Tag: 4AD Records

New Video: Seattle/Venice Post Punk Act MØAA Releases an Eerie and Brooding Visual

Deriving its name after the MAO-A gene, also known as “The Warrior Gene” for its connection to increasing aggression and perseverance, the emerging post-punk/indie rock project MØAA was conceived as a way to process a troubled past through a bunch of a demos that Jancy Rae wrote and recorded while living in the forests near Seattle. Eventually those demos morphed into the project’s just-released full-length debut Euphoric Recall.

About halfway through writing the album, Rae relocated to Venice, where she completed the writing and recording of the album with Andrea Volpato in isolation at Fox Studio. The album explores dark memories embedded with nostalgia paired with brooding soundscapes. Album single “X Marks” is a slow-burning and seemingly 4AD Records inspired track centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, a driving motorik groove, atmospheric synths, ethereal, dueling boy-girl vocals and a soaring hook. The end result is a brooding track full of an uneasy and creeping trepidation.

Directed by Blau!, the recently released video for “X Marks” is a cinematically shot visual that features the duo walking through a snow-covered European looking forest, where they encounter two people burying something in the cold ground. It’s a fittingly eerie visual for such a brooding song.

Formed in 2013, the Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia-based post-punk trio Ploho have firmly established themselves as one of the most prominent purveyors of a new wave of Russian music. Inspired by the aesthetic and sounds of late Soviet era of the 80s like Kino, as well as Joy Division, the band’s sound and approach also manages to reflect the icy chill of their homeland.

Since their formation, the Siberian band has been busy: they’ve released four albums, several EPs and over 10 singles, which they’ve supported with multiple tours across Europe with stops at over 40 cities. Building upon a growing profile, the band has made appearances at several prominent festivals including Боль in Russia, Kalabalik in Sweden, and Platforma in Lithuania. And as a result, the members of Ploho have slowly built up a fanbase in Europe and elsewhere. Building upon a growing profile, the band teamed up with Belarusian band Molchat Doma to collaborate on “Along the Edge of the Island” in 2019.

The rising Siberian act’s fifth album Фантомные Чувства (Phantom Feelings) is slated for February 5, 2021 release through Artoffact Records, the label home of acts like Bootblacks, ACTORS, and Kælan Mikla. The album’s latest single “Танцы в темноте (“Dancing in the Dark”)  is a perfect example of the band’s sound: shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, shimmering synth arpeggios, an angular and propulsive bass line, stuttering four-on-the-floor and rousingly anthemic hooks paired with ironically detached vocals sung in Russian. And while being a dance floor friendly bop, the song is imbued with the sort of nostalgia and melancholy that makes it sound as though it could have been released during 4AD Records‘ heyday.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays ACTORS Release a Creepy Halloween Themed Visual for “Love U More”

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut It Will Come To You, the acclaimed Vancouver-based JOVM mainstay act ACTORS — Jason Corbett (vocals, guitar), Shannon Hemmett (synth, vocals), Jahmell Russell (bass, vocals) and Adam Fink (drums) — developed and honed a sleek, hook-driven, 4AD Records-era inspired post-punk sound.

The past two years have been a whirlwind for the Canadian post punk quartet: During most of that period, the members of ACTORS have been on tour to support their debut, a tour that included a headlining set at A Murder of Crows Festival at the now-shuttered Brooklyn Bazaar. Along with that the band’s Jason Corbett has been an in-demand producer, collaborating with fellow JOVM mainstays Bootblacks, Ultrviolence and a number of post punk acts.

“Love U More,” the band’s latest single is the first bit of new material from the band since the release of It Will Come For You. Interestingly, the single can trace it origins to the road: The track first came to life as the band was traveling the Autobahn at 190 kilometers per hour (about 120 mph) — and the song’s opening synth line melody looped through Jason Corbett’s head. Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, angular and reverb-drenched guitar blasts, and a motorik groove, “Love U More” finds the act crafting a brooding yet sensual song that evokes the feeling of being both watched and being watcher, of hunter and pray.

