Tag: Courtney Barnett

Dead Pony · Everything Is Easy

In their relatively short time together, the up-and-coming Glasgow-based post-punk quartet Dead Pony — Anna Shields (vocals, guitar), Blair Crichton (guitar, backing vocals), Liam Adams (bass) and Aidan McAllister (drums) — have developed a reputation for a high-octane live set that has earned them opening slots for Courtney Barnett, Black Honey, and The Mysterines.

Centered around slashing power chords, thunderous drumming, blasts of jagged synth arpeggios and a rousingly anthemic hook, the Scottish quartet’s latest single “Everything Is Easy” is a bold and self-assured introduction to the band that manages to sound indebted to Elastica — “Connection” and “Car Song” in particular come to mind.

“‘Everything is Easy’ is a take on how simple childhood experiences can be soured as you grow older,” the band’s Anna Shields explains in press notes. “Lyrically, we tried to capture that feeling of betrayal you feel as a young, naïve child when you find out Santa isn’t real or that your conception wasn’t via your Dad finding a snotter on the wall and raising it to become you. We came up with this idea after having discussed how ridiculous the things were we believed as children.”

New Video: Rising British Singer/Songwriter and Guitarist Lauran Hibberd Releases a Satirical Video for Grunge Rock-Inspired “Hootchie”

Lauran Hibberd is a rising Isle of Wight-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, whose witty off-kilter lyricism has welcomed comparisons to the likes of Courtney Barnett and Phoebe Bridgers. And over the past year or so, Hibberd has received a growing national profile across the UK as a result of airplay on the BBC Radio 1 programs of Annie Mac, Huw Stephens and Jack Saunders, and praise across the blogosphere and elsewhere from the likes of The Line of Best Fit, The 405, Clash Magazine and Gigwise. 

Earlier this year, the Isle of Wight-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist tour the UK and EU with acclaimed indie act Hippo Campus — and adding to a big 2019 for the rising artist, she earned a slot on the BBC Introducing stage at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.  

Fresh off the heels of all of this big news, Hibberd’s latest single, “Hoochie” is a 90s alt-rock/grunge rock-inspired track centered around the rising British singer/songwriter and guitarist’s ironic delivery, rousingly anthemic hooks, fuzzy and jangling power chords and forceful drumming, Now, we’re all familiar with what the slang term actually means but what makes the song hilarious is that it finds Hibberd laughingly taking the piss out of the term. 

The recently released video emphasizes the song’s theme by satirizing phone sex line TV commercials, as we see Hibberd play very specific and very bland fantasy roles — the high school cheerleader, the girl with daddy issues, the dominatrix and so on. At one point her backing band joins her. “Hoochie is a 90’s slang term for a bit of a you know what,” Hibberd says of the video. “I wanted to embrace that in the only way I knew how. No fruit or vegetables were harmed in the making of this. Why don’t you text/ call and see what happens? Filmed by Skinny Mammoth in a dodgy garage on the Isle of Wight. Say what you will”.

New Video: Melbourne Australia’s Money for Rope Releases Frenzied Visuals for Blistering and Swaggering New Single

Money for Rope’s forthcoming sophomore album Picture Us comes on the heels of a four-year period of relentless and intense international touring that saw the quintet comprised of Julian Mckenzie (vocals, guitar, sax), Rick Parnaby (keys, telephone), Erick Scerba (drums, tambourine), Chris Loftis (kazoo, drums) and Ted Dempsey (bass, laser printing) tour across Europe, America and India, including a short run of dates with Courtney Barnettt, who was an early supporter. Adding to a growing international profile, the band played sets at Glastonbury Festival, SXSW and Primavera Sound Festival. 

