Tag: 120 Minutes

New Video: Chicago’s Koalra Releases a 120 Minutes-Inspired Single and Visual

Formed in 2019, the Chicago-based indie rock quartet Koalra have quickly established a sound and songwriting approach that’s heavily indebted to 120 Minutes-era alt rock — i.e. The Cure, Dinosaur Jr., Ween, Sonic Youth, Boyracer, and The Thermals, as well as contemporaries like No Age, and Waaves.

Since their formation, the members of the Chicago-based quartet have been remarkably prolific: they’ve released two albums — 2019’s self-titled debut, last year’s Surprise Lights EP and The Wakes. Adding to their growing reputation for being prolific, the act will be releasing their third full-length album Into the Waves this year.

Koalra begin 2021 with their latest single off Into the Waves, “Water’s Push.” Centered around layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive rhythm section centered around an angular bass line and rousingly anthemic hook, the breakneck “Water’s Push” finds the act firmly cementing the 120 Minutes-era sound that has begun to win them attention while expanding upon it with a subtle hazy, shoegazer quality.

Shot in hazy, security camera footage, the recently released video for “Water’s Push” follows a young boy as he drags a plastic skeleton around a variety of situations — and interestingly enough, the video is fittingly period specific.

Live Footage: Donivan Berubue at “Hear Here Presents”

Donivan Berube is an Arizona-based luthier, singer/songwriter, musician, touring cyclist and Contributing Music Editor at American Trails Magazine. Berube has led a rather fascinating life: a mother after his 17th birthday, Berube left his family and disassociated himself from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, saying goodbye to his family and friends — forever.

Berube took off to travel the hemisphere, living primarily out of a tent and working a variety of jobs — including an English teacher in Huaycán, Peru; a librarian in Big Sur, CA; a luthier in Arizona; a tour cyclist, who has taken solo, long-distance bicycle tours across the States and Iceland. During that same time, Berube wrote, recorded and released material through small labels like Blessed Feathers and others, which has received praise from NPR’s Morning Edition, Paste Magazine and Vinyl Me, Please. And he has had his writing appear in American Trails and 100 Albums You Need On Vinyl and Why.

Berube’s soon-to-be released album Truth In Constant Change For Now was written and recorded during pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions, amidst increasing sociopolitical and economic instability, racial injustice, growing inequality and other massive problems — while focusing over the fear of obscurity, persistence and strength, intimacy and isolation. Thematically, the album’s material has a central refrain: this is a mere moment in time, in which we are mere moments in time. This has always been reality but we’ve never quite seen it that way.

Recently, Bernube and his backing band performed three songs off his soon-to-be released album — “Wyoming/Dakota,” “Love Is a Dog From Hell,” and “Huaycán Song # 2” — at Milwaukee-based, live music video series Hear Here Presents.

“Wyoming/Dakota,” the first song of the session is one part anthemic 120 Minutes-era indie rock, infectious jangle pop and contemplative shoegaze, centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, a propulsive rhythm section and Benube’s plaintive vocals. Lyrically. the song sounds — and feels — as though it comes from lived-in personal experience, with the song evoking driving under seemingly endless skies, feeling awe and confusion over the direction of your life.
“Love is a Dog From Hell,” the session’s second song is an enormous song centered around shimmering guitars, Benube’s plaintive vocals — and while starting with a slow-burning introduction, the song builds up in intensity, simultaneously capturing the passion, confusion, and ambivalence of love that sonically reminds me a bit of Pearl Jam.
“Huaycán Song #2” is a gentle reverie, centered featuring a narrator,’s nostalgia-fueled dreams of a former lover and of a simpler time; none of which he can ever get back because time is an endless river.

All of the material is gorgeous and just deeply thoughtful, and recorded in an intimate setting. Of course, it reminds me of how much I miss live music.

New Video: Emerging Reykjavik Indie Duo BSÍ Releases a Hazy and Lysergic Visual for “Manama”

Deriving their name from what is considered one of the most miserable locations in Iceland, Reykjavik’s BSÍ Central Bus Terminal, BSÍ is an emerging Icelandic indie rock duo featuring Sigurlaug Thoransen and Julius Rothlaender. With the release of the “Tomatenplatten/Berlin”/ “Why Not? plötur/Reykjavík” 7 inch vinyl and a single on Post-dreifng’s Drullumall #2 compilation, the Icelandic duo quickly established their sound and songwriting approach: centered around a DIY ethos, the duo’s specializes in what’s known around Iceland as Krútt pönk — and from what I’ve been able to look up, is a decidedly Icelandic take on indie rock and post punk. 

