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Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act Secret Shame over the past year. The act, which is currently comprised of Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar), formed in 2016, and can trace its origins to the desperate need that its members felt to create. “If I couldn’t sing or play music, I would tear my skin off.” the band’s front person Lena explains in press notes. Shortly after their formation, the band released their self-titled debut EP, which quickly established the band’s dark and atmospheric sound paired with lyrics that thematically touch upon issues of domestic abuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration. 

The band’s full-length debut Dark Synthetics was released last year to critical acclaim, while further establishing their sound an enormous, reverb heavy sound seemingly influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Building upon the growing momentum the band has received since the release of their full-length debut, the members of the band went on a short tour to support the album, which included an apt Friday the 13th stop at The Broadway and a Halloween set that featured Joy Division covers. Along with that, the rapidly rising post punk act recently announced a series of remixes of Dark Synthetics material they’ll be releasing while they return to the studio to record new music slated for release later this year.

Now, as you may recall I wrote about two of the singles in the growing remix series: XOR‘s icy, industrial take on the guitar-led “Calm,” which retained the song’s intensity, vulnerability and ache, along with Lena’s powerhouse vocals — and Skinquarter‘s early Depeche Mode-like remix of the Siouxsie and the Banshees-like “Haunter.”   The latest remix of the series finds None of Your Concern turning the aforementioned “Haunter” into a propulsive club-banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats while retaining Lena’s vocals. Sonically, the remix — to my ears at least — reminds me a of a slickly produced synthesis of KraftwerkFrom Here to Eternity and From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder and of course, the aforementioned Siouxsie and the Banshees.

The members of Secret Shame will be hitting the road to support the vinyl release of Dark Synthetics. After a handful of North Carolina dates in February, Secret Shame will embark on an East Coast and Midwest run throughout March and April that will include an April 2, 2020 stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates
1/26 – Asheville, NC – The Lazy Diamond
2/07 – Winston-Salem, NC – Monstercade
2/08 – Chapel Hill, NC – Nightlight
2/09 – Wilmington, NC – Reggies
2/12 – Asheville, NC – Static Age
3/28 – Charlotte, NC – TBD
3/29 – Raleigh, NC – Slims
3/30 – Richmond, VA – TBD
4/01 – Philadelphia, PA – TBD
4/02 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Vitus %
4/03 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Skidmore College
4/04 – Boston, MA – Dark Spring Boston
4/06 – Pittsburgh, PA – TBD %
4/07 – Columbus, OH – TBD %
4/08 – Louisville, KY – TBD %

 

New Video: Psymon Spine Teams Up with MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden on a Glittery Club Banger

Rapidly rising Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop act Psymon Spine can trace its origins to when founding duo Noah Prebish and Peter Spears met while attending college. Bonding over mutual influences and common artistic aims, the duo went off to tour Europe with Prebish’s electronic act Karate. While in Paris, Spears and Prebish wrote their first song together and when they got to London, they were offered a record deal.

Upon returning to the states, Spears recruited Micheal “Brother Micheal” Rudinski and their Karate bandmates Devon Kilbern, Nathaniel Coffey to the band — and with that lineup they fleshed out the demos, which would eventually become their full-length debut, 2017’s You Are Coming to My Birthday. The members of the rising Brooklyn-based act then supported the album with immersive art and dance parties through their Secret Friend series across Brooklyn, as well as relentless touring.

Simultaneously, Prebish’s work with rising Brooklyn-based dream pop act Barrie began to receive quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere with a handful of buzz-worthy singles and their critically applauded full-length debut, last year’s Happy to Be Here. Interestingly, this led Prebish to meet his Barrie bandmate, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sabine Holler, who then joined Psymon Spine.

“Milk,” a collaboration with their former bandmate Barrie was the first bit of new material by the Brooklyn-based act inn three years — and it’s the first recorded output with their newest member Sabine Holler. Since the single’s release, it has received airplay on BBC Radio 6 and earned praise from a number of media outlets including Vanyaland, High Clouds, Echowave Magazine, The Revue, Hype Machine and a list of others. The track also landed on a number of YouTube channels including David Dean Burkhart‘s. Nice Guys‘ and Birp.fm, as well as Spotify playlists like Undercurrents, All New Indie and Fresh Finds. Additionally, Apple Music’s Matt Wilkinson featured the track. None of this should be surprising: the track sonically recalls In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Soft Metals‘ Lenses –but with a mischievously coquettish air that makes it a club friendly banger.

