Live Footage: Acclaimed Post-Rock Trio BRUTUS Performs “Sugar Dragon” at Handelsbeurs — Ghent, Belgium

Over the course of this year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS, and as you may recall, with the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the Belgian trio, comprised of Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) quickly developed a national and international presence, despite the fact that they’ve achieved it with a sound shaped by necessity: Mannaerts adopted vocal duties because no one else would. Since Burst’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and played the major heavy EU festivals. Adding to a growing profile, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has proudly championed the Belgian trio.

Their Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest was released earlier this year through Sargent House Records. And while the album finds the band making a concerted effort to write tight songs with an expanded sound, the album also finds the band’s Mannaerts fully embracing her dual roles as vocalist and drummer.  Thematically speaking, the material focuses on the path the trio have taken together to get to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream.But there’s underlying moments of deep, introspection, in which they all consider the individual choices they’ve made to get there — and the impact those choices had on their loved ones, and those who they’ve left behind.  And as a result, the material possesses a strangely uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue their forward progression and a desire to maintain and cherish those connections to all that they love at home. But is that possible when you’ve taken such enormous risks to achieve something extraordinary? And when the things you’ve seen, done and experienced have become so different than those of your peers, can you keep that connection?

I previously wrote about three  album singles: “War,” a track that alternated between dreamy and ruminative showcase and aggressive and forceful thrash metal, with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks; “Cemetery,” a track that found the band effortlessly riding doom metal, thrash metal, shoegaze, hardcore punk and stoner rock; and the concise and force “Django.”  “Sugar Dragon,” Nest’s latest single continues a run of material that manages to simultaneously be intimate and deeply introspective and explosively cathartic; painterly and gorgeous shoegaze that feels like a painter’s brushstrokes across the canvas and pummeling metal with fiery guitar pyrotechnics. And much like its predecessors, the song captures the bleak and raw ache of taking stock of oneself and their lives — completely alone. 

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays Pleasure Motel Releases a Sensual Visual for Thumping and Propulsive New Single

Dave Tudi is a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has been the creative mastermind behind a number of musical projects I’ve written about throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus year history. His latest project, Pleasure Motel is a minimalist synth pop project with a sleazy and menacing, industrial-leaning sound that recalls Ministry, early Nine Inch Nails and Suicide. 

Tudi’s latest Pleasure Motel single “Love Songs” continues a run of minimalist and propulsive tracks centered around arpeggiated synths, relentlessly thumping beats, an infectious hook and mantra-like lyrics delivered with an icy and ironic detachment. Unlike his previous released Pleasure Motel work, “Love Songs” may arguably be among the sleaziest and most debauched songs of his growing catalog. And if doesn’t stir lust deep in your loins and in the reptile brain, there’s something wrong with you. 

The recently released video is split between sensual, black and white stock footage of young couples making out and hooking up, and sleazy red-filtered footage of a sunglasses wearing Tudi singing the song’s lyrics. The visual manages to continue the project’s DIY ethos  — cheap, fast, sleazy.  

David Halsey is an up-and-coming Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist, who grew up listening to his parents recording collection, which included Madonna, Depeche Mode and Soft Cell. His brothers introduced him to Bay Area hip-hop. Unsurprisingly, both of those things managed to heavily influence his attention-grabbing solo recording project Petticoat, a musical project that finds Halsey meshing early 80s New Wave, experimental club music and bubblegum bass into a unique, futuristic-leaning take on electronic music. “I love the music from eras that have had an eye towards futurism,” Halsey says. “Things like 2000s RnB and modern club/pop music.”

Earlier this year, the Bay Area-based producer and electronic music artist released a Pharrell Williams-inspired rework of Internet pop sensation Slayyter‘s “Mine,” and building upon a rapidly growing profile, his latest single “Fantasy” is an swooning and flirty, 80s synth pop and synth funk-inspired bop centered around shimmering synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a sinuous bass line and a big, infectious hook. And while sonically recalling the likes of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Cherelle’s “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” and Beverly Girl, the song possesses a familiar, retro-futuristic air.

