Category: Uncategorized

New Video: Up-and-Coming Italian Shoegazers Solitude in Apathy Release a Surrealistic and Symbolic Visual for “The Other”

Naples, Italy-based indie act Solitude in Apathy — Santina Vasaturo (vocals, bass), Gennaro Cristiano (guitar) and Diego Niola (drums) — formed back in 2016, and since their formation the Italian act has quickly forged a reputation for crafting a sound that meshes elements of shoegaze, dark wave, alt rock and goth. They’ve also opened for internationally acclaimed, Italian shoegazers Stella Diana and Rome in Monochrome. 

Building upon a growing profile in their native Italy and elsewhere, the trio’s Giacomo Salzano-produced, self-titled EP is slated for release this Friday — and the EP’s lead single, the “The Other” will help further cement the up-and-coming Italian trio’s sound: towering layers of fuzzy and distorted guitars, propulsive bass lines, forceful and dramatic and forceful drumming and ethereal vocals drenched in reverb floating over the dreamy mix. In some way, the single strikes me as being like a seamless synthesis of Sixousie and the Banshees and 4AD Records heyday — and unsurprisingly, the song received praise from outlets across the European Union and States, as well as airplay on DKFM. 

Directed by Gaetano Massa, the recently released and incredibly cinematic video for “The Other” is a surrealistic fever dream featuring blindfolded characters walking through an abandoned and dilapidated house, full of rotting books, broken brick and chipped paint. We also see the band performing in another room while all of this is going on. 

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New Audio: Magic Sword Releases an Expansive Retro-Futuristic Single

Centered around an ever-expanding graphic novel story and accompanying synth-led soundtrack albums, Magic Sword is a multimedia project heavily indebted to 70s and 80s fantasy and sci-fi: featuring three masked and cloaked members, only known as The Keeper, The Seer and The Weaver, also referred to as The Three Immortals, their ageless story of their role in the battle between good and evil is told through graphic novels and occasionally online by The Harbinger. 

Awakening, the follow up to the Legend EP is the second chapter in their tale of the search for the chosen one. In the story, the prophesied being is the only one who has the ability to wield the power of the Magic Sword and defeat the Dark One. Until The Chosen One reveals themself, The Three Immortals cannot rest. Naturally, the EP’s first single is  the appropriately epic and cinematic, EP title track “Awakening.” Centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, the song stars off as a sort retro-futuristic John Carpenter-inspired soundtrack meets 1984-era Van Halen intro — but closes with a funky, Random Access Memories-era Daft Punk-like coda. It’s decidedly slick while sounding as though it were part the soundtrack of that movie you thought you might have seen back in 1986. 

New Video: The Paranoyds Release an Interactive and Trippy, 360º Visual for “Face First”

Formed back in 2015, the buzz-worthy Los Angeles-based punk act The Paranoyds, derive their name as a bit of an apt summary of their general outlook on technology and modern culture — but ironically, the act can trace its origins to a friendship forged between its founding members Staz Lindes (bass, vocals) and Laila Hashemi (keys vocals) over MySpace in their early teens. Initially bonding over a shared interest in local underground music, the duo eventually became friends in real life. Eventually, the duo recruited Hashemi’s childhood friend Lexi Funston to join the band — with David Ruiz (drums) completing the band’s lineup in 2015.

Since their formation, the band has developed a reputation as one of Los Angeles’ most exciting bands as a result of tours with the likes of DIIV, White Reaper, Albert Hammond, Jr., Sunflower Bean, Tacocat, BRONCHO and others, and for playing major festivals like Coachella. The band’s highly-anticipated (and long-awaited) full-length debut Carnage Bargain is slated for a September 13, 2019 release through Suicide Squeeze Records — and the album is reportedly a raucous blend of gritty garage rock, New Wave swagger, B movie camp and a myriad of other left-of-center influences.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the album’s second single, album title track “Carnage Bargain,” a track which found the band pairing ironically delivered lyrics that offered a scathing observation of our world of instant gratification with quirky yet infectious pop hooks, fuzzy power chords  and forceful drumming. Beginning with a pair of alternating half-tones that sound like sirens piercing through the air, the album’s third and latest single, album opener “Face First”  quickly develops a motorik groove featuring some explosive blasts of post punk skronk and squeal. And over that the band’s Lexi Funston sings lyrics about watching other people’s private lives unfold on social media and on our phones. 

