Tag: Austin TX

New Video: Glasgow’s Up-and-Coming Synth Pop Duo Free Love Release Playful Yet Sensual and Surreal Visuals for Two Club-Bangers

Earlier this summer, I wrote about Glasgow, Scotland-based synth pop act Free Love, and as you may recall since their formation under the name Happy Meals back in 2014, the duo comprised of  Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook quickly established themselves as one of their homeland’s most acclaimed dance pop acts. Their 2015 full-length debut  Apero was nominated for Scottish Album of the Year. Adding to a growing profile, the duo opened for Liars and The Flaming Lips, and played sets at festivals in Austin, TX, Moscow, and Bangalore.

With the release of “Synchronicity,” a track that may remind some listeners of Nu Shooz‘s “I Can’t Wait,” and New Order‘s “Blue Monday” and “Bizarre Love Triangle, the duo further cemented their reputation for crafting utopian-leaning and brainy dance pop centered around shimmering analog synths; in fact, as the duo explained in press notes, the song is about breaking free fro the binds of culturally dictated self-limitation, coupled with the vertigo of complete freedom. After playing at The Great Escape Festival, the duo have sets lineup at Bestival and will be supporting Django Django at the Edinburgh International Festival later this month; but in the meantime, the duo have released two new singles — the ecstatic, Giorgio Moroder and 80s New Wave-like “Pushing Too Hard,” which is centered around arpeggiated, analog synths and thumping beats, over which Rodden sings lyrics in an ethereal yet sultry French. “July,” on the other hand takes its cues from acid house, centered around distorted synths, explosive blasts of hi hat, thumping beats — and in some way the track reminds me of Come With Us-era Chemical Brothers and Tweekend-era Crystal Method.

The decidedly DIY visuals for “Pushing Too Hard” and “July” manage to nod at Andy Warhol and The Factory, as well as 80s-era MTV as it’s a weird yet successful balance of insouciance, brooding, coquettishness and surrealism.

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Earlier this month, I wrote about the Austin, TX-based trio Exhalants, and as you may recall the band which features Steve (guitar, vocals), Bill (bass) and Tommy (drums), a member of Body Pressure, the band can trace its origins to the break of Steve and Bill’s previous band  Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes. With the inevitable downtime that happens when a band breaks up, Steve spent his free time further honing his guitar playing before recruiting his former CSSS bandmate and Tommy to complete the project’s lineup.

Recorded and mixed by Ghetto Ghouls‘ Ian Rundell and mastered by Yeesh’s Greg Obis, Exhalants’ forthcoming self-titled debut is largely inspired by the likes of ShellacUnwound and Cherubs, while nodding at the work of contemporaries like MelkbellyKal Marks and A Dear A Horse — or in other words, the album’s material finds the band balancing pummeling heaviness; in fact, album single “Latex” was an an anthemic ripper with enormous “raise your beer in the air and shout along” hooks, arena rock-like power chords and deep low end. And while being deceptively simple, the song upon repeated listens reveals rapid tonal and tempo shifts that are barely held together by the explosiveness of the band’s playing. “Punishers,” Exhalants’ latest single is a furious and aptly punishing ripper, complete with angular guitar power chords, wild peals of feedback and forceful drumming. It may arguably be the most punk rock and mosh-pit friendly songs off the album so far — but they do so while nodding at 90s alt rock.

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Still Corners Release Brooding Visuals for Slow-Burning Torch Song “The Photograph”

Last month, I wrote about the  London-based duo and JOVM mainstays Still Corners, and as you may recall, with the release of their first three albums, Creatures of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures and 2016’s Dead Blue, the British duo comprised of vocalist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes, have developed a reputation for crafting incredibly atmospheric and moody dream pop/synth pop centered around Murray’s smoky vocals and shimmering atmospherics.

Slated for an August 17, 2018 release through the duo’s own Wrecking Light label, their fourth album Slow Air derives its name from the sultry summer days and nights they experienced during their time in Austin, TX, where they had written the album. Reportedly, the forthcoming Slow Air is a bit of a return to early form for Murray and Hughes, as the material learn towards arrangements that emphasize electric and acoustic guitars, live drumming and a minimal use of synthesizers. Recorded in a new studio designed by Hughes, the recorded sessions inspired a minimalist and fluid approach in which they used a variety of old and new microphones while making sure that they didn’t overthink the entire process as is the tendency of modern recording; in fact, they managed to keep the mistakes they recorded on the album, so as to remind the listener of the fact that living, breathing, feeling and imperfect humans made it,  while also making sure that the important thing was the material’s emotionality.

