Tag: Bandcamp

Live Footage: Miami’s Seafoam Walls Perform “Program” at Pulp Arts

Formed back in 2016, the Miami-based indie act Seafoam Walls — Jayan Bertrand (vocals, guitar), Josh Ewers (bass), Josue Vargas (electronic drums) and Dion Kerr (guitar) — caught the attention of cult music and art communities across South Florida for developing and honing a new genre, which they’ve dubbed ” Caribbean Jazzgaze,” as it meshes elements of jazz, shoegaze, rock, hip-hop and Afro-Caribbean rhythms.

Initially known in local circles, the members of Seafoam Walls exploded into the international scene following a secret, all-ages matinee show with DC hardcore photographer Susie J. and Sonic Youth‘s Thurston Moore. Over the past couple of the years, the Miami-based band have been busy: 2018 saw the release of their debut EP R-E-F-L-E-C-T and the following year, one-off single “Root.”

Earlier this year, Seafoam Walls released “Dependency” through Thurston Moore’s The Daydream Library Series as a Record Store Day release. Building upon a growing profile, the members of Seafoam Walls will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut XVI later this year. Last month, the Miami-based quartet released “Program,” XVI’s first official single. The slow burning and painterly single features a wobbling bass line, shimmering guitars, bursts of feedback, a scorching guitar solo and chanted vocals. While continuing a run of bold, genre-defying material, “Program” manages to be a slick synthesis of A Storm of in Heaven-like shoegaze, krautrock and post-punk that will draw comparisons to TV on the Radio. 

The rising Miami-based band released a live version of “Program” recorded at Pulp Arts for Bandcamp Friday – and there’s accompanying live footage.

Bandcamp Friday may arguably be the best way to support independent musicians: Bandcamp waives their take and the artists behind these great songs and albums receive 100% of all proceeds for the day. Many artists on the platform, also donate portions of their earnings from the platform to worthy and notable charities. So if you have a few extra dollars, please support these artists and their endeavors. It’s impossible to continue art without money.

New Video: Old Man of the Woods Releases a Gorgeous and Meditative Visual for “Dissolve”

Miranda Elliott is a Richmond, VA-based singer/songwriter, producer and creative mastermind behind the lo-fi, ambient pop project Old Man of the Woods. Elliott describes her creative process as the alchemy of shit into sustenance, deriving the project’s name after a dark, scruffy mushroom that survives by — well, turning shit into sustenance. Interestingly, Elliott’s Old Man of the Woods debut, last year’s Dissolve EP according to Various Small Flames’ Jon Doyle “blurs the line between the personal and the natural world, conjuring a vivid and sometimes eerie soundscape as damp and rich as the woodland floor.”

Elliot’s forthcoming Old Man of the Woods’ full-length debut is slated for release later this year. In the meantime, the Richmond-based artist has managed to be rather busy; her Dissolve Remixed EP marks the first time she has collaborated with others: Richmond-based artists monad and OK HUNNEYS, as well as Totally Real Records labelmates SUPERORDER contribute remixes of Dissolve EP material.

Along with that she has collaborated with Roman Betanzos and Gabriel Güieros, visual effect artists based in Vancouver and Montreal on the video for Dissolve EP’s title track “Dissolve.” As for the song, “Dissolve” is a slow-burning and meditative track centered around Elliott’s plaintive vocals and atmospheric synths that — to me, at least — seems to evoke mist gently rising in the forest.

The recently released video can trace its origins back to when Betanzos and Güieros reached out to Elliot through Bandcamp, detailing how “Dissolve” to them sounded like the coastline of British Columbia. Interestingly, the video follows a humanoid wisp of mist through a lush and damp forest landscape, much like the ones seen in the Pacific Northwest. For Elliot, it reminded her of a surreal hike in Berlin, where she had actually forgotten that she wasn’t in Virginia and took note that “all woods feel like home.”

Influenced by The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Joy Division and others, the rising Swiss-American shoegaze duo The Churchhill Garden — currently, founding member Andy Jossi (guitar) and Whimsical‘s Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals) — was originally founded as a solo recording project back in 2010 as a way for Jossi to plug into his emotions and to focus on writing music without any pressure. 

As the story goes, a friend had showed Jossi how to use GarageBand, which he eventually used for some of his earliest recordings. The Swiss guitarist was determined to become a better guitarist and he learned from his mistakes, which helped his musicianship and songwriting flourish and grow. As he was growing as a musician and songwriter, Jossi discovered Logic, which led to an improved and lusher quality to his recordings. 

