Category: post rock

New Video: French Act Full Moon Little House Releases a Lysergic Visual for Atmospheric “GAIA”

After spending several years in a number of alternative rock and indie rock bands, French multi-instrumentalist and producer, Kévin Navizet steps out into the limelight as a solo artist, with his solo recording project Full Moon Little House, which specializes in what he describes as alternative indie rock/post rock.

Earlier this year, Navizet released the first part of his full-length debut, a five-song, mini digital album titled June — before releasing the full album later this year. Clocking in at a little over 5:50, Navizet’s sixth Full Moon Little House single “GAIA” is a slow-burning track feauring layers of jangling, shimmering and pedal effected guitars, towering feedback and rolling drumming that slowly builds up in intensity before gently fading out. The song’s patient, painterly quality reminds me quite a bit of Mogwai, Remember Remember and others while being remarkably cinematic.

Navizet’s gorgeous self-directed and self- made video features animation of translucent jellyfish seemingly dancing to the song in the deepest darks of the ocean. Through doubling and tripling the jellyfish, the video takes on a hallucinogenic and kaleidoscopic vibe.

Live Footage: VAR at Orgelsmidjan

Acclaimed Reykjavik-based post-rock collective VAR was founded in 2013 as a solo recording project of its founding member and creative mastermind Júliús Óttar Björgvinsson (vocals, guitar and piano). But shortly after he started the project, Björgvinsson began to feel as though his vision couldn’t be fully realized without assistance. So, he recruited those who were the closest to him — his wife Myrra Rós (synths, vocals), his brother Egil Björgvinsson (bass) and his friends Arnór Jónasson (guitar) and Adrni Freyr Þorgeirsson (drums). That lineup wrote and recorded the Vetur EP — and in the subsequent years after its release, the band managed to built up a fiercely loyal fanbase through relentless touring. 

After the release of the Vetur EP, the band went through a series of lineup changes: Ròs left the band as a result of competing professional and personal responsibilities and Sigurður Ingi Einarsson (drums) replaced Freyr Þorgeirsson. A smaller lineup forced a thorough reimagining and reworking of their sound — and the result was last year’s The Never Ending Year, which may arguably be the most ambitious album of their growing catalog.

Much like countless acts across the globe, the pandemic put the Icelandic act’s plans to support their new album with a tour on an indefinite hold. “After releasing an album and having no chance to play it live, we felt like we had to do something to give people at least a little taste of us playing these songs live,” VAR’s Júlíus Óttar Björgvinsson (vocals/guitar/keys) says in press notes. “VAR has always been about playing live and we always give everything we have to make the tension between us and the audience both peaceful and powerful. But since we could not play it live for people, we decided to make these live videos of us playing the songs at the organ workshop where we practice. We got our producer Eiður to do the sound for the videos and when he sent us the audio files Arnór brought that idea of releasing a live EP, because people had been asking us to do so. We were happy with the sound Eiður got from the session and how far it is from how the album sounds. It’s powerful, it’s raw and it’s honest. And that is VAR.”

The acclaimed Icelandic act recently released the four-song  Live at Orgelsmidjan EP, which was recorded at the band’s practice space, which also manages to be the country’s only pipe organ workshop. To celebrate the release of the EP, the band released live footage of the session, which manages to accurately capture the band’s intimate yet enormous sound paired with heart on sleeve lyricism. Starting off with the gorgeous, organ and guitar-led meditation “By The Ocean,” the EP quickly picks up the pace with the enormous and rousingly anthemic “Where to Find You,” which finds the band meshing elements of shoegaze, alt rock, arena rock and post rock. “Moments” is a slow-burning and delicate track centered around shimmering guitars with dramatic drumming and Júliús Óttar Björgvinsson’s achingly plaintive vocals that gradually becomes an enormous, arena rock friendly, towering ripper. The EP’s last single “Highlands” is centered around a classic alt rock sound structure — quiet verses with atmospheric guitars and synths and loud choruses with towering power chords.

The accompanying live footage manages to be split into intimately shot footage of the band performing the material or heading to their rehearsal space to play and some incredibly cinematic and awe-inspiring footage of their beautiful homeland. The footage seems to suggest that their surroundings have a direct impact on their sound.

