Tag: Facebook

News/Announcements: Shoutouts to Patreon Patrons

Pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns made it extraordinarily difficult for artists and creatives across the world to make a living for the better part of a year. But with three different vaccines entering people’s arms and the virus hopefully getting under control, there’s hope that we can return to doing the things we love and miss. Adding to that, I’m getting emails from publicity firms, labels and bands with actual tour dates for this summer, fall and early 2022. Both outdoor and indoor shows, y’all!

If you’re like me at all, you’ve gotten vaccinated — or will be getting vaccinated — and you’re thrilled to see live music and sporting events in person again. We shall see how that plays out, right?

Of course, during the past 15-16 months of pandemic related lockdowns and restrictions, you’ve probably turned to various forms of art for spiritual, emotional and intellectual sustenance — and to fill up all the newfound time you had on your hands. Interestingly, during this particular period, I came to a realization: championing artists and their work was an urgent and important mission — especially when there are countless other options in your life competing for your time, money, attention, energy and love.

Additionally, because this site has long been a DIY labor of love, I’ve felt that I’ve had an intimate — and deeply personal — understanding of financial and emotional plight of the artists I’ve covered throughout this site’s history. Through my own experiences and conversations with artists, I’m constantly reminded of several things:

  • Art costs money — and without money, it can’t exist. 
  • Artists are small businesses. So supporting artists is supporting a small business. 
  • A small bit of support can go a long way. A $20, $30, $40, $50 or $60 purchase of someone’s work can often mean the purchase of groceries, paying off a bill or covering the cost of a subscription they need to continue their work.
  • That same $20, $50 or $60 doesn’t really mean shit to Amazon. 
  • Supporting an artist/small business can keep money within your community. Amazon and the some other mega-conglomerate simply don’t give a fuck about your community or your neighbors. 
  • Lastly, you won’t be giving your money to companies that actively fuck over their neighbors, the environment or their employees. And that alone should make you feel better about the decision.

Throughout the nearly 11 years I’ve been doing this — seriously, 11 years! — I hope that my work has led you to “listen in technicolor” as a friend said to me about how I listen to music; that I’ve led you to an eclectic array of artists and bands whose work has become part of your lives, as it has become part of mine. And I hope that my photography has managed to add some beauty to your day, inspired you to see the world in a new world, to take a moment to appreciate something beautiful — or make you want to go and see a live show.

As I’ve done over the past year or so, I’m asking you kind readers and friends for your support. And there are a handful of ways that you can support:

You can buy photographic prints — from my live concert photography to street photography and even some outdoor/nature photos. I also still have a shit ton of JOVM bumper stickers. All of this stuff is beautiful and could use a loving forever home. You can check out the store here:https://joyofviolentmovement.com/shop/

You can support by becoming one of my Patreon patrons. Every dollar means something. Seriously, it does. There are different patronage levels and different rewards for your support. For more information, you can check out the Patreon page here: https://www.patreon.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

Of course, while I’m on the subject: I want to send shout outs — and thank yous — to those folks, who have supported me and my work throughout the past year with their patronage.

Sash

Alice Northover

Bella Fox

Jenny MacRostie

Mike Held 

Janene Otten

Thank you, y’all. Your support means so very much.

If you’re in the NYC area, you can hire me for photography work. Seriously. I do headshots, portraits and event photography. You can hire me through Photobooker. My listing is here: https://www.photobooker.com/photographer/8582abd8-f01e-43eb-b2be-0ed57157687e?duration=1?duration=1 (If you’re outside the NYC area and you’d still want to hire me, we can talk.)

If you’re not already a fan of this site on Facebook, please feel free to become a fan here: https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

Of course, I’m aware and sensitive to the fact that many folks are struggling to survive in what may arguably be the most difficult personal and economic period many of us have ever seen or personally experienced. There’s other ways you can still support:

  • Keep reading! Please, keep reading!
  • Pass the word on to friends, family members, associates and anyone else, who will support independent journalism, music and criticism.
  • Retweets, Facebook shares and reblogging things you might dig. Sites need active eyeballs and clicks to survive. And everything pair of eyeballs reading and clicking on JOVM means some ad revenue in the coffers. And those hardworking artists I cover will also be grateful for your love and support, too.
  • Towards the bottom third of every post, there’s a related post section. If you dug the post you’re looking at it, feel free to check out the related posts. You might find something else you could love.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to live music — and to maybe seeing some of y’all are a show, drinking wildly overpriced beers.

