Tag: Baltimore MD

Just about 13 years ago, I started what has been for me, my life’s work — this site. And honestly, when I started this site, I couldn’t have imagined three-quarters of the things I’ve done and experienced over JOVM’s history to ever happen. 

  • I’ve covered roughly 1,100-1,200 shows in NYC, with a handful of shows in ChicagoBaltimore and Philadelphia
  • I’ve covered about a dozen or more festivals, including traveling to Montreal for M for Montreal in 2019 and again earlier this month.
  • I’ve been a panelist at Mondo.NYC Festival and at New Colossus Festival, speaking about PR, promotion and press for indie artists, giving my perspective as a indie blogger. 
  • A few years ago, I made a cameo in a JOVM mainstay’s music video. It’s a very noticeable spot towards the end of the video. It was a fun experience, but so far no one has called me about acting or dancing gigs. Maybe I need to stick to the writing and photography? 
  • I couldn’t have imagined photographing George ClintonPatti LaBelleSnoop DoggBlondieNile RodgersRoky EricksonPhilip BaileyBlind Boys of Alabama and so many others, as well as this site’s countless mainstays.
  • I wouldn’t have met the countless colleagues and musicians, who have become supporters and friends.  

Now you’ll remember that during the very worst of the pandemic, things seemed — understandably — bleak. And although we’ve slowly managed to claw our way back to even greater degree of normalcy, being a working and touring musician has remained extremely bleak. Financially touring has always been a financial risk but rising inflation and COVID-19 has made touring much more daunting and complicated. 

We’re all trying to figure out how to maneuver in a new, confusing and uncertain landscape that may well be with us for an indefinite period of time. But with these past 12+ years under my belt, I have no intentions of going anywhere. 

I strongly believe that I’ve managed to carve out a unique spot in the blogosphere, a place that I feel is desperately necessary because both the music and media worlds are often so incredibly homogenous. Someone out there has to do something different. And representation in every aspect matters. So JOVM and my work with it has to continue. 

As I do every month, I want to thank the following folks and organizations. Without them this past few years — and especially this year — wouldn’t have been remotely possible: 

Sash

Alice Northover

Bella Fox

Jenny MacRostie

Janene Otten 

All of those folks have been generous Patreon patrons. Of course, feel free to check out the Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement. And if you’re able to support, your support will be greatly appreciated and continuously shouted out. Any amount really helps. 

I have to thank the folks at Creatives Rebuild New York. I’m relieved, proud and humbled to be included in their Guaranteed Income for Artists program. The money I’ll receive over the next 13 months or so will be put to good use — keeping this little dream of mine going. I don’t think there’s enough words to thank them — or to show how grateful I am. (I’ll keep trying, of course!) 

There are other ways you can support. 

You can also support by checking the JOVM shop: https://www.joyofviolentmovement.com/shop 

You can also support my following me on the following platforms:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/william_ruben_helms 

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/yankee32879 and https://www.twitter.com/joyofviolent 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

And you can hire me for headshots, portraits and events. Seriously, I’m available for that, too. You can click here: https://www.photobooker.com/photographer/ny/new-york/william-h?duration=1?duration=1# or you can contact me directly.

New Audio: Julien Chang Shares an Expansive and Trippy Single

Throughout 2019, I spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Baltimore-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and college student Julien Chang (pronounced Chong). Initially only thought of as “just a trombone player,” the Baltimore-born artist surprised his peers when he quietly began releasing original music saw him playing multiple instruments while meshing psych rock, pop-inspired melodicism and jazz fusion-like experimentation and improvisation with a sophistication and self-assuredness that belied his youth. Thematically, Chang’s work sees him tunneling towards deeper truths, while touching upon everyday existentialism, love, life, art — and his own life as a human and artist. 

Chang’s highly-anticipated — and long-awaited — sophomore album The Sale is slated for a November 4, 2022 release through Transgressive Records. Partially recorded in Baltimore and partially in his Princeton dorm room, The Sale is a DIY effort with Chang playing all instruments — with the exception of a few notable cameos from some Baltimore locals, classmates and old friends. Thematically, The Sale‘s material sees the rising Baltimore artist exploring the discrepancy between two worlds, a struggle to get comfortable in either one of them, and an artistic fascination with that very struggle. 

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

Marmalade,” a decidedly lo-fi indie pop song featuring glistening guitar lines, punchy drums, Chang’s layered, ethereal falsetto and some remarkably infectious hooks, underpinned by Chang’s long-held penchant for expansive, psych pop-influenced song structures. 

