Tag: 4AD Records

New Audio: Weeknight’s Anthemic Take on Post-Punk

Initially formed as a duo featuring founding members, longtime partners an co-frontpeople Andy Simmons and Holly MacGibbon, the Brooklyn-based dark pop/post-punk act Weeknight received attention with the release of 2014’s full-length debut Post Everything.  And as the story goes, after playing hundreds of shows to support Post Everything including touring with Phantogram, Bear in Heaven, Frankie Rose, Moonface, School of Seven Bells, and Crystal Stilts, the duo returned home and began to write the material that wound up eventually comprising their forthcoming sophomore album Dead Beat Creep, which is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through Dead Stare Records. 
Written at the duo’s Bushwick home studio and recorded during the bleak winter of 2017 at House Under Magic Studios with co-producer and engineer Danny Taylor, the recording sessions for the album found the band expanding into a quartet with the addition of Russell Hymowitz (bass) and Jasper Berg (drums). And while inspired by the disillusionment of the 2016 election and profound loss and grief, the album’s material finds the band imposing limitations as they were writing and recording, as the band’s Andy Simmons explains in press notes: “We would only use analog gear and we would only write parts that we would be able to play live.” 

Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Holes In My Head” manages to bring classic 4AD post-punk to mind as the track is centered around a moody arrangement featuring shimmering and arpeggiated synths, an angular and propulsive bass line, delay pedal effected guitars, dramatic drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook –with a clean, studio polish. However, the song was written for Holly MacGibbons’ father, who died last year after a decade struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. It was written from his perspective, and says what I imagined he would have wanted to say to me if he was able to,” the band’s Holly MacGibbons explains in press notes. 

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New Video: Perth Australia’s Methyl Ethel Releases Their Most Pop-Leaning and Accessible Track to Date

Jake Webb is a Perth, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known for his acclaimed solo recording project Methyl Ethel, which features backing touring bandmembers Thom Stewart, Chris Wright, Lyndon Blue and Jacob Diamond.  Over the past few years Webb has seen tremendous commercial and critical success. “Ubu,” became an ARIA Accredited Gold single earlier this year, after landing at #4 on Triple J’s 2017 Hottest 100. They’ve amassed over 25 million Spotify streams — and all of their tour dates across Australia and the UK have been sold out since 2016. Although Webb and company have achieved such success in a relatively short period of time, the project began as a personal challenge as Webb explains in press notes.  “I wanted to see if I could write, record and release some music before the band I was in at the time finished doing the same. I did and subsequently withdrew from some close friends. Relationships were severed. I severed some even closer ones. This was all played out in such a public away, as it invariably does, so I withdrew more. My first album Oh Inhuman Spectacle became the ‘why me?/fuck you/sorry’ album that I wrote as a confused coping mechanism. It helped and I enjoyed it. I continued the introspective journaling with the follow-up, Everything is Forgotten. For me, that album said ‘who cares? all your emotions are irrational and meaningless anyway.’ 

“This year, I found myself in the same city, alone in a room tasked with writing an album to be heard, not as an outlet for personal grievances. I decided to find closure with Triage. The question this time around is ‘what is important? What requires attention?’ I think It’s about living with secrets. Secrets cause the problems. They call them white lies, little things used to manipulate people for the greater good. It’s a triage of truths to maintain an artifice. A poem by T.S Elliot that I referenced on the first EP I recorded says it best:

“To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.”

Everyone is older, people have moved on. I receive text messages from old friends looking to reconnect. I have a masochistic social complex in so far as I enjoy the company of others, but self-imposed solitude and exile are exciting and useful to me. Its like method acting, which isn’t too far removed from the emotional memory I see people drawing upon every day. I challenge the idea of friendship and trust. I think because I am untrustworthy. At least I’m honest about that.” As a result, Webb’s forthcoming, third full-length album Triage which is slated for a February 15, 2019 release through 4AD Records — and the album, which comes after his 30th birthday, is reportedly a much more reflective album, thematically focusing on time and its passing, of getting older and only sometimes becoming more mature, of the lies we have to keep to keep on getting by and so on.

