New Video: The Creepily Cinematic Visuals for Holy Golden’s “Seven of Diamonds”

Comprised of Leslie Schott and Andrew Valenti, the acclaimed indie duo Holy Golden can trace their origins to a serendipitous meeting on Martha’s Vineyard — during a lunar eclipse. As the story goes, Schott decided to take a ferry to the island and happened upon the record store where Valenti was working at the time. After chatting a bit, Valenti wrote down his band’s email address on a business card, gave it to Schott, suggesting that she should come to a show that night. Schott purchased a few CDs and left, assuming that she’d probably never see Valenti again, but as the ferry back to the mainland was about to depart, she ran off the boat and found the show. Since then, Schott and Valenti have traveled back and forth between Martha’s Vineyard and Los Angeles, where they’re currently based, creating mythological, multi-media based mini-worlds through music, music videos, short films and photography. Sonically speaking, the duo have developed a reputation for a sound that blends dream pop and 90s alt rock — while being inspired by their deepest sorrows and brightest fantasies, Maya Deren, David Lynch, Edward Gorey, and the lonely terrain of gilded Americana.

Wallflower Records’ founder Corey Savage signed the duo after catching them play in Houston during their first tour, and the label released their critically applauded full-length debut Wax Castle, an album that was written and recorded in various locations across the country. Building upon a growing profile, The Licking River EP was recorded, produced and mixed at Providence, RI-based Machines With Magnets Studio, and the EP was named by a number of blogs across the blogosphere as one of the top indie EPs of 2017. The duo’s sophomore album, the Steve Rizzo-produced Otherworld was a concept album inspired by a recurring childhood daydream of Schott’s — and it was recorded in a historic ballroom in Newport, RI. Interestingly, the duo frequently record while traveling and as a result, their work is affected by the rapidly changing landscapes, as well as the changing external and internal environment; in fact, they’ve had stints in Los Angeles, Detroit, Rhode Island and Cape Cod. 

Released earlier this year, the duo’s Sleepwalkers in the Milky Way EP will further cement their growing reputation for crafting atmospheric and cinematic dream pop — and while the band’s sound has been described as if Dolly Parton were backed by The xx, their latest single “Seven of Diamonds” to my ears, sounds as though it were influenced by the now-defunct Denver-based act Ending People and the classic 4AD Records heyday roster. In other words you’ll hear an arrangement of shimmering and angular guitar chords, dramatic drumming, a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook paired with Schott’s ethereal and plaintive vocals. 

Directed by Beatrice Pegard, the recently released video for “Seven of Diamonds” is a fever dream that seems influenced by Roger Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe films and the work Dario Argento among others — and as result, it has a palpably tense and uneasy creepiness. 

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Featuring core duo Ida Maidstone (vocals, Yamaha synths, Casio synths, Beat Finder) and Fizzy (bass, EFX, Beat Finder II) with contributions from Torrie Seager (guitar), the Canadian act Hush Pup, which splits their time between Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is an experimental pop act that describes their music as sounding “a lot like driving at night through the board game Candyland — soft cotton candy trees brush up against the windows of your glass car as you ride towards a friend’s cabin nearby the molasses swamp.”

The band will be releasing the Flower Power EP and Panacea, a romantic film-inspired album on a double cassette through Lone Hand Records in March — and the band’s latest single from that effort is the shimmering and atmospheric “The Hours.” Centered around a shimmering and looping guitar line, propulsive beats, Maidstone’s ethereal vocals, a soaring hook and equally ethereal synths, the track to my ears reminds me quite a bit of JOVM mainstays Beach House and Anemone, as well as the sound of much of the roster of 4AD Records heyday. But as the band explained to me in email “‘The Hours’ is a song about kindness. It’s about being sweet and slow as a practice. It’s inspired by a scene from an Allen Ginsberg documentary, where he conducts a workshop that integrates spirituality into artistic practice.

