Comprised of Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Leah Julius (bass) and Ruby Dunphy (drums), the  Seattle, WA-based heavy metal quartet Thunderpussy quickly exploded into the national scene as a result of a string of attention-grabbing, critically applauded live shows and co-signs from Rolling Stone and Pearl Jam’Mike McCready. And from the Led ZeppelinBlack Sabbath meets Joan Jett-like anthem “Speed Queen” and the bluesy “Velvet Noose,” which featured an “Evenflow“-like guitar solo from Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, the early buzz surrounding the band was warranted.

Back in May 2015, the members of the band applied for a US trademark to protect their name and brand, as they were preparing for future world domination. Shortly after the band submitted their application, they received a letter from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denying the band their trademark on the grounds that their name was “immoral” and “scandalous” as per the guidelines laid down in the Truman-era Lanham Act of 1946. The USPTO even cited Urban Dictionary as a credible source as to why the word pussy is regarded as a derogatory term.

The fate of the band’s name — and their trademark application — depends on the outcome of a new case, Iancu v. Brunetti, which will be argued in front of the Supreme Court on Monday. Eric Brunetti will be defending his clothing brand FUCT in a case that he’s been fighting for nearly 20 years. As the band awaits the Supreme Court decision, they released a fiery and passionately stomping cover of Jefferson Airplane‘s “Somebody to Love” that turns the song into a contemporary, feminist, metalhead anthem.

Thunderpussy will be touring over the next few months. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
May 11 – Bellingham, WA – Wild Buffalo House Of Music
July 12 – Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf*
July 13 – Ophir, CO – Ride Festival
July 16 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom*
July 17 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre*
July 19 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up*
July 20 – Sacramento, CA – Holy Diver*
July 23 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre*
July 25 – Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall*
July 26 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up
July 27 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre*
August 2 – Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Iron Works
*with Black Pistol Fire
 

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New Audio: Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter Meg Mac Releases an Anthemic Tell-Off

Born Megan Sullivan McInerney, the Sydney, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and keyboardist and pop artist Meg Mac can trace the origins of her music career to when she was a small girl — as the story goes, she began singing as soon as she could speak and began writing her own songs when she was a teenager.

McInerney began degree studies in Digital Media but quit that after relocating to Perth, where she studied music at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts. After earning her degree, she recorded “Known Better” and submitted the song to Triple J’s Unearthed. Coincidentally, after she submitted her song, McInerney and a car load of friends left on a road trip from Perthto Melbourne, where she would later permanently relocate — and as they were approaching Melbourne, she learned that Triple J had selected her single and were going to play it.

As a result of being named an Unearthed Featured Artist of the Week in 2013 and Unearthed Artist of the Year in 2014, the Sydney, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and keyboardist emerged into her homeland’s national scene; in fact, “Roll Up Your Sleeves,” reached #80 on the ARIA Singles Chart in August 2014 with “Never Be” landing at #39 the following year — and she went on her first national headlining tour.

She also received nominations for Best Female Artist and Breakthrough Artists during the 2015 ARIA Music Awards. And adding to a growing national profile, Marie Claire Australia named her an Artist to Watch in 2015 and Rolling Stone Australia nominated McInerney for a Best New Talent Award. By 2016, “Never Be” landed at #11 on Triple J’s Hottest 100.

“Roll Up Your Sleeves” was featured in a number of American TV series including HBO’s Girls, Grace and Frankie and Astronaut Wives Clubs — and as a result, the MegMac EP became a platinum selling effort. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Mac’s 2017 full-length debut Low Blows entered the ARIA Charts at #2 and received praise internationally from the likes of InStyle, Buzzfeed, Noisey, V Magazine and the New York Times who called her music “rooted in soul with just enough contemporary production.”

Developing a reputation for live show centered around her soulful vocals, Mag has managed to consistently sell out national tours and shows across her native Australia, has opened for Clean Bandit and D’Angelo — and she’s played some of the major festivals’ across the international festival circuit includingGovernor’s Ball and SXSW.

Last October saw the release of the uplifting and powerful “Give Me My Name Back,” off her forthcoming and highly awaited sophomore album. As Mac told Billboard, the song “is a song for those who have suffered emotional and physical abuse; it’s for the women who are standing up and speaking out, those discriminated against in the LGBTQI community, the indigenous people of Australia and the children abused by the church. For everyone who has lost an important part of themselves and need to reclaim their identity, dignity and self-worth in order to move forward with their lives.”

