Tag: art rock

New Video: Warhaus Shares a Brooding and Cinematic Meditation on Heartbreak

Maarten Devoldere is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, known for being co-lead vocalist and one-half of the core songwriting duo behind the critically applauded Belgian indie rock outfit and JOVM mainstays Balthazar. Devoldere is also the creative mastermind behind the equally applauded solo recording project Warhaus

With Warhaus, Devoldere further cemented a reputation for crafting urbane, literate and seemingly decadent art rock with an accessible, pop-leaning sensibility. It shouldn’t be surprising that Devoldere’s Warhaus debut, 2016’s We Fucked A Flame Into Being derived its title from a line in DH Lawrence’s seminal, erotic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Thematically, We Fucked A Flame Into Being touched upon lust, desire, the inscrutability of random encounters, bittersweet and regret with the deeply confessional nature of someone baring the deepest recesses of their soul. 

Devoldere’s sophomore Warhus effort, 2017’s self-titled album saw the acclaimed Belgian artist thematically moving away from decadence, lust and sin towards earnest, hard-fought and harder-won love — with much of the material being informed by his relationship with vocalist Sylvie Kreusch. The recording sessions were much more spontaneous and heavily influenced by Dr. John‘s Night Tripper period with the album’s material featuring voodoo rhythms and New Orleans jazz-styled playing, despite the fact that his backing band wasn’t known for being jazz musicians.

 The Belgian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s third Warhaus album, Ha Ha Heartbreak is slated for a November 11, 2022 release through Play It Again SamHa Ha Heartbreak‘s material was written during a three week stay in Palermo. All Devoldere needed was the solitude of a hotel room, a guitar, a microphone and a recently broken heart. 

The sorrow was too difficult to handle, so he went to Sicily to escape. But as it always turns out, those who try to outrun life and heartache quickly run into themselves. But the album sees Devoldere wrapping his sorrow into hooks, instant singalong choruses and irresistible melodies. Sonically, the material is light yet lush featuring strings, sensual vocals, horns and even playful piano parts. The end result is an album that’s a deep and moving emotional exploration yet something musically very rich. 

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

Album opening track and first single “Open Window,” which marked the first bit of new Warhaus material in five years. Centered around Devoldere’s brooding baritone, strummed acoustic guitar, a Quiet Storm-like groove, twinkling piano and a gorgeous, cinematic string arrangement, making it the sort of song that you can gently sway along to with eyes closed while drifting off into your own nostalgia-induced dreams or delusions.

In the case of “Open Window,” the song thematically is rooted in a heartbroken delusion that should feel painfully familiar to almost all of us — the delusional hope that the breakup isn’t permanent, that your now ex has just temporarily lost their minds, and will come back to you soon. But sadly, in the end, it’s all vapor and blind, foolish, prideful denial. “’Open Window’ is about keeping reality at bay in that comfortable bubble of denial. Definitely my favourite stage of heartbreak,” Delvodere explains. 

Desire,” Ha Ha Heartbreak‘s second single is a lush and sultry bop centered around mournful horns, soaring strings, an infectious, two-step inducing groove and twinkling keys paired with Devoldere’s breathy baritone. The song’s narrator desperately addresses just about every god he can imagine for answers, but as he says in the song, “No matter what I turn to/it’s failing me.”

Ha Ha Heartbreak’s third and latest single “Time Bomb” continues a remarkable run of slow-burning lush and sultry material, that features subtle elements of jazz, film scores, Quiet Storm soul and art pop. Much like its predecessors, “Time Bomb” sees its narrator dealing with the devastation of a breakup and its aftershock on both parties. But with the new single, its heartbroken narrator is left to wonder “but why” without any answers or closure.

“What to do if you stumble upon a time bomb? You’ll probably see 3 wires. If there are no red wires, cut the second wire,” Devoldere writes. “Otherwise, if the last wire is white, cut the last wire. Alternatively, if there is more than one blue wire, cut the last blue wire. If none of the above, cut the last wire then the first. Learn this by heart. Listening to my new song won’t save you at all. Love, Warhaus.”

Set Michiel Venmans in and around Palermo, Italy, the accompanying video for “Time Bomb” follows Devoldere through a cinematic and lonely journey of the area: We eventually see shaving and brushing his teeth, putting his laundry out to dry on a line and broodingly daydreaming on his terrace. We then see him watching TV at a cafe with an older gentlemen, who he befriends. We also see him wandering the Italian city’s streets — eventually sitting around older gentlemen. It’s a gorgeous and surreal depiction of heartbreak and loneliness.

