Category: synth punk

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays NØMADS Returns with a Tense and Paranoid New Single

Comprised of Nathan Lithow  (vocals, synths, bass) and Garth Macaleavey (drums), the JOVM mainstay act NØMADS have a rather accomplished history both separately and together, and with the release of 2014’s full-length debut, the duo received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that drew and/or nodded at Nirvana, Fugazi and Girls Against Boys while also nodding at Zack de la Rocha’s post-Rage Against the Machine project, One Day As A Lion  and Japandroids.

After a year-long hiatus from touring and writing, the Brooklyn-based duo spent 2016 writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise their sophomore album PHØBIAC, a concept album in which each song focuses on a different phobia, approached in an abstract, almost clinical fashion. The result is that the material captures the innermost thoughts and anxieties of someone in the grips of crippling fear; but at its core, is a cautionary message for our heightened and uncertain times — that whenever we succumb to the irrationality of our fears, chaos and self-destruction will be the result.  And throughout the course of the year, the duo have released material off PHØBIAC every month but recently, the duo have announced that they’ll be splitting the album into two separate albums — the organic instrumentation-driven PHØBIAC Part 1 and the synth-driven PHØBIAC part 2. 

This month’s latest single “Phasmophøbia” focuses on the fear of the paranormal and of ghosts — both literal and figurative. Recorded live in Pittsburgh in the murky shadows of an abandoned Catholic school’s furnace room in one full take with no edits, “Phasmophøbia”  consists of a fast and loose, improvised jam-like arrangement featuring swirling and twisting synth chords paired with boom-bap hip-hop-inspired drumming which evoke a sweaty, nauseating paranoia, which shouldn’t be surprising as the song focuses on an ex-lover, who perpetually haunts the street of the paranoid narrator’s daily world; and in fact, the song’s narrator recognizes that his past is sickeningly inescapable. 


With the release of 2014’s We Are Nots, the Memphis, TN-based punk rock quartet Nots, currently comprised of founding member Natalie Hoffman, along with Charlotte Watson (drums), Madison Farmer (bass) and Alexandra Eastburn (synths), quickly rose to national prominence for a sound that possessed elements of 60s garage rock, punk, thrash punk, No Wave and New Wave. And since 2014, the Memphis-based punk quartet has been rather prolific, realizing a handle of singles that revealed a band that had expanded upon their sound while lyrically focusing on deeper, sociopolitical concerns; in fact, Cosmetic, Nots’ sophomore effort thematically focused on the rough and complicated edges of desire, deceit and distortions — and how they impact both appearances and your sense of reality. And in many ways, the album seemed to capture a narrator struggling to find some kind of footing in a vicious, perverse and fucked up world.

Now, a little bit of time has passed since I’ve written about the JOVM mainstays but they’ve been busy writing and recording new material — including their forthcoming 7 inch single “Violence”/”Cruel Friend,” which is slated for a June 30, 2017 release through Goner Records. And from the single’s “A side, “Violence,” the band has further experimented with their sound, pushing their sound in new, weird directions — all while still remaining a wild, feral rock band; in fact, the band replaces most of the guitar work for layers of buzzing and forceful synths, and as a result, it gives the song a razor sharp sense of menace and irony.





New Video: The Patiently Surreal and Gorgeous Visuals for Mark Pritchard’s Gorgeous Collaboration with Thom Yorke, “Beautiful People”

Warp Records released Pritchard’s latest effort Under the Sun earlier this year, and from all accounts the album has Pritchard maintaining the lush and accessible production style that has won him international attention — but while crafting material that may arguably be the least club and dance-floor ready he’s released to date. Interestingly, one of the album’s singles is”Beautiful People,” a lush and ethereal collaboration with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke that pairs Yorke’s plaintive and aching vocals with a slow-burning production that possesses an almost painterly quality as it consists of an airy and gorgeous, looped flute sample, steady yet tribal-like drum programming and cascading layers of shimmering and undulating synths. In some way sonically speaking, the song meshes the ancient and tribal with the contemporary in a way that’s spectral –and in fact, in some way the song reminds the listener that ghosts linger and have a way of haunting your life in unexpected ways. That shouldn’t be surprising because as Pritchard explained in press notes “The original instrumental to ‘Beautiful People’ is a personal song about loss, hopelessness and chaos, but ultimately the message is love and hope. Thom’s contribution to this collaboration captured perfectly what the piece is about. . .”

