Category: Video

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Death Valley Girls Release an Ebullient and Soaring New Single

Throughout the bulk of this site’s 10 year history, I’ve also spilled quite a bit of virtual ink cover the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act JOVM mainstays Death Valley Girls. Featuring core and founding duo Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar) and a rotating cast of collaborators that includes Alana Amram (bass), Laura Harris (drums), Shannon Lay, members of The Make Up, The Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps’ Laura Kelsey, the JOVM mainstays can trace their origins back to over a decade ago, when they were formed by Schemel, Bloomgarden, Rachel Orosco (bass) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). And although they’ve gone through a series of lineup changes throughout their history, the band’s sound and aesthetic for much of their history was heavily indebted by The Manson Family and B movie theatrics — while thematically focused on the occult. 

Last month, the longtime JOVM mainstays and Suicide Squeeze Records, released a two song, seven-inch EP Breakthrough. The EP found the Los Angeles-based act covering two songs which have a deep and profound connection to the band — both in their spirit and aural alignment, including  Atomic Rooster‘s “Breakthrough,” a song discovered through an even more obscure cover by Nigerian psych act The Funkees.  While the Death Valley Girls cover leans more towards The Funkees’ version — thanks to a grimy power chords, fire-and-brimstone organ chords and an in-your-face, combative chorus — all three versions of the song evoke the age-old desire to be free from prisons both real and mental. 

Although they’ve been unable to tour because of COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdowns and quarantines, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays have managed to make 2020 a busy year: Slated for an October 2, 2020 release through their longtime label home, the band’s forthcoming album Under the Spell of Joy derives its title from the text on a t-shirt that the San Diego-based heavy psych rock act Joy gave to Death Valley Girls’ Bloomgarden. As the story goes, Bloomgarden regularly wore the shirt constantly over the next five years, treating it like a talisman. “I read it as being about manifesting your biggest dreams and responding thoughtfully and mindfully to everything that comes in your path with joy and compassion first,” Bloomgarden explains in press notes. “There is a lot to be really angry about in the world but joy is just as powerful if used correctly!”

With Under the Spell of Joy, the members of the Death Valley Girls sough to make a spiritual record — what Bloomgarden describes as a “space gospel” — with the intention of bringing people together and creating the kind of participatory musical experience people have in places of worship. And as a result, the album’s material is generally centered around chains, choirs and rousing choruses, written with the purpose of encouraging people to sing along. Where the band had once sought to connect people through more esoteric means, Spell of Joy finds them tapping into an age-old tradition of uniting people by inviting them to be an active participant. 

Although Bloomgarden and Schemel knew their intention for the album’s material before they had written a single note, the nature and direction of the music was initially inspired by the Ethiopian funk records they had been listening to while touring — but once they began playing and recording the material they had written, the music, which they claim came from tapping into their subconscious seemed to come from the future. 

centered around soaring and soulful saxophone, shimmering keyboard arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, a propulsive bass line and a shout along worthy chorus, “The Universe,” Under the Spell of Joy’s first single is a slow-burning and expansive song with a cosmic sheen that yearns and arches itself into a higher — and seemingly lysergic — plane of existence. Simultaneously nodding at Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here era Pink Floyd, 60s psych rock and shoegaze, the song bristles with a mischievous and ebullient joy that’s infectious. 

“The world is crazy right now and it feels like we should be doing more than just trying to perpetuate joy,” Bloomgarden says. “I think music becomes a part of you. Like Black Sabbath’s first record is as much a part of me as my own music. I think you can listen to music or song to get lost in it, or you can listen to music to find something in your self or the world that either you never had or just went missing. I want people to sing to this record, make it their own, and focus on manifesting their dreams as much as they can!” 

Directed by Bradley Hale, the recently released video for “The Universe” is a collage of newspaper and magazine clippings featuring occult and horror films, astral projection, UFOs and abductions and psychedelic blasts of color. And all of it centered around the desire to seek something beyond oneself, beyond their limited plane of existence and knowledge. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays METZ Releases an Explosive Meditation on Life. Loneliness, Delusion, and Death

Throughout the bulk of this site’s 10 year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. With the release of their third album, 2017’s Strange Peace, the trio — Alex Eadkins (vocals, guitar), Chris Slorach (bass) and Hayden Menzies (drums) —  pushed their songwriting in a new direction, as they crafted some of their most personal and politically charged work with the material capturing the anxiety, uncertainty, fear and outrage of the 2016 election cycle. 

