Category: psych pop

New Video: Los Bitchos Releases a Horror Film Inspired Visual for Trippy and Groovy “Pista (Fresh Start)”

London-based instrumental outfit Los Bichos — Australia-born, London-based Serra Petale (guitar); Uruguay-born, London-based Agustina Ruiz (keytar); Sweden-born, London-based Josefine Jonsson (bass) and London-born and-based Nic Crawshaw (drums) — features individual members with different upbringings, who have developed a unique, retro-futuristic sound that blends elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf rock, as well the music each individual member grew up with: The Uruguayan-born Ruiz had a Latin-American music collection that the members of the band fell in love with. The Swedish-born Jonsson “brings a touch of out of control pop,” her bandmates often joke. Aussie-born Serra Petale is deeply inspired by her mother’s 70s Anatolian rock records. And the London-born Crawshaw played in a number of local punk bands before joining Los Bitchos. “Coming from all these different places,” Serra Petale says, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit when it comes to our influences.”

The band can trace its own origins through its members meeting at all-night house parties or through various friends. Los Bitchos’ highly anticipated Alex Kapranos-produced full-length debut,  Let The Festivities Begin! is slated for a February 4, 2022 release through City Slang Records

Recorded at Gallery Studios, Let The Festivities Begin! sees the London-based instrumental outfit further establishes their reputation for crafting maximalist and trippy, Technicolor, instrumental party starting jams — with a cinematic quality.

The album’s celebratory title is something you might say while toasting dear friends, families and even strangers at a gathering — and hopefully at the of this horrible period of despair and uncertainty, as a way to usher in a period of carefree debauchery. “It’s about being together and having a really good time,” Los Bitchos say in press notes.

In the lead-up to Let The Festivities Begin!‘s release next month, I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s singles:

  • Las Panteras” a funky, mind-bending jam featuring shimmering synths bongos, cowbell, cabasa and wiry post punk meets Nile Rodgers and surf rock-like guitars and a sinuous bass line.
  • Good to Go,” another mind-bending, genre-blurring composition that begins with a decidedly Western intro with shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar twang before quickly morphing into a a trippy yet chilled out Latin funk meets Turkish psych affair with glistening synths, handclaps and a blazing guitar solo. 

Let The Festivities Begin!‘s third and latest single “Pista (Fresh Start)” is a slick yet trippy synthesis of chicha, cumbia and psych rock centered around looping and glistening guitars, shuffling Latin rhythms meant to get even the party’s wallflowers moving and grooving. We are so excited to put out this track. Some people may recognise it and we hope you enjoy the sassy makeover we gave it for the album,” the members of Los Bitchos say in press notes.

Directed by frequent collaborator Tom Mitchell, the recently released video is the final installment of the story told in the videos for “Las Panteras” and “Good to Go.” The video begins with the ladies of Los Bitchos living in hiding in a witness protection program after being acquitted in the game show meets courtroom show from hell. The band seems to enjoy a quiet life in the country full of domestic errands, goofing off and jamming at a campfire. But it isn’t what may seem. Things are lurking in the shadows.

“The video transports you to our life in witness protection following our game show/courtroom victory – the good life and new beginnings. Things aren’t quite what they seem though… We had so much fun shooting this video and didn’t want to leave our cosy, wholesome nest! Thank you to Dario Argento and Are You Afraid of the Dark? for inspiring the final installment of this trilogy.”

Daniel Feldman is a Rockville, MD-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, musician, who has had a lengthy and varied music career: He’s best known for a seven-year stint as the frontman of Baltimore-based indie rock outfit Yo No Say. He’s currently one-half of synth pop duo Airplane Man with lifelong friend and creative partner, Tim Sommers.

Since its formation, Airplane Man has released a handful of singles that have earned over a million streams each — all while receiving praise from Billboard and landing on Spotify playlists like New Music Friday.

Feldman’s solo recording project Sleepy Gary derives its name from two different sources: “I first heard the name Sleepy Gary in the context of a TV show called Rick and Morty,” Feldman explains. “In the episode, a suburban family becomes infested with brain parasites that present themselves as old friends via fond yet false memories. One of those parasitic cerebral manifestations is a nonexistent family friend named Sleepy Gary who wears a classic sleeping cap and pajamas and never opens his eyes more than halfway. 