The Andrew VanWyngarden-produced and cowritten “Modmed” is a glittering and strutting disco-tinged track, centered around wobbling low end, glistening synth arpeggios and a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook. While drawing from 80s New Wave and classic house music, the track interestingly enough, is deceptively and ironically upbeat: the track actually captures the ambivalent and confusing mix of frustration, doubt and relief of a relationship that’s finally come to a conclusion. In particular, the song actually describes Prebish’s and Holler’s decision to leave Barrie and focus on Psymon Spine full-time.

“Psymon Spine invited me into the studio one winter’s day and we had a fun and funky time ripping Juno basslines and dialing in lush tones,” Andrew VanWyngarden recalls in press notes. “I like that their dj and record digging knowledge comes through distinctly on this track.”

Directed by the band and edited by Noah Prebish, the recently released video for “Modmed” is a delirious and playful lo-fi visual in which we see the members of the band goofing off and rocking out to the song in a variety of situations. This is split with footage of the members of the band actually performing the song. It’s all run through trippy filters and VHS-styled graininess, which also helps enhance the track’s retro-futuristic vibe.

 

Jade Jana is an emerging, Yaounde, Cameroon-based singer and Afro pop artist. Deeply influenced by her maternal grandmother, who also an artist, a young Jade Jana found herself drawn to music at a very early age. As a child, she took part in public performances during religious ceremonies, eventually becoming the mascot of the children’s choir that her big sisters Aurelie, Rachel and Irene founded.

Her first time performing in a musical group came when her bass playing brother Martin asked a then-seven year old Jana to step in for the lead singer of his college band. Several years later, while a teenaged member of the local classical church choir, Jana started her first group VAST, which featured her best friend LilI Blandine. While a member of VAST, Jana met pianist Mbo’o Tchinda. Tchinda would become instrumental to a young Jana: Tchinda taught the rising Cameroonian singer the basics of jazz and blues.

Jana eventually relocated to Douala, where she met Calvin Yug and collaborated on S-Team’s full-length debut. Shortly after, she started a second group MARAKASS. MARAKASS played at Douala’s French Institute and made waves with “Te Wa Mbara,” which appeared in the 2006 compilation Francophonie du Midem. She then spent the next two years working on her own material, re-emerging in 2010 when she opened for Henri Dikongue.

Jana then collaborated with hip-hop act Afropeen Lyonnais Tchopdye, joining the act on a handful of French tour dates. She also collaborated with Lyonnais, appearing on Les Monstroplantes  — while touring with her own electro poppet Son Of Tube. With those experiences under her proverbial belt, the Cameroonian artist decides that it’s finally time to go solo, releasing material under her own name that thematically explores all the encounters that have one way or another influenced who she is today.

“Sassaye.” Jada Jana’s solo debut is an infectious and hook-driven track that draws from a variety of sources across the African Diaspora: there’s elements of soukouss, Cameroonian pop, Mandingo melodies and Caribbean groove and Jana’s sultry vocals. And while being a Pan African club banger, the track is simultaneously a bold and defiantly feminist anthem that calls out a specific type of man — a sort of fuckboi. “A sassaye is an easy man, who gets bogged down in his game of seduction and who too often forgets his dignity,” Jana explains.

 

 

 

 

I’ve written a bit about the Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act Secret Shame over the past year. And as you may recall, the act — Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Nikki (guitar), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar) — formed in 2016, and can trace its origins to the desperate need that its members felt to create. “If I couldn’t sing or play music, I would tear my skin off.” the band’s front person Lena explains in press notes. Shortly after their formation, the band released their self-titled debut EP, which quickly established the band’s dark and atmospheric sound paired with lyrics that thematically touch upon issues of domestic abuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration. 

The Asheville-based act released their full-length debut Dark Synthetics to critical acclaim earlier this year, while further establishing their sound — an enormous, reverb heavy sound seemingly influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Building upon the growing momentum the band has received since the release of their full-length debut, the members of the band went on a short tour to support the album, which included an apt Friday the 13th stop at The Broadway and a Halloween set that featured Joy Division covers. Along with that, the rapidly rising post punk act recently announced a series of remixes of Dark Synthetics material they’ll be releasing while they return to the studio to record new music slated for release next year.

The first remix of the series, found XOR turning the guitar-led “Calm” into an icy and industrial synth banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, stuttering beats while retaining the song’s intensity, vulnerability and ache, and Lena’s powerhouse vocals. The second and latest remix finds the Richmond, VA-based producer and engineer Ricky Olson, who writes, records and performs as Skinquarter turning the Siouxsie and the Banshees-like “Haunter” into a icy synth-driven club banger that’s one part early Depeche Mode and one part moody house music.

