New Video: LCD Soundsystem Returns with Their Most Dance Floor Friendly Track in Several Years

Founded by frontman, multi-instrumentalist, producer, DJ and DFA Records co-founder James Murphy in 2002, Brooklyn-based indie rock/electro rock/dance punk act LCD Soundsystem along with acts like  The Rapture, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bloc Party, Radio 4,  Liars and a few others, are considered pioneers of a dance punk renaissance that saw its height at the early part of this century; but among that group LCD Soundsystem set themselves apart as one of the more commercially and critically successful acts of their era — 2005’s eponymous full-length debut, which featured their most successful single “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” was nominated by a Grammy for Best Dance Recording with the album also being nominated for a Grammy Best Electronic/Best Dance Album. With a growing national and international profile, Nike commissioned Murphy and company to write and record a workout-inspired, workout-friendly album — 45:33 — as part of the Nike+ Original Run series. The members of LCD Soundsystem followed that up with 2007’s critically acclaimed Sound of Silver, which was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album.  2010’s This Is Happening managed to be the act’s most commercially successful, as it was their first Top 10 album in the States; however, by the following year, the band announced it was breaking up and was celebrating a wildly successful run together with a series of farewell shows at Madison Square Garden and Terminal 5, with the events surrounding their final show together, chronicled in the documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits, and a live album, 2014’s The Long Goodbye, which Murphy painstakingly mastered. 

After LCD Soundsystem broke up, the members of the band went on to pursue a number of creative and business pursuits — Nancy Whang released solo material and DJ’ed; Tyler Pope spent a stint in the touring band of !!!,; Gavin Russom has released solo material under the moniker Black Meteoric Star, collaborated with Viva Ruiz in The Crystal Ark and recently came out as transgender and transitioning; David Scott Stone has collaborated with Melvins, Unwound, Jello Biafra, Mike Patton, No Age, and others; Jerry Fuchs went on with stints in The Juan MacLean, !!!, Maserati and MSTRKRFT; and Murphy arguably being the busiest of the band as he not only continued his production and sound engineering work, working with Arcade Fire during the Reflector sessions, he was in 2014 commissioned by the US Open to create a special set of remixes based on the actual sounds and events of the tournament’s matches. Along with that he remixed David Bowie‘s “Love Is Lost,” for an expanded edition of the legendary artist’s The Next Day and was known to occasionally DJ, including famously DJing to close out DFA Records’ 12th Anniversary Party at Grand Prospect Hall. He also participated in Canon’s Project Imaginat10n, a film project in which the folks at Canon invited 5 different celebrities to direct short films based on pictures uploaded by photographers and other creatives around the world to a special website, with the result being his directorial debut “Little Duck,” set in Japan. And in other non-musical pursuits, with the assistance of Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman, Murphy released his own blend of espresso, and then he opened a critically applauded restaurant in Williamsburg, which he personally designed and chose the menu. And although Murphy had publicly stated that LCD Soundsystem’s breakup allowed him the time and ability to pursue an array of projects, he wasn’t able to do before, he also missed being in a band and creating music. 

Interestingly, in light of those comments, towards the end of 2015, there were rumblings across the blogosphere that Murphy and several members of the band were considering a series of reunion shows for the major festival circuit — and naturally, those rumors exploded upon the release of Christmas Will Break Your Heart,” which the band released on Christmas of that year, marking a big Christmas surprise for fans, who had been clamoring for new material and/or the possibility of a reunion for the better part of 5 years. Naturally, with the release of the single, Murphy and company confirmed that a reunion tour with appearances at several major festivals, a residency to  The Bowery Presents‘ newest venue, Brooklyn Steel and a new album, American Dream, which is slated for a September 1, 2017 release through Columbia Records/DFA Records. 