Murray and Hughes recorded and mixed the album in three months, the fastest they’ve ever done so far, and from album single “Black Lagoon,” the London-based duo managed to retain the shimmering and moody atmospherics they’ve long been known for but paired with an previously unheard urgency. As Tessa Murray says of the album in press notes, “we wanted to hear beautiful guitar and drums and an otherworldliness, something about indefinable, along with a classic songwriting vibe. We’re always trying to get the sound we hear inside of ourselves, so we moved fast to avoid our brains getting in the way too much. The name Slow Air evokes the feel of the album to me, steady, eerie and beautiful.”

The album’s latest single “The Photograph,” is the slow-burning, atmospheric, synth-based torch song that to my ears immediately brings Prince to mind — his “Nothing Compares 2 U” in particular, as the song is about a long lost lover, who’s only left an old, slowly fading photograph behind as a reminder of what the song’s narrator once had. The video, which was directed by the duo continues a run of gorgeous and evocative visuals — in this case, black and white video which features Murray’s lone figure walking down a desolate highway eternally searching for something beyond the frame. The visuals manage to evoke the song’s spectral and yearning quality — with the understanding that most things in our lives are rendered as memories, but with a bit of fuzziness and distortion around the edges.

 

Currently comprised of founding trio Jack Lantern (vocals), James Burgess (guitar), and Tom Pitts (guitar) with new additions Victor Jakeman (bass), Tom Pitt (drums) and Sev Black (keys), the London-based punk act Claw Marks can trace their origins to when its founding trio were in Austin, TX for SXSW with different bands back in 2013 — Lantern and Pitts were members of Human Hair, while Burgess was a member of Boneyards. As the story goes, Lantern, Burgess and Pitts got lost waling down a highway in the Texan desert when they came to the realization that they wanted to make something much more aggressive, that would channel the likes of Swans and The Birthday Party, but while maintaining the pop sensibility that won Human Hair attention. Ultimately, they felt the need to prove that you can make records that could sound like The Jesus Lizard or The Pop Group — without taking yourself too seriously.

For several years, the band primarily existed as a live outfit, playing raucous, riotous shows across their native London — including a memorable 3am first gig at an abandoned pub. “It was my birthday, and intoxicants may have been involved,” the band’s Jack Lantern recalls. “The show cemented us as a band, because we were playing in the confines of a place that was so similar to the spine of what we were trying to put across. The place was dilapidated, the walls were falling down, and when we started playing, the ceiling started shaking, and dust was raining down on us. And then somebody let off a fire extinguisher halfway through the set, and we were covered in dust and foam.”

With the addition of Jakeman, Pitt and Black, the band continued to develop their overall aesthetic, balancing a chaotic live, stage presence with very specific ideas about lyrical imagery and content. “It’s abotu putting weird images to song,” Lantern, who is also a poet says in press notes. “Usually, they’re a bit disgusting – an armpit full of lice, for example. Or a crab covering your arsehole and stopping anybody from trying to climb in there. We’ve got one song about evil, silent cops staring us down while rubbing their truncheons in their mouths. You know, that kind of thing.”

However, their debut album together has taken five years to write and record — with some of the songs dating back to when the band first started. The members of the band kept returning to East London’s Sound Savers Studio, where they were afforded time and space by co-owner Henry Withers, who was a former bandmate of Lantern’s, to continually refine the material, and eventually their overall sound. In fact, every time they returned, the songs evolved in a rather unpredictable fashion. “I’ve been telling people that the album aged like a fine wine, because it took so long to come together,” Lantern says. “But actually, I’d liken it more now to a slab of rotten meat. We allowed it to fester, and every time we came back to it, there’d be more flies buzzing around it, and this new form of bacteria growing on the chords.”

Ultimately, Claw Marks long-anticipated full-length album Hee Hee reportedly is an unapologetically and nasty collection of punk rock songs that thematically speaking range from the absurd to the political — but much like Tom Waits, the songs having a fucked up, off-kilter, whiskey-fueled vibe. “Swallow U,” Hee Hee‘s latest single is noisy and furious punk rock centered around distortion bathed guitar chords, forceful drumming and howled lyrics and while sonically, the song brings to mind Rollins Band‘s Weight and Get Some Go Again but with an absurdist bent, as the song according to the band is literally about a man who walks down the street, eating everything in his path. What makes the track intriguing to me is the fact that it effortlessly meshes art rock with furious, mosh pit friendly punk.