“Watching this, I felt as if he had created a kindness crew. ‘The Hours’ is written from the perspective of this crew. They’re taking time to gentle and they’re high on that concept.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year, I wrote about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. And as the story goes, when he started releasing music, Phillips was practically homeless, living in a room the size of about a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, he has amassed a growing national profile that has included amassing several million streams across the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complex.

Now, as you may recall, “CEPHALØTUS,” a single that derived its name from the Latin name of a small, carnivorous plant was a sensual and atmospheric bit of synth pop centered around a production featuring shimmering guitar chords, Phillips’ reverb-drenched, ethereal falsetto paired with dramatic bursts of industrial clang and clatter. And while possessing a surrealistic and almost painterly quality in which the artist slowly layers sound for a specific emotional effect, the song is also a deep dive into the depth of its creator’s psyche.

Slated for a March 22, 2019 release Phillips’ sophomore Crywolf album, widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] and the album’s first single is the urgent, frantic and downright trippy “DRIP.” Centered around a swooning and wobbling production thumping beats, a cacophony of industrial clang and clatter, a looped vocal samples, and plaintive vocal delivery and atmospheric synths, the song is a dramatic and decided push into a new direction sonically. But at its core, the song evokes a narrator whose mind and sanity have begun to fray at the seams, thoughts, observations and feelings seem to rapidly ping pong back and forth throughout. Interestingly, while in the middle of working on his sophomore album, Phillips was forced to take a break, as an entire album worth of material and over $5,000 worth of gear was stolen while he was in Chile. Heartbroken, Phillips headed to Patagonia, where he began to write in a small, wooden cabin in the Huilo Huilo rainforest, which has long been rumored to be haunted with thousands upon thousands of lost souls. Upon his return to the States, Phillips spent time in Twin Peaks, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Reno, NV and the forests just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada — overall a period that the acclaimed producer and electronic music artist has dubbed his “quarter life crisis.”

As Phillips writes about the new single and the forthcoming album, “one of the themes of this album is the exploration of the shadow – the darker, more difficult aspects of the human psyche. People often think they have one unified ‘personality,’ but the truth is that we are made up of up to a dozen different personalities that are only loosely tied together. We feel like we have so much control over our actions and personality characteristics, but often when we pay close attention and are honest with ourselves, we can see that we can’t actually control or even explain large parts of who we are. ‘DRIP’ is the my process of staring into my brain and being brutally honest about some of the really difficult aspects of what I see there. It might not be, but it’s uncomfortably real.”

Phillips will be touring throughout the Spring to support his new album, and it includes an April 5, 2019 stop at Elsewhere‘s Zone One. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

March 22 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop/Popscene
April 4 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
April 5 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere (Zone One)
April 7 – Chicago, IL @ Chop Shop
May 2 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird
May 3 – Dallas, TX @ RBC Deep Ellum
May 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ 1720

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Lola Kirke Teams Up with Wyndham Garnett on a Gorgeous Cover of Ted Lucas’ “Baby Where You Are”

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the British-born, New York-based singer/songwriter, musician and actress Lola Kirke. Although she may be best known for starring roles in  Noah Bambauch’s Mistress America and the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, and a supporting role in David Fincher’s Gone Girl, the British-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and actress is the daughter of drummer of drummer Simon Kirke, who was a member of the 70s hit-making rock bands Bad Company and Free and Lorraine Kirke, the owner of Geminola, a New York-based vintage boutique known for supplying outfits for Sex and the City.  

As a solo artist, Kirke’s Wyndham Garnett-produced full-length debut, Heart Head West was released last year through Downtown Records, and  the album, which was tracked live to tape was a deeply personal effort that was as Kirke said in press notes “about basically everything I thought about in 2017 — time, loss, social injustice, sex, drinking, longing — essentially everything I’d talk about with a close friend for 40 minutes.” 

