Tag: Elsewhere

Last year, I wrote about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. And as the story goes, when he started releasing music, Phillips was practically homeless, living in a room the size of about a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, he has amassed a growing national profile that has included amassing several million streams across the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complex.

Now, as you may recall, “CEPHALØTUS,” a single that derived its name from the Latin name of a small, carnivorous plant was a sensual and atmospheric bit of synth pop centered around a production featuring shimmering guitar chords, Phillips’ reverb-drenched, ethereal falsetto paired with dramatic bursts of industrial clang and clatter. And while possessing a surrealistic and almost painterly quality in which the artist slowly layers sound for a specific emotional effect, the song is also a deep dive into the depth of its creator’s psyche.

Slated for a March 22, 2019 release Phillips’ sophomore Crywolf album, widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] and the album’s first single is the urgent, frantic and downright trippy “DRIP.” Centered around a swooning and wobbling production thumping beats, a cacophony of industrial clang and clatter, a looped vocal samples, and plaintive vocal delivery and atmospheric synths, the song is a dramatic and decided push into a new direction sonically. But at its core, the song evokes a narrator whose mind and sanity have begun to fray at the seams, thoughts, observations and feelings seem to rapidly ping pong back and forth throughout. Interestingly, while in the middle of working on his sophomore album, Phillips was forced to take a break, as an entire album worth of material and over $5,000 worth of gear was stolen while he was in Chile. Heartbroken, Phillips headed to Patagonia, where he began to write in a small, wooden cabin in the Huilo Huilo rainforest, which has long been rumored to be haunted with thousands upon thousands of lost souls. Upon his return to the States, Phillips spent time in Twin Peaks, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Reno, NV and the forests just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada — overall a period that the acclaimed producer and electronic music artist has dubbed his “quarter life crisis.”

As Phillips writes about the new single and the forthcoming album, “one of the themes of this album is the exploration of the shadow – the darker, more difficult aspects of the human psyche. People often think they have one unified ‘personality,’ but the truth is that we are made up of up to a dozen different personalities that are only loosely tied together. We feel like we have so much control over our actions and personality characteristics, but often when we pay close attention and are honest with ourselves, we can see that we can’t actually control or even explain large parts of who we are. ‘DRIP’ is the my process of staring into my brain and being brutally honest about some of the really difficult aspects of what I see there. It might not be, but it’s uncomfortably real.”

Phillips will be touring throughout the Spring to support his new album, and it includes an April 5, 2019 stop at Elsewhere‘s Zone One. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

March 22 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop/Popscene
April 4 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
April 5 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere (Zone One)
April 7 – Chicago, IL @ Chop Shop
May 2 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird
May 3 – Dallas, TX @ RBC Deep Ellum
May 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ 1720

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New Video: Bedstudy’s Shimmering and Woozy Take on Electro Pop

Founded in 2016 by founding members David Plakon (production) and Peter Baldwin (vocals), along with newest member Ranson Vorpahl (drums), the Brooklyn-based electro R&B/electro soul act Bedstudy can trace their origins to when the act’s founding duo met at Plakon’s Florida studio, where Baldwin was working on his debut album. After independently moving to Brooklyn, Baldwin and Plakon reconnected at a Tall Juan show at Berlin Under A and decided they should start a band together.

Within their first year together, the duo quickly wrote and released four singles, including “Arms Away,” which Paper Magazine called “gorgeously woozy.” Vorphal joined the band in 2017 to complete the band’s lineup. The newly constituted trio  then spent another year writing and revising their sound before signing to Grand Jury Music, who will be releasing their highly-anticipated EP dot wave on February 15, 2019. Primarily recorded at David Plakon’s Crown Heights home studio with some additional sessions at Braund Studios and Black Rock Studios, the effort reportedly finds the act expanding upon the sound that first won them attention. Interestingly, the EP’s latest single “12” is centered around twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, thumping drumming and Baldwin’s plaintive vocals, the track is a shimmering and woozy take on contemporary electro pop that brings to mind JOVM mainstays Beacon and No Kind of Rider’s Savage Coast but with a decidedly hip-hop swagger. 

Directed and edited by Tess Lafia, starring Riley Cedar and Sebastian Borberg and featuring animation by David Herrera, the recently released video for “12” features some incredibly hallucinogenic visuals that nod at several different decades at once that to my eyes evoke a trip that’s disorientating and woozy. 

New Video: Los Angeles’ Warbly Jets Release An Enormous Power Chord-Based Brit Pop-Inspired Single

With the release of their self-titled, full-length debut the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock act Warbly Jets, comprised of Samuel Shea, Julien O’neill, and Dan Gerbang quickly emerged into the national and international scene; in fact, their critically applauded effort found the band opening for Liam Gallagher and making three separate world tours to support it.