Devoldere will be embarking on a handful of UK and European Union dates. Check them out below. 

New VIdeo: Warhaus Shares Lush and Groovy “Desire”

Maarten Devoldere is a Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, known for being co-lead vocalist and one-half of the core songwriting duo behind the critically applauded Belgian indie rock outfit and JOVM mainstays Balthazar. Devoldere is also the creative mastermind behind the equally applauded solo recording project Warhaus

With Warhaus, Devoldere further cemented a reputation for crafting urbane, literate and decadent art rock with an accessible, pop-leaning sensibility. It shouldn’t be surprising that Devoldere’s Warhaus debut, 2016’s We Fucked A Flame Into Being derived its title from a line in DH Lawrence’s seminal, erotic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Thematically, the album touched upon lust, desire, the inscrutability of random encounters, bittersweet and regret with the deeply confessional nature of someone baring the deepest recesses of their soul.

Devoldere’s sophomore Warhus album, 2017’s self-titled saw the acclaimed Belgian songwriter and artist thematically moving away from decadence, lust and sin towards earnest, hard-fought and harder-won love — with much of the material being informed by his relationship with vocalist Sylvie Kreusch. Interestingly, the recording sessions were much more spontaneous and heavily influenced by Dr. John‘s Night Tripper period: The album features heavy nods to voodoo rhythms and New Orleans jazz despite the fact that his backing band wasn’t known for being jazz musicians.

The Belgian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s third Warhaus album, Ha Ha Heartbreak is slated for a November 11, 2022 release through Play It Again Sam. Ha Ha Heartbreak‘s material was written during a three week stay in Palermo. All Devoldere needed was the solitude of a hotel room, a guitar, a microphone and a recently broken heart.

The sorrow was too difficult to handle, so he went to Sicily to escape. But as it always turns out, those who try to outrun life and heartache quickly run into themselves. But the album sees Devoldere wrapping his sorrow into hooks, instant singalong choruses and irresistible melodies. Sonically, the material is light yet lush featuring strings, sensual vocals, horns and even playful piano parts. The end result is an album that’s a deep and moving emotional exploration yet something musically very rich.

Album opening track and first single “Open Window” the first bit of new Warhaus material in five years was centered around Devoldere’s brooding baritone, strummed acoustic guitar, a Quiet Storm-like groove, twinkling piano and a gorgeous, cinematic string arrangement. It’s the sort of song that you can gently sway along to with eyes closed and drifting off into your own nostalgia-induced dreams — or delusions.

Perhaps unsurprising, the song thematically is rooted in a heartbroken delusion that should feel painfully familiar to most of us: the delusional hope against hope that the breakup isn’t permanent, that they’ve just temporarily lost their minds and will return soon. But in the end it’s all vapor and blind, foolish denial.

“Open Window is about keeping reality at bay in that comfortable bubble of denial. Definitely my favourite stage of heartbreak,” Delvodere explains. 

Ha Ha Heartbreak‘s second and latest single “Desire” is a lush and sultry bop centered around mournful horns, soaring strings, an infectious, two-step inducing groove and twinkling keys paired with Devoldere’s breathy baritone. The song’s narrator desperately addresses just about every god he can imagine, but as he says in the song, “No matter what I turn to/it’s failing me.”

“Trying to love without attachment? Trying to stop the hedonic treadmill from spinning? Trying to reincarnate as Celine Dion’s voice? Follow me on Instagram for misinformation. This song’s dedicated to all those false idols out there. Love, Warhaus,” Devoldere says of the new single.

Directed by Pieter De Cnudde features Devoldere in a musty, old apartment as a bored man, fulfilling Sisyphean-like tasks on old analog devices, including an old train monitoring system and a phone operator bank, which at one point he’s connected to by umbilical cord. The visual continues a run of brooding and surreal visuals, rooted in heartache and despair.

