Tag: Chicago IL

New Video: Ether Feather Releases a Surreal Italian Thriller-Inspired Visual for Expansive Album Single “New Abyss”

Ether Feather is a Los Angeles-based trio featuring an acclaimed and highly-regarded collection of musicians: the band’s creative mastermind Dylan Ryan (vocals, drums) has played with the likes of Man Man, Cursive, Red Kraoyla and others; Tim Young (guitar) is currently a member of the Late Late Show with James Corden house band with extensive experience as a session player, playing with the likes of Todd Rundgren, Mike Patton and Fiona Apple; and JOVM mainstay Sylvia Black, an acclaimed solo artist, who has collaborated with Telepopmusik, Lydia Lunch, The Black-Eyed Peas and others.

The Los Angeles-based trio can trace its origins to a previous project, which featured Ryan and Young, SAND, which released two albums.  “By the time I started writing the third SAND record, it became clear the music was shifting from the Mahavishnu-esque, mid 70’s-fusion to more part-oriented structures and the songs seemed to want vocals,” Ryan says of the gradual shift from SAND to Ether Feather. Encouraged by engineer Andrew Murdock, the members of Ether Feather fully embraced the stylistic shift and recorded their debut EP, 2017’s Other Memory.  “Ether Feather is definitely a band where we can try weirder stuff and stretch out creatively in ways that may not be appropriate in other musical situations,” Ryan adds. “We can mix and blend aesthetics and make hard turns. Tim was in the Pacific Northwest during the first wave of grunge and brings something very different from me to the table, having come up in the late 90’s Chicago No Wave/Free Jazz/Metal scene.”

After touring to support the EP with the likes of Cursive and Minus the Bear, the members of Ether Feather further honed their sound — with the result being their recently released full-length debut Devil – Shadowless – Hand. Last month, I wrote about “Cayenne,” a track that was one part desert/stoner rock, one part alt rock, one part grunge rock as it was centered around a dream-like melody for its verse, sludgy power chords during its anthemic hook and a guitar solo that recalls Pearl Jam‘s Evenflow. “New Abyss,” the album’s latest single is an trippy and expansive track that’s one part free-flowing jazz fusion, one part prog rock, and one part psych rock freakout — and while revealing some extraordinary musicianship and a telepathic sort of simpatico, the song will further cement the act’s genre-defying sound and approach. Written and directed by Matt Hewitt, the recently released video for “New Abyss” stars the band in a surreal, feverish, Italian thriller-inspired visual full of paranoiac dread, dopplegangers, and unease. 

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New Video: Chicago’s The Hecks Release a “Flashdance”-Inspired Visual for Album Single “Flash”

Formed back in 2012 as a duo featuring founding members members Andy Mosiman (guitar, vocals) and Zach Herbert (drums, percussion), the Chicago-based indie act The Hecks recorded their 2016 self-titled debut with recording engineer and guitarist Dave Vetteraino. And by the following year, Vetteraino joined the band as a full-time member. 

Now, as you may recall the band’s forthcoming and long-awaited sophomore album My Star has taken three years to write and record. After recording an early version of the album in 2017, the band started playing live shows with Jeff Grauper (synths, keys). The members of the band found that Graupner’s synth playing added some welcomed heft and swagger to their new material. The band reworked and re-arranged much of the material they originally wrote in 2017 to accommodate Graupner. But while they were reworking the material, the band decided that to completely scrap the early recordings, eventually rebuilding the material to further incorporate Graupner and his skills. And as a result, My Star is reportedly a decided leap forward sonically for the band, as the album’s material draws from Manscape-era Wire, Paisley Park nu-funk, and abstract new wave and art rock.

Album single “So 4 Real” was a jagged bit of post-punk, centered around a motorik-like groove, squiggling blasts of synth and Mosiman’s plaintive vocals. And while nodding at XTC (“Mayor of Simpleton” specifically comes to mind) and Amoral-era Violens, the track was essentially a swooning and soulful love song that sounds as though it should be the part of the soundtrack of a quirky, 80s rom-com. “Flash,” My Star is an angular, neurotic take on XTC-like post punk featuring squiggling bursts of neon-tinged synths, propulsive syncopated drumming and lyrics delivered with an ironic sort of detachment. And yet, it evokes the rapid-fire heartbeat of the anxious and desperately in love.  