“The character resonated with me because I myself am simply a mental parasite made of false memories.. ehem.. I mean, because I have always felt sleepiness was part of my identity” Feldman continues. “As a teenager I would start my pre-high school shower and end up napping on the bathroom floor, only to awake to an Amazonian climate and the sound of my mom pounding on the door, yelling that I was about to miss the bus again.

“In college I slept through nearly every one of my 8am literature classes. The sleepiness grew and grew until it became a monster that kept me up all night and ruined every morning. Something about that character in Rick and Morty nudged me subconsciously to own it. I am sleepy and that’s ok. I used to lay awake at night before playing shows with my old band. I figure, now with a name like Sleepy Gary if I don’t sleep.. I’ll just be that much more in character. Maybe it’s a way to lean into my anxiety around sleep. I also have to admit there’s just something to the way it sounds. It reminds me of a character you might meet in a gangster movie by Martin Scorcese or something.”

Feldman’s Sleepy Gary debut 21 Love Songs is a three-volume collection that took over seven years to complete and was written in three different cities —DC, Baltimore and New York. The album was completed last year while Feldman was quarantined in a 600 square foot Bushwick apartment with roommate and producer, Gabriel Stanley. Stanley co-produced the album. Grammy-nominated Dave Weingarten mixed the album. Grammy Award-winning Alex DeTurk.

The album sees Feldman quickly establishing a sound and songwriting approach that meshes elements of bedroom pop and psych pop. Thematically, the album is an ode to the many iterations of love we experience throughout our lives: unrequited, sensual, half-hearted, budding, obsessive and long-lost but while occasionally expanding upon what a love song actually is and focuses on.

In keeping with the album’s title, Feldman will release a song off the album every 21 days over the course of a year. The album’s latest single, the Tame Impala-like “W.D.I.L.Y.” Centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, reverb drenched guitar, glistening synth arpeggios, an enormous hook “W.D.I.L.Y.” sees Feldman pairing arena rock and club rocking bombast with intimate and achingly vulnerable lyricism: The song’s narrator longs for the old-school love song sort of love. But he finds himself alone, after yet another unrequited love. And yet it’s not completely hopeless; it’s the sort of song in which you see yourself in — and recognize that it’s a profoundly universal experience.

Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop act Psymon Spine — Noah Prebish, Sabine Holler, Brother Michael Rudinski, and Peter Spears — can trace its origins back to when its founding duo of Noah Prebish and Peter Spears met while attending college. Bonding over mutual influences and common artistic aims, Psymon Spine’s founding duo toured the European Union with Prebish’s electronic project Karate. And as the story goes, while in Paris, Spears and Prebish wrote their first song together. By the time, they arrived in London, they were offered a record deal. 

When Psymon Spine’s founding duo returned to the States, Spears recruited Micheal “Brother Micheal” Rudinski and their Karate bandmates Devon Kilbern, Nathaniel Coffey to join their new project. And with that lineup, they fleshed out out the demos, which wold eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2017’s You Are Coming to My Birthday. The band went out to support the effort with immersive art and dance parties like their Secret Friend party series across Brooklyn and through relentless touring. 

Prebish was also splitting his time with rising Brooklyn-based dream pop act Barrie and around the same time, Barrie began to receive attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere as a result of a handful of buzz-worthy singles, and 2019’s full-length debut, Happy to Be Here. Interestingly while with Barrie, Prebish met his future Psymon Spine bandmate, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sabine Holler. 

The rising Brooklyn-based outfit’s sophomore album, Charismatic Megafauna was released earlier this year through Northern Spy to critical applause from the likes of Paste Magazine, FLOOD, Brooklyn Vegan, Under the Radar and NME. The album and its material was added to a number of playlists including NPR Music, Spotify‘s New Music Friday, All New Indie, Undercurrents and Fresh Finds, Apple Music‘s Midnight City and Today’s Indie Rock and TIDAL‘s Rising. And the album received airplay internationally from BBC, KEXP and KCRW among others. The album explores the complicated feelings and catharsis involved in the dissolution of human relationships through hook-driven, left-of center electronic dance meets psych pop.

