Tag: 120 Minutes

New Video: Asset Music Releases a “120 Minutes” MTV-era Alt Rock Inspired Single

Will Goodchild is a Marlow, Buckingham, UK-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer, and the creative mastermind behind the emerging solo recording project Asset Music. As Goodchild explains, Asset Music was created as a creative outlet, when it became difficult to get a real band together to play. So, he took to his mini studio — a MacBook Pro with Logic X — and started writing and recording music inspired by Brit Pop and alt rock that he wanted to hear. Although, Goodchild aims to take the project wherever his muses take him, with the project being firmly rooted in the ‘if it sounds good, it must be” ethos.

In the meantime, Asset Music’s latest single “Shine On” is a decidedly 120 Minutes MTV-era alt rock single featuring fuzzy power chords, cavernous drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook. Sonically, the track brings Gentlemen-era Afghan Whigs to mind; but as Goodchild explains in press notes, the song reflects on the past year of the pandemic but with an optimistic view of things getting back to some level of normal. Live music may actually be a fucking thing again in New York, so how about that?

The recently released video by Studio 4×2 follows a black clad traveling guitarist. The guitarist travels about, playing music in various locations throughout a long day and night. And while the cities are quiet, things aren’t completely hopeless. You do see people embarking on their daily errands — and the sight of a wandering musician gives a small bit of hope for normalcy on the horizon.

Lyric Video: Canadian Artist Jeen Releases a Rousingly Anthemic Single

Jeen O’Brien is a Canadian singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has written songs for a lengthy list of recording artists, and as a solo artist, performing under the mononym Jeen, O’Brien has written songs used in ad campaigns for Google, Panasonic, Estée Lauder, Kraft, BlackBerry, KIA, Rogers, Mastercard and Molson, as well as TV shows like Republic of Doyle, Instant Star, Ruby Gloom, Degrassi, Hockey Wives, Killjoys, Workin’ Moms, Catfish, Are You the One and the major motion picture Cook Off. In addition to her solo work, O’Brien is a member of Cookie Duster with Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning.

O’Brien’s newest full-length album, the Ian Blurton co-produced Dog Bite is slated for an October 2021 release — and along with the album announcement, the Canadian singer/songwriter and producer released a double single, “Better Drugs”/”Fair to Move On.” Because of time considerations on my end, I’m choosing to write about one single: “Better Drugs,” a grungy bit of power pop centered around crunchy guitar lines, O’Brien’s Liz Phair-lke delivery and a rousingly anthemic hook. Although sonically bringing 90s alt rock and 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind, the song as the Canadian artist explains explores our desire to constantly seek something better while being directly influenced by the events of 2020 — both socially and personally: “I wrote ‘Better Drugs’ eight months after watching the world burn, with everything so exposed and gross. Like we had all lost too many pieces of ourselves to put back together or something…I wondered how fundamental it was, like how broken are we, you know? On top of that, I had a very sudden death in the family 48 hours before we went into the studio to record.

“This kind of raw disconnect leads to all the problems especially if you’ve lost connection with yourself…so with all that fell away last year, I found myself pathetically grateful for the few people I still had around me.”

New Video: Peaches Collaborator Saskia Hahn and New Band The Heartways Release an Anthemic Ode to Joshua Tree National Park

Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Saskia Hahn started her music career in the mid 2000s as a member of the power pop/rock act Sweet Machine, a band widely hailed in her hometown for their distinctive style — and for Hahn’s stage presence. Hahn and her band caught the attention of acclaimed electro-clash artist and gender-equality activist Peaches, who recruited Hahn and the members of Sweet Machine as a her touring band for a two-and-a-half run, which ended with a live recording session with Dave Catching and Edmund Monsef at Rancho De La Luna Studio in Joshua Tree, CA.

After five years of the rock ‘n’ roll life, Hahn took time off from music and devoted herself to mixed media visual art — painting, screen printing and installations. Her work was exhibited in galleries in Berlin, NYC, Sydney, London, and Zurich — and interestingly enough, that period found Hahn rediscovered her love of music, as well as a new approach. Inspired, she decided to not only write the songs but to produce them herself. Leading her new band The Heartways, she released the band’s debut single “Maybe” last year.

The Heartways full-length debut album Damaged Goods will be released later this year. The album’s second single “By Your Side” is an a decidedly 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock-like track centered around Hahn’s expressive yet ethereal vocals, a motorik groove and a rousingly anthemic hook. And while the song — to my ears, at least — brings PJ Harvey to mind, the song is a love song that superficially seems address to a person but is actually a swooning and awe-inspired love letter to a particular place — Joshua Tree National Park. “I tried to capture the moment of falling in love with this amazing place,” Hahn says in press notes. “I’d heard so much about it but never quite understood the deep feelings my ‘desert family’ had for that particular patch of land―until it stole my heart too! I was walking through the desert on an off-day during the “I Feel Cream” world tour with Peaches. We’d just played at Pappy & Harriet’s the night before, and it suddenly struck me. I realized the desert’s incredible beauty and fell totally in awe with it. It was such a powerful and magical moment that I can never forget and will always be thankful for.”