“Real Tight,” Triage’s latest single is a bit of a departure from Webb’s previously released work as it’s arguably the most pop-leaning and the most emotionally-direct he’s ever written, thanks to swelling and soaring hooks, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, chiming reverb-heavy guitars and a propulsive groove and while nodding at 80s pop like Prince and others, the song’s narrator finds himself making an urgent and desperate plea to someone he cherishes; but emotionally, the song is jumble of guilt, devotion, fear and uncertainty.

Directed by Matt Sav, the recently released video riffs a bit off the video for Janet Jackson’s “The Pleasure Principle,” as a boom box carrying Webb walks into an empty studio to sing and dance along to the music he decides to play but it’s interspersed with psychedelic visuals that emphasize the song’s ambivalence and plaintive need.

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. 

New Video: San Francisco’s Balms Release a Brooding Visual for “Plane”

Although they met about a decade before while attending high school in San Jose, CA, the members of San Francisco-based indie rock trio Balms (Jared, Michael and John) officially formed the band in 2013. Initially playing extremely loud pop rock sets in John’s basement, the band’s sound began to evolve towards a dream pop leaning sound with an uneasy undertone as they spent increasing time in San Francisco record stores and venues. Interestingly, some coined the term “dreamare pop” to describe their sound, which is centered around fuzzy and distorted guitars, melodic bass, dynamic vocals and plaintive vocals.

The band self-released their first batch of singles and they began to receive praise from the indie and underground shoegaze scene, and as a result they spent the next year self-recording, mixing and then releasing their self-titled debut, which they followed up with some extensive West Coast touring. (Of course, such extensive touring helped the band develop a reputation for a energetic yet vulnerable live show.)

Over the past few years, the individual members of the band have wrestled with the unfolding questions and realties of their lives and with each other, and that wound up influencing the material that would comprise their full-length debut Mirror, which is slated for a February 2019 release. Naturally, the album is a deeply introspective record with arguably some of the band’s darkest and heaviest thematic material to date. As the members of the band explain in a lengthy and detailed statement on the album:

“Mirror is our debut as well as double-sided concept album.  The album’s narrative is a journey-of-self; an exploration confronting the shadow-aspect of the soul.  That being said, the only two characters in this story are the Self and the Shadow.  With this comes the introverted drama and solitude of the ego.  And while this was a source of contention for us in terms of perception, it is our genuine hope that this album can exist as a place of reconciliation, revitalization, and growth.  It is a place that has been built for you because we had to make it and to make it the best we can.

The story begins at the bottom – the relative place that some of us are lucky enough or damned enough to reach.  And with that place comes a choice:  Do I rely on someone else to pull me out?  Do I retreat to someone else’s arms?  Do I make a choice to dive into myself and deal with the darkness?   That moment can become you for the rest of your life, or become the beginning.  What choice do you make?  Who do you choose to be?  And after, to realize that this is a choice you must continue to make for the rest of your life. The shadow inside will always continue to tempt you; it never leaves.  The dark, the dove, the shadow is you.

To write this record, we spent a considerable amount of time working out the parts and structures through repetitive jamming followed by conversation over the course of about a year.  On a personal level, the lyrics and story are journalistic, confessional, healing, confrontational, and accepting.  As a band, we dealt with these questions and realities through the songs and through our relationships with each other.  As we began to mix and finalize the album, and it began to take shape, it was challenging to grasp exactly which part of the album was most important, or if there should be a message communicated directly through its release.  We finally came to the conclusion that the most important thing is for this record — MIRROR —  to be a healing and nurturing place for you.  It certainly is for us.”

The album’s latest single, the moody “Plane” is centered around shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, equally propulsive drumming and plaintive vocals — and while nodding at 4AD Records post-punk, the song is moody meditation on our unseen, interior lives and how we carefully and deliberately balance our interior selves with our exterior selves. The accompanying video aims up — if not heavenward, at least skyward — as the video focuses on a collection of clouds moving across the sky. further emphasizing the brooding nature of the song. 

