Category: Single Review

Last year, I wrote about the Vancouver, BC experimental pop/electro pop act I M U R, and as you may recall, that with the release of 2015’s debut EP Slow Dive, the Canadian trio,  which is comprised of Jenny Lea (vocals, keys), Mikey J. Blige (live production, guitar) and Amine Bouzaher (electric violin, bass) have received attention in Vancouver’s underground scene and elsewhere for a sound that draws from 90s R&B, 90s soul, contemporary electro pop in a rather unique fashion. Interestingly, that EP at one point landed at #5 on Spotify Global Viral Charts.

Building upon a growing profile, the Vancouver-based pop trio has received attention and praise from a number of national and internally known media outlets, including Vice NoiseyExclaim!, Hiphop Canada, Beatroute Magazine and Winniecooper.net, who listed the trio as one of Vancouver’s Top Acts to watching out for in 2016. They’ve also played at a number of festivals across their native Canada such as  Shambhala Music Festival, World Ski and Snowboard Festival,Astral Harvest, Center of Gravity and Rifflandia.

Last year, the members of I M U R released their full-length debut Little Death, and the album further cemented their reputation for crafting material that thematically explores and focuses on extremely dark subjects — namely drugs, booze and sex, as well as the prototypical pop themes of heartache, resiliency and intimacy with a fearless lack of inhibition. Interestingly, the slow-burning “Miss You, Hate You” the first single off the trio’s forthcoming THIRTY33 EP is a deeply intimate account of Jenny Lea’s personal struggles with addition rooted around the duality of her life — both as an addict and as a former addict. As Lea explains, “This was a very important but difficult song for me to write. I’m opening up about a very private part of my life in hopes to connect with others that might be struggling, and to let them know that they’re not alone.”

As the trio mentions via email, the track was self-recorded in the bedroom of their temporary Montreal apartment last spring, and sonically the track is centered around a sparse production consisting of shuffling beats, swirling and undulating electronics paired with Lea’s sultry jazzy and confessional delivery; in some way, the song is late night secret, whispered among friends or lovers — with the understanding that while it won’t get out of that room, that it’ll make you much closer.

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Throughout the bulk of this site’s 8 year history, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned Swedish-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and as you know with his solo electro pop/dream pop recording project Summer Heart has received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that at points has been compared to CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others. Additionally, Alexander has been considered among the first wave of Sweden’s contemporary electro pop and dream pop movement along with the likes of MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.
With his 12 Songs ofSummer, Alexander adds his name to an increasing number of artists, who have adopted a single of the month series over the past couple of years, and as you can imagine doing so manages to make a helluva lot of sense creatively, financially, and marketing-wise in the blogosphere age. Creatively speaking, the artist isn’t constrained by having the pressure of writing material with a  cohesive style or theme in mind, as they would if they were writing for an EP or a full-length album; however, in order for the concept to work, they are required to come up with material within relatively strict and regularly occurring deadlines. Financially, independent artists, who may be struggling to find ways to fund their efforts to record and tour, can put out material quickly — and in the blogosphere age, it can ensure that the artist can receive some sort of attention over the course of year, outside of the album cycle. As Alexander explained in press notes, “The idea behind this project is to show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case when you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”
“Aftershock,” the latest single in the 12 Songs of Summer project is a swaggering and flirty single centered around Alexander’s falsetto which for this song takes on a smooth jazz-like quality paired with shuffling drum programming and twinkling synths to create a song that evokes silk sheets on naked skin, of making love on an early summer morning with the windows open to let in a soft breeze. Arguably, it’s one of Alexander’s sultriest songs to date.

Deriving their name from a line in Jules Verne’s 2000 Leagues Under The Sea — “There’s a powerful agent, obedient, rapid, easy, which conforms to every use, and reigns supreme on board my ship. Everything is done by means of it. It lights it, it warms it, and is the soul of my mechanical vessel. This agent is electricity.” — the London-based synth pop act Everything by Electricity can trace its origins to when its founding member Yulia, who grew up in post-Soviet Siberia, loving music and desperately wanting to create music; in fact, a young Yulia was essentially blacklisted for having behavioral problems amongst peers involved in crime and hard drug use — for playing an electric guitar and wearing a Kurt Cobain hoodie. Initially, the project started as a solo, bedroom recording project until she recruited Daniel (bass guitar, synthesisers) and Manoela (drums, pads) to become a fully fleshed out band.

