Tag: Chelsea Wolfe

New Video: Los Angeles’ Lauren Lakis Releases a Brooding and Uneasy Examination of a Dysfunctional Childhood

Lauren Lakis is a Baltimore-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician, who specializes in a brooding and churning take on shoegaze paired with authentic and honest lyricism. So far her work has been praised by Earmilk, who said that her material are “a refreshing change from today’s polite rock . . .”

The Baltimore-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician and her backing band have toured the West Coast extensively, playing bills with Drowse, Coastland, Elizabeth Colour Wheel’s Emmet Palaima, Flor and Winnetka Bowling League. Lakis and her band have played in front of a sold-out Doug Fir Lounge and at Santa Cruz’s The Catalyst. Adding to a growing profile, Lakis has played two solo sets opening for Grammy Award-nominated rocker Tracy Bonham.

Much like countless other acts, Lakis and her backing band had plans for a momentum changing 2020: they were scheduled to play at this year’s cancelled SXSW and they had hopes of setting up further tour dates. However, they’ve remained busy, releasing new material, including their latest single “Sail Away.” Centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, dramatic drumming, a sinuous bass line, darkly Romantic vibes and Lakis’ plaintive yet ethereal vocals,” Sail Away” is a brooding track that reminds me — to my ears at least — of PJ Harvey, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Chelsea Wolfe.

Interestingly, the song is an uneasy and brooding examination of Lakis’ own dysfunctional and painful childhood and a desire to reconnect to a lost yet much-needed innocence. “Thematically, ‘Sail Away’ explores the idea of running away with my inner child, protecting and parenting her,” Lakis explains in press notes. “It’s me becoming my own mother, which was something I had to do at a young age.

“As the daughter of my mother, I had to learn how to take care of myself and grow up quickly. She struggled with addiction until I was almost 10 years old; I don’t have many memories of my childhood before that age. I’ve spent some years in Alanon, connecting to my inner child and learning how to ‘re-parent’ her as a way of healing those wounds,” Lakis continues. “The inner child is the part of us that is innocent, vulnerable, playful, full of wonder, freely trusting and loving. It hasn’t always been easy to connect with that side of myself.

“I didn’t feel like I had a voice as a kid, and I had no control over what was happening around me. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, I grew into an extremely strong, resilient, capable adult. This song explores my longing for having had an adult like me around, when I was a child…as well as the anger I’ve carried with me for having missed out. I’ve had to accept that no one can go back in time and fix that for me.”

The recently released video is a cinematic and equally brooding visual with a fever dream-like quality that finds Lakis is a lace full-body suit.

Live Footage: Laura Carbone Performs “Cellophane Skin” at Rockpalast

With the release of her first two albums — 2016’s Sirens and 2018’s Empty Sea — the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer Laura Carbone received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a sound and approach that frequently draws comparisons to PJ Harvey, Shana Falana, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent and others. Additionally,. Carbone published a limited-edition book of photography, also named The Empty Sea.

Carbone and her backing band have opened for The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, developing a reputation for a self-assured and explosive live show, which she further cemented with a headlining tour across Europe last year. The Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer then followed that up with a stop at SXSW Levitation Festival/Creem Magazine Showcase and a headlining North American tour with The Natvral that included a stop at Baby’s All Right.

Carbone and her backing band were slated to go into the studio in May to record her highly-anticipated third album — but as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, the rising Berlin-based artist’s plans were placed in an indefinite hiatus, much like countless other artists across the globe. Last year, the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and her backing band performed on the famed German, live concert series Rockpalast — and for Carbone, who grew up in a small town in Southwestern Germany watching the show, appearing on the show was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream: Rockpalast has recorded and broadcasted a who’s who list of influential and important artists, playing some of their most memorable performances, including Siouxsie and The Banshees, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Sinead O’Connor, David Bowie, R.E.M., Echo and the Bunnymen, Screaming Trees, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley and the Wailers and an amazing and very lengthy list of others.

As a result of pandemic-related shutdowns, an idea emerged with Carbone and her band: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Released yesterday, Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is just that. Taken from her Rockpalast set at Harmonie Bonn last October, the live album features a career-spanning set, centered around her first two albums, and an unexpected cover, Hewing as closely as possible to their live sound, the album was mixed in Los Angeles by The Jesus and Mary Chain‘s Scott Van Ryper and mastered by Philipp Welsing at Hamburg‘s Original Mastering with no overdubs.