Live Footage: Var Performs “Where To Find You” at Orgelsmidjan

VAR is an acclaimed Reykjavik-based post-rock collective that was founded in 2013 as the solo recording project of its founding member and creative mastermind Júliús Óttar Björgvinsson(vocals, guitar and piano). But shortly after the project’s founding, Björgvinsson felt as though his vision couldn’t be fully realized without additional help. So, he recruited those, who were the closest to him — his wife Myrra Rós (synths, vocals), his brother Egil Björgvinsson (bass) and his friends Arnór Jónasson (guitar) and Adrni Freyr Þorgeirsson (drums). That lineup wrote and recorded the Vetur EP — and in the subsequent years after its release, the band managed to built up a fiercely loyal fanbase through relentless touring.

The band went through a series of lineup changes after the release of Vetur EP: Ròs left the band as a result of competing professional and personal responsibilities and Sigurður Ingi Einarsson (drums) replaced Freyr. A smaller lineup necessitated a reimagining and reworking of the sound, which resulted in last year’s The Never Ending Year, arguably the most ambitious album of their growing catalog.

Much like countless acts across the world, the pandemic put the acclaimed Icelandic act’s tour plans on hold indefinitely. “After releasing an album and having no chance to play it live, we felt like we had to do something to give people at least a little taste of us playing these songs live,” VAR’s Júlíus Óttar Björgvinsson (vocals/guitar/keys) says in press notes. “VAR has always been about playing live and we always give everything we have to make the tension between us and the audience both peaceful and powerful. But since we could not play it live for people, we decided to make these live videos of us playing the songs at the organ workshop where we practice. We got our producer Eiður to do the sound for the videos and when he sent us the audio files Arnór brought that idea of releasing a live EP, because people had been asking us to do so. We were happy with the sound Eiður got from the session and how far it is from how the album sounds. It’s powerful, it’s raw and it’s honest. And that is VAR.”

The Icelandic band’s latest effort, the soon-to-be released four song Live at Orgelsmidjan EP, was recorded at the their practice space, which also serves was their homeland’s only pipe organ workshop. The EP’s latest single “Where To Find You” further establishes their sound, which — to my ears, at least — is a seamless synthesis of atmospheric shoegaze, classic alt rock and arena rock paired with heart-on-sleeve lyricism. But interestingly, because of its unfussy, you-are-there production, the song is imbued with the raw and urgent power of a live performance. And as a result, it gives the material an added emotional punch.

New Video: French Post-Rock Trio Under Old Trees Release Cinematically Shot Live Session for Brooding “Crossed Moon”

With the release of their first two EPs. 2017’s self-titled effort and last year’s No Mist In This Place, the Besançon, France-based post-rock instrumental trio Under Old Trees features members with disparate musical backgrounds. And since their formation, the French post rock trio have developed and honed a sound inspired by Russian Circles, Red Sparowes and Explosions in the Sky.

The band’s third EP Kelo was released earlier this year, and the EP’s latest single “Crossed Moon” continues a run of brooding and cinematic material centered around an expansive song structure featuring a French horn-led intro, followed by shimmering guitars, a propulsive bass line and skittering, hi-hat led four-on-the-floor. Interestingly, the composition alternates between gorgeous and brooding melodic sections and headbanging hardness in a way that reminds me of German instrumental act Collapse Under the Empire.

The members of the French post rock trio released a cinematically shot live session of “Crossed Moon” in the French woods — with the band literally being under old trees.

New Audio: French act heklAa releases a Cinematic and Brooding New Single

Sébastien Touraton is a French composer and pianist, who has begun to receive attention with his solo post-rock/post classical recording project heklAa. Earlier this year, Touraton released his latest album Pieces of You, Vol. 2: The Voices Work, an album of work centered around piano and choir.

“The Scent of Our Memories,” the brooding and cinematic, fourth single off Touraton’s latest heklAa album features twinkling and arpeggiated piano figures paired with a soaring and expressive chorus. Sonically, the track is centered around the sort of plaintive yearning that recalls Sigur Rōs.

New Video: Toronto’s Gillian Stone Releases a Psychedelic Visual for Introspective New Single

Gillian Stone is a Vancouver Island-born, Toronto-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has collaborated on projects by FORCES’ Alli Sunshine, The Fern Tips, Völur and Althea Thauberger — and she’s appeared in music videos for Clear Mortifee, Robert DeLong, Alli Sunshine and Juno Award nominate Tara Kannangara. As a solo artist, Stone’s work uses vulnerability as a way to create a safe space to explore the dichotomy of beauty and discomfort, thematically touching on recovery, the juxtaposition of femininity and imperfection, turbulent feelings and recovery.

