Tag: Dangerbird Records

New Video: Take an Animated Microscopic Journey to the Moon with JOVM Mainstays Cones

Throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the  San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Cones. And as you may recall, the duo which is comprised of Jonatan Rosen, an acclaimed, pop music influenced, hand-drawn animator, who has created music videos for the likes Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger and Delicate Steve,  and played Johnny Thunders on the HBO series Vinyl; and Micheal Rosen, a classically trained pianist, commercial and film composer and experimental sound artist, can trace the origins of their band back to their stint playing together as members of New York-based indie act Icewater, an act that eventually became the session and touring band for Eleanor Friedberger’s New View. As the story goes, while touring with Friedberger, the Rosens began to conceptualize what their new project would sound like, ultimately deciding that their project would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard-based instrumentation.

After releasing a string of critically applauded singles and the release of their debut EP, the duo went to a friend’s studio to collaborate with a producer for the first time. They recorded what they thought would be their full-length debut but ultimately, the duo decided to scrap that early effort, as it didn’t feel like a proper Cones album to them. So they went back to their home studio and started their full-length album from scratch. The end result is their highly-anticipated full-length debut Pictures of Pictures, which is slated for release next week through Dangerbird Records. 

“Moonstone,” Picture of Pictures’ latest single will further cement the duo’s reputation for carefully crafted and breezy psych pop that somehow manages to owe a debt to 70s AM rock. Centered around a hazy nostalgia and a soaring hook, their latest single — to my ears at least — seems like a seamless synthesis of Steely Dan and MGMT, but at its core the song is a swooning and delicate love song. 

Featuring line animation from the band’s Jonathan Rosen, the recently released video is a trippy and microscopic journey to and from the moon, while evoking the song’s aching longing. 

New Video: The Chavez Ravine Releases a Darkly Ironic Visual for “Bermuda Triangle”

Comprised of Manny Nieto (vocals, guitar), Phil Guerrero (drums) and Mando Lopez (bass), the indie rock trio The Chavez Ravine may arguably be as Los Angeles as it can get: the trio of grizzled local scene veterans features members, who have played in a number of renowned bands including Distortion Felix, FEAR, The Breeders, and Morrissey‘s backing band — and the band’s name is derived from the name of the Los Angeles that was appropriated by the city in 1958 to make room for Dodger Stadium. “I think our name The Chavez Ravine does mean something, considering we are all SoCal Latinos making music that’s not metal, as a DJ or playing hip-hop,” Nieto says. “Our DNA is more Devo vs. Wipers.” Additionally, Nieto is known for his work at Suplex Audio, where he has produced albums by HEALTH, Trash Talk, The Breeders, Darker My Love, Los Lobos and others. 

The Los Angeles-based trio recently took part in Dangerbird Records‘ MICRODOSE monthly single release and live event series, which celebrates new music from the city’s Eastside neighborhood — and beyond.  And their contribution is the 90s grunge rock-inspired “Bermuda Triangle,” a muscular and insistent track centered by fuzzy power chords, a steady backbeat, down-tuned bass and a hook that subtly recalls Social Distortion (at least to my ears). 

The recently released video stars Richard “Cully” Roberts as a distraught lover, who desperately attempts to bring his dead girlfriend, Chloe Diaz with his car. Once brought back to life, Roberts takes Diaz out to dance at a quiet bar, where the members of The Chavez Ravine are playing the song. While heading to the car, a distracted Roberts gets hit by a car and dies; however, instead of attempting to bring her lover back to life, she gleefully kills him. Darkly ironic, indeed. 

New Video: Renowned Shoegazers Swervedriver Release Trippy Visuals for One of Their Most Incisive Singles to Date

Primarily centered around founding and core members Adam Franklin (vocals, guitar) and Jimmy Hartridge (guitar, vocals) and currently featuring Mikey Jones (drums, vibes) and revolving bassists Mick Quinn and Ben Ellis, the renowned Oxford, UK-based alt rock/shoegazer act Swervedriver formed back in 1989. And during their initial run between 1989 and 1998, the band released four full-length albums — 1991’s Raise, 1993’s Mezcal Head, 1995’s Ejector Seat Reservation and 1998’s 99th Dream — while going through a number of lineup changes, management changes and different labels. Interestingly by 1993, the band’s lineup had settled to include Franklin, Hartridge, Jez Hindmarsh (drums) and Steve George (bass), and with that lineup they developed a reputation for a heavier rock sound than their shoegazer contemporaries; but over the last five years of their initial run, their sound evolved to include elements of psychedelia, pop and indie rock. 

The members of Swervedriver’s longest tenured lineup went on a lengthy hiatus in 1998 in which the individual members went on to pursue a variety of professional and creative pursuits. Franklin embarked on a solo career that would rival Swervedriver’s creative output, first fronting he experimental electro pop/electro folk act Toshack Highway, whose releases ranged from sextet ensemble works to four-track bedroom recordings and then with the more traditionally guitar rock-driven Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody. Hartridge founded a distribution company. Hindmarsh founded Badearth Management, eventually managing Scottish rock act Terra Diablo and others. Interestingly, in early 2005, Franklin, Hartridge, Hindmarsh and George reconvened to collaborate with Castle Music to choose songs on what would be a two disc anthology Juggernaut Rides ’89-’98, which featured 33 tracks remastered from the original DATs. Half of those tracks were non-album tracks  along with four previously unreleased tracks — Shake Appeal’s “Son of  Mustang Ford: demo, the remainder of Swervedriver’s recordings during 1998, which included “Just Sometimes” and “Neon Lights Glow.” The compilation was critically applauded and in some way, it helped to build up interest in the shoegaze pioneers’ work. 