As my colleagues mentioned, their early Brooklyn Steel sets featured material, which would appear on their new album, including the atmospheric, “Call The Police,” which features Murphy’s archly ironic lyrics and manages to sound like a mesh of the sound of This Is Happening and their incredible cover of Harry Nilsson‘s “Jump Into The Fire” and “American Dream,” a slow-burning track featuring shimmering synths but subtly nods at “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” thanks in part to Murphy’s dramatic crooning, 

“tonite,” the third single off the soon-to-be-released album is arguably one of the more dance floor friendly singles they’ve released to date as it features an unrelenting and propulsive beat paired with wobbling, house music-like bass synth and twinkling keys, and Murphy’s ironic observations on the state of contemporary music, human relationships in the age of constant connectivity and his own random musings. And interestingly enough, despite the 5 years apart, the band manages to sound as though they haven’t missed a beat; in fact, it sounds as though it were the song and the album that they would have made regardless of breaking up — all while subtly nodding at Man Machine-era Kraftwerk. 

Directed by Joel Kefall, the recently released video for “tonite” features a handful of members performing the song, while others look cooly detached, reading or staring into space on a spinning stage, lit by explosively bursts of concert lighting. And the entire time, the band’s frontman sings with a tape recorder strapped to him. 

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New Audio: Monolord Returns with a Sludgy Yet Subtle Expansion of Their Sound

The Gothenburg, Sweden-based doom metal trio Monolord has become a JOVM mainstay over the past 15-16 months, and as you’d likely recall the trio, comprised of Thomas Jäger, Esben Willems, and Mika Häkki can trace their origins back to 2013, when its founding members Jäger and Willems, started the band as a side project that gave them the opportunity to play much heavier and darker material away from their primary gig as members of boogie rock outfit Marulk. Jäger and Willems then recruited Häkki, best known for stints in The Don Darlings and Rotten Sound to complete the band’s lineup and to flesh out their sound. And while the trio was writing and recording their critically applauded debut Empress Riding, they discovered they had a special creative chemistry that necessitated making the project a full-time gig; but interestingly enough, the project also marks the first time that Jäger has taken vocal duties.

2015’s sophomore effort Vænir resulted in the band receiving a growing national and international project, and they built upon that buzz with the “Lord of Suffering”/”Die in a Haze” 10 inch single, which they released last year and as you may recall, “Die in a Haze,” featured sludgy, dirge-like power chords paired with thunderous drumming within an enveloping mix, while Lord of Suffering” managed to nod at space rock and psych rock — in fashion that reminded me of  Black Sabbath‘s “Planet Caravan.”
The “Nirvana of doom” as their fans have referred to them will be releasing their third full-length album Rust through RidingEasy Records on September 29, 2017 and as the band’s Esben Willems says in press notes, “A heavy groove that contains both bombastic overkill and a lot of dynamics is what we always aim for in Monolord; in playing, in song writing and arranging, in recording.” The album’s first single and title track “Rust,” which featured guest spots from Mondo Drag‘s John Gamino on keys and Beastmaker’s Trevor Church, who contributes an incredible guitar solo towards the end of the song further cemented the Swedish’s trio reputation for crafting slow-burning, sludgy and forceful metal but upon repeated listens, the song reveals that the band has been subtly expanding upon their overall sound and songwriting as it possesses an expansive vibe with an oceanic heft. “Where Death Meets the Sea,” Rust’s second and latest single continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as its possesses an oceanic heft, which is unsurprising considering the song’s title, complete with sludgy power chords and thundering drumming but it reveals impressive guitar work within an slow-burning yet expansive song structure. And at the end of the day, Rust’s first two singles will remind listeners that the band is one of the world’s best doom metal bands. 

