Tag: Dum Dum Girls

New Video: Genre-Bending Artist Kitty Coen Releases a Cinematic and Psychedelic Fever Dream

Kitty Coen is a 22 year-old, Austin-based singer/songwriter, who emerged with the release of an acoustic cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” Influenced by Tame Impala and STRFKR, the emerging Austin-based singer/songwriter has balanced a rooted commitment to the classics with a psychedelic, Western and bluesy sound — with subtle nods to disco. 

Centered around the Austin-based singer/songwriter’s sultry vocals, shimmering reverb-drenched, guitars, propulsive drumming, some fuzzy and funky synths and an infectious hook. “Dark Soul” is a sultry and self-assured debut single that to my ears reminds me a bit of Too True-era Dum Dum Girls and 80s New Wave — with subtle nods to country. But under the material’s polished sheen is a beating and sensitive heart — while being a bit of a tell off/warning reminiscent of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.”

“This release of music is a coming-out party for tunes I’ve had in my soul for a while,” Coen explains. “As an artist who took some time to perfect her sounds, I feel that the music I’m putting out in the coming months is introducing my voice and style to the world. The stories and themes have been acquired over my life. Growing up in a small Texas town I was exposed to a lot of country music and influenced my a western aesthetic, but this isn’t country, it’s more like Dolly Parton on an acid trip.” 

“‘Dark Soul’ is basically a warning label to any potential suitors who might think I’m all smiles and rainbows,” the emerging Austin-based singer/songwriter adds. “Just because I seem sweet at first doesn’t mean I always am. Especially with relationships that don’t let me breathe. I’m an independent woman and if you want to be with an independent woman you have to accept one thing: they don’t need you. ‘Dark Soul’ was originally a song I wrote on acoustic guitar in my friend’s garage. But as I performed it live I realized I wanted it bigger and ultimately better. I went to Nashville to work on it with my producer and we re-worked it into a western disco dance track.”

Directed by Kitty Coen and Aaron Brown, the recently released is a psychedelic and cinematically shot visual that begins with Coen driving on an open highway with burning orange skies with her red hair mirroring the color of the sky. She eventually parks the muscle car she was driving and enters into a smoky, neon room with bubbles, palms, glitter and explosive bursts of color. We also follow her to a pool and to a futuristic Western club. But throughout we see Coen be sassy, seductive and remarkably self-assured. ‘“The vibe of the video is disco cowgirl realness. I wanted to take the viewer on a psychedelic trip through the mind of Kitty Coen,” Coen explains.

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Sophie Nicole Ellison is a London-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and studio engineer, who has spent the past few years playing drums for a number of local bands and working as as studio engineer. During that same period of time, Ellison began writing material for her solo, dream pop recording project HUSSY.

Since October, Ellison has released three singles that have received praise from the likes of DIY Magazine, So Young Magazine, The Line of Best Fit and Clash Magazine. Adding to a growing reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting and promising alt pop/indie rock acts, Ellison has opened for the likes of FEELS and Lala Lala — and she will be playing the second annual New Colossus Festival in March 2020.

Interestingly, Ellison’s latest HUSSY single “YLMD” is a moody. decidedly hook-driven, New Wave-inspired, shimmering take on dream pop that — to my ears — brings JOVM mainstays Amber Arcades, Gothic Tropic, and Too True-era Dum Dum Girls to mind. And much like those acts, “YLMD” finds Ellison pairing earnest and ambitious songwriting with a slick, radio friendly,  studio sheen. “I really wanted to up what I’ve been doing sonically,” Ellison explains in press notes. “Before now I’d been recording nearly everything at home but went to a proper studio to redo some elements from the original home demo.

“I could almost say at this stage it has become a love letter to self-empowerment and things going wrong,” the rising British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and studio engineer says of her latest single. “You can guess once you hear the lyrics, YLMD stands for You Let Me Down. I wrote it a few years ago and feels like it’s almost taken on a new meaning for me now than when I wrote it.

“Originally it was the frustration over seeing loved one’s self-destruction. Ultimately though, it’s a journey of reflection and self-empowerment.”

Adds Ellison, “This song has become a remind of how important trusting yourself is to me.”

