Tag: Brooklyn Steel

New Video: Julia Jacklin Shares Anthemic “I Was Neon”

With the release of 2016’s full-length debut, the folky Don’t Let The Kids Win, acclaimed Melbourne-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Julia Jacklin has carved out a reputation as a rather direct lyricist, willing to excavate the parameters of intimacy and angry in songs that are simultaneously stark and raw, loose and playful. 2018’s sophomore album Crushing drew the listener in even closer.

Jacklin’s third album PRE PLEASURE is slated for an August 26, 2022 through Polyvinyl Record Co. Conceived upon returning home at the end of an extensive world tour to support Crushing, PRE PLEASURE‘s material was finished in a frantic few months of recording in Montreal with co-producer Marcus Paquin. “The songs on this record took either three years to write or three minutes,” Jacklin says.

Jacklin teamed up with her Canadian touring band, which featured The Weather Station’s Ben Whiteley (bass) and Will Kidman (guitar), Folly and the Hunter’s Laurie Torres (drums) and Adam Kinner (drums), as well as string arrangements by Owen Pallett recorded by a full orchestra in Prague.

“Making a record to me has always just been about the experience, a new experience in a new place with a new person at the desk, taking the plunge and just seeing what happens” Jacklin says of traveling to Canada to work with a new producer for the third time in as many albums. “For the first time I stepped away from the guitar, and wrote a lot of the album on the Roland keyboard in my apartment in Montreal with its inbuilt band tracks. I blu-tacked reams of butcher paper to the walls, covered in lyrics and ideas, praying to the music gods that my brain would arrange everything in time.” 

Conceived upon returning home at the end of a mammoth Crushing world tour, and finished in a frantic few months of recording in Montreal with (“The songs on this record took either three years to write or three minutes”), PRE PLEASURE sees Jacklin expanding beyond her signature sound, while conjuring the ripples and fault lines caused by unreliable communication.

Sonically, PRE PLEASURE reportedly sees Jacklin and her backing band expanding upon the sound that has won her acclaim internationally while the album thematically focuses on the ripples and faultiness caused by unreliable communication.

PRE PLEASURE‘s latest single, the driving “I Was Neon” is features a relentless motorik groove, buzzing guitars, Jacklin’s plaintive delivery and an enormous, arena rock-like hook. And while being an anthemic bit of rock-leaning pop — or pop-leaning rock? — the song is centered around earnest, lived-in lyrics that simultaneously express crippling self-doubt but with a deeply intelligent, almost winking self-awareness of how ridiculous it is.

“I first wrote ‘I Was Neon’ for a band called rattlesnack, a short-lived much loved 2019 side project that I played drums in,” Jacklin explains. “I rewrote it for my album in Montreal, during a time when I was desperately longing for a version of myself that I feared was gone forever. I was thinking of this song when I made the album cover, this song is the album cover really.”  

Directed by Jacklin, the accompanying video for “I Was Neon” was shot in Melbourne and features the acclaimed Aussie singer/songwriter in an elaborate get up — a long dress, gloves, lots of rings and the like while playing guitar in a quirky and cluttered apartment that’s roughly the size of a box, and follows her as she bops around from room to room. We also follow Jacklin as she wanders a suburban, wooded area and swings near a lake. The video is a surreal fever dream in which its protagonist seems to be negotiating between stage presence and her real self.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays La Femme Share Hazy and Hallucinogenic Visual For Atmospheric “Tu T’en Lasses”

Founded back in 2010, Parisian psych pop act and longtime JOVM mainstays  La Femme — currently, founding members Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée, along with Sam Lefévre, Noé Delmas, Cleémence Quélennec, Clara Luiciani, Jane Peynot, Marilou Chollet and Lucas Nunez Ritter — managed to completely hoodwink the French music industry by lining up a DIY Stateside tour as a then unknown band, with only $3,000 Euros and their debut EP, that year’s Le Podium #1.

After playing 20 gigs across the States, the members of La Femme returned to their native France with immense interest from the Parisian music scene. “The industry was like, ‘What the fuck? They have an EP out and they are touring in the US and we don’t know them?” Marlon Magnée told The Guardian. “So the buzz began to start. When we came back to France, it was red carpet. Fucking DIY.” 

2013’s critically applauded and commercially successful full-length debut Psycho Tropical Berlin found the Parisian JOVM mainstays making a wild, creative and sonic left turn incorporating krautrock and synths to the mix. The album eventually earned a Victoires de la Musique Award. Building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile, La Femme’s sophomore album, 2016’s Mystére to praise by Sound Opinions, The Line of Best FitThe GuardianAllMusic, BrooklynVegan and a lengthy list of others. 