Unsurprisingly, the British synth pop trio’s material draws from its Siberian-born founder and primary songwriter’s experiences, particularly the alienation and loneliness of being misunderstood and singled out for being different from her peers. The band’s moody and cinematic new single “Place to Call My Own” focuses on a narrator, who escapes to find solace in London, where she could freely express herself through music. Sonically, the track finds the trio pairing Yulia’s achingly lonely and wistful vocals with swirling and shimmering synths and precise, mechanical drum programming; but at its core is a bittersweet realization that while she may be able to express herself as she’s always felt fit that on a certain level, she’s still as lonely and misunderstood.

Interestingly, as the band’s frontwoman and primary songwriter says of the song, “I wrote this song a long time in Siberia, before I moved to London. Initially, I didn’t intend for it to be a track I’d record and ultimately finish – it had just been sitting incomplete in an old lyric book for years. I recently came across the same book and found this unfinished song; it haunted me for days, I couldn’t take my mind off it, so dropped what I was currently working on and brought ‘Place To Call My Own’ to life.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood Blush is a rather mysterious New York-based post-punk act, and their latest single, the shimmering and moody “Demon Clout” as the band told me through email is “one on the lines of post-punk and goth but I think we are trying to blur some lines and call it ‘dreamgoth’ or something along those lines.” Interestingly enough, to my ears, Blood Blush’s latest single reminds me a bit of Chain of Flowers, Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees and others.

The New York-based act will be touring throughout the summer and it includes two local dates — July 10, 2018 at Jersey City’s Pet Shop and July 13, 2018 at Bushwick Public House. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
J U L Y
07.10.18 JERSEY CITY, NJ at Pet Shop with Diap, Gherdty and Sailor Boyfriend.
07.13.18 BROOKLYN, NY at Bushwick Public House with Live Well, Leight Blumer and Keef Clan.
07.25.18 PHILADELPHIA, PA at Philamoca with NITE, The New Division and Korine.
07.26.18 PITTSBURGH, PA at Belvederes (Coven) with Death Instinct.
07.27.18 BALTIMORE, MD at The Baltimore Free Farm with Carl Gene and The Ward.
A U G U S T
08.16.18 KUTZTOWN, PA at Mind Palace with Reaches.
08.17.18 WILKES BARRE, PA at Karl Hall with Draining Youth, The Ordinals and Mr. Softee.
08.18.18 SYRACUSE, NY at The Spit Fam Haus with Siren’s Image and The Shuvits.
08.19.18 ROCHESTER, NY at Rosen Krown with Jan The Actress and Buffalo Sex Change.
08.20.18 SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY at Desperate Annie’s (Super Dark Collective Showcase).
O C T O B E R
10.19.18 COLUMBUS, OH at No Culture (Video Performance – 5pm).
10.19.18 COLUMBUS, OH at Tree Bar with Master Servos and Child of Night.
10.20.18 INDIANAPOLIS, IN at The Spruce Goose with Tombaugh Regio and Den Dwellers.
10.22.18 HAMMTRACK, MI at The New Dodge Lounge with TBA.
10.24.18 MONTREAL, QE at Mademoiselle with Spring Blades and TBA.
10.25.18 SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY at Desperate Annie’s (Super Dark Collective Showcase) with Spell Runner and Bare Mattress.

Comprised of Michael Young, Ryan Hayes, Ryan Cross, Glen Scheidt and Travis Girton, the Portland, OR-based indie rock quintet King Who will be releasing their Hutch Harris-produced sophomore full-length album Giant Eye through SELF Group on August 17, 2018 — and reportedly, the album finds the up-and-coming quintet expanding upon their sound as they increasingly incorporate elements of New Wave, post-punk and dream pop  while retaining the heavy bass of their full-length debut Us Lights. Interestingly, Giant Eye‘s first single, the slow-burning “Ice Cream” sonically finds the band drawing from shoegaze and dream pop as the song is centered around shimmering guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring hook and Micheal Young’s plaintive falsetto — and while the song draws from 120 Minutes-era all rock, it has a clean, modern production sheen that makes the song a bit anachronistic.