 

 

New Video: Moon King Releases an 80s Computer Generated Visual for Shimmering and Hazy Club Banger “Neon Lights”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Toronto, ON-born and-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded solo electro pop project Moon King. Now, as you may know, the act initially began as a solo recording project but may be best known for a several year period in which Benjamin collaborated with Maddy Wilde (vocals, guitar); but with Wilde’s departure a few years ago, Benjamin returned to his roots — writing and recording as a solo project. Coincidentally around the same time, Benjamin relocated to Detroit, MI, where he spent a year working and living in the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck. .

Benjamin’s stint in Hamtramck inspired the Hamtramck 16 mixtape, a mixtape that not only documented his arrival into a new, unfamiliar place but was also a radical change in sonic direction and songwriting approach with the material capturing his increasing obsession with electronic dance music. His forthcoming album, Voice of Lovers is the first full-length album of new material since he began fully embracing underground house, techno and electro pop — and the material finds the Canadian-born songwriter, producer and electronic music artist in a state of discovering and experimentation in which he synthesizers something fresh and unexpected out of dollar bin disco, new wave, eurotrash and more.  “There are a lot of quick cuts and transitions and the songs are pretty short, it’s meant to feel a bit breathless or disorienting, like driving around and dropping in at a few different clubs in a night. Lyrically the songs are little stories from the last couple of years…… trying to live in the US as a non-citizen, listening to records at the apartment in Hamtramck, late nights out at parties like Freakish Pleasures and Macho City, trips with the crew to Montreal, being on tour during the 2016 US election, spending the holidays alone in Detroit, the deaths of George Michael & Prince and the unfinished Moon King record from 2015. It’s dark and fun and a little nihilistic but ultimately positive.”

Voice of Lovers’ first single is the 80s synth funk meets Teddy Riley/New Jack Swing meets classic Chicago house track “Neon Lights.” Centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering boom-bap-like drum programming, soulful vocals from Vespere and a rousing hook, the song manages to sound as though it were released in 1983 or so. And while evoking sultry and hazy summer nights, the track actually has an achingly lonely quality to it — as though the song’s narrator was spending time playing their favorite albums to gear themselves up to head out to the club. 

The recently released retro futuristic video by Stacie Ant uses computer-generated 3D figures dancing and singing along to the song in 80s-inspired clubs and outfits, complete with period-specific special effects to boot. 

Look for Voice of Lovers on April 2, 2019 through Arbutus Records. 

New Video: SSHH Returns with a Club Banging Industrial Electronica-Influenced New Single Paired with Trippy Visuals

Comprised of Bondi, Australia-born, London UK-based Sssh Liguz (vocals) and Zak Starkey, the son of Ringo Starr, a multi-instrumentalist, best known as a touring drummer for The Who and Oasis (guitar), the London-based electro punk duo SSHH received attention with the release of their 2016 debut effort, Issues, which featured the duo collaborating with some of rock’s most renowned rhythm sections, including members of The Sex Pistols, Mott the Hoople, the backing bands of Marilyn Manson and Peter Tosh — to benefit charity.

The propulsive, industrial techno-like single “Rising Tide” which features heavily arpeggiated synths with thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and an infectious hook is the duo’s first bit of new material since Issues and the club banger was born, as Liguz told Earmilk “from a fiery argument” while “driving in a heavy rainstorm.” “I remember being furious beyond belief. Not only because we were having a huge fight, but because even though we were acting like assholes to each other, I couldn’t stop thinking how much I loved him,” Liguz recalled. “Just like I couldn’t stop the rain from falling, or the stars from shining, I just can’t stop loving this man!” Liguz continued, “There is anger in the happiness and a little hate in the love. At the end of the day, passion rules.” And as a result, the song possesses a raw and unbridled tension at its core, influenced by the tempestuous push and pull between love and hate in a fiery and passionate relationship.

BMG released the single globally today, and the single comes with 7 additional remixes and re-workings of the tracks, including re-workings by the likes of YOUTH, Sondrio, Acaddamy, Secret Space, Jevo,  and the members of SSHH.

Co-directed by the band and Billy Zammit, the recently released video for the song manages to subtly draw from rave and electronica culture, as well as psych rock, as it features the duo performing the song in strobe lights and projections.