“Actually,” Picture Us’ latest single is a swaggering and bluesy bit of garage surf centered around a propulsive bass line, fuzzy power chords and howled lyrics within a sprawling song structure — and while sounding as though it were influenced by The Black Keys, the song possesses a feral and unhinged quality, 

The recently released video features a series of dizzying still images of the band rolling around, jamming and fucking around in their house-turned rehearsal space. It’s a scrappily done DIY visual that captures the frenzied passion behind the music — and it’s fun as hell, too.  The band’s Erik Scerba says of the video and its creative process “The photos were very much on the fly although I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like. It was pretty much impossible to know the timing of everything, but there’s a part in the song where the crash hits with a shot of me hitting the crash and it just worked. Sometimes that shit happens. There’s a kinda psychedelic aspect to it all which I liked – using the images to do different things like capture some of us in two places at once. The black and white makes it more nightmarish. We wanted to have all the shots happen at once so it had a constant flow of momentum. The hardest part was editing, as 25 frames a second doesn’t match the song’s bpm.”

Comprised of Novak (vocals, guitar) and John Henry (drums, vocals), the Sydney, Australia-based rock duo Polish Club can trace their origins to when the occasional drinking buddies decided to book a room and see if they could play together. The result is a bruising, bluesy garage rock with elements of classic, Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson and others and as the band’s drummer John Henry explains, their sound was “just about playing to the strength[s] of the people involved. We play hard and fast and loud with kinda simple guitar lines and Novak has a voice that manages to push a lot of air. We probably sound so big because his voice is actually physically very loud. Like, if he sings without a mic in a room, you can’t talk to the person next to you.”

Opening for the likes of Courtney Barnett and Gang of Youths in their native Australia, the duo quickly received a reputation for sweat-soaked and bloodied, barn-burner sets, and as a result they’ve managed to sell out headlining shows, and play their country’s festival circuit. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the duo’s forthcoming full-length debut Alright Already is slated for an August 10, 2018 release through Universal Australia, and the album’s second official single “Come Party” is a swaggering, face-melting, power chord-based bruiser that sounds indebted to AC/DC, The Black Keys, Grand Funk Railroad, Thin Lizzy and 38 Special, complete with an enormous, arena rock friendly hooks. Unsurprisingly, the new single reveals a band that’s ready to kick ass, take names — and then take over the world while they’re at it.

New Video: Introducing the Jangling and Anthemic Guitar Pop of Australia’s BATTS

Tanya Batt is a Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the recording project BATTS — and with release of last year’s 62 Moons EP, Batt quickly received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that has drawn comparisons to Angel Olsen, Courtney Barnett, Mazzy Star, Sharon Van Etten and others. Adding to a growing international profile, Batt received airplay from BBC Radio 1, KCRW and Triple J.

Building upon a growing profile, Batt toured her native Australia with Didirri, and she recently played her first UK shows with Cub Sport as part of the Communion Music tour; but more important, Batt’s newest single is a jangling bit of guitar pop that manages to nod at Fleetwood Mac-like AM radio rock, complete with an anthemic rock but underneath the easy-going and self-assured vibes of the song is an urgent desire to change things for the better — although in a lot of cases that’s impossible. After all, the human condition is to be endlessly disappointing. There’s also this desire to go off and colonize someplace else, and start over with different rules — that maybe it’d better on Mars, Jupiter or someplace else. 

Directed by Dyllan Corbett, the recently released video for “Shame” stars Tanya Batt, Olaf Scott, Daniel Moulds, Nkechi Anele, Melanie Scammell, Megan Kent and Alice Kent, and as Corbett explains of the video treatment “Thematically, we were after a sliding door effect of having two separate outlooks/moods and the outcome that each one has on your happiness.” 

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New Video: Renowned Australian Singer/Songwriter and Guitarist Courtney Barnett Releases Psychedelic Visuals for Expansive Album Single “City Looks Pretty”

With the release of her first two, critically applauded EPs, I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Farris and How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose, the Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Courtney Barnett quickly received attention from the North American, British and Australian press witty and rambling, conversational lyrics delivered in an ironic deadpan paired with big, power chord-based indie rock. And although to the casual observer, it may have seemed like overnight success, it actually wasn’t. In fact, Barnett has long been considered one of Melbourne’s best guitarists as once played in Dandy Warhols’ Brent DeBoer’s side project Immigrant Union and had  guest spot on Jen Cloher‘s third album, In Blood Memory.