Last month, I wrote about the live album’s first single, “Who’s Gonna Save You.” The live rendition accurately captures Carbone and her band’s forceful live sound and Carbone’s irresistible stage presence, While the song itself finds the band balancing menace, power and sultriness, it should also serve as an introduction to an artist, who in my book is adding her name to a list of powerful rock goddesses.

To celebrate the release of the album, Carbone released the live album’s second single, “Cellophane Skin.” Performed as the first song of their encore, the live rendition finds the band taking the tension of the original and informing it with a feral and ferocious power, informed by dozens of shows across Europe and North America — and by the occasion. And as a result, the song finds its narrator — and perhaps the artist herself — turning into a seductive and vengeful force of nature, much like the sirens of the ancient myths. At its down core, the song finds its narrator forcefully tearing down the bonds of poisonous social norms that have imprisoned her while demanding that we — particularly men — examine ourselves. Of course, much like its immediate predecessor, the song captures a woman with mighty and fearsome roar.

Directed by Olga Dyer, the recently released video for “Cellophane Skin” is split between gorgeous and seductive footage of Carbone in a black gown being touched by a series of seemingly disembodied hands and black and white footage captured on stage.
“The feminine point of view has always been much more difficult to articulate,” Olga Dyer says in press notes. “And once articulated, alas, quite often it becomes a point of vulnerability, seen through the prism of sexual objectification, helpless stereotypes and indecency. It’s literally stripped of its actual meaning or even possible interpretations. To me, this is what ‘Cellophane Skin’ is about. People jump to conclusions, so quick to assume that they can see through someone. Personally it doesn’t offend me, I only find it banal and boring. I love creating beautiful and dark sequences, inspired by noir surrealism.”

Live Footage: Laura Carbone Performs “Who’s Gonna Save You” at Rockpalast

With the release of her first two albums — 2016’s Sirens and 2018’s Empty Sea — the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer Laura Carbone received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a sound and approach that frequently draws comparisons to PJ Harvey, Shana Falana, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent and others. Carbone also published and released a limited-edition book of photography, also named The Empty Sea.

Carbone and her backing band were slated to go into the studio in May to record her highly-anticipated third album — but as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, the rising Berlin-based artist’s plans were placed in an indefinite hiatus, much like countless other artists across the globe. Last year, Carbone and her backing band performed on the famed German live concert series Rockpalast — and for the Berlin-based artist, who grew up in a small town in Southwestern Germany, appearing on the show was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream: Rockpalast has recorded and broadcasted a who’s who list of influential and important artists, playing some of their most memorable performances, including Siouxsie and The Banshees, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Sinead O’Connor, David Bowie, R.E.M., Echo and the Bunnymen, Screaming Trees, Lynard Skynard, Bob Marley and the Wailers and an amazing and very lengthy list of others. And as a music mad teenager, Carbone often spent late Saturday nights watching the show, watching many of those artists play on national TV.

Interestingly, as a result of those pandemic-related shutdowns, an idea emerged with Carbone and her backing band: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Slated for a December 4, 2020 release, Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is just that. Taken from her Rockpalast appearance, recorded at Harmonie Bonn last October, the live album features a career-spanning set featuring material off her first two albums with an unexpected cover. Hewing as closely as possible to their live sound, the album was mixed in Los Angeles by The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Scott Van Ryper and mastered by Philipp Welsing at Hamburg’s Original Mastering with no overdubs.

Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast’s first single “Who’s Gonna Save You” accurately captures the band’s dynamic live sound and Carbone’s sultry, self-assured presence — and in my book, the live rendition reveals that the Berlin-based artist is rock goddess you need right this very second. The live rendition finds Carbone and her band balancing menace with sultriness in a way that’s irresistible.

The recently released video for “Who’s Gonna Save You” is split between live footage shot in a gorgeous and broodingly cinematic black and white during last year’s Rockpalast and footage of the gorgeous Carbone in a equally gorgeous red dress wandering around Berlin’s Märchenbrunnen, or “Fairytale Fountain,” in Volkspark Friedrichshain shot by Underground Youth’s Olya Dyer. “To have this immaculate beauty yet melancholic aftertaste blended with the energy of the live performance is incredible. It’s a solitary present mixed with a crowded past.,” Dyer says of the footage he shot.