 

Preview: Secret Solstice Festival 2017

With its inaugural run back in 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland’s Secret Solstice Festival has quickly become one of Iceland’s largest music festivals, featuring a diverse and eclectic array of established and internationally recognized artists, locally renowned acts and up-and-coming artists from all over the globe, performing in one of the most unique backdrops in the entire world – the roughly 72 hour period of near constant daylight Iceland experiences during the Summer Solstice, because of its proximity to the Arctic Circle. (After all, Reykjavik is the northernmost capital and administrative region of the northernmost country in the entire world.) Building upon its growing reputation as one of the world’s most unique music festivals, the fourth edition of the festival may arguably be one of the biggest and most diverse lineups to date as it includes Foo Fighters, Rick Ross, the UK electronic act The Prodigy, The Verve’s former frontman Richard Ashcroft, Pharoahe Monch, Chaka Khan, Foreign Beggars, Dubfire, Novelist, Rhye, Dusky and Chicago house music artist Kerri Chandler. Along with those artists, some of Iceland’s renowned acts, including Högni, Úlfur Úlfur, Amabadama, Emmsjé Gauti, GKR, Tiny, Aron Can, KSF, and Alvia Islandia will be performing. And adding to the 72 hour party vibe, the festival’s organizers have planned a series of electronic dance music takeovers and showcases featuring some of the world’s best party crews – including Ibiza’s Circoloco, Above & Beyond Records’ deep house imprint Ajunadeep Records’ dance floor collective Crew Love, ATG and Dubfire’s SCI+TEC among others.
Interestingly, for the second consecutive year, Secret Solstice is currently the only major music festival in the world to be certified CarbonNeutral®, as the festival sources almost all of their power needs from the use 100% renewable geothermal energy, hybrid vehicles provided by Toyota Iceland – and from offsetting any residual emissions through the purchase of high quality, verified carbon credits. Unlike any other festival I’ve attended or heard of, festivalgoers and artists alike can know that they’re being environmentally responsible while partying and catching some of the world’s most interesting artists. Of course, during a multi-day festival like Secret Solstice, it’s difficult and damn near impossible to catch everyone and everything, so consider me as a helpful guide – with some information on artists I’d love to catch while in Reykjavik.

With the release of their highly praised debut EP Minority Girl, the attention-grabbing Brooklyn-based punk rock act Grim Streaker quickly made a name for themselves for an in- your- face-sound and approach that possesses elements of New Wave, noise rock, goth, skater punk, punk and No Wave while drawing comparisons to Twin Peaks, Perfect Pussy and White Lung. Adding to a growing profile, the members of the band, Amelia Bushell (vocals), Daniel Peskin (guitar), Micah Weisberg (guitar), Bill Dvorak (bass) and Piyal Basu (drums), have shared bills with JOVM mainstays METZ and A Place to Bury Strangers, as well as Thunderpussy and Jacuzzi Boys.

The up-and-coming Brooklyn-based punk rock outfit’s latest single “Mojito” will further cement their reputation for crafting snarling and feral punk rock that sounds explosive and unhinged — and evokes a wild night, spiraling out of control. Interestingly, as the band’s Amelia Bushell told Talkhouse, the band’s latest single was inspired by what she describes as an  “unforgettable and bizarre experience that would later influence the surreal lyrics to ‘Mojito.’” As she told Talkhouse:

“Not long after arriving in Cuba, my friends and I met a couple, Chelsea and Taylor, who were heading to Trinidad the same day as us. Chelsea had been before, and told us we absolutely could not miss the secret club hidden in a cave at the top of a hill: ‘Meet us at the cave bar! 10 PM. Just keep following the road up the hill. You’ll think you’ve gone too far but keep going. We’ll be there.’ It sounded unreal.

We arrived in Trinidad the next day, had a late dinner and began the long trek to the cave as the sun began to set. It was exactly as Chelsea had described it. For what seemed like an eternity, we wandered up a dark, twisting road, with nobody in sight.

Just as we began to worry we had taken a wrong turn, the distant sound of a cocktail shaker cut through the night, and a tiny light came into our vision. We stumbled closer over the rough cobblestones. There – in the middle of a pitch-black mountainside road – was a man with a tiny cart, making mojitos.

We each bought a mojito and continued up the steep hill, thinking we must be on the right track now. Just a few steps later, another mojito cart appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. We chugged the first round, ordered a second, and joked about how we should stop at every single cart we saw (we did).

When we finally made it to the top of the hill, we were surprised to see a small crowd standing outside the entrance to the cave. It was real! We couldn’t believe it. Chelsea and Taylor appeared moments later. After a suspenseful wait, the doors creaked open and we made our way down a long staircase into multiple chambers of cavernous glory. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. People were smoking, drinking and dancing in the dimly-lit subterranean club. There were disco lights, a full bar, music and even restrooms.

