Category: post punk

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. 

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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.

 

 

 

New Video: Night Dreamer’s Contemporary Take on New Wave and Goth

Deriving their name from a composition written and recorded by the legendary jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, Night Dreamer is a new collaborative project that combines the divergent talents and musical voices of Smashing Pumpkins’ Jeff Schroeder and Southern California-based classically trained, New Wave multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mindy Song into one unified, artistic vision. Introduced to each other through mutual friends, the duo can trace the origins of their latest project back to early 2017 when they met up for an experimental session at Schroeder’s Chicago-based studio. . “I had no plan other than to just get together with Jeff and see where things might go,” Night Dreamer’s Mindy Song recalls in press notes. “But then once we got going, it was an immediate explosion of sound and inspiration.”

As the story goes. about an hour into their first time working together, Song and Schroeder came up with “Treasure,” the title track off their forthcoming debut EP, Treasure. Slated for an October 11, 2019 release, the EP was mainly recorded at The Cave Studio with Josiah Mazzaschi, a producer, mixer and engineer, who’s worked with The Jesus and Mary Chain and Built to Spill among others — and the EP’s material reportedly finds the band meshing elements of dream pop, noise, heavy metal, goth and New Wave among others. Interestingly, each individual track is imprinted with a singular sonic aesthetic that came about roughly halfway through the Treasure EP recording sessions.“At first we went down a more traditional route in the recording, with live drums and live bass, but then Mindy asked if she could mess around with those tracks and take it in a different direction,” Schroeder recalls.

Working on her own after Schroeder returned to Chicago for tour rehearsal, Song started to reshape the material through the use of drum machines and synths, which managed to amplify the intensity of Schroeder’s guitar playing. “Usually it’s difficult to blend guitar with electronic music in a way that works,” says Schroeder. “But what Mindy sent back to me was so much more exciting than what we’d done before, and put us on a completely different trajectory.”

Treasure’s first single is the shimmering and mesmerizing “Another Life.” Centered around buzzing guitars, tweeter and woofer rattling 808-like beats and Mindy Song’s expressive and plaintive vocals, the song feels like a subtle modernization of the work of New Wave/goth titans like Sixousie and the Banshees and The Cure — but instead of wallowing in the darkness, the song manages to have an upbeat message of rising above one’s currently shitty circumstances, that things do get better in time.

Directed by John Isberg, the recently released video finds the members of Night Dreamer performing the song in an abandoned loft. Shot in warm yet simultaneously soft light, the video finds the duo escaping into the emotion and message of the song.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ganser Release a Probing and Cake Smashing Visual for “Buio”

Formed back in 2014, the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser — comprised of founding members Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals) and Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals) with Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) — have received attention both locally and nationally for a sound that has been largely influenced by the likes of Sonic Youth and Magazine paired with lyrics, which served as incisive critiques on larger social issues. The Chicago-based quartet’s critically applauded full-length debut Odd Talk thematically focused on communication breakdowns with the material centered around narrators, who desperately attempting to seek meaning in hopeless confusion and messiness. 

The members of Ganser have spent the bulk of this year in the studio recording new material, some of which will appear on their forthcoming EP You Must Be New Here. Slated for a November 8, 2019 release, You Must Be New Here finds the band working with longtime collaborator Brian Fox and Electrelane’s Mia Clarke. The EP’s first official single “Buio” features the angular and driving post-punk sound that first caught my attention and the rest of the blogosphere — with a clean and precise studio sheen. But at its core, the song  possesses acutely self-aware observations centered around the relationship with author/creator and audience. 

Directed by the band, the recently released video is set at a highly uncomfortable dinner party, where we follow a self-conscious and awkward woman, who happily kills the mood of the party by going wild on a cake with her bare hands.  In some way, by the woman deciding to not give a fuck, she finds her own power and agency. 

Lyric Video: White Lies Returns with an Anthemic Arena Rock Friendly Single to Close Out 2019

Over the past 12-15 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the London-based post-punk act White Lies, and as you may recall the act, which is primarily centered around its core and founding trio — Harry McVeigh (vocals, guitar), Charles Cave (bass, vocals) and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) — can trace their origins to a band they started while in high school, called Fear of Flying. Although Charles Cave has publicly described Fear of Flying as a “weekend project,” and one of many bands each of the individual members were involved in at the time, Fear of Flying released two Stephen Street-produced double A-side singles released through Young and Lost Club Records.