New Video: British Columbia’s Blessed Share Tense and Eerie “Anything”

With the release of 2020’s self-released, full-length debut, the Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada-based art rock/post punk outfit Blessed — Drew Riekman, Reuben Houweling, Jake Holmes and Mitchell Trainor — received attention for crafting a self-assured, fully formed sound and aesthetic informed by their reverence to their community to their small, rural city, located in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley

Last year’s iii EP saw the Abbotsford-based act further expanding upon their sound and approach: The EP’s material featured glitchy electronics, measured drum work and guitar work that frequently shifted from chiming and cheerful to serrated and snarling with a turn of a phrase, paired with Reikman’s tenor vocals. The EP continued the long-held ethos of collaboration and community that’s been at the center of their work. The self-produced EP was recorded at Vancouver-based Rain City Recorders with vocals tracked at friends’ houses across their hometown. They then recruited four different mixers for each EP’s song — Purity Ring’s Corin Roddick, Tortoise’s John McEntire, Holy Fuck‘s Graham Walsh and the band’s own Drew Riekman.

Blessed’s Drew Riekman credits Fraser Valley’s previous generation of DIY artists with fostering a strong sense of local responsibility, pride and solidarity that the band aims to perpetuate and continue for younger generations. In fact, they do so by attending city council meetings, by booking all-ages shows with local acts and by sharing resources with younger artists leaning the ropes of recording, touring and grand application.

iii‘s material as Riekman said at the time, reflected his own experiences and struggles with anxiety, which at its worse has confined him to his home for months at a time. “I really struggled with agoraphobia when I was younger, and still do to this day,” Riekman said in press notes. Frequently, collaborating with members of their community helped create a “feeling of the world getting smaller” and served as a salve for anxiety and uncertainty. 

Blessed’s sophomore album Circuitous is slated for an October 28, 2022 release through Flemish Eye. “‘Circuitous: Of a route or journey, longer than the most direct way,” Blessed’s Drew Riekman recites. Interestingly enough, the word is a description of a profound and rare way of creating that makes their sophomore album, much like their previous releases, a singular, moving and unsettlingly committed piece of work.

Circuitous reportedly will further cement and expand the band’s status as a band’s band: a patient. eclectic outfit guided by reverence for and an intense pursuit of an internally-dictated creative agenda focused on musicality, songwriting, performance and artistic growth. The album sonically sees them sharpening their strengths and bringing more depth and expansion into their creative process: The end result is a sweeping, industrial art-rock tragedy rooted in walls of noise, tightly controlled drums, meandering ambient and staccato syncopation that was pulled from hours of jam material and hundreds of demos.

While the album’s eight tracks sprawl, thrash, burst and fall, the album’s material thematically touches upon agoraphobia, isolation, grief, the hyper control of capital and the numbness it breeds.

The album’s first single “Anything” is a slow-burning, hypnotic, and brooding track featuring looping and shimmering guitars, bubbling electronics, thunderous drumming, and a propulsive and throbbing bass lines paired with Riekman’s plaintive vocals. But at its core, is a song that incisively ridicules modern life.

“The narrative that you can be anything if you work hard enough is absurd. It ignores so many facets of life, development, geography, class, on and on et al,” Blessed’s Riekman says in press notes. “But it pits people against each other in an effort to become ‘something’, a ‘something’ that is loosely defined and shaped by personality rather than a communal vision. It creates a pedestal to put yourself or others on. You’re never good enough, because there’s always someone above you doing more. We’re reaching for unattainable lifestyles, that we don’t even need, that are hyper individualistic and negate the need for community. When you’re looking at the environment you exist in socially as a pyramid, and there’s people you want to be closer to “at the top”, that’s a net negative for anyone. The more accessible we are, and on the level with each other we are in our immediate places, the more we gain.”

Longtime collaborator and digital artist Nathan Donovan teamed up with Jacob Dutton to art direct and design original art and videos for the album’s songs, centered on a nameless, childlike robot that can make specific, subtle and uncanny expressions. The childlike robot appears on the album’s cover art — and in the accompanying video. Set in an eerie all white factory, the robot comes to life when its OS is inserted into a small disc drive behind its ear. The robot’s quickly seems to gain a sense of consciousness and self in a way that’s eerie, unsettling and all too childlike.

New Video: Warhaus’ Cinematic and Slow-Burning Ode to Denial and Heartbreak

Maarten Devoldere is a Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, known for being one-half of the songwriting and vocalist duo of critically applauded, indie rock outfit and JOVM mainstays Balthazar — and for his equally acclaimed solo project, Warhaus.