 

New Video: Night School’s Shimmering New Single Paired with Proudly Feminist Visuals

Currently comprised of founding member Alexandra Morte (guitar, vocals), Cara LP (drums) and Cheyenne Avant (bass), the Oakland-based indie rock trio Night School can trace its origins to the close friendship of its founders Morte and Baylie Jiminez (drums, vocals). With Morte and Jiminez, the band recorded a split EP with their Graveface Records labelmates, Scotland’s Dott, Carousel. and their debut EP Heartbeat back in 2014. After the recording of the Heartbeat EP, Cheyenne Avant joined the band to complete what would become the band’s first lineup. The following year, the Oakland-based trio toured with the likes of Best Coast, Whirr and Creepoid.

The band’s long-awaited full-length debut Disappear Here was written and recorded over the course of the past two years with Nick Bassett. and the album reportedly finds the band moving away from the doo-wop and 60s girl pop influences of their earliest releases and towards a cleaner, more refined sound, as the band explains in press notes. Along with that such a decided change in sonic direction, the band went through a major lineup change with its co-founder Baylie Jiminez leaving the band during the recording sessions. Jiminez was replaced by Cara LP. And perhaps as a result of both the lineup change and their new sound, Disappear Here‘s features material written by Morte and Avant.

“Marigold,” Disappear Here‘s latest single is a self-assured and shimmering bit of guitar pop, centered around some gorgeous harmonizing and the sort of big, swooning hooks reminiscent of Dum Dum Girls. The recently released video follows the band’s songwriting duo as they go on a pleasant afternoon stroll near the California coast. Interestingly, during their stroll they encounter a beautiful pagan priestess, who quickly disappears when the ladies get near. After touching her left behind chalice, they encounter a bizarre ritual, which frightens them immensely; but they quickly receive acceptance from the priestess and her other followers, who let them join the group. While being mischievous, the video is decidedly feminist.

Off and on over the past handful of years, I’ve written a bit about the Austin, TX-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays  Moving Panoramas.  The act is led by its incredibly accomplished founding member and creative mastermind Leslie Sisson (vocals, guitar), who has had stints in The Wooden Birds, Matt Pond PA, Western Keys, Black Lipstick, Black Forest Fire, Tanworth-in-Arden, and Aero Wave, has collaborated with The American Analog Set, Windsor for the Derby, Rhythm of Black Lines, RIDE’s Mark GardenerDan Mangan, John Wesley Coleman, Snowden, and Broken Social Scene, and has developed a reputation as a solo artist in her own right.

Now, as you may recall Moving Panoramas can trace their origins back to when  the then-Brooklyn-based Sisson returned home to Texas to be closer to the members of her previous band The Wooden Birds and to her family. She took a job teaching at School of Rock where she met Rozie Castoe (bass), who was in an 80s-themed show that Sisson directed. Interestingly, at the same time, Sisson took up a gig subbing in Black Forest Fire with Karen Skloss (drums), who was a long-time friend. When each of their various creative projects broke up, the trio started Moving Panoramas, rooted in their mutual love of shoegaze and released their full-length debut One. However, since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes that has resulted in Sisson collaborating with a rotating cast of previous bandmates and current bandmates Cara Tillman, Jordan Rivell, Jody Suarez and Phil McJunkins.

Slated for release next Friday through Modern Outsider Records, Moving Panoramas’ sophomore album In Two was recorded with engineer Louie Lino at Resonate Studio in Austin and the album reportedly finds the band expanding upon their sound and songwriting approach. Throughout the writing and recording process, there was a concerted effort to consider diversity in rhythm, volume and instrumentation; in fact, some of the album’s material incorporates pedal steel, a first for the band. Additionally, the album will feature guest spots from Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws, A Giant Dog’s and Sweet Spirit’s Sabrina Ellis and former bandmates Karen Skloss, Jolie Flink and Laura Colwell.