Mac’s latest single is the slow-burning and atmospheric “I’m Not Coming Back.” Centered around intertwined harmonies, an anthemic drum beat, shimmering synths, a rousing hook and Mac’s effortlessly soulful and self-assured vocals, the song finds its fed up narrator letting someone go, who only seems to be around to use them. And as result, the song bristles with the satisfaction of saying “No, not anymore” to someone who desperately needs to hear it.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a bit about the acclaimed  Gothenburg, Sweden-based singer/songwriter Sarah Klang. With the release of “Sleep,” and “Strangers,” Klang received praise across the blogosphere for crafting aching and heartbreakingly sad material that some critics compared to the likes of  Roy Orbison and Jeff Buckley — although interestingly enough, the Gothenburg-based singer/songwriter has publicly cited Barbra Streisand and ambient electronica as major influences on her work.

Building upon a growing profile, Klang released her critically applauded full-length debut Love In The Milky Way last year, which she supposed with tours across the US, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Adding to breakthrough year, Klang played a sold-out shows at Gothenburg Concert Hall and Stockholm’Södra Teatern — and she won a Swedish Grammy.

Written and recorded during one of the busiest year’s of Klang’s young career, her forthcoming sophomore full-length album is slated for release later this year. Now, as you may recall, “Call Me,” the album’s slow-burning, Dolly Parton meets Carole King-like first single was centered around twinkling piano, shimmering strings and Klang’s achingly tender vocals — and as Klang explained in press notes, the song was “about the love that only happens once. It might not last for long, but you’ll remember it forever.” And as a result, the song’s narrator expressed a bitter and swooning despair and begrudging acceptance over the loss of her love.

Continuing in a similar vein as its predecessor, the album’s second and latest single “Endless Sadness” is centered around a slow-burning and hauntingly spectral arrangement featuring bursts of steel pedal, twinkling organ and a soaring hook is a perfect setting for one of the most unique and saddest voices in contemporary indie music. And much like its immediate predecessor, the song is infused with a deeply bitter sense of despair and loss.

 

 

New Video: Film School’s Glitchy and Hazy Visuals for “Influencer”

Currently comprised of founding member Greg Bertens (vocals, guitar) along with Jason Ruck (keys), Nyles Lannon (guitar), Justin Labo (bass) and Adam Wade (drums), the acclaimed, Los Angeles-based shoegazer act Film School can trace its origins to when Bertens founded the band as a primarily solo act in which he worked with members of Fuck and Pavement for the recording of the band’s full-length debut, 2001’s Brilliant Career. Ruck, Lannon, Labo and Ben Montesano (drums) were all recruited to compete the band’s first permanent lineup later that year.

2003 saw the release of the Alwaysnever EP, an effort that was recorded in Lannon’s bedroom and shortly after the release of the EP, the band went through a series of lineup changes — with the first being Donny Newenhouse replacing Montesano on drums. 2006 saw the release of their self-titled sophomore album, their first through renowned indie label Beggars Banquet. They also provided the music for a series of short films by Demetri Martin, known collectively as “Clearification,” which was used for an ad campaign for Windows Vista.

The band went through another a massive lineup change that featured Lorelei Plotczyk replacing Labo on bass, Dave Dupuis replacing Lannon on guitar, and James Smith replaced Newenhouse on drums and then relocated to Los Angeles before releasing their third full-length album 2007’s Hideout, which was primarily written by Bertens and recorded with Dan Long.

The band’s fourth full-length album Fission, which found the band exploring new sonic territory was released to mixed reviews by fans and critics in 2010. The band played what was considered their last official show the following year and went on an indefinite hiatus for several years before the band’s self-titled era lineup reunited for a one-off show at San Francisco‘s Bottom of the Hill to celebrate Newenhouse’s 40th birthday that focused on early material. Interestingly, the reunion eventually resulted in 2016’s June EP, which found the reunited band returning to their signature spacious sound.

Film School’s fifth, full-length album, last year’s Bright to Death was written and recorded as a labor of love, with tempered expectations, since it was the band’s first album in eight years. Recorded over an eight day period in November 2018 on the outskirts of Joshua Tree, CA, the album’s title is derived from text on a piece of art that Bertens had seen as part of an exhibit by Chinese students on the topic of global warming. As they were recording in the sun-blistered environs of Joshua Tree, the phrase “Bright to death” popped into Bertens’ head and it stuck.