The band’s Shannon Hemmett describes the song’s atmosphere as “standing alone on a shadowy street. I see the flash of a cat’s eyes in the dark. I am hunting and hunted, recognizing that tension that lives inside me, and all of us. This track embraces the bittersweet moments of loss with the ancipatoon of new possibilities.”

Directed by Juno Award-winning and Leo Award-winning director Peter Ricq, the recently released video for “Love U More” the cinematically shot visual is set in a Vancouver that has just gone through a zombie apocalypse — and we follow, our undead protagonist as she travels the streets of Vancouver to an empty theater, where she delivers an unsettling performance.

New Video: Reims France’s Not A Number Releases a 4AD Records-like Single

Not A Number (N.A.N.) is a post-punk act led by its Reims, France-based creative mastermind, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Bernard Collot. Slated for an October 15, 2020 release, Collot’s self-titled, three song EP  was recorded and mixed by Sylvain Masure at Le Chalet Studio — and the EP’s material finds the emerging French artist drawing from a mix of coldwave, shoegaze and post-punk. 

The EP’s latest single is the shimmering and brooding 4AD Records-like “Black Water,” which features shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, atmospheric synths and thumping beats, a sinuous bass line, and anthemic hook paired with Collot’s plaintive vocals.  And while being both slickly produced and carefully crafted, the song thematically is centered around an achingly familiar sentiment — the age old battle between nostalgia and the desire to move forward. 

Directed by Collot and Arnaud Klein, the recently released video follows a brooding Collot through an industrial looking tunnel, him and his bandmate swimming and walking through a suburban-looking pool — and of course, the duo playing the song poolside. It’s symbolic and feverish, and it emphasizes the overall feel and vibe of the song. 

Adrian Recordings · Spunsugar – Run

With the release of last year’s attention-grabbing debut EP Mouth Full of You. the rising Swedish act Spunsugar firmly established a unique, genre-blurring sound and approach. which features elements of industrial electronica, post-punk, noise rock, shoegaze and dream pop. And as as a result, the band earned airplay from BBC 6 Music‘s Steve Lamacq.

Building upon their growing profile, the Swedish indie rock act’s highly-anticipated, Joakim Lindberg-produced,  full-length debut Drive-Through Chapel is slated for an October 2, 2020 release through Adrian Recordings.  The album reportedly finds the rising Swedish act seeking to emulate the sounds of beloved acts like Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, and others — but while simultaneously crafting some of their hardest hitting material to date. Earlier this year, I wrote about the brooding single Happier Happyless,” a track that sonically recalled 4AD Records while also nodding at contemporary acts like Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and countless others, who have actively pushed the sonic boundaries of shoegaze and dream pop. 

“Run,” Drive-Through Chapel‘s latest single is centered around layers of blazing. pedal effected guitars, a forcefully insistent, industrial thump, rousingly anthemic hooks and earnest songwriting. The end result is a breakneck banger that recalls Lightfoils, The Sisters of Mercy, Chain of Flowers and others — but while possessing the swooning urgency of youth.


New Video: Rising Swedish Act Spunsugar Releases a Mischievous Visual for Brooding “Happier Happyless”

Last year, Spunsugar, a rising Swedish indie act, led by Elin Ramstead released their attention grabbing, genre-bending debut EP Mouth Full Of You, an effort that firmly established their unique genre-bending sound and approach, which features elements of industrial electronica,  post-punk, noise rock, shoegaze and dream pop — while also earning airplay from BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq. 

Slated for for a fall release through Adrian Recordings, the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Drive-Through Chapel reportedly finds the band seeking to emulate the sounds of Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, and others — but while simultaneously crafting some of their hardest hitting material to date. “Happier Happyless,” Drive-Through Chapel’s brooding latest single is a perfect taste of what listeners should expect: shimmering synth arpeggios, propulsive industrial beats, swirling guitars, and a soaring and rousingly anthemic hook paired with Ramstead’s ethereal vocals evoking an aching yearning.  While clearly indebted to 4AD Records, goth and shoegaze, the industrial element to their sound finds the rising Swedish act adding themselves to a growing crop of contemporary shoegazers, who are actively pushing the genre’s sonic boundaries — including acts like Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and countless others. 