Wyndham Garnett is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who first made a name for himself as an original member of Elvis Perkins in Dearland and a touring member of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. And as a result, he has shared stages with the likes of My Morning Jacket, Cold War Kids, Levon Helm, Pete Seeger, Dr. Dog, The Felice Brothers, Marco Benevento and a lengthy list others. 2016 saw the release of his self-produced full-length debut WYNDHAM and the Gus Seyffert-produced EP Double You, which featured lead single “Gypsy,” a track that landed on Elle’s “Best New Songs of December 2016” with singles by the legendary Neil Young and Childish Gambino. Now, as you may recall Garnett is a frequent collaborator with Kirke that has included her self-titled EP, last year’s Heart Head West and a pair of Christmas-themed songs. 

Garnett and Kirke continue their ongoing and extraordinarily successful collaboration with two Valentine’s Day-themed singles “Lights On” and a cover of Ted Lucas’ “Baby Where You Are.” The Garnett and Kirke cover of Lucas’ “Baby Where You Are” is a fairly straightforward and atmospheric rendition of the song with a twangy 12 bar blues-like solo, the song is rooted in cold and lonely nights, longing for that special someone, who’s far away — although the song hints at the hope of being with that person again. “When we first got together, Wyndham and I rented a house in upstate New York and spent the majority of our time drinking too much wine and learning songs we liked on guitar so we could at least sing them at parties and maybe one day even record them,” Kirke says in press notes. “Ted Lucas’ ‘Baby Where You Are’ came into our lives then and has remained a staple because of how simply it expresses the truth of love and longing. I’m always excited by art that achieves that balance, which is why I fell so in love with Wyndham’s song ‘Lights On.’ I feel like the two songs express different sides of desire, one that is more certain and the other less, but both hopeful and both very known.”

New Video: The 80s Inspired Visuals for Swooning Phil Spector-like “Can’t Help The Way I Feel”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Indianapolis, IN-based folk pop duo Lily & Madeleine, And as you may recall, the act, which consists of siblings Lily and Madeline Jurkiewicz can trace its origins to when the Jurkiewicz Sisters began singing together while attending high school, uploading home videos of various covers to YouTube. Those videos caught the attention of Bloomington, IN-based producer Paul Mahern, who invited the sisters into his studio to record what would become their debut EP, 2013’s The Weight of the Globe when their class schedule permitted. Kenny Childers (Gentleman Caller) assisted by co-writing the material off the EP with the sisters; but it was video of the sisters singing in Mahern’s studio reached the front page of news aggregator Reddit — and as a result, Sufjan Stevens signed the Jurkiewicz Sisters to his label Asthmatic Kitty Records.

Adding to a growing profile, John Mellencamp asked the Jurkiewicz Sisters to contribute guest vocals to the soundtrack of his musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. After playing some of their first sold out shows in their hometown, they made their national TV debut on CBS This Morning to promote their self-titled, full-length debut, which was released in February 2013. The album was praised from a number of major media outlets, including The New York Times, which praised the album for their extraordinary sibling vocal blend, “deep and seamless and relaxed.” Since then the Indianapolis-based sibling folk pop duo have released two more albums — 2014’s Fumes, which was released through Asthmatic Kitty and 2016’s Keep It Together, which was released through New West Records.

Now, as you may recall, the Jurkiewicz Sisters kicked off this year with the inclusion of “Just Do It” on the first Spotify New Music Friday playlist of 2019 and the track, which was co-produced by Grammy Award-winning production team Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuck, who worked on Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour pairs the Lily and Madeleine’s gorgeous and effortless harmonizing with a shimmering dance pop-like production centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, hand claps and fluttering electronics; but at its core, the song not only talks about taking chances, it talks of confidently coming of age as a woman — and demanding what you need and want from yourself and others.