Featuring four members of the band’s original lineup and Shudder to Think and Jawbox’s Adam Wade contributing on several songs, the album’s sessions came about almost by accident. As the story goes, Bertens was at a Fourth of July get-together and was grumbling to Justin Labo about a recent bout with writer’s block. In the ensuing months after recording the June EP, work and family responsibilities had seemingly zapped Bertens of his creativity. At the time Bertens joked “The only way, I could write is if I were out in the desert for a week.” A few hours later, Bertens received a phone call from Labo: Labo had the go-ahead from his wife and kids to go to the desert to write and record. Greg’s offhanded remark had awakened “a pent-up lust to make music the way we wanted to,” in Justin’s words. It wasn’t long before Nyles Lannon (guitar/backing vocals, also a dad) and Jason Ruck (synths) were on board, too.

As for the sessions themselves — after Bertens returned from his dawn run, the members of the band would hunker down in a small outbuilding that functioned as a simple studio. “It was perfect,” the band’s Labo said “We set up our laptops and fashioned a makeshift DIY recording setup. It brought us back to [2003] when we recorded the Alwaysnever EP in Nyles’s bedroom.” They would spend all day and most of the night working, taking breaks only to eat and to catch a few hours of sleep. “At some points we had two recording setups going simultaneously,” Labo recalls. “Greg and Nyles might be working on an arrangement or vocals, while me and Jason would be tracking keyboards and bass for another idea. We recorded for eight days straight, right up until the very last moment.”

The band will be releasing a new EP sometime this year, and its first single is the hazy and atmospheric “Influencer.” Centered around four-on-the-floor, buzzing and arpeggiated synths, shimmering, pedal effected guitars and an anthemic hook, the song manages to bring Silversun Pickups but with an ambivalent and ironic detachment. Interestingly, the song is a a nod to people’s ambivalence and as Greg Bertens says in press notes how we “cringe at fake positivity yet we desperately want to be shown a model for the good life. We’re doomed!” The recently released video features a sweeping, glitchy landscape which emphasizes the song’s hazy and dreamy vibes.

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about the up-and-coming indie electro pop/neo-soul act Seba Kaapstad, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of founding members Sebastian “Seba” Schuster, Zoe Modiga and Ndumiso Manana along with their newest member, Philip “Pheel” Scheibel is split between Cape Town, South Africa and Stuttgart, Germany, and can trace its origins to when Schuster landed in Cape Town back in 2013. While studying at the University of Cape Town, Schuster met Modiga and Manana and began working together in an informal setting, in which they jammed playing standards and rearranged songs of their choice. And as they continued working together, the trio recognized a deeper chemistry within their work.

As the story goes, before Schuster returned to Germany, he asked his future bandmates if they’d be interested in recording back in his homeland — and over the next few months, he spent time writing and organizing sessions with the focus on what would eventually become Seba Kaapstad. After a series of phone calls, emails and trips back and forth to Cape Town, the act’s founding trio had written the material that would eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2016’s Tagore.

Thina, Seba Kaapstad’s highly-anticipated full-length sophomore album is slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Mello Music Group, and the album finds the act further expanding on a genre-mashing, globalist sound that draws from neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, electro pop and Afro pop — while adding a new member Philip “Pheel” Scheibel. Album single “Africa” was centered around a slick and mind-melting production that features elements of smoky jazz, swaggering hip hop, soul and Pan African vibes that brings Soul II Soul, Erykah Badu, theeSatisfaction, The Roots and Flying Lotus to mind.

The album’s latest single “Bye” is centered around an atmospheric and  cosmically shimmering production featuring a sinuous bass line, fluttering synths, thumping beats while Manana and Modiga’s ethereal boy-girl melodies and harmonies describe the self-doubt, anxiety and uncertainty filled moments of attraction at first blush. Splitting between the male and female perspective, the song’s central story should feel familiar: it’s the internal monologue many of us have had when we’ve encountered a new potential love interest.

 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Plague Vendor Releases a Shimmering and Sci Fi Take on Post Punk

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Whittier, CA-based post-punk/ punk rock quartet Plague Vendor. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of f Brandon Blaine (vocals), Luke Perine (drums), Michael Perez (bass) and Jay Rogers (guitar) formed back in 2009, quickly developing a reputation locally and regionally for frenetic and raucous live sets. Eventually, they began playing an increasing number of live shows across California with those shows leading to 2014’s full-length debut  Free to Eat, an album that some critics described as terse, dark and thrashing post-punk.