In the lead up to Charismatic Megafauna‘s release, I managed to write about three of the album’s released singles:

  • Milk,” a coquettish, club friendly banger with Barrie that brings to mind In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Soft Metals‘ Lenses. The single received attention internationally — with the single receiving praise from   VanyalandHigh CloudsEchowave Magazine, The RevueHype Machine and a list of others.The track also landed on  Spotify playlists like UndercurrentsAll New Indie and Fresh Finds, as well as the YouTube channels of  David Dean BurkhartNice Guys‘ and Birp.fm. And lastly, the track received airplay on BBC Radio 6
  • Modmed,” an  Andrew VanWyngarden-produced and cowritten, strutting disco-tinged track that’s captures the ambivalent and confusing mixture of frustration, doubt and relief of a relationship that had long petered out and finally wound down to its inevitable conclusion. Interestingly, the song is inspired and informed by personal experience: Prebish and Holler’s difficult decision to leave Barrie to focus on Pysmon Spine full-time. 
  • Confusion,” a hazy and lysergic banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a wobbling bass line and looping guitar solo paired with Prebish’s plaintive vocals and a trippy, spoken word-delivered break that sonically reminded me of Tame Impala‘s Currents.

Psymon Spine caps off a big 2021 with the digital 7 inch release, “Mr. Metronome”/”Drums Valentino.” “‘Mr. Metronome’ and ‘Drums Valentino’ were among the first song ideas we came up with when first starting our sophomore record” says founding member Noah Prebish. “We wrote them near the end of a two year hiatus which was spent pursuing various other projects by the individuals in the band. Following the break, we were all feeling hungry to make a new Psymon Spine record and we quickly began exploring the new sounds that would ultimately define the album. This process left us with two tracks which were a bit too crazy for Charismatic Megafauna, but too good not to finish.”

“Mr. Metronome” may arguably be the most straightforward, club friendly track of the band’s growing catalog. Featuring a German vocal hook sung by Sabine Holler, which translates to “I saw your message, I have to go work,” followed by a repeated refrain of “my schedule, my schedule,” “Mr. Metronome” is centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, glistening synth arpeggios and a relentless, motorik groove. Inspired by Kraftwerk, Soulwax and others, the song’s lyrics features musings on dating and social dynamics while reflecting the band’s restlessness and desire to quit all unfulfilling obligations to focus on what really matters to them — music.

“Drums Valentino” is a New Wave-like single featuring industrial clang and clatter, shimmering guitars, glistening synths and an off-kilter yet dance floor-friendly groove. Sonically, the song helps to emphasize the song’s lyrics, which talk about feeling uneasy and uncertain with a psychological precision.

New Video: Spaceface Teams Up with Mikaela Davis on the Glistening “Rain Passing Through”

Founded back in 2012 by Jake Ignalls, a former member of The Flaming LipsSpaceface is self-professed “retro-futurist dream rock” outfit split between Memphis and Los Angeles The band features current and past members of The Flaming Lips and Pierced. And since their formation, Spaceface has developed a reputation for crafting catchy songs that whirl, twirl, bend and stretch, attract and propel while sonically featuring elements of dream pop, funk, rock and post-disco. 

Spaceface’s forthcoming full-length album Anemoia is slated for a January 28, 2022 release though Montreal-based label MothlandAnemoia is the result of several months spent at Blackwatch Studios in 2019 where the band spent several months working with Jarod Evans writing material inspired by funk rock and the turn of the millennium psychedelia revival. Although the material can be initially perceived as a feat of efficient and minimalistic songwriting by Ignalls and a cast of friends and collaborators, centered around slick melodies, lush arrangements and effortlessly flowing rhythmic grooves, each spin reportedly will reveal a new layer while painting a positive but somewhat critical portrayal of modern life.