 

New Video: Free Love Releases a Mischievous Take on 120 Minutes-era MTV Videos

Since their formation under the name Happy Meals in 2014 at Glasgow, Scotland’s The Green Door Studio, best known for being the birthplace of a number of local DIY bands, including renowned acts Golden Teacher and Total Leatherette, Free Love, comprised of Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook quickly established themselves as one of their homeland’s most acclaimed dance pop acts, as their 2015 full-length effort Apero was nominated for Scottish Album of the Year. Adding to a growing profile, the band opened for the likes of Liars and The Flaming Lips, and played sets at festivals in Austin, TX, Moscow, and Bangalore. Despite their recent change in name, the duo further cements their reputation for utopian and somewhat brainy dance pop experiments with their dance floor friendly. shimmering, 80s synth pop and New Wave-inspired single “Synchronicity.” While the track may remind some listeners of Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait,” and New Order’s “Blue Monday” and “Bizarre Love Triangle,” the song is about breaking from the binds of culturally dictated self-limitation, coupled with the vertigo of complete freedom.

Shot by Harrison Reid and Omar Aborida and edited by Gary McQuiggan, the recently released video for “Synchronicity” was filmed at Carlton Studios and features friends of the band as four different “bands” with four different backdrops. But as the band’s Lewis Cook explains to The Quietus, “I wanted it to look like a Sparks video or something like that. I like videos where it’s just a band playing. But because the track is all electronic music, it’s just us with drum machines and synthesizers. So we thought it’d be cool to do this thing you used to see in the 90s where people had clearly made a track on a sampler.” As Suzi Rodden adds, “but they’re kidding on that they’re playing all these instruments in their video. Big bass guitars and full drum kits and maracas and stuff.”
 

New Video: Still Corners Release Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for Shimmering and Brooding New Single

Over the course of their first three albums, 2012’s Creatures of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures and 2016’s Dead Blue, the London-based duo Still Corners, comprised of vocalist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes, have developed a reputation for crafting incredibly atmospheric and moody dream pop/synth pop centered around Murray’s smoky vocals and shimmering atmospherics.

Deriving its name from the sultry Texas summer days and nights and slated for an August 17, 2018 release through their own Wrecking Light label, the duo’s fourth album Slow Air was written in Austin, TX, and the album reportedly finds the band making a decided return to early form, as the band leans heavily towards arrangements that emphasize both eclectic and acoustic guitars, live drumming and a minimal use of synthesizers. Recorded in a new studio designed by Hughes, the recorded sessions inspired a minimalist and fluid approach in which they used a variety of old and new microphones while making sure that they didn’t overthink the process; in fact, they’ve managed to keep the inevitable mistakes on the album to remind the listener of the material’s emotionality — and the fact that living, breathing, feeling humans made it. Interestingly, the band recorded and mixed the album in three months, the fastest they’ve ever done, and as you’ll hear on the “Black Lagoon,” the song possesses a previously unheard urgency while retaining the shimmering and moody atmospherics that they’ve been known for. As Tessa Murray says of the album in press notes, “we wanted to hear beautiful guitar and drums and an otherworldliness, something about indefinable, along with a classic songwriting vibe. We’re always trying to get the sound we hear inside of ourselves, so we moved fast to avoid our brains getting in the way too much. The name Slow Air evokes the feel of the album to me, steady, eerie and beautiful.”

Directed and filmed by the members of Still Corners on a small handheld cinema camera, the recently released and stunningly cinematic video follows Murray and Hughes as they they travel across the deserts of Texas, Arizona and California to the ocean in a classic, white convertible Mustang.  And goddamn it, is it gorgeous.

Currently comprised of founding members and siblings Victor Ziolkowski (drums, vocals) and David Ziolkowski (guitar) and newest member Alex Recide (bass), the Austin-based thrash punks Skeleton features members of several applauded Austin-based punk bands including Nosferatu, Residual Kid, Recide, Enemy One, Plax and Witewash. Since their formation back in 2014, the band has gone through several lineup changes — and initially, the band was deeply influenced by the local punk scene of the last decade paired with industrial and noise rock. Although they’ve generally been much darker than most of their peers, the band’s recent sound has been decided riff-heavy, as it’s been influenced by Kyuss, Dystopia, Bolt Thrower and 90s black metal.