News/Announcements: Shoutouts to Patreon Patrons

Pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns across the world have made it extraordinarily difficult for an overwhelming majority artists across the world to survive, let alone make a living. Entire industries — and in turn, livelihoods — have been obliterated. The Trump Administration’s ineptitude, cruelty and depravity made matters worse, and it has left the Biden Administration with a overloaded plate of things they need to fix. Of course, if you’re a realist as I am, you’d recognize the bitter fact that some of the Biden Administration’s policies and ideas may not pass because of the Republican Party’s stubborn resistance to — well, everything.

But with vaccines entering people’s arms, there’s a renewed sense of hope. I’m actually seeing tour dates — for both indoor and outdoor shows. Personally, I’m excited but I’m also wary of most of those shows actually happening. If there are strict restrictions, it touring won’t be financial viable; and if there aren’t much in the way of restrictions, will people feel as safe as they did pre-COVID? We will see. Look, I’m not sure how I feel about indoor shows yet. (I’ve only been indoors for anything three times: two of those times, I was in a very small group in an isolated portion of a restaurant. The third time, I sat in a bar near a window that was cracked open.)

During the past year or so, you’ve likely turned to some sort of art for spiritual, emotional and intellectual sustenance, for entertainment and to just fill up all the newfound time you had on your hands. And for me, it made championing artists and their work much more urgent — especially since there are countless other entertainment options competing for everyone’s time, money, attention, energy and love.

Because this site has long been a DIY labor of love, I’ve often believed and felt that I’ve had an intimate — and deeply personal — understanding of the financial plight of most of the artists I’ve covered throughout this site’s history. Of course, this reminds of several important facts:

  • Art costs money — and without money, it can’t exist. 
  • Artists are small businesses. So supporting artists is supporting a small business. 
  • A small bit of support can go a long way. A $20, $30, $40, $50 or $60 purchase of someone’s work can often mean the purchase of groceries or covering the cost of a subscription they need to continue their work or anything else along those lines. That same $50 or $60 doesn’t really mean shit to Amazon. 
  • Supporting an artist/small business can keep money within your community. Amazon or some other mega-conglomerate doesn’t give a fuck about your community or your neighbors. Plus, you won’t be giving your money to companies that actively fuck over

Of course, I hope that my work has led you to listen to music and appreciate it in a deeper and more thorough way — to “listen in technicolor” as a friend told me; that my work has led you to an eclectic array of artists, whose work will become part of your lives, as it has been mine. Additionally, I hope that my photography has added some beauty to your day, and inspired you to see the world in a new way — or to take a moment to appreciate something cool or beautiful. 

To that end, I’m asking you once again for your support. I’m continuing to sell merch through this site’s shop. You can find photographic prints — from my live concert photography to street photography and even some outdoor/nature photos. I also still have a shit ton of JOVM bumper stickers. All of this stuff is beautiful and could use a loving forever home. I periodically update offerings, so you should check back every now and then. You can check out the store here: 

You can support by becoming one of my Patreon patrons. Every dollar means something. Seriously, it does. There are different patronage levels and different rewards for your support. For more information, you can check out the Patreon page here: 

https://www.patreon.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

If you’re not already a fan of this site on Facebook, please feel free to become a fan here: 

https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

I know that a lot of folks are struggling to get by. If you find yourself in that situation, there are a few simple ways you can support and show love that won’t hurt your checkbook: 

  • You may notice that towards the bottom of every post there’s a section with related posts. If you really dig what JOVM is about, keep following and keep reading. From my understanding, the more articles you read and the more time you spend here, really helps in terms of the various algorithms that impact ad revenue and Google Search. 
  • Pass the word on to friends and associates, who may want to support independent journalism and criticism in all forms. 
  • Pass the word on to friends and associates, who may actually dig the artists I’ve spent the past decade covering. And trust me, those hardworking, amazing artists would love it, too. 
  • Retweets, Facebook shares and reblogs are also another wonderful way that you can support and show love. Every pair of eyeballs — both new and old — are cherished here. 

All of these things mean the world to me. And I can’t thank those folks who have supported me and my work through all of these ways enough. Of course, as I do every month, I wanted to thank my Patreon patrons for their support:

Sash

Alice Northover

Bella Fox

Jenny MacRostie

Mike Held 

Thank you y’all.

Influenced by The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Joy Division and others, the rising Swiss-American shoegaze duo The Churchhill Garden — currently, founding member Andy Jossi (guitar) and Whimsical‘s Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals) — was originally founded as a solo recording project back in 2010 as a way for Jossi to plug into his emotions and to focus on writing music without any pressure. 

As the story goes, a friend had showed Jossi how to use GarageBand, which he eventually used for some of his earliest recordings. The Swiss guitarist was determined to become a better guitarist and he learned from his mistakes, which helped his musicianship and songwriting flourish and grow. As he was growing as a musician and songwriter, Jossi discovered Logic, which led to an improved and lusher quality to his recordings. 

