studios is a spiritual home for the rising British duo as they specialize in a gritty take on dream pop rooted in earnest, lived-in emotion. So far, the duo have received praise from Stereogum, BrooklynVegan, The Line of Best Fit, DIY, Clash Magazine, Dork, The Independent and others. They’ve received airplay from BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq and Lauren Laverne and Radio X’s John Kennedy. And last year they’ve opened for JOVM mainstays Nation of Language.

Building upon a growing profile, the duo share a new single, the expansive “Runnin,'” which will appear on effort slated for release later this year. Featuring shimmering and reverb-drenched, angular guitar attack, atmospheric synths and a relentless motorik groove paired with Taylor’s plaintive vocal and rousingly anthemic hooks, “Runnin” to these ears, sounds like a sleek synthesis of Berlin Trilogy-era David Bowie and The Jesus and Mary Chain, but rooted in incisive observation of the contemporary human experience.

With their new single, the duo offers a much-needed reminder, that there’s more to life than what we’re being served and fed on a daily basis through the algorithm. “Running endlessly in circles under the tight grip of a culture designed to distract us from ourselves,” the band explains. “Do we still believe that the internet knows what’s best for us? Maybe it’s time to get off the wheel and see what’s outside.”

The accompanying video featured slickly edited stock footage — of natural and man-made disasters, news broadcasts, the Wall Street trading floor, people in internet cafes and elsewhere. All of them feeling desperately empty, inadequate, lonely and desiring earnest connections that they don’t know how to achieve. It’s as much of a critique of the social media world, as it is of capitalism.

New Video: Rising Bristol Act Saloon Dion Shares Anthemic “I Don’t Feel”

Bristol, UK-based post punk outfit Saloon Dion quickly exploded into the national scene and international scene with a handful of singles released through Nice Swan Records and Permanent Creeps, which have widespread critical praise from The Fader, Brooklyn Veganr, Clash Magazine, Dork Magazine, NME, So Young, The New Cue, CRACK and a lengthy list of others. That early material has also received airplay on from BBC Radio 1 personality Jack Saunders, BBC Radio 6 personalities Lauren Laverne and Simone Butler, as well as Radio X personality John Kennedy.

Building upon a growing profile, the rising Bristol-based outfit will be opening for Pip Blom on their UK tour next month. They’ll then make their Stateside debut at this year’s SXSW in March. They’re one of the first 26 British acts to be announced on the festival lineup. (As always, tour dates are below.)And the band’s highly-anticipated, debut EP is slated for release later this year.

Their latest single “I Don’t Feel” was released yesterday through Mucker Records. Centered around swirling and angular guitar attack, a driving groove. crooned verses and shout-along friendly choruses with sneeringly ironic lyrics, “I Don’t Feel” is a decidedly Brit pop-take on post punk: think Blur-meets-Gang of Four.

“’I Don’t Feel’ is a song about being reluctant to seek help from others. What it isn’t, is a song about having no feeling, but more of choosing what to feel and when to feel it,” the members of Saloon Dion explain. “It speaks of the barriers we all put up to protect ourselves, no matter the damage they may do in the long run.”

Directed and created by Clump Collective, the accompanying video shows the members of the band struggling with social ettiequte, and taking part in a handshake class — perhaps to better learn an awkward yet necessary social interaction.

Live Dates
31st Jan – Elsewhere, Margate*
1st Feb – Portland Arms, Cambridge*
3rd Feb – Face Bar, Reading*
4th Feb – Boileroom, Guildford*
5th Feb – Moles, Bath*
17th Feb – The Cluny, Newcastle
18th Feb – Exchange, Bristol
24th Feb – The Old Blue Last, London
13th-19th Mar – SXSW
16th Apr – Outer Town Festival, Bristol

New Audio: North Carolina’s Cor De Lux Shares Angular and Trippy “Syncopated”

Formed back in 2018, Cor De Lux grew out of of the music scene of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The band can trace their origins to a chance conversation about a deep love of music between its two founding members Tim Lusk (guitar) and Dawn Moraga (guitar and vocal) had while Moraga waited for a phone repair in Lusk’s shop. That conversation wound up being the catalyst for the band’s formation: John Bliven (bass) and Dana Quinn (drums) joined the band, completing its first lineup. Last year saw Quinn departing and being replaced by Thomas McNeely (drums).

