Tag: Flying Nun Records

New Video: Vancouver’s SPECTRES Return with an Anthemic and Nostalgic Take on Post Punk

Over the past few months, I’ve written quite a bit about the Vancouver-based post-punk act SPECTRES. Since its formation back in 2005 by frontman Brian Gustavson, the band has been widely cited as being one of the acts responsible for kicking off Canada’s rented interest in the post-punk sound. Initially, inspired by the British anarcho-punk scene of the late 70s and early 80s, the Vancouver-based post punk outfit meshed that scene’s ethos with punk stylings and an unerring knack for crating hook-driven and anthemic material. Interestingly, over the past few years of their existence, the band’s sound as gradually evolved, as they increasingly incorporated elements of New Wave and punk. 

“The band started as a way to creatively explore 1980s British anarcho-punk and while creatively we have drifted in new directions, this core influence still holds a lot of inspiration for us,” the band’s Zach Batalden  (guitar) says in press notes. Bands like The Mob, Crisis, Crass and Zounds are all still very important for us. From there we took a deep interest in ’80s post-punk and new wave with bands like The Sound, The Chameleons, Theatre of Hate and Modern English, central to the way our sound has developed.”

Now, as you may recall, the Vancouver-based post-punk act’s Jason Corbett-produced album Nostalgia was released last month through Artoffact Records, and the album thematically touches upon the alienation of modern life and the search for hope in an increasingly terrifying world. “Deepening political partisanship, aging, and finding one’s own way through alienating times are common themes the on the Nostalgia LP,” says Batalden. Sonically, the material fnds the band continuing their ongoing exploration of a decidedly post-punk like sound with Gustavon’s plaintive and melodic vocals ethereally floating over chiming guitars and propulsive beats. “For the new album, Nostalgia, we were listening to a lot of Flying Nun bands like The Bats, The Verlaines and The Clean as well,” Batalden adds.

Last month, I wrote about album single “Years of Lead,” a decidedly New Order-like track centered around shimmering and jangling bursts of angular guitars, four-on-the-floor drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook. Continuing a run of anthemic post-punk, the album’s latest single “When Possessed Pray” manages to sound as though it were a uncannily slick synthesis of Joy Division and early Echo and the Bunnymen, complete with rousingly anthemic hooks and deceptively anachronistic production that pulls the song’s aching nostalgia to the forefront.

The recently released video features glitchy and stuttering black and white footage of the band in their hometown and performing the song in a suburban looking house. And although they be cooler than you, there’s this sense that their band could very well have been the band you tried to start in high school.  

New Video: Mexican Post Punk Act Mercvrial Pays Homage to Taiwanese Tennis Star Hseih Su-Wei

Based in Rosarito, Mexico, Mercvrial is a geographically-dispersed recording project in which its members combine elements of post-punk, dream pop and neo-psychedelia to draw the listener into “an opaque musicverse of sparkling melodies and layered guitarchitecture,” the band says in press notes. Last year, the act released their debut EP The Stars, Like Dust to critical applause, while drawing comparisons to Creation Records’, Flying Nun Records’ and 4AD Records’ output in the 80s. 

Interestingly, the last single — and video — off the EP “Hsieh Su-Wei” is a shimmering and reverb-drenched, motorik-groove driven homage to the unorthodox Taiwanese tennis professional, Hsieh Su-Wei. Sonically the track further cements their decidedly 80s inspired sound with the track recalling Wire, The Church and others with an uncanny knack for infectious hooks. “Hsieh Su-Wei is the most unique, unusual player in women’s tennis. Her technique, strategy, and shot selection are unlike anyone else’s so she’s very exciting to watch,” the band’s David Mercvrial says in press notes. “You have no idea what she’s going to do next. The lyrics and video are simply homages to her artistry and distinctive approach to what has become a fairly homogenized sport.” 