The French JOVM mainstays long-awaited, third album Paradigmes was released last year through the band’s own Disque Pointu and distributed through IDOL. And over the course of that year, I managed to write about five of the album’s nine previously released singles:

  • Cool Colorado,” a coolly bombastic single that seemed indebted to Scott Walker and Ennio Morricone soundtracks while being an “ode to the San Francisco of the 70s — and to Colorado, the first American state to legalize cannabis. 
  • Disconnexion,” a surreal what-the-fuck fever dream centered around pulsating Giorgio Moroder-like motorik grooves, a fiery banjo solo, atmospheric electronics, twinkling synth arpeggios, a philosophic soliloquy delivered in a dry, academic French and operatic caterwauling. 
  • Foutre le Bordel,” a breakneck freak out that meshed Freedom of Choice-era DEVO and Giorgio Moroder with ’77 punk rock nihilism. 
  • Le Jardin,” an achingly sad lullaby written and sung in Spanish — the band’s first song in Spanish. Inspired by a trip to Spain that the band took a few years ago, the song as the band explains is a kind of an old-school slow dance, which underlines how fragile and random fate is.
  • Pasadena,” a slow-burning, woozy ballad that sounds — and feels — like a narcotic-induced haze. Written as an informal response and continuation of the story told in “Septembre,” off the band’s sophomore album, “Pasadena” features the main character of “Septembre” as a teenager. And as a result, the song is about budding romances — primarily their seemingly carefree nature at the time, their eventual difficulties and confusions, and the weight of peer pressure.

April has been very busy for the JOVM mainstays. Earlier this month, they released Paradigmes: Le Film, a full-length film co-directed by the band’s Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée and Aymeric Bergada du Cadet that’s centered around the album’s material, and highlights their humor and creativity. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8Wnil2ipf0

The JOVM mainstays will be releasing an exclusive, vinyl, Record Store Day edition of Paradigmes, Paradigmes: suppléments, a deluxe edition of their critically applauded third album. You can purchase it here: https://recordstoreday.com/SpecialRelease/14923

And along with the Record Store Day exclusive vinyl release of Paradigmes: suppléments, the band released yet another single off Paradigmes, the album closing track “Tu T’en Lasses,” a slow-burning and atmospheric fever dream, centered around skittering beats, glistening synths and a distorted yet mournful horn solo paired with dreamily delivered vocals.

The accompanying video for “Tu T’en Lasses” continues a run of hazy, feverish visuals: The members of La Femme are house band at a local dance, playing the slow dance song for the couples out there — including a Sid and Nancy-like couple. Is it an achingly nostalgic memory of a lost love and a time since passed — or a drug and booze-fueled hallucination? Or perhaps both? That’s up to you to decide.

Live Footage: Amyl and The Sniffers Perform “Hertz” on “Late Night with Seth Meyers”

Acclaimed Melbourne-based punk act and JOVM mainstays Amyl and The Sniffers — Amy Taylor (vocals), Gus Romer (bass), Bryce Wilson (drums) and Declan Martens (guitar) — released their Don Luscombe co-produced sophomore album Comfort To Me last year through ATO Records.  Written during a long year of pandemic quarantining, in which the members of the band lived in the same house, the album’s material sonically draws from a heavier set of references and influences including AC/DC, Rose TattooMötorhead,  Wendy O. WilliamsWarthogPower Trip, Coloured Balls and Cosmic Psychos. Taylor’s lyrics and delivery were also inspired by her longtime love of hip-hop and garage rock. 

“All four of us spent most of 2020 enclosed by pandemic authority in a 3-bedroom rental in our home city of Melbourne, Australia. We’re like a family: we love each other and feel nothing at the same time,” the band’s Amy Taylor says in a lengthy statement on the album. “We had just come off two years of touring, being stuck in a van together eight hours a day, and then we’re trapped together for months in this house with sick green walls. It sucked but it was also nice. We spent heaps of time in the backyard listening to music, thrashing around in shorts, eating hot chips. The boys had a hard time being away from the pub and their mates, but it meant we had a lot of time to work on this record. Most of the songs were really intuitive. Main thing, we just wanted it to be us. In the small windows we had in between lockdowns, we went to our rehearsal space, which is a storage locker down the road at National Storage Northcote. We punched all the songs into shape at Nasho and for the first time ever we wrote more songs than we needed. We had the luxury of cutting out the songs that were shit and focusing on the ones we loved. 

“We were all better musicians, as well, because that’s what happens when you go on tour for two years, you get really good at playing. We were a better band and we had heaps of songs, so we were just different. The nihilistic, live in the moment, positivity and panel beater rock-meets-shed show punk was still there, but it was better. The whole thing was less spontaneous and more darkly considered. The lyrics I wrote for the album are better too, I think. The amount of time and thought I put into the lyrics for this album is completely different from the EPs, and even the first record. Half of the lyrics were written during the Australian Bushfire season, when we were already wearing masks to protect ourselves from the smoke in the air. And then when the pandemic hit, our options were the same as everyone: go find a day job and work in intense conditions or sit at home and drown in introspection. I fell into the latter category. I had all this energy inside of me and nowhere to put it, because I couldn’t perform, and it had a hectic effect on my brain. 

“My brain evolved and warped and my way of thinking about the world completely changed. Having to deal with a lot of authority during 2020 and realising my lack of power made me feel both more self destructive and more self disciplined, more nihilistic and more depressed and more resentful, which ultimately fuelled me with a kind of relentless motivation. I became a temporary monster. I partied more, but I also exercised heaps, read books and ate veggies. I was like an egg going into boiling water when this started, gooey and weak but with a hard surface. I came out even harder. I’m still soft on the inside, but in a different way. All of this time, I was working on the lyrics. I pushed myself heaps and heaps, because there were things that I needed to say. The lyrics draw a lot from rap phrasing, because that’s what I’m into. I just wanted to be a weird bitch and celebrate how weird life and humans are. 