Of course, because of pandemic-related restrictions, Hahn couldn’t be in the desert for the filming of the video; however, the video employs gorgeous Joshua Tree footage filmed by filmmaker Will Stockwell superimposed in the background. Robin Thomson, the video’s Director of Photography and Editor contributes a dreamy and trippy feel to the overall proceedings.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Warish Release another Mosh Pit Friendly Ripper

With the release of their 2019 full-length debut, Down In Flames, the San Diego-based noise punk trio Warish — currently founding member Riley Hawk (guitar, vocals), Alex Bassaj (bass) and Justin de la Vega (drums) — quickly established a reputation for crafting mosh pit friendly, bludgeoning rippers, that bring early Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, Incesticide-era Nirvana, Static Age-era Misfits and others to mind.  

The San Diego-based JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album, the 13-song Next To Pay reportedly finds the noise punk trio at their darkest and most vicious. “Next To Pay is about a sense of imminent doom, everyone is going to die,” Warish’s Riley Hawk says in press notes. “It’s not the happiest record, I guess.” The album’s material sonically finds the band continuing to draw from the same influences as its predecessor, but while pushing their sound in a much more forceful — and in turn, nastier — direction, heavily influenced by the guitar work of Greg Ginn and Buzz Osborne — wiry contortions drenched in various chorus effect pedals. “This album is more of an evolution, it’s a little more punk-heavy,” Hawk adds. “We figured out what our sound was.” 

Along with that evolution, the band went through a massive lineup change. The band’s original drummer Nick “Broose” McDonnell plays on roughly half the album’s songs while their newest drummer Justin de la Vega played on the more recently written and recorded tracks. Bassaj joined the band after their debut was recorded, so Next To Pay marks his official Warish debut. 

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s released singles:

“Seeing Red,” a breakneck, Bleach-era Nirvana like ripper centered around Hawk’s howled vocals, scuzzy power chords, a forceful and chugging bass line paired with pummeling drumming that continues a run of mosh pit friendly material — but with a feral snarl. 
“S.H.M. (Second Hand Misery)” another breakneck ripper that sonically reminded me of a gritty synthesis of Nirvana and Melvins — but full of bile and evil intentions.

“Scars,” Next to Pay’s third and latest single continues a remarkable run of piss and bile fueled rippers — but with this one managing to sound a bit like a synthesis of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings” and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica. Fittingly, the recently released video brings 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind, as it features the band performing the song in a studio in front of various colored background.

The JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album Next To Pay is slated for an April 30, 2021 release through RidingEasy Records. 

New Video: Hong Kong Shoegazers Lucid Express Release a surreal and Feverish Visual for Shimmering “Wellwave”

Rising Hong Kong-based indie outfit Lucid Express — Kim (vocals, synths), Andy (guitar), Sky (guitar), and siblings Samuel (bass) and Wai (drums) — can trace their origins back to 2014: the then-teenagers formed the band in the turbulent weeks just prior to the Umbrella Movement, the most recent in a series of tense pro-democracy protests against increasingly brutal state-led suppression in their home region. Amidst the constantly scenery of tear-gassed, bloodied and beaten protestors, politically-targeted arrests and death threats from government officials, the five Hong Kong-based musicians met in a small practice space sun the remote, industrial Kwai Hing neighborhood.

Despite the ugliness of their sociopolitical moment, the band manages to specialize in an ethereal and shimmering blend of indie pop, dream pop and shoegaze with their practice space being someplace where they could escape their world. “At that time, it felt like we have [sic] a need to hold on to something more beautiful than before. Like close friendships, the band, our creation,” the band’s Kim says in press notes.

The band’s name can be seen as a relatively modest mission statement describing the band’s intent: their use of the word lucid is in the poetic sense of something bright and radiant. Essentially, Lucid Express operates as the service to take the listener on a journey through their lush, blissful and dreamy sounds. Unsurprisingly, their material manages to carry the mood of their inception: with the band’s members working late-night shifts, their rehearsal and recording schedules found the band playing, writing and recording material between midnight and 4:00AM, and then crashing for a few hours in the studio before going back to work.