Live Footage: Royal Blood Performs “Lights Out” on “The Late Late Show with James Corden”

Comprised of Worthing, UK-born, West Sussex, UK-based Mike Kerr (vocals, bass) and Rustington, UK-born, West Sussex, UK-based Ben Thatcher, the British rock duo Royal Blood can trace their origins to when Kerr and Thatcher met when the duo were briefly members of the local rock quartet Flavour Country, in which Kerr played keys and keytar; however, the band can trace their official origins to sabbatical that Kerr had spent in Australia, where had started Royal Blood with Matt Swan (drums). And as the story goes, when Kerr returned to England, Thatcher had picked him up from the airport and they quickly decided to start a band together. Initially, the duo had a difficult time landing gigs and according to Kerr, they played a lot of open-mic nights with acoustic singer/songwriters. But after further developing their sound at Brighton Electric Studios, the band was signed to Warner/Chappell Music, and as a result of sharing the same management company as blogosphere darling act Arctic Monkeys, the duo began to receive a steady amount of buzz before the release of their first official single. 

Kerr and Thatcher’s sophomore album How Did We Get So Dark? was released earlier this summer and the album debuted at Number 1 on the UK charts. Since its release, the album has garnered over 30 million streams across Spotify and Apple Music and has sold over 250,000 copies, while receiving praise from the likes of USA Today, Rolling Stone, NME, Entertainment Weekly, and Forbes. And adding to a growing international profile, the band played the main stage at last week’s Outside Lands Festival, and will be opening for Queens of the Stone Age for a series of dates in the fall. (Check out those dates, as well as the band’s headlining Stateside dates below.) 

But before I forget, album single “Lights Out,” recently reached Number 1 on the Rock Radio charts, as the Number 1 Gainer, marking the second time the band has reached Number 1, and as soon as you hear the song you’ll see why it’s been dominating the charts, as it further cements the band’s growing reputation for crafting blistering and swaggering power chord-based arena rock. 

Earlier this summer, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring  Leeds, UK-based indie rock/psych rock trio The Boxing, and as you may recall, since their formation in 2014, the trio comprised of  Harrison Warke (vocals, guitar), Henry Chatham (bass) and Charlie Webb (drums) quickly asserted themselves as part of their hometown’s growing, contemporary indie rock and psych rock scenes; in fact, they’ve already drawn some comparisons to the likes of W.H. Lung, Eagulls and JOVM mainstays The Vryll Society.

Now, as you may recall “One by One” was a brooding track led by a sinuous bass line and steady drumming paired with a propulsive motorik groove, a soaring hook and  a whispered croon reminiscent of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan, and as the band’s Harrison Warke explained in press notes, “One by One,”  was an elaboration of the sound they developed across their first batch of singles; but perhaps just as important, “One by One” was the first single act the act recorded in a proper, professional studio. Of course, recording in a studio gave the members of the band the ability and freedom to experiment and flesh out the song’s arrangement in a way that they were unable to do before. “Heart of Me,” was released as the B-side (sort of) to “One by One” — and while continuing in a similar vein to its lead single, the track manages to be a slow-burning., moody and stormy bit of shoegaze with a creepy, existential dread at its core.

“Tame,” while being one of the trio’s shortest song to date — it clocks in at a little under 2 minutes and 40 sounds — will further cement their growing reputation nationally and across the blogosphere for crafting moody yet anthemic shoegaze, complete with shimmering, pedal effected guitar chords; however, as the band’s Warke explains “most of our songs are written in a darkroom without windows, but a hint of light managed to creep into this one. There’s a bit of sweet among the usual sour.” And what makes the song interesting is while nodding at a lighter, perhaps airier and arena rock-like fare, the song finds the band doing so while retaining soaring hooks and an enveloping feel.

 

New Video: The Trippy 80s-Inspired Visuals for Park Hotel’s “Going West”

Centered on its founding and primary songwriting duo Tim Abbey and Rebeca Macros-Roca, the London, UK-based post-electronic dance act Park Hotel have developed a reputation for a sound that meshes neo-disco and dance punk with off-kilter, downtown art scene-based songwriting — and unsurprisingly, the duo’s sound has been favorably described as a joyfully communal face-off between LCD Soundsystem, Earth, Wind and Wire with flashes of Talking Heads and a sprinkle of Steely Dan. Along with that, they’ve developed a reputation for a live show in which the project expands to a sextet featuring three-way vocal harmonies, rhythm and lead guitar, drums and lots of cowbell.

