Tag: Detroit MI

New Video: Detroit’s Ritual Howls Release Creepy and Unsettling Visuals for “Alone Together”

Over the course of three full-length albums and a number of EPs, the Detroit, MI-based trio Ritual Howls, comprised of Paul Bancell (vocals, guitar), Chris Samuels (synths, samples, drum machine) and Ben Saginaw (bass) have developed a reputation for crafting a cinematic twangy and dance floor friendly industrial post-punk — although last year’s The Body EP found the trio employing the use of more expansive arrangements paired with a sculpted sound and production.

Interestingly, the trio’s forth, full-length album Rendered Armor is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through felte records continues in a similar vein as The Body; in fact, the upcoming album’s latest single “Alone Together” is centered around twangy guitar, ominous atmospherics, shimmering synths and a dance floor friendly thump — and while sonically bearing a bit of a resemblance to acclaimed post-punk duo VOWWS, the song is the tale of a classic love song, set in a doomed world, much like our own. But at its core is a longing that verges on an increasingly perverse obsession. Created by Kirill Slavin, the recently released video for “Alone Together” features some incredibly creepy and unsettling footage from the short film Witch Zombies & The Lightbox Rave that helps to emphasize the obsession at the heart of the song. 

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New Video: Moon King Releases an 80s Computer Generated Visual for Shimmering and Hazy Club Banger “Neon Lights”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Toronto, ON-born and-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded solo electro pop project Moon King. Now, as you may know, the act initially began as a solo recording project but may be best known for a several year period in which Benjamin collaborated with Maddy Wilde (vocals, guitar); but with Wilde’s departure a few years ago, Benjamin returned to his roots — writing and recording as a solo project. Coincidentally around the same time, Benjamin relocated to Detroit, MI, where he spent a year working and living in the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck. .

Benjamin’s stint in Hamtramck inspired the Hamtramck 16 mixtape, a mixtape that not only documented his arrival into a new, unfamiliar place but was also a radical change in sonic direction and songwriting approach with the material capturing his increasing obsession with electronic dance music. His forthcoming album, Voice of Lovers is the first full-length album of new material since he began fully embracing underground house, techno and electro pop — and the material finds the Canadian-born songwriter, producer and electronic music artist in a state of discovering and experimentation in which he synthesizers something fresh and unexpected out of dollar bin disco, new wave, eurotrash and more.  “There are a lot of quick cuts and transitions and the songs are pretty short, it’s meant to feel a bit breathless or disorienting, like driving around and dropping in at a few different clubs in a night. Lyrically the songs are little stories from the last couple of years…… trying to live in the US as a non-citizen, listening to records at the apartment in Hamtramck, late nights out at parties like Freakish Pleasures and Macho City, trips with the crew to Montreal, being on tour during the 2016 US election, spending the holidays alone in Detroit, the deaths of George Michael & Prince and the unfinished Moon King record from 2015. It’s dark and fun and a little nihilistic but ultimately positive.”

Voice of Lovers’ first single is the 80s synth funk meets Teddy Riley/New Jack Swing meets classic Chicago house track “Neon Lights.” Centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering boom-bap-like drum programming, soulful vocals from Vespere and a rousing hook, the song manages to sound as though it were released in 1983 or so. And while evoking sultry and hazy summer nights, the track actually has an achingly lonely quality to it — as though the song’s narrator was spending time playing their favorite albums to gear themselves up to head out to the club. 

The recently released retro futuristic video by Stacie Ant uses computer-generated 3D figures dancing and singing along to the song in 80s-inspired clubs and outfits, complete with period-specific special effects to boot. 

Look for Voice of Lovers on April 2, 2019 through Arbutus Records. 

Over the course of three full-length albums and a number of EPs, the Detroit, MI-based trio Ritual Howls, comprised of Paul Bancell (vocals, guitar), Chris Samuels (synths, samples, drum machine) and Ben Saginaw (bass) have developed a reputation for crafting a cinematic twangy and dance floor friendly industrial post-punk — although last year’s The Body EP found the trio employing the use of more expansive arrangements paired with a sculpted sound and production.

Interestingly, the trio’s forth, full-length album Rendered Armor is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through felte records continues in a similar vein as The Body. Now, as you may recall, album single “Alone Together” was centered around twangy guitar, ominous atmospherics, shimmering synths and a dance floor friendly thump — and while bearing a sonic resemblance to acclaimed post-punk duo VOWWS, the song is the tale of a classic love song, complete with an aching longing that’s set in a doomed, near apocalyptic world, much like our own. Rendered Armor‘s latest single “Thought Talk,” is a twangy, Violator-era Depeche Mode take on their sound as reverb drenched guitar playing is paired with an industrial thump, laser-like hi hats, sharply arpeggiated and propulsive synths and Bancell’s icy delivery that further emphasizes the song’s plaintive melancholy. And much like its predecessor, the song finds the Detroit-based trio balancing an uneasy intimacy with a wide screen cinematic quality.