The recently released video features highlights of Su-Wei doing her thing on the court, hitting some ridiculous winners and at press conferences. Occasionally, we see the members of the band superimposed on the footage. 

Talinn, Estonia-based shoegazers Pia Fraus — currently comprised of founding members Kärt Ojavee (synths), Rein Fuks (guitars, vocals) and Reijo Tagapere (bass),  along with their returning longtime drummer Joosep Volk and newest members Eve Romp (vocals, synths, met allophone) — can trace its origins back to 1998, when the band’s founding sextet were all art school students. Since the band’s founding, they’ve gone to release five full-length albums and a handful of EPs of material that have cemented their sound — a mix of dream pop, shoegaze and electronica with layered male-female harmonies.

Slated for a January 20, 2020 release through Vinyl Junkie Records in Japan and Seksound Records globally, Pia Fraus’ John McEntire-produced sixth album Empty Parks was recorded at Nevada City, CA-based Soma Electronic Music Studios with album title track  “Empty Parks” being recorded in two separate kitchens, a windowless basement and Reijo Tagapere’s barn. “This is the poppiest album we’ve ever made. It’s melancholy and happy at the same time – definitely happier than our latest Field Ceremony album,” the band’s Rein Fuks says in press notes. “To work with John McEntire was my teenage wet dream.  I have been a massive fan of John’s work over the years, and I never thought that one day I have a chance to sit next to this guy and make my own record. Of course, it was quite challenging and stressful for me.”

“Although the process of making this album wasn’t been the easiest, I associate this album relates mostly with the feeling of happiness and positivism,” the band’s Eve Komp says in press notes. “The awareness of being able to be hopeful and make jokes about life even if everything seems to going downhill.”

The band’s Joosep Volk adds “Personally, Empty Parks means a lot. It’s sort of a homecoming to me. 16 years has past since I last played with the rest of the group and when Rein asked me to return, I never thought twice. Understanding that sometimes things do fall apart and you just have to pick yourself up and deal with it. Life is deviously clever, we just have to endure.”

Album single “Love Sports” is a decidedly upbeat song, centered around jangling guitars, propulsive drumming, ethereal male-female harmonies and soaring hooks. And while continuing their long-held reputation for meshing shoegaze and dream pop, “Love Sports” finds the band adding a bit of Flying Nun Records-like jangle pop — but with a subtly modern production. Album title track “Empty Parks” is a more contemplative and seemingly wintry affair, centered around layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering and  jangling guitar, hushed male-female harmonizing. Both songs are gorgeous and kind of bittersweet in a way that acknowledges what life really is: full of heartbreaking losses, minor victories, brief moments of transcendent beauty and all of its important and necessary.  We find a way to endure somehow — and that’s what matters.

 

 

New Video: Vancouver-based Post Punk Act SPECTRES Release a Nostalgia-Tinged Visual for Shimmering Hook Driven “Northern Towns”

Vancouver, British Columbia-based post-punk act SPECTRES was founded back in 2005  by its frontman Brian Gustavon. And since the band’s formation, they’ve been cited as one of the acts at responsible for kicking off their homeland’s rented interest in the post-punk sound. Initially inspired by the British anarcho-punk scene of the late 70s and early 80s, the Vancouver-based post-punk meshed that scene’s ethos with post punk stylings and an uncanny knack for crafting hook driven, catchy material. But over time the band’s sound has evolved to the point where it subtly yet increasingly meshes elements of New Wave and punk.

“The band started as a way to creatively explore 1980s British anarcho-punk and while creatively we have drifted in new directions, this core influence still holds a lot of inspiration for us,” the band’s Zach Batalden  (guitar) says in press notes. Bands like The Mob, Crisis, Crass and Zounds are all still very important for us. From there we took a deep interest in ’80s post-punk and new wave with bands like The Sound, The Chameleons, Theatre of Hate and Modern English, central to the way our sound has developed.”