The end result is the band’s highly-anticipated, full-length debut. the 10-song album thematically touches upon being young, being in love and maneuvering through heartache in difficult times. Of course while writing and recording together served as a unifying and soothing presence for the members of the band, their music fell victim to their complicated circumstances: The pervasive uncertainty over Hong Kong’s sociopolitical future created an overwhelming feeling of depression that found its way into the local music scene. Shows were cancelled and releases delayed. And for a time, it just didn’t feel relevant to promote music.

While there’s much to be fought for at home, the members of the rising indie rock act have recently begun to feel a fresh hope in their work. They’ve felt as though they’ve reached an understanding of their music’s place amongst the world it inhabits — and they’ve decide to release their full-length debut through Kanine Records on July 16, 2021.

So far, the act has received glowing praise from Time Out for their “dreamy live performances” and their debut single “Lime” was praised by Drowned In Sound, NME and others. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Hong Kong shoegazers latest single “Wellwave” is a sculptured and lush soundscape centered around Kim’s ethereal vocals, glistening synths, skittering four-on-the floor and a motorik groove. Sonically, the track may remind listeners of the likes of Lightfoils, Palm Haze and Cocteau Twins but while feeling like a lucid fever dream.

The recently released video will bring 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind with the band playing in a room full of old, cathode ray TVs, footage shot with a grainy VHS-like quality, split with footage of the band walking around in an equally surreal backdrop of flying fish. It’s appropriately trippy and dream-like.

New Video: Saskatoon’s Slow Down Molasses Releases a Hilariously Absurd Visual for “120 Minutes”-like “Street Haunting”

Led by Tyson McShane, the Saskatoon-based indie rock act Slow Down Molasses have developed a reputation for a constantly evolving sound as a result of a series of lineup changes and for an anxious and frenetic live show, which they’ve taken around the world in support of 2016’s 100% Sunshine.

The band’s latest single “Street Haunting” is the first bit of new material from the band since the release of 100% Sunshine and the new single manages to further cement the band’s reputation for an ever-changing sound Featuring angular and propulsive rhythms, explosive power chords, tons of feedback and fuzz and a supple bass line, “Street Haunting” brings 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind — in particular, Pavement and Sonic Youth with some sprinklings of Gang of Four. And as a result, the song is underpinned by a throbbing anxious energy. “Musically, we were excited to capture some the anxious energy of our live show, while still keeping the song very focused,” the band’s Tyson McShane says. “It nicely rides a line between the concise garage pop that some of us love and the feedback drenched chaos that our live shows tend to dwell in.”

The song’s punchily delivered lyrics draw some inspiration from Virgnia Woolf’s essay of the same name. “Lyrically the song ruminates on the casual, but oft-underappreciated beauty of the urban environment and the predictability of a person’s daily tasks,” the band’s McShane explained. “Taking  some inspiration from Virginia Woolf’s essay of the same name and mixing that with the sense of isolated other-ness that comes from living in a city far from the world’s major cultural cities.  A place sometimes overflowing with creative energy, but where it often necessary to remind oneself of the casual brilliance of one’s peers and the places we typically tend to haunt.”

Directed by Aaron Scholz, the recently released video features the band’s members wearing raccoon masks while performing routine human activities, like going through their record collection and shaving and typical raccoon activities, like rooting through garbage, scratching at doors and exploring abandoned, suburban homes. They also manage to play music. The video makes the mundane seem absurd and ridiculous.

New Video: Willy Mason Releases a “120 Minutes”-like Power Chord Anthem Paired with Mischievous and Lo-Fi Visuals

Willy Mason is a White Plains-born, West Tilbury, MA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has released three full-length albums — 2004’s Where The Humans Eat, 2007’s If The Ocean Gets Rough and 2012’s Carry On.

Slated for an August 6, 2021 release through Cooking Vinyl, Already Dead is the White Plains-born, West Wilbury-based singer/songwriter’s fourth album — and the first batch of full-length material from Mason in over nine years. Thematically, the album reportedly explores honesty, deception, anonymity in the digital age, good intentions with unexpected consequences, freedom, colonialism, love, God and purpose. “Already Dead is a spiritual state to aspire to; it is freedom from the trappings and inhibitions of one’s ego, culture, and mythology. It is freedom and love and freedom to love in the face of death,” Mason explains. “It’s about the necessary destruction of one’s mythology; mythology of species, sex, race, nation, self. It’s about the pain and tragedy that comes with such destruction, but also about the freedom, possibility and opportunity for reconciliation; reconciliation with the natural world and with each other.”

Reportedly one of the harder songs in his growing catalog, Already Dead’s latest single “Youth On A Spit” is a 120 Minutes MTV-era alt rock-like anthem centered around scuzzy power chords, propulsive drumming, and Mason’s ironically delivered lyrics, which are both a bold declaration of insouciance and invincibility and an incisive commentary on post-modern life. And because of its relatable yet rousingly anthemic hook, the song may remind some listeners of 90s era Beck.