“The whole thing is a fight between by my desire to evolve and the fact that somehow I always end up sounding like a dumb cunt. So anyway, that’s where this album comes from. People will use other bands as a sonic reference to make it more digestible and journalists will make it seem more pretentious and considered than it really is, but in the end this album is just us — raw self expression, defiant energy, unapologetic vulnerability. It was written by four self-taught musicians who are all just trying to get by and have a good time. 

“If you have to explain what this record is like, I reckon it’s like watching an episode of The Nanny but the setting is an Australian car show and the Nanny cares about social issues and she’s read a couple of books, and Mr. Sheffield is drinking beer in the sun. It’s a Mitsubishi Lancer going slightly over the speed limit in a school zone. It’s realising how good it is to wear track pants in bed. It’s having someone who wants to cook you dinner when you’re really shattered. It’s me shadow-boxing on stage, covered in sweat, instead of sitting quietly in the corner.”

In the lead up to the album’s release, I managed to write about three of the album’s released singles: 

  • Guided by Angels,” a riotous, mosh pit friendly ripper centered around Taylor’s frenetic energy and punchily delivered vocals, buzzing power chords and a pub friendly, shout along with a raised beer in your hand hook. But underneath all of that, “Guided by Angels” is fueled by a defiant and unapologetic vulnerability and a rare, unshakeable faith in possibility and overall goodness; that there actually are good angels right over your shoulder to guide you and sustain you when you need them the most. 
  • Security,” a Highway to Hell-era AC/DC-like anthem full of swaggering braggadocio, boozy power chords, thunderous drumming, shout along worthy hooks and Taylor’s feral delivery. Much like its immediate predecessor, the song is fueled by its narrator boldly and unapologetically declaring that they need and are looking for love — right now! “
  • Hertz,” an AC/DC-ike ripper fueled by the frenetic energy of the bored, lonely and trapped within their heads and those desperately desiring something — hell, anything — different than the four walls that they’ve gotten sick of. Interestingly, “Hertz” captures a feeling that I’ve personally struggled with during the pandemic, and I’m sure you have too. And it does so with a urgency and vulnerability that’s devastating. 

Since its release last year Comfort to Me has been a commercial and critical success: The album hit #1 on Billboard‘s Alternative New Albums Chart, #2 on both the Heatseekers and Top New Artist Albums Charts, #4 on the Independent Albums Chart, #7 on the Rock Albums Chart, #9 on the Alternative Albums Chart and it landed on the Top 20 on the Albums Sales Chart. In the UK, the album was named BBC 6 Music‘s Album of the Day, and chartered at #21 on the UK charts. And in the band’s native Australia, the album was named Triple J’s Featured Albums of the Week while charting at #2. 

Building upon the attention and buzz of their sophomore album, the Aussie JOVM mainstays will be releasing a deluxe, expanded edition of Comfort To Me. Slated for a vinyl release on May 13, 2022, Comfort To Me (Expanded Edition) will be a double LP that features the original full-length album and a bonus live LP recorded on a dock outside of Melbourne, a fold-out poster and new artwork by graphic designer Bráulio Amado. 

The band is currently embarking on an extensive and mostly sold-out Stateside tour that now includes two — that’s right two! — New York Metropolitan area dates: May 19, 2022 at Brooklyn Steel and a newly added September 23, 2022 stop at Terminal 5.

There are still a small handful of remaining, available tickets left for some of the previously announced shows — and for the newly announced Terminal 5 show. Tickets and information can be found here: https://www.amylandthesniffers.com/shows

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this year, you may recall that the Aussie JOVM mainstays gave fans a sneak peek of their live show with a live version of “Maggot,” filmed on a dock, just outside of Melbourne. Much like the album’s previously released singles “Maggot” was an infectious mix of mosh pit friendly fury and achingly earnest, heart-worn-on-sleeve vulnerability.

So far, the JOVM mainstays have made the best of their latest Stateside tour: Last night they made their late night Stateside TV debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers, where they performed the AC/DC-like ripper “Hertz.” Amy Taylor is an explosive bundle of energy that can be barely be contained within the confines of a small screen.

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays Amyl and The Sniffers Perform “Maggot” at Williamstown, Australia

Acclaimed Melbourne-based punk act and JOVM mainstays Amyl and The Sniffers — Amy Taylor (vocals), Gus Romer (bass), Bryce Wilson (drums) and Declan Martens (guitar) — formed back in 2016, and shortly after their formation, they wrote and self-recorded their debut EP Giddy Up. The following year, saw the release of the Big Attractions EP, which was packaged as a double 12 inch EP with Giddy Up released through Homeless Records in Australia and Damaged Goods in the UK.

