Tag: Crocodiles

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Mayflower Madame Release a Gorgeous and Trippy Visual for Menacing “Sacred Core”

Mayflower Madame — Trond Fagernes (vocals, guitar, bass), Havard Haga (guitar) and Ola J. Kyrkjeeide (drums) — is a rising Oslo Norway-based psych rock/post-punk act that can trace its origins back to 2011. The band’s hazy and smoky sound was conceived in and inspired by the band’s gritty surroundings: their first rehearsal space was a desolate, industrial building, which they shared with a local carwash company. After their formation, they quickly recorded a four-track demo. which led to the band being named “Unsigned Band of the Week” on one of Norway’s biggest radio stations. 

Shortly after their four-track demo, the band then spent the next few years touring and playing shows across Scandinavia, carefully honing their sound along the way. The band’s full-length debut, 2016’s eight track Observed in a Dream was brooding and icy psych rock with a dark romanticism. Based on the success of their full-length debut, the Oslo-based psych rock band toured across North America and Europe to support the album. The band followed Observed in a Dream with 2018’s Premonition EP,  four songs of apocalyptic love songs. 

Building upon a growing profile. Mayflower Madame supported Premonition EP with more touring, including the European festival circuit with stops in France, Germany, the UK and Eastern Europe. And as a result of the band’s touring schedule, they’ve shared stages with an impressive and growing list of artists including Killing Joke, Moon Duo, Night Beats, Psychic Ills, Froth, The Underground Youth, Crocodiles, Cosmonauts and La Femme. 

Released earlier this year through a collaboration between French label Only Lovers Records, Portland‘s Little Cloud Records and Parisian label Icy Cold Records, Prepared for a Nightmare, the Norwegian psych rock JOVM mainstays’ latest album finds them further developing their unique blend of psych-noir and post punk with elements of shoegaze and noise rock. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles — the shoegazer yet menacing “Vultures” and “Swallow” — and while both tracks may bring The Black Angels, My Gold Mask, and Chain of Flowers to mind, they also evoke the dread and despair of our horrible sociopolitical moment. 

“Sacred Core,” Prepared for a Nightmare’s third and latest single continues a run of brooding and menacing psych rock, centered around swirling, shimmering and hypnotic guitars and a propulsive and muscular beat. Unlike its immediate predecessors, which were subtly shoegazer-leaning, “Sacred Core” is even more menacing, recalling The Black Angels’ Directions to See a Ghost while still being atmospheric. “‘Sacred Core’ is a song about getting lost, drifting away and trying to find the way back to your safe haven — guided by swirling, hypnotic guitars and an insistent heavy beat,” the band’s Trond Fagernes says in press notes. 

Continuing their ongoing collaboration with director Astrid Serck, the recently released video for “Sacred Core,” is centered around motion and stillness — and as a result, there’s gorgeous black and white footage of beaches and churches, movement in and around an old house, blinding sunbeams and footage of the band playing shows in Oslo and San Diego. “To me, the song is like an open landscape – it’s grounded, but at the same time moving. I wanted to capture that feeling visually with footage from windmill fields and beaches, where there’s constant movement — like a rhythm, as opposed to the solid ground. A contrast between motion and stillness. Something to hold on to as well as something loose and vibrating,” Astrid Serck says in press notes. 

“The core is what you hold on to. The motion is what you can let go. The sunbeams are blinding you, like a sacred light. The ceiling of a church is another symbol for sanctity. The moon is dancing, in disturbing ways, on the screen. In the video there is also an abandoned house, left with the door open. It´s a metaphor for the feeling of something that is lost, you can go back there, but only the memories are left. In addition there’s live footage of the band filmed from shows in Oslo and San Diego.”

New Video: Oslo-based Psych Rock Act Mayflower Madame Releases a Menacing Visual for Shimmering “Swallow”

Over the past couple of years of this site’s almost ten year history, I’ve managed to write a bit about the rising Oslo Norway-based psych rock/post-punk act Mayflower Madame — Trond Fagernes (vocals, guitar, bass), Havard Haga (guitar) and Ola J. Kyrkjeeide (drums). Formed back in 2011, the band’s hazy and smoky sound was conceived in and inspired by their gritty surroundings: they first rehearsed in a desolate, industrial building, where they shared space with a local carwash company. Shortly after their formation, they recorded a four-track demo, which lead to them being named “Unsigned Band of the Week” on one of Norway’s biggest radio stations.

