Category: post punk

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

Secret Shame’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Dark Synthetics was released earlier this year to critical acclaim — while further establishing an enormous, reverb-heavy sound that seemed to be influenced by  Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Interestingly, album single “Calm” was a perfect example of that sound, while featuring driving rhythms, razor sharp hooks and Lean’s vocals slashing through and cutting through the moody and hazy mix. And underpinning the song was an emotional urgency that came from lived-in, personal experience. “There’s not a single word I didn’t write from the pit of my stomach,” Lena says in press notes. “The entire record- even though the song dynamics change- has one solid emotion, which is the struggle of inner turmoil and being trapped inside yourself. It’s the feeling of holding a scream in the back of your throat.” She adds, “Some people avoid writing music that puts them in a vulnerable place, but that’s the place I’m trying to get into, That’s where you’re your most raw and hopefully people will be able to experience it through you. There’s nothing else like it.”

Building upon the growing momentum the band has received since the release of their full-length debut, the members of Secret Shame have toured to support the new album, which included an apt Friday the 13th stop at The Broadway and a Halloween set that featured Joy Division covers.  Along with that, Secret Shame recently announced a series of remixes of Dark Synthetic material that they’ll be releasing over the next few months, as they return to the studio to record new music slated for release next year. The first remix finds XOR turning the guitar-led “Calm” into an icy and industrial synth banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, stuttering beats while retaining the song’s intensity, vulnerability and ache, and Lena’s powerhouse vocals.

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Over the better part of the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based post-punk JOVM mainstays Russian Baths. And as you may recall, with the release of their debut EP Penance, the band — Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner — quickly established a reputation for crafting a brooding 120 Minutes-era alt rock-like sound.

Building upon a growing profile, Russian Baths will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut Deepfake through Good Eye Records next week.  Reportedly, the album finds the members of the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays pushing a sound long rooted in juxtapositions to its extreme:  feedback and dissonance seem to swallow softly whispered harmonies, arpeggiated synths and booming 808 like drumming are paired with angular and shrieking guitars, propulsive drumming and motorik-like grooves.

Often centered around surgical imagery, the album’s material touches upon themes of personal regret, cultural guilt, reflection on systems in collapse — and while evoking the zeitgeist of the moment, the material alternates between voices seemingly so close that they seem in the room right beside you and at other times, from an impossible distance. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previous singles. The album’s first single was the aggressively abrasive “Tracks,” which to my ears was one part post-punk, one part noise-rock and one part shoegaze that evoked the uneasy, claustrophobic air of paranoia and distrust of someone, who has frequently been forced to ask difficult questions of themselves and their relationships with others. The album’s second single “Responder” found the band crafting an atmospheric track with elements of shoegaze, post-punk, brooding 120 Minutes-era alt rock and Western Gothic in a way that brought Shadow on Everything-era Bambara to mind.

Interestingly, Deepfake‘s third and latest single “Wrong”  may arguably be the most grunge rock-like song rebased from the album to date, as it’s centered around alternating quiet-loud-quiet sections, featuring fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals. Sonically, the song manages to evoke a slow-burning and seemingly unending sense of dread and unease of a world going impossibly mad before your eyes.

 

Youth Sector is a rapidly rising Brighton-based art rock act, comprised of Nick Tompkins (guitar, vocals), Josh Doyle (bass), Brad Moore (guitar), Harvey Dent (synth) and Karl Tomlin (drums) that has received critical praise from a number of British press outlets, including DIY Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, Dork Magazine, Gigwise and So Young Magazine, and airplay from BBC Radio 1 personalities Huw Stephens and Abbie McCarthy, as well as BBC 6 Music‘s Tom Robinson.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the up-and-coming British indie quintet’s latest single, the Theo Verney-produced “Tonight” continues a run of decidedly 80s New Wave-inspired tracks, complete shimmering synth arpeggios and rousingly anthemic hooks — but with a more introspective and somber tone. And while reportedly drawing a bit from early New Order, the track manages to equally recall The Cars but with a punk rock sneer.

“This song aims to shed light on the contagious quality of apathy in society, and how we favour small distractions in order to avoid confronting some of our toughest challenges,” the band’s Nick Tompkins explains in press notes. ” We’re seeing this constantly in the way the world deals with the climate crisis, where it only seems to be an urgent issue to those willing to make sacrifices while others are happy living in denial.”

Look for new material from the band in 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyric Video: Ganser’s EP Title Track “You Must Be New Here”

With the release of last year’s critically applauded full-length debut, Odd Talk, the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser — founding members Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals) and Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals) with Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) received attention nationally for an angular post-punk sound heavily indebted to Sonic Youth and Magazine paired with incisive lyrics critiquing larger social issues. 

Now, as you may recall the members of the Chicago-based JOVM mainstays have spent the bulk of this past year in the studio, recording the material. which will comprise their forthcoming EP You Must Be New Here. Slated for a November 8, 2019 release, You Must Be New Here continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Brian Fox — but joined in the control both with Electrelane‘s Mia Clarke. The EP’s first single “Buio” featured the angular and driving post-punk sound that first caught my attention and the rest of the blogosphere — but with a clean and precise studio sheen. And yet, at its core the song was centered around acutely self-aware observations on the tenuous and dysfunctional relationship between the author/creator and their audience.  