Around the same time, Jossi began to notice that the songs he had begun to write were more expansive, and although largely inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, shoegaze, post punk and jangle pop, the material revealed his own take on the sounds he had long loved. The Swiss guitarist and songwriting posted his compositions on Myspace without expecting much in return but, he was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the positive response he received. And although Jossi enjoyed writing the material he had posted on MySpace, he felt that i was missing something vitally important — vocals.

Hoping to broaden his musical horizons, the Swiss guitarist and songwriter sought out a few local vocalists to collaborate with. His first collaboration was with The Reaction’s Max Burki, one of Jossi’s local musical heroes. Jossi went on to record two more tracks with Eva Tresch. Technological advances — i.e., home recording studios and programs, as well as file sharing — allowed Jossi to collaborate with vocalists outside of his native Switzerland. His first collaboration with a foreign vocalist, “Noisy Butterfly,” which featured Italian vocalist Damiano Rosetti helped expand The Churchhill Garden’s audience and fanbase outside of Switzerland.

Jossi followed “Noisy Butterfly” with more collaborations with international vocalists including Craig Douglas (USA), Alistair Douglas (AUS) and Hideka (Japan). Back in 2016, Jossi first crossed paths with Whimsical’s Krissy Vanderwoude. Vanderwoude commented on Jossi’s “Sleepless” on Facebook, letting him know that she loved his music, had been a big fan and was deeply moved by the emotionality of his work. Her message went on to say that she could “hear his heart” through his work and that his work resonated deeply with her.

As it turned out, Vanderwoude and Jossi had a mutual friend, Kev Cleary, who chimed in on the comment thread that the two should work on a song together. The duo were very excited about the idea but didn’t quite know what to expect. Jossi sent Vanderwoude files for a couple of different instrumental pieces he had written and recorded, and encouraged her to choose which one she wanted to work on. Interestingly, the Whimsical frontwoman gravitated to one of the tracks in particular and remembers being moved to tears when she first heard it. The end result became their first song together “The Same Sky.”

“The Same Sky” was released to an overwhelmingly positive response with people generally commenting that they felt a magical chemistry between the two — and after a couple of songs together, they both realized that Vanderwoude should be a permanent and full-time member of The Churchhill Garden. Of course, while Vanderwoude is a permanent fixture in The Churchhill Garden universe, Jossi has continued collaborated with other vocalists, including Seashine’s Demi Haynes and Fables‘ and Swirl’Ben Aylward

Churchhill Gardens songs were coming together quickly with a new single being released every few months. With every new release, they found their fanbase steadily growing. And although, they were releasing material through Bandcamp and other DSPs, a growing number of people expressed interest in owning a physical copy of the songs — and they started asking if there would ever be an actual Churchhill Garden album. 

Last year, the Swiss-American duo released their full-length debut, a double LP album Heart and Soul. Since the release of Heart and Soul, the duo have been working on and releasing new material including “Fade Away,” which was released earlier this year. Centered around layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering guitars, Vanderwoude’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and soaring hooks “Fade Away” to my ears at least, reminds me quite a bit of Souvlaki-era SlowdiveSo Tonight That I May See-era Mazzy Star, compete with a similar aching yearning at its core.

Clocking in at a little over seven minutes, the Swiss-American collaboration’s latest single “Lonely” is a slow-burning and aching track, featuring shimmering and reverb soaked guitars paired with a soaring hook and Vanderwoude’s ethereal vocals. And while sonically continuing on in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor with the song bringing the likes of Slowdive, Mazzy Star and even Cocteau Twins to mind, the song as the duo’s Krissy Vanderwoude explains is “lyrically a bit of a heartbreaker for anyone who knows what it feels like to have loved and lost.”

News/Announcements: Shoutouts to Patreon Patrons

Pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns have made it extraordinarily difficult for an overwhelming majority of independent artists across the world to survive. Entire industries — and in turn, livelihoods — have been obliterated. The Trump Administration’s ineptitude and cruelty only made matters worse, and it has left the Biden Administration with a full plate of thing they need to fix. Of course, if you’re a realist, you’d have an innate understanding that there’s a strong possibility that significant portions of their policy plans and suggestions may not pass because of the recalcitrance and incompetence of the Republican Party. But in the meantime the Save Our Stages Act has managed to help keep venues across the country solvent for a little while longer at least.

During the past year, I’d guarantee that you’ve probably turned to some sort of art for spiritual, emotional and intellectual sustenance, for entertainment and to just full up the time. And for me at least, that made championing artists and their work seem even more important — especially since there are countless other entertainment options competing for everyone’s time, money, attention, love and energy. There’s only so much time in a day, in a week, in a month, in a year — and we can’t possibly see, listen, read or do all the things. We certainly try though!