Produced by the members of The Hecks and featuring a video wall and lamination by Studio Super, the recently released video for “Flash” is a decidedly 80s-inspired, VHS-tape recorded affair as there are references to Flashdance and 80s MTV. It’s a feverish pop fantasy of a bunch of average white guys, who have big dreams — that sadly may never happen. “We stumbled through the whole thing and just leaned in on what was working. The end result reads like the contents of a VHS tape mailed to the president of Columbia Records from some kids from Valparaiso, Indiana, who got grounded right after filming because mom found an empty bottle of poppers in the basement,” The Hecks say in a statement. “Some forgotten relic of an aspiring nobody’s pop fantasy.” 

Ian Kurtis Crist is a Seattle-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, audio engineer and creative mastermind behind the up-and-coming post-punk songwriting and recording project Bèret. Crist’s forthcoming Bèret album, the self-engineered and self-recorded Jesus White is slated for an October 18, 2019 release through Chicago-based indie label Born Yesterday Records.

The album’s material reportedly finds Crist employing a decidedly minimalist approach with the material being made almost entirely without drums. The album’s latest single, the carefully crafted “Fade Out The World” manages to possesses an old-timey blues-like forcefulness and immediacy while being remarkably hook-driven.

 

 

 

 

 

Ether Feather is a Los Angeles-based trio featuring an acclaimed and highly-regarded collection of musicians: the band’s creative mastermind Dylan Ryan (vocals, drums) has played with the likes of Man Man, Cursive, Red Kraoyla and others; Tim Young (guitar) is currently a member of the Late Late Show with James Corden house band with extensive experience as a session player, playing with the likes of Todd Rundgren, Mike Patton and Fiona Apple; and JOVM mainstay Sylvia Black, an acclaimed solo artist, who has collaborated with Telepopmusik, Lydia Lunch and others. Interestingly, Ether Feather can trace its origins to a previous project, which featured Ryan and Young, SAND, which released two albums.

“By the time I started writing the third SAND record, it became clear the music was shifting from the Mahavishnu-esque, mid 70’s-fusion to more part-oriented structures and the songs seemed to want vocals,” Ryan says of the gradual shift from SAND to Ether Feather. As the story goes, encouraged by engineer Andrew Murdock, the band fully embraced stylistic shifts and recorded their debut EP, 2017’s Other Memory. “Ether Feather is definitely a band where we can try weirder stuff and stretch out creatively in ways that may not be appropriate in other musical situations,” Ryan adds. “”We can mix and blend aesthetics and make hard turns. Tim was in the Pacific Northwest during the first wave of grunge and brings something very different from me to the table, having come up in the late 90’s Chicago No Wave/Free Jazz/Metal scene.”

After touring to support the EP with the likes of Cursive and Minus the Bear, the members of Ether Feather further honed their sound — with the result being their soon-to-be released full-length debut Devil – Shadowless – Hand. The album’s latest single “Cayenne” finds the band further establishing their sound, which for this single at least is one part desert/stoner rock, one part alt rock, one part grunge, as it features a pretty, dreamlike melody during its verses, sludgy power chords during its anthemic hooks and a guitar solo that recalls Pearl Jam‘s Evenflow. What really caught my attention about the track is that there’s a quirkiness and whimsy to the track that belies its straightforward nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago-based indie act The Hecks formed back in 2012 as a duo featuring founding members Andy Mosiman (guitar, vocals) and Zach Herbert (drums, percussion). Their 2016 self-titled debut was recorded as a duo with guitarist and recording engineer Dave Vetteraino, and by the following year, Vetteraino joined the band as a full-time member.

The band’s forthcoming and long awaited, sophomore album My Star has taken three years to write and record. After recording an early version of the album in 2017, the band started playing live shows with Jeff Grauper (synths, keys). The members of the band found that Graupner’s synth playing added some welcomed heft and swagger to their new material. After reworking and re-arranging much of that material to accommodate their new fourth member, the band decided that it would be scrap the early recordings, eventually rebuilding them to further incorporate Graupner’s skills. And as a result, My Star is reportedly a decided leap forward sonically for the band, as the album’s material draws from Manscape-era Wire, Paisley Park nu-funk, and abstract new wave and art rock.