Since then, the release of the “Tomatenplatten/Berlin”/ “Why Not? plötur/Reykjavík” 7 inch and their Post-dreifng’s Drullumall #2 compilation, the Reykjavik-based duo have played concerts and festivals across Iceland and Germany. Like countless bands across the world, they started the year with writing and recording new material — but interestingly, their latest single “Manama,” was initially recorded back in 2018. Regardless of when the track was recorded, it’s a jangling yet brooding bit of guitar rock that sounds indebted to 120 Minutes era MTV — but with a hazy and trippy vibe.

Directed by Venezuelan-born, Berlin-based filmmaker Adriana Berroteran, the recently released video follows the stunningly beautiful Folasade Adeseo as she wanders around the streets of Mexico City– but her Mexico City is a fittingly viewed through a lysergic and hazy dream. 

Deriving their name from a retired racing greyhound that’s since been renamed Jenna, Jetstream Pony is an emerging shoegazer act split between Brighton UK and Croydon UK. Featuring Trembling Blue Stars,’ The Luxembourg Signal‘s and Aberdeen’s Beth Arzy (vocals), The Wedding Present’s and The Popguns‘ Shaun Charman (guitar), Kerry Boettcher (bass) and the band’s newest addition Hannes Müller, the members of the band bonded over their mutual love of post-punk and indie pop.

The band released a few 7 inch singles through Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten, along with a their 12 inch debut EP Self-Destruct EP — both of which received a bit of attention across the shoegazer and indie pop scenes. Building upon growing momentum, the British act’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a May 22, 2020 release through Shelflife Records and Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten. Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Trapped in Amber” is a shoegazer-like bit of guitar pop that recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV college radio that features an enormous hook, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, four-on-the-floor drumming and Beth Arzy’s ethereal vocals, delivered with the self-assuredness of old pros.

“‘Trapped in Amber’ is a relationship song, with lyrics by Beth,” the band’s Shaun Charmn explains in an email. “She writes a mixture of prose and verse on virtual scraps of paper. When I have new music, I flick through them to see which fits best, then edit to fit. Beth’s happy for things to be changed, she then edits again for the final version. It does work really well. This song was written at the very last minute before album recording, I was still working it out in the studio as we recorded it, but it was sounding too good to leave off.”




New Video: Rising Los Angeles Psych Rockers Gateway Drugs Release an Intimate Visual for Brooding “Slumber”

Formed in 2010, the rising Los Angeles-based act Gateway Drugs — siblings Gabe, Noa and Liv Niles, who all share vocal and instrumental duties, and their longtime friend James Sanderson (bass) — emerged into the psych rock scene with the 2015 release of their full-length debut, Magick Spells, an album that helped to establish noisey and melodic take on shoegaze that Hellbound has likened to “The Stooges meets My Bloody Valentine and The Brian Jonestown Massacre — a little dark, a little eerie and a little grainy and all intoxicating.”

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Future Shock Records, the Los Angeles-based psych rock quartet’s, ten song, Sune Rose Wagner-produced sophomore effort PSA was recorded during a 12 day recording session at Josh Homme’s Pink Duck Studio. Centered around what the band says was some of the quickest and most direct songwriting process of their young careers, the album as the band told Foxes Mag “. . . is much more intimate and raw than our first album. All of the songs were recorded live for the most part.” 

While further establishing their noisy and melodic take on psych rock, the material reportedly finds the band writing more introspective material, drawing from a wild and chaotic few years for the band — and for the world at large. According to the members of Gateway Drugs, the album reflects “everything that is wrong in the here and now: the weakness of the world laid bare, and the almost total state of apathy we all find ourselves in due to feeling powerless to effect any change with respect to all of this. PSA is an attempt to connect with others, who feel the same way and regain a sense of our ability to change things for the better.” 

“Slumber,” PSA’s second single is brooding yet shimmering and hook driven track that features the band’s Gabe Niles taking up vocal duties. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to the aforementioned Brian Jonestown Massacre, Riot City Blues-era Primal Scream, the song is an achingly earnest reflection on unrequited love, focusing on  rejection and heartbreak. 