Slated for a March 6, 2020 release through Artoffact Records, the Vancouver-based post-punk act’s forthcoming Jason Corbett-produced album Nostalgia lyrically finds the band touching upon the alienation of modern life and the search for hope in an increasingly terrifying world. “Deepening political partisanship, aging, and finding one’s own way through alienating times are common themes the on the Nostalgia LP,” says Batalden. Sonically, the material fnds the band continuing their ongoing exploration of a decidedly post-punk like sound with Gustavon’s plaintive and melodic vocals ethereally floating over chiming guitars and propulsive beats. “For the new album, Nostalgia, we were listening to a lot of Flying Nun bands like The Bats, The Verlaines and The Clean as well,” Batalden adds. 

“Northern Towns,” off the band’s “Provincial Wake” 7 inch is centered around layers of chiming guitars, propulsive drumming, Gustavson’s plaintive vocals and an enormous, radio friendly hook the Vancouver-based act’s sound brings Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen,The Cure and even Siouxsie and the Banshees to mind. And while featuring a pitch perfect, era specific production that’s deceptively anachronistic, the song possesses a bittersweet and nostalgic air that feels very modern.Interestingly,  the single also manages to be a nice little taste of what we should expect from the band’s forthcoming album.

The recently released video by Wayne Moreheart is comprised of archival footage taken from the My VHS Videos 80s, 90s, 00s YouTube channel. As a result, the video manages to capture the bittersweet nostalgia at the core of the song, as well as the world of small town kids with big dreams of making it big without knowing how to get there. 

New Video: Kiwi Sibling Duo Purple Pilgrims Release a Feverish and Haunting Visual for “Sensing Me”

Purple Pilgrims is a New Zealand sibling duo, comprised of Valentine and Clementine Nixon. The sibling duo tracked their full-length debut 2016’s Eternal Delight in the wilds of Tapu, New Zealand. Interestingly, the duo’s sophomore album, Perfumed Earth, which was released earlier this year through acclaimed indie label Flying Nun Records found the duo returning to the same wooded sanctuary in Tapu, but according to the duo in a  calmer, more contemplative headspace. “Internal white noise subsided and we really started to appreciate the peace of our environment,” the duo says of the recording process of an album that they’ve described as “kind of like a rebirth.”

Perfumed Earth found the Nixon Sisters fashioning what they’ve dubbed “a very modern/mobile band” that combined local recordings with inspired long-distance overdubs from a vaster cast of collaborators that included their frequent collaborator Gary War, who contributed bass and synths from hotel rooms while he was touring America with John Maus; Jimmy Mac, Lorde’s keyboardist, contributed drums; Joshua Kennedy, former Surf City guitarist contributed guitar work; improvisational experimentalist Jeff Henderson contributed saxophone on “Delphiniums In Harmony / Two Worlds Away”; and Roy Montgomery contributed expressionistic guitar work on “Ruinous Splendour.” The material was then mixed by Thomas Healy, utilizing his sizable collection of vintage tape machines to create an overall sound that’s spacious and sensual, swooning and spellbound while being a major sonic step forward for the Kiwi sibling duo.  

Perfumed Earth’s latest single is the atmospheric  “Sensing Me.” Centered around twinkling keys and synths, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, subtly twinkling keys and simple yet dramatic percussion the song is spacious enough for the Nixon Sisters gorgeous harmonies, which manage to mesmerize, seduce and soar through the arrangement — while expressing an aching yearning and longing.  

Directed by W.A.M. Bleakley, the recently released video for “Sensing Me” was shot on 16mm Kodak film, and the end result is a moody yet gorgeous fever dream featuring the Nixon Sisters. “’Sensing Me’ is a Love Magic incantation and telepathic ritual,” the Kiwi sibling duo say of the song and its accompanying video. “Through hyperbolic emotional shorthand we regard the grey area between love and obsession, fantasy and reality. A claustrophobic dream of elation, desperation, regret and double meanings. The video was directed by the wonderful W.A.M Bleakley and shot on 16mm Kodak film. The characters become more and more disarrayed as internal clashes overwhelm them – becoming divided within and against themselves, and ultimately disembodied. When psychological boarders on supernatural – both tongue-in-cheek and deadly serious all at the same time.”