Interestingly, “Marmalade” isn’t as much of a love song, as much as it is about the way one’s memory makes sense of love — and the experience of being in and out of love. “I think the point is that memory runs up against certain limits in sense-making and then has to start relying on fictions,” Chang says.  “I wrote ‘Marmalade’ at a time in which this feeling of passionate regret had just finished transforming into something domesticated, incorporated, and basically mundane — a part of everyday life, something that pops up in the mind from time to time and causes me to scrunch my nose.”

Chang continues, The verses are the positive struggle of trying to make sense of a past romantic experience; the choruses are the ensuing confrontation with non-sense (“I nearly lost my name!”); and the euphoric outro is the resulting victory of a false memory (“I remember falling in love! I remember falling in love! I remember falling in love!”)

Snakebit,” an effortless synthesis of smooth jazz, jazz fusion, Tame Impala-like psych pop and straightforward pop in what may arguably be the most lush, funkiest and introspective song of Chang’s growing catalog.

“‘Snakebit’ emerged during a period of transformation. This was around the time I left Baltimore for University in the middle of New Jersey,” Chang explains in press notes. “The awkwardness of the transition and the discomfort of ‘growing pains’ provoked in me a kind of creative agitation which found its outlet most decisively in this song. But the song is not only about changing. It is also about encountering change: in a reflective turn, encountering myself who is changing and then interrogating him, testing the limits of the ‘new me’ before finding that I am really not so different.”

“Competition’s Friend,” The Sale‘s latest single sees Chang crafting a cinematic track that sonically seems like one-part Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles, one-part Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd and built around an expansive song structure and arrangement paired with some remarkably introspective and incisive lyricism.

“’Competition’s Friend’ can be seen as the soundtrack to a last ditch effort to overcome the deadlock of self-alienation: ecstasy against ambivalence,” Chang explains. “The setting is a world of resumes, interviews, internships, ‘networks’ –in other words, a world of papers in which one is always examining oneself, not really as a ‘self,’ but rather as a symbolic outward-facing figure, of whose virtue and competency someone else must always still be convinced. The song tries to work through these frustrations before coming finally to a fantastic escape: in the last two minutes we reach the ecstatic heights from which such small and detailed self-scrutiny can be overcome, if not forgotten.”

12 years ago, I started what has been for me — my life’s work.

And honestly, when I started this site, I couldn’t have imagined three-quarters of the things I’ve done and experienced over JOVM’s history to ever happen. 

  • I’ve covered roughly 1,100-1,200 shows in NYC, with a handful of shows in ChicagoBaltimore and Philadelphia.
  • I’ve covered about a dozen or more festivals, including traveling to Montreal for M for Montreal back in 2019. 
  • I’ve been a panelist at Mondo.NYC Festival and at New Colossus Festival, speaking about PR, promotion and press for indie artists, giving my perspective as a indie blogger. 
  • A few years ago, I made a cameo in a JOVM mainstay’s music video. It’s a very noticeable spot towards the end of the video. It was a fun experience, but so far no one has called me about acting gigs. Maybe I need to stick to the writing and photography? 
  • I couldn’t have imagined photographing George ClintonPatti LaBelleSnoop DoggBlondieNile RodgersRoky EricksonPhilip BaileyBlind Boys of Alabama and so many others, as well as this site’s countless mainstays.
  • I wouldn’t have met the countless colleagues and musicians, who have become supporters and friends. And by far, music friends have proven to be the very best of friends. 

JOVM turned 10 in June 2020. And during the middle of the very worst of the pandemic, things seemed — understandably — bleak. And although we’re slowly managed to claw our way back to a degree of normalcy, in which gathering together can happen, things across the music industry still seem rather bleak: Touring has always been a big financial risk for musicians but COVID-19 has made it even more complicated, because musicians are out there risking their health and lives — because they need to make money to live. 

We’re all trying to figure out how to maneuver in a new, confusing and uncertain landscape that may well be with us for an indefinite period of time. But with these past 12 years under my belt, I have no intentions of going anywhere. 

I strongly believe that I’ve managed to carve out a unique spot in the blogosphere, a place that I feel is desperately necessary because both the music and media worlds are often so incredibly homogenous. Someone out there has to do something different. And representation in every aspect matters. So in many ways, this has to continue. 

As I do every month, I want to thank the following folks and organizations. Without them this past few years — and especially this year — wouldn’t have been remotely possible: 

Sash

Alice Northover

Bella Fox

Jenny MacRostie

Janene Otten 

All of those folks have been generous Patreon patrons. Of course, feel free to check out the Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement. And if you’re able to support, your support will be greatly appreciated and continuously shouted out. Any amount really helps. Seriously. 

I must thank the folks at Creatives Rebuild New York. I’m relieved, proud and humbled to be included in their Guaranteed Income for Artists program. The money I’ll receive over the next 18 months will be put to good use — keeping this little dream of mine going. I don’t think there’s enough words to thank them — or to show how grateful I am. (I’ll keep trying, of course!) 