The Aussie punk quartet exploded into the international scene with a set at The Great Escape Festival, a series of sold out London area shows and a Stateside tour opening for JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. They added to a busy year with a headlining tours across both the UK and US before signing to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Flightless Records for distribution across Australia and New Zealand and Rough Trade for the rest of the world. The year was capped off with a Q Awards nomination for Best New Act and won the $30,000 Levis Prize.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Aussie punk quartet took 2019’s SXSW by storm. And then the band promptly released their self-tiled, full-length debut to critical applause globally while further cementing a feral and anarchic take on ’77 era punk. Adding to a breakthrough year, Amyl and the Sniffers won an ARIA Award for Best Rock Album. 

Comfort To Me, the Aussie punk quartet’s Don Luscombe-co-produced sophomore album was released last year through ATO Records.  Written during a long year of pandemic quarantining, in which the members of the band lived in the same house, the album’s material sonically draws from a heavier set of references and influences including AC/DC, Rose TattooMötorhead,  Wendy O. WilliamsWarthogPower Trip, Coloured Balls and Cosmic Psychos. Taylor’s lyrics and delivery were also inspired by her longtime love of hip-hop and garage rock. 

“All four of us spent most of 2020 enclosed by pandemic authority in a 3-bedroom rental in our home city of Melbourne, Australia. We’re like a family: we love each other and feel nothing at the same time,” Amyl and the Sniffers’ Amy Taylor says in a lengthy statement on the album. “We had just come off two years of touring, being stuck in a van together eight hours a day, and then we’re trapped together for months in this house with sick green walls. It sucked but it was also nice. We spent heaps of time in the backyard listening to music, thrashing around in shorts, eating hot chips. The boys had a hard time being away from the pub and their mates, but it meant we had a lot of time to work on this record. Most of the songs were really intuitive. Main thing, we just wanted it to be us. In the small windows we had in between lockdowns, we went to our rehearsal space, which is a storage locker down the road at National Storage Northcote. We punched all the songs into shape at Nasho and for the first time ever we wrote more songs than we needed. We had the luxury of cutting out the songs that were shit and focusing on the ones we loved. 

“We were all better musicians, as well, because that’s what happens when you go on tour for two years, you get really good at playing. We were a better band and we had heaps of songs, so we were just different. The nihilistic, live in the moment, positivity and panel beater rock-meets-shed show punk was still there, but it was better. The whole thing was less spontaneous and more darkly considered. The lyrics I wrote for the album are better too, I think. The amount of time and thought I put into the lyrics for this album is completely different from the EPs, and even the first record. Half of the lyrics were written during the Australian Bushfire season, when we were already wearing masks to protect ourselves from the smoke in the air. And then when the pandemic hit, our options were the same as everyone: go find a day job and work in intense conditions or sit at home and drown in introspection. I fell into the latter category. I had all this energy inside of me and nowhere to put it, because I couldn’t perform, and it had a hectic effect on my brain. 

“My brain evolved and warped and my way of thinking about the world completely changed. Having to deal with a lot of authority during 2020 and realising my lack of power made me feel both more self destructive and more self disciplined, more nihilistic and more depressed and more resentful, which ultimately fuelled me with a kind of relentless motivation. I became a temporary monster. I partied more, but I also exercised heaps, read books and ate veggies. I was like an egg going into boiling water when this started, gooey and weak but with a hard surface. I came out even harder. I’m still soft on the inside, but in a different way. All of this time, I was working on the lyrics. I pushed myself heaps and heaps, because there were things that I needed to say. The lyrics draw a lot from rap phrasing, because that’s what I’m into. I just wanted to be a weird bitch and celebrate how weird life and humans are. 

“The whole thing is a fight between by my desire to evolve and the fact that somehow I always end up sounding like a dumb cunt. So anyway, that’s where this album comes from. People will use other bands as a sonic reference to make it more digestible and journalists will make it seem more pretentious and considered than it really is, but in the end this album is just us — raw self expression, defiant energy, unapologetic vulnerability. It was written by four self-taught musicians who are all just trying to get by and have a good time. 

“If you have to explain what this record is like, I reckon it’s like watching an episode of The Nanny but the setting is an Australian car show and the Nanny cares about social issues and she’s read a couple of books, and Mr. Sheffield is drinking beer in the sun. It’s a Mitsubishi Lancer going slightly over the speed limit in a school zone. It’s realising how good it is to wear track pants in bed. It’s having someone who wants to cook you dinner when you’re really shattered. It’s me shadow-boxing on stage, covered in sweat, instead of sitting quietly in the corner.”

In the lead up to the album’s release, I managed to write about three of the album’s released singles: 

  • Guided by Angels,” a riotous, mosh pit friendly ripper centered around Taylor’s frenetic energy and punchily delivered vocals, buzzing power chords and a pub friendly, shout along with a raised beer in your hand hook. But underneath all of that, “Guided by Angels” is fueled by a defiant and unapologetic vulnerability and a rare, unshakeable faith in possibility and overall goodness; that there actually are good angels right over your shoulder to guide you and sustain you when you need them the most. 
  • Security,” a Highway to Hell-era AC/DC-like anthem full of swaggering braggadocio, boozy power chords, thunderous drumming, shout along worthy hooks and Taylor’s feral delivery. Much like its immediate predecessor, the song is fueled by its narrator boldly and unapologetically declaring that they need and are looking for love — right now! “
  • Hertz,” an AC/DC-ike ripper fueled by the frenetic energy of the bored, lonely and trapped within their heads and those desperately desiring something — hell, anything — different than the four walls that they’ve gotten sick of. Interestingly, “Hertz” captures a feeling that I’ve personally struggled with during the pandemic, and I’m sure you have too. And it does so with a urgency and vulnerability that’s devastating. 