Building upon the initial buzz surrounding them, Fear of Flying earned opening slots for nationally acclaimed acts like The Maccabees, Jamie T, and Laura Marling. Along with completing one UK tour as an opener, they also played the inaugural Underage Festival. Two weeks before the trio were to start college, they decided that they would take a second gap year and perform new material, which the trio felt didn’t suit their current project. “I felt as though i couldn’t write about anything personal, so I would make up semi-comical stories that weren’t really important to anyone, not even me,” Charles Cave reflected on that period. Fear of Flying broke up in 2007 with a MySpace status that read “Fear of Flying is DEAD . . . White Lies is alive!,” before introducing a new name that the trio felt better represented their newfound maturity — and a much darker sound.

Officially forming in October 2007, the members of the then-newly formed White Lies delayed their first live shows for five months to build up media hype. And as the story goes, a few days after their live debut, the band signed with Fiction Records, who released the band’s first two singles — “Unfinished Business” and “Death,” which quickly drew comparisons to Joy Division, Editors, The Killers and Interpol. And as a result of the attention their first two White Lies singles earned, the trio wound up touring across the UK and North America, including a headlining BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend Festival set, a slot on 2009’s NME Awards tour, as well as a number of appearances across the international festival circuit.

2009 saw the release of the act’s breakthrough, full-length debut To Lose My Life, which was released on the heels of being prominently featured in multiple “ones to watch” polls for that year, including BBC’s Sound of 2009 poll and the BRIT Critics’ Choice Award. Interestingly, the album earned them the distinction of being the first British act that year to land a nubmer one album on the British Charts — and the first album to debut at number one that year. 

The band’s third album, 2013’s well-received and commercially successful, Ed Bueller-produced Big TV, an album that debuted at #4 on the UK Charts. Interestingly, the album thematically follows a couple, who leave a provincial area for a big city while touching upon the theme of equality within a romanic relationship. Album single “Getting Even” managed to land at #1 on the Polish Singles Charts. 

FIVE, the London-based post-punk trio’s aptly titled with album was released earlier this year through [PIAS] Recordings, and the album manages to find the band deftly balancing an ambitious arena rock friendly sound with enormous hooks and bombast for days with intimate, singer/songwriter pop lyricism that’s earnest and comes from a deeply familiar, lived-in place. Album singles “Time to Give,” “Tokyo” “Jo” and “Believe It” all describe longtime relationships on the brink of collapse or suffering through one or both parties’ dysfunction, complete with the ambivalence, uncertainty and confusion that relationships often entail — paired with some of the biggest, anthemic hooks I’ve heard all year. The album continued a run of commercially successful albums from the band, as it landed on the Top Fifteen of the UK Charts. 

White Lies has been busy touring throughout 2019 to support FIVE, including a stop at Irving Plaza earlier this year. During a hiatus from touring, the trio along with producer Andrew Wells went into the studio to record new material, including their latest single “Hurt My Heart.” Interestingly, the track sounds as though it could have been recorded during the FIVE sessions as it prominently features enormous arena rock friendly hooks, thunderous drumming, an earnest vocal performance from the band’s Harry McVeigh. and a blistering guitar solo. But unlike the material off FIVE, the new single focuses on the emotional aftermath of a breakup. 

“For ten years we have stayed loyal to the album format – only sitting down to write and then record when it was time for a new complete work,” the band’s primary lyricist and bassist Charles Cave explains in press notes. “Whilst there is a lot of love about that process, it is something of an endurance exercise. We decided it was about time to see what happened if we just wrote a few things with the idea to release music disconnected from an LP; something that could sit within the same universe as Five.”

New Video: Kills Birds’ Explosive “Volcano”

Initially beginning as a secret musical project founding by Nina Ljeti, an award-winning, Los Angeles-based Bosnian-Canadian filmmaker and vocalist and guitar Jacob Loeb back in 2017, the Los Angeles-based punk act Kills Birds evolved into a full-fledged band with the addition of Fielder Thomas (bass) and Bosh Rothman (drums). The act quickly drew attention for jagged, post-punk-like guitar driven melodies, slow-burning dynamics, Ljeti’s urgent lyrics and an explosive live show, featuring Ljeti’s raw stage presence. 