The recently released video is a stunningly gorgeous video that follows its hooded, central character as it hikes and explores scenery that possess an otherworldly beauty before revealing that the character is a sort of Thom Yorke avatar. As the camera pans out in a cinematic fashion, it manages to reveal how small and insignificant its central character is the proceedings at hand — that is before some amazing gravity defying action at the end. Much like the song that inspired it, the video possesses a patient yet intense quality.

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past two years you’d be pretty well versed on  Memphis, TN-based synth punk/thrash punk/noise punk quartet Nots. Currently comprised of atalie Hoffman (vocals, guitar) and Charlotte Watson (drums), Madison Farmer (bass) and Alexandra Eastburn (synths), the quartet quickly came to national prominence with their 2014 full-length debut, We Are Nots, an effort that was heavily indebted to 60s garage rock, punk, thrash punk, no wave and new wave. Of course, since the release of their full-length debut, the Memphis-based punk band have been pretty busy as they’ve released a handful of singles that revealed an expansion of the sound that first caught the attention of the blogosphere, while lyrically focusing on deeper, sociopolitical concerns.

September 9, 2016 will mark the release of Nots highly-anticipated sophomore effort Cosmetic through Goner Records, and the album reportedly focuses on and attacks the rough edges between desire, deceit, appearances and reality. Now a couple of months ago I wrote about Cosmetic‘s first single “Entertain Me,” an expansive 7 minute song that found the members of Nots at arguably their noisiest, most frenetic and most sprawling as the song that structurally and sonically was reminscent of The Church‘s “Chaos” and Disappears‘ “Kone”  — but angrier and much more abrasive, as though capturing the frustration, powerlessness of its narrator, a narrator who is struggling to find some footing in a perverse, fucked up world. The album’s latest single “Cold Line,” which was recently released as a 7 inch single to build up buzz for the band’s sophomore effort continues along a similar vein, as the song is as equally tense and frenetic as its predecessor — but with a subtle nod to surfer punk; however, lyrically the song’s narrator focuses on several things — how a hateful world that emphasizes superficiality can create a distorted view of yourself and your own worth, the difficulty of real connection with so many hateful, stupid, bloviating idiots

The band will be embarking on a rather lengthy late summer and fall tour, which will include an October 11 stop at Baby’s All Right. Check out tour dates below.


8/12: Helter Swelter Fest – New Orleans, LA
9/17: Riot Fest – Chicago, IL
9/23: Resident DTLA – Los Angeles, CA
9/24: Stinky’s al Fresco – San Francisco, CA
9/29: Gonerfest – Memphis, TN
10/1: Project Pabst Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
10/5: JJ’s Bohemia – Chattanooga, TN
10/6: Duke Coffeehouse – Durham, NC
10/7: Comet Ping Pong – Washington, D.C.
10/11: Baby’s All Right – Brooklyn, NY
10/12: Everybody Hits – Philadelphia, PA
10/13: TBA – Boston, MA
10/14: Casa Del Popolo – Montreal, QC
10/15: Not Dead Yet Fest – Toronto, ON
10/16: Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH
10/18: Ace of Cups – Columbus, OH
10/19: Marble Bar – Detroit, MI
10/20: Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
10/21: Riverwest Public House – Milwaukee, WI
10/22: The Eagles 34 Club – Minneapolis, MN
10/23: The Mill – Iowa City, IA
10/24: Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO

With the release of their 2014 full-length debut We Are Nots Memphis, TN-based synth punk/thrash punk/noise punk quartet Nots, featuring their current lineup of Natalie Hoffman (vocals, guitar) and Charlotte Watson (drums), Madison Farmer (bass) and Alexandra Eastburn (synths) have received a growing national profile and became JOVM mainstay artists for a sound that owes a great debt to 60s garage rock, punk, thrash punk, no wave and new wave — complete with a frenetic, unhinged and deeply visceral feel. Since the release of We Are Nots, the band has released a number of singles, including the “Shelf Life”/”Virgin Mary” 7 inch, which revealed that the Memphis-based quartet had been expanding upon the sound that had first captured the attention of the blogosphere, as well as focusing on deeper thematic concerns.