Produced by Eliot James, mixed by Nathan Boddy and mastered at New York’s Sterling Sound, the act’s debut single “Gone as a Friend” was recorded after playing a number of critically applauded, buzz-worthy shows across London before officially releasing it earlier this year. And building upon their growing buzz, the act’s latest single “Going West,” is an off-kilter, dance floor-friendly track that sounds inspired by Tom Tom Club‘s “Genius of Love,” Talking Heads’ “Making Flippy Floppy,” Miami Horror‘s “Leila” and The Rapture‘s “House of Jealous Lovers” as the song possesses an infectious, ear-worm worthy, hook paired with boy-girl harmonizing, shimmering synths, a Nile Rodgers-like guitar line and an even funkier bass line, but they manage to do so in a fashion that feels like a fresh and mischievous take on a familiar, crowd pleasing fashion.

Collaborating with mononymic artist Henry, the recently released video for “Going West” manages to draw from two different eras  — 60s psych pop and early 80s pop and rock videos, as we follow the members of Park Hotel on a rooftop with neon bright backdrops featuring Basquiat-like art and expansive and trippy blue skies. 

Like A Version is a beloved weekly segment that airs on Australia’s leading national radio station Triple J — and the premise of the series is extremely simple: the radio station invites both national and internationally known artists to cover some of their favorite songs. Much like the AV Club’s Undercover the series  reveals the taste and influences of their invited acts, while letting those artists cover material in whatever way they seem fit — sometimes, it’s much more straightforward and other times, the act puts their own spin on it. Either way, it’s both thought provoking and deeply entertaining. Unsurprisingly, because of the series popularity, Triple J has released a series of chart topping compilation albums, which in many ways serves as a historical document of Australian popular music.

Metropolitan Groove Merchants will be releasing the Like A Version compilation in North America on September 22, marking the first time that Americans can check out the series, and the first album features 21 unique covers from some of the world’s most renowned and beloved artists — and to celebrate the occasion, Metropolitan Groove Merchants released two of the compilation’s singles, JOVM mainstay Tame Impala performing an ethereal and cinematic rendition of Kylie Minogue‘s “Confide In Me” that manages to be a deceptively straightforward cover that also decidedly retains their dreamy psych pop sound; while blogosphere darlings CHVRCHES put a decidedly sensual and anthemic synth pop cover of Arctic Monkeys “Do I Wanna Know” that nods at Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait” and Simple Minds‘ “Don’t You Forget About Me.”

 

With the release of 2015’s debut effort Dissemble, the Leeds, UK-based indie rock/post-punk quintet AUTOBAHN, comprised of Craig Johnson (vocals) Michel Pedel (guitar) and Gavin Cobb (guitar), Daniel Sleight (bass) and Liam Hilton (drums) received attention both nationally and across the blogosphere for a sound that was influenced by Joy Division and their legendary post-punk producer Martin Hamett. In fact, the band reportedly wrote and recorded the album imagining what Hannett would have done, if he were to produce them. However, as the story goes, before they set up to write and record the material that would comprise The Moral Crossing, the band’s forthcoming sophomore effort, the members of the band had decided to give up their practice room. which also doubled as a hardcore punk venue, an build their own space. They found a former double-glazing firm under a disused bridge in Holbeck, Leeds’ red light district and despite having no real experience building a studio from scratch, they undertook the job and when they finished their studio, the band’s Craig Johnson taught himself how to produce and record an album with the burning desire to create their own sound with their own artistic vision.  “I was down there nearly every night,” Johnson recalls. “It was pretty horrible at times, but worth the pain to have control over everything. We’ve had the chance to create the sound we want, at times it’s more melancholic, and romantic.”

In order to go about changing their sound, a change in songwriting approach was necessary — and for their sophomore effort, the band went about a deliberate and painstaking process in which they built songs piece-by-piece as they went along rather than working on completed songs, as they previously did. Lyrics came about at the end, and thematically the material finds the band focusing on birth — but in a way that emphasizes that the person “had no choice in the decision. And then it’s about the different outcomes that could happen, Which could be glorious or torturous,” Johnson explains in press notes.