Ritual Howls will be touring with The Faint to support their forthcoming full-length album, and it includes two NYC area dates — July 29, 2019 and July 30, 2019 at Bowery Ballroom. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
04.13 Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex (Record Release)  
07.27 Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
07.29 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
07.30 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
08.02 Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts *
08.03 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
08.04 Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall *
08.05 Pittsburgh, PA @ Get Hip Records
08.06 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop *
08.07 Detroit, MI @ El Club *
08.09  Chicago, IL @ House of Blues *
08.10 Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave II (Downstairs) *
08.12 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe *
08.13 Kansas City, KS @ Madrid Theatre *
08.15 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live *
08.16 Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn *
10.04 Tampa Bay, FL @ Absolution Festival
 
* w/ The Faint, Closeness

 

Over the course of three full-length albums and a number of EPs, the Detroit, MI-based trio Ritual Howls, comprised of Paul Bancell (vocals, guitar), Chris Samuels (synths, samples, drum machine) and Ben Saginaw (bass) have developed a reputation for crafting a cinematic twangy and dance floor friendly industrial post-punk — although last year’s The Body EP found the trio employing the use of more expansive arrangements paired with a sculpted sound and production.

Interestingly, the trio’s forth, full-length album Rendered Armor is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through felte records continues in a similar vein as The Body; in fact, the upcoming album’s latest single “Alone Together” is centered around twangy guitar, ominous atmospherics, shimmering synths and a dance floor friendly thump — and while sonically bearing a bit of a resemblance to acclaimed post-punk duo VOWWS, the song is the tale of a classic love song, complete with an aching longing that’s set in a doomed, near apocalyptic world, much like our own. As a result, the song balances an uneasy intimacy with a wide screen cinematic quality.

 

New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Release a Gritty and Funky Track Off the Eighth Brown Acid Compilation

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records ongoing collaboration on their increasingly expansive series of proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations Brown Acid. Each individual edition often compilation is based around RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down songs’ creators, most often bands that haven’t written, played or recored together in 30 or 40 years, and then encouraging them to take part in the compilation process. As Permanent Records’ Barresi has explained in press notes for each of previous editions of the compilation, “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

By having the original artists participate as much as possible in the compilation, it can give the artists and their songs, a real, second chance at the attention and success that they originally missed. Plus in a very real sense, these songs can help fill in the larger picture of what was going on in and around the underground music scenes during the 60s and 70s. Following the critical and commercial success of its first seven editions, RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records’ edition of 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip is slated for release on April 20, 2019 (4/20 y’ll!) continuing what has become a bi-annual tradition for both labels — and this site. And much like its preceding editions, the eighth edition finds Barressi and Hall digging deeper and deeper into the well of hard rock, psych rock, proto-metal and pre-stoner rock primarily from the States — with the addition of a Canadian band. 

Brown Acid: The Eighth Trip’s first single “School Daze” is a track from Detroit’s Attack — or more precisely St. Clair Shores. The track is a seamless synthesis of MC5, Jimi Hendrix and Grand Funk Railroad, as it’s a strutting and gritty bit of power chord-fed groove that will blow the doors down. Listening to this, it’s a shame that this track wasn’t a massive radio hit; but it does get a second life here. Play it loud and rock out, y’all. 

New Video: Clear Soul Forces Return with an Swaggering and Self-Assured New Single Paired with Slick Visuals

The Detroit, MI-based hip-hop quartet Clear Soul Forces, comprised of E-Fav, L.A.Z., Noveliss, and producer/emcee Ilajide, quickly developed a rotation for lyrically and sonically drawing from 70s street poets and boom-bap era hip-hop, adding their name to a list to exceptionally dope artists from the Motor City.  The quartet can trace their origins to a 2009 all-nighter at a Detroit recording studio. The four emcees scraped up the money to record material individually. Coincidentally, Royce Da 5’9″ was finishing work on his album Street Hop in the room next door, and the four emcees jumped at the chance to spit a few rhymes for him. As the story goes, the four young emcees then spent the next nine hours in an epic cypher in which each individual emcee traded bars while an impressed Royce Da 5’9″ intensely listened. Once they finished, the renowned, elder Detroit-based emcee suggested that the young quartet should become a group. 

By the following year, the members of Clear Soul Forces began making a name for themselves in Detroit’s underground hip-hop scene with the release of their debut mixtape Clear Soul Radio. The ended 2010 with the completion of their home studio The Complex, where they recorded The Departure EP. Adding to a growing national profile, the act played sets at A3C Festival, the 35 Denton Festival and SXSW, where they played the the Rappers I Know Showcase with Tanya Morgan, H.I.S.D., Just Blaze, The Alchemist, Talib Kweli and Freeway, and followed it up with videos for “The Greatest” and “Strangers In The Night.”