The quartet’s music — a mixture of post-punk, goth-tinged pop and shoegaze — has earned then tongue-in-cheek nickname “shoe-gazi” by their friends.

The band’s newest album MEDIA is slated for a February 10, 2023 release. “The album draws on emotions from being on lockdown, media and uncertainty of what will happen next,” the North Carolina-based outfit explain. “The underrated silver linings we all have in common but have to fight to see. What we experience still needs to be questioned while remembering that conflicting beliefs can end with healthy discourse if we see other as equals. If we are scared to talk to each other, we have already lost.

Understandably, the band leaned on one another during the worst of the pandemic — as a sort of therapy. And that foundation helped build the structure of the album’s songs. This was paired with the powerfully undeniable urge to learn more than what they were being told both mentally and musically. “There was so much checking in on people around us and when we got together to play it was our way of forging ahead and getting the emotions put down as art.  The angst post punk driven builds in most of these songs came naturally as the entire album was recorded from jams with little direction as we wanted the songs to build emotionally. We lost our original drummer shortly after recording the last song. A personal decision by him to leave he felt like the story was written and these songs are a part of him as much as they are of us. Thank you.”

The band adds “We all agree that there’s an excitement to see what comes next and want to continue to skirt around genres and create only what comes naturally.”

MEDIA‘s latest single, the breakneck “Syncopated” is featuring glistening and angular guitar attack, carefully syncopated and propulsive groove, Moraga’s icy delivery and Gang of Four-like hooks placed within an expansive, alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure with an explosive coda. The song is rooted in a palpable unease and uncertainty that properly captures the past couple of years.

The accompanying video features footage from a surreal cartoon by Inkwell Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures, which features KoKo the Clown and dog and was directed by Dave Fleischer. KoKo the Clown and the dog wind up at Earth’s control rooms; While KoKo plays with the switch that controls day and night, his misbehaving dog feels compelled to pull the switch that would end the world. A series of surreal yet cataclysmic events occur from that point on. Although the cartoon was originally released back in 1928, it captures how close human are to ruining everything for future generations.

New Audio: Los Angeles’ Object of Affection Share Anthemic “Half Life”

Los Angeles-based post punk outfit Object of Affection features members of Death Bells, LOCK, and Fury. The project sees its members tapping into the primitivism of their diverse projects while elevating their capacity for both atmosphere and melody. While hints of gloomy punk, brooding New Wave and down-and-out Regan-era alt rock reverberate in their sound and approach, it’s not in pastiche; but rather in a sort of sonic kinship to the austerity and fatalism embedded in the previous generation’s dejected anthems. Plus. holy shit, things are really fucked.

Since the release of the project’s 2020 self-titled, debut EP, they’ve been busy: They’ve released “Through and Through” through Suicide Squeeze — and they’ve already shared the stages with the likes of Ceremony, Fiddlehead, Special Interest, Gulch, and a growing list of others. Building upon a growing profile, the members of Object of Affection signed to Profound Lore, who will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut, the ten-song, Alex Newport-produced Field of Appearances on March 3, 2023.

The album reportedly sees the band expanding upon their sonic palette with the addition of drum machines, synths, acoustic guitar and auxiliary percussion, highlighting their evolution — and a growing sense of experimentalism. Each of the album’s ten songs are part of a cohesive and complete statement, while standing part on their own, with the material exploding in character, contract and excitement. Thematically, the album’s material touches upon reflection, insufficiency and Déjà vu among others.

