Tag: 120 Minutes

New Video: Russian Baths Release a Trippy and Unsettling Video for Brooding “Slenderman”

Last year, I wrote a bit about the Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Russian Baths, and as you may recall with the release of their debut single “Ambulance,” the act comprised of Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner quickly received attention locally and elsewhere for a sound that the band has described as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others. 

The band released their debut EP Penance last year through Good Eye Records, and the EP’s first single “Slenderman” is a brooding track that strikes me as owing a sonic debt to 90s alt rock/120 Minutes-era MTV and classic shoegaze, thanks in part to an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure featuring layers of shimmering guitars, a throbbing bass line and propulsive, tribal-like drumming with a rousingly anthemic hook. 

Based on concept by Sarah Ver Hoeve and featuring her animation, the recently released video comes in advance of the band’s upcoming New Colossus Festival and SXSW showcases in March. And while being visually being reminiscent of Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” the new video features humanoid figures floating about in space along with enormous spiders. Interestingly, at point the video feels like being caught in the middle of a terrible and nightmarish trip without anyone to help you come down. 

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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 year was a breakthrough year for the rather mysterious, up-and-coming Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based psych rock act Venus Furs as they opened for JOVM mainstays The Horrors, The Twilight Sad and Michael Rault. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Canadian psych rock act plan to tour during the spring, which they’ll follow up with a full-length album slated for release sometime during the later half of this year; but before all of that, the band released the second single from their forthcoming album, the jangling, and anthemic “Chaos and Confusion.” And while the band says its inspired by Cat Power, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and TV on the Radio, the song to my ears sounds much older, as though it were simultaneously influenced by jangling 120 Minutes New Zealand art rock,  guitar pop, 80s post punk 60s psychedelia, complete with a rousingly anthemic hook, layers of lush guitars and a propulsive rhythm section — with the end result being a brooding and wistful air.

 

 

 

 

New Video: Introducing the Mysterious Detroit-based Act VAZUM and their Scuzzy Power Chord-driven Sound

With the release of two albums their self-titled debut and Void last year, the Detroit, MI-based dark rock band VAZUM quickly drew comparisons to Monster-era R.E.M., Sisters of Mercy and Placebo as their sound manages to pair an uncanny melodicism with scuzzy power chords. While the band is working on their third album, they released a video for the 90s alt-rock/120 Minutes-era MTV-inspired “Leech” off Void, a track centered by scuzzy and enormous power chords, a rousing, mosh pit friendly hook and an urgent, swooning romanticism. 

As for the video, its concept is simple — footage of the band performing the song in a murky black and white, which gives the visual a you-were-there immediacy. 

Born from the partnership between Hannah Gledhill (vocals, guitar) and Marcus Browne (guitar), the London-based post punk quartet H. Grimace also features Corin Johnson and Diogo Gomes. And with the release of last year’s In The Body, the British band received attention for crafting material that’s dark, enigmatic and possesses elements of shoegaze and psych, drawing comparisons to Savages and Sister-era Sonic Youth.

Building upon a growing profile, the members of the up-and-coming British post punk outfit will be releasing the “She’s In A State”/”In The Body” 7 inch through Living Waters Records later this month.The band’s latest single “She’s In A State” features a jangling and shimmering guitar chords, a chugging rhythm section, Gledhill’s ethereal crooning and infectious hook — and while sonically bearing a resemblance to Finding Meaning in Deference-era The Mallard and 120 Minutes-era alt rock, the song draws from text for a performance by Vivienne Griffin, a collaborator on “2.1 Woman” off H. Grimace’s debut album. “The title of the song ‘She’s In a State’ was a meditation on her acute sense of irony, and the impossibility of this notion.”

 

 


Currently comprised of Andrew Kissel (vocals, guitar, piano), Travis Pinkston (bass, vocals) and Brian Yurachek (drums, percussion), the New York-based indie rock act Valentin Marx originally formed in 2012. Shortly after their formation, they wrote, recorded and released their debut EP, which lead to shows at a number of renowned indie venues across town — including Piano’s, Arlene’s Grocery, Berlin Under A and Pete’s Candy Store and others. Since their formation, the band has gone through a lineup change while retaining the sound that first won them attention locally. 

Interestingly, the lineup change has resulted in a much more collaborative approach to their songwriting and recording, utilizing the skills and life experiences of each of the band’s members.  Their new single, the jangling and anthemic “Made Up” recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV but as the band notes the song is rooted in the frustration and disappointment surrounding modern relationships. Despite the fact that we’re all constantly connected to each other with Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and online dating sites, no one is actually having an authentic and meaningful interaction. 

