Category: Single Review

 

Earlier this month, I wrote about the long-lost collaboration between godheadSilo‘s Mike Kunka and The Melvins — the creatively titled outfit, Mike and The Melvins. As the story goes, when godheadSilo went on what eventually turned out to be a permanent hiatus in 1998, Kunka busied himself by tagging along on a tour with The Melvins. And at some point the members of The Melvins — King Buzzo (guitar, bass, vocals), Dale Crover (drums, vocals) and Kevin Rutmanis (bass, vocals)– along with Kunka decided to record an album together. The thrilled folks at  Sub Pop Records agreed to fund and release the indie All-Star act’s effort, and the newly minted quartet went into the studio in 1999 with the album slated for release back in 2000. Unfortunately, after some self-described “junior-high level bullshit,” some record label disputes, an illness or two, surgeries and stolen gear, and fortunately some children, the then-unfinished album would up languishing and collecting dust on someone’s shelf — that is until last year, Kunka, King Buzzo, Crover and Rutmanis surprisingly reconvened, finished the album now titled Three Men and a Baby and sent it to Sub Pop Records, who then promptly scheduled its release for April 1, 2016.

Now you might recall that “Chicken n Dump,” the first single off Three Men and a Baby was a punishingly loud, mosh-pit worthy song consisting of layers of sludgy power chords, crunchy bass, thundering drumming, howled vocals and shout along-worthy hooks. And what made it particularly interesting to me was the fact that it managed to sound as though it were released 20 years ago while being remarkably contemporary as the song sonically speaking compares favorably to the likes of NirvanaSoundgarden — and even METZ. Three Men and a Baby‘s second and latest single “Limited Teeth” has the quartet pairing layers of sludgy power chords, insistent and forceful drumming, a sneering yet anthemic hook and howled vocals to create a song that sounds as though it draws from Reign in Blood-era Slayer and death metal, as the song is abrasive and punishingly loud; in fact, it may be even more punishing than the album’s first single — while being equally mosh pit worthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Melancholic Visuals and Sounds of WILDHART’s “We Made Up A Dream”

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Gothenburg, Sweden-based indie electro pop trio WILDHART, and with the release of “Stuck In A Second,” the trio comprised of  Ylva Homdahl (vocals), Kiwi Berg (synths) and Josefin Runsteen (drums) quickly […]

Over the course of last year, Detroit, MI-based duo Gosh Pith have become JOVM mainstays while gaining a rapidly growing national profile for a sound that possessed elements of hip-hop, electro pop, stoner rock, dub, trap music, drum ‘n’ bass and other genres — and for a songwriting approach that generally focused on capturing and evoking a specific feeling or sensation, rather than a concrete narrative. Interestingly, over that same period of time, the prolific duo have been experimenting with their sound and songwriting approach as their overall sound has become increasingly warmer and R&B-leaning with guitar taking a much more prominent role on subsequent releases.

Now you may recall that the duo closed out what turned out to be a huge 2015 with the release of “Gold Chain,” the first single and title track off the duo’s forthcoming EP, Gold Chain, which is slated for a February 26 release through B3SCI Records and with a set opening for Girlyboi at Rough Trade. Earlier this year, I wrote about the EP’s second single “K9,” a single that continued where the first single left off as skittering drum programming, wobbling bass, guitar chords fed through reverb and delay pedals and sultry hip-hop and R&B inspired vocals in a way that subtly hints at Timbaland — but much more atmospheric. The EP’s third and latest single “New Balance,” featuring Martez  continues to be a gentle expansion and revision of their sound as the duo pair swelling and undulating synths, trap and wobbling, footwork-inspired beats, spectral atmospherics with chopped up vocals briefly busting out of the ether and explosive bursts of guitar in what may arguably be the most shimmering yet propulsive track the duo have released to date.

 

 

Earlier, I wrote a lengthy post about pioneering Raleigh, NC/NYC-based shoegaze quintet The Veldt. Currently comprised of founding members and identical twin brothers Daniel Chavis (vocals, guitar) and Danny Chavis (guitar) along with Hayato Nakao (bass), Frank Olsen (guitar), and Martin Levi (drums), the quintet can trace their origins to the vital and quirky Chapel Hill, NC music scene of the late 80s and early 90s — a scene that featured Superchunk (perhaps, the best known out of that entire scene), PolvoDillon Fence and others. Initially featuring the Chavis Brothers and Levi along with Joseph “Hue” Boyle (bass) and later David Burris, The Veldt managed to be a rather extreme rarity  as shoegaze act prominently featuring black men in a genre, as well as a place and time in which it was considered highly unusual — and honestly still is; however, despite how unusual it seemed, the then-Chapel Hill, NC-based band quickly attained “must-see” status in their home city and a rapidly growing national profile with the release of their debut effort Marigolds. 