Heavily influenced by her background in jazz and ethnomusicology, Stone has managed to have a rather varied creative and professional life: Fascinated by her Icelandic heritage, Stone explored and studied the popular music of Iceland and the icelandic Diaspora in Canada as part of her graduate work in ethnomusicology. The Vancouver-born, Toronto-based artist has studied Javanese and Balinese gamelan; performed with Russell Hartenberger and NEXUS (the principal percussionists of the Steve Reich ensemble) and with Brazilian cavaquinho virtuoso Henrique Cazes. Her upbringing on Vancouver Island led her to Coast Salish hip-hop and the Cascadian bioregion scene. Overall, Stone uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore disparate genres to produce a singular sound.

Stone’s latest single is the atmospheric and dramatic, Michael Peter Olsen-co-produced “Bridges.” Centered around strummed guitar strummed guitar, dramatic drumming and Stone’s achingly vulnerable vocals, the PJ Harvey and Shana Falana-like “Bridges” finds the Vancouver-born, Toronto-based artist telling a story of dissolution, shame and self-flagellation with a bold and unvarnished honesty. “‘Bridges’ is the soundscape of recovery,” Stone says in press notes. “I wrote this song in 2009 after a summer of self-imposed turbulence. I don’t remember exactly when or how I wrote, but it stayed with me and became predictive. For over a decade, I’ve returned to it as a space to a safely express shame. Now it’s morphing into a reminder, a call for self-temperance. I’m still discovering what it means.”

Stone goes on to add the song was co-produced by Micheal Peter Olsen during a cold winter in Olsen’s Toronto-based studio Uncomfortable Silence. “‘Bridges’ follows a journey of dysregulated emotions exacerbated by alcohol abuse,” Stone says. “The e-cello movement is meant to evoke the feeling of losing one’s mind. This is a post=rock night song that ends with a promise of the sun.”

Directed by Emily Harrison, the recently released video for “Bridges” features Stone in the woods and uses mirrors and kaleidoscopic effects to create something both trippy yet introspective. Harrison calls the video “a psychedelic dream inspired by French New Wave film.”

New Video: JeGong Releases a Slow-Burning and Meditative Visual for Atmospheric “Sowing dragons Teeth”

JeGong is a new krautrock-inspired, experimental act featuring MONO (Japan)’s and Watter’s Dahm Majuri Cipolla (drums) and Sum of R.’s Reto Mäder (synths). Slated for an October 16, 2020 release through Pelagic Records, the duo’s 14 song full-length album I reportedly finds the band using krautrock to push themselves, and their songwriting approach into new territories — with the album’s material featuring elements of ambient, experimental rock, krautrock, post rock and electronica. The end result is an album centered around ambient soundscapes and repetition that sounds like the soundtracks to Blade Runner and Metropolis.

The album was written and recorded remotely with Mäder recording instrumental parts at Hinterzimmer in Bern, Switzerland and Cipolla recording drums at BC Studio with Martin Bisi, where it was partially mixed. Additional mixing took place in Finland with Jaakko Vitalähde.

“Sowing Dragons Teeth,” I’s latest single is a minimalist, slow-burning and atmospheric track centered around repeating shimmering synth lines, taut yet propulsive drumming, gurgling and hissing feedback and subtle blasts of guitar. The track sounds as though it should be part of John Carpenter-like movie soundtrack — but while featuring subtly morphing throughout the entire song, “We wanted to have a song that is constantly changing in form and density. A song structure like a maelstrom or a growing plant focusing on our two main instruments, analog synthesizers and drums, the members of JeGong explain in press notes. “The theme of the song goes well with the film scene in Blade Runner 2049, in which a meager little flower in a field of ashes becomes a sign of hope.”

The recently released video for “Sowing Dragons Teeth” is the second part of a trilogy focused don a dystopian world that collapses and is eventually recreated by another species with a monolith as a memorial for the previous world.

New Video: Reykjavik’s VAR Releases an Earnest and Anthemic New Single Paired with an Intimate Visual

VAR is a Reykjavik-based post-rock collective that began in 2013 as the solo project of its founding member Júliús Óttar (vocals, guitar and piano) but shortly after its creation, Óttar realized that his vision couldn’t be fully realized without additional help. So he recruited those who were the closest to him — his wife Myrra Rós (synths, vocals), his brother Egil Björgvinsson (bass) and his friends Arnór Jónasson (guitar) and Adrni Freyr Þorgeirsson (drums). With that lineup, the act wrote and recored the Vetur EP — and over the course of the subsequent years, the band built up a fiercely loyal fanbase through relentless touring and live shows.