 

Stockholm, Sweden-based garage punk outfit Sudakistan is a rather unique band — with a unique backstory. Comprised of Michell Serrano (vocals), Maikel Gonzalez (bass), Carlos Amigo (percussion) Juan Jose Espindola (drums) and Arvid Sjöö (guitar), the band features one native Swede — Sjöö — while the the other members relocated from South America. And with the release of their furious and incendiary full-length debut Caballo Negro, the Stockholm-based quintet quickly received attention for a signature sound that meshes elements of Latin music, in particular, Latin rhythm, percussion and groove that would have been part of musical and cultural heritage of Serrano, Gonzalez, Amigo and Espiondola while pairing it with the blistering guitar punk of Thee Oh Sees, At the Drive-In and Death from Above 1979.

Slated for a September 7, 2018 release the Stockholm, Sweden-based punk rock act’s highly-anticipated Daniel Bengtson-produced sophomore album Swedish Cobra finds the band capturing their raw and raucous live sound on record — with all five of the band recording live to tape at Bengtson’s Studio Rymden, and with minimal takes and overdubs. As the band’s Michell Serrano says in press notes, “You can hear that on the album. it’s quite raw and very intense.” And while reportedly being the most blistering effort the band has released to date, it’s also interestingly enough the most experimental one as well, as the members of the band’s roles became much more fluid. Additionally, the album finds the Swedish punk rock band expanding their sound through the use of different instrumentation to the usual punk rock arraignments. “It was much more of a collaboration between the five of us,” Serrano explains. “Things flowed differently. Carlos sings on two or three songs, and Mikael sings on one. We swapped instruments quite a lot, and because we had access to everything in the studio, we were able to use some piano, some acoustic guitar and some mandolin, too.”

Additionally, the album lyrically reportedly is the most personal while not being the most overly political as it deals with the bandmembers’ everyday reality — and unsurprisingly, each individual member contributed lyrical ideas to the whole. “Our first album was made over five years, rather than five months, so the themes on it weren’t as heavy as this. Now, we’re talking about a lot of the things that we’ve gone through together since we started the band, as well as personal things – like, why do I keep repeating the same mistakes. We talk about pursuing our own Swedish reality, but that’s just because we’re living in Sweden – it’s relatable in any other country, I think,” Maikel Gonzalez says in press notes.

To build up buzz for the new album, Sudakistan has released two singles from Swedish Cobra. First is the furious, jangling and swirling psych punk/surf punk “Whiplash” which is centered around Serrano’s howls, pedal effected guitars and tons of feedback, thunderous drumming, subtle bits of Latin percussion — and in some way, the song reminds me a bit of The Black Angels, complete with a swaggering sense of menace and an expansive song structure. Second is the mid-tempo ballad “Two Steps Back” a track that finds the band employing a 90s grunge rock song structure — alternating quiet, loud, quiet sections with a raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worthy hook, blistering power chords and Latin percussion. And while passionate and urgent, there’s something sobering about the material in a heightened age of nationalism, racism, xenophobia and sexism. Cultural exchange and openness has brought about new takes on the familiar, new modes of thinking, new foods, new words and perhaps more important empathy and understanding. Goddamn it, before we completely head off the rails, we need quite a bit more of that these days.

New Audio: Electric Citizen Returns with an Anthemic, Classic Rock-Inspired Single

With the release of 2014’s full-length debut Sateen, the Cincinnati, OH-based quartet Electric Citizen, currently comprised of husband and wife duo, Laura Dolan (vocals) and Ross Dolan (guitar), along with Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums), received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that owes a debt to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, early 70s Rush and others. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on a busy schedule of touring both nationally and internationally with several renowned acts, including Fu Manchu, Wolfmother, The Budos Band, and Pentagram.

The Cincinnati heavy psych rock/heavy metal quartet’s sophomore effort, 2016’s sophomore effort Higher Time found the band expanding upon their sound, as they were crafting muscular and anthemic hooks around prog rock-like structures — within concise songs that typically clocked in at around 3 minutes or so. Additionally, the album found the band’s Lauran Dolan stepping up into more of a frontperson role, which was reflected in their live shows to support their sophomore effort, as she strutted, stomped and swaggered with a larger-than-life confidence. And unsurprisingly, the album was released to massive critical applause from the likes of Consequence of Sound, who placed it on their 20 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016.

Slated for a September 28, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, Electric Citizen’s forthcoming, third full-length effort Helltown derives its name from the neighborhood in which the members of the band live, practices and where the album was written recorded and mixed. Although now more prosaically known as Northside, Helltown earned its name in the early 1800s. thanks to a reputation for the rowdy taverns frequented by the neighborhood’s factory workers and immigrants. And while being an ode to the band’s neighborhood and its buried past, the album reportedly is a sonic return to form with the band employing a grittier sound along the lines of their 2014 debut. Adding upon the overall homecoming theme, the band returns to their original lineup. As the band’s Laura Dolan says in press notes, “In many ways this album is a realignment to the first,” Laura says. “We experimented a lot on the second album, some of which we learned we didn’t like.”