From album title track “The Moral Crossing,” the Leeds-based quintet’s sophomore effort will be a bold and forceful new direction for the band — while retaining the angular attack of their previously released singles and of Martin Hammett-era Joy Division, the single finds the band crafting some of their most ambitious material to date, as it possesses the swooning and antehmic hooks reminiscent of Snow Patrol paired with prog rock and arena rock-like sensibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Dark and Striking Visuals for At The Drive In’s “Call Broken Arrow”

Currently comprised of founding members Cedric Bixler (vocals), Omar Rodriguez (guitar, vocals), Paul Hinojos (bass) and Tony Hajjar (drums) and Sparta’s Keely Davis, the El Paso, TX-based punk rock act At The Drive In can trace its origins back to its formation in 1994. After several line up changes, the band’s lineup eventually solidified into a quintet featuring Bixler, Rodriguez, Hinojos, Hajjar and Jim Ward, and with its best known lineup, the band released three critically applauded and commercially successful studio albums — 1996’s Acrobatic Tenement, 1998’s In/Casino/Out and 2000’s seminal effort, Relationship of Command — before abruptly splitting up at the height of their popularity, just before they were about to embark on a Stateside leg of a lengthy world tour. 

Following the break up of At The Drive In, Bixler and Rodriguez formed the critically applauded act The Mars Volta while Ward, Hinojoso, Hajjar formed Sparta with Davis, and both acts were a decided departure from their work from At The Drive In — with The Mars Volta specializing in intricate and expansive prog rock and Sparta specializing in much more straightforward rock. The band reunited in January 2012 and played that year’s Coachella Festival and Lollapalooza Festival and re-issued their original material through their own label before splitting up. Interestingly, the following year The Mars Volta went through a bitter break up in which Bixler and Rodriguez refused to speak to each other for a couple of years.  However, the original lineup had reunited to play a series of Festival gigs and announced they were releasing new material, but as the band was rehearsing and preparing to go on tour, Ward left and he was replaced by Sparta’s Keely Davis. 

The band’s fourth full-length effort  in • ter a • li • a was released earlier this year and from the album’s latest single “Call Broken Arrow,” the band manages to retain the explosive and breakneck fury of their previously released material but while revealing musicians who have grown older and bring something different to the table than from their first incarnation; in fact, the song manages to strongly nod at prog rock and math thanks to rapid fire key changes and a punishingly forceful bridge that will absolutely melt faces. 

Directed by Rob Shaw, the recently released visuals for “Call Broken Arrow” act as a prequel to the video for “Hostage Stamps,” as the viewer follows the continuing story of a prisoner and his faceless captors, as well as the appearance of enormous, mechanized spiders. And much like the preceding video, the visuals for “Call Broken Arrow” employs a mix of digital and stop-motion animation while providing nuanced into the already established narrative. As Shaw explains in press notes. “In ‘Hostage Stamps,’ we have a prisoner being tortured and monitored by some sort of authoritarian organization. The guys wanted to show why he was imprisoned, as well as cast doubt over his innocence. It’s funny how in stories, especially film stories, you tend to sympathize with whoever you spend time with. When you watch someone being mistreated, the assumption is that person is the victim. ‘Call Broken Arrow’ is in part about illustrating the prisoner’s culpability, but even that is in doubt as we see the Watcher character who follows him around slipping something in his drink at the end.”

New Audio: NVDES Returns with a Breezy Tropicalia and Dance Punk-Inspired New Single

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months or so, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Los Angeles-based collective NVDES. With the release of 2016’s Life With Lobsters, an album consisting of glitchy, summery indie dance pop, the collective fronted by founding member and primary songwriter Josh Ocean received over 10 million streams across all digital platforms, landed on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart, and as a result of rapidly growing buzz, the project’s 2016 effort received praise from The Fader, Nylon and others.  

