Los Angeles– based duo Complicated Animals— singer/songwriter Monica da Silva and multi-instrumentalist Chad Alger — specializes in what the duo have coined Indie Nova, a mesh of Indie Pop and Bossa nova. Complicated Animals can trace their origins back to 2008: the then-Chicago-based da Silva, who had been wanting to steer her music back to her Brazilian roots had stumbled across Alger’s Craiglist ad seeking someone to start a Brazilian music project with. The duo met during the winter and they survived the cold Chicagoland winter by drinking red wine and black coffee — and at some point, during that haze, Alger picked up a guitar and da Silva made up some lyrics. And the songs they began crafting transported them to the beaches of Brazil.
The duo collaborated on da Silva’s solo album 2010’s Bruce Driscoll-produced Brasilissima, which featured songs written and sung in English and Portuguese. Brasilissima‘s first single “Aí Então”, caught the attention of the blogosphere and Cumbacha Records‘ Jacob Edgar, who featured the track on Putunayo World Music‘s Brazilian Beat compilation. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the duo’s psychedelic “That’s Not The Way” pump dup crowds during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Written and recorded in a cabin in the Michigan woods, the duo’s Complicated Animals 2015 debut, the six song In This Game EP was released to critical praise by PopMatters, who called the effort “a 6 song masterpiece” and the “beginning of a new sound.” Since then da Silva released the haunting and cinematic “Soldado de Amor,” which was featured on the BBC TV dramatic series The Replacement . Last year, In This Game single “Phoenix” was featured in the Netflix’s Last Summer.
Complicated Animals’ latest single find the duo tackling one of my favorite Foo Fighter songs, and arguably one of their biggest hits “Times Like These.” Famously, Foo Fighters released an acoustic version of “Times Like These,” in which Dave Grohl accompanied himself on guitar and piano — and while leaning much closer to the acoustic version, the Complicated Animals cover is a breezier, folkier, Fleetwood Mac-like take on the song. In my book, “Times Like These” is the rare Foo Fighter song that works as an arena rock anthem and as an intimate singer/songwriter ballad, which is a testament to how well written the song is.
As da Silva and Alger explain, they gravitated toward the track, because the lyrics are in line with the events of this past year. “This year sure has been crazy. We’ve all had to slow down, and focus on familial relationships, and close friendships. We believe that these challenging times, are the times that shape us,” the Los Angeles based duo explain. “The most important thing we can do right now, is just be there for each other. We hope to inspire people with some positivity. The world needs more of that. We’re collaborating with a talented Brazilian artist named Karla Caprali. She has created the song art, and is working on a powerful visual (animated video) to go with the track. We’re staying hopeful for the future. As Oscar Wilde said, ‘Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.’”
VAR is a Reykjavik-based post-rock collective that began in 2013 as the solo project of its founding member Júliús Óttar (vocals, guitar and piano) but shortly after its creation, Óttar realized that his vision couldn’t be fully realized without additional help. So he recruited those who were the closest to him — his wife Myrra Rós (synths, vocals), his brother Egil Björgvinsson (bass) and his friends Arnór Jónasson (guitar) and Adrni Freyr Þorgeirsson (drums). With that lineup, the act wrote and recored the Vetur EP — and over the course of the subsequent years, the band built up a fiercely loyal fanbase through relentless touring and live shows.
After the release of Vetur EP, the band went through a major lineup change. Ròs left the band as a result of competing professional and personal responsibilities and Sigurður Ingi Einarsson (drums) replaced Freyr — and as a result of a smaller lineup, a reimagining of the project’s sound was necessary. The Icelandic act’s latest album The Never Ending Year was released earlier this year through Spartan Records, and the album’s material may be the most ambitious and awe-inspiring of the act’s growing catalog.
Earlier this year, I wrote about “Moments.” a song featuring alternating arena rock friendly choruses centered around enormous power chords and intimate, shoegazer-lke verses with shimmering guitars and ethereal vocals that sonically brought the wide-screen, cinematic quality of Sigur Ros with the intensity and the arena rock friendly sound of Foo Fighters to mind. The Never Ending Year’s latest single “Run” continues a run of infectious and swooning anthems centered around enormous power chord-driven riffs, ethereal vocals, thunderous drumming and some swooningly earnest songwriting. But interestingly, I think “Run” may be the most straightforward shoegazer-like track of the entire album.
The recently released video for “Run” manages to adhere to our current COVID-19 pandemic related social distancing guidelines as we see each of the band’s members performing the song in a enormous and very sunny house, which reveals some of their homeland’s stunning terrain and a gorgeous sunset.