“So 4 Real,” My Star‘s latest single is a jagged bit of post-punk, centered around a sinuous yet motorik-like groove, squiggling blasts of synths and Mosiman’s plaintive vocals — and while nodding at XTC (“Mayor of Simpleton” specifically comes to mind) and Amoral-era Violens, the track is essentially a swooning and soulful love song that sounds as though it should be the part of the soundtrack of a quirky, 80s rom-com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Boulder, CO-born siblings Chris Wood (upright bass, electric bass, vocals) and Oliver Wood (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals), and multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix, the acclaimed folk/roots/Americana act The Wood Brothers can trace the origins of their musical careers back to when Chris and Oliver were children: Their father, a molecular biologist, frequently performed old folk and roots music songs at family gatherings and campfires and their mother, a poet, instilled a passion for storytelling and turn of phrase.  As children and teens, they bonded over a mutual love of bluesmen like Jimmy Reed and Lightinn’ Hopkins; however, as they got older, their musical and professional paths would wildly diverge.

Oliver moved to Atlanta, where he picked up gigs in playing guitar in a number of local cover bands before landing a spot in Tinsley Ellis‘ backing band. As the story goes, at Ellis’ behest Oliver Wood began to sing — and then he founded King Johnson, a hard-touring band that released six albums of blues-tinged R&B, funk and country over the next 12 years of his life. Meanwhile, Chris Wood studied jazz bass at the New England Conservatory of Music, moved to New York, where in the early 90s he co-founded the critically applauded Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW), an act that became one of the stalwarts of the downtown New York jazz and abstract music scenes. After pursuing separate musical careers for the better part of 15 years, Oliver Wood’s King Johnson and Chris Wood’s Martin Medeski & Wood played on the same bill at a show in North Carolina that famously featured Oliver sitting in with his brother’s band. “I realized we should be playing music together,” Chris Wood recalled.

Soon after, the duo recorded a batch of Oliver’s songs, channeling the shared musical heroes of their youth while centered around their own musical strengths — Oliver’s songwriting and Chris’ forward-thinking, adventurous musicianship. A demo landed The Wood Brothers a deal with Blue Note Records, who released their 2006 John Medeski-produced debut, Ways Not To Lose, a critically applauded effort that was Amazon.com‘s editors’ number 1 pick for folk and made NPR’s “Overlooked 11” list.

Building upon a buzz-worthy profile, the act released 2008’s Loaded and 2009’s covers EP, Up Above My Head before moving on to Nashville‘s Southern Ground Artists, who released  2011’s Smoke Ring Halo, 2012’s Live Volume One: Sky High and Live Volume Two: Nail and Tooth, 2013’s Buddy Miller-produced The Muse. Shortly after the release of The Muse, the members of the trio relocated to Nashville, marking the first time that Chris and Oliver Wood have lived in the same city in several decades.

2015’s Paradise was the first album in which all three members of the band shared songwriting credits, as they were all in the same city to work on and refine material. Since then, the act has released another live album, 2017’s Live at the Barn. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’d recall that I caught the acclaimed trio at The Vic Theatre in Chicago, during their tour to support their sixth, full-length album, the self-produced and recorded One Drop of Truth. And although at the time, I wasn’t familiar with them before the set, they proved their reputation for being one of the best touring bands in contemporary music.

Interestingly, their latest album, Live at the Fillmore, which is slated fora a September 6, 2019 release through Honey Jar Records/Thirty Tigers Records will be the newest edition to an ongoing series of live concert recordings. Recorded over a two night stand at San Francisco’s historic venue, the album finds the band continuing to build upon their reputation for the sort of performances that defy easy categorization — their delivery manages to live at the intersection of arena rock energy and intensity and small theater intimacy while happily blurring the lines between folk, rock, blues, funk, Americana and trailblazing. And in the case of Live at the Fillmore, the album features a career-spanning set that finds the act rising to meet the history of the room — all while showcasing the skills that have won them acclaim. “That room just feels like a classic from the moment you arrive,” Oliver Wood says of the iconic space. “All of our heroes have performed there at one time or another, and it’s really special to be able to walk in their footsteps. It inspires us every we time we get on that stage.”

