Tag: Concrete Blonde Joey

New Video: Melbourne’s RVG Releases an Intimate Visual for Aching and Anthemic “I Used To Love You”

Romy Vager is an Adelaide, Australia-born singer/songwriter, who as a teenaged goth kid runaway left her hometown, drawn to Melbourne, Australia. Upon her arrival in Melbourne, Vager joined her first band, Sooky La La, a project that crafted material centered around anger and discordance. Sooky La La were misunderstood, never found a following and routinely cleared rooms. Eventually, the band split up and as a result, Vager committed herself to write songs that people would actually like and want to listen to by doing what countless other aspiring songwriters hope to do: match feelings of alienation, loneliness and feeling misunderstood to melody, introspection and enormous, soul-stirring hooks and refrains. 

For a while, Vager was living at The Bank, an erstwhile recording, rehearsal and performance space that took over an old bank building in Preston, Australia, a suburb about six miles from Melbourne. The Bank was a scene unto itself, featuring a handful of bands that would soon become acclaimed, including Jalala, Gregor and Hearing, who all played, practiced and lived there. Naturally, living in an enormous space surrounded by musicians, who were constantly working and refining their work was profoundly inspiring to the Adelaide-born, Melbourne-based singer/songwriter. 

Back in September 2015, Vager launched a tape of solo material that hadn’t actually been pressed and landed her first solo show at The Bank’s downstairs performance space. For her live solo debut, Vager recruited Drug Sweat‘s and The Galaxy Folk’s Angus Bell, her Bank neighbor, Gregor’s and Hearing’s Reuben Bloxham and Rayon Moon‘s Marc Nolte to be a one-off backing band. And as the story goes, once they began playing together, they all realized — without having to say it aloud — that they needed to continue as a band. Shortly after that show, they initially formed as Romy Vager Group before shortening it to RVG.

RVG’s 2017 full-length debut A Quality of Mercy was recorded live off the floor at Melbourne’s beloved and iconic rock ‘n’ roll pub, The Tote Hotel. Initially released to little fanfare — no press releases, no music videos, no press photos of the band or any significant press push, the album’s material was heavily inspired by The Go-Betweens, The Soft Boys and The Smiths and centered by Vager’s passionate and achingly vulnerable vocals. Much to the band’s surprise, their full-length debut received attention and praise across their native Australia and elsewhere — and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, the band caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed the band and re-issued A Quality of Mercy, which led to a much larger profile internationally. 

Building upon a growing profile, the band then went on world tours with Shame and Kurt Vile. Late last year, the band released the Victor Van Vugt-produced single “Alexandria.” Written as a response to the immediate aftermath of Brexit and Trump, the song is appropriately urgent and ardent. Featuring jangling guitars, pummeling drums, a rousingly anthemic hook and Vager’s earnestly plaintive and gravely howl, the song finds the band gaining a subtle studio sheen — without scrubbing the grit and honesty that has won them attention. 

2020 will be a momentous year for the rising Melbourne-based band. They recently signed to Fire Records, who will be releasing their highly-anticipated sophomore album Feral on April 24, 2020 throughout the world — excluding Australia and New Zealand, where the album will be released through their longtime label home Our Golden Friend. And to mark this exciting new era for the band, they recently announced Feral’s second single, the devastating and heartbreaking, anthemic ballad “I Used to Love You.” Simple and sincere, the song tells a familiar and fairly universal tale: a narrator, who proudly reclaims themselves and their lives in the aftermath of an embittering breakup. The song’s narrator may be proud and defiant; but there’s the sad acknowledgment of something deeply important coming to an end, iAnd while firmly establishing the band’s reputation for crafting an enormous, heartfelt hooks centered around personal experience, the song manages to recall Concrete Blonde’s “Joey” and R.E.M.’s “One I Love.” 

Directed by documentarian and narrative filmmaker Tom Campbell and shot by Edward Goldner, the recently released video for “I Used To Love You,” is a cinematic and intimate video featuring a contemplative Romy Vager, who at points sings the song’s lyrics directly at the viewer — and with the same earnestness and heartache as the accompanying song. “There’s a lot of power in reclaiming yourself but also a lot of sadness. I adore Tom’s video and feel like it captures the energy of the song perfectly,” RVG’s Romy Vager says in press notes. 

 

 

Currently comprised of founding member Luisa Black (vocals, guitar), August Churchill (guitar), Jonny Naismith (guitar) and Gavin Haag (drums), the New York-based indie rock band, which specializes in a sound that meshes elements of British art work with American garage rock initially began as a solo project of its then San Francisco, CA-based founding member, after the breakup of her previous band The Blacks, and evolved around a series of demos Black wrote while she was living in London. Since then, the band has worked with a rotating cast in which they’re often a trio but occasionally a duo — and interestingly enough, with the release of a handful of EPs, the band has developed  following in the UK and the European Union.

