Tag: 120 Minutes

New Audio: Up-and-Coming Portland, OR-based Act Blackwater Holylight Specializes in a 120 Minutes-era Alt Rock Sound

Comprised of founding member, Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass), Laura Hopkins (guitar, vocals), Cat Hoch (drums) and Sarah McKenna (synth), the Portland, OR-based rock act Blackwater Holylight began as an experiment of what Faris’ own version of what should feel heavy both sonically and emotionally. “I also wanted a band in which vulnerability of any form could be celebrated.” But interestingly, as Faris explains in press notes, her current band can trace its origins to when Faris’ longtime band split up. “In my last band, I was the only female in a group of 6, so I wanted to see how my songwriting and vulnerability could glow taking the drivers seat and working with women.” 

As you’ll hear on “Sunrise,” off the band’s self-titled debut effort, the band’s sound meshes elements of Breeders-era alt rock and garage, swirling and towering shoegaze, psych rock and moody post punk with soaring hooks — and although the song manages to be reminiscent  of classic, 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock, the song structurally walks a tightrope between moody, slow-burning dirge, anthemic power pop within a fluid song structure that eschews the familiar verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus of the past. 

Fronted by 23 year-old Jacob Duarte, the Houston, TX-based indie rock trio Narrow Head has quickly developed a reputation for a sound that draws from 120 Minutes-era alternative rock, as it simultaneously possesses elements of grunge and shoegaze — and considering that the band suggests acts like Hum, Deftones, Failure, Swirlies and My Bloody Valentine as influences, that shouldn’t be surprising.

Recorded at the end of last year, during recording sessions intended for their next full-length album, the Houston-based trio’s latest single “Bulma” will further cement the trio’s reputation for a decidedly 1990s sound, as they firmly add their names to a growing list of contemporary bands, who have brought back a familiar and beloved sound with a subtly modern twist, like Dead Stars and others.

The band is currently on a West Coast tour. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

Jan 13 – Fullerton, CA @ Programme
Jan 14 – Oakland, CA @ tba
Jan 15 – San Francisco, CA @ tba
Jan 16 – Eugene, OR @ Voodoo Donuts
Jan 17 – Portland, OR @ Blackwater
Jan 18 – Olympia, WA @ tba
Jan 19 – Seattle, WA @ Black Lodge
Jan 20 – Vancouver, BC @ Subculture Club

Deeply influenced by The Breeders, T-Rex, punk rock, psych rock and New Wave, the Wilmington, DE-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, Grace Vonderkuhn has received attention for a sound that meshes elements of psych rock, garage rock and guitar pop; in fact, back in 2015, I wrote about Vonderkuhn’s slow-burning, brooding, and lysergic cover of The Psychedelic Furs‘ “Love My Way.” Adding to a growing profile, over the past year, the Wilmington, DE-based singer/songwriter and her backing band, which features Brian Bartling (bass) and Dave Mcgrory (drums) has opened for the likes of Titus Andronicus, Lower Dens and blogosphere darlings Sheer Mag among others.

“Worry,” the first single off Vonderkuhn’s forthcoming full-length album, slated for a February release through Egghunt Records features some muscular and self-assured power chords paired with angular and driving bass chords, forceful drumming within a 90s alt rock song structure —  alternating quiet verses and loud choruses, arena rock friendly hooks, an explosive and cathartic bridge and a fade out into the song’s coda.  Though it clearly owes debts to the aforementioned Breeders, Veruca Salt and others in the 120 Minutes-era MTV universe, the song, as Vonderkuhn explained to the folks at GoldFlakePaint is an “anthem for over-thinkers” with the song’s narrator attempting to  act as a calming counterweight, as she constantly reminds herself that maybe she shouldn’t be worrying as much as she does about everything, that some things are just beyond your control. And as a result, Vonderkuhn’s latest is a deceptive and mischievously modern take on a beloved and familiar song and aesthetic.



Comprised of New York-born, Los Angeles, CA-based duo Miles Garber, who’s best known prominent male model and Dave Gagliardi, who’s best known as a member of renowned punk act Trash Talk, Swimsuit Issue can trace their origins to when the duo met outside of an art show on the Bowery back in 2014. And instead of quickly rushing to put out material, the duo spent the next two years honing and refining their sound with the end result being their anthemic, 120 Minutes-era MTV meets contemporary indie rock- like debut single “Look Now,” complete with jangling and fuzzy power chords, a propulsive backbeat paired with Garber’s crooning vocals, in a song that manages to balance earnest emotionality with a deliberate attention to craft.



New Video: The 120 Minutes-era Sounds and Visuals of Neaux’s “LUV”

With the release of their full-length debut, the indie rock duo Neaux, comprised of Versa Emerge’s Sierra Kay and Trash Talk’s Nick Fit received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that the duo says is influenced by the likes of Sebadoh, Mudhoney and Sonic Youth — while nodding at the likes of Slowdive and Swirlies. Building on a growing profile, the duo’s sophomore effort Chain Up The Sun was released earlier this year, and as you’ll hear on album single “LUV,” the duo further cements their reputation for crafting a sound that to my ears reminds me quite a bit of 120 Minutes-era MTV, complete with fuzzy power chords, rousingly anthemic hooks, driving rhythms and gorgeous pop belter vocals giving an otherwise aggressive bit of shoegaze it’s vulnerable and aching heart. And fittingly enough, the recently released visuals for the single also manage to nod heavily at 120 Minutes-era MTV, as it features the duo goofing off and lounging about  while superimposed with psychedelic imagery.  