Last year, I wrote album single “Baby Blues,” a decidedly anthemic track centered around shimmering power chords, a propulsive rhythm section, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook. And while bringing to mind tracks off Sunflower Bean’Twentytwo in Blue, the track possesses elements of psych rock, shoegaze and 70s arena rock, performed with the easygoing self-assuredness of old pros. Earlier this year, I wrote about album single,  “ADD Heart” and much like its predecessor, it was an infectious and anthemic track centered around jangling guitars, Sisson’s ethereal vocals, a soaring hook and steel pedal guitar, which added an alt-country vibe to the proceedings. In Two’s latest single is the shimmering and moody “In Tune,” which features Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws — and while sonically bearing a resemblance to Dum Dum Girls, the hook driven song is centered by deeply introspective, narrative lyrics that focuses on self-doubt, uncertainty and confusion in a relationship that feels a bit off to both people involved.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Floral and Femme Punk-Inspired Visuals for Taleen Kali’s “Half Lie”

Last month, I wrote about Taleen Kali, an up-and-coming Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician, who’s best known for being a member of TÜLIPS, and as  you may recall, after the band broke up, Kali decided go to solo — and within a relatively short period of time, she developed a reputation for being one of her hometown’s next big artists, as she’s opened for the likes of Madame Gandhi and Kimya Dawson, and has played sets at Echo Park Rising Festival, Mothership Festival and Women Fuck Shit Up Fest.

“Half Lie,” the first single off her soon-to-be released Kristin Kontrol-produced EP Soul Songs, has received to attention from the likes of Stereogum and others, and it shouldn’t be surprising as it’s a decidedly New Wave-like take on noise rock that will remind some listeners of Gothic Tropic,Dum Dum Girls, Dirty Ghosts — but while interestingly enough nodding at Go-Gos and others, complete with an infectious, arena rock hook. And much like “Lost & Bound,” “Half Lie” reveals an artist, who can effortlessly walk a tightrope between a slick studio sheen and a scuzzy punk rock air — without feeling contrived or ridiculous.

Centered around a concept devised by its director Leila Jarman, the recently released video is all about bright, springtime colors and as Kali told The Grey Estates,  “The video for ‘Half Lie’ is all about floral femme with a punk rock edge…it expands on the theme of the song, which is about half truths we hear from others, and the lies we tell ourselves. In the video, we celebrate the journey into new truths, turning them into ceremonies. The visuals depict lush rituals performed by some of my favorite L.A. artists, Madison René Knapp and Kayla Tange, who lead us up into the grand spiritual unveiling at the end.”

 

Perhaps best known as a member of Los Angeles-based band TÜLIPS,  the singer/songwriter and musician Taleen Kali decided to go solo after the band broke up — and in a relatively short period of time, Kali has developed a reputation as one of her hometown’s up-and-coming talents, as she has opened forthe likes of Madame Gandhi and Kimya Dawson, and has played sets at Echo Park Rising Festival, Mothership Festival and Women Fuck Shit Up Fest. And with the release of “Half Life,” the first single off her forthcoming Kristin Kontrol-produced EP Soul Songs, Kali has begun to receive attention from the likes of Stereogum and others, quickly developing a reputation for a New Wave take on noise rock and punk reminiscent of Gothic Tropic, Dum Dum Girls, Dirty Ghosts and others.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding her, Kali recently released the EP’s latest single, the anthemic, hook-laden, dance floor friendly  “Lost & Bound,” and  that the single reveals an artist, who can effortlessly walk a tightrope between a slick studio sheen and a scuzzy punk rock air — without feeling contrived or ridiculous. Interestingly, there’s a subtle hint of triumph over something deeply daunting that adds to the song’s danceable vibe and anthemic hooks; in fact, as Kali explains in press notes, “‘Lost & Bound’ is about finding yourself again after being lost. I wanted to write a song that was really dark but also danceable, so I wrote a dirge dedicated to a ‘lost self,’ and I added a disco beat to add this sense of movement, of celebration, of making it to the other side.”  

Kali is playing a handful of live shows in the Los Angeles area over the next few weeks. If you’re in the area, check them out, below.

Tour Dates
05.20 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hi Hat (Dum Dum Zine Kickoff Party For L.A. Zine Week)
05.27 – Pasadena, CA @ Pasadena Convention Center (LA Zine Fest)
06.26 – Los Angeles, CA @ Resident (Record Release show)

 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Wax Idol Release an Anthemic Power Ballad

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Oakland, CA-based indie rock act Wax Idols, and as you may recall that after 2013’s critically applauded album Discipline + Desire, the band went on hiatus as the band’s founding member, primary songwriter and frontperson Hether Fortune joined the equally acclaimed punk rock band and JOVM mainstays  White Lung. That was followed by a heartbreaking and life-altering divorce, which informed much of the material on the band’s critically applauded, third album, 2016’s American Tragic.