In the lead-up to the album’s release next month, Mothland and the self-professed retro-futuristic dream rock outfit have released four singles off the album: “Happens All The Time,” “Earth In Awe,” “Piña Collider,” which featured samples and choir vocals from actual CERN scientists and “Long Time.” Featuring guest vocals from Penny Pitchlynn, best known for her work with BRONCHO and LABRYS, “Long Time” is Tame Impala-like song centered around a breezy and lush arrangement consisting of glistening synth arpeggios, crunchy bass lines and thumping beats. But at its core, the song contemplates life choices and alternate realities through a series of “well, what if I did x instead of y.” 

“Rain Passing Through” Anemoia‘s fifth and latest single is a glistening, Oracular Spectacular era MGMT take on disco centered around Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, four-on-the-floor, a sinuous bass line and lush layers of space alien-like synths serving as a glistening bed for an ethereal yet sultry duet with Mikaela Davis.

“It’s about fleeting moments you have between former or future lovers in passing turbulent times, knowing that you probably shouldn’t take shelter within each other, but knowing that it’s okay to feel good and safe together even if it’s as ephemeral as the rain passing through on a stormy night,” Jake Ingalls explains.

The recently released video is a collaboration between Spaceface’s Ignalls, Erika Mugglin and Mac Hanson and it a trippy but tender look at a teenaged love triangle featuring a mixture of stock footage, material from Hanson’s personal archives and of the video’s three love-crossed protagonists.

New Video: Los Bitchos Play a Surreal Game Show in New Visual for Trippy “Good to Go”

Rising, London-based instrumental act Los Bichos — Australia-born, London-based Serra Petale (guitar); Uruguay-born, London-based Agustina Ruiz (keytar); Sweden-born, London-based Josefine Jonsson (bass) and London-born and-based Nic Crawshaw (drums) — features individual members with different upbringings, who have developed a unique, retro-futuristic sound that blends elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf rock, as well the music each individual member grew up with: The Uruguayan-born Ruiz had a Latin-American music collection that the members of the band fell in love with. The Swedish-born Jonsson “brings a touch of out of control pop,” her bandmates often joke. And the London-born Crawshaw played in a number of local punk bands before joining Los Bitchos. “Coming from all these different places,” Serra Petale says, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit when it comes to our influences.”

The band can trace its own origins through its members meeting at all-night house parties or through various friends. The London-based outfit’s highly anticipated Alex Kapranos-produced full-length debut,  Let The Festivities Begin! is slated for a February 4, 2022 release through City Slang Records

Recorded at Gallery Studios, Let The Festivities Begin! further establishes Los Bitchos’ reputation for crafting maximalist and Technicolor, instrumental party jams with a cinematic quality. The celebratory title is something you might say while toasting dear friends, families and even strangers at the end of this horrible period to usher in a period of carefree debauchery. “It’s about being together and having a really good time,” Los Bitchos say in press notes.

Last month, I wrote about “Las Panteras” a funky, mind-bending jam featuring shimmering synths bongos, cowbell, cabasa and wiry post punk meets Nile Rodgers and surf rock-like guitars and a sinuous bass line. “Good to Go,” Let The Festivities Begin!‘s second and latest single is another mind-bending, genre-blurring composition: Starting with a decidedly Western-tinged intro with shimmering and twangy and reverb-drenched guitar, the composition quickly turns into a trippy yet chilled out Latin funk meets Turkish psych affair with glistening synths, handclaps and a blazing guitar solo.

Directed and edited by Tom Mitchell, the recently released video for “Good to Go” continues the story began with the visual for “Las Panteras” left off: Los Bitchos have been arrested in their battle against their arch nemesis Los Panteras. The video features album producer and Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos as a game show host meets trial judge from hell. The members of the band are trapped in this surreal game show meets court show, where they literally spin a wheel of fortune for their very freedom.