Bloodsweat, the JOVM mainstays’ 2016 Stuart Sikes-produced sophomore album landed at number 2 on that year’s Best of List, thanks in part to frenetic and anthemic album singles  “ISUA (I Stay Up Anyway)“, “Jezebel” and “No Bounty,” which were delivered with a blistering and forceful swagger. Two years passed before the band released two singles “I Only Speak in Fiction,” and “Locomotive,” which were recorded with Epitaph Records’ head and Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz and Morgan Stratton, which served to revitalize the band and restore their focus before joining  acclaimed producer John Congleton for the By Night sessions.

The band’s third full-length album, which is slated for a June 7, 2019 release through Epitaph Records finds the band stretching and warping their sound to evoke a merciless and unrelenting sense of tension and apprehension that should feel familiar in our current sociopolitical moment. “New Comedown,” the third album’s first single was an explosive roar, centered around a propulsive rhythm section, thunderous drumming, layers upon layers of power chords, a mosh pit friendly hook and Blaine’s howled vocals — and while bearing a resemblance to the singles recorded with Gurewitz and Stratton, the song reveals some of the most confident and self-assured songwriting and playing of their growing catalog.

Sonically, the album finds the band meshing the powerful but polished sound of contemporary rock with the countless reinterpretations of classic punk and post punk — while being encouraged by Congleton to push their sound and approach in new directions: in fact, the band employs the use of chorused band in endless waves, lighting strike flashes of synth, motor man-machine drums and even a string section.

Interestingly, By Night‘s second and latest single is a shimmering yet brooding and tense bit of post-punk centered around motorik-like drumming, buzzsaw-like guitars and a shout-along-worthy hook — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance of The Cars, the futuristic, sci-fi punk song captures a narrator, who has partied and fucked around to the point of losing what’s left of the sanity.

New Video: Acclaimed Melbourne-based Punk Act Amyl and The Sniffers Release Campy Visuals for Anthemic “I Got You”

Featuring Amy Taylor (vocals), Gus Romer (bass), Bryce Wilson (drums) and Declan Martens (guitar), the Melbourne, Australia-based punk act Amyl and The Sniffers formed in early 2016 — and during that year, they wrote, self-recorded their debut EP Giddy Up. The Aussie quartet followed up with 2017’s Big Attractions EP, which they re-released as a double 12 inch EP with Giddy Up through Homeless Records in Australia and Damaged Goods in the UK.

The band made their international touring debut with an appearance at The Great Escape Festival and series of sold out London area shows, which they followed up by joining JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard for a 22 date Stateside tour. They made triumphant returns to the UK and the US that included packed houses and rave festival reviews. They ended the year by signing with Flightless Records for distribution across Australia and New Zealand and Rough Trade for the rest of the world — and they were also nominated for a Best New Act at the Q Awards and won the $30,000 Levis Prize.

The Aussie punk quartet took this year’s SXSW by storm, receiving gushing praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Austin Chronicle, NMEAustin-American Statesman, BrooklynVegan, DIY and others. Building upon a buzz worthy and growing profile, the members of Amyl and The Sniffers will be releasing their highly-anticipated self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a May 24, 2019 through Flightless Records and Rough Trade Records — and the album’s latest single, “Got You” is a completely unhinged and explosive take on ’77 era punk, complete with a rousingly anthemic hook, enormous power chords paired with Taylor’s snottily delivered vocals. “‘Got You’ is about that feeling you get when you first start seeing someone and you’re excited to see them, no matter what shit they got,” the band’s Amy Taylor explains. “You just see them at the pub and it feels like the most exciting thing in the world, like you’re so lucky they’re even there. It’s definitely one of the ‘sweetest’ songs on the album and less punky. It was kind of inspired by Split Enz.”

Directed by Melbourne-based director Triana Hernandez, the recently released video for “Got You” features the members of the band in a dysfunctional and possessive relationship. The band’s Taylor adds “We worked with Melbourne director Triana Hernandez for the video and we decided to make it less like a love song and more cheeky. We wanted to play with the power dynamics a bit and turn ‘I got you’ into ‘I literally own you’, just to make it a bit more dark. It’s obviously not a healthy relationship but that kind of thing is easy to slip into, too.” 

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about Photo Ops, the folk-tinged, dream pop recording project of Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Terry Price. And as you may recall, Price began Photo Ops as a way to find meaning within an onslaught of of traumatic and life altering events — a sudden and serious medical condition, his father’s death and the breakup of his longtime band Oblio. All of those things wound up inspired 2013’s Photo Ops debut, How to Say Goodbye.