2015’s full-length effort Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit continued a run of critically applauded releases, and the album’s lead single “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party” was promoted with a unique promotional campaign that included scores of giant billboards, posters and murals spontaneously posted around the world — and all of them declared the same unattributed statement in the same exact font. As for the song, it found Barnett and her backing band pairing thundering drumming, dense layers of swirling guitar chords and a scorching guitar solo and Barnett’s bemused and ironic deadpan delivery with a rousingly anthemic, arena rock-like hook. “Elevator Operator,” which I also wrote about on this site, was a stomping and shuffling T. Rex-like song that featured twisting and turning organ chords, handclap-led percussion, and a mischievous yet anthemic hook that described incredibly neurotic people, who are beaten down by boring and soulless day jobs, including one character, who escapes to peer over a rooftop for a brief moment of clarity while dreaming he was playing Sim City.  (If you’ve worked at a boring and soul crushing day job, that song may well be your anthem during the workweek.)

Last year, saw the release of Lotta Sea Lice, a critically applauded and commercially successful collaborative album with renowned guitarist and vocalist Kurt Vile; in fact, the album landed at #5 on the Australian charts, #11 on the British charts and #51 on the American charts. Building upon an incredible run of critical and commercial success, Barnett’s third full-length album Tell Me How You Really Feel is slated for a May 18, 2018 release through Mom + Pop Records, Marathon Artists, and Barnett’s own label Milk! Records — and the album’s third and latest single “City Looks Pretty” finds Barnett eschewing traditional song structures in order to focus on a motorik-like groove, razor sharp hooks and an expansive psych rock-like vibe that’s roomy enough for what may be some of Barnett’s most inspired and bluesy guitar work she’s recorded to date. The song lyrically is an exploration of friendship, place and home centered around the irony of friends treating you like a stranger and strangers treating you like their best friend. 

The recently released video by Courtney Barnett features some appropriately psychedelic imagery shot on what looks like digital cameras and an old Super 8, and in some way it brings to mind 120 Minutes-era MTV. 

New Video: Teeth & Tongue’s Jess Cornelius Releases Haunting Visuals for “Jealousy” Off Her Forthcoming Solo Debut

Over the past year, I had written a bit about the critically acclaimed, Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock/indie pop act Teeth & Tongue. Comprised of New Zealand-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jess Cornelius, guitarist Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, bassist Damian Sullivan and drummer James Harvey, the quartet initially began as a solo recording project of its founding member Jess Cornelius, and over the course of the four albums, the band developed a reputation for restless experimentation with their sound morphing from an ambient and textured sound to a wiry, dance floor-friendly post-punk inspired by Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ It’s Blitz!, as you would hear on Give Up on Your Health, an album that received attention both nationally and internationally — it was nominated for a J Award and the Australian Music Prize, named Album of the Week on 3RRR and Featured Album on Double J, as well as features in Rolling Stone, The Fader and Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter.

Adding to a growing profile, Cornelius has played at some of the her adopted homeland’s and the world’s major music festivals including Laneway Festival, Meredith Music Festival, Falls Festival, Boogie Woogie Festival, SXSW, CMJ, Perth International Arts Festival and Darwin Festival, toured with acclaimed singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett and Vance Joy, opened for J. Mascis, Sons & Daughters, EMA, Juana Molina, The Dodos, The Mountain Goats, The Drones and Laura Marling, as well performed as a musical guest on several episodes of SBS‘ Rockwiz.
 