Trapped in a surreal courtroom gameshow and spinning the wheel of fortune for our freedom. This song has always made us think of a ‘70s game show with its light, fun mood coupled with an intriguing western style intro,” the rising London-based act explain in press notes. “We got all our friends to be our jury and our producer Alex to host/judge the show. We had so much fun making this video.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays POND Releases a Mischievous Yet Bittersweet Visual for Slow-Burning “Take Me Avalon I’m Young”

Perth-based act and JOVM mainstays POND — currently, creative mastermind, songwriter and producer Jay Watson (vocals, guitar, keys, drums, synths and bass), who’s also a touring member of fellow Aussie JOVM mainstays Tame Impala; Nicholas Allbook (lead vocals, guitar, keys, bass, flute, slide guitar and drums); Joe Ryan (vocals, guitar, bass, 12 string guitar, slide guitar); Jamie Terry (keys, bass, synths, organs, guitar); and Jamie Ireland (drums, keys) — have released a handful of critically applauded albums that have seen the band’s sound gradually morph into increasingly synth-driven psych pop. 

2019’s Tasmania is POND’s most commercially successful and critically applauded album to date, with the album debuting at #15 on the ARIA album charts and #2 on the AIR Independent charts. Conceived as a sort of sister effort to its predecessor, 2017’s The WeatherTasmania thematically is a dejected and heartbroken meditation on our current sociopolitical moment: planetary discord, water and its dearth in much of the world, machismo, shame, blame, responsibility, love, and the impact of colonial empires. While accurately capturing the restless, anxious dread that most of us have been feeling, the album doesn’t completely wallow in self-pity and fear. Rather, it encourages the listener to celebrate and enjoy the small things of life while we still can. 

The Perth-based JOVM mainstays ninth album, the aptly titled 9 was released earlier this year through Spinning Top Music. Produced by the band’s Watson and Ireland, 9 sees the band pushing the sound they’ve established and honed over the past few albums even further, while attempting to recapture anarchic sense of uncertainty. “We sort of gave ourselves permission to make something stuffed this time,” the band’s Nicholas Albrook says in press notes. “We’d settled into a pretty tight routine with the last few albums and wanted to shake a boat with this so we started off with filling a few tape reels with some absolutely heinous improvised sonic babble which, after much sifting, became the first few songs of the album. We also wanted to up the tempo. The last few albums have a neat little mantra or repetitive theme. If I was forced to find something like that in 9, I guess it would be ‘biography’ or ‘observation’ – a lot of the lyrics seem to focus on single people’s lives, or the lives of small moments or small things when you zoom real close up and they reveal something deeper. Stuff like my cheap Chinese slippers, or a soiled teddy bear, or Agnes Martin (not to put them in the same category, although maybe Agnes would’ve appreciated it). In the Rorschach test of re-reading lyrics, one thing that sticks out is a fixation on leaving behind a time of golden optimism and uncynical abandon. We can’t look at ourselves the same anymore, and the world we’ve built provides a scary lense [sic] for viewing our past.”

In the lead up to the album’s release, I managed to write about two of 9‘s previously released singles:

  • The Avalon era Roxy Music meets Quiet Storm R&B-like “Toast, a slow-burning and atmospheric song featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, squiggling blasts of guitar, a gorgeous string arrangement, some mellotron and a soaring hook paired with Allbrook’s plaintive vocals. Lyrically, the song addresses the bush fires that devastated much of the band’s homeland and the inequality gap in Allbrook’s Western Australian hometown.
  • Human Touch,” an uptempo, DEVO-like thrasher centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, buzzing bass synths, scorching feedback and distortion, a relentless motorik groove, blown out beats and a rousingly anthemic hook.

9‘s latest single is the slow-burning and sprawling “Take Me Avalon I’m Young.” Centered around an arrangement that features twinkling keys, shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line an alternating pensive verses, soaring strings and an uptempo chorus and bridge with big breakbeats and squiggling guitar bursts and layered vocals, the song is world weary, bummed out and weighted by history — or more precisely, the recognition that history doesn’t repeat, but it certainly alludes, rhymes and references itself to the point that everything feels like deja vu.

“Turns out my medieval history degree is still lingering in the back streets of my mind,” Nicholas Allbrook says of the sprawling single. “The final resting place of Arthur, the mythic isles where we could go for peace and prosperity but which turns out to be an expensive grey grind. A sense of wonder becomes more and more slippery as the years go by. I’m actually really proud of this tune.”