Since its release last year Comfort to Me has been a commercial and critical success: The album hit #1 on Billboard‘s Alternative New Albums Chart, #2 on both the Heatseekers and Top New Artist Albums Charts, #4 on the Independent Albums Chart, #7 on the Rock Albums Chart, #9 on the Alternative Albums Chart and it landed on the Top 20 on the Albums Sales Chart. In the UK, the album was named BBC 6 Music‘s Album of the Day, and chartered at #21 on the UK charts. And in the band’s native Australia, the album was named Triple J’s Featured Albums of the Week while charting at #2. 

Just ahead of the band’s almost extensive and entirely sold-out Stateside tour, which includes stops at Coachella and Shaky Knees, the Aussie JOVM mainstays announced a deluxe, expanded edition of Comfort To Me. (As always, tour dates, which includes a May 19, 2022 stop at Brooklyn Steel are below. And you can get the small handful of remaining tickets here: https://www.amylandthesniffers.com/shows)

Slated for a vinyl release on May 13, 2022, Comfort To Me (Expanded Edition) will be a double LP that features the original full-length album and a bonus live LP recorded on a dock outside of Melbourne, a fold-out poster and new artwork by graphic designer Bráulio Amado.

Amyl and The Sniffers are giving Stateside fans a sneak peek of their live show with a live version of Comfort To Me album single “Maggot,” shot on a dock outside of Melbourne. Much like the rest of the album’s previously singles “Maggot” is an infectious and winning mix of mosh pit-friendly fury and aching, unabashed vulnerability.

As for the live footage, it’s a peak into their must-see live show: Taylor is an explosive, nuclear bomb of energy and unbridled passion and the band is ferocious and forceful.

New Video: BADBADNOTGOOD Shares Cinematic and Trippy Visual for Meditative “Open Channels”

Acclaimed Toronto-based jazz outfit BADBADNOTGOOD — currently founding members Chester Hansen (bass), and Alexander Sowinski (drums) with Leland Whitty (sax) — have received attention internationally for jazz-based interpretations of hip-hop tracks, which have allowed them to collaborate with  Kendrick Lamar, Tyler The Creator, Earl SweatshirtDenzel Curry, Danny BrownMick JenkinsGhostface Killah and others — and for a sound and compositional approach that draws from hip-hop, electronica, jazz, acid jazz and prog rock.

Founded by Hansen, Sowinski and Matt Taveres, BADBADNOTGOOD can trace some of its origins to its founders’ mutual love of MF Doom and Odd Future: The band wrote and played a composition based on Odd Future’s music for a panel of their jazz performance instructions, who unsurprisingly didn’t believe the composition had much musical value. Instead of listening to their instructions, the Canadian outfit released the composition as “The Odd Future Sessions, Part 1.”

“The Odd Future Sessions, Part 1” eventually caught the attention of Tyler the Creator, who helped the video go viral. Building upon rapidly growing buzz, the members of BADBADNOTGOOD followed up with their full-length debut, 2011’s BBNG, which featured interpretations of A Tribe Called QuestWaka Flocka Flame and of course, Odd Future. The band also recorded a live jam session with Tyler The Creator in Sowinski’s basement, with videos from the sessions amassing more than a million views each.

Their sophomore album, 2012’s BBNG2 was recorded over a course of a ten-hour studio session. Featuring guest spots from Leland Witty (saxophone) and Luan Phung (electric guitar), the album was a mix of their own original material, as well as renditions of songs by Kanye WestMy Bloody ValentineJames Blake, Earl Sweatshirt and Feist. That year, the band was the official Coachella Festival house band, backing Frank Ocean and Odd Future over the course of its two weekends.

Their third album, 2013’s III featured “Hedron,” which was featured on the compilation Late Night Tales: Bonobo. That year, they also assisted with the composition and production of The Man with the Iron Fists soundtrack. 

The Canadian outfit’s fourth album, 2015’s Sour Soul saw them collaborate on Ghostface Killah on an effort that has been described as a hip-hop album that nodded heavily at jazz. They ended the year with covers of a handful of holiday standards, including “Christmas Time Is Here” with Choir! Choir! Choir!

Leland Whitty joined the band as a full-time member in early 2016, and the band quickly went to work producing “Hoarse” off Earl Sweatshirt’s full-length debut Doris and “GUV’NOR,” a remix, which appeared on JJ DOOM’s Keys to the Kuffs (Butter Edition). Capping off a busy year, they released their fifth album, the somewhat ironically titled IV, which featured Future Islands’ Sam Herring, Colin StetsonKaytranada, Mick Jenkins and JOVM mainstay Charlotte Day Wilson. The album was released to critical acclaim and was named BBC Radio 6’s #1 album of the year.