Live Footage: BRUTUS Performs “Cemetery” at Ghent’s Handelsbeurs

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS. With the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the acclaimed Belgian act —  Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) — quickly developed a national and international presence with a sound and approach shaped and informed by necessity: Mannaerts eventually took up vocal duties because no one else would.

Since their debut effort’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay and labelmate Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and others. The members of BRUTUS have also played sets across the European Union’s heavy music festival circuit. And adding to a growing profile, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has championed the band.

The Leuven-based trio’s Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest was released last year through Sargent House Records. Nest finds the members of BRTUUS making a concerted effort to write tighter songs with a bigger sound — but simultaneously, the material sees Mannaerts fully and boldly embracing her dual roles as a vocalist and drummer. 

Thematically speaking, the material focused on the path the trio have taken together that have led to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream. As a result, the material is deeply introspective with the members of the band considering the individual and group choices they’ve made to get where they are now — and the impact those choices have had on their loved ones and those who they’ve had to leave behind. In some way, it captures the bleak and raw ache of people who taking stock of themselves and their lives — alone. Naturally, that creates an uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue the forward progression of a burgeoning career and the desire to maintain and cherish the connections of home.

The members of the Belgian trio closed out 2019 with their first ever Stateside headlining tour, which included a November stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Of course, before the COVID-19 related lockdowns and quarantines, the Belgian band had been busy touring to support Nest. Slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Sargent House Records, the Belgian band’s live album, Live In Ghent offers fans across the world a taste of what they’ve been forced to miss this year. 

“When the real world went into lockdown, early March 2020, a year of live music disappeared before our eyes,” the members of BRUTUS explain. “Going on tour, playing festivals, watching bands, it’s all gone. It was as hard for us as it has been for everybody involved in live music. As a remedy, we took the time to look back on what we had already done and collected the footage we had of our previous shows. Painful and healing at the same time. That’s when we stumbled upon the recordings of our show at Handelsbeurs in Ghent, May 2019. A hometown show we fully recorded and filmed after a period of touring, in front of all our family and friends.”

“We know it’s just a recording and not even close to the real feeling we had on stage or the energy we got back from the crowd in the room, but looking back, almost a year later, we feel absolutely proud about that show.”

The latest batch of live footage from that show (which will appear on the live album) is of the band performing one of my favorite songs off the album — “Cemetery.”  Effortlessly riding doom metal, thrash metal, shoegaze, hardcore punk and stoner rock, the song is centered around an arrangement of thunderous and forceful drumming, enormous power chords and Mannaerts howled vocal delivery, which gives the song a feral immediacy. 

Naturally, the live footage will give fans — and hopefully readers and viewers — a sense of the band’s energetic and loud live sound. But it also serves as a reminder of those small and necessary joys that we miss so much as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. So far, the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to put a covering over our faces and socially distance whenever we’re out and about — and wash your hands. So please, put on a mask. It’s a minor inconvenience but we can get back some of the things we love sooner rather than later if you do. 

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS. With the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the acclaimed Belgian act —  Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) — quickly developed a national and international presence with a sound and approach shaped and informed by necessity: Mannaerts eventually took up vocal duties because no one else would.

Since their debut effort’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay and labelmate Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and others. The members of BRUTUS have also played sets across the European Union’s heavy music festival circuit. And adding to a growing profile, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has championed the band.

The Leuven-based trio’s Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest was released last year through Sargent House Records. Nest finds the members of BRTUUS making a concerted effort to write tighter songs with a bigger sound — but simultaneously, the material sees Mannaerts fully and boldly embracing her dual roles as a vocalist and drummer. 

Thematically speaking, the material focused on the path the trio have taken together that have led to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream. As a result, the material is deeply introspective with the members of the band considering the individual and group choices they’ve made to get where they are now — and the impact those choices have had on their loved ones and those who they’ve had to leave behind. In some way, it captures the bleak and raw ache of people who taking stock of themselves and their lives — alone. Naturally, that creates an uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue the forward progression of a burgeoning career and the desire to maintain and cherish the connections of home.