Last year, the JOVM mainstays released Automat, a collection of METZ’s non-album singles, B-sides and rarities dating back to 2009 on vinyl for the first time — including, the band’s long out-of-print (pre-Sub Pop) recordings. Essentially, the album was designed as chronological trip of the acclaimed Canadian act’s lesser-known material that included a bonus 7 inch single, which featured three covers: a cover of Sparklehorse’s “Pig” off a very limited 2012 Record Store Day split single, originally released by Toronto-based record store, Sonic Boom; a cover of The Urinals‘ “I’m a Bug” originally released on YouTube in 2014; and lastly, a previously unreleased, explosive  cover of Gary Numan’s “M.E.” 

The JOVM mainstays fourth album Atlas Vending is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records. Their previously released material found the band thriving on an abrasive relentlessness but before they set to work on Atlas Vending’s material, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album — that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greennberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they navigated life’s trials and tribulations. 

The end result is an album that reportedly retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world — but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind.  Much like its predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory. And as a result, the album’s material runs through the gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simple of childhood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. So in some way, the album find the band tackling what’s inevitable for all of us — getting older, especially in an industry seemingly suspended in youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.” 

Interestingly, Atlas Vending closing track “A Boat to Drown In” is the album’s first single and while continuing the band’s long-held reputation for crafting enormous, aural assaults centered around layers of distortion fueled powered chords, thunderous drumming, a mosh pit friendly hook and Eadkins urgent and howled vocals. But unlike their previously released material, “A Boat to Drown In” finds the band moving away from their grunge influences with their most expansive track to date, a track that finds them at their most oceanic. According to Eadkins, “A Boat to Drown in.” is “. . . about leaving a bad situation behind. About overcoming obstacles that once held you back, rising above and looking to a better future. The title refers to immersing yourself fully into what you love and using it as a sanctuary from negativity and a catalyst for change.”

Directed by Tony Wolski, the incredibly cinematic visual for “A Boat to Drown In” follows a painfully lonely and isolated young woman’s slow-burning descent into delusion, — including a passionate affair  with an enormous (and frisky) teddy bear that we discover never existed. Eventually we pull out and see this woman turn from being emotionally broken to numb and devoid of feeling,. “The song has a beautiful, crushing numbness to it that we wanted to mirror in the visual,” Tony Wolski explains. “So we chose to romanticize our main character’s descent into her delusions of love and togetherness. At a time when everyone’s simultaneously coping with some sort of isolation, a story about loneliness—and the mania that comes with it—seems appropriate to tell.” 
 

New Video: Genre-Bending Artist Kitty Coen Releases a Cinematic and Psychedelic Fever Dream

Kitty Coen is a 22 year-old, Austin-based singer/songwriter, who emerged with the release of an acoustic cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” Influenced by Tame Impala and STRFKR, the emerging Austin-based singer/songwriter has balanced a rooted commitment to the classics with a psychedelic, Western and bluesy sound — with subtle nods to disco. 

Centered around the Austin-based singer/songwriter’s sultry vocals, shimmering reverb-drenched, guitars, propulsive drumming, some fuzzy and funky synths and an infectious hook. “Dark Soul” is a sultry and self-assured debut single that to my ears reminds me a bit of Too True-era Dum Dum Girls and 80s New Wave — with subtle nods to country. But under the material’s polished sheen is a beating and sensitive heart — while being a bit of a tell off/warning reminiscent of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.”

“This release of music is a coming-out party for tunes I’ve had in my soul for a while,” Coen explains. “As an artist who took some time to perfect her sounds, I feel that the music I’m putting out in the coming months is introducing my voice and style to the world. The stories and themes have been acquired over my life. Growing up in a small Texas town I was exposed to a lot of country music and influenced my a western aesthetic, but this isn’t country, it’s more like Dolly Parton on an acid trip.” 