Around the same time, Jossi began to notice that the songs he had begun to write were more expansive, and although largely inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, shoegaze, post punk and jangle pop, the material revealed his own take on the sounds he had long loved. The Swiss guitarist and songwriting posted his compositions on Myspace without expecting much in return but, he was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the positive response he received. And although Jossi enjoyed writing the material he had posted on MySpace, he felt that i was missing something vitally important — vocals.

Hoping to broaden his musical horizons, the Swiss guitarist and songwriter sought out a few local vocalists to collaborate with. His first collaboration was with The Reaction’s Max Burki, one of Jossi’s local musical heroes. Jossi went on to record two more tracks with Eva Tresch. Technological advances — i.e., home recording studios and programs, as well as file sharing — allowed Jossi to collaborate with vocalists outside of his native Switzerland. His first collaboration with a foreign vocalist, “Noisy Butterfly,” which featured Italian vocalist Damiano Rosetti helped expand The Churchhill Garden’s audience and fanbase outside of Switzerland.

Jossi followed “Noisy Butterfly” with more collaborations with international vocalists including Craig Douglas (USA), Alistair Douglas (AUS) and Hideka (Japan). Back in 2016, Jossi first crossed paths with Whimsical’s Krissy Vanderwoude. Vanderwoude commented on Jossi’s “Sleepless” on Facebook, letting him know that she loved his music, had been a big fan and was deeply moved by the emotionality of his work. Her message went on to say that she could “hear his heart” through his work and that his work resonated deeply with her.

As it turned out, Vanderwoude and Jossi had a mutual friend, Kev Cleary, who chimed in on the comment thread that the two should work on a song together. The duo were very excited about the idea but didn’t quite know what to expect. Jossi sent Vanderwoude files for a couple of different instrumental pieces he had written and recorded, and encouraged her to choose which one she wanted to work on. Interestingly, the Whimsical frontwoman gravitated to one of the tracks in particular and remembers being moved to tears when she first heard it. The end result became their first song together “The Same Sky.”

“The Same Sky” was released to an overwhelmingly positive response with people generally commenting that they felt a magical chemistry between the two — and after a couple of songs together, they both realized that Vanderwoude should be a permanent and full-time member of The Churchhill Garden. Of course, while Vanderwoude is a permanent fixture in The Churchhill Garden universe, Jossi has continued collaborated with other vocalists, including Seashine’s Demi Haynes and Fables‘ and Swirl’Ben Aylward

Churchhill Gardens songs were coming together quickly with a new single being released every few months. With every new release, they found their fanbase steadily growing. And although, they were releasing material through Bandcamp and other DSPs, a growing number of people expressed interest in owning a physical copy of the songs — and they started asking if there would ever be an actual Churchhill Garden album. 

Last year, the Swiss-American duo released their full-length debut, a double LP album Heart and Soul. Since the release of Heart and Soul, the duo have been working on and releasing new material including “Fade Away,” which was released earlier this year. Centered around layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering guitars, Vanderwoude’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and soaring hooks “Fade Away” to my ears at least, reminds me quite a bit of Souvlaki-era SlowdiveSo Tonight That I May See-era Mazzy Star, compete with a similar aching yearning at its core.

Clocking in at a little over seven minutes, the Swiss-American collaboration’s latest single “Lonely” is a slow-burning and aching track, featuring shimmering and reverb soaked guitars paired with a soaring hook and Vanderwoude’s ethereal vocals. And while sonically continuing on in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor with the song bringing the likes of Slowdive, Mazzy Star and even Cocteau Twins to mind, the song as the duo’s Krissy Vanderwoude explains is “lyrically a bit of a heartbreaker for anyone who knows what it feels like to have loved and lost.”



Influenced by The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Joy Division and others, the rising Swiss-American shoegaze duo The Churchhill Garden — currently, founding member Andy Jossi (guitar) and Whimsical‘s Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals) — was originally founded as a solo recording project back in 2010 as a way for Jossi to plug into his emotions and to focus on writing music without any pressure.

A friend had showed Jossi how to use GarageBand, which he used for some of his earliest recordings. The Swiss guitarist was determined to become a better guitarist and he learned from his mistakes, which helped his musicianship and songwriting flourish and grow. As he was growing as a musician and songwriter, Jossi discovered Logic, which led to an improved and lusher quality to his recordings.