The band has released two flexi disc EPs — I Hate I Skate and Breathing Problem Productions through Super Secret Records; however, their soon-to-be EP, which was recorded by OBN IIIs’, A Giant Dog’s and Bad Sports‘ Orville Neely III and mastered by Seth Gibbs will be their first proper 7 inch release, and reportedly, the EP solidifies a punk leaning sound as they move forward metal on their full-length effort. “War,” the EP’s latest single is a bruising and pummeling punk assault reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Ex-Cult and old school NYC hardcore, but with a furious, booze-fueled misanthropy at its core. And holy shit, does it kick ass, take names and pisses all over everything.

The members of Skelton will be touring throughout July and August with Skourge. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
07/25 – Houston, TX @ TBA

07/26 – Austin, TX @ The Electric Church +

07/27 – Dallas, TX @ TBA +

07/28 – OKC, OK @ 89th Street Collective +

07/29 – Springfield, MO @ TBA +

07/30 – Denver, CO @ 7th Circle +

07/31 – Salt Lake City, UT @ TBA +

08/01 – Bosie, ID @ TBA +

08/02 – Portland, OR @ TBA +

08/03 – Seattle, WA @ TBA +

08/04 – 05 – Olympia, WA @ Olympia Hardcore Fest +

08/07 – Santa Rosa, CA @ TBA

08/09 – San Jose, CA @ TBA

08/10 – Los Angeles, CA @ TBA

08/11 – Fullerton, CA @ TBA

08/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ TBA
08/13 – El Paso, TX @ TBA
+ with Skourge

 

Austin, TX trio  Skeleton share the first track from their forthcoming EP today via Revolver Magazine. Hear and share “War” HERE. (Direct Soundcloud.)
Skeleton features members of other celebrated Austin punk bands Nosferatu, Residual KidThe Real Cost, Recide, Enemy One, Plax, and Witewash.
The band hits to road this summer for several dates, including a spot on the Olympia Hardcore Fest. Please see current dates below.
 
Skeleton was formed in 2014 by Victor Ziolkowski and David Ziolkowski in Austin, TX. Having had evolved from many different line ups and variations of the band, it’s now performing with Victor on drums and vocals, David on guitar, and Alex Recide on bass.
The band was originally influenced by the punk scene in Austin of the last 8 years, bands like Recide, Iron Youth, and Total Abuse also paired with industrial/noise vibes of Throbbing Gristle. They have always stayed on the more evil or dark end of the spectrum and incorporate dramatic live performances and stage set designs. The band’s more recent sound derives from riff-heavy bands like Kyuss, Dystopia, and Bolt Thrower with the atmosphere of early 90’s black metal.
Skeleton has released 2 previous flexi disc EPs on labels Super Secret Records, I Hate I Skate, and Breathing Problem Productions. This is the band’s first 7 inch release, and solidifies the punk sound of the group as they move toward the upcoming LP, which will be fully metal. The 7 inch was all written and performed by Victor Ziolkowski (on drums, bass, guitar and vocals) and David Ziolkowski (on lead guitar, and bass) Recorded in Austin by Orville Neeley (OBN III’s, A Giant Dog, Bad Sports) and Mastered by Seth Gibbs.
The 4-song EP will be available on 7″ and download on June 30, 2018 out via Super Secret Records. Available for pre-order HERE.
SKELETON TOUR 2018:
07/25 – Houston, TX @ TBA

07/26 – Austin, TX @ The Electric Church +

07/27 – Dallas, TX @ TBA +

07/28 – OKC, OK @ 89th Street Collective +

07/29 – Springfield, MO @ TBA +

07/30 – Denver, CO @ 7th Circle +

07/31 – Salt Lake City, UT @ TBA +

08/01 – Bosie, ID @ TBA +

08/02 – Portland, OR @ TBA +

08/03 – Seattle, WA @ TBA +

08/04 – 05 – Olympia, WA @ Olympia Hardcore Fest +

08/07 – Santa Rosa, CA @ TBA

08/09 – San Jose, CA @ TBA

08/10 – Los Angeles, CA @ TBA

08/11 – Fullerton, CA @ TBA

08/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ TBA
08/13 – El Paso, TX @ TBA
+ with Skourge

Perhaps best known as a founding member, primary songwriter and frontwoman of renowned indie rock act Howling Bells, along with Glenn Moule (drums), her brother Joel (lead guitar) and Gary Daines (bass guitar), the Sydney, Australia-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Juanita Stein has developed a reputation as a solo artist of note with the release of last year’s solo debut America, an album that thematically focused on the iconography and cultural landscapes of a country that had always fascinated her from afar.