“’Happier Happyless’ is a sour and sweet song, tackling subjects of pining, happiness and revenge,” the band explains in press notes. “Having a fittingly slower pace than former Spunsugar singles, this song is also an homage to the shunned 2001 slasher movie Valentine, released a little too late in the post-Scream era. Written with the aim to have’ ‘a memorable hook, a thumping synth bass line and a gazey chorus,’ this is a good introduction to the bands debut album, because of the constant switching of emotional tonality.”

The recently released video employs a relatively simple concept — perhaps inspired by our current period of quarantines: the visual primarily features the band’s Ramstead dancing and singing the song in front of white screen or white wall. A  series of colors — red, blue, yellow and green are projected. At various points, we see her bandmates, who throw balled up pieces  of paper at Ramstead, or they just show up to goof off.  So while the song may be brooding, the video reveals a bit of playfulness. 

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: Charlotte’s The Mystery Plan’s Hallucinogenic and Shoegazer-like Tribute to Actor JC Quinn

In the decade since their formation, the Charlotte, NC-based indie act The Mystery Plan — Jason Herring, Amy Herring, Jeff Chester, Otis Hughes and Patty McLaughlin — have managed to be incredibly productive, releasing 10 EPs and full-length albums, including their John Fryer co-proded fourth album, 2017’s Queensland Ballroom, which featured “Electric Love.” 

The Charlotte-based quintet’s  recently released fifth album, the John Fryer and Jason Herring co-produced Zsa Zsa continues a remarkable and enviable run of prolificacy — and finds the band renewing their successive collaboration with Fryer. Recorded at Catalyst Recording and various local studios over a two-plus year stretch following a number of Southeastern US torus to promote Queensland Ballroom. Featuring guest spots from The Veldt’s and Apollo Heights’ Micah Guagh, Ian Masters, That Guy Smitty and Snap Nation, Zsa Zsa finds the band expanding upon the psych folk-leaning sound that has won them fans across the Southeast, with the material touching upon several different styles, including shoegaze, ambient, trip hop and electronica — sometimes simultaneously in a way that sounds as though the band were drawing influence from Portishead,Zero 7, and early 4AD Records. 

Zsa Zsa’s latest single “JC Quinn” is an shoegazer-like fever dream of song, centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar, propulsive drumming, twinkling synth arpeggios, ethereal vocals and an infectious hook — and while this particular single sounds as though it could have been released during 4AD Records’ golden era. 

The band’s Jason Herring explains in press notes, JC Quinn was a New York-based actor with a tons of film and television credits including Barfly, The Abyss, Visionquest and a lengthy list of others. In the late ’90s, Quinn moved to the Charlotte area to be closer to his grandchildren. And as the story goes, Herring met Quinn at a local bar Cafe 521, which was owned by Quinn’s longtime friend Peter Herrero, who like the actor had relocated to Charlotte. Interestingly, the bar became the go-to spot for actors whenever they were in town including Leonardo DiCaprio, Bernadette Peters and a list of others. 

“JC and I struck up a nice friendship. He was a fan of ours and would come to hosts and stand right up front so we could see him,” Herring fondly recalls. “A very lovely man, indeed. Sadly, JC died in Mexico while shooting a film a few years ago. I’ve always wanted to pay tribute to him, and we have finally done so with his song. The lyrics are a blend of what we would do with him now if he were still here and iconic lines from some of his films.” 

Shot by the band’s Jason Herring and edited by Jay Thomas, the recently released video for “JC Quinn” follows the members of the Charlotte-based indie act on a hallucinogenic night out in Charlotte that includes hanging out at a local bar, catching live music, listening to albums and all the things that the band wishes they could do with their dear friend. 