 

 

 

Currently comprised of founding member Justin Clay (guitar, vocals), his long-time music partners Cody Honey (drums) and Morgan Moody (bass) with reclusive outsider musician Jandek playing a handful tracks on the Galveston, TX-based act Darwin’s Finches’ third, full-length album Good Morning Creatures II, the act can trace their origins back to 2006 when its founding member, along with some friends in his Biology class started the band as a bit of a prank. Eventually, the act which derives its name from the finches that inspired Darwin’s On the Origins of Species featured a rotating cast of players, some of the band’s early iterations played pop-shop shows at biker bars (some that have provoked fist fights), art museums, national parks — and even a number of shows that ended with fruit fights.

In 2012 Clay took a break from music to be a family man and to spend time with his son Odin. When he returned from his hiatus, Clay joined long-time friend and renowned, Texas psych folk legend Jandek for a series of shows in the UK. Upon his return, Justin reformed the band with its current lineup. The band’s third, full-length album reportedly recalls Camper Van Beethoven, Butthole Surfers, The Frogs and Pixies — and the album’s latest single “Hosea!” is a jagged, twangy and hook-driven song that sounds both boozy, demented and as though it were released during 120 Minutes-era MTV.

 

 

New Video: Renowned Shoegazers Swervedriver Release Trippy Visuals for One of Their Most Incisive Singles to Date

Primarily centered around founding and core members Adam Franklin (vocals, guitar) and Jimmy Hartridge (guitar, vocals) and currently featuring Mikey Jones (drums, vibes) and revolving bassists Mick Quinn and Ben Ellis, the renowned Oxford, UK-based alt rock/shoegazer act Swervedriver formed back in 1989. And during their initial run between 1989 and 1998, the band released four full-length albums — 1991’s Raise, 1993’s Mezcal Head, 1995’s Ejector Seat Reservation and 1998’s 99th Dream — while going through a number of lineup changes, management changes and different labels. Interestingly by 1993, the band’s lineup had settled to include Franklin, Hartridge, Jez Hindmarsh (drums) and Steve George (bass), and with that lineup they developed a reputation for a heavier rock sound than their shoegazer contemporaries; but over the last five years of their initial run, their sound evolved to include elements of psychedelia, pop and indie rock. 

The members of Swervedriver’s longest tenured lineup went on a lengthy hiatus in 1998 in which the individual members went on to pursue a variety of professional and creative pursuits. Franklin embarked on a solo career that would rival Swervedriver’s creative output, first fronting he experimental electro pop/electro folk act Toshack Highway, whose releases ranged from sextet ensemble works to four-track bedroom recordings and then with the more traditionally guitar rock-driven Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody. Hartridge founded a distribution company. Hindmarsh founded Badearth Management, eventually managing Scottish rock act Terra Diablo and others. Interestingly, in early 2005, Franklin, Hartridge, Hindmarsh and George reconvened to collaborate with Castle Music to choose songs on what would be a two disc anthology Juggernaut Rides ’89-’98, which featured 33 tracks remastered from the original DATs. Half of those tracks were non-album tracks  along with four previously unreleased tracks — Shake Appeal’s “Son of  Mustang Ford: demo, the remainder of Swervedriver’s recordings during 1998, which included “Just Sometimes” and “Neon Lights Glow.” The compilation was critically applauded and in some way, it helped to build up interest in the shoegaze pioneers’ work. 

2006 was a busy year for the members of Swervedriver — Franklin began collaborating with Interpol’s Sam Fogarino in Magnetic Morning. Hindmarsh went on to publish Rider, which chronicled his experiences and observations on the road touring with the band between 1992 and 1998. Somewhat inspired by the successful 2004 reunion of the Pixies, Franklin, Hartridge and Hindmarsh went on an international reunion tour in 2008, garnering the attention and acclaim that evaded them a decade earlier. 2015’s I Wasn’t Born To Lose You was the first album of original material from the band in 17 years — although they managed to remain consistent, as they went through another series of lineup changes between the reunion tour and Born.