The members of the Belgian trio closed out 2019 with their first ever Stateside headlining tour, which included a November stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Of course, before the COVID-19 related lockdowns and quarantines, the Belgian band had been busy touring to support Nest. Slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Sargent House Records, the Belgian band’s live album, Live In Ghent offers fans across the world a taste of what they’ve been forced to miss this year. 

“When the real world went into lockdown, early March 2020, a year of live music disappeared before our eyes,” the members of BRUTUS explain. “Going on tour, playing festivals, watching bands, it’s all gone. It was as hard for us as it has been for everybody involved in live music. As a remedy, we took the time to look back on what we had already done and collected the footage we had of our previous shows. Painful and healing at the same time. That’s when we stumbled upon the recordings of our show at Handelsbeurs in Ghent, May 2019. A hometown show we fully recorded and filmed after a period of touring, in front of all our family and friends.”

“We know it’s just a recording and not even close to the real feeling we had on stage or the energy we got back from the crowd in the room, but looking back, almost a year later, we feel absolutely proud about that show.”

The latest batch of live footage from that show (which will appear on the live album) is of the band performing one of my favorite songs off the album — “Cemetery.”  Effortlessly riding doom metal, thrash metal, shoegaze, hardcore punk and stoner rock, the song is centered around an arrangement of thunderous and forceful drumming, enormous power chords and Mannaerts howled vocal delivery, which gives the song a feral immediacy. 

Naturally, the live footage will give fans — and hopefully readers and viewers — a sense of the band’s energetic and loud live sound. But it also serves as a reminder of those small and necessary joys that we miss so much as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. So far, the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to put a covering over our faces and socially distance whenever we’re out and about — and wash your hands. So please, put on a mask. It’s a minor inconvenience but we can get back some of the things we love sooner rather than later if you do. 

 

New Audio: Two from Mrs. Piss the New Project featuring Chelsea Wolfe and Jess Gowrie

Mrs. Piss is a new musical project featuring:

JOVM mainstay Chelsea Wolfe. Over the course of this site’s ten year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Northern California-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist. And throughout that time, Wolfe has developed an honed a reputation for channeling somber and eerily haunting beauty in a variety of forms, including gothic rock, doom metal, folk and others.  
Jess Gowrie, a multi-instrumentalist, who played drums during the JOVM mainstay’s tour to support her 2017 effort Hiss Spun — and was Wolfe’s bandmate in their previous band together.  
The project can trace its origins back to Wolfe’s Hiss Spun tour — and the material they’ve created together are much more urgent, forceful and visceral than anything they’ve previously created before: heaviness that channels a punk rock spirit. 

“Working on this project brought Jess and I so much closer as songwriters and production partners, after reuniting as friends and bandmates,” Chelsea Wolfe says in press notes. “It was freeing and fun to channel some wild energies that I don’t typically put into my own music. We tried not to overthink the songs as we were writing them, but at the same time we did consciously put a lot into crafting them into our own weird sonic vision. This project was a chance for us to do things our own way, on our own terms, and we plan to invite more womxn musicians along for future Mrs. Piss recordings.” 

“To me, Mrs. Piss represents a musical chemistry cut short long ago that now gets a second chance,” Jess Gowrie adds. “Creating with Chelsea has always been very liberating for me, and we both push each other to try new things: anything and everything. Both of us have grown so much as writers and musicians since our first band together (Red Host), and with the journeys we had to take separately to get there, we both have so much more to say; so much more pain and anger to express. That said, we also had a lot of fun doing it, not to mention how freeing it is to not give a f-k and to just create.” 

Recorded at Sacramento’s The Dock Studio and Wolfe’s home studio, The Canyon, the duo’s full length debut Self-Surgery is slated for a May 29, 2020 release through Sargent House — and to commemorate the announcement of their debut effort as Mrs, Piss, the duo released two singles. The first single is the breakneck, mosh pit friendly “Downer Surrounded by Uppers.” Centered around thunderous and forceful drumming, grungy power chords and Wolfe’s howled vocals with the end result arguably being one of the most seductive songs they’ve released to date. The second single is the slow-burning, power chord-driven dirge “Knelt,” a track that brings Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and JOVM mainstays Blackwater Holylight to mind. Simply put, these two singles are among the heaviest bit of material I’ve come across this year. 