“‘Dark Soul’ is basically a warning label to any potential suitors who might think I’m all smiles and rainbows,” the emerging Austin-based singer/songwriter adds. “Just because I seem sweet at first doesn’t mean I always am. Especially with relationships that don’t let me breathe. I’m an independent woman and if you want to be with an independent woman you have to accept one thing: they don’t need you. ‘Dark Soul’ was originally a song I wrote on acoustic guitar in my friend’s garage. But as I performed it live I realized I wanted it bigger and ultimately better. I went to Nashville to work on it with my producer and we re-worked it into a western disco dance track.”

Directed by Kitty Coen and Aaron Brown, the recently released is a psychedelic and cinematically shot visual that begins with Coen driving on an open highway with burning orange skies with her red hair mirroring the color of the sky. She eventually parks the muscle car she was driving and enters into a smoky, neon room with bubbles, palms, glitter and explosive bursts of color. We also follow her to a pool and to a futuristic Western club. But throughout we see Coen be sassy, seductive and remarkably self-assured. ‘“The vibe of the video is disco cowgirl realness. I wanted to take the viewer on a psychedelic trip through the mind of Kitty Coen,” Coen explains.

New Video: Emerging Singer/Songwriter Enoch Porch Releases a Gorgeous Visual for Plaintive New Single “Grand Army”

Growing up in a hyper-fundamentalist Christian, home-school cult, the emerging Indiana-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Enoch Porch was isolated from all popular and secular music: as a child, he listened to his parents vinyl collection of classical music, church songs recorded in the 70s and Sousa marches. “I remember, age 5 or so, loving the rhythm and excitement of Sousa marches, the hypnotic repetition of Ravel’s ‘Bolero’, and the drama and emotion of The Nutcracker,” Porch recalls in press notes. “Many of my creative choices are still heavily influenced by early that musical diet.” 

When he turned 11, Porch quit school and learned to play multiple instruments and to record himself. “I was more excited about this particular path than were my folks, and I found myself locked inn a battle of wills with my ex-Marine fighter pilot/electrical engineer father for several years,” Porch says. The Indiana-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist adds that his father had a latent musical talent of his own and although he taught him to harmonize and to hear major and minor intervals — but he didn’t think that it was possible to make a living as a musician. However, his folks allowed him to work, mowing lawns around his small town to save up money for a guitar, then other instruments and recording instruments. As a teenager, Porch was a busy musician — and what he believed a recording engineer. 

Porch eventually moved to Nashville. And while in Music City, Porch had difficulty landing a job; so to get by, he gave plasma at a local blood bank to pay for his bills. He wound up landing a gig with a touring band and worked at local restaurants to keep afloat. 

The Indiana-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist then relocated to New York, where he found a partner, lost partner and fell into a deep depression. He found his way to a therapist, who taught him to un-learn false beliefs he has had since his childhood and to replace them with a certain type of care for his inner child. “It was not properly love, but the closest I had gotten to it. Eventually the seeds of care grew and I began to hold myself in high regard and to protect this precious heart,” Porch says. 

The emerging Indiana-born, Brooklyn-based artist’s solo debut single “Grand Army” is a lush, 70s AM rock-like track featuring shimmering guitars, a supple bass line, Porch’s plaintive vocals, twinkling keys and a soaring and expressive guitar solo. Centered around some quietly ambitious yet earnest songwriting, the song as Porch explains is inspired by deeply personal experience: “I fell deeply, painfully, in love with someone who was close to me but couldn’t love me back,” the Indiana-born, Brooklyn-based artist explains. “I lost contact with myself, as if my center had ripped right out of me. This song came out of exploring how this experience echoed the feelings I had as a child of my mother who, while in proximity, wasn’t able to give the kind of love her children needed.”

Directed by Gabriel Kurzlop, the recently released video employs a simple concept in a gorgeous fashion: We see Porch standing at the shore in a blue work coveralls as the camera slowly and gradually zooms closer throughout. Just before the song fades out, we see a brief flash of playfulness with Porch giving a sign to the camera. 

New Video: Rising Spanish Artist Suzanna Releases a Bold and Playful Visual for Infectious New Single “Paipái”

Suzanna Abellán is Barcelona-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, who earned a degree in Modern Music from ESMUC — and then spent the early part of her musical career in a number of acclaimed Barcelona-based bands including Radio Malanga, Rootsmama, Tokyo 22, Funk All Stars, Future is Female and a number of others.

In 2011, Abellán relocated to Morocco, and in 2014, the Spanish-born singer/songwriter and guitarist won a Rock Fusion Meditel Morocco Music Award (MMMA) for “Ana Bikhir,” a collaboration with Amine Ayoubi.  After spending four years in Rabat, Morocco, Abellán returned to Barcelona. Upon her return, she participated in the televised talent competition La Voz, eventually becoming a semifinalist. Participating on La Voz led to increased visibility and a national profile. Coincidentally, around the same time, Abellán felt an increased desire to write her own material, centered around her own experiences and feelings. 

Last year, Abellán, performing with the mononym Suzanna released her 12 song Genis Trani-produced full-length debut, SOULFYAH, which featured collaborations with Rapsusklei, Mr. Wilson, Mei Seme and others. Thematically centered around autobiographical stories, the album quickly established Abellán’s sound as a solo artist — a slick synthesis of reggae, trap and soul. “Paipái” the first bit of new material since the release of SOULFYAH further cements the Spanish singer/songwriter and guitarist’s sound. Featuring skittering and thumping beats, strummed guitar, twinkling synths, a sinuous bass line and an infectious hook paired with Abellán’s soulful and jazzy delivery, the song may remind some listeners of a reggae-tinged version of Missy Elliott’s work with Timbaland — in other words, lush, sultry and simultaneously futuristic and contemporary. Interestingly, the track is the first time Abellán sings lyrics completely in her native Spanish.

The song features a message of liberation and celebration in which its narrator learns to say no to anything that diminishes or interferes with her quest for liberation — including letting go of toxic and stagnant situations that don’t contribute anything to her, forging new paths and so on. And as the Spanish-based artist explains in a statement, the lyrics speak of deeply personal experiences ranging from disappointment and gratitude. 

Directed by Abellán, the recently released video for “Paipái” was filmed during COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines across the European Union. Inspired by the aesthetics of Carmen Miranda, specifically “Rebola a bola” in the 1941 film Weekend in Habana, the video was shot on a roughly 40 Euro budget, in which she used a caulk gun and a sewing machine to create her costumes, as items in her own home, including bed sheets, stuffed animals, her cat, plants and so on to create the video’s overall aesthetic — playful, sultry and boldly DIY. 

Lyric Video: El Paso’s EEP Releases a Defiant and Brash Take on Shoegaze

EEP is an emerging El Paso, TX-based, multi-generational shoegazer act featuring 52 year-old Rosie Varela (guitar, synth, bass), 38 year-old Brainville Studios’ owner Ross Ingram (guitar, production), 30 year-old Sebastian Estrada (bass, synth), 27 year-old Serge Carrasco (guitar) and 28 year-old Lawrence Brown III (drums and percussion). The act, which formed last year can trace its origins to when Varela approached Ingram and asked him if he would help her record a song she had written “Hogar.” Eventually, Varela invited some other local musician friends to join in and what initially started out as a one-off song morphed into EEP’s full-length debut Death of a Very Good Machine slated for a July 24, 2020 release. 

Inspired by dream pop, shoegaze, the blues, jazz, classic rock and 60s psychedelia, the El Paso-based quintet have ascribed to doing things in a decided DIY fashion: their debut effort was produced, engineered and mixed by the band’s Ingram with assistance from Estrada and Varela. Adding to the we’re-all-in-it-together vibes, each of the band’s five members contribute vocals. 

Death of a Very Good Machine’s latest single “Outlast You” continues a run of attention grabbing singles that recall 120 Minutes era MTV shoegaze — i.e., Slowdive, RIDE, Lush, and Swervedriver, as well as contemporaries like JOVM mainstays Blushing and others. And while centered around a wall of sound-like production featuring layers upon layers of shimmering, pedal effected guitars, thunderous drumming and a soaring hook, the song possesses the self-assured and defiant air of someone, who’s been told no and will continue onward anyway. Interestingly, “Outlast You,” as the band explains in an email was inspired by a conversation in which Rosie Varela was told that maybe at 52, she was too old to start a rock band. “Outlast You” was her response to that conversation.