Category: post punk

New Video: Calgary’s Sunglaciers Release A Feverish Visual for Breakneck Ripper “Avoidance”

Calgary-based post-punk outfit Sunglaciers can trace its origins back to 2017 as a collaboration between its founding — and core — members: multi-instrumentalist Matthieu Blanchard and lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Evan Resnik. When they started the project, Blanchard had completed his studies in medicine, working in family medicine and addition and Resnik had returned from a trip hitchhiking through France. Since the project’s formation, the Calgary-based act has released a couple of EPs and their full-length debut, 2019’s Foreign Bodies, which saw them crafting a sound that blurred the lines between dazzling indie rock melodicism and icy, post-punk experimentation, centered around a maximalist approach.

During that same five year period, the members of the Canadian post-punk outfit have seen a steadily rising profile, as they’ve shared stages with the likes of JOVM mainstays Preoccupations, Omni and Daniel Romano while topping the charts of college radio stations across Western Canada. Understandably, when the pandemic put their touring plans on a then-indefinite pause, the band quickly shifted their focus to writing material, dedicating 40-plus hour weeks to music during the early months of 2020.

Those writing sessions wound up becoming the Calgary-based outfit’s sophomore album Subterranea, slated for a March 25, 2022 release through Montreal-based psychedelic purveyors Mothland. Continuing an ongoing collaboration with Chad VanGaalen, who co-produced the album, Subterranea reportedly sees the band eschewing the maximalist approach of their previous releases and crafting material with a decided laser focus. The end result is a frenetic, breakneck album of material with songs that never overstay their welcome. “We tried to write vertically instead of horizontally,” Sunglaciers’ Matthieu Blanchard explains. “Our last album Foreign Bodies and the EPs that came before it had lots of long songs with different parts drifting back and forth. For this album, we decided to strip our songs down to two or three minutes with only a few ideas in each of them.”

“The bulk of this album came together during the pandemic and the changing of gears that we had to do,” Sunglaciers’ Evan Resnik says. “I was out of work and Mathieu was working half as much as usual, so we had lots of time on our hands. We flipped a switch and started playing music everyday. It’s a good indicator of how we were writing at the time while we wrapped our heads around some new gear and saw what came out of it. Essentially, we took all of our favourite musical tendencies and put them together. We were listening to a lot of McCartney II at the time and loved how eclectic it was, which led to us mirroring that vibe.”

With an extended timeframe to write and record, the album, which was recorded at Bruce Crews’ voiceover studio On Air Studios allowed the members the opportunity to learn skills in engineering and for the opportunity to swap the instruments that each member typically played, a strategy that was employed during the writing and recording of Portishead‘s Third and David Bowie‘s “Boys Keep Swinging.” The album also features contributions from the aforementioned Chad VanGaalen, Hermitess‘ Jennifer Crighton and Roman66′s Louis Cza The Black Greek God. The end result may arguably be Sunglaciers most urgent and cohesive batch of material, an effort that draws from the likes of Deerhunter, Total Control, and BEAK> among others,.

Subterranea‘s latest single is “Avoidance,” a woozy and uneasy ripper full of guilt and recrimination delivered with a breakneck freneticism and featuring a nagging and persistent synth line-driven groove, angular guitar attack, driving four-on-the-four, dryly delivered vocals and screams by Louis Cza. Sounding a bit like JOVM mainstays Plague Vendor and Atsuko Chiba, “Avoidance” lyrically touches upon themes of alienation, abandonment and guilt in a way that should feel familiar to most of us during this unusual moment of our lives.

Directed by the band’s Evan Resnik and Ryan Kostel, the video is a paranoid and uneasy fever dream in which the video’s protagonist is tormented by figures that he thinks are his friends — but prove to be in his own head.

“The video depicts a nightmare scenario with the protagonist in a panic as he is tormented by figures he thought were his friends, ultimately coming face-to-face with himself,” Sunglaciers’ Evan Resnik explains. “The fogged-out rooms, varied lighting, and overlaid shots pull the viewer inside this dreamscape and accentuate the anxiety and trepidation we explore in the song.”