Currently comprised of founding members Chris Rosi (rhythm guitar, vocals)  and Corey Cunningham (lead guitar, keys), along with newest members Jenny Moffett (bass) and Brice Bradley (drums), the Los Angeles-based indie rock outfit Smokescreens can trace their origins to when its founding duo initially met and became friends while touring in their previous bands — the critically applauded Plateaus and Terry Malts — back in 2011. By 2015 Rosi and Cunningham relocated to Los Angeles to start Smokescreens, an act that they’ve described as a love letter to the 1980s New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records scene.  As the story goes, after cutting their teeth playing in bars and bowling alleys across Southern California, Rosi and Cunningham recruited engineer/drummer Jon Green to help them put their shambling love letters to Kiwi guitar pop on tape.

Initially released through Cunningham’s Parked in Hell Records and re-issued by Spanish indie label Meritorio Records, the Los Angeles-based indie rock band’s self-titled, full-length debut was recorded in a disused dairy factory and was mixed in mono. After Jon Greene’s death, the band decided to continue onward, recruiting their newest members Brice Bradley and Jenny Moffif, which enabled Cunningham to switch to lead guitar and keys. As a newly constituted quartet, the band spent time tirelessly working, nurturing and refining their sound and writing batches of songs before eventually heading to Primitive Ears Studio to track the ten songs that would eventually comprise their sophomore effort Used to Yesterday in rapid-fire fashion. Armed with tapes from the sessions, the members of the band brought them to The Allah-lahs‘ Kyle Malarky, who created a final mix that reportedly captures the band’s rhythmic drive and melodic verve. Unsurprisingly, the band’s sophomore effort continues the band’s longtime obsession with 80s, New Zealand guitar pop — but while expanding upon it, incorporating some new influences, including Messthetics-era DIY pop; in fact, the album’s latest single “Someone New” is a jangling and breakneck, propulsive bit of guitar pop with razor sharp hooks  that sounds as though it could have been quietly and quickly released in 1982, and was discovered by a collector in a random used record bin.

Founded by Captured Tracks’ label head and founder Mike Sniper, Omnian Music Group is a label group, whose goal is to further develop and strengthen its pre-existing imprints (Body Double Records, Fantasy Memory Records and Squirrel Thing Recordings) and partnerships (with New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records) of Captured Tracks, while seeking out innovative labels, who would benefit from the larger Omnian Music Group structure to partner with, and creating new and distinct labels. Since its formation, Omnian has also partnered with Australia’s Dot Dash Records, New York’s Sing Sing Records, and created three new labels — Sinderlyn, 2MR Records, a dance music label founded by Italians Do It Better’s Mike Simonetta and Captured Tracks’ Sniper, and Manufactured Recordings, a label that specializes in re-issues across a wide variety of genres.

Now, if you had been frequenting this site earlier this month, you might recall that Manufactured Recordings developed a well-regarded Shoegaze Archive Series that focused on under-appreciated and/or overlooked shoegaze and noise rock bands — and as part of that of that series, they would be releasing re-issues of three largely overlooked early 90s shoegazers Alison’s Halo’s 1998 release Eyedazzler, a compilation of singles that the band wrote between 1992 and 1996; KG’s Come Closer, We’re Cool, a compilation featuring early tracks, unreleased material and material from a shelved Slumberland Records effort; and lastly, Bethany Curve’s mid 1990s debut, Mee-Eaux.