September 9, 2016 will mark the release of Nots highly-anticipated sophomore effort Cosmetic through Goner Records, and the album reportedly focuses on and attacks the rough edges between desire, deceit, appearances and reality. And as the band’s frontwoman Natalie Hoffman explains in press notes, the album’s first single “Entertain Me” “is a song in a constant state of movement and deterioration around one central, repeating part. No two live versions of it sound the same. Drawing influences from experimental no wave, postpunk, and psychedelic music, ‘Entertain Me’ takes its cues from the edges of genres, where one begins to blend into another, and nothing is easily classified. The lyrics reflect the cyclical, distorted nature of the song, addressing different facets of the grotesque horror show going on in American politics and how they are portrayed- the rise of Trump, the reality-TV-like nature of American news, the almost-forced compliance of the viewer, and the for-profit-constructed “right” of the viewer, the consumer, to require constant entertainment in order to participate, and to live.”

Clocking in at a little over 7 minutes, “Entertain Me” is arguably Nots’ noisiest, most frenetic and most sprawling song as swirling layers of guitar chords are played through wah wah pedal and other distortion pedal, furious bleeping and squeaking and squawking synths, howled vocals fed through distortion and propulsive drumming are held together (somewhat) by a a throbbing and insistent bass line in a song that structurally and sonically reminds me of The Church‘s “Chaos” and Disappears‘ “Kone”  — but angrier and much more abrasive, as though capturing the frustration, powerlessness of its narrator, a narrator who is struggling to find some footing in a perverse, fucked up world.



Comprised of Leo Paparella (vocals, synths) and brothers Eric Promani (drums, synths) and Greg Promani (guitar), Los Angeles-based electro pop trio Iconique have quickly exploded across the blogosphere and elsewhere as their previous single “Step Into The Mood” was praised by Gawker and Surviving the Golden Age, was featured on Hype Machine and received radio airplay on KUCI and KCHUNG. And honestly, that shouldn’t be surprising as the band’s sound has been described by some of my colleague as a “synthesis of influences like Prince, David Bowie and Chic.” Interestingly, the trio’s latest single “Sitting Pretty” sonically seems as though it draws from Roxy Music, The Human League, Howard Jones and others as Paparella’s sultry speak-song and crooning is paired with a sinuous bass line, shimmering synths and propulsive drumming; in other words, it sounds as though it could have been released sometime between 1980 and 1983.

As the band’s Leo Paparella explained in press notes “‘Sitting Pretty’ is both a celebration and critique of vanity. There’s very much an innate cruelty to glamor. It operates out of exclusivity, which keeps its scope woefully narrow and out of touch. And I bet that’s why people want it so badly.” And as a result, the song possess a subtle yet palpable sense of menace and anxiousness under the clean, hyper-modern and danceable sheen.



Fronted by its creative mastermind Seth Sutton, San Francisco-based (by way of Memphis, TN) punk act Useless Eaters forthcoming effort Relaxing Death is slated for a June 3, 2016 release through John Dwyer and Matt Jones’ renowned indie label Castle Face Records, and from the album’s latest single “Electrical Outlet,” the Bay Area-based punk act will further cement their reputation for crafting tense tightly wound, anxious, hallucinatory synth punk — in this case layers of buzzing and angular synth chords and razor sharp drum machine loops are paired with shouted vocals in a bilious and frenetic song that evokes the inner workings the mind of a paranoid insomniac.





With the release of “Ruins,” up-and-coming Los Angeles, CA-based indie pop artist Ryder received attention across the blogosphere for a slow-burning, atmospheric pop sound with soaring and anthemic hooks, skittering drum programming and Ryder’s expressive and sultry alto — all while comparing favorably to blogosphere darlings Phoebe RyanCAPPAChelsea Lankes and others.

Ryder’s latest single “Fade Away” will further cement her growing reputation for slow-burning, atmospheric and seductive pop as the song pairs Ryder’s expressive and sultry vocals with industrial clang and clatter, swirling and ambient electronics and a soaring, anthemic hook; however, unlike “Ruins,” “Fade Away,” is arguably the most sensual song she’s released to date, as the song’s narrator is urgently expressing her desire for a love object in a dysfunctional and confusing relationship.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays La Femme Return with Psychedelic, Egypt-Inspired Visuals for “Sphynx”

Comprised of founding members Marlon Magnée (keyboards), Sacha Got (guitar), Sam Lefevre (bass), Noé Delmas (drums) and Lucas Nunez, along with a rotating cast of vocalists including current lead vocalist Clémence Quélennec, lara Luciani, Jane Peynot and Marilou […]