Tag: 120 Minutes

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. 

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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. 

Last year, I wrote a bit about he Austin, TX-based dream pop/shoegaze quartet Blushing, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of two married couples — Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Noe Carmona (guitar, keys) and Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Jake Soto (drums) can trace its origins back to 2015, when Michelle Soto recruited her classically trained friend Christina Carmona to join her new project, after spending several years writing material on guitar. Soto and Carmona then recruited their spouses to complete the band’s lineup. And after about a year of writing and revising material, they went into Bad Wolf Recordings to record their debut EP Tether, an effort that at points recalled A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve and Lightfoils Hierarchy.

Building upon a growing profile and the positive reception of their debut EP, the Austin-based shoegazers returned to the studio to record their sophomore EP Weak, which was released through Austin Town Hall Records earlier this year, and from EP single and title track “Weak,” the band further cemented their reputation for crafting material that sonically was indebted to the likes of Lush, Cocteau Twins and The Sundays —  and while arguably being one of the more direct and anthemic songs of their growing catalog, the song revealed a gentle refinement of the overall sound and aesthetic that first caught the attention of the blogosphere. Adding to a busy year, the band recently released the Elliot Frazier-produced and mixed “The Truth”/”Sunshine” 7 inch both digitally and on colored vinyl through The Nothing Song Records, and the 7 inch single represents a band that has yet again expanded upon their sound: “The Truth” is arguably the most muscular song they’ve released as it featured crunchy and fuzzy guitar lines, thundering drumming paired with soaring vocals. And throughout, there’s a decided focus on crafting an anthemic and rousing hook that sounds as though it inspired by 120 Minutes-era MTV before ending with a feedback-driven coda. “Sunshine,” the second track of the 7 inch is  arguably the most towering and expansive sound that the Austin-based shoegazers have released to date, as Christina Carmona’s and Michelle Soto’s vocals soar over layers of lushly shimmering and pedal effected guitars, a simple yet propulsive backbeat and a soaring hook while recalling A Storm in Heaven and Lightfoils but with a bold self-assurance. Both singles may be among the most ambitious and focused songwriting and playing the band has recorded to date, and I’m looking forward to the forthcoming full-length, slated for early next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The 120 Minutes-Inspired Visuals for Fawns of Love’s Ethereal and Shoegazey “Someday”

Comprised of married duo and full-time educators Joseph and Jenny Andreotti, the Bakersfield, CA-based indie act Fawns of Love have performed together for the past 16 years, recording, touring and recording music under various names and through several different labels — and they’ve been married for the past 13 of those 16 years. In 2013, Jenny enrolled in a graduate school history program, and the duo went on a hiatus from music; but in 2017, the duo felt it was time to get back into music, and started anew with a new band name. 

The duo’s forthcoming full-length album Permanent is slated for January 18, 2019 release through Test Pattern Records, their first release through that label — and the album will be the follow-up to their recently released EP documenting their session for the renowned Los Angeles area radio show Part Time Punks, an EP that features a cover of The Chills’ “Rocket Science.” As for Permanent, the material is inspired by deeply personal experience.  “For the past year, my life has been in a complete flux,” the duo’s Jenny Andreotti explains in press notes. “People have moved away, relationships have changed, and this has challenged my belief that people’s love for you is permanent.” 

Interestingly, Permanent’s latest single is the chilly and woozy, 4AD Records heyday channeling “Someday,” a track centered around shimmering synths, four-on-the floor beats, a motorik groove, shimmering guitar chords and Jenny Andreotti’s ethereal falsetto. Sonically, the song manages to bring New Order, The Cure and others to mind, but with a gauzy, shoegazer-like quality.  The recently released video for “Someday” features some lush, black and white photography and black and white stock video footage to evoke a creepy and anxious air, all while recalling 120 Minutes-era MTV. 

Earlier this year, I wrote a bit about the Austin, TX-based trio Exhalants, and as you may recall, the band which features Steve (guitar, vocals), Bill (bass) and Body Pressure’s Tommy (drums), can trace its origins to the breakup of Steve’s and Bill’s previous band  Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes. As the story goes, with the inevitably downtime that’s a result of a band’s breakup, Steve wound up spending his free time further honing his guitar playing before he recruited his former CSSS bandmate and Tommy to complete the project’s lineup.

Released earlier this year, the band’s self-titled full-length debt was recorded and mixed by Ghetto Ghouls‘ Ian Rundell and mastered by Yeesh’s Greg Obis, and the albums largely inspired by  ShellacUnwound and Cherubs, while nodding at the work of contemporaries like MelkbellyKal Marks and A Deer A Horse  — or in other words, much like those bands, the album finds the band balancing pummeling and bruising heaviness with an underlining melodic sensibility. Interestingly, album single “Punishers” is an aptly titled, furious, abrasive and — well, punishing ripper centered by enormous power chords, wild peals of feedback and pummeling drumming. Sonically speaking, the song is a mosh pit-friendly anthemic that should be played way too loudly in a dark, sweaty room.