Directed by David Gantz and Theo Cohn, the recently released video for “Face First” is  trippy 360º and interactive visual that follows a stalker. “We wanted the video to be driving, as the song has always reminded us of some sort of forward movement, like running, driving in a car late at night, etc.,” the members of The Paranoyds say in a statement. “The song is loosely about a stalker and we wanted that idea to be involved in the movement somehow. The video directors, our friends Theo Cohn and David Gantz, wanted to challenge themselves by doing something they had never done before–shooting with a 360º camera. This allowed us to show the point of view of these stalkers, where you could watch the video multiple times and still notice little Easter eggs each time depending on where you look. So many people watch videos on their phones now, and a 360º video makes for a much more interesting and fulfilling experience on a phone.”

New Video: The Cinematic and Lonely Visuals for JOVM Mainstays Atmosphere’s “Earring”

Throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus-year history, I’ve written quite a bit about about the critically applauded and commercially successful Minneapolis, MN-based hip-hop act and JOVM mainstays Atmosphere.  The act formed over 20 years as at trio featuring Slug, Spawn D and Ant under the name Urban Atmosphere — and interestingly, whether as at rio or a duo, the JOVM mainstays have developed and maintained a long-held reputation for pushing the boundaries of what hip-hop should sound like and concern itself with thematically — especially as its members find themselves inching towards middle age. 

2016’s Fishing Blues continued a string of insightful, mature material reflecting men that have seen and experienced more than they could possibly put into words. And while settling down into the much-deserved and peaceful bliss of family and art seems ideal, the world we inhabit has fundamentally changed in a frightening and uncertain fashion.

Unsurprisingly, Atmosphere’s seventh album Mi Vida Local thematically finds the pair grappling with their own mortality, the anxiety and fear that comes from the painful acknowledgment that you’re completely powerless and can’t possibly protect yourself, let alone your loved ones from the dangers of the world. And while arguably, the most thematically sobering of their growing catalog, their seventh album much like the bulk of their creative output is largely centered around Slug’s and Ant’s deep and abiding friendship. 

The Minneapolis-based JOVM mainstays spent the bulk of the past year touring to support their seventh album, including a Brooklyn Steel stop last year with labelmates, collaborators and fellow Minnesotans The Lioness and deM atlaS. Continuing a lengthy run of touring, the duo will be headlining the Wild Waters Music Festival, an effort to save the Boundary Waters at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth, MN. But just before that the duo released Mi Vida Local’s latest single, the pensive “Earring.” Centered around an eerie, Ennio Morricone-like production featuring looping and shimmering guitars, and soaring vocal sample that’s spacious enough for Slug and Musab to trade deeply reflective bars, focusing on their troubled relationships and their roles in their relationships. And as a result, the song is imbued with the weight of adults honestly looking at themselves and taking stock of themselves and their lives. 

Directed by Colin Floom, the recently released and gorgeously cinematic visual for “Earring” is set the snowcapped peaks of Colorado and shows the song’s two emcees taking a lonely and arduous trek across the frigid terrain — and in the midst of such loneliness and beauty, it seems only natural that they would be forced to reflect on their lives and their decisions. 

New Audio: Introducing the Dance Floor Friendly Noir of Montreal’s TEROUZ

Karim Terouz is a Cairo-born illustrator and singer/songwriter, who in 2008 relocated to Montreal, where he founded, fronted and managed the award-winning, brass folk/rock quintet The Rising Few,  an act that released two albums — 2014’s Sinners On St-Laurent and 2017’s Adult Entertainment.

Last year Terouz decided to re-invent himself and his music starting his latest project TEROUZ, a project which incorporates dancehall beats and synths and finds him employing a Bowie-esque vocal to create a refreshingly unique variation of hypnotic and moody noir that he describes in an email as “like Cohen on a treadmill.”His latest single is the swaggering,  “Outstanding.” Centered round a muscular and insistent groove centered by a sinuous bass line by guitarist/bassist Andre Galamba, thumping beats, sultry horn lines and shimmering and shimmering synths, the track sonically reminds me of I Will Set You Free-era Barry Adamson, Station to Station-era Bowie, Roxy Music and Black Strobe — in particular, “Boogie in Zero Gravity.” (In other words, it’s a moody and sultry dance floor banger.)