BADBADNOTGOOD’s Talk Memory was released late last year through XL Recordings. Composed in conjunction with legendary Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai, the album features guest spots from Karriem RigginsLaraaji, Terrace Martin, and a list of others. More so than on their previously released material, Talk Memory sees the acclaim act capturing the focus, energy and improvisation at the heart of their live show on wax.

For the acclaimed Canadian band, a song is a living, breathing entity that naturally changes and evolves as it’s played in different settings. The album’s material plays with that thinking. After years of relentless touring, the band took a pause and looked back at their collective history and experiences before they started out on Talk Memory‘s creative process. At the heart of their new creative approach is a sense of reflection and renewed communication. That, interestingly enough, led to the album’s title.

While much of their earliest released material often took place quickly, the members of BADBADNOTGOOD took on a more deliberate, intentional approach: The album was written over a two year period, with the Toronto-based act expanding upon the album’s material in the studio, rather than on the road.

Last year, I wrote about album single “Beside April,” an expansive and breathtakingly gorgeous composition with a mind-bending and expressive guitar solo in a song that’s one-part jazz fusion, one part Boogarins-like psych rock with a widescreen, cinematic film score. Previously, only available on physical copies of Talk Memory, album single “Open Channels” was recently made available on streaming services with an accompanying visual directed by Sylvain Chaussée.

“Open Channels” is a meditative and expansive, Giant Steps meets Live at the Village Vanguard era Coltrane composition centered around twinkling Rhodes, Whitty’s expressive and mournful sax lines, Sowinski’s delicate drumming. Play this one, close your eyes and reflect on beauty in an ugly and mad world.

As for the video, the mostly black and white visual that begins with the band carrying their instruments through a snow-covered forest before switching to the band performing the song in a bare studio and some trippy footage of the individual members standing in front of psychedelic projections.

New Audio: Babeheaven Shares a Slow-Burning and Atmospheric Meditation on Loss

London-based indie pop quintet Babeheaven — led by Nancy Anderson (vocals) and Jamie Travis (instrumentation and co-production along with Simon Byrt) can trace their origins back to when Anderson and Travis struck up a friendship while working in shops located on the same street.

With their critically applauded, full-length debut Home For Now, the British pop outfit established a sound and approach guided more by mood than message, while thematically reflecting the disengagement that comes from years of uncertainty, fits and stops and crushing disappointment. 

Babeheaven’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Sink Into Me is slated for a March 18, 2022 release through Believe. And while the album continues the British pop outfit’s long-held reputation for crating music that is imbued with feelings of loneliness and disconnection, the album’s material is rooted in a central tension: there’s disillusionment; but there’s also a yearning for growth and evolution. 

Informed by the death of two close family friends of Anderson’s within a year of each other, the album explores love and loss — and the very human desire for comfort and connection. Unlike its predecessor, the members of Babeheave were able to write songs together in the studio, along with Luca Mantero, Milo McGuire and Ned Smith. “It was more organic,” Babeheaven’s Jamie Travis says of Sink Into Me‘s songwriting process, which happened over the course of six months over the course of 2020. “It sounds ridiculous but we hadn’t been able to do that before.” 

Reportedly Sink Into Me sees the members of Babehaven making a huge step forward: Sonically, the band sees the band distilling their influences and coming into their own distinct style. “It was a conscious decision to move away from being a trip-hop bedroom-pop band,” says the band’s Travis. “We did that on the last album; now it was time to try something different.” The trip-hop references are still there — but they no longer dominate; rather, the album reportedly finds the band crafting a decidedly widescreen sound that seamlessly meshes elements of pop, R&B, indie rock and electronica. 

The end result is an album that sees the London-based act encapsulating the past few years while attempting to make something universal. “We’re not trying to write hits,” says Jamie. “We’re trying to write good songs that people can connect with.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about Sink Into Me‘s third single, “Make Me Wanna” expresses an aching and maddening yearning for connection in a sweet, somewhat old-fashion love song, featuring Brooklyn-based emcee Navy Blue about missing that special someone who may be an ocean away.

“Heartbeat,” Sink Into Me‘s fourth and latest single is a slow-burning and atmospheric song centered around Anderson’s gorgeous and achingly plaintive vocals, shimmering acoustic guitar, glistening synths, chugging beats which propel the song forward and a sinuous bass line. While sonically the lush arrangement seems to mesh elements of trip hop, Dido-like pop and Quiet Storm-like soul, “Heartbeat” is inspired by a profound experience of loss:

“the lyrics to ‘Heartbeat’ were written on my way back from Luca’s house. We drove past a car crash, which had a blue tarpaulin over it,” Babeheaven’s Nancy Anderson recalls. “It means a fatal incident has happened, but I didn’t know that until the driver told me. I wrote a poem about the moment — because really hit me, deeply.

Later, we started a song and we were caught in a cycle of chords. It was a good opportunity to use that poem. 

Inspired by Arthur Russell, the beat underneath it is pushing the words around. Like a chugging cello. But In this songs the drums go around and round until it breaks.”