Their 1994 Ray Shulman-produced sophomore effort Afrodisiac propelled the band towards international recognition and the band wound up opening and touring with the likes of  The Jesus and Mary ChainLushOasisCocteau TwinsPixiesFishbone, Corrosion of Conformity and others. Unfortunately, throughout their initial run together, the members of the band found with their management and labels who found them “too difficult to market” as their sound meshed elements of old school soul and shoegaze. And unsurprisingly, the band got dropped from their label. Struggling to fund writing, recording, releasing and marketing their work and touring, the band went through several lineup changes before officially going on hiatus in 1998.

Several years later, the Chavis Brothers had relocated to New York and started their post The Veldt project, Apollo Heights, which received quite a bit of buzz locally for a sound that added trip-hop and electronica to their previous mix of shoegaze and soul. In fact, I can clearly remember reading a raving and informative profile of the band in the old New York Press, a few years before I started to write for the publication. And honestly, it shouldn’t be surprising that critics and journalists were raving about the band — their 2007 Apollo Heights debut White Music For Black People was produced by Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie and featured guest spots from Guthrie on guitar, Mos DefLady Kier of Deee- LiteTV on the Radio‘s Dave Sitek, and Mike Ladd.

Sadly, despite their early successes the Chavis Brothers work have been reduced to largely cult-favorite status; but interestingly enough, their work in The Veldt and Apollo Heights has managed to quietly reverberate and influence some highly regarded contemporary musicians — the members of  Bloc Party and TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek have publicly claimed The Veldt as influences on their work and sound, which has proven that the Chavis Brothers had the somewhat bitter misfortunate of being about 20 years ahead of their time; however, with the forthcoming release of The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation Mixtape, their first batch of original material in almost 20 years, the members of the reformed band seek to firmly establish their claim as the forebears and pioneers of a sound and aesthetic that has captured the blogosphere and fans by storm. And interestingly enough, they hop they do so in a similar fashion to the incredible renaissance that the members of Detroit-based proto-punk/proto-metal band Death has seen over the past few years.

“Sanctified,” the first single off The Shocking Fuzz reveals how deeply indebted TV on the Radio’s sound is to The Veldt as towering squalls of guitar chords played through gentle amounts of reverb paired with skittering yet propulsive drum programming and Danny Chavis’ soulful crooning in a tender and swooning song that evokes the feeling of being desperately, madly, stupidly in love — in a way that nods at subtly cosmic version of The Jesus and Mary Chain, if they had been influenced by Fishbone , Marvin Gaye and Prince; in other words, it’s shoegaze that manages to be irresistibly sexy.

 

 

Over the last few years, Daptone Records has released a series of albums documenting the gospel and church-based music from the Mississippi River Delta region — in particular Como, Mississippi.  The third album in the series, Panola County Spirit is the debut effort from The Walker Family Singers, who were originally discovered and featured on the Daptone Records compilation, The Voices of Panola County: Como Now.

Comprised of Raymond and Joella Walker, three of their four daughters, Alberta, Patricia and Delouse, and their two songs Robert and Bobby, the gospel quintet is well known throughout their hometown: the Walkers have a long history of preaching the gospel as the Walker men have been preachers for many generations and the entire family continues a long and proud musical tradition that goes back quite some time. In fact, this should tell you well regarded the Walkers are in Mississippi Delta region — back in the day, Raymond Walker was once recruited by Fred McDowell and the legendary Sam Cooke to back them on tour for what would have been a rather significant amount of money. And as the story goes, the Walker patriarch refused unless McDowell and Cooke did gospel instead of the blues. McDowell vehemently refused and the rest is pretty much history.

Although the deeply religious would consider the blues as the devil’s music, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that the gospel and the blues from the region share so much deeply in common sonically, spiritually and aesthetically, and when you hear “Jesus Gave Me Water,” the first single off the album slated for a March 18 release, you’ll immediately feel as though you were taken back in time; perhaps to the days of Alan Lomax running around making field recordings of the blues musicians and gospel singers, who would become some of the towering and most influential names of contemporary music — in particular, think of Robert Johnson (who was murdered three weeks before Lomax arrived to record him), Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and countless others. Much like those classic and dusty recordings, the song possesses deceptive simplicity — led by Raymond Walker, the song features the vocalists singing acapella in a gorgeous and layered call and response harmony in a song that describes finding Jesus in a profound yet very simple fashion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comprised of founding member Hugh Matthews (guitar and vocals), Drew Schapper (drums and Johnny Moretti (guitar) Melbourne, Australia-based shoegaze trio Pretty City can trace their origins to when Matthew sent demos to Schapper and Moretti, who all knew each other from Melbourne’s music scene. And as the story goes, after two rehearsals the newly formed trio began playing shows around Australia and receiving attention for a sound that’s indebted to The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and The Smashing Pumpkins; in fact, their Heights EP was released in 2013 to critical praise from several national outlets including The Music.