After several years as a frontperson, Cornelius decided it was time to focus on creating music under her own name, and as a result, Cornelius relocated to Los Angeles to write, and record new material, which included “Jealousy,” the first single off her forthcoming debut EP Nothing Is Lost. And from the single, the New Zealand-born singer/songwriter’s solo work is a marked departure from her work with Teeth & Tongue, as  the material is stripped down to a sparse arrangement of Cornelius’ dynamic, PJ Harvey-like vocals, accompanied by her strummed guitar, dramatic drumming and backing vocals. With a strip down approach of songwriter, vocals, guitar and drums, the listener must not only pay attention to the songwriter’s vocals but to the lyrics as well — and in this case, “Jealousy,” a song based on one of the most hideous yet common human emotions may arguably be some of the more direct, empathetic writing of her career.  You can practically feel the bile and resentment of the song’s narrator, who focuses on what she lacks and what others have; however, the song should serve both as a reminder and warning — after all, you don’t know what someone else had to sacrifice to be in the situation they’re in now, and if you did, you might not have done so.
 
 
Directed by Thomas Hyland at Clones and Clones, the recently released video for “Jealousy” employs a relatively simple yet haunting concept: we follow Cornelius as rides a bike through a suburban development at night. And in some way, the treatment emphasizes the bitter loneliness and spite of its narrator, whose jealousy and resentments seem to fuel her through something that’s both endless and pointless.
 

New Audio: The Anthemic Folk Pop and Psych Pop Sounds of Melbourne, Australia’s Jade Imagine

Perhaps best known as the frontwoman of Melbourne, Australia-based electro pop act Tantrums, Jess McInally has spent the better part of the past decade as a touring and session musician with stints in Jess Cornelius’ recording project Teeth and Tongue and Jess Ribiero’s backing band; but towards the end of 2015, some of her dearest friends had encouraged McInally that it was time for her to write her own material and front another band. “I’m a songwriter and it took me so long to realize that,” McInally said in press notes. “I need to be writing, because that’s how I feel good.” Using a loaner guitar from her friend Dan Kelly, McInally began writing the material that would comprise What The Fuck Was I Thinking, the debut EP for her newest project, Jade Imagine.
After recording a series of demos in her bedroom, McInally sent them to Dave Mudie, Courtney Barnett’s drummer, and as the story goes, not only did Mudie dig the material he received, he then recorded some drum tracks and helped to steer some pre-production of material. Encouraged by the development, McInally began recruiting a rotating series of backing band members and collaborations that primarily includes Liam “Snowy” Halliwell (bass), best known for his work with The Ocean Party and Ciggie Witch; Tim Harvey (production, guitar), best known for his work with Emma Louise and Real Feelings; and Jen Sholakis (drums), best known for her work with East Brunswick All Girls Choir and Jen Cloher, and the newly formed band spent the next six months recording the EP at Mudie’s house and DIY-based sessions in McInally’s bedroom. As McInally says of the recording sessions, “Whenever I record with Tim [Harvey], we have a little session beforehand and listen to songs from other bands and talk about what sounds we want. It’s all very measured with him. For instance, on the drums for ‘Walkin’ Around,’ Fleetwood Mac was a reference, but so was NEU! and that definitely doesn’t come through. With Dave [Mudie], it’s more like ‘lets throw some things at the wall and see what sticks’ in a good way.” And while reportedly drawing from mid 60s California beach and psych pop, The Church, T-Rex, Fleetwood Mac, The Triffids, and The Go-Betweens, What The Fuck Was I Thinking’s latest single “Walkin’ Around,” sonically reminds me renowned fellow countrymen Husky and Starsailor while nodding a bit at The Verve.

Directed by Clancy Walker, the recently released music video for “Walkin’ Around” reminds me quite a bit of the video for The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” as the video follows a focused Jade McInally walking around Melbourne with an intense and determined sense of purpose; in fact, she’s so purposeful, that she’s practically mowing people down on the sidewalk until towards the end, she finally meets up with her bandmates, who join her for the rest of their walk.