Jossi began to notice that the songs he was writing became more expansive and while inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, shoegaze, post punk and jangle pop had gradually revealed his own take on the sounds he had long loved. The Swiss guitarist originally posted his instrumental songs on Myspace without expecting much in return but he was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the positive response he received. Although Jossi enjoyed writing the songs he had posted on MySpace, he felt that the material was missing something important — vocals.

Hoping to broaden his musical horizons, the Swiss guitarist and songwriter sought out a few local vocalists to collaborate with: his first collaboration was with The Reaction’s Max Burki, one of Jossi’s local musical heroes. Jossi went on to record two more tracks with Eva Tresch. Technological advances — i.e., home recording studios and programs, as well as file sharing — allowed Jossi to collaborate with vocalists outside of his native Switzerland. His first collaboration with a foreign vocalist, “Noisy Butterfly,” which featured Italian vocalist Damiano Rosetti helped expand The Churchhill Garden’s audience and fanbase outside of Switzerland.

Jossi followed “Noisy Butterfly” with more collaborations with international vocalists including Craig Douglas (USA), Alistair Douglas (AUS) and Hideka (Japan). The Swiss guitarist and songwriter first crossed paths with Whimsical’s Krissy Vanderwoude back in 2016. Vanderwoude had been a fan of Jossi’s music for some time: She commented on Jossi’s “Sleepless,” on Facebook, letting him know that she loved his music, had been a big fan and was deeply moved by the emotionality of his work. Her message went on to say that she could “hear his heart” through his work and that they resonated deeply with her.

Vanderwoude and Jossi had a mutual friend, Kev Cleary, who chimed in the comment thread, that the two should work on a song together. The duo were very excited about the idea but didn’t quite know what to expect. Jossi sent Vandewoude files for a couple of different instrumentals and encouraged her to choose which one she wanted to work on. As the story goes, the Whimsical frontwoman gravitated to one of the tracks in particular and remembers being moved to tears when she first heard it. The end result became their first song together “The Same Sky.”

“The Same Sky” was released to an overwhelmingly positive response with people generally commenting that they felt a magical chemistry between the two — and after a couple of songs together, they realized that Vanderwoude should be a permanent and full-time member of The Churchhill Garden. Of course, while Vanderwoude is a permanent fixture in The Churchhill Garden universe, Jossi has continued collaborated with other vocalists, including Seashine’s Demi Haynes and Fables‘ and Swirl’s Ben Aylward.

Churchhill Gardens songs were coming together quickly with a new single being released every few months. With every new release, they found their fanbase steadily growing. And although, they were releasing material through Bandcamp and other DSPs, a growing number of people expressed interest in owning a physical copy of the songs — and they started asking if there would ever be an actual Churchhill Garden album.

Last year, the Swiss-American duo released their full-length debut, a double LP album Heart and Soul. Since the release of Heart and Soul, the duo have been busy working on new material, including the album’s follow-up single — and their first single of the year, the slow-burning and swooning “Fade Away.” Centered around layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering guitars, Vanderwoude’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and soaring hooks “Fade Away” will likely draw comparisons to Souvlaki-era Slowdive, So Tonight That I May See-era Mazzy Star, compete with a similar aching yearning at its core.

New Video: Soccer Mommy Releases a Creepy and Dread-Fueled VIsual for “crawling in my skin”

Sophie Allison is a Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and creative mastermind behind the critically applauded indie rock project Soccer Mommy. Allison first picked up guitar when she was six — and as a teenager, she attended Nashville School of the Arts, where she studied guitar and played in the school’s swing band. In 2015, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began posting home-recorded sons as Soccer Mommy Bandcamp during the summer of 2015, just as she was about to head to New York University (my alma mater, no less!), where she studied music business at the University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

While she was in college, Allison played her first Soccer Mommy show at Bushwick, Brooklyn’s Silent Barn. She caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed her to a record deal — and after spending two years at NYU, she returned to Nashville to pursue a full-time career in music. Upon her return to Nashville, the acclaimed Swiss-born artist wrote and released two Soccer Mommy albums — 2016’s For Young Hearts released through Orchid Tapes and 2017’s Collection released through Fat Possum. Allison’s proper, full-length debut 2018’s Clean was released to widespread critical acclaim, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based artist has toured with Stephen Malkmus, Mitski, Kacey Musgraves, Jay Som, Slowdive, Frankie Cosmos, Liz Phair, Phoebe Bridgers, Paramore, Foster the People, Vampire Weekend, and Wilco.