“The longer we play together, the more we can read each other’s thoughts and anticipate each other’s musical choices, so we’re always evolving and reinventing aspects of our show,” Chris Woods adds. “The venue we’re performing in plays a big part in all of that, too. We made our last live album at Levon Helm’s barn, which is a very small, intimate place, but The Fillmore’s much bigger, and you can really hear that reflected in the scale of these performances.”

Live at the Fillmore‘s latest single “Keep Me Around” is centered around some delicate fingerpicked guitar, a sinuous bass line, the trio’s impeccable harmonizing and a soaring hook. Of course, you hear some amazing musicianship and otherworldly simpatico. And in some way, the song finds the band pushing their sound and approach in the direction of the the free flowing jam-like sound Levon Helm and The Band — but with an arena rock immensity.

The Wood Brothers are currently on tour, bringing their live show to venues across the country. Sadly, they’re not in the New York Metropolitan area but if they’re playing in a city near you, you should catch them. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

8/16 – Jackson Hole, WY – Jackson Hole Live *
8/17 – Big Sky, MT – Moonlight MusicFest
8/19 – Crystal Bay, NV – Crystal Bay Club Casino
8/20 – San Rafael, CA – Terrapin Crossroads (Sold Out)
8/21 – San Rafael, CA – Terrapin Crossroads (Sold Out)
8/22 – San Jose, CA – City National Civic **
8/24 – Jacksonville, OR – Britt Festival Pavilion **
8/25 – Seattle, WA – Woodland Park Zoo Amphitheatre **
8/27 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House **
8/28 – Salt Lake City, UT – Red Butte Garden **
9/5 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre ^
9/8 – Chattanooga, TN – Moon River Music Festival (Sold Out)
9/21 – East Aurora, NY – Borderland Music and Arts Festival
10/16 – Pensacola FL – Vinyl Music Hall
10/17 – Ponte Vedra, FL – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
10/18 – Wilmington, NC – Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
10/19 – Greensboro, NC – The Carolina Theatre
10/20 – Black Mountain, NC – Leaf Festival
10/25 – Placerville, CA – Hangtown Music Festival
11/7 – Roanoke, VA – Shaftman Performance Hall ^^
11/8 – Highlands, NC – Highlands Food & Wine Festival ^^
11/9 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall ^^
11/10 – Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre ^^
11/12 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant ^^
11/13 – Kansas City, MO – The Truman ^^
11/14 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue ^^
11/15 – Madison, WI – Barrymore Theatre ^^
11/16 – Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue ^^
12/3 – Baton Rouge, LA – Manship Theatre ^^^
12/4 – Houston, TX – The Heights Theater ^^^
12/5 – Austin, TX – Paramount Theatre ^^^
12/6 – Dallas, TX – The Kessler Theater ^^^
12/7 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom ^^^
12/9 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown ^^^
2/27 – 3/1 – Punta Cana, DR – Avett Brothers at the Beach

* w/ Upstate
** w/ Colter Wall
^ w/ Fruition + Steep Canyon Rangers
^^ w/ Nicole Atkins
^^^ w/ Katie Pruitt

New Video: Rituals of Mine’s Queer “Space Jam” Themed Visuals for Sultry “Burst”

Initially formed in 2009 as Sister Crayon, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo  Rituals of Mine, currently comprised of singer/songwriter Terra Lopez and percussionist Adam Pierce have received attention for a sound that draws from 90s trip hop, footwork and  downtempo R&B — and for years of relentless touring up and down the West Coast, playing house shows, DIY venues and basements with the likes of The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree and others. Adding to a quickly growing profile, the Los Angeles-based duo’s first two albums — 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic — were released to critical acclaim. 