The band then spent several years touring and playing shows across Scandinavia, carefully honing their sound along the way. The band’s full-length debut, 2016’s Observed in a Dream featured eight tracks of psych rock/shoegaze paired with dark romanticism in a way that was icy, brooding and hauntingly majestic. The Norwegian psych act toured across North America and Europe, followed by 2018’s Premonition EP — four songs of apocalyptic love songs.

Building upon a growing profile, Mayflower Madame supported Premonition EP with more touring and appearances across the European festival circuit with stops in France, Germany, the UK and Eastern Europe. So far, the band has shared stages with the likes of Killing Joke, Moon Duo, Night Beats, Psychic Ills, Froth, The Underground Youth, Crocodiles, Cosmonauts and La Femme. Most of this occurred between recording sessions for their forthcoming sophomore album.

Slated for a March 27, 2020 release through a collaboration between French label Only Lovers Records, Portland‘s Little Cloud Records and Parisian label Icy Cold Records, Prepared for a Nightmare reportedly finds the members of Mayflower Madame further developing their unique blend of psych-noir and post punk with elements of shoegaze and noise rock.  “Vultures,” the album’s menacing and propulsive first single manages to recall The Black Angels, My Gold Mask, and Chain of Flowers, as its centered around forceful drumming, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars and rousing hooks and an enormous sound. The album’s latest single “Swallow” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor: shimmering reverb-drenched guitars, atmospheric synths, a gentle seemingly Texan twang, an enormous hook and a deeply menacing and uneasy vibe. And in some way, the song seems to evoke the feelings of dread and despair that many of us are starting to feel now. 

Continuing an ongoing collaboration with Astrid Serck, the recently released video features a stylistic and hypnotic array of trippy visuals that further emphasizes the song’s sense of menace and unease seen in blood red backgrounds.  

New Video: Rising Oslo-based Psych Act Mayflower Madame Releases a Menacing Visual for “Vultures”

Rising Oslo Norway-based psych rock/post-punk act Mayflower Madame — Trond Fagernes (vocals, guitar, bass), Havard Haga (guitar) and Ola J. Kyrkjeeide (drums) — formed back in 2011. The band’s hazy, smoke-laden sound was conceived in and inspired by their gritty surroundings: they first rehearsed in a desolate, industrial building, where they shared space with a local carwash company. Shortly after their formation, they recorded a four-track demo, which lead to them being named “Unsigned Band of the Week” on one of Norway’s biggest radio stations. 

The band then spent several years touring and playing shows across Scandinavia, carefully honing their sound along the way. The band’s full-length debut, 2016’s Observed in a Dream featured eight tracks of psych rock/shoegaze paired with dark romanticism in a way that was icy, brooding and hauntingly majestic. The Norwegian psych act toured across North America and Europe, followed by 2018’s Premonition EP — four songs of apocalyptic love songs. 

Building upon a growing profile, Mayflower Madame supported Premonition EP with more touring and appearances across the European festival circuit with stops in France, Germany, the UK and Eastern Europe. So far, the band has shared stages with the likes of Killing Joke, Moon Duo, Night Beats, Psychic Ills, Froth, The Underground Youth, Crocodiles, Cosmonauts and La Femme. Most of this occurred between recording sessions for their forthcoming sophomore album. 

Slated for a March 27, 2020 release through a collaboration between French label Only Lovers Records, Portland’s Little Cloud Records and Parisian label Icy Cold Records, Prepared for a Nightmare reportedly finds the members of Mayflower Madame further developing their unique blend of psych-noir and post punk with elements of shoegaze and noise rock.  “Vultures,” the album’s menacing and propulsive first single manages to recall The Black Angels, My Gold Mask, and Chain of Flowers, as its centered around forceful drumming, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars and rousing hooks and an enormous sound. 

Directed by Astrid Serck, the black and white video is a hypnotic visual featuring a combination of collage-based laminations and imagery, live footage of the band performing and a dance sequenced performed by Norwegian drag artist Remi Johansen Hovda. The video manages to capture the tense and uneasy vibes of the song — and at points it feels as though someone or something is lurking just over your shoulder. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Death Valley Girls Release a Creepy Halloween-Themed Visual for “Wear Black”

I’ve managed to write a bit about the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act Death Valley Girls over the past few years, and as you may recall the act which is currently comprised of founding duo Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar) and a rotating cast of collaborators that includes Alana Amram (bass), Laura Harris (drums), Shannon Lay, members of The Make Up, The Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps’ Laura Kelsey can trace their origins to when they were formed by Schemel, Bloomgarden, Rachel Orosco (bass) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). Despite the series of lineup changes throughout the band’s history, the JOVM mainstays’ sound and aesthetic has primarily been influenced by The Manson Family and B movie theatrics while thematically focusing on the occult.