2006 was a busy year for the members of Swervedriver — Franklin began collaborating with Interpol’s Sam Fogarino in Magnetic Morning. Hindmarsh went on to publish Rider, which chronicled his experiences and observations on the road touring with the band between 1992 and 1998. Somewhat inspired by the successful 2004 reunion of the Pixies, Franklin, Hartridge and Hindmarsh went on an international reunion tour in 2008, garnering the attention and acclaim that evaded them a decade earlier. 2015’s I Wasn’t Born To Lose You was the first album of original material from the band in 17 years — although they managed to remain consistent, as they went through another series of lineup changes between the reunion tour and Born.

Swervedriver’s sixth full-length album and second of their reunion, Future Ruins is slated for a January 25, 2019 release through Dangerbird Records. Having written and recorded  I Wasn’t Born To Lose You immediately after Australian tour, the band decided to repeat the process after a lengthy Stateside tour, playing Raise and Mezcal Head in their entirety. “That’s a good way to record,” Franklin says in press notes, “because you’ve literally just seen the whites of the audience’s eyes and you’re thinking, ‘If that audience from last night were here now…’ You can’t get too mellow. We came home with 30 different songs.” 10 more days of vocals and overdubs at Brighton UK’s Seaside Studios with Grammy Award-winning engineer TJ Doherty quickly followed. 

The album’s 10 tracks were mixed earlier this year, as the band was touring across Europe. And while the material finds the band retaining the escapist vibes that they’ve been long known for, the album’s material is centered around an uneasy tension, inspired by our current sociopolitical moment. However, Future Ruins’ second and latest single “Drone Lover” actually predates the Born. As the band’s Adam Franklin explains in press notes. “I have no recollection of where this tune came from. It’s a song that’s been knocking around for a few years, but for some reason had never been presented to anyone until we were in the studio this time and I clicked play on the demo while searching for something else. TJ and Mikey both went “what’s this?” and then “so why aren’t we recording it?” – and so we recorded it. The lyric mentions love but it’s really about war – remote war and killing from a distance whilst chomping on last night’s leftover pizza or something.” Obviously, it’s an incisive commentary on the depersonalized nature of 21st Century techno-warfare — including some hellish and fucked up imagery of bombs falling from the air, and neighborhoods in flames; but centered around buzzing power chords, a steady and propulsive backbeat and an infectious hook that brings an updated take on the beloved 120 Minutes alt rock sound.  

The recently released video for “Drone Lover” is an appropriately psychedelic mashup of Ralph Bakshi’s 1973 film Heavy Traffic, Polaroids by Charlie Miller, grainy VHS footage of the band, footage of bombing raids and other detritus. It evokes, the very end of the world as we know it, and no one really giving a fuck because we’re busying looking at porn on our phones. 

 

Best known as a former member of dream punk bands So Many Wizards and Tomemitsu, the Los Angeles, CA-born and -based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Devin Ratliff’s solo recording project Dev Ray received attention last year with the release of his debut single, a moody, synth-based take on The Pointer Sisters‘ 1982 smash hit “I’m So Excited.” Interestingly, Ratliff’s latest single “Can’t Hide” was released earlier this summer through Dangerbird Records as part of their ongoing Microdose series, a monthly single release and live event series celebrating and promoting new music from up-and-coming Los Angeles-based artists — and beyond.  The single is centered around a dreamy and swooning psych pop arrangement that features shimmering and arpeggiated synths, gently padded yet propulsive drumming, shimmering guitar lines, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook — and interestingly enough, Ratliff does so in a way that recalls 60s psych pop, bubblegum pop and DIY lo-fi indie rock, complete with a placid and unhurried air.

Over the course of 2017, I wrote quite a bit about the  San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Cones, and as you may recall, the duo, which is comprised of Jonathan Rosen, an acclaimed, pop music influenced, hand-drawn animator, who has created music videos for the likes Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger and Delicate Steve,  and played Johnny Thunders on the HBO series Vinyl; and Micheal Rosen, a classically trained pianist, commercial and film composer and experimental sound artist, can trace the origins of the band to when they began playing together as members of New York-based indie rock band Icewater, an act that eventually became the session and touring band for Eleanor Friedberger’s New View. As the story goes, while touring with Friedberger, the Rosens began to conceptualize what their new project would sound like, ultimately deciding that their project would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard-based instrumentation.

After the New View tour ended, the Rosen Brothers along with a collection of friends, associates and collaborators wrote and recorded the material that would comprise their debut EP Whatever You’re Into, which featured the 70s AM radio-like “Echoes On,” and the breezy “Back In The Brain,” an ode to solitude. “Later,” was arguably one of their most dance floor friendly tracks but ironically, was about when someone has begun to find some semblance of peace after a breakup — but with some of the bitterness still hanging around. While “First Time,” found the band nodding towards breezy Pavo Pavo-like bubblegum pop.

Recently, the JOVM mainstays signed to Dangerbird Records and to celebrate that occasion and a Bootleg Theater residency, the sibling duo released their latest single, the shimmering, arpeggiated synth-led “Run the Risk,” a track that decidedly sounds as though it were inspired by Steely Dan and Billy Joel. In particular, “Movin’ Out,” which interestingly enough I mentioned in an earlier post, as well as “Peg” and “Ricky Don’t Lose That Number” come to mind. And while centered around slick production and thoughtful craft, the song continues a run of breezy and sincere material.

Check out their Bootleg Theater Residency dates below.

 

Live Dates

8/06: Bootleg Theater w/ Pavo Pavo, Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator
8/13: Bootleg Theater w/ Lily McQueen, Palm Springsteen
8/16: Taix in the Champagne Room – Echo Park Rising
8/20: Bootleg Theater w/ Malcolm Oliver Perkins, Lisa Sonoda

.