Directed by Alexandre Desrochers-Coderre, the recently released video for “Outstanding” is shot in a gorgeously, cinematic black and white and set in a boxing gym. And while we see a few local boxers train and spar in a lonely gym — in a kinetic and rapid fire fashion, no less. We also see a dapper looking Terouz in a black suit singing the song and caught in the song’s groove. 

New Video: Winona Oak Releases Feverish Visuals for Soaring Ballad “Break My Broken Heart”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the up-and-coming, Solleron, Sweden-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Winona Oak. And as you may recall, Oak who was born Johanna Ekmark has a rather unique backstory: Growing up  on the small, Swedish island known to Swedes as the Island of the Sun, the up-and-coming Solleron-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist spent much of her childhood encountering more animals than people. As the story goes, she grew up as a trained horse acrobat and because she grew up in a musical home, she was encouraged to pursue creative endeavors as much as possible: Ekmark began playing violin when she was 5, piano when she was 9, and she wrote poetry and songs at an extremely young age. 

Ekmark eventually moved to Stockholm to pursue a career in music, but a leap of faith that had her attend a Neon Gold Records writing retreat in the Nicaraguan jungle led to her to meet Australian-born and based hit making producer and pop artist What So Not. And from this serendipitous meeting, she went on to co-write ““Better” and “Stuck In Orbit,” before stepping out into the spotlight as both the writer and featured artist on the Aussie producer and pop artist’s “Beautiful,” which was released last year.

Adding to a busy 2018, Ekmark covered HAIM‘s “Don’t Save Me” for Neon Gold Records’ 10th anniversary compilation, NGX: Ten Years of Neon Gold. She then closed out the year with a co-write and vocal contribution of The Chainsmokers viral hit “Hope,” a track that has amassed over 250 million streams across all digital platforms globally — including over 100 million streams on Spotify. And as a result of a rapidly growing profile, Oak signed to Warner-Chappell Music Publishing and to Neon Gold/Atlantic Records.

Oak’s long-awaited debut single “He Don’t Love Me” revealed an ambitious songwriter, who has an uncanny knack for a sultry and infectious hook paired with a sleek, hyper modern production and an achingly bittersweet air. Her latest single “Break My Broken Heart” is a slow-burning and anthemic ballad featuring shimmering and arpeggiated synths, Oak’s yearning vocals and a soaring hook. And while the track sonically manages to recall the atmospherics of JOVM mainstay ACES, it’ll also further cement Oak’s reputation for crafting earnest pop with enormous hooks. “You have to be brave to love someone with all of your heart,” Oak says. “But the biggest risk is not to take any risks at all. As long as we’re breathing, what’s one more scar?”

Directed by Andres Ohman, the recently released video for “Break My Broken Heart” continues their ongoing collaboration, it continues a bit in the vein as its predecessor — cinematically shot but while evoking a feverish dream. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Blackwater Holylight Release a Trippy Headbanger

The acclaimed Portland, OR-based heavy psych act Blackwater Holylight was formed by founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass) after her previous band broke up, as a way to begin experimenting with what her own version of “heavy” should and could be both sonically and emotionally — while celebrating vulnerability in all of its form. In fact, the primary idea for the project was to have vulnerability be in the driver’s seat when it came to the creative process. Throughout most of her musical career, Faris was often the only female in many of her bands and she desperately wanted to see how it was to work exclusively with women. 

The band released their critically applauded self-titled full-length debut last year. And after extensive touring to support the album, the members of the JOVM mainstay act honed their sound and identity, with their live set being about the slow build, as their sound has evolved a bit 

The band released their critically applauded self-titled full-length debut last year and after extensive touring to support the album, they’ve honed their sound and identity — with their live set being about the slow build, as their sound has evolved a bit. In fact, as a heavy band they do something unique: their songs aren’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come in and go in rippling waves that surface throughout material that’s generally meditative and entrancing. But they also focus on building tension and intrigue throughout the song. 

Slated for an October 11, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, Blackwater Holylight’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Veils of Winter finds the band with a different lineup — Faris (bass, vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths) along with the band’s newest members Mikayla Mayhew (guitar) Eliese Dorsay (drums). And perhaps a result of the new lineup, the band’s sound and writing process have changed quite a bit. “The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” says Faris. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.”

“One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn’t compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” She continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.”