Formed initially as a solo, bedroom recording project of Hull, UK-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Ryan Smith during the end of 2016, the up-and-coming Hull-based indie rock quintet bdrmm became a full fledged band when Smith recruited his brother Jordan (bass), Joe Vickers (guitar), Daniel Hull (synth, backing vocals) and Luke Irvin (drums). The British quintet cut their teeth playing across Northern England before releasing their first two singles “kare” and “the way i want,” which quickly caught the attention of MTVClash Magazine and DORK, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 1 and Amazing Radio. Adding to a growing profile, the up-and-coming band has opened for Trudy & The Romance, Her’s, FEHM and Horsey — and as a result, they caught the attention of London-based indie label Permanent Creeps, who recently released the band’s latest single “C.U.”

Interestingly, the sprawling new single briefly nods at classic 4AD Records post-punk,  shoegaze and slacker rock as the song is centered around a morphing and shifting song structure which features an arrangement of shimmering, pedal effected guitars, thundering drumming, a propulsive bass line and soaring hook — and that’s paired with a swooning and emotionally urgent song rooted in deeply personal, lived-in experience. As the band’s Ryan Smith explains in press notes “I wrote ‘C.U.’ during a pretty ‘eventful’ time in my life — a lot of feelings hurt, vivid anxiety and thing lost, this track has been a long time coming . This is an ode to 2017.”

 

 

 

 

Although they met about a decade before while attending high school in San Jose, CA, the members of San Francisco-based indie rock trio Balms (Jared, Michael and John) officially formed the band in 2013. Initially playing extremely loud pop rock sets in John’s basement, the band’s sound began to evolve towards a dream pop leaning sound with an uneasy undertone as they spent increasing time in San Francisco record stores and venues. Interestingly, some coined the term “dreamare pop” to describe their sound, which is centered around fuzzy and distorted guitars, melodic bass, dynamic vocals and plaintive vocals.

The band self-released their first batch of singles and they began to receive praise from the indie and underground shoegaze scene, and as a result they spent the next year self-recording, mixing and then releasing their self-titled debut, which they followed up with some extensive West Coast touring. (Of course, such extensive touring helped the band develop a reputation for a energetic yet vulnerable live show.)

Over the past few years, the individual members of the band have wrestled with the unfolding questions and realties of their lives and with each other, and that wound up influencing the material that would comprise their full-length debut Mirror, which is slated for a February 2019 release. Naturally, the album is a deeply introspective record with arguably some of the band’s darkest and heaviest thematic material to date. As the members of the band explain in a lengthy statement on the album:

Mirror is our debut as well as double-sided concept album.  The album’s narrative is a journey-of-self; an exploration confronting the shadow-aspect of the soul.  That being said, the only two characters in this story are the Self and the Shadow.  With this comes the introverted drama and solitude of the ego.  And while this was a source of contention for us in terms of perception, it is our genuine hope that this album can exist as a place of reconciliation, revitalization, and growth.  It is a place that has been built for you because we had to make it and to make it the best we can.

The story begins at the bottom – the relative place that some of us are lucky enough or damned enough to reach.  And with that place comes a choice:  Do I rely on someone else to pull me out?  Do I retreat to someone else’s arms?  Do I make a choice to dive into myself and deal with the darkness?   That moment can become you for the rest of your life, or become the beginning.  What choice do you make?  Who do you choose to be?  And after, to realize that this is a choice you must continue to make for the rest of your life. The shadow inside will always continue to tempt you; it never leaves.  The dark, the dove, the shadow is you.

To write this record, we spent a considerable amount of time working out the parts and structures through repetitive jamming followed by conversation over the course of about a year.  On a personal level, the lyrics and story are journalistic, confessional, healing, confrontational, and accepting.  As a band, we dealt with these questions and realities through the songs and through our relationships with each other.  As we began to mix and finalize the album, and it began to take shape, it was challenging to grasp exactly which part of the album was most important, or if there should be a message communicated directly through its release.  We finally came to the conclusion that the most important thing is for this record — MIRROR —  to be a healing and nurturing place for you.  It certainly is for us.”

The album’s latest single, the moody “Plane” is centered around shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, equally propulsive drumming and plaintive vocals — and while nodding at 4AD Records post-punk, the song is moody meditation on our unseen, interior lives and how we carefully and deliberately balance our interior selves with our exterior selves.