Rich Girls’ recently released full-length debut Black City finds the band pushing their moody minimalist sound into new directions, and while they retain the reverb-drenched guitar-based sound that first won them attention, the album’s material employs the use of vintage, analog synths and marimbas, as well as some ambitious songwriting that finds the band further blurring genre lines as the material swings back and forth between a pop-leaning focus on melody and a punk-leaning focus on urgency.

“Wayne” Black City‘s latest single is a slow-burning and anthemic, ballad that sonically reminds me of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps,” Concrete Blonde’s “Joey” and Mazzy Star, thanks in part to a sparse arrangement centered around reverb-drenched power chords, thundering drumming, a soaring hook and Black’s vocals singing heartbreaking lyrics on a post-addiction love; but underneath the song’s ache is the self-assuredness of old pros, who can craft an ambitious, arena rock friendly torch song in a way that feels both profoundly sincere and effortless.

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this year, you’ve come across a couple of posts featuring the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock/dream pop duo Alyeska, and as you may recall the duo, which is comprised of Montana-born, Los Angeles-based frontwoman Alaska Reid and Ben Spear derive their name from an archaic spelling of the state of Alaska — and of course, Reid’s first name.

With the release of “Tilt A Whirl,” the first single off their John Agnello-produced debut EP, Crush, the duo began to receive attention across the blogosphere — as well as this site — for a sound that draws equally from 80s post-punk and New Wave, as it did from contemporary indie rock. The EP’s second single “Motel State of Mind,” as a moody and dramatic song that while meant to be a “rip off “rip off The Replacements” as Reid explained in an interview with Billboardmanaged to remind me quite a bit of Concrete Blonde‘s “Joey,” complete with a swooning heartache at its core. “Sister Buckskin,” the EP’s third single continued in the 80s post-punk/New Wave/college radio vein, as it managed to remind me of The Pretenders; but underneath the shimmering guitar work and anthemic hooks was a bitter sense of nostalgia over what could have have been — and just didn’t happen.

Since the release of Crush, the duo have gone on to open for the likes of Middle Kids, Frankie Cosmos and Blitzen Trapper but interestingly, the band recently released the EP’s latest single “Stones,” the last bit of music recorded at The Magic Shop, where David Bowie, Arcade Fire, Sonic Youth, Norah Jones, Coldplay and the Foo Fighters once recorded albums. And while further cementing their reputation for crafting hook-laden, anthemic 80s-inspired rock, the “Stones” manages to make a subtle nod to Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as the song features some of the most impressive guitar work on the EP while bristling with a feral sensuality.

 

 

 

 

With the release of “Tilt A Whirl,” the first single off their John Angelo-produced debut EP, Crush, the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock/dream pop duo Alyeska began to receive attention across the blogosphere for a sound that draws equally from 80s post-punk and New Wave, as it did from contemporary indie rock. And if you had been on this site earlier this month, you may recall that I wrote about Crush‘s second single “Motel State of Mind,” a moody and dramatic song that as the band’s frontperson and primary songwriter Alaska Reid explained in an interview at Billboard wasn’t about illicit behavior, like truckers, hookers and cooking meth, but an attempt to “rip off The Replacements;” however, to m ears, the song reminds me much more of Concrete Blonde‘s “Joey,” complete with a swooning heartache at its core.

Interestingly, the EP’s third and latest single “Sister Buckskin” continues in an 8os post-punk/New Wave/alt-rock vein as it bears a resemblance to The Pretenders, thanks in part to an anthemic hook and gorgeously shimmering guitar work, along with an explosively cathartic ending; but just under the surface is a bitter sense of nostalgia over what could have been — and wasn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

Deriving their name from an archaic spelling of the state of Alaska and the first name of the band’s frontwoman, Alyeska is a Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock/dream pop duo comprised of Montana-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Alaska Reid and Ben Spear. And with “Tilt A Whirl,” the first single off the duo’s soon-to-be released, John Angelo-produced debut EP Crush, the duo began to receive attention across the blogosphere for a  sound that drew equally from 80s post-punk and New Wave, as it did from contemporary indie rock.

Crush‘s second and latest single “Motel State of Mind” is a moody and dramatic song that the duo’s Alaska Reid explained in an interview the Billboard wasn’t about illicit behavior, like truckers, hookers and cooking meth but an attempt to “rip off The Replacements;” however to my ears, the song sound as though the band was inspired by Concrete Blonde‘s “Joey” as Reid’s dreamy and achingly plaintive vocals are paired with a towering and enveloping shoegazer-like guitar chords, angular bass chords and dramatic drumming — but with an swooning heartache at its core.