This should probably be apparent to you: because this site has been a DIY labor of love, I’ve often felt as though I have an intimate — and personal — understanding of the plight of the musicians and artists I’ve covered throughout this site’s history. Naturally, I’ve been reminded of several important facts:

  • Art costs money — and without money, it can’t exist. 
  • Artists are small businesses. So supporting artists is supporting a small business. 
  • A small bit of support can go a long way. A $20, $30, $40, $50 or $60 purchase of someone’s work can often mean the purchase of groceries or covering the cost of a subscription they need to continue their work or anything along those lines. That same $50 or $60 doesn’t really mean shit to Amazon. 
  • Supporting an artist/small business can keep money within your community. Amazon or some other mega-conglomerate doesn’t give a fuck about your community or your neighbors. 

Of course, I hope that my work has led you to listen to music and appreciate it in a deeper and more thorough way — to “listen in technicolor” as a friend told me; that my work has led you to an eclectic array of artists, whose work will become part of your lives, as it has been mine. Additionally, I hope that my photography has added some beauty to your day, and inspired you to see the world in a new way — or to take a moment to appreciate something cool or beautiful. 

To that end, I’m asking you once again for your support. I’m continuing to sell merch through this site’s shop. You can find photographic prints — from my live concert photography to street photography and even some outdoor/nature photos. I also still have a shit ton off JOVM bumper stickers. All of this stuff is beautiful and could use a loving forever home. I periodically update offerings, so you should check back every now and then. You can check out the store here: 

You can support by becoming one of my Patreon patrons. Every dollar means something. There are different patronage levels and different rewards for your support. For more information, you can check out the Patreon page here: 

https://www.patreon.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

If you’re not already a fan of this site on Facebook, please feel free to become a fan here: 

https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

I know that a lot of folks are struggling to get by. If you find yourself in that situation, there are a few simple ways you can support and show love that won’t hurt your checkbook: 

  • You may notice that towards the bottom of every post there’s a section with related posts. If you really dig what JOVM is about, keep following and keep reading. From my understanding, the more articles you read and the more time you spend here, really helps in terms of the various algorithms that impact ad revenue and Google Search. 
  • Pass the word on to friends and associates, who may want to support independent journalism and criticism in all forms. 
  • Pass the word on to friends and associates, who may actually dig the artists I’ve spent the past decade covering. And trust me, those hardworking, amazing artists would love it, too. 
  • Retweets, Facebook shares and reblogs are also another wonderful way that you can support and show love. Every pair of eyeballs — both new and old — are cherished here. 

All of these things mean the world to me. And I can’t thank those folks who have supported me and my work through all of these ways enough. Of course, as I do every month, I wanted to thank my Patreon patrons for their support:

Sash

Alice Northover

Bella Fox

Jenny MacRostie

Mike Held 

News/Announcements: Shoutouts to Patreon Patrons

Pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns have made it extraordinarily difficult for an overwhelming majority of independent artists across the world to survive. Entire industries and livelihoods have been wiped out for an indefinite amount of time without any significant solutions or assistance from the federal government during the Trump Administration. Of course, we all hope that the Biden Administration will undo their predecessors evil and fucked up policies and help all of those who desperately need help. But if you’re a realist, there’s an innate understanding that significant portions of the policy suggestions and ideas that the Biden Administration have put down on paper may not pass. We shall see. But in the meantime, the Save Our Stages Act has managed to save countless venues across the country from folding for a little while at least.

I’d guarantee that during the past year, you’ve turned to some sort of art for spiritual, emotional and intellectual sustenance, entertainment or to just fill up time. And as a result, championing artists and their work seems even more important — especially since there are countless other entertainment options competing for everyone’s time, money, attention, love and energy. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day — and I know that people like to actually sleep on occasion.

Because this site has long been a DIY labor of love, I’ve often felt that I have an intimate understanding of the plight of the musicians and artists I’ve covered throughout the past decade-plus of this site’s history. And throughout this site’s history, I’ve been constantly reminded of several key facts:

  • Art costs money — and without money, it can’t exist. 
  • Artists are small businesses. So supporting artists is supporting a small business. 
  • A small bit of support can go a long way. A $20, $30, $40, $50 or $60 purchase of someone’s work can often mean the purchase of groceries or covering the cost of a subscription they need to continue their work or anything along those lines. That same $50 or $60 doesn’t really mean shit to Amazon. 
  • Supporting an artist/small business can keep money within your community. Amazon or some other mega-conglomerate doesn’t give a fuck about your community or your neighbors. 