Directed by award-winning filmmaker and creative director Bunny Kinney, the recently released video for “Take Me Avalon I’m Young” was shot in Hastings, UK and follows the band’s Allbrook running, swimming, shooting, fencing and playing basketball — terribly. There’s also some morning yoga in what looks very cold conditions and some freak the fuck out dancing. The visual continues a run of visuals that are fun but kind of bittersweet, as it captures a feeling of things being lost or impossible to recreate.

“This was, no joke, the most fun video I’ve ever been a part of. I spent two days rushing around Hastings with my dear friend Bunny and the lovely George, Joe and James Beatty, running, swimming, shooting, fencing and playing terrible basketball,” Allbrook says of the video. “It was a dream come true. The freezing sunrise yoga was magical in retrospect, even if I was a brat at the time (sorry Bunny). A perfect seaside weekend; I got to play, and Bunny got to create an ode to his favorite sport, the modern pentathlon. Massive thanks to Lewis and Steph for their patience and kindness as my instructors.”

New Video: Spaceface Teams up with LABRYS on a Breezy and Funky Meditation on Life Choices

Founded back in 2012 by Jake Ignalls, a former member of The Flaming Lips, Spaceface is self-professed “retro-futurist dream rock” outfit is split between Memphis and Los Angeles — and features current and past members of The Flaming Lips and Pierced. Since their formation, Spaceface has developed a reputation for crafting catchy songs that whirl, twirl, bend and stretch, attract and propel while sonically featuring elements of dream pop, funk, rock and post-disco.

Spaceface’s forthcoming full-length album Anemoia is slated for a January 28, 2022 release though Montreal-based label Mothland. Anemoia is the result of several months spent at Blackwatch Studios in 2019 where the band spent several months working with Jarod Evans writing material inspired by funk rock and the turn of the millennium psychedelia revival. Although the material can be initially perceived as a feat of efficient and minimalistic songwriting by Ignalls and a cast of friends and collaborators, as the result of slick melodies, lush arrangements and effortlessly flowing rhythmic grooves, each spin reveals a new layer, painting a positive but somewhat critical portrayal of modern life.

In the lead up to the album’s early 2022 release, Mothland and the self-professed retro-futurist dream rock have released three singles off the album to date: “Happens All The Time,” “Earth In Awe,” and “Piña Collider,” which featured samples and choir vocals from actual CERN scientists. Anemmoia‘s fourth and latest single “Long Time (feat. LABRYS),” which features Penny Pitchlynn, best known for her work with BRONCHO and LABRYS taking on vocal duties. Centered around a breezy and lush arrangement featuring glistening synth arpeggios, crunchy bass lines and thumping beats that recalls Tame Impala, “Long Time” contemplates life choices and alternate realities through a series of “well, what if I did x instead of y.”
 
“It’s about that dreamlike state of wondering where you could be in your own life if you had just taken that left down the other road instead of taking a right,” Spaceface’s Jake Ignalls explains in press notes.  “It’s this inescapable feeling that sometimes you’ve slipped into an alternate reality without realizing and you think, ‘My god, is this my life? There’s another one for me out there.’” 

Directed by Marina Aguerre, the recently released video for “Long Time” was shot on grainy VHS tape and follows three people — two women and a presumably Spaceface himself — getting ready for a small gathering, where the trio eventually dances the night away through trippy effects.

New Video: Rising London Instrumental Act Los Bitchos Solve Crimes, Dance and Kick Ass in New Visual for Expansive “Las Panteras”

Rising, London-based instrumental act Los Bichos — Australia-born, London-based Serra Petale (guitar); Uruguay-born, London-based Agustina Ruiz (keytar); Sweden-born, London-based Josefine Jonsson (bass) and London-born and-based Nic Crawshaw (drums) — features individual members with different upbringings, who have developed a unique, retro-futuristic sound that blends elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf rock, as well the music each individual member grew up with: The Uruguayan-born Ruiz had a Latin-American music collection that the members of the band fell in love with. The Swedish-born Jonsson “brings a touch of out of control pop,” her bandmates often joke. And the London-born Crawshaw played in a number of local punk bands before joining Los Bitchos. “Coming from all these different places,” Serra Petale says, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit when it comes to our influences.”