There are other ways you can support. 

You can also support by checking the JOVM shop: https://www.joyofviolentmovement.com/shop 

You can also support my following me on the following platforms:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/william_ruben_helms 

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/yankee32879 and https://www.twitter.com/joyofviolent 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

And you can hire me for headshots, portraits and events. Seriously, I’m available for that, too. You can click here: https://www.photobooker.com/photographer/ny/new-york/william-h?duration=1?duration=1# or you can contact me directly.

12 years ago, I started what has been for me — my life’s work.

And honestly, when I started this site, I couldn’t have imagined three-quarters of the things I’ve done and experienced over JOVM’s history to ever happen. 

  • I’ve covered roughly 1,100-1,200 shows in NYC, with a handful of shows in Chicago and Baltimore
  • I’ve covered about a dozen or more festivals, including traveling to Montreal for M for Montreal back in 2019. 
  • I’ve been a panelist at Mondo.NYC Festival and at New Colossus Festival, speaking about PR, promotion and press for indie artists, giving my perspective as a indie blogger. 
  • A few years ago, I made a cameo in a JOVM mainstay’s music video. It’s a very noticeable spot towards the end of the video. It was a fun experience, but so far no one has called me about acting gigs. Maybe I need to stick to the writing and photography? 
  • I couldn’t have imagined photographing George ClintonPatti LaBelleSnoop DoggBlondieNile RodgersRoky EricksonPhilip BaileyBlind Boys of Alabama and so many others, as well as this site’s countless mainstays.
  • I wouldn’t have met the countless colleagues and musicians, who have become supporters and friends. And by far, music friends have proven to be the very best of friends. 

JOVM turned 10 in June 2020. And during the middle of the very worst of the pandemic, things seemed — understandably — bleak. And although we’re slowly managed to claw our way back to a degree of normalcy, in which gathering together can happen, things across the music industry still seem rather bleak: Touring has always been a big financial risk for musicians but COVID-19 has made it even more complicated, because musicians are out there risking their health and lives — because they need to make money to live. 

We’re all trying to figure out how to maneuver in a new, confusing and uncertain landscape that may well be with us for an indefinite period of time. But with these past 12 years under my belt, I have no intentions of going anywhere. 

I strongly believe that I’ve managed to carve out a unique spot in the blogosphere, a place that I feel is desperately necessary because both the music and media worlds are often so incredibly homogenous. Someone out there has to do something different. And representation in every aspect matters. So in many ways, this has to continue. 

As I do every month, I want to thank the following folks and organizations. Without them this past few years — and especially this year — wouldn’t have been remotely possible: 

Sash

Alice Northover

Bella Fox

Jenny MacRostie

Janene Otten 

All of those folks have been generous Patreon patrons. Of course, feel free to check out the Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement. And if you’re able to support, your support will be greatly appreciated and continuously shouted out. Any amount really helps. Seriously. 

I must thank the folks at Creatives Rebuild New York. I’m relieved, proud and humbled to be included in their Guaranteed Income for Artists program. The money I’ll receive over the next 18 months will be put to good use — keeping this little dream of mine going. I don’t think there’s enough words to thank them — or to show how grateful I am. (I’ll keep trying, of course!) 

There are other ways you can support. 

You can also support by checking the JOVM shop: https://www.joyofviolentmovement.com/shop 

You can also support my following me on the following platforms:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/william_ruben_helms 

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/yankee32879 and https://www.twitter.com/joyofviolent 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

And you can hire me for headshots, portraits and events. Seriously, I’m available for that, too. You can click here: https://www.photobooker.com/photographer/ny/new-york/william-h?duration=1?duration=1# or you can contact me directly.

New Video: Julien Chang Shares Dreamy and Meditative “Marmalade”

Throughout the course of 2019, I spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the acclaimed Baltimore-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and college student Julien Chang (pronounced Chong). Initially only thought of as “just a trombone player,” the Baltimore-born artist surprised his peers when he quietly began releasing original music saw him playing multiple instruments while meshing psych rock, pop-inspired melodicism and jazz fusion-like experimentation an improvisation with a sophistication and self-assuredness that belied his relative youth. Thematically, Chang’s work sees him tunneling towards deeper truths, while touching upon everyday existentialism, love, life, art — and his own life as a human and artist.

Those early releases caught the attention of Transgressive Records, who signed Chang and released his critically applauded full-length debut, 2019’s Jules, which featured:

  • Of The Past,” a sleek, early 80s-like synth funk-based track centered around dexterous musicianship and pop melodicisim
  • Butterflies from Monaco,” a slow-burning Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles-like track
  • Memory Loss” an 80s synth funk inspired song that continued a remarkable run of self-assured material centered around dazzling musicianship and big hooks.