Canterbury Girls, the Jurkiewicz Sisters’ the fourth full-length album is slated for a February 22, 2019 release through New West Records and interestingly, the Phil Spector-like “Can’t Help The Way I Feel” is centered by what may arguably be the tightest and funkiest groove on the entire album, with a razor sharp and infectious hook, handclaps, twinkling keys and the Jurkiewicz Sisters easygoing yet gorgeous harmonizing. At its core, the song’s narrator is proud and defiant, openly saying that while her friends may disapprove of her love interest, she simply can’t help how she feels — even if the relationship isn’t good for her. Somehow, I suspect that many of us can relate.

Directed by Horatio Baltz, the recently released video for “Can’t Help The Way I Feel” features the Jurkiewicz Sisters are swooning and lovestruck 80s teens. Owing a visual debt to John Hughes films, the video features some slick split screens and some dreamy glamor sequences.

New Video: Yacht Punk Releases Wistful and Bittersweet Video for “Indian Summer”

Late last year, I wrote about the Los Angeles-based indie rock act Yacht Punk, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Graham Brockmiller (vocals, guitar), Michael Pozzi (guitar), Tricky (drums) and Justin Ricard (bass) can trace their origins to when Brockmiller’s previous band Great White Buffalo broke up. As the story goes, at one point Brockmiller was laying on the floor of his unfinished Beachwood Canyon basement studio, unsure of what would or should come next. But he did realize that it was time to go off on his own, so she spent the next year holed up in his studio, contemplating life, writing, collecting nude calendars of Eastern European women suggestively holding large trophy carp and experimenting with the raw recording skills had taught himself. In time, he began exploring new sounds and textures outside the traditional rock and indie rock arrangements of guitar, drums, bass as a way to test his DIY recording chops, as well as a way to find a more interesting, moodier sound.

Brockmiller was tinkering with what would be eventually become early Yacht Punk demos,  when he had a chance meeting with Michael Pozzi at Davey Wayne‘s. Pozzi quickly joined the project after heading to Brockmiller’s studio to hear Brockmiller’s demo and liked the direction the music was going. Brockmiller’s roommate Tricky joined, followed by Justin Ricard, completing the band’s lineup. The then newly formed quartet took those demos to Matt Wignall‘s Tackyland studio, where they recorded “Hang Me Out to Dry” with Wignall assisting to push the band’s sound into new and stranger places. Along with some other Wignall-produced tracks, the band then had Will Brierre mix and engineer the tracks. 

The attention-grabbing “Need a Reason” was featured on Spotify’s New Noise and Fresh Finds playlists. Building upon a growing profile, the glossy and hook-driven “New Wave Denier” further cemented the quartet’s growing reputation for crafting pop-inspired indie rock — although somewhat ironically, the song is fueled by disillusionment; in fact, as Brockmiller explained in press noted, the song “is about disillusionment and being over mainstream music. I wanted to capture the feeling of being young and disillusioned by life, by love, and by current and/or popular music. The sense of being unable to relate to your peers, the sense of searching for something more meaningful, and ultimately finding identity and belonging in the music from a past generation.” Interestingly, the Los Angeles-based indie quartet’s latest single, the shimmering and slow-burning “Indian Summer” was released along with the announcement that their forthcoming album Ghosts will be slated for an April 5, 2019 release. Sonically bearing a resemblance to Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” the song is centered jangling and shimmering power chords, an anthemic hook and wistful remembrances of youthful (and perhaps foolish) concerns — with an emphasis on time passing by quicker than you ever expected it to pass. Shot with what appears to be either Super 8 film or an Instagram-like filter, the recently released video further emphasizes the song’s wistful vibes in a way that feels classic yet contemporary. 

Last month, I wrote about the Norwegian guitar pop act I Was A King. Led by Frode Strømstad (vocals, guitar) and Anne Lise Frøkedal (vocals, guitar) and featuring bandmates Ole Reidar Gudmestad and Arne K Mathisen, the band formed in Egersund, a picturesque town located on the country’s windswept, Southwestern coast. The band’s Norman Blake-produced album Slow Century is slated for a March 8, 2018 release through Coastal Town Recordings, and the album, which was written, recorded and pressed to vinyl in their hometown thematically illustrates the tension between the lust for new adventures and the comfort of everyday, mundane, small-town life.