“When filming ‘Avoidance’ I really wanted to mimic the anxious, unsettled mind,” Ryan Kostel adds. “Constantly shifting angles, I used long fluid shots and shifts in time to create an unbalanced sensation. Rapid fluctuations of light and color layered over kinetic and sometimes violent imagery help to convey the subject’s mental unease.”

New Video: Baltimore’s Ed Schrader’s Music Beat Releases a Surreal Visual For New Ripper “This Thirst”

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 halt. Sadly, that tour with Dan Deacon 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 seamless 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.) But first I’ll talk about one of those singles:

“This Thirst,” Nightclub Daydreaming‘s lead single is a sparse and uneasy song featuring angular, power chord-driven guitar attack, propulsive drumming and a roaring, rousingly anthemic, synth-led chorus paired with Schrader’s coolly delivered, reverb-drenched, lyrically dense verses. The song’s narrator finds his irresistible urges lead him through a surrealistic, chemical-fueled fever dream of desperate, back-alley bartering and scheming, uncertainty and constant existential threats.

Directed by Gillian Waldo, the recently released video for “This Thirst” stars Schrader and Rice as waiters and Nicole Sexton as a waitress during the overnight shit at a small town, Carvel-like diner. The trio are bored to tears, because nothing ever seems to happen. Schrader and Rice’s waiters seem barely competent: the video begins with Schrader nodding off at the counter while Rice does the crosswords or play a mean mop handle bass. Sexton’s waitress absent-mindedly files her nails and wishes she was someplace else. Sexton’s waitress seems to the be the most competent of the three, and at one point she seems to view her coworkers as braindead daydreamers.

When we see Schrader and Rice performing at an abandoned bandshell, Sexton roller-skates around them in circles. While being surreal, the video has a sense of menace, just under the ridiculous surface.

New Video: Brooklyn’s SAVAK Follows a Down-On-His-Luck Loser Through Brooklyn in Visual for New Ripper “Cold Ocean”

Brooklyn-based post-punk outfit SAVAK — multi-instrumentalist and co-vocalists Sohrab Habibion and Michael Jaworski, along with Matt Schultz (drums)– formed back in 2015. And since their inception, Habibion and Jaworski have shared vocal and songwriting duties, often taking turns singing their respective songs while playing guitar or other instruments.

There Brooklyn-based trio have been busy releasing a string of rippers — including their latest single “Cold Ocean”/”Adolescence Obsolete.” Penned by the band’s Jaworski, who also takes up lead singing duties, “Cold Ocean,” the A-side is centered around a relentlessly driving bass line, darting and wiry guitar blasts paired with Jaworski’s deadpan delivery before turning into a rousingly anthemic, ripper during the song’s hook. While seemingly inspired by Wire, “Cold Ocean” manages to evoke a neurosis and frustration that’s familiar to me as a native New Yorker.

The members of SAVAK will be releasing their fifth album later this year. But in the meantime, the recently released video for “Cold Ocean” was directed by Rob Kassabian and stars Mark Weills as “Walker Slim.” The band’s Michael Jaworski and Sohrab Habibion have supporting roles as “Babyshoes” and “Sniffles” respectively. They play two hustlers on the grind, scamming and scheming on to another payday.

Shot on a cold November day, the video features Weills/Slim, a down-on-his-luck loser, who must hawk a prized possession to buy a ring for a lover, who never shows. We follow Weills/Slim through several locales in Brooklyn, including the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park, and empty Brighton Beach and Coney Island Boardwalks, where we see poor, stood up Walker Slim, frustrated by — and facing both unrequited love and dreams of what will never be. Heartbreak is endless, like the tide.

New Audio: Italy’s IC2 Releases a Brooding Yet Dance Floor Friendly Single

IC2 is the darkwave/post-punk solo recording project of a rather mysterious Villa Latina, Italy-based producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. The emerging Italian artist’s latest single, the brooding yet dance floor friendly “Falling Down” is centered around glistening synth arpeggios, thumping electronic drums, wiry bursts of distorted guitars, crooned vocals and an enormous hook. Sonically, “Falling Down” may remind some listeners of post-punk heavyweights like Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure and Joy Division — as well as contemporaries like ACTORS, Bootblacks and others.