After a whirlwind year, the members of the Los Angeles-based indie rock trio returned to the studio to write and record the material that would eventually comprise their self-recorded, self-produced, recently released EP, Propaganda. As the band’s frontman Samuel Shea says about the EP in press notes, “On this new collection of songs, we made an effort to set no particular stylistic boundaries. I believe it’s extremely important to make drastic differences as you transition through phases. That was something that Julien [O’neill] and I talked about from the conception of this band. I hope you always hear what you’re not expecting when you listen to a new release from us.”

Thematically speaking, the material explores our modern, globalized, algorithm-ruled, data-based society, where the lines between what’s public and private are frequently blurred beyond recognization — and where the hive mind masquerades as marketable individualism with Big Brother being welcomed with open arms in the name of convenience. And as a result, we should constantly ask ourselves a few questions: what’s human connection? How easily are we (and our lives, ideas and souls) bought and sold? Can we cut through the noise and bullshit? Does anyone care? Does music fit into it at all? As the band’s multi-instrumentalist Julien O’neill adds “‘Propaganda’ is a term as much as it’s a cultural ethos that’s been widely accepted. Anything from advertisement to self-aggrandizement qualifies.From social media, push notifications, targeted ads—we’ve openly elected to carry around miniature billboards, playing our part under the promising guise of a sense of ‘connection.’ We feel empty without it.”

Building upon last year’s success, Propaganda’s latest single “Alive” was featured in the opening scene of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4. But in terms of this site, the track finds the band drawing from classic rock, psych rock, and Brit Pop — or in other words: enormous power chords fed through distortion pedals, rousingly anthemic hooks and pummeling drums delivered with the swaggering self-assuredness of road-tested old pros. Directed by Steven Johnson, the recently released video employs a relatively simple concept — the band performing the song in the studio with some trippy special effects.  

New Video: Perth Australia’s Methyl Ethel Releases Their Most Pop-Leaning and Accessible Track to Date

Jake Webb is a Perth, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known for his acclaimed solo recording project Methyl Ethel, which features backing touring bandmembers Thom Stewart, Chris Wright, Lyndon Blue and Jacob Diamond.  Over the past few years Webb has seen tremendous commercial and critical success. “Ubu,” became an ARIA Accredited Gold single earlier this year, after landing at #4 on Triple J’s 2017 Hottest 100. They’ve amassed over 25 million Spotify streams — and all of their tour dates across Australia and the UK have been sold out since 2016. Although Webb and company have achieved such success in a relatively short period of time, the project began as a personal challenge as Webb explains in press notes.  “I wanted to see if I could write, record and release some music before the band I was in at the time finished doing the same. I did and subsequently withdrew from some close friends. Relationships were severed. I severed some even closer ones. This was all played out in such a public away, as it invariably does, so I withdrew more. My first album Oh Inhuman Spectacle became the ‘why me?/fuck you/sorry’ album that I wrote as a confused coping mechanism. It helped and I enjoyed it. I continued the introspective journaling with the follow-up, Everything is Forgotten. For me, that album said ‘who cares? all your emotions are irrational and meaningless anyway.’ 

“This year, I found myself in the same city, alone in a room tasked with writing an album to be heard, not as an outlet for personal grievances. I decided to find closure with Triage. The question this time around is ‘what is important? What requires attention?’ I think It’s about living with secrets. Secrets cause the problems. They call them white lies, little things used to manipulate people for the greater good. It’s a triage of truths to maintain an artifice. A poem by T.S Elliot that I referenced on the first EP I recorded says it best:

“To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.”

Everyone is older, people have moved on. I receive text messages from old friends looking to reconnect. I have a masochistic social complex in so far as I enjoy the company of others, but self-imposed solitude and exile are exciting and useful to me. Its like method acting, which isn’t too far removed from the emotional memory I see people drawing upon every day. I challenge the idea of friendship and trust. I think because I am untrustworthy. At least I’m honest about that.” As a result, Webb’s forthcoming, third full-length album Triage which is slated for a February 15, 2019 release through 4AD Records — and the album, which comes after his 30th birthday, is reportedly a much more reflective album, thematically focusing on time and its passing, of getting older and only sometimes becoming more mature, of the lies we have to keep to keep on getting by and so on.

“Real Tight,” Triage’s latest single is a bit of a departure from Webb’s previously released work as it’s arguably the most pop-leaning and the most emotionally-direct he’s ever written, thanks to swelling and soaring hooks, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, chiming reverb-heavy guitars and a propulsive groove and while nodding at 80s pop like Prince and others, the song’s narrator finds himself making an urgent and desperate plea to someone he cherishes; but emotionally, the song is jumble of guilt, devotion, fear and uncertainty.