New Video: Mexican Post Punk Act Mercvrial Pays Homage to Taiwanese Tennis Star Hseih Su-Wei

Based in Rosarito, Mexico, Mercvrial is a geographically-dispersed recording project in which its members combine elements of post-punk, dream pop and neo-psychedelia to draw the listener into “an opaque musicverse of sparkling melodies and layered guitarchitecture,” the band says in press notes. Last year, the act released their debut EP The Stars, Like Dust to critical applause, while drawing comparisons to Creation Records’, Flying Nun Records’ and 4AD Records’ output in the 80s. 

Interestingly, the last single — and video — off the EP “Hsieh Su-Wei” is a shimmering and reverb-drenched, motorik-groove driven homage to the unorthodox Taiwanese tennis professional, Hsieh Su-Wei. Sonically the track further cements their decidedly 80s inspired sound with the track recalling Wire, The Church and others with an uncanny knack for infectious hooks. “Hsieh Su-Wei is the most unique, unusual player in women’s tennis. Her technique, strategy, and shot selection are unlike anyone else’s so she’s very exciting to watch,” the band’s David Mercvrial says in press notes. “You have no idea what she’s going to do next. The lyrics and video are simply homages to her artistry and distinctive approach to what has become a fairly homogenized sport.” 

The recently released video features highlights of Su-Wei doing her thing on the court, hitting some ridiculous winners and at press conferences. Occasionally, we see the members of the band superimposed on the footage. 

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act Secret Shame over the past year. The act, which is currently comprised of Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar), formed in 2016, and can trace its origins to the desperate need that its members felt to create. “If I couldn’t sing or play music, I would tear my skin off.” the band’s front person Lena explains in press notes. Shortly after their formation, the band released their self-titled debut EP, which quickly established the band’s dark and atmospheric sound paired with lyrics that thematically touch upon issues of domestic abuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration. 

The band’s full-length debut Dark Synthetics was released last year to critical acclaim, while further establishing their sound an enormous, reverb heavy sound seemingly influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Building upon the growing momentum the band has received since the release of their full-length debut, the members of the band went on a short tour to support the album, which included an apt Friday the 13th stop at The Broadway and a Halloween set that featured Joy Division covers. Along with that, the rapidly rising post punk act recently announced a series of remixes of Dark Synthetics material they’ll be releasing while they return to the studio to record new music slated for release later this year.

Now, as you may recall I wrote about two of the singles in the growing remix series: XOR‘s icy, industrial take on the guitar-led “Calm,” which retained the song’s intensity, vulnerability and ache, along with Lena’s powerhouse vocals — and Skinquarter‘s early Depeche Mode-like remix of the Siouxsie and the Banshees-like “Haunter.”   The latest remix of the series finds None of Your Concern turning the aforementioned “Haunter” into a propulsive club-banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats while retaining Lena’s vocals. Sonically, the remix — to my ears at least — reminds me a of a slickly produced synthesis of KraftwerkFrom Here to Eternity and From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder and of course, the aforementioned Siouxsie and the Banshees.

The members of Secret Shame will be hitting the road to support the vinyl release of Dark Synthetics. After a handful of North Carolina dates in February, Secret Shame will embark on an East Coast and Midwest run throughout March and April that will include an April 2, 2020 stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Check out the tour dates below.


Tour Dates
1/26 – Asheville, NC – The Lazy Diamond
2/07 – Winston-Salem, NC – Monstercade
2/08 – Chapel Hill, NC – Nightlight
2/09 – Wilmington, NC – Reggies
2/12 – Asheville, NC – Static Age
3/28 – Charlotte, NC – TBD
3/29 – Raleigh, NC – Slims
3/30 – Richmond, VA – TBD
4/01 – Philadelphia, PA – TBD
4/02 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Vitus %
4/03 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Skidmore College
4/04 – Boston, MA – Dark Spring Boston
4/06 – Pittsburgh, PA – TBD %
4/07 – Columbus, OH – TBD %
4/08 – Louisville, KY – TBD %