Building upon a growing profile, 2016’s Patrick Damphier-produced sophomore album Vacation was released to critical praise with several songs off the album making appearances in film and TV, including the trailer for the motion picture People, Places, Things, several episodes of ABC’s Blood & Oil and CW’s Valor — and as a result, the album and its material amassed several million streams on Spotify. Adding to a big year, Price eventually signed a publishing deal with Secretly Canadian.

Like countless sensitive and thoughtful souls, Price was shaken and dazed by the 2016 election. He quit touring for Vacation, went dark on social, left Nashville, where he had lived for 15 years and relocated to Los Angeles. “I needed to shed my skin,” Price recalls in press notes. “I needed to look outside myself for inspiration,” Price explains. “It’s a matter of survival to know that there is beauty in the world. So that’s my mission now: to show that there still is beauty in the world. I honestly don’t know how else to write right now.”

Slated for release later this year, Price’s third Photo Ops effort, Pure at Heart was partially inspired by his listening and careful study of  Bob Dylan‘s Sirius XM show, Bob Dylans’s Theme Time Radio Hour while driving through the Southwest. “They were mostly old songs. What struck me was the spirit that was behind them. They’re just people in a room with a microphone, so they would have to self-correct and really conjure a spirit in the moment. Something about that felt so vital to me. It sounds like a time and place,” Price says. And as a result, the forthcoming album, which continues Price’s ongoing collaboration with Patrick Damphier is based around a production that emphasizes a sense of immediacy that’s a sort of Jack Kerouac-like first thought, best thought fashion. Along with that, the arrangements throughout the album’s material are also based around immediacy and ease with Price using an intentionally limited set of instruments: one acoustic guitar, one electric guitar, a vintage, 60s Ludwig drum kit, a stand-up piano, a Hofner bass and a small Casiotone keyboard. And although for this album Price is working remotely with the Nashville-based Damphier, the album’s songs were recorded as soon as they were written.

Reportedly, one of the biggest and most noticeable changes throughout the album is in Price’s voice, as the album features Prince singing with a relaxed, easy-going, upper register. “It’s partly an accident of location,” Price explains. “In Nashville, I had a garage. I could go out and make as much noice as I wanted. In L.A., you have to be more thoughtful about your neighbors.” Unsurprisingly, the need to sing quietly opened up the opportunity to experiment with space and restraint.

Now, as you may recall, the buoyant, at Full Moon Fever-era Tom Petty-like “July” featured an infectious hook while its narrator sighs with a mix of clinically and highly ironic detachment and compassion over the end of a major relationship centered with the understanding that all things must end at some point. “Palm Trees,” Pure at Heart‘s latest single is a breezy and twangy, 70s AM rock-inspired track — and while bittersweet and wistful, the track finds its narrator following a wandering train of thought on a beach without judgement of interpretation, as though he were observing and meditating on the fleeting and pointless nature of everything around him. (You can small the salt in air, see the palm tress waving back and forth in the breeze . . .) “One nice thing about L.A. is that when you go to the beach, you are forced to reckon with profound wealth on display,” Price explained to Buzzlands.la. “This song is about trying to disentangle natural beauty from conspicuous consumption. And missing your friends.”

 

Several years ago, I caught the Portland, OR-based singer/songwriter, electronic music producer and electronic music artist Natasha Kmeto open for JOVM mainstays Beacon at the Bowery Ballroom. And as you may recall, Kmeto developed a national profile for crafting thoughtful and soulful R&B and house music-inspired electro pop informed by her increasing embrace of her identity as a queer woman.

Slated for a Friday release, Verse/Versus EP is Kmeto’s first batch of new material in a couple of years, and the material thematically touches upon longing, desire and the gray areas of a romance felt but unexpressed. Sonically, the material finds Kmeto subtly pushing her sound in a new direction, as there’s a strong emphasis on organic instrumentation — i.e. bass and sax — that help accentuate the 80s post punk influence, all while retaining the late night, Quiet Storm vibes. Verse/Versus‘ swooning and atmospheric, latest single “Spoken Silence” finds Kmeto pairing her pop belter vocals with a sultry yet atmospheric production consisting of a sinuous bass line, twinkling and arpeggiated synths and stuttering beats — and while further cementing her reputation for crafting R&B and classic house-inspired electro pop with a track that recalls Lisa Stansfield’s “All Around the World,” the song focuses on a desire and longing that’s palpably felt among both parties.