After the release of Vetur EP, the band went through a major lineup change. Ròs left the band as a result of competing professional and personal responsibilities and Sigurður Ingi Einarsson (drums) replaced Freyr — and as a result of a smaller lineup, a reimagining of the project’s sound was necessary. The Icelandic act’s latest album The Never Ending Year was released earlier this year through Spartan Records, and the album’s material may be the most ambitious and awe-inspiring of the act’s growing catalog. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Moments.” a song featuring alternating arena rock friendly choruses centered around enormous power chords and intimate, shoegazer-lke verses with shimmering guitars and ethereal vocals that sonically brought the wide-screen, cinematic quality of Sigur Ros with the intensity and the arena rock friendly sound of Foo Fighters to mind. The Never Ending Year’s latest single “Run” continues a run of infectious and swooning anthems centered around enormous power chord-driven riffs, ethereal vocals, thunderous drumming and some swooningly earnest songwriting. But interestingly, I think “Run” may be the most straightforward shoegazer-like track of the entire album. 

The recently released video for “Run” manages to adhere to our current COVID-19 pandemic related social distancing guidelines as we see each of the band’s members performing the song in a enormous and very sunny house, which reveals some of their homeland’s stunning terrain and a gorgeous sunset. 

Live Footage: BRUTUS Performs “Cemetery” at Ghent’s Handelsbeurs

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS. With the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the acclaimed Belgian act —  Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) — quickly developed a national and international presence with a sound and approach shaped and informed by necessity: Mannaerts eventually took up vocal duties because no one else would.

Since their debut effort’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay and labelmate Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and others. The members of BRUTUS have also played sets across the European Union’s heavy music festival circuit. And adding to a growing profile, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has championed the band.

The Leuven-based trio’s Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest was released last year through Sargent House Records. Nest finds the members of BRTUUS making a concerted effort to write tighter songs with a bigger sound — but simultaneously, the material sees Mannaerts fully and boldly embracing her dual roles as a vocalist and drummer. 

Thematically speaking, the material focused on the path the trio have taken together that have led to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream. As a result, the material is deeply introspective with the members of the band considering the individual and group choices they’ve made to get where they are now — and the impact those choices have had on their loved ones and those who they’ve had to leave behind. In some way, it captures the bleak and raw ache of people who taking stock of themselves and their lives — alone. Naturally, that creates an uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue the forward progression of a burgeoning career and the desire to maintain and cherish the connections of home.

The members of the Belgian trio closed out 2019 with their first ever Stateside headlining tour, which included a November stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Of course, before the COVID-19 related lockdowns and quarantines, the Belgian band had been busy touring to support Nest. Slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Sargent House Records, the Belgian band’s live album, Live In Ghent offers fans across the world a taste of what they’ve been forced to miss this year. 

“When the real world went into lockdown, early March 2020, a year of live music disappeared before our eyes,” the members of BRUTUS explain. “Going on tour, playing festivals, watching bands, it’s all gone. It was as hard for us as it has been for everybody involved in live music. As a remedy, we took the time to look back on what we had already done and collected the footage we had of our previous shows. Painful and healing at the same time. That’s when we stumbled upon the recordings of our show at Handelsbeurs in Ghent, May 2019. A hometown show we fully recorded and filmed after a period of touring, in front of all our family and friends.”

“We know it’s just a recording and not even close to the real feeling we had on stage or the energy we got back from the crowd in the room, but looking back, almost a year later, we feel absolutely proud about that show.”

The latest batch of live footage from that show (which will appear on the live album) is of the band performing one of my favorite songs off the album — “Cemetery.”  Effortlessly riding doom metal, thrash metal, shoegaze, hardcore punk and stoner rock, the song is centered around an arrangement of thunderous and forceful drumming, enormous power chords and Mannaerts howled vocal delivery, which gives the song a feral immediacy. 

Naturally, the live footage will give fans — and hopefully readers and viewers — a sense of the band’s energetic and loud live sound. But it also serves as a reminder of those small and necessary joys that we miss so much as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. So far, the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to put a covering over our faces and socially distance whenever we’re out and about — and wash your hands. So please, put on a mask. It’s a minor inconvenience but we can get back some of the things we love sooner rather than later if you do. 

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS. With the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the acclaimed Belgian act —  Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) — quickly developed a national and international presence with a sound and approach shaped and informed by necessity: Mannaerts eventually took up vocal duties because no one else would.