Directed by Matt Sav, the recently released video riffs a bit off the video for Janet Jackson’s “The Pleasure Principle,” as a boom box carrying Webb walks into an empty studio to sing and dance along to the music he decides to play but it’s interspersed with psychedelic visuals that emphasize the song’s ambivalence and plaintive need.

New Video: Yumi Zouma Releases a Funky, Dance Floor Friendly, 80s Synth Pop Inspired Jam

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the internationally renowned synth pop act Yumi Zouma, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of Christchurch, New Zealand-born Christie Simpson, Sam Perry, Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess have been split across various locations across the globe — primarily New York, Paris and Christchurch — after the 2011 earthquake that ravaged both their hometown and the region at large. Primarily writing and recorded by email, the band wasn’t initially meant to be a live band; however, they’ve received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a breezy yet bittersweet, 80s synth pop-inspired sound centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal vocals. Since the release of their Turntable Kitchen released cover of Oasis’ 1995 full-length effort, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the renowned synth pop act has been busily writing and recording an EP trilogy — with the last part of the trilogy EP III slated for a September 28, 2018 release through Cascine Records.

“In Camera,” EP III’s first single was a swooning bit of synth pop with a soaring hook that sonically nodded a bit at  A Flock of Seagulls‘ “I Ran (So Far Away)“, complete with reverb fed instrumentation, a cinematic vibe and a clean, super more production sheen — and while seemingly effortlessly breezy, the song is underpinned by a deliberate and very careful attention to craft, as the members of the band refine each song until it’s absolutely perfect.  “Crush (It’s Late, Just Stay)” EP III’s latest single is centered around thumping beats, a shuffling guitar line, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and a sultry and sinuous bass line and while being a hook-driven, dance floor friendly song, it manages to sound as though it were released in 1983 or so, as it recalls Cherelle’s “Saturday Love” and others. 

Interestingly, as the band’s Josh Burgess explains in press notes, “This song began life as an experiment recording with a fellow Kiwi (Liam Finn) at his studio in 2015. The studio was aptly named The End as it was situated at the very end of Greenpoint Avenue overlooking Transmitter Park which was arguably one of the best views of Manhattan at the time. The End hosted a few different studios, including Jacob Portrait’s (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Blouse) who mixed ‘In Camera’ as well as rehearsal spaces (I once walked in on The Congo’s rehearsing!). We smoked on the roof and had a bash at making a song together, which is what we sampled in the verses of ‘Crush’. The working title was ‘First Class Lounge’ because it sounded like some kind of musak that would be playing as background before rich people boarded a Concord. 

Unfortunately, The End had a sad finale courtesy of a fire that ripped through the building. Thankfully no one was hurt, but a lot of the gear was wrecked. My girlfriend lives a couple blocks away and over morning coffees we’ll often stroll through Transmitter looking up at the shell of the studio. Like most things in New York it’s relegated to a memory now, but a lot of great music came out of that building!”

The accompanying video features the classically-inspired artwork of Aiden Koch, set among bold and bright colors, animated by Joseph Brennan — and interestingly, while reminding me of the introductory sequence of an 80s rom com, it manages to evoke the flirtatious nature of the song. 

New Audio: Yumi Zouma Releases a Breezy Yet Bittersweet Summer Jam

Comprised of Christchurch, New Zealand-born Christie Simpson, Sam Perry, Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess, the members of internationally renowned synth pop act Yumi Zouma have been spread across the world with most of the band’s members relocating to New York and Paris after the massive 2011 earthquake. Primarily writing by email, the project wasn’t initially meant to be a live project — but interestingly enough over the years, they’ve received attention for breezy yet bittersweet 80s synth pop centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal vocals. Since the release of their Turntable Kitchen released cover of Oasis’ 1995 full-length effort, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the renowned synth pop act has been busily writing and recording an EP trilogy — with the last part of the trilogy EP III slated for a September 28, 2018 release through Cascine Records.
EP III’s first single is the swooning synth pop “In Camera,” a single that will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting summery yet bittersweet pop centered around Simpson’s ethereal vocals, a soaring hook, shimmering synths and guitars. Sonically speaking, the song nods at a bit at A Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran (So Far Away)”, complete with reverb fed instrumentation but with a cinematic air and a clean, modern production sheen. But interestingly enough, the material is underpinned by a careful attention to craft with the members of the synth pop act revising and bouncing ideas off each other until each song is absolutely perfect.