“Fantasy,” as Haley describes in press notes is “a song centered around the act of presenting through dating apps and websites. The lyrics play into the consequences of shallowness and miscommunication through online profiles. I chose to go with 80s New Wave mixed with dance pop for the instrumental. To me, that era of 80s synth pop was inherently futuristic for its time with its synthesizers, experimental voice mixing, and subject matter. It was a perfect match to get across the feeling and message of modern love; like an eye towards the future through a lens of retrospection.”

 

With the release of their attention-grabbing single “Denim,” which was played on BBC Introducing, the Manchester, UK-based alt pop sextet Mealtime quickly emerged into the British music scene with a sound that meshes pop sensibilities and experimental production values. Since then, the band has built upon a growing profile with two consecutive sold-out shows at their hometown’s prestigious Band On The Wall, live sets at Bluedot Festival and Dot To Dot Festival, as well as a live session for BBC Introducing, Manchester.
Interestingly, Mealtime’s latest single, the atmospheric “Teef” finds the band channeling New Order and Portishead simultaneously, as the song is centered stuttering beats, shimmering synths and guitars, trading male and female verses and a sinuous hook — and while nodding at murkiness, the song is a coquettish and sugary pop confection.

 

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. 

I’ve written quite a bit about the Seattle, WA-based heavy metal quartet Thunderpussy over the past handful of years, and as you may recall the act quickly exploded into the national scene as a result of a string of critically applauded live shows and co-signs from Rolling Stone and Pearl Jam’Mike McCready. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band released their Mike McCready-produced self-titled debut through Stardog Records/Republic Records, and the album which featured the Led ZeppelinBlack Sabbath meets Joan Jett-like anthem “Speed Queen” and the bluesy “Velvet Noose,” further cemented the band’s reputation for crafting self-assured, arena friendly rock.

The strutting, AC/DC-like “Never Know” is the first bit of new material from the band since the release of their self-titled debut, and while centered around enormous hooks, a booze-fueled 12 bar blues and Molly Sides’ sultry vocals — and while continuing a run of arena friendly rock, the song which features a new drummer, also manages to possess a different energy and air; that of an ambitious band that wants to take over the entire world.

“‘Never Know’ was a labor of lust!” The band says in press notes. “We dove deep, got stuck and let it go. Turns out it came back to us with a new energy and a new drummer! This was our first experience recording in LA with a group of producers that blew us away. We feel like the sound is something we’d been searching for a while and ended up being there all along. You truly never know what will happen when you let something go. If it’s mean tot be, it always finds a way back!”

The band is currently touring this summer with Black Pistol Fire, Hollis Brown and Ramonda Hammer and the tour includes a stop at Brooklyn Bowl tonight. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates 
8/9: Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl #
8/10: Philadelphia, PA @ Milkboy #
8/11: Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery #
8/13: Nashville, TN @ High Watt #
8/15: Indianapolis, IN @ Hi-Fi Indy #
8/16: Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Rock Club #
8/17: Saint Paul, MN @ Turf Club #
8/19: Bozeman, MT @ The Eagles Ballroom #
8/20: Boise, ID @ Humpin’ Hannah’s #
9/30: Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction *
10/1: San Diego, CA @ House of Blues – Voodoo Room *
10/3: Las Vegas, NV @ The Bunkhouse Saloon *
10/4: Los Angeles, CA @ House of Machines *
10/5: San Francisco, CA @ The Midway San Francisco

# w/ Hollis Brown
*w/ Ramonda Hammer

New Video: City and Colour Releases an Intimate Visual for Plaintive “Strangers”

Throughout the first half of this year, I’ve written a bit about the St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada-born singer/songwriter and guitarist, Dallas Green and his acclaimed, commercially successful folk rock/alt country-solo recording project City and Colour. Green can trace the origins of his music career to when he was eight and started playing piano. By the time he turned 14, he was writing songs. Professionally, his career started in earnest as a member of Helicon Blue, but in his native Canada, he’s known for being a founding member of Canadian post-hardcore act Alexisonfire with whom he wrote and recorded four Platinum-certified albums and an EP — 2001’s self-titled album, 2004’s Watch Out!, 2006’s Crisis and 2009’s Old Crows/Young Cardinals and 2010’s Dog’s Blood EP — before officially breaking up in 2011.