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “Turning Heads” off their forthcoming La NVDITÉ EP, a breakneck dance punk track along the lines of  Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundsystem, Radio 4 and others, complete with angular guitar chords, a propulsive bass line, boom-bap beats and a rousingly anthemic hook. And building upon the buzz that single received, the act recently released their latest single “Dancer From New Yorker,” a track that will (naturally) further cement their growing reputation for crafting glitchy and breezy pop with anthemic hooks, and while its as dance floor-friendly as its predecessor, the track manages to subtly nod at tropicalia and bossa nova. 

New Video: The 90s and 00s Metal and Alt Rock-Inspired Visuals for Chelsea Wolfe’s “16 Psyche”

Chelsea Wolfe is a California-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who with the release of 2010’s The Grime and the Glow, 2011’s Apokalypsis, 2013’s Pain Is Beauty and 2015’s Abyss received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that meshes elements of gothic rock, folk, neofolk, electronica and metal, and for material that thematically dug underneath the world’s ugliness, messiness and hurt to get at a profound beauty underneath. Because of its cinematic and moody quality, her music has been featured in the promotional material for several TV series, including Game of Thrones, Fear the Walking Dead and How to Get Away with Murder.

Wolfe’s sixth full-length album Hiss Spun is reportedly inspired by a Henry Miller quote —  “What I want is to open up. I want to know what’s inside me. I want everybody to open up. I’m like an imbecile with a can opener in his hand, wondering where to begin — to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it.” And unsurprisingly, the material finds the renowned California-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist adopting Miller’s quest to become truly empowered by embracing the complete, messy self and to control the tumult within one’s soul in the hopes of reigning in the chaos of the world around them. However, as Wolfe explains in press notes, she had initially wanted to write some sort of escapist music with songs that were about being in your body and getting free; but “you’re just bombarded with constant bad news, people getting fucked over and killed for shitty reasons or no reason at all, and it seems like the world has been in tears for months, and then you remember that it’s been fucked for a long time; it’s been fucked since the beginning. It’s overwhelming and I have to write about it.” 

The album, which was recorded by Kurt Ballou in Salem, MA during the beginning of this year was also inspired by a brutally cold New England winter, several major upheveals in Wolfe’s personal life, as well as the Californian singer/songwriter and guitarist coming to terms with years of conflicting feelings of vulnerability, anger and self-destruction, an dark family history that has weighed heavily upon her and her life. And as a result, the material on Hiss Spun may arguably be the heaviest, darkest and most forceful material she has written to date. Additionally, long-time collaborator Ben Chisholm contributes swaths of sound collages recorded while Wolfe and her backing and were on tour — the rumble of street construction while they were on tour in Prague; the howl of a coyote outside Wolfe’s home; the scrape of machinery on a floor of a warehouse at a down-and-out friend’s workplace, as well as samples from the bomb blasts of the Enola Gay, the shrieks and mating calls of primates, the fluttering pages of a book of Walt Whitman’s poetry are all manipulated and seamlessly placed within the music.

The overall effect was to be a cathartic emotional purge and as you’ll hear on “16 Psyche,” the latest single off Hiss Spun, the song while managing to sound as though it were inspired by Tool and A Perfect Circle, complete with pummeling drumming and roaring distortion-heavy power chords and an antehmic hook possesses a palpable aching yearning  and broiling, feral, fury at its core that reminds me quite a bit of PJ Harvey. 
Directed by Zev Deans, the recently released video for “16 Psyche” is deeply inspired by late 90s and early 00s alt rock and metal videos and features a cameo by Queens of the Stone Age’s Troy Van Leeuwen, who appeared in similar videos of the era, and fittingly the video consists of dark, foreboding imagery of Wolfe in a straitjacket, being carted off as though she were Hannibal Lecter, Wolfe and her backing band performing the song in a smoke machine-filled studio dressed entirely in black and more. As a boy and teenager, who was obsessed with watching MTV, just watching the video brings back a ton of memories — Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People” anyone?