 

 

With the release of their debut single “Fourteen,” the Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Beverly Kills quickly received attention for a decidedly post-punk inspired sound; however, the act’s latest single “Melodrama” find the band’s sound leaning a bit more towards a dream pop-take on the familiar and beloved post punk sound as the Swedish trio pair jangling guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section that included four-on-the-floor drumming, soaring hooks and a shimmering coda. And while revealing a band with an ambitious approach to their songwriting, the song sonically sounds as though it could have been released during 4AD Records heyday.

 

 

New Video: Introducing the 4AD Records-Inspired Shoegaze Sound of Los Angeles’ Tennis System

With the release of their latest effort PAIN earlier this year through Graveface Records,the up-and-coming Los Angeles, CA-based noise rock/shoegaze trio Tennis System has developed a reputation for a classic 4AD Records sound: squalling feedback-tinged power chords fed through delay and effect pedals, thundering drumming and ethereal melodies, centered around a rather sunny ambivalence, and a sense of profound loss — and for quickly establishing themselves as one of their hometown’s best, new live bands. In fact, the trio have played sets at Austin Psych Fest, Noise Pop Fest, Echo Park Rising and the Air & Style Festival, and have shared stages with The Flaming Lips, Ride, Dinosaur Jr., Kendrick Lamar and Diiv among others. 

“COMINGDOWN,” PAIN’s latest single will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting a familiar and beloved sound — in this case, recalling My Bloody Valentine, A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve, JOVM mainstays Dead Leaf Echo, My Vitriol and others but with an anxiety of wha the future could hold, after a horrible event that the song’s narrator knows they will regret. 

Directed by Logan Rice, the video follows  Niamh Hannigan as she distractedly goes through her day — and through a series of rapidly changing colors, grainy fade outs and fade ins, the video suggests that its protagonist is slowly coming down from the throes of hallucinogenic fugue. 

Late last month, I wrote about Parrot Dream, an up-and-coming shoegaze duo comprised of the, Santiago, Chile-born, Brooklyn-based Christina Hansen Appel (vocals, keys) and Gonzalo Guererro (guitar) back in 2013, and as you may recall, after relocating to Brooklyn, the duo quickly began to develop a reputation for sprawling and shimmering soundscapes. which helped them amass more than 500,000 steams on Spotify.

Written and recorded over a two year period, the duo’s soon to be released full-length debut Light Goes is slated for release later this month through Good Eye Records, and the album’s material reportedly touches upon themes of connection, love, memory and clarity. Album single “Paradise & Prey” was a slow-burning and atmospheric track that managed to be elegiac yet uplifting, anthemic yet intimate — and while indebted to 4AD Records and the classic shoegaze sound, the Chilean-born, Brooklyn-based duo have a subtly modern take on it.”Cloudchaser,” Light Goes‘ latest single may arguably the most anthemic bit of shoegaze on the entire album as its centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, propulsive drumming, equally shimmering guitar chords and Hansen Appel’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix. And adding to the anthemic nature of the song, the duo in press notes admit that the song was written with playful metaphors in mind, reflecting the idea of being in a relationship with unpredictable, tumultuous patterns; and of feeling of seeking shelter and being energized by the storminess.”

Parrot Dream is an up-and-coming shoegaze duo formed by the Santiago, Chile-born, Brooklyn-based Christina Hansen Appel (vocals, keys) and Gonzalo Guererro (guitar) back in 2013. After relocating to Brooklyn, the duo have begun to develop a reputation for sprawling and shimmering soundscapes — and as a result, they quickly amassed more than half a million streams on Spotifty.

Written and recorded over a two year period, the duo’s forthcoming full-length debut Light Goes is slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Good Eye Records, and the album’s material reportedly touches upon themes of connection, love, memory and clarity. The album’s latest single “Paradise & Prey” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track that manages to be elegiac yet uplifting, anthemic yet intimate as the song is centered around Appel’s shimmering synths, Guerrero’s tightly controlled guitar pyrotechnics, a soaring hook and Appel’s ethereal vocals — and while clearly seeming indebted to 4AD Records and the classic shoegaze sound, the Chilean-born, Brooklyn-based duo have a subtly modern take on it.