Of course, I hope that my work has led you to listen to music and appreciate it in a deeper and more thorough way — to “listen in technicolor” as a friend told me; that my work has led you to an eclectic array of artists, whose work will become part of your lives, as it has been mine. Additionally, I hope that my photography has added some beauty to your day, and inspired you to see the world in a new way — or to take a moment to appreciate something cool or beautiful.

To that end, I’m asking you once again for your support. I’m continuing to sell merch through this site’s shop. You can find photographic prints — from my live concert photography to street photography and even some outdoor/nature photos. I also still have a shit ton off JOVM bumper stickers. All of this stuff is beautiful and could use a loving forever home. I periodically update offerings, so you should check back every now and then. You can check out the store here: 

You can support by becoming one of my Patreon patrons. Every dollar means something. There are different patronage levels and different rewards for your support. For more information, you can check out the Patreon page here: 

https://www.patreon.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

If you’re not already a fan of this site on Facebook, please feel free to become a fan here: 

https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

I know that a lot of folks are struggling to get by. If you find yourself in that situation, there are a few simple ways you can support and show love that won’t hurt your checkbook: 

  • You may notice that towards the bottom of every post there’s a section with related posts. If you really dig what JOVM is about, keep following and keep reading. From my understanding, the more articles you read and the more time you spend here, really helps in terms of the various algorithms that impact ad revenue and Google Search. 
  • Pass the word on to friends and associates, who may want to support independent journalism and criticism in all forms. 
  • Pass the word on to friends and associates, who may actually dig the artists I’ve spent the past decade covering. And trust me, those hardworking, amazing artists would love it, too. 
  • Retweets, Facebook shares and reblogs are also another wonderful way that you can support and show love. Every pair of eyeballs — both new and old — are cherished here. 

All of these things mean the world to me. And I can’t thank those folks who have supported me and my work through all of these ways enough. Of course, as I do every month, I wanted to thank my Patreon patrons for their support:

Sash

Alice Northover

Bella Fox

Jenny MacRostie

Mike Held 



Influenced by The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Joy Division and others, the rising Swiss-American shoegaze duo The Churchhill Garden — currently, founding member Andy Jossi (guitar) and Whimsical‘s Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals) — was originally founded as a solo recording project back in 2010 as a way for Jossi to plug into his emotions and to focus on writing music without any pressure.

A friend had showed Jossi how to use GarageBand, which he used for some of his earliest recordings. The Swiss guitarist was determined to become a better guitarist and he learned from his mistakes, which helped his musicianship and songwriting flourish and grow. As he was growing as a musician and songwriter, Jossi discovered Logic, which led to an improved and lusher quality to his recordings.

Jossi began to notice that the songs he was writing became more expansive and while inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, shoegaze, post punk and jangle pop had gradually revealed his own take on the sounds he had long loved. The Swiss guitarist originally posted his instrumental songs on Myspace without expecting much in return but he was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the positive response he received. Although Jossi enjoyed writing the songs he had posted on MySpace, he felt that the material was missing something important — vocals.

Hoping to broaden his musical horizons, the Swiss guitarist and songwriter sought out a few local vocalists to collaborate with: his first collaboration was with The Reaction’s Max Burki, one of Jossi’s local musical heroes. Jossi went on to record two more tracks with Eva Tresch. Technological advances — i.e., home recording studios and programs, as well as file sharing — allowed Jossi to collaborate with vocalists outside of his native Switzerland. His first collaboration with a foreign vocalist, “Noisy Butterfly,” which featured Italian vocalist Damiano Rosetti helped expand The Churchhill Garden’s audience and fanbase outside of Switzerland.

Jossi followed “Noisy Butterfly” with more collaborations with international vocalists including Craig Douglas (USA), Alistair Douglas (AUS) and Hideka (Japan). The Swiss guitarist and songwriter first crossed paths with Whimsical’s Krissy Vanderwoude back in 2016. Vanderwoude had been a fan of Jossi’s music for some time: She commented on Jossi’s “Sleepless,” on Facebook, letting him know that she loved his music, had been a big fan and was deeply moved by the emotionality of his work. Her message went on to say that she could “hear his heart” through his work and that they resonated deeply with her.

Vanderwoude and Jossi had a mutual friend, Kev Cleary, who chimed in the comment thread, that the two should work on a song together. The duo were very excited about the idea but didn’t quite know what to expect. Jossi sent Vandewoude files for a couple of different instrumentals and encouraged her to choose which one she wanted to work on. As the story goes, the Whimsical frontwoman gravitated to one of the tracks in particular and remembers being moved to tears when she first heard it. The end result became their first song together “The Same Sky.”