Before the pandemic, Allison was gearing up for this year to be a massive year: she started off 2020 by playing at one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential rallies and joined a lengthy and eclectic list of artists, who endorsed his presidential campaign. Her highly-anticipated sophomore album color theory was released to critical praise earlier this year — and like countless artists across the globe, she was about to embark on a headlining tour with a number of dates sold-out months in advance that included a Glastonbury Festival set. And she was supposed to be make her late-night, national TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

With touring at an indefinite halt, Allison, like countless other artists recognized that this period offered a unique opportunity to get creative and experiment with new ideas and new ways to connect with fans. Combining her love of video games and performing, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based artist had a digital show on Club Penguin Rewritten with over 10,000 attendees, who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend. The show was so popular, that the platform’s servers crashed, forcing a rescheduling of the event. Of course, Allison has also played a number of live-streamed sets, including ones hosted by NPR’s Tiny Desk At Home (which she kicked off) and Pitchfork‘s IG Live Series. She also released her own Zoom background images for her fans to proudly show off their Soccer Mommy fandom.

Earlier this year, Aliison and her backing band embarked on a Bella Clark-directed 8 bit, virtual music video tour that had the act playing some of the cities she had been scheduled to play if the pandemic didn’t happen — Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, and Austin. And instead of having the virtual shows at at a common tourist spot or a traditional music venue, the members of the band were mischievously placed in rather unusual locations: an abandoned Toronto subway station, a haunted Chicago hotel, a bat-filled Austin bridge. Of course, the video tour featured color theory single “crawling in my skin,” a song centered around looping and shimming guitars, a sinuous bass line, shuffling drumming, subtly shifting tempos and an infectious hook.

Allison recently released an Adam Kolodny-directed, fittingly Halloween-themed visual for “crawling in my skin” that’s full of creeping and slow-burning dread that reminds me of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe movies with Vincent Price. “I’m excited to put out this video for crawling in my skin right at the end of spooky season. I hope everyone enjoys this video and their Halloween! 🎃“ Allison says.

New Video: Heartless Bastards Release a Surreal and Urgent Visual for Politically-Charged and Uplifting “Revolution”

Deriving their name from a hilariously incorrect answer on a multiple-choice trivia game (the question was: “What is the name of Tom Petty’s backing band), the acclaimed indie rock act Heartless Bastards was founded in Cincinnati by Dayton, OH-born singer/songwriter and guitarist Erika Wennerstrom back in 2003 in Cincinnati. Starting out as a solo recording project,. Heartless Bastards evolved into a live band with a revolving cast of musicians that regularly played throughout the Midwest.

The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney caught the band and was so impressed by what he had heard, that he passed along a copy of their demo to their label at the time — Fat Possum Records, who signed the band and released their first three albums: 2005’s Stairs and Elevators, 2006’s All This Time and 2009’s The Mountain. In between the writing and recording of All This Time and The Mountain, Wennerstrom relocated to Austin, TX. Around the time that Wennenrstrom relocated to Austin, the band’s touring lineup featured David Colvin (drums) and Jesse Ebaugh (bass), who both played on the Heartless Bastard demos recorded six years prior. The band expanded into a quartet with the 2009 addition of Mark Nathan (guitar).

The band signed to Partisan Records, who released the band’s last two critically applauded albums — 2012’s Arrow and 2015’s Restless Ones. And after 15 years of fronting the band, Wennnerstrom released her solo debut, 2018’s Sweet Unknown. “It was a deeply personal album and it just felt fitting to use my name,” Wennerstrom says of her solo debut. “It kind of forced me to allow myself to be a little more exposed, and stand on my own two feet. I feel like I’ve grown so much creatively and personally through this process.”

Recently, the band returned to the studio to work on their long-awaited Kevin Ratterman-produced fifth album. The album reportedly will find the band continuing the late night, bluesy rock vibes that have won them praise and attention. The band’s latest single “Revolution” is their first bit of original material as a band in five years. The track was initially released on Bandcamp with proceeds donated to the ALCU — with the track no being available on all DSPs.