New Video: French Artist Haya The Hellcat Takes Viewers on a Tour of Paris in Trippy Visual for Punchy “Histoire De Se Revoir”

Haya The Hellcat is a Nancy, France-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who writes and records out of a basement studio of an artists’ house called AXLV — All Exclusive. The Nancy-based artist grew up spitting his time between Reunion Island and France, where he studied music and began writing instrumentals when he turned 14. When he turned 26, the emerging French singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began writing his own lyrics — and recording material singing his own lyrics.

The Nancy- based artist’s debut EP Quarante-Six Kilomètres Dans Les Sable was released earlier this month, and the EP touches upon several themes including travel, emotions and others. The EP’s latest single “Histoire De Se Revoir” is a decidedly post-punk influenced tune centered around a punchy and propulsive bass line, shimmering guitars, plaintive vocals and a razor sharp hook. Interestingly, the song sees the French artist deftly balancing wistful nostalgia with a breezy, radio friendly accessibility.

The recently released, gorgeously shot black and white visual for “Histoire De Se Revoir” follows Haya The Hellcat through Paris — sometimes forward, sometimes backward.

With the release of her first two albums — 2016’s Sirens and 2018’s Empty Sea — Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer Laura Carbone received critical praise for a sound that has frequently drawn comparisons to PJ HarveyShana FalanaChelsea WolfeSt. Vincent and others. 

If you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you may recall that Carbone and her band were scheduled to go into the studio last May to record what would be he highly-anticipated third album. But unfortunately, as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, Carbone’s plans were indefinitely shelved, much like countless other artists and bands across the world at the time.

While she was touring across the European Union to support her first two albums, Carbone and her band appeared on the beloved German live concert series Rockpalast. For Carbone, who grew up in a small, southwestern German town watching Rockpaalst, appearing on the show was the achievement of a lifelong dream: A who’s who list of artists and bands have appeared on the show including Siouxsie and The BansheesRadiohead, Sonic YouthPatti SmithSinead O’ConnorDavid BowieR.E.M., Echo and the BunnymenScreaming TreesLynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Charles Bradley and a very lengthy list of others. 

Inspired by the lockdowns, Carbone and her band came up with an idea: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Taken from her October 2019 Rockpalast set at Harmonie Bonn, the Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is a career-spanning set featuring material from her first two albums.

I had written about three of the live singles:

  • Who’s Gonna Save You,” which found Carbone and her band deftly balancing menace and sultriness, while introducing a rock goddess, you need to know — right now.
  • Cellophane Skin” which found Carbone and company taking the tension of the original and informing with a feral intensity developed while touring. And as a result, the song finds its narrator — and perhaps, even the artist herself — turning into a seductive, yet vengeful force of nature tearing down the bonds of poisonous social norms that have imprisoned her, while demanding that we — men particularly so — examine ourselves.
  • “Nightride,” a slow-burning and brooding bit of psychedelia-tinged post punk that sonically and lyrically nods at The Doors “The End” as though covered by PJ Harvey.

Each video from the live session continued Carbone’s ongoing visual collaboration wit Olya Dyer — but the visual for “Nightride” also featured  The Underground Youth‘s Carig Dyer as a dark and handsome stranger, who picks up Carbone.

Carbone and The Underground Youth have collaborated on the recently released In Dreams EP, an effort that sees them tackling four Roy Orbison songs, which chart the age-old and universal narrative of falling in and out o love, and the deep yearning for romance and connection we all feel — even if we don’t want to always admit it. (As a personal note, I fucking love Roy Orbison.)

The In Dreams EP shines with its bittersweet blend of a reserved musical background that leaves space for Craig’s earthy voice and Laura’s soaring, ethereal vocals to connect, embrace and unravel again. Centered around sparse and atmospheric arrangements, the EP’s material is roomy enough for Craig Dyer’s earthy baritone and Carbone’s yearning and ethereal vocals to seemingly connect, embrace and unravel throughout.