“You Must Be New Here,” the EP’s latest single and title track features shimmering key arpeggios, twisting and turning guitars and a stuttering rhythm that creates a tense and uneasy air while Alicia Gaines’ vocals vacillate between intention, magical thinking and making uneasy bargains with reality within a turn of a phrase. Importantly, the song is underpinned by a desperate fight for some semblance of agency within chaos and uncertainty. And in some way, it captures our current zeitgeist with a vivid accuracy. 

The lyric video takes place in a sunny, suburban-styled kitchen. The band’s Alicia Gaines has her back to us as she’s washing dishes and singing parts of the song to herself. She’s so lost in her own thoughts that she barely notices her bandmates, who come in and out of the kitchen to make themselves cups of coffee. The ordinariness of the situation gives the lyric video a surreal air. 

 

With the release of their breakthrough single “air” earlier this year, the Hackney, UK-based trio deep tan drew comparisons to early Warpaint, Wild Beasts, and Foals. Building upon their growing momentum in their native UK, the trio recently released a double a-side single “shimmer” and “constant inconsistencies” through Practise Music, the label home of rapidly rising act Squid, along with Konradsen, Osquello and others.

“shimmer” is a slick and atmospheric track centered around a sinuous and propulsive bass line, subtly twinkling synths handclap-led percussion, an infectious hook and sultry vocals – and while nodding a bit at their breakthrough single, because of its subtle use of electronics, the track sonically reminds me a bit of Kalaboogie-era Doomsquad. “constant inconsistencies” is more of a confrontational post-punk inspired song featuring a sinuous bass line leading a motorik-like groove, squiggling blasts of guitar, stuttering drumming paired with sultry vocals. Interestingly, while drawing from a more cold-wave side of post-punk, the track reminds me a bit of JOVM mainstays Ganser. Both singles reveal an emerging band that’s remarkably versatile and self-assured.

“Both tracks explore sides of people they don’t like. ‘shimmer’ is about surface-level people with malice that runs deep,” the band explains in press notes. “People who operate with cruel intentions, who mask their agenda with a pretty convincing, shiny veneer. Whereas ‘constant inconsistencies’ is about someone who isn’t there for you when you need them, whether thats for support in a serious crisis or just for a pint: It’s a commonly felt thing, everyone has had someone where they’ve thought ‘You love them, but where the fuck are they?’”

New Video: The Black Fever’s Old-Timey Visual for “Marketing”

With the release of 2010’s Romanticism, 2012’s Revisionist, 2014’s A Little Help EP and 2015’s Midnight Century, the Toronto-based post-punk act The Black Fever — Shoe (vocals, guitar), Pat Bramm (bass, backing vocals) and Dan Purpura (drums) — have firmly established a sleek and propulsive take on post punk that focuses on melody and concise songwriting.  

Recorded over two intense and breakneck recording sessions, their Ian Gomes-produced EP Unarticulated Wants was released earlier this year, and the EP’s first single is the hook-driven, Editors meets Radio 4-like “Marketing.” Centered around a propulsive and angular bass line, thunderous drumming and Shoe’s plaintive vocals, the track seethes with frustration over the fact that every single moment of daily life is inundated with advertisements. It’s inescapable and oppressive manipulation to convince you to spend early and often on that new shiny thing that will make you more attractive and more interesting to others, that will help you lose weight, restore your receding hair line, keep your erection, and just make you feel whole. And yet, there’s a gnawing emptiness that can’t be resolved by possessions or by spending. 

“We need to find a better balance between ads and public art — for art’s sake.” the band said in an emailed statement. Naturally, the song expresses a concern over what the over saturation of advertising and marketing messages does to the human soul and mind. 

The recently released video for “Marketing” is centered around incredibly manipulative stock footage of old commercials. Although the context for each commercial has been removed, each commercial is meant to make you feel something — envy, pleasure, lust. hunger, despair, all in the desperate attempt to get you to buy right now. And it should feel infuriating and fucked up. 

With the release of their debut EP Penance, the Brooklyn-based indie rock act and JOVM mainstays Russian Baths — Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner — quickly established a reputation for crafting a brooding 120 Minutes-era alt rock-like sound. The Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays highly-anticipated full-length debut Deepfake is slated for a November 8, 2019 release through Good Eye Records,  and the album reportedly finds the members of Russian Baths pushing a sound centered around juxtapositions to its extreme: feedback and dissonance seem to swallow softly whispered harmonies, arpeggiated synths and boom 808s are paired with angular and shrieking guitars, propulsive drumming and motorik-like grooves.

Centered around surgical imagery, the album reportedly touches upon themes of personal regret, cultural guilt, reflections on systems in collapse — and while evoking our current zeitgeist, the album’s material is sung by voices that are seemingly so close that they’re in the room right beside you and other times, from a seemingly impossible distance. Now, as you may recall earlier this year, I wrote about album single “Tracks,” an aggressively abrasive song that in many ways was one part shoegaze, one part post-punk, one part noise rock and one part grunge, as the band paired fuzzy and distorted power chords with thunderous drumming and plaintive falsetto vocals. But at its core, the song evokes the uneasy, claustrophobic air of paranoia and distrust of someone, who is forced to ask difficult questions of themselves and of their relationships.

Deepfake‘s latest single “Responder” finds the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays meshing elements of shoegaze, noise rock, atmospheric post punk, brooding 120 Minutes alt rock and Western gothic centered by Jess Ress’ plaintive and ethereal vocals, dramatic drumming and shimmering bursts of guitar. And while sonically bearing a bit of resemblance to Shadow on Everything-era Bambara, the track evokes a profound and confusing sense of regret and loss.