“Revolution” begins with a slow-burning and atmospheric ballad introduction that slowly builds up in intensity before turning into an anthemic, bluesy rocker around the three minute mark. Centered around Wennerstorm’s bluesy wail and some dexterous guitar work, including a blazing solo, the track is an incisive and urgent message that says we need to get our shit straight and make the world a better place before it’s too late. “’Revolution’ is about self love,” Wennerstrom explains in press notes. “I think if people loved themselves more there wouldn’t be racism, bigotry, and classism. Some people are so worried that there is not enough pie to go around, and that lifting up others limits their own opportunity. There is mass misinformation and manipulation to peddle this narrative. Money, materialism, privileged access to better education are things people constantly measure themselves with. The need to feel better than someone in order to feel good about oneself is an age old insecurity. The planet really can’t sustain everyone having more. Everything is made to fall apart, like cars and $1100 cell phones. I think humanity needs to learn how to have less, and not play into the commercialism that constantly sends the message we lack things that we don’t really need.

“Revolution is a mantra, and reminder to myself to avoid playing the game as much as I can. I don’t need this, and I don’t need that. I don’t need to compare myself to others. This marathon everybody is running is exhausting. There is so much true suffering in this world with a lack of food, shelter, and basic running water. The more man attempts to look at the world from another man’s perspective it becomes apparent how connected we all really are. I think giving and receiving love is really what we need the most. All the rest is just a bunch of noise.”

Directed by Sam Wainwright Douglas and David Hartstein, the recently released, incredibly surreal video features an elegantly dressed Wennerstrom sitting crossed legged in the salt flats of Utah watching advertisements and imagery that people to be blindly greedy, selfish consumers and brutally racist.But during the song’s anthemic second half, we see nature overcoming all, and eventually Wennerstrom coolly floating through space.

“I wanted to release ‘Revolution’ before the election, to serve as a reminder of what’s important in life: love and compassion for yourself and your fellow man,” Wennerstrom says of the video’s release. “We have to fight fear with love. I think there’s a lot of bullshit out there that is peddled to sway people one way or the other. I feel people know what’s right in their hearts. It’s a call to not look the other way.

“For the video, I had an idea of having a surreal living room image in the salt flats,” Wennerstrom adds. “It’s a statement on how our excess commercial culture and system create a competitive climb to the top. We all struggle to get ahead so we don’t get left far behind. Very little life can live in the salt flats and I thought it helped symbolize the direction of environment if we don’t come together and wake up. I couldn’t get to the salt flats and the idea of a green screen came to mind. Sam Douglas and David Hartstein took this idea to a whole other level. The green screen went from what was initially just being unable to get to the salt flats to far beyond what I’d imagined. It really captured the song so much more.

There is so much beauty in this world, and in each other. Sometimes it is underneath the surface, but it’s always there. Let’s lift each other up.”

New Audio: Paris’ Café Bizarre Releases a 90s Alt Rock Sounding Anthem

Café Bizarre — Fabien (vocals), Giles (bass, guitar), Jean-Michel (drums, percussion), Granlu (guitar, bass) and Jean-Marc (guitar) — is a Paris-based indie rock act that can trace its origins back to the 1990s. And since their formation, the Parisian indie rock act have largely been a musician’s musician band, and arguably one of the bigger influences of the indie music scenes of early 90s New York, Hoboken and Chicago.

As the story goes, Mark Ibold, who played bass on a number of Pavement and Sonic Youth albums in the 00s met members of the band in a Lower East Side bar. This chance meeting wound up cementing a deeply rooted 25 year friendship between the Parisian band and the members of Pavement. According to Café Bizarre, Pavement’s “Shoot The Singer” discreetly pays homage to them — but interestingly enough, the band says that the song was originally written the year, as a tribute to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground.

The band’s first recorded output, 1995’s 13 song album Avenue A saw distribution through small shops and then disappeared from public consciousness — until a Télépopmusik fan came across the album on e-Bay. 1997’s four song EP Manipulate Men was originally distributed and sold through their local record store. Much like its predecessor, it disappeared until someone found some copies, 12 years later in a box in the store’s basement.

1998 saw the band’s lineup expanded into a quintet with the addition of a new member. And as the band joke, they continued their musical careers with personal funds and the logistical support of dear and steadfast friends.