New Video: Rising British Singer-Songwriter Freya Beer Releases Hazy Visuals for Brooding “Arms Wide Open”

Freya Beer is an emerging London-born, Southern England-based singer/songwriter and guitarist who has received attention for a distinctive sound that draws from Kate Bush, Cat Power, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and others paired with poetic lyrics. Interestingly, Beer can trace the origins of her career to her childhood: she began writing songs when she was 10 and by the time she turned 16, she was performing her own original material, accompanying herself on guitar. 

While studying Music Performance in college, Beer self-released her debut single “Bike Boy” in 2018 to critical applause from BBC Introducing and a number of music blogs. Building upon a growing profile, the emerging British singer/songwriter and guitarist released “Six Months,” which led to a BBC Introducing Solent Live Lounge Session, a featuring on Tom Robinson’s BBC Radio 6 and BBC Wales.

Earlier this year, Beer released “Dear Sweet Rosie.” Featuring I Am Kloot’s Andy Hargreaves on drums, the song lyrically draws from Allen Ginsberg’s “An Asphodel” and Anna Sewell’s “Black Beauty” and is structurally centered around a classic, grunge rock song structure featuring  fuzzy power chords John Bonham-like drumming, an enormous hook, Beer’s sultry vocals and a swaggering self-assuredness that belies the rising artist’s relative youth. The track wound up receiving airplay with BBC Radio 6’s Lauren Laverne and Marc Riley, who invited Beer in for a live session. Beer’s second single of this year, the Pete Hobbs-produced “Arms Wide Open” is a brooding and cinematic track that features forceful and tribal drumming with longtime collaborator Andy Hargreaves, shimmering guitars, chiming tubular bells and Beer’s gorgeous and expressive vocals. And while subtly recalling PJ Harvey, Chelsea Wolfe and The Cranberries, the song reveals some ambitious yet powerfully earnest songwriting. 

“I tried to convey a ritual style sound accompanied by a tribal drumming beat which drives the track forward,” Beer says. “The tubular bells helped contribute towards the overall ceremonial atmosphere of the song. Lyrically, I’ve experimented with exploring the subject of talking about the darker undertones of a relationship.”

Directed by Paul Johnson, the recently released video is centered around a concept by Hevx that follows the rising British singer/songwriter through a series of kaleidoscopic filters and hazy effects. 

Live Footage: Acclaimed Post-Rock Trio BRUTUS Performs “Sugar Dragon” at Handelsbeurs — Ghent, Belgium

Over the course of this year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS, and as you may recall, with the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the Belgian trio, comprised of Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) quickly developed a national and international presence, despite the fact that they’ve achieved it with a sound shaped by necessity: Mannaerts adopted vocal duties because no one else would. Since Burst’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and played the major heavy EU festivals. Adding to a growing profile, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has proudly championed the Belgian trio.

Their Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest was released earlier this year through Sargent House Records. And while the album finds the band making a concerted effort to write tight songs with an expanded sound, the album also finds the band’s Mannaerts fully embracing her dual roles as vocalist and drummer.  Thematically speaking, the material focuses on the path the trio have taken together to get to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream.But there’s underlying moments of deep, introspection, in which they all consider the individual choices they’ve made to get there — and the impact those choices had on their loved ones, and those who they’ve left behind.  And as a result, the material possesses a strangely uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue their forward progression and a desire to maintain and cherish those connections to all that they love at home. But is that possible when you’ve taken such enormous risks to achieve something extraordinary? And when the things you’ve seen, done and experienced have become so different than those of your peers, can you keep that connection?

I previously wrote about three  album singles: “War,” a track that alternated between dreamy and ruminative showcase and aggressive and forceful thrash metal, with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks; “Cemetery,” a track that found the band effortlessly riding doom metal, thrash metal, shoegaze, hardcore punk and stoner rock; and the concise and force “Django.”  “Sugar Dragon,” Nest’s latest single continues a run of material that manages to simultaneously be intimate and deeply introspective and explosively cathartic; painterly and gorgeous shoegaze that feels like a painter’s brushstrokes across the canvas and pummeling metal with fiery guitar pyrotechnics. And much like its predecessors, the song captures the bleak and raw ache of taking stock of oneself and their lives — completely alone.