Tag: Crocodiles

New Audio: Exploded View Return with a Fatalistic Ode to the Environment

Initially spending the early part of her professional career as a political journalist, who split her time between Berlin and Bristol, UK, Annika Henderson, best known as Anika can trace the origins of her musical career to a particular moment —  when she was introduced to Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. As the story goes, at the time, Barrow was looking for a vocalist, who would be willing to work with his band Beak> for what he envisioned as a side project. Reportedly, when Barrow and Henderson first met, they immediately bonded over a mutual love of punk, dub and 60s girls group. And within a week of their meeting, Barrow, Henderson and the members of Beak> went into the studio to record the material which would eventually comprise Henderson’s 2010 self-titled full-length debut.

2013 saw the release of Henderson’s self-titled EP, a collection of covers and remixes that included one of my favorite songs off the set, Henderson’s cover of Chromatics’ “In the City,” which paired Henderson’s icy delivery with a Portishead and The Velvet Underground and Nico-inspired production. Last year, Geoff Barrow’s Invada Records, released an icily foreboding, dub-inspired cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” by the mysterious Invada All Stars featuring Anika on vocals as part of the  Stop Trident National anti-nukes demonstration in London.

Since then, Henderson has been busy with her most current musical project, Exploded View is collaborative side project fronted by the renowned vocalist and featuring a group of Mexico City-based producers including Martin Thulin, known for his work with JOVM mainstays Crocodiles; Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo — and the project’s sound finds Henderson and company moving away from the krautrock-inspired sound of her solo work, and towards a seemingly fuzzily atmospheric and baroque-like psych pop.  After completing the material that would comprise the band’s self-titled debut album, the members of the band decided to return to the studio and record some more, with the result being the Summer Came Early EP. Comprised of some outtakes from the self-titled album, along with some new material, their follow-up EP reportedly finds the band crafting sons that carefully walk a tightrope between clarity and focus and a messy, free-flowing experimentalism that comes from improvisation.

Interestingly, EP title track “Summer Came Early” may arguably be one of the most delicate and bitterly wistful songs that the band has released to date — while thematically, the song is written as a post-permanent climate change ode to how the environment once was, with the caveat that no one questioned anything and no one did anything besides lazily sat down and gave up. And when the proverbial shit hit the fan, the only action that was left  was to point fingers at someone else. It’s a bit reminiscent of the famous T.S. Eliot poem isn’t it?

Directed by William Markarian-Martin is an eerily psychedelic vision of the hellish and permanent damage that humanity has done to the environment, and while wistful it possesses an eerie fatalism and acceptance.

 

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New Video: JOVM Crocodiles Return with Decidedly Lo-Fi Yet Revealing Visuals for “Not Even In Your Dreams”

JOVM mainstay artists Crocodiles, comprised of primary members and best friends Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell have an established reputation for scuzzy, swaggering, garage rock with a decidedly pop leaning sensibility throughout the course their five previously released and critically praised full-length albums. However, the band’s latest effort Dreamless found Welchez and Rowell going through a decided change in sonic direction and songwriting approach. The album’s first single “Telepathic Lover,” possesses a stripped down and atmospheric feel, as the band moved more towards piano and synth being primary instrumentation with guitars and pedal effects moved to the background, giving the material a spectral and uneasy feel — and yet, they managed to retain their shuffling pop sensibility and swaggering badassery.

“We’ve always been a guitar band and I think we just wanted to challenge ourselves and our aesthetic,” Crocodiles’ Brandon Welchez explained in press notes. “It didn’t start as a conscious decision but within the first week Charlie’s mantra became ‘fuck guitars.’ Only one song has zero guitar but in general we tried to find alternatives to fill that space.” And much like its its predecessor, Boys, the band’s latest effort was recorded in the band’s adopted hometown Mexico City and was recorded and produced with friend, occasional bandmate and producer Martin Thulin, who’s also known for collaborating with Anika in her new project Exploded View. As the story goes, during the recording recording sessions Welchez, Rowell and Thulin shared instrumental duties with Welchez and Rowell handling most of the guitar and bass work, Thulin handling piano and synths and Thulin and Welchez splitting the live drum work.

Thematically speaking, the material on the album may arguably be the duo’s most personal, most bitter and fucked up work they’ve released to date — with the album’s title managing to work on both a deeply literal and metaphorical level. As the band’s primary lyricist explained in press notes ““I suffered insomnia throughout the whole session. I was literally dreamless. The past two years had been fraught with difficulty for us – relationship troubles, career woes, financial catastrophe, health issues. In that pessimistic mindset it was easy to feel as if the dream was over.” Dreamless’ latest single “Not Even In Your Dreams” is a jangling bubblegum pop-leaning bit of indie rock in which twinkling piano chords, strummed guitar and a propulsive rhythm section are paired with Welchez’s ironic, deadpan vocals singing lyrics describing the frayed nerves and boredom of the insomniac, whose inability to sleep will further fuel his inability to sleep, leaving his narrator with his running self-flaggelating thoughts of how his life and his career have been a momentous and laughable failure. And in some way it captures both the ghosts the linger in your life and the endless battle against your own crushing self-doubts.