Now, as you may recall, Slow Century‘s first single, the easy-going, 70s AM rock meets 90s alt rock-like “Bubble,” a track centered around Strømstad’s and Frøkedal’s gorgeous and effortless harmonizing, jangling guitar chords and a soaring hook. “Hatchet,” Slow Century‘s high-energy, second and latest single was one of the first songs written for the album, and the track which is centered around layers of jangling and distortion pedal-fed guitars, an anthemic hook and the effortlessly intertwined harmonizing between Strømstad and Frøkedal, along with a buoyant guitar solo contributed by Half Japanese‘s  Jad Fair played on his rubber band guitar. While sounding as though it were indebted to classic 120 Minutes-era alt rock, the track feels like its a perfect addition to a road trip playlist.

 

 

 

Last month, I wrote about the Southern Holland-born, London-based visual artist and electronic music artist and producer, Nick van Hofwegen, best known as Young & Sick. Initially van Hofwegen attempted the traditional route of being an artist by going through design school, but he found its cookie-cutting leanings discouraging and it led him to drop out after finishing his first year. He began working at a car parts factory in rural Holland and quit, eventually relocating to London. When he arrived in London, his friend Mark, the frontman of internationally recognized band Foster the People, introduced him to comedian Andy Dick, who came across some of his visual art and championed it. Additionally, Mark asked van Hofwegen to do the artwork for his band’s 2011 debut Torches.

Although the Southern Holland-born, London-based visual artist, electronic music artist and producer released a full-length album back in 2014, last year was a breakthrough year for him: He released his Ojai EP, an attention-grabbing effort that served as a reintroduction to van Hofwegen’s sound and aesthetic. Adding to a growing profile, van Hofwegen was profiled in NYLON — and EP title track “Ojai” was featured in an ad campaign for Apple Watch.  van Hofwegen followed Ojai EP with the release of the No Static EP, which received praise from The Fader and Variety. He closed out a big year with a cover of Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” for Neon Gold Records‘ 10 Year Anniversary compilation.

The Dutch-born, London-based visual artist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer played a run of critically applauded SXSW sets, including Neon Gold’s Neon Golden showcase. He played his first Stateside headlining shows in over 4 years with a pair of Los Angeles and NYC dates that featured an interactive multimedia experience. And as an artist, van Hofwegen had his first ever fine art gallery show last August, which featured a series of his original visual and sculptural pieces — and he designed the album art for Maroon 5‘s Overexposed, Mikky Ekko’s “Kids,” as well as for his work.

Building upon a breakthrough 2018, van Hofwegen will be releasing a new EP that’s slated for a spring release through Neon Gold Records/B3SCI Records. Now, as you may recall, the EP’s first single “Bitter End,” nodded heavily at Teddy Riley-era New Jack Swing, classic Chicago house and C+C Music Factory as it was centered by a production that featured tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, soulful vocals, a rousingly anthemic hook and a “you got this, man” positive vibe. The EP’s latest single “Jet Black Heart” is a swooning and summery bit of synth pop centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, chopped up vocals, a sinuous bass line, stuttering beats and van Hofwegen’s plaintive vocals. Sonically, the slickly produced track is straightforward pop leaning bit of house that van Hofwegen says is “about all consuming love. The kind who’s intensity paralyses you. The sort that makes you lose it completely. It’s the LOVE I feel for making music and art.”

van Hofwegen is currently  opening for The Knocks during their 2019 North American tour during the winter. The tour will include a February 23, 2019 stop at Brooklyn Steel. Check out the tour dates below.  Also tickets are on sale here.

 

Tour Dates
Feb 9 // Austin, TX @ Historic Scoot Inn
Feb 10 // Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock Room
Feb 12 // St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
Feb 14 // Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
Feb 15 // Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar
Feb 16 // Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Feb 17 // Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Feb 20 // Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
Feb 21 // Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Feb 23 // Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel