Formed back in 2016, JOVM mainstays No Swoon — Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths) — have received attention across the blogosphere for a sound and approach that meshes elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave.
2018’s EP 1 was written in Los Angeles during a self-imposed exile from the East Coast. For Abbott, a native of Ontario, CA, the idea was to get back to her geographic and musical roots: she spent a great deal of time driving around the suburbs listening to the goth and New Wave that her mom played in the car when Abbott was a little girl (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, New Order) and the indie rock and punk rock of her teenage years (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The White Stripes).
2019’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled full-length debut saw the band firmly establishing their sound in an urgent and ambitious fashion. Drawing from the divisiveness of the 2016 election and its aftermath, the self-titled album featured incisive political commentary — often criticizing capitalism, unchecked power and greed, while touching upon the confusion, frustration and and uncertainty that so many of us have felt, and continue to feel.
Much like countless others across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the JOVM mainstay act found their lives and plans thrown into disarray: their planned tour to support their full-length debut last year was indefinitely scrapped. And after spending the past five years in Brooklyn, the duo relocated to Los Angeles. Understandably, the past year spent in isolation has forced the duo to take a step back and think about their lives in new ways, as well as examine the intricacies of going through life. (This has been a period of profound reflection and reinvention — for all of us.)
The duo’s latest single “Again” marks a period of massive transitions for the band: the aforementioned move back West — and the band reworking their sound as a result. The slow-burning “Again” sees the JOVM mainstays pairing Abbott’s ethereal and plaintive vocals with a stormy backdrop of forceful and buzzing power chords, thunderous drumming by frequent collaborator Jon Smith, swirling bursts of twinkling keys and a enormous hook. Sonically, the song manages to evoke the seemingly unending doldrums of the earliest part of the pandemic, while being a sort of mix of Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins and Slowdive.
“This song is about when days begin and end with no real definition. About being stuck in the loop of our life and we can’t get out. It may come to no surprise that this song was written early on in the Pandemic. Before everything shut down, I (Tasha) was constantly moving: work, music, sleep, etc., and being at stand-still all of a sudden was definitely strange (on top of the already terror and stress of the pandemic).”
Directed, shot and edited by the members of No Swoon, the recently released video for “Again” features the band’s Tasha Abbott by herself at night, shot in a series of super tight close-ups meant to evoke the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped by yourself with your own thoughts.