In Dreams‘ latest single “Crying” finds Dyer and Carbone slowing the tempo down and stripping the song down to its barest elements — shimmering guitar. Dyer’s baritone and Carbone’s achingly tender vocals. Turning the song into a duet, subtly changes the song into a conversation between a couple, who both realize — with some aching bitterness — that their relationship has come to an end, and that there’s nothing much they could do to resolve it. At some point, all of us have been there, and the song’s universality and familiarity is what makes it powerfully transcendent.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays ACTORS Release a Horror Movie-Inspired Visual for Slow-burning “Obsession”

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut It Will Come To You, the acclaimed Vancouver-based JOVM mainstay act ACTORS — currently Jason Corbett (vocals, guitar), Shannon Hemmett (synth, vocals), Kendall Wooding (bass) and Adam Fink (drums) — quickly established a brooding yet anthemic post-punk sound centered around icy synths, angular bass lines, squiggling guitars and Corbett’s reverb-drenched croon. 

Since the release of their full-length debut, the Canadian post-punk outfit had been busy: Until pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions put touring on pause, ACTORS had been on a relentless touring schedule to support the album, including a stop at the long-shuttered Brooklyn Bazaar for a headlining set at 2018’s A Murder of Crows Festival. Interestingly, during that same period of time, ACTORS’ frontman Jason Corbett has become an in-demand producer, who has worked with the likes of BootblacksUltrviolence, SPECTRES, and a growing list of post punk acts.

The Canadian post-punk outfit’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Acts of Worship was released earlier this year through Artoffact Records. Recorded and produced at Corbett’s Jacknife Studio, the album finds the members of the JOVM mainstay act pushing their synth-driven sound in a more dance floor friendly direction, while retaining the brooding melancholy and massive hooks that have won them attention across the international post-punk scene. 

I’ve managed to write about three of the album’s singles so far:

  • Love U More,” a single that can trace its origins to the band being on the road: While traveling the Autobahn at 190km per hour (about 120 mph), the song’s opening synth melody looped through Jason Corbett’s head. The song itself is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, angular and reverb-drenched bursts of guitar and a relentless motorik groove in one of the act’s more sensual songs to date. 
  • “Only Lonely,” Acts of Worship‘s second single, a song that Corbett explains is indebted to Roxy Music — in particular “The Space Between” “Dance Away” and “Love Is The Drug.” And much like the sources that inspired it, “Only Lonely” manages to express a similar yearning and vulnerability. 
  • Cold Eyes,” a leather, lace and light night come on, centered around buzzing bass synths, twinkling synth arpeggios and a relentless motorik groove.

Acts of Worship‘s fourth and latest single “Obsession” is a slow-burning yet sultry song centered around a propulsive bass line, glistening synth arpeggios, Corbett’s achingly tender crooning and the band’s unerring knack for an enormous hook. Sonically, the song — to my ears, at least — reminds me of The CarsDrive” and Avalon era Roxy Music with a subtle nod to classic soul but while tackling loneliness and obsession gone dangerously wrong.

The recently released video for “Obsession’ is split between sequences of the band playing the song in a dark, strobe lit room and a masked killer, who stalks a punk rock couple, hanging out in a parked van.

Post punk outfit Sei Still — Sebastián Rojas (organ, synths), Mateo Sánchez Galán (guitar), Jerónimo Martín (drums, percussion) and Lucas Martín (vocals, guitar) — can trace its origins to when the members of the band decided to take a random trip to some desolate woodlands outside of Mexico City to work on a couple of songs. Those sessions were so productive that it led to the quartet starting the band in earnest. 

With just a couple of singles under their collective belts — 2017’s “Oto” and 2019’s “Tacticas de Guerrilla Urbana” — the band quickly earned a rapidly growing profile in their native Mexico, sharing stages with StereolabKikagaku MoyoInstitute, and Lorelle Meets The Obsolete. As a result of the growing buzz surrounding them, the Mexican post-punk outfit signed to London-based label Fuzz Club Records, who released their self-titled full-length debut last year. The album quickly solidified a new European fanbase for the Mexican post punk outfit, while selling out its initial vinyl pressing. 