1998 saw the band’s lineup expanded into a quintet with the addition fo a new member. And as the band joke, they continued their musical careers with personal funds and the logistical support of dear and steadfast friends. A few years later — 2001, to be precise — the Parisian band wrote and recorded a 3 song effort, aptly tired 3 that wasn’t distributed. By 2002, the band went on hiatus with its members spending time raising families and doing responsible, adult things.

In 2011, Café Bizarre released a CD-DVD boxed set of their Fallentfest Music Festival appearance at La Cigale. The following year, the band gave away the live album portion of the CD-DVD boxed sets to fans upon request.

After several attempts at self-production, the band recruited Mattéo Apher to produce the band’s first vinyl record, a 10 song effort released in 2017. The effort found the band blending 90s alt rock influences with loud, guitar-driven anthems. The album is available is also available digitally through Bandcamp.

Earlier this year,. the Parisian indie rock band released a 7 song EP Don’t Swim Tonight My Love , which boldly recalls 90s rock, complete with enormous hooks. The EP’s latest single, EP title track., “Don’t Swim Tonight My Love” is a shimmering rocker centered around Fabien’s plaintive vocals, a propulsive backbeat and a shout-along worthy hook that sonically brings Pablo Honey-era Radiohead and 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind.

New Video: Hot Snakes Release a Hilarious and Hallucinogenic Visual for Anthemic “Not in Time”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the acclaimed — and downright legendary — punk act Hot Snakes. Continuing upon the momentum of 2018’s Jericho Sirens, the band released the “Checkmate”/”Not in Time” 7 inch late last year as the first of a series of four 7 inch singles released to lead up to the JOVM mainstay act’s highly-awaited fifth album.

The physical copies of “Checkmate”/”Not in Time” were sold only at shows during their UK tour to close out 2019 — and as you may recall, Sub Pop released, the sleazy AC/DC-like “Checkmate,” digitally through all DSPs. And until — well, today, the B-side “Not In Time” was unavailable anywhere else. “Not in Time” is essentially classic Hot Snakes: rousingly anthemic and euphoric hooks, pummeling guitar riffs, thunderous drumming and howled vocals. Goddamn it, I miss loud rock shows and sweaty mosh pits — because this one is a mosh pit anthem.

“Not in Time” will be available on Hot Snakes’ Bandcamp page tomorrow at Pay-Whatever-the-Hell-You-Want pricing for Friday only, as part of Bandcamp’s ongoing monthly fundraisers to generate funds for artists unable to tour as a result of the pandemic.

Directed by Jessica Kourkounis (Jason Kourkounis’ sister), the recently released video is a hilarious and hallucinogenic visual that follows a crew of skateboarders, who during an afternoon of wholesome shredding take tabs of Hot Snakes-branded acid and suddenly strange things happen — mainly, they see their arms elongate as they continue skating.
“This video started with a basic idea I had, which was, wouldn’t it be funny to see a bunch of skater dudes try and shred with extra-long arms” Jessica Kourkounis explains. “I have a bit of an obsession with homemade-looking costumes. So I hit up my friend Brian Emig to see if he would help me find the guys and film them. The rest happened pretty organically. We just went out and did it mostly. I also wanted to somehow include a visual of the band so I asked Rick to draw their heads so I could print them on blotter paper to help move the story forward. To great relief, it all worked out.”

Glassio · Breaking Through

Glassio is a Queens-based synth pop act that can trace its origins back to 2015 when its founding members — Sam R. and Charles Pinel  — met while attending NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Since the project’s formation, it has increasingly become the Queens-born and-based Sam R’s solo recording project. Interestingly, during that same period of time, Sam R. has managed to develop and hone what he has dubbed “melancholy disco,” a mix of dance music influences, wavering pop melodies, introspective, narrative-based lyrics and lush harmonies. Thematically, Glassio’s work draws from its creative mastermind’s own life and heartbreak, the difficult wrestling of self-acceptance we all deal with throughout our lives, loneliness and of course, major life changes.

Last year, Sam R released his sophomore Glassio EP EP Age of Experience, an effort that Mother Jones called “proof that electronic music and great storytelling are a perfect match.” The EP featured “Back for More,” which amassed over 2 million Spotify streams while being featured on Alan Ball’s HBO show Here & Now Outside of his own work, Sam R. has received attention for remixing and reworking the work of artists like Madge, Argonaut & Wasp, Sulene and Goldwash.