Shot, edited and directed by the members of the band, the recently released video for “Slumber” is an intimate view into the band’s daily lives inn a way that personally reminds me of 120 Minutes-era MTV. “Videos nowadays tend to be overly cinematic or pretentious. The songs get lost and leaves little room for the listeners imagination,” the band says of the video. “We wanted to keep it simple, sincere, and true to form, so we shot and edited the video ourselves.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Secret Shame Releases a “120 Minutes” MTV-Inspired Visual for Anthemic and Shimmering New Single

Over the past 15-18 months or so, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act and JOVM mainstays Secret Shame. Founded in 2016, the act — currently, Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar) has been centered around its members desperate need to create, “If I couldn’t sing or play music, I would tear my skin off.” the band’s front person Lena explained in press notes. Shortly after their formation, the band released their self-titled debut EP, which helped established their dark and atmospheric sound — while the material thematically touched upon domestic rabuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration.

The Asheville-based JOVM mainstays’ full-length debut Dark Synthetics was released to critical acclaim last year — and the album find the band expanding upon their sound, crafting material that seemed indebted to both Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Building upon the growing momentum surrounding the band since the release of their debut, the members of Secret Shame have released a series of Dark Synthetics remixes as a teasers while they were returning to the studio to record new music. 

Throughout their relatively short history together, they’ve developed a reputation for an ever-changing songwriting process centered around a collective songwriting approach. The end result is that it allows the band to not allow themselves to be pigeonholed into a single subgenere of goth or post-punk. Interestingly, Secret Shame’s latest single “Dissolve” finds the band turning towards a completely new sound while managing to evoke the same feeling and vibe of their previously released material. There’s clear nods to Joy Division, New Order, and Echo and the Bunnymen on this one — with a tiniest of nods to The Smiths here: the song features shimmering guitars, rapid-fire four-on-the-floor, enormous and rousingly anthemic hooks and Lena singing with a plaintive earnestness. It’s arguably their most gorgeous sounding song they’ve released to date, but underneath the shimmer, is a hardened bitterness and dark thematic concerns that have won the band attention. As the band’s Lena says of the song, “A cathartic break from a bad situation, but a gateway to something still destructive. What are the benefits of nobody knowing what’s on your mind? What are the drawbacks?”

Visually, the recently released video for “Dissolve” seemed indebted to 120 Minutes-era MTV with tape hiss and nods at Echo and the Bunnymen’s “Lips Like Sugar” and “The Killing Moon,” among others that immediately come to my mind. 

“Dissolve” will appear on a self-released 7 inch that will be release don June 5, 2020. 

New Video: Introducing the “120 Minutes” era MTV-like Sounds of Auckland’s Lexytron

Lexy is a Manchester, UK-born, Auckland, New Zealand-based singer/songwriter and guitarist who claims Greek, Persian and English heritage — or as she described herself as a young girl, “Half Greek, half Persian, half English.”Much like countless other musicians, her passion for music was stoked when she learned piano and violin as a girl.The British-born, Kiwi-based singer/songwriter and musician is the creative mastermind behind the emerging recording project Lexytron. 

Lexytron’s full-length debut Something Blue was recorded in London with City Reign’s Mike Grice and the album reportedly finds the emerging singer/songwriter crafting material with roaring riffs, lush strings and soaring choral arrangements in a  way that seamlessly meshing rock and classical music — while being an an indie rock girl’s guide to love, loss and lust. The album’s latest single “Blue” is a decidedly 120 Minutes-era MTV-like alt rock song centered around jangling power chords, soaring strings and the British-born, Kiwi-based artist’s plaintive vocals. 

Directed by Lexy and Mike Grice, the recently released video is an intimate, DIY video of the emerging singer/songwriter on the shore of Lake Pukaki, located on the New Zealand’s South Island. 