Adding to their growing catalog of re-issues, Manufactured Recordings will be releasing a compilation focusing on the late 70s, New York-based New Wave/post punk act Come On featuring re-issues of 1978’s “Don’t Walk On The Kitchen Floor”/”A Kitchen In The Clouds,” 1980’s “Housewives Play Tennis”/”Howard After 6,” unreleased studio recordings and live material recorded in the late 70s.  The band, which was comprised of a rather ragtag group of artists, musicians and scenesters including George Elliott (guitar), Ralf Mann (bass), illustrator Page Wood (drums), Elena Glasberg (guitar) and Jamie Kaufman (vocals) had a unique and egalitarian stage look featuring white button down shirts and black shirts, and played what they had dubbed “nervous rock,” full of angular and jagged guitar and bass chords, rapid-fire, four on the floor drumming, dark and wryly ironic — and unsurprisingly as you’ll hear on “Don’t Walk On The Kitchen Floor,” Come On’s sound manages to closely resemble Talking Heads ’77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food-era Talking Heads.

In light of both Talking Heads’ massive influence and popularity, Come On’s sound may not seem all that revolutionary, nor does it help that the band was only together for an incredibly short period of time; but what the band’s output does manage to do is to create a fuller, more interesting picture of what was going on in the Downtown scene o the late 70s while reminding the listener that although bands and artists like Talking Heads, Ramones, New York Dolls, Television, Patti SmithBlondie and a lengthy list of others who rose to be iconic, there were countless near misses.

 

 

 

 

 

Founded by Captured Tracks‘ label head and founder Mike Sniper, Omnian Music Group is a label group, whose goal is to further develop and strengthen its pre-existing imprints (Body Double Records, Fantasy Memory Records and Squirrel Thing Recordings) and partnerships (with New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records) of Captured Tracks, while seeking out innovative labels, who would benefit from the larger Omnian Music Group structure to partner with, and creating new and distinct labels. Since its formation, Omnian has also partnered with Australia’s Dot Dash Records, New York’s Sing Sing Records, and created three new labels — Sinderlyn, 2MR Records, a dance music label founded by Italians Do It Better‘s Mike Simonetta and Captured Tracks’ Sniper, and Manufactured Recordings, a label that specializes in re-issues across a wide variety of genres.

Manufactured Recordings has developed a Shoegaze Archive Series, a re-issue series that focuses on under-appreciated and/or overlooked shoegaze and noise rock bands. On May 19, 2017 the re-issue arm of Omnian Music Group will be releasing re-issues of three largely overlooked shoegazer rock bands of the 90s — Alison’s Halo’s 1998 release Eyedazzler, a compilation of singles that the band wrote between 1992 and 1996; KG’s Come Closer, We’re Cool, a compilation featuring early tracks, unreleased material and material from a shelved Slumberland Records effort; and lastly, Bethany Curve’s mid 1990s debut, Mee-Eaux.

Originally formed by the husband and wife duo Catherine Cooper (vocals, guitar) and Adam Cooper (guitar) along with Lynn Anderson (bass), the Tempe, AZ-based shoegazer trio Alison’s Halo derived their name from the name that had given their drum machine — Alison. As The Big Takeover‘s Jack Rabid noted “Alison’s Halo trafficked in spectacular, effects-laden, ethereal guitar majesties, but were distinguished by Catherine’s lovely vocals as their six-string melanges.” And as a result, the band found themselves opening for internationally known acts including Ultra Vivid Scene, Curve, The Verve, The Boo Radleys, Bailter Space, and Stereophonics, and played at several music festivals including SXSW and CMJ. As a trio, the band recorded two demo cassettes Slug and Halo, but before the recording sessions for their debut single “Dozen,” the band recruited Thomas Lanser (drums), expanding the band to a quartet; however, before the release of 1998’s debut effort, Eyedazzler 1992-1996, a compilation of singles written and recorded between 1992 and 1996 the band went through several lineup changes. After the band’s breakup in the late 90s, the members of the band went on to other creative pursuits — for several years the duo of Catherine Cooper and Adam Cooper spent several years writing and recording Burt Bacharach-inspired pop under a number of names, and Adam Cooper has also released a solo album of ambient music. In 2009, the Coopers resurrected Alison’s Halo and released several digital compilations of old material through their website, including three live albums and the The Jetpacks for Julian demos EP, and “Dozen,” the band’s debut single was included in 2016’s Still in a Dream: A Story of Shoegaze 1988-1995 box set compilation. They also released a digital 7 inch “Some Heaven”/”The Hardest Part” from the Eyedazzler demos.