The recently released music video will further cement the band’s reputation for pairing their sound with decidedly lo-fi, grainy videos, and in this case the video is comprised of brief footage of the band performing and goofing off both before and after shows and old movies — and despite its purposely shitty quality, it’s a revealing look into the band, their individual personalities and in a small way, the life of an indie musician.

Over the course of this site’s history, JOVM mainstay artists Crocodiles, comprised of primary members and best friends Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell have an established reputation for scuzzy, swaggering, garage and psych rock with decidedly pop leaning hooks through their five previously released and critically praised full-length albums. However, with the band’s forthcoming, sixth effort Dreamless, the primary duo of Welchez and Rowell have gone through a decided sonic departure as you’d hear on the album’s haunting and bittersweet first single “Telepathic Lover,” as the band has stripped down their sound, moving guitars and pedal effects to the background while piano and synths have moved to the forefront, making their sound much more atmospheric, while retaining a jangling and shuffling pop feel.

“We’ve always been a guitar band and I think we just wanted to challenge ourselves and our aesthetic,” Crocodiles’ Brandon Welchez explains in press notes. “It didn’t start as a conscious decision but within the first week Charlie’s mantra became ‘fuck guitars.’ Only one song has zero guitar but in general we tried to find alternatives to fill that space.Much like its predecessor, BoysDreamless was recorded in the band’s new adopted hometown of Mexico City and was recorded and produced with friend, occasional bandmate and producer Martin Thulin, who collaborates with Anika in her new, side project Exploded View. During the recording sessions, each member of the collaborative trio shared instrumental duties, with Welchez and Rowell handling most of the guitar and bass work, Thulin handling piano and synths while Thulin and Welchez split the live drum work.

Interestingly, the album’s title manages to work on both a literal and metaphorical level. “I suffered insomnia throughout the whole session. I was literally dreamless,” Welchez explained in press notes. “The past two years had been fraught with difficulty for us – relationship troubles, career woes, financial catastrophe, health issues. In that pessimistic mindset it was easy to feel as if the dream was over.” The album’s second and latest single “Not Even In Your Dreams” is a jangling and noisy track in which seemingly discordant piano chords are paired with what sounds like melodica playing a twisting and turning melody, strummed acoustic guitar, a propulsive backbeat and Welchez’s ironic, deadpan snarl, all which evokes the frayed nerves and sanity, as well as the utter boredom of the insomniac, who knows that every single time they try to lie down that sleep will be elusive. The only thing the narrator has is yet another joint and or cigarette to smoke, his running thoughts about how everything in his life has been a tremendous failure — and as a result it gives the song the sense of bitter realizations and self-flagellation.

 

 

Comprised of Trond Fagernes (vocals, guitar), Rune Øverby (guitar), Petter Gudim Marberg (bass), Ola Jørgen Kyrkjeeide (drums) and live contributions from Kenneth Ekes (synth), Olso, Norway quartet Mayflower Madame specialize in a moody and dark post-punk/darkwave/chillwave sound that immediately brings to mind 4AD Records heyday along with several contemporary bands, including Interpol, JOVM mainstay artists The Harrow and others. And since the 2013 release of their debut EP Into the Haze, the Norwegian quartet have developed a reputation nationally for their live shows; in fact, they’ve played two of their homelands biggest festivals Norwegian Wood and Oya Festival, as well as opening for a number of renowned acts including Crystal Stilts, Night Beats, Moon Duo and JOVM mainstay acts Disappears, Crocodiles and La Femme.

Mayflower Madame’s full-length debut Observed in a Dream was released earlier this year across Europe through Night Cult Records and was released across North America through Custom Made Music earlier this month and the album’s first latest single “Weightless”  consists of a tight motorik groove paired with shimmering guitar chords and Fagernes’ brooding baritone in a song that will further cement the quartet’s growing reputation for moody 4AD Records era post-punk — but in a remarkably hazy and ethereal song.

 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Act Betty Black Returns with Psych Rock-Leaning Visuals for a Psych Rock-Leaning New Single

New York-based singer/songwriter, bassist and producer Sylvia Gordon, best known as Sylvia Black. Gordon is an internationally recognized artist for her work as the frontwoman of electro pop act K.U.D.U. and for her collaborations with The […]

Originating as the solo recording project of David Miller, the Chicago, IL-based lo-fi/punk/psych rock quartet Strange Faces expanded to a quartet when Miller recruited Taylor Walters (guitar), Philip Valdez (bass) and Ben Leach (drums) to flesh out and complete the project’s sound. “Brand New Way,” off the quartet’s soon-to-be released debut effort Stonerism is a swaggering, scuzzy bit of psychedelic  lo-fi reminiscent of Crocodiles and Raccoon Fighter as the album’s first single pairs buzzing guitar chords, a tight and propulsive rhythm section, big hooks and vocals fed through layers of distortion. And despite it’s swaggering nature, at its core is a bruised and aching heart as the song’s narrator talks about moving on from crushing loneliness while capturing the youthful restlessness and rebellion that’s always been the rock ‘n’ roll spirit.