“The Same Sky” was released to an overwhelmingly positive response with people generally commenting that they felt a magical chemistry between the two — and after a couple of songs together, they realized that Vanderwoude should be a permanent and full-time member of The Churchhill Garden. Of course, while Vanderwoude is a permanent fixture in The Churchhill Garden universe, Jossi has continued collaborated with other vocalists, including Seashine’s Demi Haynes and Fables‘ and Swirl’s Ben Aylward.

Churchhill Gardens songs were coming together quickly with a new single being released every few months. With every new release, they found their fanbase steadily growing. And although, they were releasing material through Bandcamp and other DSPs, a growing number of people expressed interest in owning a physical copy of the songs — and they started asking if there would ever be an actual Churchhill Garden album.

Last year, the Swiss-American duo released their full-length debut, a double LP album Heart and Soul. Since the release of Heart and Soul, the duo have been busy working on new material, including the album’s follow-up single — and their first single of the year, the slow-burning and swooning “Fade Away.” Centered around layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering guitars, Vanderwoude’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and soaring hooks “Fade Away” will likely draw comparisons to Souvlaki-era Slowdive, So Tonight That I May See-era Mazzy Star, compete with a similar aching yearning at its core.

New Video: The Besnard Lakes Release a Lysergic and Feverish Visual for Shimmering and Slow-Burning “Feuds With Guns”

Deriving their name from Besnard Lake in North Central Saskatchewan, the acclaimed, multi-Polaris Music Prize-nominated Montreal-based indie rock act The Besnard Lakes — currently, husband and wife duo Jace Lasek (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys) and Olga Goreas (vocals, bass), along with Kevin Laing (drums), Richard White (guitar), Sheenah Ko (keys) and Robbie MacArthur (guitar) — formed back in 2003. And since their formation, the Montreal-based sextet have five albums of atmospheric and textured shoegaze that some critics have described as magisterial and cinematic.

After the release of their fifth album, 2016’s A Coliseum Complex Museum, The Besnard Lakes and their longtime label home Jagjaguwar mutually decided that it was time to end their relationship and go their separate ways. And as a result, the members of the band began to question whether or not it made sense to even continue the band. But fueled by their love for each other and for playing music together, the acclaimed Canadian act settled in to write and record what may arguably be the most uncompromising effort of their catalog, The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings.

Unlike their previously released material, the members of the Montreal-based went with a much more patient creative approach, taking all the time they needed to conceive, write, record and mix the album’s material. Some of the album’s songs are old, tracing their origins to resurrected demos left on the shelf years before. Other songs were woodshedded in the cabin behind Lasek and Goreas’ Riguard Ranch, with the band relishing a rougher, grittier sound.

Thematically, The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings finds the band contemplating the darkness of dying, the light on the other side, and coming back from the brink of annihilation. And while touching upon the band’s own story, the album also is a remembrance of dear loved ones, who are no longer with us — particularly Lasek’s father, who died last year. From what Lasek observed of his father’s death, being on one’s deathbed may be the most intense psychedelic trip of anyone’s life” at one point Lasek’s father surfaced from a morphine-induced dream, talking about how he saw a “window” on his blanket, with “a carpenter inside of it, making objects.” And as a result, the album’s material is imbued with a surreal and ethereal quality.

Earlier this year, I wrote about The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings’ first single “Raindrops,” a slow-burning shoegazer with a painterly attention to gradation and texture, centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, twinkling and arpeggiated keys, thunderous drumming, ethereal boy-girl harmonies and a euphoric hook. Interestingly, the album’s second single is the slow-burning, dream pop-like “Feuds With Guns.” Centered around an atmospheric and spacious arrangement featuring thunderous drumming, anthemic power chord-based riffs, twinkling keys, plaintive vocals and a soaring hook, “Feuds With Guns” sonically speaking, is one part Prince, one part Beach House.

“‘Feuds With Guns’ is one of the first songs written from our upcoming LP. This one is a good slow-dancer!” The members of The Besnard Lakes explain to Under The Radar ” Written almost entirely in the Cabanon at The Rigaud Ranch, this one started out as an organ and drum idea that morphed into a little OMD-style pop song.”

Directed by Dr. Cool, the recently released animated video for “Feuds With Guns” is a lysergic fever dream that features divers taking a dive, flying airplanes, cars and vans in front of a bright yellow sun. “I rotoscoped a couple of the big dives from a video of an extreme high-diving contest that took place in the 80s. About a week after I had animated the first guy’s big jump, I returned to the video to check out some other usable clips,” Dr. Cool explains in press notes. “I realized I had never watched the full clip of the first jump — I had just stopped once he hit the water. I found out that after he lands in the water he floats back up unconscious and then gets taken away on a stretcher. So now what was I supposed to do? People in the comments were asking what had happened but no one knew the answer. After a bunch of snooping around the internet I found the guy’s Facebook and he’s TOTALLY alive. His name is Pat and he lives in Florida. I messaged him but he hasn’t answered.”