The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album El Refugio is slated for a November 26, 2021 release through Fuzz Club Records, and the album marks a number of major changes for the Mexican post-punk quartet: The band relocated to Berlin, where they wrote and recorded El Refugio. And sonically, the album represents an evolution in the now-Berlin-based band’s sound. Whereas their self-titled debut was heavily indebted to the Krautrock sounds of Can and Neu!El Refugio reportedly sees the band eschewing the expansive and hypnotic tendencies of their previously released work for a wiry, post-punk inspired sound, that’s still centered around a motorik pulse. Additionally, the songs are shorter and unapologetically to the point, while bristling with tension and anguish.

“The biggest influence on this record was the fact that our personal lives had a radical change and we felt the need to do something different, to dig deeper into the possibilities of what the band was about,” the members of Sei Still explain. “We never wanted to make the same record twice.” Understandably, the move from Mexico to Germany would normally be a massive upheaval culturally, emotionally and personally — but the band managed to move a few weeks before COVID-19 struck across the world and forced shutdowns and lockdowns. And as a result, the material possesses a visceral unease,

More expressionist than psychedelic, the and explains that El Refugio thematically  “alludes to childhood, dreams, desire, loneliness, paranoia and hope. A longing for a different reality that breaks the monotony of daily life. It’s more about sensations than something you can describe in words. I think what makes music great is that it has to be experienced so we try to part from a specific mood or emotion, which is something very abstract that people can interpret in their own way.”

Last month, I wrote about “Extraradio,”a brooding,  Joy Division-like take on post-punk centered around Lucas Martín’s dry sprechgesang delivery in Spanish, an angular bass line, bursts of wiry, delay pedaled guitar and an insistent motorik pulse. The song to me managed to evoke the profound loneliness of being an Other in a foreign land and surrounded by a culture and language you can’t speak or understand.

El Refugio‘s latest single “Exilo” is a taut and brooding bit of post-punk centered around a relentless motorik pulse, wiry bursts of guitar, glistening synths, mathematically precise electronic drum paired with forceful kick drum paired with Martín’s dry vocal delivery. Reportedly indebted to Spanish New Wave, “Exilo” personally reminds me of endlessly gray, German skies, damp rainy nights in Frankfurt’s Romer and Haupwatche sections with the seemingly permanent costume of foreigner, of man from far away.

New Video: Nice, France’s BLC MIRROR CLB Releases a Creepy Visual for Scorching “Sleepwalk Time”

Nice, France-based act BLC MIRROR CLB was initially formed as a duo in 2017 featuring founding members Fabz (vocals, guitar, synths) and Marz (drums, backing vocals). The French act’s 2019 self-titled debut EP was release to critical praise nationally and internationally from Skriber, Rock Made in France, Indiebox and Eric Alper among a list of others, and the EP received airplay globally from stations like CT Rocks, London Radio, Nuevos Pero Rotos, CATA Radio, ODDScene, Radio Kaos Caribou and Radio Volna.

The rising French act expanded into a trio with the addition of Ben (bass, backing vocals). Shortly after Ben joined the Nice-based outfit, gradually went through a radical change in sonic direction, moving from indie rock into brooding electro post-punk, inspired by Portishead, Eagulls, Siouxsie and The Banshees and others.

BLC MIRROR CLB’s latest effort, the five-song We Are The Ghosts Part 1 was recently released through Shake A Leg/Exquisite Noise Records. The EP continues the act’s gradual movement into post punk and cold wave. EP single “Sleepwalk Time (A Song for M)” is a brooding and uneasy song featuring buzzing bass synths, scorching guitar lines, thumping beats, industrial clang and clatter and howled vocals in an expansive, dread-inducing song structure. Sonically, the song — to my ears, at least — brings The Fragile era Nine Inch Nails, Third era Portishead to mind but while evoking our near-dystopian reality.

Directed by Albin Lunareiff, the recently released video features grainy and intimate VHS-styled footage of the band performing the song in a bare studio. Bursts of computerized MS DOS-like text appears superimposed over the band. It’s just as creepy and uneasy as the accompanying song.