Since their debut effort’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay and labelmate Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and others. The members of BRUTUS have also played sets across the European Union’s heavy music festival circuit. And adding to a growing profile, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has championed the band.

The Leuven-based trio’s Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest was released last year through Sargent House Records. Nest finds the members of BRTUUS making a concerted effort to write tighter songs with a bigger sound — but simultaneously, the material sees Mannaerts fully and boldly embracing her dual roles as a vocalist and drummer. 

Thematically speaking, the material focused on the path the trio have taken together that have led to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream. As a result, the material is deeply introspective with the members of the band considering the individual and group choices they’ve made to get where they are now — and the impact those choices have had on their loved ones and those who they’ve had to leave behind. In some way, it captures the bleak and raw ache of people who taking stock of themselves and their lives — alone. Naturally, that creates an uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue the forward progression of a burgeoning career and the desire to maintain and cherish the connections of home.

The members of the Belgian trio closed out 2019 with their first ever Stateside headlining tour, which included a November stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Of course, before the COVID-19 related lockdowns and quarantines, the Belgian band had been busy touring to support Nest. Slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Sargent House Records, the Belgian band’s live album, Live In Ghent offers fans across the world a taste of what they’ve been forced to miss this year. 

“When the real world went into lockdown, early March 2020, a year of live music disappeared before our eyes,” the members of BRUTUS explain. “Going on tour, playing festivals, watching bands, it’s all gone. It was as hard for us as it has been for everybody involved in live music. As a remedy, we took the time to look back on what we had already done and collected the footage we had of our previous shows. Painful and healing at the same time. That’s when we stumbled upon the recordings of our show at Handelsbeurs in Ghent, May 2019. A hometown show we fully recorded and filmed after a period of touring, in front of all our family and friends.”

“We know it’s just a recording and not even close to the real feeling we had on stage or the energy we got back from the crowd in the room, but looking back, almost a year later, we feel absolutely proud about that show.”

The latest batch of live footage from that show (which will appear on the live album) is of the band performing one of my favorite songs off the album — “Cemetery.”  Effortlessly riding doom metal, thrash metal, shoegaze, hardcore punk and stoner rock, the song is centered around an arrangement of thunderous and forceful drumming, enormous power chords and Mannaerts howled vocal delivery, which gives the song a feral immediacy. 

Naturally, the live footage will give fans — and hopefully readers and viewers — a sense of the band’s energetic and loud live sound. But it also serves as a reminder of those small and necessary joys that we miss so much as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. So far, the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to put a covering over our faces and socially distance whenever we’re out and about — and wash your hands. So please, put on a mask. It’s a minor inconvenience but we can get back some of the things we love sooner rather than later if you do. 

 

humptydumptyrecords · River Into Lake – Grande Prairie

Boris Gronemberger is Brussels-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer, who managed to be rather busy throughout the bulk of his career: he was the founder and frontman of acclaimed Belgian indie act V.O. through their 15 years together — and he has a long-held reputation as a go-to collaborator, working with Girls in Hawaii, Castus, Blondie Brownie and a growing list of others.

Gronemberger’s latest musical project, River into Lake can trace its origins back to 2017 when the Belgian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger began writing the material, which would eventually comprise River Into Lake’s full-length debut Let The Beast Out sometimes alone, sometimes in collaborative groups, granting himself the complete freedom to reinvent himself and his work. Sonically, Let The Beast Out was bubbling orchestral pop with sharp melodies, complex harmonies featuring  arrangements that meshed synthesizers and organic instrumentation — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the material was indeed to prog rock. Thematically, the material was centered around the difficulty of wanting to continue to believe in the beauty of human nature while generally being an ode to love, life and the complexities of the universe.

Initially written and conceived as a bonus track for Let The Beast Out crowdfunders, the Belgian act’s latest single “Grande Prairie” continues a run of ambitious and expansive material. Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, drum machines, a propulsive bass line, angular bursts of guitar, explosive live drumming and enormous hooks, the song sonically recalls Sugar Army and others — but with a cinematic sweep. “La Grande Prairie is a place where we were going to celebrate the end of the exams with friends,” Gronemberger explains. “Some of them have meanwhile passed away. It’s a song that talks about carelessness, the strength of youth heckled by the movements of society that seems to crash straight into the wall.” Gronemberger adds “It seemed appropriate to me to release it now in this particular context, which in na certain way, reminds us that it is time to spread out on better bases.”

Coincidentally, the track is the first single off an EP, which is slated for release late this year.