Marcelo Deiss is a Sao Paulo, Brazil-born, London-based artist whose music blurs the lines between indie rock, blues, folk and hard rock. Heavily influenced by visual artists like Steve Cutts and John Holcroft, Deiss’ work thematically touches upon social alienation, absurdity, despair and human greed — with an ironic, darkly humorous and satirical eye for the absurd in our every day lives. “Cutts and Holcroft’s work embodies a powerful and scary message about humankind which we can all really relate to as human beings. Their work really helped create a clear vision of what I was trying to achieve sonically,” the Sao Paulo-born, London-based artist says in press notes. Typically his work attempts to force audiences to see the obvious absurdities that frequently go unnoticed in our daily lives, by highlighting the news and situations that we all see but conveniently ignore, and the news we hear bu not really listen to, from our overuse and dependency on technology, to our shitty economic policies and our strange daily customs.

Deiss’ latest single, the 120 Minutes-era MTV-like “Horses Running” is centered around  his Bob Dylan-like delivery — half spoken, partially crooned and boozy vocals, fuzzy and distorted power chords, blasts of simmering synths, twinkling keys and rousingly anthemic hooks.  And while sonically recalling Odelay-era Beck, JOVM mainstays Sego and classic blues, the track is fueled by righteous indignation: thematically it focuses on the greed and social disaffection that could wind up killing all of us and destroying what’s left of the Earth. The song was directly inspired by Brexit, Donald Trump, the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, and others that deal with the impact of oppression — and his own observation that the worlds of Brave New World1984 and The Year Of The Flood aren’t very far from our own.

“I think it’s important to discuss topics about our society and the current problems we face together in the modern world. This to me seems more relevant due to the current situation our society is facing right now.”

With the release of the critically praise single “Blister” earlier this year, the Champaign, IL-based power pop/punk act Nectar — Kamila Glowacki, Aaron Shults, Isabel Skidmore and Jake Mott — received attention across the blogosphere for a raucous, 90s alt rock-inspired sound with big, infectious hooks. Building upon a growing profile, the Champaign-based quartet’s latest release, the breakneck single “Fishy” is 92 seconds of enormous, sludgy grunge rock power chords and infectious, sugary sweet hooks. Much like its predecessor, “Fishy” is deceptive song in which upbeat melodies are paired with melancholy lyrics — with the new single detailing the swooning feelings of excitement, uncertainty, fear and anxiety towards a new crush that brings  Veruca SaltSiamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins and others to mind. 
Interestingly, the 120 Minutes era MTV-like “Fishy” was originally recorded and released on a split 7 inch with Jupiter Styles (formerly known as Single Player). The band re-recorded “Fishy” during the “Blister” sessions.

New Video: Lightning Bug Releases Hazy Visuals for Ethereal and Soaring “The Onely Ones”

Led by songwriter Audrey King and featuring multi-instrumentalist Kevin Copeland and producer Logan Miley, Brooklyn-based shoegazer act Lightning Bug is grounded in a tight-knit friendship and an intuitive musical bond which heavily influences their sound — a mix of rapturous shoegaze, longing balladry and ambient soundscapes. While their recorded output has revealed a sonic eclecticism, their material is centered around a magnetic sense of cohesion. Lyrically, their work documents Kang’s relationship with her humanity and feelings, detailing memories fraught with joy and heartache, and the seemingly unending cycle of tension and release that comes as one develops self-trust. 

With the release of their first two albums, 2015’s Floaters, which landed on NME’s best debut albums of 2015 list and last year’s October Song, the Brooklyn-based shoegazer act has developed a reputation for being one of the genre’s newest buzzworthy acts. Building upon a rising profile, the act recently signed to Fat Possum Records, who will re-issue October Song on vinyl on April 24, 2020 — and to celebrate the occasion, the band released a previously unreleased single “The Onely Ones.” Recorded during the October Song sessions, the lush and atmospheric song is centered around a soaring hook, ethereal vocals, twinkling instrumentation and thumping beats — and manages to evoke a hazy and difficult to define and intense emotion that’s a mix of joy and anguish.  Unsurprisingly, the recently released video for “The Onely Ones” is shot in a hazy black and white that nods at 120 Minutes era MTV — while capturing a fleeting and temporal moment

“You know when you experience a sudden extreme of emotion? Not quite anguish, not quite joy, but some unutterable mixture of both. This song is my attempt to express that,” King says in press notes of the song and accompanying video.

The video for ‘The Onely Ones’ seeks to represent the fleeting impressions that stream behind the membrane of immediate reality. It attempts to remind how there is, shimmering within each person, an entire universe as intangible and as infinite as time.”