Building upon the success of Heights, the band recently finished a tour of Australia’s East Coast to support the release of their critically applauded single “Mary Go Round” and to build buzz for the forthcoming release of their full-length debut effort, Colorize. The album’s latest single “Running Around” is an enormous, arena-friendly song with equally enormous and anthemic hooks paired with dense, fuzzy, feedback slathered power chords, thundering drumming and earnestly sung vocals in a song that channels classic Brit Pop and shoegaze — but with a modern sheen and earnestness that ensures that their sound and aesthetic isn’t derivative.

The Australian trio plans to make their Stateside debut during next month’s SXSW in Austin, and I suspect that we’ll be hearing quite a bit more about them over the next few months.

 

 

 

 

Mikey Wax is a New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, whose profile has exploded nationally and internationally as a number of his singles and albums have achieved commercial success and placement in a number of major TV series. After “In Case I Go Again,” off his debut effort Change Again won South Florida-based WRMF 97.9 FM‘s Unsigned Artist contest, the song was featured on CBS‘s Ghost Whisperer, NBC‘s 2012 Summer Olympics coverage and ABC Family‘s Pretty Little Liars  — and the music video was featured as part of YouTube‘s Music Tuesday spotlight, which garnered over 500,000 views. Wax’s 2011 self-released sophomore effort Constant Motion landed at number 6 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart, number 47 on Billboard Heatseekers Chart, with album single “Counting On You” receiving major radio airplay on major Adult Top 40 stations across the country.

As as a result of his rapid success, Wax was selected by New Music SeminarNew  as one of their “Artists on the Verge” and was featured by iHeartRadio as an “Artist To Watch” in 2012 — and “Counting On You” was featured during the elimination montage on every episode of Fox’So You Think You Can Dance that season. Additionally, the song was featured in the trailer for the major motion picture Playing for Keeps which lead to coverage from USA Today and Young Hollywood. “For Better Or Worse” was featured on Lifetime‘s Dance Moms while “So Crazy” appeared in a promo teaser for Brazilian TV network GNT, which led to the song charting on the Top 100 iTunes Pop Chart Brazil and a sub-publishing deal with Warner/Chappell South America.

 

The New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s self-titled, third full length effort was released in 2014 and featured “You Lift Me Up,” which debuted on iTunes US Top 200 Pop Charts and has since been placed on MTV‘s The Real World and The Challenge: The Battle of the Exes II, the season 10 promo for E! Entertainment‘s Keeping Up With The Kardashians and all Fox Sports NBA games throughout the second half of the 2015 season. Building on the success he’s received to date, Wax’s “Love Always Wins (#LoveWins)” was also featured on the promo for E! Entertainment’s I Am Cait and on the SoundHound app homepage.

I have to add that the New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has toured with the likes of Parachute, Andy Grammer, Jon McLaughlin, Matt Wertz, Rachel Platten, Howie Day, Tyler Ward, Ryan Cabrera, Tyler Hilton, Tony Lucca and others.

“Bottle of Jack,” Wax’s most recent single pairs Wax’s soulful vocals with a neo-soul-like arrangement of shimmering keyboard chords, loose and funky guitar chords, propulsive drumming, soaring synths and a sinuous bass line to craft an radio-friendly pop confection that has its narrator describing the sensation of being in love to drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels. And at points, it certainly can feel that way! In any case, Achtabahn released a house music remix of “Bottle of Jack” that pairs Wax’s effortlessly soulful vocals with a warm, Random Access Memories-era Daft Punk production consisting of a sinuous bass line, warm blasts of Nile Rodgers-like guitar shimmering neo-soul like keys, handclap-led percussion, swirling electronics, bleeps and bloops and wobbling, tweeter and woofer wobbling drops that makes the song dance floor friendly while retaining the radio-friendly pop confection spirit of the original.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of “The Motions” featuring Chris Rivers, “The Road” produced by Sicknature of Snowgoons, Boston-based artist Rite Hook has received attention and praise as an emcee and as a vocalist. Building up on the buzz, he’s received Rite Hook has released a moody and spectral cover of Stone Temple Pilots‘ classic “Creep,” which has the Boston-based emcee and vocalist channeling Scott Weiland with an uncanny accuracy — as though he were possessed by the late vocalist’s spirit during the recording of the song.

Pairing The Arcitype’s production consisting of ominous atmospherics, layers of bluesy and buzzing guitars and propulsive drum programming with Rite Hook’s vocals, their rendition is a modern, Portishead-inspired cover that replaces the acoustic guitars of the original’s verses and electric guitars of the song’s chorus and hook while retaining the melancholy introspection of the original. Unfortunately, “Creep” will not appear on Rite Hook’s forthcoming full-length Modify — but from what I understand there are plans to official release it sometime this year.