Earlier this summer, I wrote about the Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock quartet Teeth and Tongue With the 2014 release of Grids, the band comprised of New Zealand-born, Melbourne, Australia-based Jess Cornelius (guitar, vocals), Marc Regueiro-McKelvie (guitar), Damian Sullivan (bass) and James Harvey (drums) received attention across Australia for an ambient-leaning sound that paired textured and layered vocals with lyrics that thematically focused on the intricacies of romantic relationships with an unvarnished honesty. And as a result of the attention they’ve received across Australia, they’ve managed to tour with internationally recognized indie rock sensation and fellow Australian Courtney Barnett, which has helped raised their profile internationally.

Dianne,” the first single off Teeth and Tongue’s recently released album Give Up On Your Health revealed a band that has gone through a change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, with the band taking up  an angular, dance floor friendly New Wave/post-punk sound reminiscent of Blondie, Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ It’s Blitz! and Dirty Ghosts. Give Up On Your Health’s latest single “Turn, Turn, Turn” much like its predecessor is inspired by a painful breakup — in particular, the song lyrically is full of the bitter regret,  uncertainty, self-deception and eventual acceptance that occurs in the aftermath of a breakup. Sonically speaking, the song sounds as though it draws from 80s New Wave, synth pop and DFA Records as you’ll hear undulating and propulsive synths, cowbell-led percussion, angular guitar chords in a sensual and slinky arrangement, along with an infectious, dance-floor friendly hook. Somehow, every time I’ve heard it I’m reminded of Stevie Nicks’ Stand Back” and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.”

 

 

 

 

Currently based in New Orleans, Kate Fagan is a ska, punk and new wave musician, who first emerged to local and regional attention as the founding member and frontwoman of Chicago-based ska act Heavy Manners, an act that once opened for the The Clash and The English Beat; but interestingly enough before that Fagan released a cult-favorited New Wave single “I Don’t Wanna Be Too Cool” through local imprint Disturbing Records that was immediately embraced by local club DJs, radio stations and taste-making record stores like Chicago’s Wax Trax, where it became the best-selling release by a local artist ever.  The B-side single “Waiting for the Crisis” also received attention for its politically charged, Reagan-era lyrics, which manage to still resonate today.

 

As the story goes, Fagan wrote the title track after moving from New York to Chicago in the late 70s. “I pretty much came to visit Chicago and fell in love with the scene and never left,” Fagan recalled in press notes. “At the time I’d been working at New York magazine and was getting dismayed watching the CBGB scene give way to the whole Studio 54/velvet rope thing. So I spontaneously moved to Chicago, which was much more inclusive and everyone wasn’t standing around peering at each other from behind their shades. But eventually I saw that same kind of divisive hipster culture start to creep in. ‘Too Cool’ was my reaction to that.” Along with “Too Cool,” Fagan wrote many of her earliest songs as a solo artist and with Heavy Manners in an intuitive fashion, recording them at Chicago’s Acme Studios, where she’d meet the fellow artists with whom she’d form Disturbing Records.

Although the “Too Cool” single was a cult favorite back in the early 80s, sadly it was thought to be long lost, as the second printing of the album was lost in a house fire that destroyed almost everything Fagan had owned at the time — that is until Manufactured Recordings stumbled upon the original single, along with two unreleased bonus tracks that Fagan recorded with members of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and Scarlet Architect. Interestingly, when you listen to the four tracks off the re-issued 7 inch, the songs manage to sound both of its time and incredibly contemporary — in some way you can imagine acts like Colleen Green, Courtney Barnett, Karen O. and several others citing Fagan as an influence, as Fagan’s lyrics possess a wry irony at at their core, as you’ll hear on the aforementioned “Too Cool,” a song that’s reminiscent of both The B52s and Go-Gos. “Waiting for the Crisis” sounds as though it were influenced by Sandinista! and Combat Rock-era The Clash. However, “Master of Passion” and “Come Over” are the most dance floor-friendly, New Order-like songs of the re-issue, featuring shimmering undulating synths, propulsive drum programming paired with Fagan’s sultry and coquettish delivery.

Of course, each track reveals a songwriter, who had an uncanny knack at writing an infectiously catchy hook that you could imagine kids bouncing up and down to in a sweaty club — and does so with a cool, swaggering self-assuredness.