The band can trace its own origins through its members meeting at all-night house parties or through various friends. And interestingly enough, the London-based outfit’s highly anticipated Alex Kapranos-produced full-length debut, Let The Festivities Begin! is slated for a February 4, 2022 release through City Slang Records.

Recorded at Gallery Studios, Let The Festivities Begin! further establishes Los Bitchos reputation for crafting maximalist and Technicolor, instrumental party jams with a cinematic quality. The celebratory title is something you might say while toasting dear friends, families and even strangers at the end of this horrible period to usher in a period of carefree debauchery. “It’s about being together and having a really good time,” Los Bitchos say in press notes.

The album’s first single “Las Panteras” is an expansive disco funk strut featuring wiry post punk meets Nile Rodgers funk meets surf rock-like guitars, a sinuous bass line and shimmering synths paired with bongos, cowbells and cabasa that hits at Turkish pop and 80s rock. It’s funky and mind-bending jam that will get the party started y’all.

Directed by Tom Mitchell, the recently released video for “Las Panteras” features the members of the band as a part of the cast of a crime-fighting and crime-solving unit, like Charlie’s Angels. Fittingly, while the quartet is busy trying to find their new arch enemy, Las Panteras, there is some some sassy choreographed dance breaks that add even more levity to the affair.

“We wanted to show the mystery of the song combined with sassy dance moves. Inspirations for the video are Kill Bill, Scooby Doo & Spice Girls’s ‘Wannabe’ video,” Los Bitchos’ Agustina Ruiz explains in press notes. “The huge battle climax at the end is a Bram Stoker Dracula inspired fight which will leave you hanging for what’s in store next, between Las Panteras and the girls. A tacky ‘70s show in which the band must solve the mystery of Las Panteras, taking a break now and then to bust out some sassy choreographed dance sequences to keep their spirits up! To be continued… “

New Video: Absolutely Free Releases a Trippy and Mind-Bending Visual for “Epilogue”

Acclaimed Toronto-based psych pop act Absolutely Free — multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Matt King, Michael Claxton (bass, synths) and Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg (drums, synths) — is an offshoot of experimental rock outfit DD/MM/YYYY, an act whose multi-rhythmic, boundary pushing raison d’être provided a springboard for Absolutely Free’s sound and approach.

The Canadian psych trio’s full-length debut, 2014’s Absolutely Free. received a Polaris Prize nomination and widespread critical applause from the likes of PitchforkThe FADERStereogumBrooklynVegan,Exclaim!Under the RadarPopMattersAllMusic and countless others. 

Over the past decade, the members of the Absolutely Free have cultivated and developed a long-held reputation for an unorthodox approach to both conceiving and performing music: Since the release of Absolutely Free., the Toronto-based psych pop act have released an array of multimedia projects and releases including 2019’s Geneva Freeport EP, which features U.S. Girls‘ Meg Remy. And adding to a growing profile they’ve toured alongside the likes of AlvvaysYouth Lagoon and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations, and they’ve shared bills with Beak>, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, U.S. Girls and Fucked Up

Absolutely Free’s highly-anticipated Jorge Elbrecht-produced sophomore album Aftertouch is slated for release tomorrow through Boiled Records. Deriving its name from a the name of a synthesizer function, the album is fueled by the trio’s desire to “. . . to create an album that wasn’t bound by a physical ability to perform it live, to not only expand our palette, but also to consider the live performance as something completely separate.” Culling from a myriad of influences including krautrock, New Wave, early electronic dance music, and an array of international psych and funk complications, the album sonically and aesthetically finds the trio shifting in, around and between analog and digital sounds, and real and fabricated images while simultaneously reveling in and refuting the loss of tactility. Thematically, the album explores narratives of hegemony, grief and exploitation in the present while sustaining curiosity for the unknown post-everything future. 