Live Footage: Ulrika Spacek Performs “Mimi Pretend” at Tapetown Studios

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for bit, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring Ulrika Spacek, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of long-time friends and collaborators Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams can trace their origins to a night in Berlin, when the duo conceptualized the project’s sound and aesthetic around their mutual love for Television, Pavement, Sonic Youth and krautrock. When the duo returned to their hometown of Homerton, they began working on their full-length debut, The Album Paranoia, which featured the 120 Minutes-era  MTV-like single “She’s A Cult,” and the shoegazer-like “Strawberry Glue.”

While on a tour across the European Union, the members of the band stopped by Aarhus, Denmark-based Tapetown Studios to participate in the Live at Tapetown Series, in which Sound of Aarhus and the recording studio invite touring bands to come in and do a live session; but along with the touring bands during their downtime would get a unique taste of Aarhus beyond the typical touring routines of load-ins, sound checks, tear downs, pack ups and van rides.

Last month, Sound of Aarhus released footage of the JOVM mainstays performing their  A Storm in Heaven and  A Northern Soul-era The Verve and The Bends-era Radiohead-like single “Everything, All The Time.” The second video from the live session is the shimmering and jangling shoegazer track “Mimi Pretend,” and much like its predecessor from the sessions, the video will further cement their reputation for crafting 90s alt rock/shoegazer songs but with a subtly modern sheen. 

Comprised of Odd Martin Skålnes, best known for his solo project O. Martin and as a member of Aurora’s backing band; Birgitta Alida Hole, a member of Lumkilde; Fredrik Vosberg, a member of The Megaphonic Thrift and Casiokids; and Even Kjelby, a member of Great News, the Norwegian shoegazer act Strange Hellos was started as a studio-based side project back in 2015. And interestingly enough since their formation, the band has received attention from the likes of NME, The Line of Best Fit and others for an anthemic, power pop take on shoegaze that will immediately bring to mind 4AD Records and 120 Minutes-era MTV, complete with enormous, rousing hooks, distortion-filled, jangling guitars and ethereal vocals; in fact, “Gold For The Golden,” the latest single off the Norwegian band’s recently released full-length debut, Chromatic will further cement their growing reputation for crafting anthemic and swooning shoegaze.



Comprised of founding members and primary songwriters Debbie Andrews and Mike Blaxill, the New York-based indie rock act Gladshot can trace their origins to when the duo met at a songwriter collective in which individual members performed and critiqued each other’s material. And at the time, Blaxill was writing roots rock-leaning material while Andrews work drew from pop and jazz; in fact, Andrews received a National Endowment of the Arts nod and had lessons with Joanne Brackeen, a session and touring pianist, who backed the likes of Ornette Coleman, Art Blakey and Stan Getz. Since their formation, the duo have developed a reputation for being uncompromising and restlessly creative as they’ve worked on a dystopian rock musical and writing songs that have appeared on TV shows on TNT, ABC and MTV.

Interestingly, the duo’s soon-to-be released, John Agnello-produced album These Are Vitamins find the band collaborating with a backing band — Jesse Murphy (bass), who’s best known as a member of Brazilian Girls; Tony Mason (drums), who’s played with Norah Jones and The Meters‘ Leo Nocentelli; and Tim Bright (guitar).  And the three new collaborators reportedly add to the push-and-pull dynamics that Blaxill and Andrews developed and perfected on the Maxwell’s Cool Demon EP — all while finding the band’s sound moving towards 90s alt rock-inspired garage rock, complete with buzzing power chords as you’ll hear on “Simulation” the latest single off the duo’s soon-to-be released album; in fact, the new single manages to remind me of 90s era Sonic Youth and 120 Minutesera MTV.

You can catch Gladshot playing their album release show at Trans-Pecos on October 28, 2017.





A few years ago, I had written quite a bit about Los Angeles-based indie rock quintet Line & Circle. Currently comprised of founding trio Brian J. Cohen (vocals, rhythm guitar), Eric Neujahr (guitar), Jon Engelhard and newest member Garret Ray (drums), the band can trace their origins to when they all met in Ohio — before relocating to Southern California. And with the release of a batch of singles and their debut EP — all of which were released to critical praise, the band quickly exploded into the national scene.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the then-quintet recorded their Lewis Pesacov-produced, debut full-length effort Split Figure, an album that thematically explored “the elusive and daunting task of pursuing self-knowledge in a world, where ironically staring into screens and photographing ourselves incessantly has failed to make the process any easier” while sonically pairing those themes with a music that the band has described as “instantaneous and propulsive.” As the band’s frontman Brian J. Cohen explained in press notes at the time, “We are all split down the middle. There is an inner self that reflects what we think are, and an outer self that is how others really perceive us. True self-knowledge is when you become aware of each, and begin to reconcile both into one.”  Now, as you may recall album single “Like A Statue,”  managed to remind me of  120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock —  early R.E.M. songs like “The One I Love,” “Talk About The Passion” and “So. Central Rain,” The Smiths‘ “This Charming Man” and the  4AD Records sound immediately come to mind.

Recorded and tracked live to tape during one day at Los Angeles’ Box Studios with additional sessions in various warehouses, bedrooms and home studios in the Echo Park section and mixed by the band’s frequent collaborator Jonathan Low, and the EP reportedly explores an old belief popularly held by the Romans: homo homini lupus — man is a wolf to man. Interestingly enough, the EP’s latest single “Man Uncouth” will further cement their growing reputation for crafting a familiar and beloved sound to anyone who listened to college radio/alternative rock back in the 80s able Rd 90s but while focusing on the inner turmoil of someone in love, battling their insecurities and fears — essentially it’s the portrait of a man, slowly tearing himself apart.