After we stumbled out of the cave at the end of the night, we decided to go on a mojito ‘pilgrimage’ down the mountain, once again stopping at every single mojito cart. After three or four more mojitos, we got take-away pizza at the bottom of the hill and headed back to our hostel.

I vaguely remember waking up the next day completely naked and feeling as hungover as ever. I figured some fresh air and a walk would do me good, and started up the street toward the town center. On the way I passed the remnants of the pizza I was eating the night before, now spewed all over the road, and laughed out loud.”

Grim Streaker’s new single comes as they announced a handful of dates this summer that includes a show tonight at Baby’s All Right and an August 18, 2018 stop at the Knitting Factory. Check out the tour dates below.

Grim Streaker on Tour:
7/29: Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right (w/ Bass Drum of Death)
8/18: Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory (w/ Agent Orange)
8/20: Columbus, OH @ The Tree Bar
8/21: Chicago, IL @ Charm School
8/22: Detroit, MI @ Trixie’s
8/23: Toronto, ON @ Monarch Tavern
8/24: Montreal, QC @ L’Esco (w/ FRIGS)
8/25: Quebec City, QC @ Le Knock-Out

Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop act Psymon Spine — Noah Prebish, Sabine Holler, Brother Michael Rudinski, and Peter Spears — can trace its origins back to when its founding duo of Noah Prebish and Peter Spears met while attending college. Bonding over mutual influences and common artistic aims, Psymon Spine’s founding duo toured the European Union with Prebish’s electronic project Karate. And as the story goes, while in Paris,  Spears and Prebish wrote their first song together. By the time, they arrived in London, they were offered a record deal. 

When the band’s founding duo returned to the States, Spears recruited Micheal “Brother Micheal” Rudinski and their Karate bandmates Devon Kilbern, Nathaniel Coffey to join their newest project. And with that lineup, they fished out the demos, which wold eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2017’s You Are Coming to My Birthday. The band went out to support the effort with immersive art and dance parties like their Secret Friend party series across Brooklyn and through relentless touring.

Prebish was also splitting his creative time with rising Brooklyn-based dram pop act Barrie and around the same time, his work with the rising dream pop act began to receive attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere through the release of a handful of buzz worthy singles, followed by their full-length debut, last year’s Happy to Be Here. Interestingly while with Barrie, Prebish met his further Psymon Spine bandmate, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sabine Holler.

Without live shows and touring, the members of Psymon Spine have been busy releasing new material this year, which included two singles:

  • Milk,” a coquettish, club friendly banger with Barrie that brings In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Soft Metals‘ Lenses and received quite a bit of attention internationally — with the single receiving praise from   VanyalandHigh Clouds, Echowave Magazine, The RevueHype Machine and a list of others.The track also landed on  Spotify playlists like UndercurrentsAll New Indie and Fresh Finds, as well as the YouTube channels of  David Dean BurkhartNice Guys‘ and Birp.fm. And lastly, the track received airplay on BBC Radio 6.
  • Modmed,” an  Andrew VanWyngarden-produced and cowritten, strutting disco-tinged track that’s actually deceptively upbeat, as it captures the ambivalent and confusing mixture of frustration, doubt and relief of a relationship that had long petered out and finally wound down to its inevitable conclusion. Interestingly, the song is inspired and informed by personal experience: Prebish and Holler’s difficult decision to leave Barrie to focus on Pysmon Spine full-time.

Psymon Spine’s third single of this year, is the hazy and lysergic banger “Confusion.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a wobbling bass line, blown out beats and Prebish’s plaintive vocals, a trippy spoken word-delivered break and a looping guitar solo, Psymon Spine’s latest single brings Tame Impala‘s Currents to mind. Much like its immediate predecessors, “Confusion” continues a run of carefully crafted and breezy, hook driven pop.

Interestingly, the release of the single manages to simultaneously coincide with the announcement of the Brooklyn-based act’s third album Charismatic Megafauna while encapsulating the album’s overall theme and vibe — the complicated feelings involved in the dissolution of human relationships. In particular “Confusion” finds the band channeling the confusing and contradictory feelings following the sort of breakup that has lead to a major rift in the larger social circle — but while also possibly hinting to the end of a friendship or working relationship. And as a result, the song seems to evoke the desire to dance away the hurt, for a little while at least.

Charismatic Megafauna is slated for a February 21, 2021 release through Northern Spy.