Interestingly, last year’s Darkness Rains might arguably be the darkest and most menacing batch of material of their growing catalog. Sonically, the album found the band crafting  a feral mixture of proto punk, proto metal and stoner rock  with a healthy dosage of mysticism. “Wear Black,” the album’s latest single features a hallucinogenic and sweaty arrangement of thunderous and propulsive drumming, glistening organ arpeggios, fuzzy power chords, enormous hooks and soaring vocals. Much like the rest of the album’s material, the song manages to evoke occult-inspired sacrificial rituals while sonically recalling The Black Angels, Roky Erickson and others.

Just in time for the holiday season, the members of Death Valley Girls released a Brandon McKnight-made video for “Wear Black” that’s split between live footage of the band performing at Saint Vitus Bar — occasionally through kaleidoscopic filters,  edited stock footage, old horror movies featuring hellish and unnatural medical procedures and people behaving as though they were possessed, as well as footage of masked figures performing bizarre and occult-like rituals. It’s appropriately creepy — and absolutely perfect for today.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Death Valley Girls Release a Hallucinatory and Menacing Visual for “Dream Cleaver”

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock/proto metal act Death Valley Girls, and as you may recall the act which is currently comprised of founding duo Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar) and a rotating cast of collaborators that includes Alana Amram (bass), Laura Harris (drums), Shannon Lay, members of The Make Up, The Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps Laura Kelsey can trace their origins to when they were formed by Schemel, Bloomgarden, Rachel Orosco (bass) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). 

Although they’ve gone through a series of lineup changes, the band’s sound and overall aesthetic throughout their recorded output has largely been influenced by The Manson Family and B movie theatrics while thematically their work has touched upon the occult. Last year’s Darkness Rains may arguably be among the most menacing and darkest of their growing catalog. The band has been busy touring over the past year or so since the release of their third album, but they’ve managed to set some time aside to write and record — with their latest single “Dream Cleaver,” being the first batch of new material from the act this year. 

Interestingly, the hook-driven new single finds the band’s sound subtly moving to a New Wave-like sound along the lines of The Psychedelic Furs and Echo and the Bunnymen, as you’ll hear brief blasts of bluesy saxophone floating over jangling guitars, gorgeous girls group-like harmonies paired with a motorik-like groove. And while possessing a newfound sheen, the manages to retain the menace and unease of their previously released material. 

Directed by Casey Rup, the recently released video for “Dream Cleaver” is a nightmarish and anxiety-including hallucination that follows three murderous witches as they search for materials for a neon-colored and bubbling potion. 

 

Describing themselves as five dickheads from Melbourne, Australia‘s real Wild West, the suburban town of Werribee, the up-and-coming garage rock quintet Auntie Leo & The Backstabbers, comprised of Dillon Melita (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Kole Karavias (guitar), Cameron McNish (bass), Marcus Melita (drums) and Dean Zitter (keys, percussion) can trace their origins to two rather serendipitous but very real events — exhausted from being kept awake all night by a mutual friend watching the classic Western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly at full volume, the band unintentionally formed when a misplaced tobacco pouch accidentally left on the roof of their car an later found again on the side of Great Ocean Road on their way home wound up becoming the inspiration for their first demo, “Choice Blues.”

Since then, the band released their critically applauded Wet Brain EP, which they supported with opening spots for Amyl & The Sniffers, Regurgitator, Tired Lion, Hiatus Kaiyote’s Nai Palm, Drunk Mums, Mesa and The Bennies, as well as a set at Melbourne Music Week. Building upon a growing profile, the members of Auntie Leo & The Backstabbers recently released the “Roaches”/”Down” 7 inch, which they’ll support with their first ever headlining national tour of Australia. “Roaches,” the A side single is a sleazy surf rock meets garage rock meets psych rock track that sounds as though it could have been released in 1964 — while simultaneously inspired by JOVM mainstays Crocodiles. Centered by jangling guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm and a stomping and a dance floor friendly hook, the song was inspired by an ill-fated trip to the beach in which an unusually high volume of dead cockroaches washed ashore and ruined what had been an otherwise nice day. The B side “Down,” is a bluesy stomper, centered by wailing harmonica, and looping 12 bar blues guitar. Sonically “Down” bears an uncanny resemblance to L.A. Woman-era The Doors but with a sleazy, boozy air — just how I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.