“Hide It In The Night,” Helltown’s first single is centered around Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chords, thundering drumming, arena rock friendly hooks and Laura Dolan’s rock star belter vocals — and while heavily indebted to its influences, the track will further cement the Cincinnati-based band’s reputation for tough, gritty, power chord rippers with an anthemic, larger-than-life feel.

With the release of 2016’s debut effort Language, the Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Hypoluxo, comprised of Samuel Jacob Cogen (vocals, guitar), Cameron Riordan (guitar), Eric Jaso (bass) and Marco Hector Ocampo (drums), have  received attention for a sound and songwriting approach that possesses elements of shoegaze, indie rock and dream pop — but with rapidly changing time signatures.

Running on a Fence, the Brooklyn-based indie rock act’s sophomore album is slated for a September 21, 2018 release through Broken Circles Records, and the album reportedly reveals a band that has expanded upon their sound while retaining the infectious hooks and shimmering yet anachronistic quality that has won them attention; in fact, the album’s first single “Kentucky Smooth” sounds as though it were inspired by The Smiths, The Psychedelic Furs and others, as the track is centered around shimmering guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section, Cogen’s baritone crooning and a wistful sense of regret at its core.

 

Deriving their name from a British English word that means to be an avant-gardist — one who emphasizes, practices and celebrates experimental and unorthodox methods and techniques and incorporates them into a craft, Avantist is a South Side, Chicago-based post-punk act, comprised of the Arias Brothers, Luis (drums), David (guitar), Erick (bass) and Fernando (vocals). And over the past decade, the sibling band has dedicated their live stop making avant-garde music, centered around their shared personal philosophy that art is, should and must be progressive, dynamic and unconventional, and that creativity is something to incorporate in every single aspect of one’s life. \
Now, over the past few weeks I’ve written quite a bit about the Chicago-based sibling band, and as you may recall the band’s recently released EP Terasaoma finds the band stepping out of their comfort zone as they forced themselves to write, record, mix and master the EP’s material within a month, rather than the two years it took for their debut. And while further cementing the Arias Brothers reputation locally and regionally for crafting raucous and infectious post-punk, the band also manages to push their sound and songwriting in new and wildly different directions; in fact, the EP’s material runs the gamut from angular and furious post-punk to soulful R&B. EP single “this_could_be_it” was a thrashing and angular post-punk ripper that featured Fernando Arias singing alternating lyrics in Spanish and English. Interestingly, the EP’s latest single is the furious, screamo, thrash punk of “UVB_76,” a track that sonically reminds me a bit of Thrice and The Blood Brothers, thanks in part to its pummeling intensity.
The Arias Brothers are currently on the road to support the EP. Check out the remaining tour dates below.
Tour Dates
6/25 – Austin, TX – Beerland (w/ The Boleys, Desilu, Black Basements)
6/26 – Spring, TX – The Blue Giraffe (w/ Brainstorm fir Tuesday, Kaleidescope Project, and Zzyzx)
6/28 – Birmingham, AL – Firehouse (w/ False Jasmine, Bible Belt, Mike Hombre)
6/29 – Nashville, TN – Betty’s Grill
6/30 – Louisville, KY – Lydia House (w/ Wax Astro, Legs Akimbo)
7/01 – Champaign, IL – Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (w/ Arboris, Parachute Day)

Over the course of this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Liverpool-based shoegaze quintet and JOVM mainstays The Vryll Society, and as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson received attention from across the blogosphere with the release of an early collection of singles that drew from a diverse array of influences, including FunkadelicAphrodite’s Child, krautrock and classic shoegaze.

The Liverpool-based shoegazers’ long-awaited full-length debut Course Of The Satellite is slated for an August 10, 2018 and the album’s first single “Andrei Rublev,” which was inspired by  Andre Tarkovsky’s 1996  historical, arthouse film Andrei Rublev was a slow-burning and meditative song that found the band’s sound simultaneously nodding at shoegaze and 70s AM rock. Course of the Satellite‘s second and latest single “Light At The Edge Of The World” possesses a shimmering cosmic glow familiar to space rock and shoegaze with subtle prog rock leanings while centered around enormous hooks and some swirling and towering guitar work.