Live Footage: Amyl and The Sniffers on KEXP, from Soundpark Studios, Melbourne, Australia

Acclaimed Melbourne-based punk act and JOVM mainstays Amyl and The Sniffers — Amy Taylor (vocals), Gus Romer (bass), Bryce Wilson (drums) and Declan Martens (guitar) — formed back in 2016, and shortly after their formation, they wrote and self-recorded their debut EP Giddy Up. The following year, saw the release of the Big Attractions EP, which was packaged as a double 12 inch EP with Giddy Up released through Homeless Records in Australia and Damaged Goods in the UK.

The band exploded into the international scene with a set at The Great Escape Festival, a series of sold out London area shows and a Stateside tour opening for JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. They added to a busy year with a headlining tours across both the UK and US before signing to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Flightless Records for distribution across Australia and New Zealand and Rough Trade for the rest of the world. The year was capped off with a Q Awards nomination for Best New Act and won the $30,000 Levis Prize.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Aussie punk quartet took 2019’s SXSW by storm. And then the band promptly released their self-tiled, full-length debut to critical applause globally while further cementing a feral and anarchic take on ’77 era punk. Adding to a breakthrough year, Amyl and the Sniffers won an ARIA Award for Best Rock Album. 

Comfort To Me, the Aussie punk quartet’s highly-anticipated Don Luscombe-co-produced sophomore album was released earlier this year through ATO Records.  Written during a long year of pandemic quarantining, in which the members of the band lived in the same house, the album’s material sonically draws from a heavier set of references and influences including AC/DC, Rose TattooMötorhead,  Wendy O. WilliamsWarthogPower Trip, Coloured Balls and Cosmic Psychos. Taylor’s lyrics and delivery were also inspired by her long live of hip-hop and garage rock. 

“All four of us spent most of 2020 enclosed by pandemic authority in a 3-bedroom rental in our home city of Melbourne, Australia. We’re like a family: we love each other and feel nothing at the same time,” Amyl and the Sniffers’ Amy Taylor says in a lengthy statement on the album. “We had just come off two years of touring, being stuck in a van together eight hours a day, and then we’re trapped together for months in this house with sick green walls. It sucked but it was also nice. We spent heaps of time in the backyard listening to music, thrashing around in shorts, eating hot chips. The boys had a hard time being away from the pub and their mates, but it meant we had a lot of time to work on this record. Most of the songs were really intuitive. Main thing, we just wanted it to be us. In the small windows we had in between lockdowns, we went to our rehearsal space, which is a storage locker down the road at National Storage Northcote. We punched all the songs into shape at Nasho and for the first time ever we wrote more songs than we needed. We had the luxury of cutting out the songs that were shit and focusing on the ones we loved. 

“We were all better musicians, as well, because that’s what happens when you go on tour for two years, you get really good at playing. We were a better band and we had heaps of songs, so we were just different. The nihilistic, live in the moment, positivity and panel beater rock-meets-shed show punk was still there, but it was better. The whole thing was less spontaneous and more darkly considered. The lyrics I wrote for the album are better too, I think. The amount of time and thought I put into the lyrics for this album is completely different from the EPs, and even the first record. Half of the lyrics were written during the Australian Bushfire season, when we were already wearing masks to protect ourselves from the smoke in the air. And then when the pandemic hit, our options were the same as everyone: go find a day job and work in intense conditions or sit at home and drown in introspection. I fell into the latter category. I had all this energy inside of me and nowhere to put it, because I couldn’t perform, and it had a hectic effect on my brain. 

“My brain evolved and warped and my way of thinking about the world completely changed. Having to deal with a lot of authority during 2020 and realising my lack of power made me feel both more self destructive and more self disciplined, more nihilistic and more depressed and more resentful, which ultimately fuelled me with a kind of relentless motivation. I became a temporary monster. I partied more, but I also exercised heaps, read books and ate veggies. I was like an egg going into boiling water when this started, gooey and weak but with a hard surface. I came out even harder. I’m still soft on the inside, but in a different way. All of this time, I was working on the lyrics. I pushed myself heaps and heaps, because there were things that I needed to say. The lyrics draw a lot from rap phrasing, because that’s what I’m into. I just wanted to be a weird bitch and celebrate how weird life and humans are. 

“The whole thing is a fight between by my desire to evolve and the fact that somehow I always end up sounding like a dumb cunt. So anyway, that’s where this album comes from. People will use other bands as a sonic reference to make it more digestible and journalists will make it seem more pretentious and considered than it really is, but in the end this album is just us — raw self expression, defiant energy, unapologetic vulnerability. It was written by four self-taught musicians who are all just trying to get by and have a good time. 

“If you have to explain what this record is like, I reckon it’s like watching an episode of The Nanny but the setting is an Australian car show and the Nanny cares about social issues and she’s read a couple of books, and Mr Sheffield is drinking beer in the sun. It’s a Mitsubishi Lancer going slightly over the speed limit in a school zone. It’s realising how good it is to wear track pants in bed. It’s having someone who wants to cook you dinner when you’re really shattered. It’s me shadow-boxing on stage, covered in sweat, instead of sitting quietly in the corner.”