Field of Appearances lead single and album opener “Half Life” is anthemic track that’s one-part angular post-punk, one-part mosh-put friendly grunge centered around rousingly enormous hooks, angular power chords and a forcefully propulsive rhythm section. While bearing a resemblance to Ceremony’s In The Spirit World Now, the song is underpinned by an uneasy and palpable sense of existential dread around the corner: The song thematically touches upon the inevitable passage of time and the aching effects of hopelessness — both are which are often a weird part of life.

Directed by Miwah Lee, the accompanying video for “Half Life” follows a young woman as she goes on an a surrealistic journey through Los Angeles — without an actual plan or real destination in mind.

New Video: Distance H Teams Up with Saigon Blue Rain’s Ophelia on Brooding “Bitch 16”

Distance H is a post-punk/darkwave/coldwave recording project of French producer ManuH. The project sees ManuH collaborating with an eclectic array of female vocalists, who contribute melodies and lyrics.

Released earlier this year, the brooding and cinematic “Bitch 16.” sees ManuH collaborating with Saigon Blue Rain‘s Ophelia on a Cocteau Twins-meets-Sixousie and the Banshees-like song rooted in eerie atmospherics and razor sharp hooks.

Directed and edited by Anaïs Novembre, the accompanying video for “Bitch 16” is split between gorgeous and broodingly lit footage of the collaborators in studio, and Saigon Blue Rains Opehila dancing in a creepy, goth-like forest.

Nice, France-based duo Divine Decadence — Sabrina and Tatiana — can trace their origins back to 2020: With the duo being confined to the home studio as a result of COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions, it allowed them the opportunity to write and then refine songs, while gradually developing a sound that’s informed by film soundtracks and darkwave.

The duo’s self-titled, five song, debut EP was released earlier this year. The EP’s first single “Purple Dress” is a cinematic bit of post-punk/darkwave centered around moody atmospherics, Sabrina and Tatiana’s eerie harmonies, and swirling guitar textures that become stormier as the song progresses to its explosive coda. “Purple Dress” manages to bring both Cocteau Twins and Kælan Mikla, complete with a palpable, creeping dread.

New Video: West Wickhams Share Shimmering “This is a Hang Up”

Originally formed in Tresco, the second biggest island of the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, UK, an island famously known as “The Island of Lost Souls,” and now currently based in Richmond, UK, the self-described psychedelic, garage noir duo West Wickhams — Jon Othello and Elle Flores — have a name that’s an imagined rival gang name to British punk style icons The Bromley Contingent, a group who followed Sex Pistols and whose style was largely influenced by David Bowie and Roxy Music

Their overall aesthetic is influenced by a wide range of goth and horror sources including the work of Mary Shelley, Whitby Abbey, Edgar Allan Poe, Andy Warhol, abstract painting, film noir and more. 

Earlier this year, the duo released their debut EP Consider Her Way, which featured EP title track “Consider Her Way,” a brooding bit of goth-leaning post-punk centered around angular, reverb and delay-drenched guitars and a motorik groove that sonically sounded informed by The Cure and Cocteau Twins.

Released last month, the British duo’s second EP of the year Magenta is informed by the color. “Magenta is the colour of universal harmony and emotional balance,” the duo explain. “It contains the passion, power and energy of red, restrained by the introspection and quiet energy of violet. It promotes compassion, kindness and cooperation. The colour magenta is a color of cheerfulness, happiness, contentment and appreciation.”

Magenta‘s second and latest single, the “This is a Hang Up” continues a run of nostalgia-inducing, goth-leaning, post punk rooted in shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars and driving rhythms paired with ethereal vocals buried into the mix. Sonically, “This is a Hang Up” seems like a slick synthesis of The Cure and New Order, complete with a dance floor friendly hook.

The accompanying video is derived from edited footage from the B-film The Planet of the Vampires.