2012 saw the release of the Detroit-based quartet’s full-length debut Detroit Revolution(s), which was reportedly influenced by a large mural on the side of a local apartment building — and by the end of the year, they were selected by Red Bull as a featured artist in the beverage company’s Sound Select program. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve personally written about the act, but if you’re a true hip-hop head, you’d know that the members spent some time working on individual creative pursuits; in fact, you may recall that I wrote about a single off L.A.Z’s solo effort No Paperwork, “Celestial Vibes.” But interestingly enough, the act announced two things — their return and that they’d be releasing a new album, Still slated for a February 22, 2019 release. “They Shootin,'” the first single manages to be a bit of a return to form for the act as its centered around a warm 90s inspired hip hop production featuring a smooth and jazzy organ line and thumping beats that’s roomy enough for each individual emcee to trade bars. And while each emcee has a different flow and vocal range, they all manage to self-assuredly display incredibly dexterous wordplay and rhyme schemes. 

Directed by Xerox Vision, the recently released video for “They Shootin'” serves as a visual re-introduction to the group while effortlessly blending real-life violence with actual consequences with video game mayhem. As the act’s Ilajide explains in press notes, “The inspiration came from the stigma that when it gets hot the murder rate goes up,” he says. “Couple that with the fact that they always shootin’ in Detroit, it was perfect to spin it like a respawn in an online match on multiplayer video games.” His ba ndmates share the sentiment while noting that for all of them, it was natural reference video games and gaming. As children of the 90s, they all owned various consoles, played a ton of games — and were aware of the fact that crime was high and rampant, making the video and track an organic result of their shared experiences. 

New Video: Introducing the Gorgeous and Brooding Sounds and Visuals of Quietwater

Comprised of  classically trained cello Michelle Elliot Rearick  who has collaborated with a diverse list of acclaimed artists including Adele, Nas, Erykah Badu, and H.E.R. and producer and drummer Colin Ingram, who has worked with Living Legends’ Luckyiam, Terra Lopez and Vast Air among others, the California-based duo Quietwater write moody and ethereal compositions featuring classical cello arrangements over hip-hop like breakbeats. The duo’s debut, self-titled EP is slated for a November 16, 2018, and the EP’s latest single “Overcast,” is a cinematic track that will further cement their reputation as its centered around a gorgeous and melancholy cello arrangement and boom bap-like breakbeats that brings the Detroit-born, Los Angeles-based beatmakers and Chilly Gonzales’ The Unspeakable to mind. 

As the duo’s Colin Ingram says of the song and its inspiration, “I was improvising with a couple friends. One friend on guitar, one friend on drums, I was playing a synth. We recorded it. My friend Cory who was playing drums always talked about how much he loved the song. Cory decided to end his life when he was faced with an overwhelming amount of life’s let downs and depression. When I met Michelle the first thing I wanted to do was remake this song we had recorded and honor Cory in a more complete and cinematic way. This song means so much to me and it gives Cory eternal life as far as I’m concerned.”

Interestingly, the recently released video features cinematically shot landscape footage superimposed with psychedelic imagery that manages to emphasize the song’s brooding nature. 

New Video: Introducing the Atmospheric and Brooding Sounds of Stockholm’s Sweden

Mark Ephraim is a Detroit, MI-born, Stockholm, Sweden-based producer, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and the creative mastermind behind post-punk project BadSkum, a project that features Ephraim collaborating with a rotating cast of local musicians, which when asked, Ephraim says “I stopped keeping anyone in a band with me too long because they always end up dying or plotting to kick me out.” Interestingly enough, the project can trace its origins to Ephraim relocating to Sweden after spending 16 years in New York as a producer and artist, developing his sound.

Ephraim’s latest single “Super Moon” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track that recalls Forget Yourself, Uninvited, Like the Clouds and Untitled #23-era The Church, as its centered around looping, shimmering guitar chords, and a propulsive yet somewhat easygoing backbeat and Ephraim’s crooning vocals.

Shot, directed and edited by Stellan Von Reybekiel, the recently released video was shot on an old VHS camcorder using an old tape that had old Friends taped on it; in fact, you could see a brief glimpse of Ross a the end. As Ephraim says of the video, “style plays a big part in the visual aspect of BadSkum. Every video is a bit like a comment on my past travels of experiences.” For “Turnstile Lovers,” he wore a Sudanese high school uniform he picked up from a friend who lived in Khartoum, and a handmade leopard track suit from Amman Jordan for “Proud Mary.” In this video, the Detroit-born, Stockholm-based producer, singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist wore a sale rack Century 21 suit he had purchased to attend the Grammys, after receiving a nod for this work on Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP. Throughout the video, we see Ephraim preening and getting himself together and brooding over grainy and shaky VHS tape — and it manages to add to the song’s eerie air.