Sam R’s full-length, 11 song debut For The Very Last Time officially dropped yesterday — and so far, the Queens-based artist has released a handful of singles including “A Million Doubts,” which was featured in the latest season of the Freeform TV series Good Trouble“Nobody Stayed For The DJ,” “Are You Having Fun Without Me?” and “Make No Mistake,” the album’s fourth single, which featured a guest backing spot from New York-based vocalist Daneshevskaya. Centered around twinkling synth arpeggios, thumping beats and a soaring hook, the song finds Sam R. balancing an achingly wistful nostalgia with a much-needed sense of optimism. In a narrative sense, the album’s material captures the growth and re-birth of someone’s character out of a dark space. Thematically, the album is focused on shedding negativity and figuring out a way to trust yourself to love others again. So by the album’s last song, the character you’ve been hearing about has managed to evolve, accept their shortcomings and find a way to heal from personal loss.

“I wanted to take electronic-pop tropes and use them in a more fragile, loving way. I think there’s a bit of spiritual nature to the album — much of it is about rediscovering your faith in the world and those around you, as well as yourself, and much of it is about accepting fate,” Glassio’s Sam R. explains in press notes. “For those reasons, I wanted the songs to all sort of feel like little electronic-pop hymns. The record is about proudly displaying and accepting fragility. I needed the mixes and production to mirror that too. Nothing is mixed ‘perfectly’ by any means. I like having some instruments uncomfortably quiet and some uncomfortably loud. Many of the songs on the record are about feeling very disconnected and isolated from the world.”

“Breaking Through,” For The Very Last Time‘s fifth and latest single is centered around layers of glistening synth arpeggios, thumping beats and Sam R.’s plaintive vocals. And while further cementing the Queens-based artist’s reputation for an unerring knack for writing deeply earnest material with infectious hooks, the track evokes a skittish uncertainty that begrudgingly and slowly grows into confidence, as its narrator admits his vulnerability and frailties.

I have to add that half of the proceeds from the album will go to Black Mental Health Alliance while 100% of Bandcamp proceeds will go towards BHMA. So if you dig Glassio and want to buy the album, your money will also go to a great and necessary cause.

https://glassio.bandcamp.com

New Video: Pom Pom Squad Releases a David Lynch-like Cover of “Crimson + Clover”

Last year, I wrote a bit about the rising Brooklyn-based grunge rock/punk rock act Pom Pom Squad — Mia Berrin (vocals, guitar), Mari Ale Figeman (bass), Shelby Keller (drums) and Ethan Sass (guitar)  — and the act quickly became a local DIY scene staple for a modern take on the 90s grunge rock scene that find the band balancing solemnity and whimsy, old school punk aesthetics and emotional vulnerability in which they’ve dubbed Quiet Grrl punk. They’ve also developed and honed a raucous live show while sharing stages with the likes of Soccer Mommy, Adult Mom, Long Neck and others.

The Brooklyn-based act’s sophomore EP Ow was released last year to critical praised rom the likes of Stereogum, Paste, Under the Radar, Highsnobiety and Thrillist, and EP material received airplay on SiriusXM Alt Nation — and that shouldn’t be surprising: the band’s work is generally mosh pit friendly, power chord-driven rock paired with an unhinged, feral intensity reminiscent of Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The band recently recorded a brooding and atmospheric,  David Lynch-like cover of Tommy James & The Shondells’ “Crimson + Clover” in honor of both Pride Month and to support Bandcamp’s Juneteenth fundraising campaign. “This year would have been my first Pride as an ‘out’ person,” Pom Pom Squad’s Mia Berrin explains in press notes. “It took me a long time to come to terms with my identity in a true and honest way, but I am proud to meet myself where I am now. This year, the idea of walking down a street proudly, in my queerness and in my brown skin, feels particularly difficult for a multitude of obvious reasons, but this song is my small celebration of the scary, complicated, empowering process of owning my black, queer identity.” Directed by Mia Berrin and Shelby Keller, the recently released video, much like the song was produced during quarantine is a sultry fever dream. 

Now. as you may recall Bandcamp donated their share of all sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Pom Pom Squad will be donating their share of all digital downloads to For the Gworls Medical Fund, a POC-led emergency medical relief medical fund that pays for black trans folks to travel to clinics and pharmacies during the pandemic, and provide co-pay assistance if needed, so that they can continue to receive necessary — and important — prescriptions.