Unsurprisingly, the recently released video for “Punishers” will bring 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind, as its an equally pushing visual, consisting of warped, distorted VHS footage — and while old-timey, it manages to evoke the terror and fury of our time.

New Video: Up-and-Coming El Paso Band Sleepspent Releases 120 Minutes-Inspired Visuals for “Come Smile With Me”

Currently comprised of founding member Austin North (vocals, guitar) with Cecilia Otero (bass) and Josh Mendoza (drums), the El Paso, TX-based indie rock/dream pop trio Sleepspent can trace their origins back to when it founding member returned from school in San Diego and started the band with friend and co-writer Aaron Quintalla. Although they’ve gone through a lineup change that has the band as a trio, since their formation, the members of Sleepspent have quickly become one of El Paso’s best, up-and-coming bands; in fact, locally they’ve become one of the area’s go-to bands, opening for a variety of nationally recognized touring bands. And from “Come Smile With Me,” off the El Paso-based band’s Chris Common-produced debut EP It’s Better If You Don’t Speak Or Think, released earlier this year through Slow Start Records, the young band specializes in a sound that draws from shoegaze, dream pop and indie rock. “That can be heard in the alternate tunings used throughout our music as well as the melodic chord progressions and melodies,” the band’s Austin North says in press notes.
Although sonically speaking some of my colleagues may describe the band’s sound as being reminiscent of The Cure and The Smiths, the band’s sound bit reminds me of Forever So and Ruckers Hill-era Husky as the young Texans walk a difficult tightrope between technical craft and earnest emotionality.

The recently released video stars the band’s Austin North returning home to a house party and kicking everyone out of the house — and in some way, the video recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV. As North explains in press notes, “The video involves me kicking people out of a party. It kind of replicates the contrast that the song has. Sonically, it makes sense to soundtrack a house party, but lyrically it is much more introspective and contemplative than a stereotypical party track. The lyrics involve sleep and silence, and so it feels appropriate to showcase the song with the end of a party, when one is exhausted and just wants to rest.”
 

Earlier this month, I wrote about the up-and-coming  London-based, up-and-coming shoegaze quintet Cosmic Strip, and as you may recall, the band, which is fronted by  primary songwriter and creative mastermind, Camella Agabalyan, has described their work as “music to watch girls by, music to move the stars,” and with EP title track “Heavenly,” off the band’s recently released debut EP, the band seems to specialize in shimmering and soaring shoegaze that brought Wolf Alice and Lightfoils to my mind.  The EP’s latest single “Sugar Rush” is a decidedly 120 Minutes MTV-era bit of shoegaze, centered around squalling and towering feedback, shimmering guitar chords, ethereal vocals, soaring hooks and an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure that immediately brings Slowdive and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve to mind, complete with a lysergic haze.

“I wanted to write a song about the feeling of addiction whether it’s sugar, love, a drug, whatever your vice is”, Camella Agbalyan says in press notes about the new single. “I personally really connect to dreamy, druggy songs like Air, My Bloody Valentine, Beach Fossils, Slowdive, The Jesus & The Mary Chain, etc., so I wanted to inspire myself from that feeling but also show the darker side of addiction that you might not always get from those types of songs”.

New Video: Introducing the 120 Minute era MTV Sounds and Visuals of Cardiff Wales’ Silent Forum

Comprised of Richard Wiggins (vocals), Darlo Ordi (guitar), Oli Richards (bass), and Eliot Samphier (drums), the Cardiff, Wales-based quartet Silent Forum have developed a reputation for crafting accessible yet moody post punk, moving “from cold and brooding to nervy and almost overbold,” as Destroy//Exist says. Building upon a growing profile, the band has released a series of singles with a number of indie labels, including Libertino Records, who will be releasing the Welsh band’s latest single “How I Faked the Moon Landing,” as the part of of their Ghost Disco single club. 

As the members of the band explain in press notes, the song, which derives its name from their original name under a different lineup, finds the band moving into a more euphoric space — and as a result, the single finds the band meshing the shimmering guitar chords of classic 80s period Smiths (in particular, I think of “Panic”) with swaggering and anthemic Brit Pop; in fact, the song reveals a band that can craft a rousing, arena friendly hook but within an expansive 6 minute song, complete with some dexterous guitar pyrotechnics. Recorded and produced by Jaydon Martin, the recently released music video goofing around in their hometown as the band’s frontman Wiggins sings the song — it’s fittingly 120 Minutes-like.