In the lead up to the album’s release earlier this year, I managed to write about three of the album’s released singles:

  • Guided by Angels,” a riotous, mosh pit friendly ripper centered around Taylor’s frenetic energy and punchily delivered vocals, buzzing power chords and a pub friendly, shout along with a raised beer in your hand hook. But underneath all of that, “Guided by Angels” is fueled by a defiant and unapologetic vulnerability and a rare, unshakeable faith in possibility and overall goodness; that there actually are good angels right over your shoulder to guide you and sustain you when you need them the most. 
  • Security,” a Highway to Hell-era AC/DC-like anthem full of swaggering braggadocio, boozy power chords, thunderous drumming, shout along worthy hooks and Taylor’s feral delivery. Much like its immediate predecessor, the song is fueled by its narrator boldly and unapologetically declaring that they need and are looking for love — right now! “
  • Hertz,” an AC/DC-ike ripper fueled by the frenetic energy of the bored, lonely and trapped within their heads and those desperately desiring something — hell, anything — different than the four walls that they’ve gotten sick of. Interestingly, “Hertz” captures a feeling that I’ve personally struggled with during the pandemic, and I’m sure you have too. And it does so with a urgency and vulnerability that’s devastating.

Since its release last month, Comfort to Me has been a commercial and critical success: The album hit #1 on Billboard‘s Alternative New Albums Chart, #2 on both the Heatseekers and Top New Artist Albums Charts, #4 on the Independent Albums Chart, #7 on the Rock Albums Chart, #9 on the Alternative Albums Chart and it landed on the Top 20 on the Albums Sales Chart. In the UK, the album was named BBC 6 Music‘s Album of the Day, and chartered at #21 on the UK charts. And in the band’s native Australia, the album was named Triple J’s Featured Albums of the Week while charting at #2.

Australia had one of the world’s longest lockdowns — and shortly after their homeland opened up, the acclaimed Aussie punk rock outfit announced their long-awaited return to the States: the tour includes their previously announced, sold out Music Hall of Williamsburg show on December 6, 2021, which sold out in less than a day — and a 15 date North American tour that includes a May 19. 2022 Brooklyn Steel stop.

Last month, the Aussie punk rock outfit recorded a live session at Soundpark Studios in Melbourne, Australia for KEXP. Directed by Mark Bakaitis, recorded by Andrew “Idle” Hehir and mixed by Comfort to Me‘s co-producer Dan Luscombe, the KEXP set features a blistering version of “Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled)” off their self-titled debut — but primarily centered around Comfort to Me tracks. including the aforementioned “Guided by Angels” and “Security.”

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Beacon Release a Driving New Meditation on Desire

Throughout this site’s 10 year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. Now,. as you may recall, the act’s third album, 2018’s Gravity Pairs found the duo — Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gussett (production, keys, synths) — writing material that was a sonic left turn from their previously released work.

As they continued, they expanded upon some songs and pared others band. Much like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract, patient and almost painterly creative process of Gravity Pairs eventually turned the material they wrote into a space in which wildly different colors, tones and textures — in this case, minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist simultaneously and at different speeds. With each iteration, the duo discovered they could easily expand upon how they presented the material within a live setting: they could play the same material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play the same material in a different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances, their moods and their desires. And while Gravity Pairs pushed the JOVM mainstays sound and songwriting approach in an adventurous new direction, the album’s material remained imbued with a vulnerability and aching yearning.

Since the release of Gravity Pairs, the members of Beacon have been extremely busy: Last year they opened for Nick Murphy. during his North America tour, which included a stop at Brooklyn Steel. They shared a series of stripped back, live studio sessions and they released a remix album, which featured edits by Elkka, Helios, and CRi. They began 2020 with a meditative, piano-led take on the Pixies‘ “Wave of Mutilation.” Inspired by the slower tempo and phrasing of the UK Surf B-side, which showcased the original’s mutability — and then they went off on a headlining European tour, which stopped in my second favorite city in the entire world, Amsterdam.

“Feel Something” is the first bit of new, original material from the JOVM mainstays since Gravity Pairs and the track finds the duo continuing to prioritize discovery and experimentation in their songwriting approach. Centered around blown out boom-bap beats, a sinuous bass line, atmospheric yet menacing electronics, jagged synth arpeggios, shimmering guitar lines, a motorik-like groove and Mullanary’s plaintive falsetto, the song’s lyrics paint a surrealistic and disturbing vision of desire and control. offering an almost lived-in perspective of a codependent and dysfunctional relationship.

Beacon have released an accompanying visual featuring a kaleidoscopic and undulating array of colors, moving along to the song’s motorik-like grooves. Without touring on the horizon as a result of the pandemic, Mullarney and Gussett teamed up with their friends at inlet.tv to create a 24/7 steaming channel featuring live visuals from the band’s extensive and lengthy touring history, which you can check out on their website — https://www.beaconband.tv. The channel is also syndicated on YouTube, where users can engage in an active chat.

Each week through the duration of the pandemic, the members of the JOVM mainstays will be releasing a new live visualizer from their archives to the channel and will utilize it going forward to broadcast studio sessions, Q&As and premiers, leading up to new music in 2021.