2015 was a profoundly harrowing and difficult year for Lopez: her father committed suicide and several moths later, her best friend Lucas Johnson tragically died in an accident. Reeling from the grief of inconsolable and unexpected loss, Lopez in a period of deep reflection felt the need to reassess her life and her work in Sister Crayon. She decided to put the Sister Crayon name to rest, moving forward with a new moniker  — Rituals of Mine. As Terra Lopez wrote at the time, “It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times. Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”

After years of obscuring her own story and emotions through metaphorical lyrics, Lopez felt a sudden confidence to write much more directly about her experiences and life as a queer woman of color. Lopez began fleshing out the material on what would become her Rituals of Mine debut Devoted with her longtime collaborator and producer Wes Jones, who helped turn her heartfelt writing on her trauma and personal growth into urgent and pulsating electronic tracks. Lopez then enlisted Adam Pierce to play drums, knowing that their background in metal percussion would provide an intensity that could match her own.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you might recall that last year was a very busy year for Lopez and Pierce. They opened for a handful of dates for The Afghan Whigs and Built to Spill’s co-headliing tour, including a Chicago area stop last April. They also opened for Garbage during the multi-plantium Grammy Award-winning band’s US tour. They also went on their first UK tour with JOVM mainstay Geographer and The Seshen. 

Interestingly, the duo’s highly anticipated Wes jones and Neal Pogue co-produced follow-up to Devoted, Sleeper Hold EP is slated for an October 4, 2019 release through Carpark Records — and the EP will include the urgent anti-Trump anthem “No Time To Go Numb,” a track that forcefully reminded the listener that now isn’t the time to slink back from the horrors of a power mad, greedy and hateful administration; that we have to be fueled by righteous anger and fight like hell for the things that truly matter.  “Burst,” Sleeper Hold’s second and latest single is a glitchy and hyper-modern bit of electro R&B that’s centered around stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and Lopez’s sultry, self-assured vocals. And while the track may recall Timbaland’s forward-thinking work with Aaliyah and Missy Elliott, Rituals of Mine’s latest single is driven by Lopez’s commitment to unvarnished emotional honesty.  “I made a promise to myself that I’m no longer going to play small or hide behind metaphors, that I’m going to really lean into self-confidence, self-reliance and take up space,” Lopez says in a statement to Billboard. “‘Burst is the beginning of that.” 

Co-directed by Kris Esfandiari and Colette Levesque, the recently released video for “Burst” features Rituals of Mine’s Terra Lopez playing basketball against a team of evil and monstrous figures. At one point, her younger self appears and helps Lopez win the game. According to the statement Lopez wrote to Billboard, the recently released video represents overcoming past trauma to effectively move on in your life, with the young protagonist representing a younger version of herself. “The opponents all represent obstacles I’ve had to face being a queer woman of color in this industry … this video was a way for me to confront both my childhood traumas and adulthood obstacles through the activity that has always grounded me,” she says. “Also, I just really wanted to create our version of a Queer Space Jam for 2019.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ganser Return with a Surreal and Symbolic Visual for Their First Single of 2019

Formed back in 2014, the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser — comprised of founding members Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals) and Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals) with Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) — have received attention both locally and nationally for a sound that was largely influenced by the likes of Sonic Youth and Magazine paired with lyrics, which served as incisive critiques on larger social issues. And as you may recall, the act’s critically applauded full-length debut Odd Talk focused on communication breakdowns with the material featuring narrators desperately seeking meaning in hopeless confusion and messiness. At points, narrators seem to be literally sorting through layers of syllables and signals in an attempt to find the right words to say what they wanted — or needed to say. 

The members of Ganser have been in the studio recording new material over the past few months while working on their second album. Their first single of this year, “Bad Form” is a furious song that seethes with anxiety,  self-loathing and self-flagellation that further cements the tense, angular sound that first caught my attention. While the song is a cathartic reaction to a year-long writing period, it finds the band increasingly adapting to a collaborative writing process. “When you’re in the middle of writing and recording, it’s very easy to fall into extreme feelings of guilt over procrastination, when you’re already stretched thin,” the band’s Alicia Gaines explains in press notes. “It’s nice to operate as a team, and act as a unit that can take the burden of some really ugly inner talk.” 

Co-directed by Kirsten Miccoli and Ganser, the recently released video features blinding light that paralyzes the band’s members, rapid-fire cuts, surreal vignettes that communicate the wishful thinking (and desire) of being someone else, a disorientating array of dopplegangers and lookalikes. The video suggests that the creative process as being a frustrating and soul crushing series of doubt, anxiety, uncertainty and procrastination and ugly self-talk.