Naturally, it shouldn’t be surprising that “Dozen” is the first single off the Eyedazzler re-issue and the single should immediately bring memories of 120 Minutes-era MTV as the rousingly anthemic yet dreamy song features Catherine Cooper’s ethereal vocals floating over shimmering power chords and a propulsive rhythm section consisting of thundering drumming and a gently throbbing bass line. Interestingly, while clearly sounding of its time, being reminiscent of A Storm in Heaven and A Northern Soul-era The Verve and My Bloody Valentine, the band’s sound also nods at contemporaries like Overlake and others.

 

Deriving their name from street sign, near the cliffs of Monterrey Bay, the Santa Cruz, CA-based space rock/shogeazer trio Bethany Curve — comprised of Richard Millang (vocals, guitar), Nathan Guevara (guitar) and David Mac Wha (drums) — are part of a second, somewhat more American-leaning wave of shoegaze and noise rock, forming in 1994, around the same time time that a number of the British shoegazer pioneers including Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Lush and others had split up. The band has developed a reputation for crating dark, moody space rock-leaning shoegaze full of shimmering guitar chords led through tons of delay pedal and throbbing, tweeter and woofer rocking bass — or as they’ve dubbed their approach “Atmosphere | Arrangement | Sound | Layering | Noise,” which they’ve used on the band’s four full-length releases, 1994’s Mee-Eaux, 1996’s Skies Crossed a Sky, 1998’s Gold and 2001’s You Brought Us Here and their 2013 EP Flaxen. Along with that, the band released a cover of Cocteau Twins‘ “Ivo,” which appeared on Dewdrop Records’ 2002 compilation Half Gifts: A Tribute To The Cocteau Twins. And much like Alison’s Halo’s “Dozen,” “Mey Voy,” Mee-Eaux‘s final track was also featured on 2016’s Still In A Dream: A Story Of Shoegaze 1988-1995 box set compilation.

For Manufactured Recordings reissue of Mee-Eaux, the first single is the slow-burning, brooding and cosmic instrumental “Out of the Curve” which features a dreamy and shimmering guitar melody paired with propulsive drumming and droning vocals — and while being atmospheric and ethereal, the song possesses a forceful, enveloping character.

 

Initially started as a bedroom-based solo recording project of the Mulhouse, France-born, Strasbourg, France-based multi-instrumentalist Remy Bux in 1988, the project involved Bux’s early experimentation with a two-track recorder, a rigged synthesizer and a great deal of ingenuity. Eventually purchasing a four-track recorder, Bux took writing and recording much more seriously. And after a 1991 relocation to Strasbourg, where he studied musicology, Bux recorded the KG debut 7 inch featuring a full band at Downtown Studio in 1993. The same lineup followed that up with a 1996 single co-released by Lo-Fi Records and Orgasm Records — and their Manufactured Recordings re-issue, Come Closer, We’re Cool is a compilation of their early singles, and tracks from a shelved Slumberland Records full-length effort. Interestingly their output has been compared to Isn’t Anything-era My Bloody Valentine and Psychocandy-era The Jesus and Mary Chain but with the immediacy and minimalism of punk, and as you’ll hear on “Love Me Forever,” an anthemic track that features a quiet, loud, quiet structure in which strummed acoustic guitar is paired with blistering power chords. And while clearly nodding at The Jesus and Mary Chain, the song also reminds me of early Blur.