Slated for an August 31, 2018 release through Nude Records, Stein’s sophomore album, Until The Lights Fade will further cement her long-held reputation for crafting twangy and old-timey country-tinged indie rock — but this time, the album thematically speaking is concerned with thoughts, feelings, stories and characters rooted far closer to home. “I feel like the two albums are different sides of the same coin,” Stein explain. “If America was the starting point of a journey — the musical equivalent of me spreading my wings, but also treading carefully, trying to figure myself out having come from such an intense period of camaraderie in the band; then this record is me starting to gain a bit more traction, feeling more confident in where I’m coming from and what is I’m doing.” When the opportunity arose last year to spend a week in Austin, TX with Stuart Sikes, who has worked with Cat Power, The White Stripes, Loretta Lynn, Stein grabbed it. “When you reach a certain point in life and moments like that appear, you have to go with it. Up ’til now, everything I’ve done has been planned and laboured over, but this album was very impromptu, very spur of the moment — a couple of the musicians I was working with, I had only met for the first time that week. It was like nothing I’d ever done before.” Naturally, that impromptu nature of the recording sessions wound up influencing the material’s overall sound — and with album single “Easy Street,” there’s a ramshackle and free-flowing vibe that underlies the material’s deliberate attention to craft that brings to mind 70s AM radio rock, thanks in part to the song’s anthemic hooks, twangy power chords. As Stein says of the song, “‘Easy Street’ was written very immediately. Everything about it felt intuitive and direct. Touring the songs off America for the last couple of years has given me some unique insight into people and their situations. You’re clocking up some good miles across various cities and countries, you see people getting by, doing what they can, being inventive with their realities. Hope/desperation isn’t limited to geography, everyone’s looking for an easy way out essentially. This song is about someone running from their reality and trying to find a better life for themselves.”

Adding to a growing profile as a solo artist, Stein had a recent run of dates opening for The Killers that included a SXSW stop — and since then she’s toured with renowned Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry, made some stops across the international touring circuit that included Latitude Festival, Green Man Festival, and Black Deer Festival. Building up buzz for her sophomore effort, Stein will be playing a number of dates across the UK. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates 
24th     June     Black Deer Festival, Tunbridge Wells
8th       July      TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow
14th     July      Latitude Festival, Southwold
20th     July      Spain, Benicassim Festival
24th     July      Finland, Helsinki Arena (with The Killers)
26th     July      Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette, Rockhal (with The Killers)
18th     August Green Man Festival, Crickhowell

Over the past few months I’ve written a bit about the Austin, TX-based indie rock act Sun June, an act comprised of founding members Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury, along with Michael Bain (guitar), Sarah Schultz (drums), and Justin Harris (bass), and as you may recall, the act can trace its origins to when its founding duo started the band while working long hours in the editing room so renowned filmmaker Terrance Malick, practicing whenever Malick was out of town.

Slated for release later this month, the band’s soon-to-be released full-length album Years found the band working with Evan Kaspar at Estuary Recording Facility, recording the material live to tape without using much in the way of overdubs or other studio techniques, so the material isn’t being overly polished or processed. As the band notes the album is a “we’ve-been-broken-up-a-long-time” album and explores how loss — of friends, family members and partners — evolves over time; but while not being too heavy or too serious about it. “Discotheque,” Years‘ opening track was an atmospheric and slow-burning track that evoked a sense of inescapable and inexplicable loss, but with an underlying pride and celebration that wisely (and simply) reminds the listener that to truly live is to know, accept and live with loss of all sorts. “Slow Rise II,” the album’s second single began like a gorgeous, half-remembered reverie with a rousing hook that possesses an underlying ache for something familiar, although as the old saying goes, you can never go back home again.

“Records,” the album’s third and latest single is a tender and achingly lonesome mid-tempo ballad centered around a gorgeous and smoky wisp of a melody, gently padded drums and shimmering guitar chords. Sonically speaking, the song evokes the lingering ghosts of regrets, past lovers, the should haves/could haves/if I had known then what I know nows, and late nights listening to sad music alone with your sad thoughts.

 

The band will be touring to support their new album across the Southwest and West. Check out the tour dates below.
TOUR DATES
June 16 | El Paso, TX @ Neon Rose
June 17 | Tucson, AZ @ Owls Club
June 19 | Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
June 20 | San Francisco, CA @ The Knockout
June 21 | Chico, CA @ Tender Loving
June 22 | Olympia, WA @ Cascadia Brewing
June 23 | Portland, OR @ Turn Turn Turn
June 28 | Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
June 29 | Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
June 30 | Marfa, TX @ Lost Horse Saloon