With Warhaus, Devoldere cemented a reputation for crafting urbane, literature and decadent art rock with an accessible, pop-leaning sensibility: Devoldere’s Warhaus debut, 2016’s We Fucked A Flame Into Being derived its title from a line in DH Lawrence’s seminal, erotic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. And naturally, the material on the album thematically focused on lust, desire, the inscrutability of random encounters, bittersweet and aching regret with the deeply personal, confessional nature of someone baring their soul.

Interestingly, the material on Devoldere’s sophomore Warhaus album 2017’s self-titled album saw the acclaimed Belgian artist moving away from decadence, lust and sin towards sincere, honest, hard-fought and even harder-won love with some of the songs being influenced by Devoldere’s relationship with vocalist Sylvie Kreusch. The recording sessions for the album was a much more spontaneously affair, heavily influenced by Dr. John‘s Night Tripper period: Throughout the album, there are nods to voodoo rhythms and New Orleans jazz despite the fact that his backing band wasn’t technically known for being jazz musicians.

The slow-burning “Open Window” is the first bit of new Warhaus material since 2017’s self-titled album. Centered around Devoldere’s brooding baritone, strummed acoustic guitar, a Quiet Storm-like groove, twinkling piano and a gorgeous, cinematic string arrangement, “Open Window” is the sort of song meant to gently sway along to with eyes closed, drifting off into your own nostalgic dreams — or perhaps delusions.

In fact, the song is rooted in delusion — in particular, the delusion that the breakup isn’t permanent, that she (or he) will return soon enough. But it’s all just vapor and denial.

“Open Window is about keeping reality at bay in that comfortable bubble of denial. Definitely my favourite stage of heartbreak,” Delvodere explains.

Directed by Pieter De Cnudde, the accompanying video for “Open Window” follows Devoldere as he eats steamed mussels alone at a table for two. About half way into the video, we see what appears to be Devoldere’s possessions being tossed out into a window and smashing to the ground behind him. All of this occurs in a surreal, dream-like slow motion.

New Video: The Smile Returns with Cinematic “Pana-Vision”

The Smile features a highly accomplished collection of familiar names and faces — Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (maybe you might have heard of them?), and Sons of Kemet‘s Tom Skinner. The Radiohead and Sons of Kemet side project has released three critically applauded singles this year “The Smoke,” “You Will Never Work in Television Again,” and “Skirting On The Surface,” a gorgeous, meditative slow-burn centered around Greenwood’s looping and shimmering guitar, stuttering jazz syncopation, a supple yet propulsive bass line, mournful saxophone and Yorke’s weary falsetto singing lyrics contemplating impermanence and mortality.

The Smile’s fourth single, “Pana-vision” is centered around a mesmerizing piano line, jazz syncopated drumming, a supple bass line and a gorgeous string arrangement paired with Yorke’s imitable falsetto singing the refrain “like a newborn child” throughout the song. While sonically bearing a bit of a resemblance to Amnesiac era Radiohead, “Pana-vision” possesses a remarkably sublime, cinematic quality.

The accompanying visual features Stanley Donwood‘s haunting artwork coming to life through Sabrina Nichols‘ gorgeous animation.

New Video: Radiohead and Sons of Kemet Side Project The Smile Share Meditative Visual for “Skirting On The Surface”

The Smile is a new act featuring some familiar names and faces: Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (maybe you might have heard of them?), and Sons of Kemet‘s Tom Skinner. The act has released two critically applauded singles so far this year — “The Smoke” and “You Will Never Work in Television Again.”

The alt-rock All-Star act’s third and latest single together, “Skirting On The Surface” is a stunningly gorgeous and meditative slow-burn centered around Jonny Greenwood’s looping and shimmering guitar lines, stuttering jazz syncopation, a supple yet propulsive bass line, mournful sax and Thom Yorke’s imitable, achingly weary falsetto singing lyrics contemplating human mortality and impermanence.

The accompanying video was shot in the depths of the disused Rosevale Tin Mine in Cornwall, UK on 16mm black and white film by BAFTA-winning writer/director Mark Jenkin. The visual follows Thom Yorke, as a cart-pushing miner through the mine’s narrow passageways and tunnels. He sees water go about strange, almost supernatural phenomenon. And at one point in his journey, the exhausted miner stops, dumps his load and begins filling in a passageway. It’s as gorgeous, meditative and as surreal as its accompanying song.