Interestingly, among the band’s earliest fans was KRO Records founder and producer Justin Raisen, who not only signed the Los Angeles-based quartet to his growing label roster, but also opted to produce their recently released self-titled full-length debut. Recorded nearly live over an intense, breakneck eight hour session, the band’s full-length debut reportedly captures the band’s feral, live energy while being driven by deeply personal songwriting. “The album is very personal,” Ljeti says. “As a whole, it has no concept, but each song is reflective of what I struggled with, and continue to struggle with. Feelings of insecurity, anxiety, inadequacy, and ultimately love. Love is the main driving force behind everything I create.”

“The instrumentation helps clarify those feelings,” Ljeti continues in press. “When Jacob and I write, Jacob is able to understand what I’m feeling, and he uses the instrumentation to elevate the piece to a whole new level. He honors the words and challenges me to find the best method of expression. His contribution is brave — he works without ego to benefit the emotion of the song. Same goes with Fielder and Bosh. Completing the puzzle. We are all emotional beings. And we struggle with what everyone struggles with. Our ultimate goal is to stay true to that, no matter what. We play together because we crave honesty, and we want to do justice to love in all its forms.”

“Volcano” the self-titled album’s latest single seethes with the feral unease of someone, who’s literally bouncing off the walls emotionally and mentally as they vacillate between feelings of power and self-assuredness, self-satisfaction, self-hatred, insecurity, passivity, boredom and fury. Centered around angular bursts of guitar, thunderous drumming a rousingly anthemic hook and Ljeti’s explosive shouts and yelps, the song evokes the interior monologues of Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground paired with the tense and neurotic instrumentation of Gang of Four. 

The recently released video follows two fairly average teenage girls and their adventures in being rebellious and trying to fit in simultaneously. As the band’s Nina Ljeti says of the video and the song, “Volcano” is meant to encapsulate that feeling of being a teenage girl on the verge of adulthood. The constantly fluctuating feelings of excitement, power, sexuality, insecurity, and inadequacy as you are trying to get a sense of who you are. There’s no climax to the video because I wanted to stay true to the nervous energy and stasis of being a teenager. It’s a so-called life. In your mind, you’re ready to grow up, but you’re not sure how to yet. You’re not as ready as you think you are. 

“I still carry that impatient energy with me into adulthood. That’s what Volcano is about. There are so many things I want/want to be, but I’m not grown enough yet. I want to be a volcano but I’m still dormant. Maybe soon that will change.”

New Video: Hull’s bdrmm Releases a Trippy Visual for Arena Rock-Friendly Single “Shame”

Last year, I wrote about the up-and-coming Hull, UK-based indie rock act bdrmm. And as you may recall, the act which initially started as the bedroom recording project of singer/songwriter and guitarist Ryan Smith during the end of 2016 quickly became a full-fledged band when Smith recruited his brother Jordan (bass), Joe Vickers (guitar), Daniel Hull (synth, backing vocals) and Luke Irvin (drums) to complete the band’s lineup. 

The band went on to cut their teeth playing shows across Northern England before releasing their first two singles “kare” and “the way i want,” which quickly caught the attention of MTV, Clash Magazine and DORK, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 1 and Amazing Radio. The Hull-based quintet has opened for Trudy & The Romance, Her’s, FEHM and Horsey — and as a result, they caught the attention of London-based indie label Permanent Creeps, who released the 4AD Records-like “C.U.” Since then, they’ve opened for JOVM mainstays pizzagirl and Amber Arcades, as well Gengahr. Additionally, they’ve played sets at a number of British festivals including Gold Sounds, Humber Street Sesh, and Live at Leeds, which have added to a rapidly growing national profile. 

Their highly-anticipated Alex Greaves-produced debut EP If Not When? is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through Sonic Cathedral Records — and the EP, which has seen physical pre-orders quickly sell out is largely influenced by the likes of DIIV, Slowdive and Beach House, as well as an up-and-coming crop of British post-punk acts including Squid, YOWL, Black Country and New Road. Interestingly, the EP’s first single “Shame” find the band retaining the shimmering post-punk tinged shoegazer sound of their previous releases — but with a forceful and propulsive groove and an ambitious arena rock-like feel, reminiscent of The Cure and others. 

“‘Shame’ is about the heartache of having to tell someone you can about the most that being together can’t work for whatever reason — having to be the person, who takes it upon themselves to do the right thing, even though it feels so wrong,” the band’s Ryan Smith explains in press notes. 

The recently released video by Jordan Smith is a dizzying visual that’s one part lyric video with some psychedelic imagery.