As the band says in press notes “There’s something really special about the EP format. It’s been so long since we worked on one that we all had forgotten how fun and liberating they can be.”

This EP, both in its material and how it was written and recorded, feels really close to EP I & II. Spread again between three countries, bouncing endless revisions of a song until it’s right, falling asleep on FaceTime trying to write lyrics together and the exhilaration of waking up to NEW SONG VERSION 5 – it threw us back to how we worked on material when we thought no one would ever listen.

We’ve completed our EP family. It’s the little sibling none of us had growing up and none of us knew we could love so much.”

 

Over the past 12-18 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about Rodes Rollins, a Boulder, CO-born singer/songwriter, who spent a stint living abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is now primarily based in New York, and as you may recall, she quickly emerged into the national scene with “Young and Thriving,” the first single off her critically applauded debut EP Young Adult, an incredibly self-assured effort written as a portrait of an artist as a young woman, in which the narrator looks back at her most formative experiences with a nostalgic yet wizened flashback of sorts — with the perspective of someone, who now sees how her decisions for better or for worse, planned or serendipitous have influenced who she has become and where her life is at this moment.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Nasty Woman,” a bold and self-assured feminist anthem that according to Rollins was largely centered on empowerment and pride, while focusing on ” . . .the multi-dimensionality of what it means to be a woman in society — being who you are, as you are; and being proud of that. This song is not presented from only my singular perspective, or through just one medium. The very point of what I’m trying to express is that being a woman shouldn’t be a restrictive identity, but rather a broad and inclusive one.” Sonically, the song is based around a bluesy and reverb-y guitar line, propulsive drumming from Portugal, The Man’s Kane Ritchotee an infectious hook and Rollins’ sultry cooed vocals — and while sultry, the song lyrically features inclusive and intersectional lyrics.

Rollins’ latest single “Boom Pow” is centered around a circular, hypnotic guitar riff and African-inspired percussion and rhythms, and an infectious hook paired around the New York-based singer/songwriter’s sultry and self-assured vocals. Sonically, the song finds the JOVM mainstay pushing her sound in a new direction — but while retaining the essential elements of the sound and approach that captured the attention of the blogosphere. As Rollins says of the song “‘Boom Pow’ is a song inspired by a wide array of influences from Tinariwen to Jane Birkin. I write Americana inspired music and felt compelled to explore the different influences of the Americana genre by showcasing West African-tinged percussion and rhythms. I’m excited to showcase a different side of my sound with this song. I really feel like I’m covering different territory with this one.”

Rollins is playing a free set at Elsewhere’s Rooftop. And you can RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/231823890926934.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays WINDHAND Return with 90s Grunge Take on Doom Metal

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND, and as you may recall, the band which is currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums), the Northern Virginia-based metal act formed back in 2009 — and by the following year, they released a two track, self-recorded CD that quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath. Building upon a growing profile, their 2012 self-titled debut became an underground hit and sold out multiple vinyl pressings within a few months.

2013 saw WINDHAND sign to Relapse Records, who released their sophomore album Soma to critical praise from Stereogum, Spin, LA Weekly, Revolver, Invisible Oranges, MetalSucks, Metal Injection, Rolling Stone and NPR — with Pitchfork naming the album as one of the third best metal releases of the year. Adding to a breakthrough year, the members of the Richmond, VA-based doom metal band had spent the bulk of 2013 and 2014 touring North America, the European Union, and Australia with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak, as well as the festival circuit, wth appearances at Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest.

2015’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Infernal Flower featured album singles Crypt Key.” and “Two Urns” which managed to further cement their reputation for crafting sludgy, murky, punishing and downtempo dirges. Slated for an October 5, 2018 release, the Richmond, VA-based doom metal act’s forthcoming Jack Endino-produced Eternal Return is reportedly an observation and reflection of life’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows and beginnings and ends. Between 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower and their forthcoming album, the members of the band welcomed new life, experienced a number of lineup changes and mourned unexpected and tragic death — and as a result, the album’s material and the sequential order of its songs are the direct result of those experiences. Sonically, the album also finds the band growing artistically with the material balancing heavy, psychedelic and meditative, and in a way that have drawn early comparisons to Soundgarden, an act known for stretching genre boundaries.

Eternal Return’s latest single “Grey Gardens” was part of an early batch of album singles that were among the heaviest batches of material they recorded — and while being a thunderous and slow-burning dirge, the single finds the band’s sound and approach subtly moving towards Screaming Life/Fopp and Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, complete with a lysergic bridge. Directed by Jordan Vance, the recently released video for “Grey Gardens” features some trippy and murky stock footage that evokes a foreboding sense of dread at its core.