City and Colour, Green’s solo recording project can trace its origins back to 2005 when he began releasing early versions of songs for fans to download. Many of those songs were written when Green turned 16 — and he complied those songs and rewrote many of those songs, eventually releasing them as his 2005 City and Colour debut, Sometimes.

2008’s City and Colour sophomore album, the folk-influenced Bring Me Your Love featured a wider arrangement of instrumentation, including harmonica, banjo, drums and lap steel and found Green collaboration with The Tragically Hip’s Gordon Downie and Attack in Black‘s Matt Sullivan. The album’s lead single “Waiting . . . ” peaked at #32 on the Canadian Hot 100. Building upon a growing profile on both sides of the border, Green and his backing band went on their first American tour, opening for Tegan and Sara and Girl in a Coma. The following year, Green went on a Stateside headlining tour with William Elliott Whitmore. 

January 2010 saw Green on another headlining Stateside tour to support Bring Me Your Love with opening act Lissie, which he followed with a UK tour opening for Pink and Butch Waters, with a handful of headlining dates. He ended that year collaboration with Polaris Music Prize-nominated artist Shad on a remix of one of “Listen” off TSOL, and an original song “Live Forever.”

2011’s Little Hell featured Green’s highest charting single, “Fragile Bird,” which reached #1 on the Canadian rock/Alternative Charts. That August, Alexisonfire formally broke up with a statement from the band’s George Pettit saying that Green had been planning to leave the band to focus on his solo work, as balancing the two projects became too difficult.

In 2014 Green collaborated with multi-Grammy nominated and winning pop artist Pink in You + Me and the duo’s full-length debut, rose ave. debuted at #4 on the US Top 200 Charts, #1 in Canada and #2 in Australia, eventually being certified Platinum and culminating in appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Green’s most recent full-length album 2015’s If I Should Go Before You debuted at #16 on the US Billboard 200 and #1 in his native Canada, marking his third consecutive chart-topping album in his homeland.  As far as other accolades, Green has won 3 Juno Awards, including two Songwriter of the Year Awards — and in Canada he has 3 Double Platinum-certified albums, 1 Platinum-certified album and 1 Gold-certified album, which may arguably make him one of the most commercially successful, Canadian artists of his generation.

His forthcoming sixth, Jacquire King-produced full-length album is slated for release this Fall through the acclaimed Canadian singer/songwriter’s newly minted Dine Alone Records imprint, Still Records. The as of yet-unnamed album’s latest single “Strangers” is interestingly enough, its first official radio single and it manages to continue in a similar vein as its predecessor “Astronaut” — a mesh of honky tonk country and towering shoegaze, centered around an enormous, arena friendly hook, Green’s plaintive vocals and a haunting refrain in which Green pleads “Don’t wake when when this is over/just let me drift amidst my dreams.” “‘Strangers’ is about how you will never truly know another human being,” says Green. “You’ll never really understand what it’s like to be inside someone else’s brain or heart. So, we need to appreciate the differences. If we do, maybe we can live better with one another.”

Directed by Michael Maxxis and Chris Verene, and shot on what appears to be a mix of digital cameras and Super 8 Film, the recently released, intimate video for “Strangers” throws the viewer into the lives of a beautiful Black family, a young mixed race couple, a white family, a young white couple, as one of them is preparing to surrender himself to authorities and a lesbian couple. And while each of these situations features incredibly unique individuals, the video captures profoundly universal moments — the loving and tender moments, the tearful and uneasy departures, the embittering fights about money and bills, the petty jealousies, the break ups and make ups that countless families and couples experience on a regular basis.