Chang’s highly-anticipated — and long-awaited — sophomore album The Sale is slated for a November 4, 2022 release through Transgressive Records. Partially recorded in Baltimore and partially in his Princeton dorm room, The Sale is a DIY effort with Chang playing all instruments — with the odd exception of a few notable cameos from some Baltimore locals, classmates and old friends. Thematically, The Sale‘s material sees the rising Baltimore artist exploring the discrepancy between two worlds, a struggle to get comfortable in either one of them, and an artistic fascination with that very struggle.

“Marmalade,” The Sale‘s first single sees the acclaimed Baltimore artist leanings heavily into lo-fi indie pop with the song centered around glistening guitar lines, punchy drums, Chang’s layered, ethereal falsetto and big, infectious hooks. But the song is underpinned by his penchant for expansive, psych pop song structures.

Interestingly, “Marmalade” isn’t as much of a love song, as much as it is about the way one’s memory makes sense of love — and the experience of being in and out of love. “I think the point is that memory runs up against certain limits in sense-making and then has to start relying on fictions,” Chang says.  “I wrote ‘Marmalade’ at a time in which this feeling of passionate regret had just finished transforming into something domesticated, incorporated, and basically mundane — a part of everyday life, something that pops up in the mind from time to time and causes me to scrunch my nose.”

Chang continues, The verses are the positive struggle of trying to make sense of a past romantic experience; the choruses are the ensuing confrontation with non-sense (“I nearly lost my name!”); and the euphoric outro is the resulting victory of a false memory (“I remember falling in love! I remember falling in love! I remember falling in love!”)

Directed by Layla Ku of New York-based collective MICHELLE, the mesmerizing and trippy accompanying visual for “Marmalade” features a mix of still photography and video that includes New Wave-inspired split screens as the video follows the rising Baltimore-born artist driving to the beach, at the beach sitting in an office chair while brushing his teeth and staring at a TV — and playing his guitar in an abandoned, graffitied warehouse space.

Live Footage: Beach House Performs “Superstar” on “Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Baltimore-based JOVM mainstays Beach House — lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Victoria Legrand and multi-instrumentalist Alex Scally — formed back in 2004. And in their nearly two decades together, have released eight albums, including their critically applauded, most commercially successful album to date, the 18-song, double LP Once Twice Melody, which was released through Sub Pop Records earlier this year. (Since I mentioned that the album is their most commercially successful to date, Once Twice Melody recently peaked at #1 on Billboard‘s Album Sales Chart, the duo’s first-ever album to do so. It also debuted at #1 on the Top Alternative Albums, Top Rock Albums, Tastemaker Albums and Top Current Album Sales Charts. And the album also spent six weeks at #1 on the NACC 200 College Charts.)

Primarily written between 2018 and last July, Once Twice Melody also features a handful of songs that date back at least a decade earlier. The album was mostly recorded at Baltimore’s Apple Orchard Studio and produced by the band — a first for the band. Much like 7, Once Twice Melody features live drumming by the band’s longtime touring drummer James Barone, recorded at Pachyderm Studio in Minnesota and United Recording in Los Angeles. The album also features a string ensemble, performing arrangements by David Campbell.

Across Once Twice Melody‘s 18 songs, the JOVM mainstays have written material that features several different styles, song structures and spirits: Listeners will hear songs without drums, songs centered around acoustic guitar, electronic songs without guitar, songs with wandering melodies, songs with repetitive melodies and songs built around string arrangements. And while the album sees the band expanding upon and playing with their sound, the duo haven’t completely eschewed the arrangements and sounds that have won them acclaim across their previous seven albums.

Last night, the Baltimore-based JOVM mainstays were on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where they performed the glittering and wistful “Superstar,” a song that looks back at a romantic relationship and compares it to a shooting star that quickly flashes, burns out and reappears somewhere else.

The live footage will give you a great taste of what to expect of the duo’s live show, just before they continue their extensive, headlining international tour to support Once Twice Melody. The tour has been extended through November 2022 with a handful of newly added dates including several stops across the global festival circuit: Omaha, NE’s Maha Festival (July 29th-30th), Portugal’s Paredes De Coura  (Aug. 17th-20th), Salt Lake City, UT’s Ogden Twilight (August 25th), Pasadena, CA’s This Ain’t No Picnic (Aug. 28th), Las Vegas, NV’s Life Is Beautiful (Sep. 16th-18th), Bentonville, AR’s Format Festival (Sep. 23rd-25th), and Primavera Sound Editions in Brazil, (Sao Paulo, Nov. 5th), Chile (Santiago, Nov. 11th), and Argentina (Buenos Aires, Nov. 13th).

For my fellow New Yorkers, the JOVM will be playing two dates at the breathtakingly beautiful Kings Theatre: July 19, 2022 and July 20, 2022.