 “Motorcycle” Veils of Winter’s finds the band balancing fuzzy, power chords, gorgeous melodicism and a motorik groove to create a unique take on heavy music that’s one part doom metal, one part shoegaze that manages to reveal subtle nuances on multiple listeners while being headbang worthy. 

Julien Chang (pronounced Chong) is an up-and-coming Baltimore-born 19-year-old, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and current university student, who surprised his peers when he began quietly releasing music during his senior year in high school. Interestingly, only thought of as a trombone player, Chang’s early material found him playing multiple instruments and meshing pop-leaning melodies, psych rock and jazz fusion experimentation and improvisation — with a sophistication that belies his relative youth.  Those early releases caught the attention of Transgressive Records, the label home of SOPHIE, Let’s Eat Grandma and JOVM mainstay Neon Indian, who will be releasing his forthcoming full-length debut.
Self-recorded and self-produced in his bedroom, “Of The Past,” Chang’s debut single is a sleek bit of early 80s-like synth-led funk that’s centered around carefully crafted pop melodicism, a sinuous bass line and plaintive vocals — but interestingly, the track reveals a dexterous songwriter and musician, who can effortlessly bounce and dart between funk, jazz and pop in a mesmerizing fashion.
Chang will be embarking on his first ever tour in October — and the tour begins with an October 15, 2019 stop at Baby’s All Right. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.
Tour Dates
10/15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
10/28 – London, UK @ Bermondsey Social Club
10/29 – London, UK @ Servant Jazz Quarters
10/31 – Brussels, BE @ Botanique Witloof Bar
11/01 – Berlin, DE @ Musik & Frieden

New Video: Acclaimed Indie Electro Pop Act Miami Horror Releases a Sepia-Toned Visual for “Restless”

Initially formed in 2007, as the solo recording project of Melbourne, Australia-based DJ and producer Benjamin Plant, Miami Horror eventually expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition Josh Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Daniel Whitechurch (bass, keys, guitar) and Kosta Theodosis (drums) — and with the release of 2008’s Bravado EP, 2010’s full-length debut Illumination and 2015’s All Possible Futures, the band established a sound that drew from Prince, New Order, Todd Rundgren and Pink Floyd, combined with contemporary electronic production techniques, including house and electro pop. Interestingly, the act’s most recent recorded output, 2017’s The Shapes EP was a decided change in sonic direction with the band’s sound being indebted to 80s pop and New Wave — in particular, Talking Heads, Blondie and the like. 

Two years have passed since the acclaimed Australian indie electro pop act has released material and the act’s latest single, “Restless” finds the project returning to its collaborative and production-based roots. Plant champions this return to his roots as Miami Horror’s new incarnation. “The Shapes was always meant to be a one-off conceptual project, so once that was complete I began moving back towards the original creative process that Miami Horror started with; a simpler approach to production and a continued emphasize on outside vocalists.” Plant says. “For me, music has always been about completing a vision and trying to make something stand out. Allowing outside collaboration really opens me up to complete that vision without being restricted to my own skill set.”

Interestingly, “Restless” is a breezy and summery track centered around shimmering synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, hi-hat led drumming and a plaintive and sultry vocal contribution from Kevin Lavitt. And while retaining the slick, dance floor-friendly electronic production that has won Plant international acclaim, the song sounds indebted to 80s Quiet Storm R&B — in particular Cherelle’s “Saturday Love,” and Mtume’s “Juicy Love” immediately come to my mind, as the song has a similar sophisticated sexiness to it. “I love putting two people in a room that wouldn’t normally work together and seeing what comes of it,” Plant says of his collaboration with Lavitt. 

Directed by Keenan Wetzel, the recently released sepia-toned video for “Restless” features an assortment of quirky characters coming together for tennis training and some meet-cute lust — before ending with a menacing and suggestive air. “When I heard ‘Restless’ I was struck with a nostalgic feeling of starting out a relationship; those first feelings of anxiety coupled with the uncertainty whether or not the attraction is mutual,” Keenan Wetzel says of his video treatment. “I wanted to take these familiar feelings and add Miami Horror’s style to create a bright but strange world for these young people to find each other. I have always been interested in 1970’s culture and how people turned to communities, often ritual-based, to find a sense of belonging. So the idea for the ‘Restless’ music video was to put a pair of young people into a tennis playing community where they were looking for meaning. Only, instead of finding purpose in this community, they find each other, which leads to both love and realization that the nature of the community was not going to give them any more sense of belonging.”