The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings is slated for a January 29, 2021 release through Fat Cat Records here in the States and through Flemish Eye in their native Canada.

JOVM celebrated its tenth anniversary earlier this year. And maybe I’m biased here — this is my site after all — but I feel as though I’ve managed to carve out a unique space in the blogosphere. JOVM is one of the few places, where readers can get eclectic and personal curation and coverage of local, national and international music scenes.

For the overwhelming bulk of this site’s history, I’ve run this site as a (mostly) one-man labor of love, run out of my Corona, Queens, NYC apartment while working full time in the editorial departments of three different book publishers as an Editorial Assistant and Acquisitions Editor. As you can imagine, I often felt that I had an unusual dual life: during the the day, I was a mild-mannered and somewhat sleep-deprived, Clark Kent. And when the business day ended, I would find some place to change out of my office clothes to street clothes, transforming into professional music journalist, blogger and photographer, covering shows at venues across the Metropolitan area. I’d return home in the wee hours, upload photos or work on a blog post, if i was able to manage it — and then I’d try to get a little bit of sleep and repeat. I generally survived on four hours of sleep a night and way too much coffee.

It’s often been hard work. But as a result of this site, I’ve done things I’ve never expected or thought would have ever happened. I’ve met some of my heroes. I’ve photographed icons and beloved legends. I’ve covered some amazing talented artists from all over the world. I’ve seen some memorable shows. I’ve been able to travel internationally to cover music. And I’ve met some of the nicest, kindest and most open people in the entire world  — and these people  have welcomed me to their hometowns, taken me to their best spots, introduced me to their favorite people and so on.

This sort of work should — and needs — to be continued and championed as much as possible. Music is the emotional center of our lives. More than ever in this profoundly unusual and unsettling time, we have to take comfort in music, art, literature and all the other things that make us human and connect us with others. Hopefully my work here has — and will continue — to bring some joy, some escape from the bleakness of our current situation or it inspires you to do something.

Of course running a site like this isn’t easy. And unfortunately, it does cost money. To that end, I started a Patreon page last year as a way to help support my creative endeavors and this site. Check out the page for more information:

https://www.patreon.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

You can also buy merch from the Joy of Violent Movement shop:

You can also become a fan of this site on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyofViolentMovement

Because of the uncertainty of the past few months, I understand that for there will be a portion of people who unable to contribute or buy merch. I get it. Trust me, I really get it. So don’t feel bad about it. There are other non-monetary ways to show love and support that really matters and are really helpful. So, if you really dig my work and JOVM, you can do the following:

  • Keep reading — and if you can read more! Seriously, something that small adds up.
  • Share posts you dig on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.
  • Pass the word on to friends who may dig this site and my work. The more eyeballs on this site at any given time does count and is beyond helpful. Seriously.
  • Pass the word on about the Patreon page to those that may be able to support.

As, I promised on my Patreon page, I also wanted to give a shoutout to this site’s kind patrons:

Sash

Alice Northover

Bella Fox

Jenny MacRostie

Thank y’all so much for your support and love. It keeps me — and this site going.

Musings: On Hot 97 Yusuf Hawkins and Racism in Media 

 

I have to interrupt some of my previous editorial plans for the day. I need to get a few things off my chest. I applied to a really cool job at a major magazine. This is a job that I felt I could do with my left-hand tied behind my back. I have 15 years under my belt as a freelancer and blogger, covering an insanely eclectic array of music — and I’ve done this while spending 15 years or so working at three different publishing houses, moving up from being an Editorial Assistant to being an Acquisitions Editor.

I’m extremely nocturnal. “Sleep all day. Up all night,” as a song once said. I woke up at noon today. My mom was talking to me about some news item of the day. I was barely awake and I needed coffee. Before I even had my coffee and while I was still in bed, I started to check my email accounts. Technology is wonderful sometimes, ain’t it? So as I typically do, I went through my blog account. And then I checked my personal email. I received the impersonal form letter rejection from that major magazine. Most of the time, I don’t take it personally. I shrug it off and move on. But this one, it felt like a bit like finding out your partner has been sleeping with your best friend or a relative. And yet, somehow, I wasn’t surprised.

I then went on to Facebook. One Facebook friend is posting infuriatingly dumb things and has been doing so for the past month or two. I ignored her and scrolled down a bit. Then I came across an article an elementary school classmate posted it on his page: https://hiphopdx.com/news/id.57484/title.longtime-hot-97-executive-paddy-duke-fired-for-involvement-in-yusef-hawkins-murder?fbclid=IwAR0AfP1_IS_OEGXvRE_I6QgJFsJGtQi6MQ5BiSFd36Kn5Oidt8ypP9f6zqo.