In the lead-up to the album’s release, I’ve written about two of Aftertouch‘s previously released singles:

  • Interface,” a dreamily maximalist song featuring glistening synth arpeggios, percussive and angular guitar blasts, a chugging bass line and an insistent rhythm paired with plaintive vocals that reminded me of  Amoral-era Violens — in particular, “Trance Like Turn.”
  • Remaining Light” is a sprawling track with two distinct parts — a cinematic and atmospheric instrumental introduction featuring twinkling keys, glistening synths and clinking marimba. At around the 2:20 mark, the song slowly morphs into a slow-burning and brooding bit of pop featuring King’s plaintive, reverb drenched vocals ethereally floating over the mix. The end result is a song that — to my ears, at least — sounded like a slick synthesis of The Fixx’s “Sign of Fire” and Amoral-era Violens. 

Album opening track “Epilogue” is Aftertouch‘s latest single. Beginning with a whirring to life, “Epilogue” is a slow-burning and reflective track that slowly builds into a maximalist crescendo towards its conclusion centered around a lush, New Wave inspired arrangement of glistening synth arpeggios, skittering beats paired with a motorik groove and King’s achingly plaintive vocals ethereally floating over the mix. But underneath the breezy and expansive arrangement, “Epilogue” manages to possess a wistful and melancholy air.

“‘Epilogue (After Touch)’ conjures an existence, where a linear progression of time no longer seems applicable. With reference to cinematic narrative, the lyrics touch upon living in a contemporary culture that seems to be referential and symbolic of what’s already in the past,” the members of Absolutely Free explain in press notes.

Directed by Rachelle Walkers, the recently released video for “Epilogue” is brooding and trippy as it features footage of a rollercoaster rendered through a fuzzy, neon-colored negative with prismatic figures superimposed over the proceedings.

Live Footage: Joe Wong Performs “Nite Creatures” in a Backyard

Last year, I spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Milwaukee-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and JOVM mainstay Joe Wong. As a musician, Wong has had a lengthy career as a drummer with stints in NYC-based noise rock act Parts & Labor — and he’s toured with Mary Timony and Marnie Stern. But over the past handful of years, he has made a name for himself as a prolific composer for TV and film, crafting scores for Master of NoneRussian DollUgly DeliciousAwkafina is Nora from Queens, The Midnight Gospel, To All The Boys and a lengthy list of others. Wong is also the host of the popular The Trap Set podcast.

Written in in the years between his father suffering a stroke in 2010 and his death in 2019, Wong’s Mary Timony-produced, full-length debut Nite Creatures featured 10 ruminative and baroque, psych pop songs that thematically explored the intersection of melancholy and joyful surrender. In the lead-up to the album’s release, I wrote about five of the album’s singles — including the slow-burning album title track “Nite Creatures,” a swooning and rapturous bit of psychedelia that thematically explored existential dread and sounded a bit like Scott 3 era Scott Walker.

Wong recently shared some intimate and gorgeous live footage of “Nite Creatures” filmed last year in Pasadena, CA backyard that features Wong backed by strings and keyboard. Originally premiered as part of Flood Magazine‘s Neighborhood Sessions, the live footage serves as a bit of a taste of what to expect of Wong’s forthcoming tour with his backing band Nite Creatures, which will feature Wong (vocals, guitar); Ex Hex and Helium‘s Mary Timony (guitar); Atoms for Peace‘s, Roger Waters‘ and Beck‘s Joey Waronker (drums); Faraquet’s and Medications‘ Chad Molter (bass); Lo Moon‘s Crisanta Baker (keys); Kid Congo’s and The Makeup’s Mark Cisneros (flute); John Zorn‘s, Bjork‘s and Anthony Braxton‘s Shelly Burrgon, along with a string octet and horn quartet.

Two of the newly announced dates will feature Joe Wong and Nite Creatures opening for The ZombiesColin Blunstone — and then backing Blunstone as he plays his solo debut album One Year for the first time ever, in conjunction with the release of the expanded 50th anniversary reissue through Sundazed Music. Tickets go on sale Friday at 9am Pacific/noon Eastern. You can purchase tickets here: https://www.nitecreatures.com

Tour dates, which include a November 8, 2021 stop at The Gramercy Theatre are below.

JOE WONG + NITE CREATURES LIVE SHOWS

October 2 Dana Point, CA – Ohana Encore @ Doheny State Beach **with Pearl Jam

November 2 Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater **with Colin Blunstone

November 8 New York, NY – The Gramercy Theatre **with Colin Blunstone