Swervedriver’s sixth full-length album and second of their reunion, Future Ruins is slated for a January 25, 2019 release through Dangerbird Records. Having written and recorded  I Wasn’t Born To Lose You immediately after Australian tour, the band decided to repeat the process after a lengthy Stateside tour, playing Raise and Mezcal Head in their entirety. “That’s a good way to record,” Franklin says in press notes, “because you’ve literally just seen the whites of the audience’s eyes and you’re thinking, ‘If that audience from last night were here now…’ You can’t get too mellow. We came home with 30 different songs.” 10 more days of vocals and overdubs at Brighton UK’s Seaside Studios with Grammy Award-winning engineer TJ Doherty quickly followed. 

The album’s 10 tracks were mixed earlier this year, as the band was touring across Europe. And while the material finds the band retaining the escapist vibes that they’ve been long known for, the album’s material is centered around an uneasy tension, inspired by our current sociopolitical moment. However, Future Ruins’ second and latest single “Drone Lover” actually predates the Born. As the band’s Adam Franklin explains in press notes. “I have no recollection of where this tune came from. It’s a song that’s been knocking around for a few years, but for some reason had never been presented to anyone until we were in the studio this time and I clicked play on the demo while searching for something else. TJ and Mikey both went “what’s this?” and then “so why aren’t we recording it?” – and so we recorded it. The lyric mentions love but it’s really about war – remote war and killing from a distance whilst chomping on last night’s leftover pizza or something.” Obviously, it’s an incisive commentary on the depersonalized nature of 21st Century techno-warfare — including some hellish and fucked up imagery of bombs falling from the air, and neighborhoods in flames; but centered around buzzing power chords, a steady and propulsive backbeat and an infectious hook that brings an updated take on the beloved 120 Minutes alt rock sound.  

The recently released video for “Drone Lover” is an appropriately psychedelic mashup of Ralph Bakshi’s 1973 film Heavy Traffic, Polaroids by Charlie Miller, grainy VHS footage of the band, footage of bombing raids and other detritus. It evokes, the very end of the world as we know it, and no one really giving a fuck because we’re busying looking at porn on our phones. 

New Video: Perth Australia’s The Money War Release an Intimate, Behind the Scenes, Life on the Road-like Video for “Hey Now”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Perth, Australia-based dream pop/indie pop/indie rock duo The Money War, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Rainy Day Women’s Dylan Ollivierre and  Warning Birds’ Carmen Pepper can trace its origins to a road trip that the pair took across the US in late 2015. Inspired by the trip, they recorded a ton of iPhone demos. And as the story goes, after a chance meeting with producers Thom Monahan and Arne Frager in a San Francisco dive bar, the duo were convinced of the value of their demos together, and began working on an album.

Last year saw the release of their debut EP and to support the effort, they spent the better part of that year touring with Holy Holy and Meg Mac, and then went on a headlining national tour during December. EP single “Recall,” was the fifth most played song on Triple J Radio, and as result they had received a growing national profile in their homeland; but interestingly enough, they also received attention Stateside with airplay on SiriusXM, KEXP, CJAM FM, KXRN, WLKK and college radio. The duo’s highly-anticipated full-length debut is slated for release early next year, and the album’s first single was the Still Corners-like “Hollywood,” was a moody and cinematic track inspired by a difficult year the duo had in which someone close to each individual had died. “There’s a hospital in Perth called Hollywood, and I was pondered its ironic name,” Olliviere says in press notes. “We were in LA when I got the news that a family member was passing away, and the lyrics started forming from there. We wanted the song to sound like a moving and we took production cues from that idea.”

“Hey Now,” the second and latest single off the up-and-coming Australian duo’s debut album is a breezy and cinematic track that recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock — but with an infectiously anthemic hook that makes the song sound as though it would be the perfect addition to anyone’s road trip playlist. And while further cementing their reputation for crafting breezy, hook driven indie rock, the song has an underlying bittersweet quality.  As the band’s Dylan Olliviere explains “is about making a commitment to someone and being ecstatic about it but also realising that you’re in a very different position to where you thought you’d be when you reached that milestone. Life usually takes a different course than you anticipated and doesn’t always match the set of ideals you once held. I like how the line ‘time is coming for us baby’ can be interpreted in different ways depending on how you look at it. It’s kind of a romantic yet bittersweet sentiment.” 

Shot and edited by the members of The Money War, the recently released video for “Hey Now” is an an intimate “life on the road of a touring band” styled video that’s split between the band playing in front of audiences in Los Angeles, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, goofing off and traveling around the world with stops that include a bridge crossing at Tasmania’s Cataract Gorge, beach huts in Fremantle, Australian Rules Football on a Perth beach, and riding in a van, crossing the American West.