After reading the article, I immediately felt anger, despair and hopelessness. I’ve mentioned this on Facebook as a response to the events of the article and I think it’s important for y’all to read and think about: Two things likely happened with Paddy Duke  — but one of them is probably more likely than the other in my mind:

  • Raucci lied (and an omission is a lie here, too) and went through his life with the desperate an insane hope that no one would find. But every minute and every hour of the past 31 years, he had to live with the fact that he was involved in a heinous crime and with the fear that someone would find out, that someone would out him, that the walls would come crumbling down.
  • Rauuci was connected to someone, who gave him a shot above all the other talented people of color, who have been busting their ass for a shot, then protected him and allowed him to move up the ranks.

 

People have lied about their qualifications for jobs for generations. It was difficult for your employer to find out — and generally no one really bothered to delve that deeply, if you were embellishing a bit and not saying something flat out ridiculous. Over the past 20 years, employers have been following up on jobseekers’ claims: they’ll look Google you and look at your LinkedIn profile; they’ll call your references and ask detailed questions about you and your work. And if somehow, you’re one of the few lucky ones, who may have gotten away with it, it doesn’t last long. Companies have fired people once they’ve find out. (Remember the Notre Dame football coach, who lied about his background? By the following week, the school rescinded their offer.)

So for argument’s say, let’s say that Raucci lied. Maybe in 1994 he might have gotten away with that for a year or two, maybe even five years. But by the time he became a radio personality,  his involvement in a heinous racial crime wasn’t outed by someone? Milli Vanilli and Vanilla Ice were outed as phonies — before the Internet. Pusha T shouted out  that Drake had a secret baby on a fucking diss track. And you’re telling me that Hot 97 and its corporate office didn’t have a clue that Raucci was one of Yusuf Hawkins’ attackers? Raucci didn’t get outed as he moved up the stations ranks, earning a position of power and authority at the station? How did that continue for over 25 years? You mean no one was curious about the guy and said “Let’s look into him?” Seriously, how does that even happen?

Of course, that leads me to something insidious — and seemingly more likely to have happened to me: Raucci is connected to someone, and that someone not only gave Raucci a shot to redeem himself, that someone allowed the former Hot 97 exec to move up the corporate ranks. There wasn’t some equally qualified person or color without a criminal record that couldn’t have gotten a shot? Who does Raucci know?

There’s no way that Hot 97’s corporate office didn’t have an idea. Out of due diligence, the filmmaker who made the Yusuf Hawkins documentary did their research and confirmed their claims before leaving that in the final cut. Hot 97 and their corporate ownership is full of shit on that.

I’ve freelanced for a nubmer of publications and websites. I started this site over a decade ago while working full-time. The past 15 years I’ve slept very little, worked full-time and then worked hard on making moves. I’ve done JOVM, completely on my own terms. I’m proud of that fact. I’ve obsessed with music since I was a toddler. I’ve played a little bit, too. And when I turned 14, I knew that the only thing that made sense for me was to write. But I have to admit something: lately, I’ve been feeling deeply discouraged.

Sure, being a writer — or any other creative — means enduring through some degree of failure or feeling as though you’re a failure. But when you add unfair, incredibly racist shit to the mix, it just hits differently and on a deeply personal level. I often suspect that some mediocre white person, who’s connected to the right people will get some of these jobs that I’ve long coveted despite my education and my background. I’ve edited fucking  books. Don’t tell me that I can’t edit other music journalists — or that I can’t contribute to a publication.

Look at the staff at some of these websites and publications. If you’re lucky you may see maybe one or two black people on their staff. It makes me wonder how that’s possible. And I dozen wonder if some mediocre white person is getting that key gig, because they know the right people — and not because they’re truly talented or knowledgeable. There have been only a handful of days recently where I felt like everything I did felt profoundly stupid: George Floyd’s death and the protests immediately after and after reading that HipHopDX article today.

My folks gave me the talk when I was about 7. But I’m also not a stupid or naive man either. I’ve lived in the world and been around enough to know that life is really unfair. So I really loathe when organizations and people actively try to insult my intelligence. Don’t bullshit me about how you’re diverse and are down for the cause of Black Lives Matter if you don’t have executives of color or members of the LGBTQIA+ community in real positions of authority.

This story about Raucci and Hot 97 is a constant reminder of how insidious racism is — especially in media and other creative fields. At the end of the day, a lot of these companies are frankly full of shit. Either we’re willing to be better or we’re not. It’s that simple.