Informed by the one of the saddest and most difficult experiences of Fortune’s life, as Fortune explained that American Tragic wasn’t “. . .a sad album.The whole spectrum of grief is represented here — shock, pain, anger, loneliness, and then finding a way to work through all of that, and not only survive, and thrive. That’s what I was going through. I was kind of trying to save myself.” Fortune wrote and recorded every note and every single chord on the album, and as a result, it gives the album a deeply personal vision and point of view in which the heartbreak and grief at the core of the album is visceral and haunting — especially if you’ve ever experienced the dissolution of a long-term romantic relationship, as it evokes the lingering ghosts and resentments, the push and pull of longing, confusion and hatred towards that person, who may well never be in your life again; but it’s all underpinned by the recognition that if you’ve known love, you may know it again and again and again, and that somehow you’ll pick up most of the pieces and move forward. And while thematically being among the most soberING and thoughtful material Fortune has written, the material sonically is reminiscent of Too True-era Dum Dum Girls, Concrete Blonde, Siouxsie and the Banshees and others.

Slated for a May 16, 2018 release through Etruscan Gold Records, Wax Idols long-anticipated forth Monte Vallier-produced album Happy Ending finds the band heading towards new thematic territory as the album finds the band exploring the abstraction and finality of death from philosophical, political and personal perspectives, continuing on the deeply personal tone and vibe of their critically applauded American Tragic. Additionally, the album finds the band continuing onward after a series of lineup changes with the band’s founding member and primary songwriter Fortune backed by Peter Lightning (guitar, bass, organ, piano), Rachel Travers (drums) and Marisa Prieto (bass, backing vocals) and The Mallard’s Greer McGettrick joining the band after the album was recorded. 

Now, as you may recall Happy Ending’s first single “Scream” was a rousingly anthemic, 80s-inspired post punk track with with a deeply personal, idiosyncratic vision, complete with some impressive guitar pyrotechnics that make the song seem as though the band drawing influence from Boy and October-era U2.  As Fortune told NPR, “Finding inspiration in one of my favorite poems, ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ by Dylan Thomas, I used this song as a vehicle to meditate on the concept of free will & how one could choose to exercise it even at the brink of death.” She adds, “The protagonist is someone who is young, madly in love AND desperately wants to live — though they know that they will not. They have chosen to use their final seconds, the only breath in their lungs, to scream out the name of the one that they love.” Interestingly, the album’s latest single  the mid tempo power ballad, “Crashing” continues on a similar vein as its predecessor as it’s a swooning and urgent ballad centered around twinkling piano, propulsive drumming and an anthemic hook with some gorgeous guitar work. Much like Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” and others, “Crashing” is the sort of song you can envision earnestly shouting along with a beer held aloft, with the knowledge of life’s fleeting nature.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month or so, you’d recall that New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Maura Lynch was a founding member of locally renowned indie rock band Darlings, an act that released three albums and played at the Whitney Museum, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Death by Audio and Shea Stadium — and had a brief stint in blogosphere attention-grabbing act Beverly; but with her latest project, Blush, Lynch was inspired by the her missing the simple act of making and sharing music with friends through a sporadic series of bedroom recorded demos (which she had filed as Blush on her computer). And as Lynch explained in press notes, the material she began writing was inspired by a love of straightforward and simple guitar pop with layered vocals, while lyrically the material reportedly was written as a sort of diary of its creator’s late 20s, with songs that focused on loving people who didn’t deserve it, loving people who did deserve it, of making sense of the monotony of the workday world and perhaps much more important, finding her own unique place in the world.

Last year, Lynch felt ready to finally make those demos into real songs  and she got together with her friends — Pop. 1280‘s Andy Chugg and Pill‘s Nick and Jon Campelo to flesh out the material, which was recorded over a series of nights and weekends at Chugg’s Gilded Audio Studio, and from the album’s first single “Daisy Chain,” Lynch and company specialize in a shimmering guitar pop that seemed influenced by Phil Spector‘s Wall of Sound and Too True-era Dum Dum Girls — but with breakneck conciseness. Building on the attention that the band has received from their first single, their self-titled album’s second and latest single is a jangling, guitar pop cover of Mariah Carey‘s smash hit “Fantasy” that manages to retain the song’s swooning nature while being a unique and coquettish take on a familiar song.