“‘Youth On A Spit’ is about the struggle for freedom and identity that comes from growing up in an advertising based culture. The refrain ‘you can’t kill me I’m already dead’ is about the liberation that comes with disillusionment,” Mason explains.

Director by Noel Heroux is a lo-fi and lysergic romp that’s partially a journey through boring suburbia and a partially a journey through hell, competed with Mason being practically in the hellfire.

New Video: Toronto’s Jiants Release an Anthemic Brit Pop-like Single

With the release of their critically applauded self-titled debut, 2016’s self-titled debut, Toronto-based Jiants — former professional skateboarder Jesse Landen (vocals, guitar), Adam Kesek (bass), John Sirdevan (drums) and the band’s newest member Joe Delfin (lead guitar) quickly established a sound that meshes 90s alt rock with sensibilities. 2018’s Taylor Knox co-produced follow-up Odd Trouble found the band meshing infectious rifts, melodic keyboard lines and Landen’s vocals to create a sound that managed to be nostalgia-inducing yet wholly theirs.

Earlier this year, the Toronto-based indie act released their latest EP, Wait Here and the EP’s latest single “Some Kind of Loser” is a decidedly Brit Pop-inspired anthem, featuring a gorgeous and cinematic string arrangement by Drew Jurecka, layers of shimmering guitars and rousingly anthemic and dryly ironic chorus paired with Landen’s plaintive and sun-cracked vocals. Sonically, the track — to my ears, least — reminds me quite a bit of Urban Hymns-era The Verve, Love Is Here-era Starsailor and Oasis. But as the Landen and company admit in press notes. “Some Kind of Loser” “is about charting your own path. These lyrics reflect on how it would ultimately be beneficial learning to work together and respect each other’s paths.”

The song was “born out of a rough day in the studio that was followed by some upcoming shows falling apart in advance,” Jiants’ Jesse Landen continues. “I was half-hoking around thinking about much time and energy I was spending obsessing over music stuff and feeling like a bit of a dork. I think everyone can relate to that in some way. But that’s when it dawned one me that sometimes you might have to just learn to enjoy the rollercoaster because I know that I was going to continue making and sharing music, regardless of the results.”

Directed by Hart Dylan Webster, the recently released visual for “Some Kind of Loser” is a cinematic ode to 120 Minutes-era MTV.

With the release of their full-length debut, 2019’s ten-song Kenny Jones-recorded and produced Blind Reflection the Metz, France-based act OSTED quickly established a sound that blues the lines between indie rock and post punk with an expansive sonic palette.

Although they weren’t able to tour as a result of pandemic related lockdowns and quarantines, the emerging French act managed to have a rather auspicious 2020: they returned to the Jones’ London-based Alchemy Studio to record the follow-up to their debut, the forthcoming Collecting Memories EP. And they signed with Endless Night Records at the end of last year.

The EP’s latest single “Sarajevo” is a brooding song centered around an angular and propulsive bass line, shimmering guitars, thunderous drumming, rousingly anthemic hooks and dry yet achingly plaintive vocals within an expansive song structure. Interestingly, the song is a perfect example of their sound: a subtle mix of Joy Division post-punk, shoegaze and 120 Minutes-era MTV all rock with seemingly lived-in lyrics.

Look for Conflicted Memories EP on April 30, 2021.

New Audio: Montreal’s Alex Elliot Releases an Introspective, Mosh Pit Friendly Single

Montreal-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Alex Elliot’s full-length debut Tommy! thematically explored its titular main character’s misguided nature and his relationship with himself. Yellow Fog, Tommy!’s follow-up was released earlier this month, and the album continues the story of Tommy — and while delving into his mind, the album thematically explores his relationships with others: “It’s all about how people can came in and out of your life,” Elliot explains in an email to me. “About how you build pieces of life iowan people coming in, staying for a while, and then leaving, before it all starts again and again. It’s not about love but more about friendship, and all kinds of human connections that help you build yourself but always end with bitterness.”

“We Are Reckless,” Yellow Fog’s latest single is a decidedly 120 Minutes-era MTV alt- rock anthem, centered around fuzzy and distorted power chords, angular and propulsive bass lines and a thumping back beat, a rousingly anthemic hook, and Elliot’s disaffected yet somehow earnest delivery. But underneath the song’s mosh pit friendly air, the song feels desperate, uncertain and confused.

“‘We Are Reckless’ describes the beginning of this endless circle, when it’s all new, when you do feel reckless cause everything is still possible,” Elliot explains. “This song is about how it always begins. It is the naive track. The rest of the album drives the man to resignation.”