Lammping is an emerging Toronto-based psych rock act featuring multi-instrumentalist Mikhail Galkin and drummer Jay Anderson. The duo’s full-length debut Bad Boys of Comedy is slated for a July 21, 2020 release through Nasoni Records — and the album’s material, which is rooted in power chord-devein riffs and thunderous drumming finds the duo taking a fresh and eclectic approach to psychedelia while eschewing easy categorization: the material draws from Tropicalia, Turkish psych, New York boom-bap hip hop beats and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-like multi-part harmonies among other things.
Bad Boys of Comedy‘s second and latest single is the noise rock meets shoegazer-like “Greater Good.” Centered around dense layers of fuzzy and distorted power chord-driven riffs, thunderous boom bap beats, layered harmonies and an enormous arena rock friendly hook reminiscent of Foo Fighters, “Greater Good” as the emerging Canadian psych duo explains is an exploration of working class paranoia that feels — and sounds — remarkably accurate.
Baron Crane is a Paris-based indie act, whose members bonded and formed the act over one common desire — sound exploration through singular music. Throughout their history, the band has developed and honed a difficult to pigeonhole sound and approach that draws from psych rock, prog rock, noise rock and even jazz.
Released earlier this year, the French band’s latest effort Commotions finds the band expanding upon their sound through collaborations with vocalists for the first time in their history. The effort’s last single “Acid Rain” features Dentelles Nerveuses‘ and Mrs. Good‘s Arthur Brossard on an heady and expansive ripper that alternates between Queens of the Stone Age-like stoner rock, The Mars Volta-like prog rock and Foo Fighters-like grunge rock/power pop held together by swaggering and forceful playing, rousingly anthemic hooks and Brossard’s soulful delivery.
KOPPER is a rapidly rising London-based post-punk trio, who have begun to receive attention across the blogosphere for a primal yet melody-driven clashes of power chords and thunderous drumming paired with seemingly off-the-tongue, politically charged lyrics, inspired by the likes of Girl Band, IDLES and Protomartyr.
Last month, the British post-punk trio released the Dion Lunadon-mastered double A-side single “Fake It”/”How Can You Be Sure?” Centered around the sort of arena friendly power chords and thunderous drumming reminiscent of Foo Fighters, “Fake It,” seethes with fury and disgust, yet is probably one of the most ironic songs I’ve come across over the past few months. Based on the grifting, phoniness and influencer culture that created Fyre Festival, the band explains in press notes “We were inspired by the idea of corporations faking wealth to acquire wealth, and how few people question this.” Additionally, the song points out that there’s an overwhelming conformity in the music business, in which the presentation and appearance of the artist wind up being more important than the actual art of the artist. And if you’re doing something unusual or different from the norm, you’ll be fighting an Sisyphean battle for the attention of others.
“How Can You Be Sure” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor — but without the irony, as it’s a incisive commentary on human behavior and moral norms with the song pointing out the spectrum of shifting morality within people, when it serves them and their needs. Certainly, in the age of Trump, “How Can You Be Sure” should feel uncomfortably familiar, as we see some of our leaders’ mores and values shift whenever it’s politically necessary. But it also loudly points out that we should always be distrustful of these leaders and public figures. Fiery and forceful, both of these tunes find this rising band kicking ass, taking names with a self-assuredness and fury that sets them apart from most of their contemporaries.
Mauro Remiddi is a Rome-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known as the creative mastermind of the critically applauded electronic music project Porcelain Raft. And with the release of his five EPs and three albums, including his critically acclaimed Strange Weekend and his most recent album Microclimate, Remiddi has developed a reputation for being an artist that’s difficult to pigeonhole — while crafting gorgeous, downright cinematic work.
Slated for a May 15, 2020 release, Remiddi’s fourth Porcelain Raft album Come Rain comes after a three year hiatus in which the acclaimed Italian-born artist lived on a mountain in Los Angeles, became a father and after the death of his mother, returned to homeland. “After the loss of a loved one, I went back to Italy, where part of my childhood re-emerged,” Remiddi explains in press notes. “I found myself playing an organ made in the 1500s, I danced and played piano for a children’s show. By then, I had made a collection of songs that I thought I would never share.”
According to Remiddi, the album’s material came together after several home sessions. “The lyrics came out fast. As a starting point, I used the instruments that didn’t need to be turned on, a classical guitar and a piano.” The acclaimed Italian artist enlisted an equally acclaimed cast of friends that includes Foo Fighters’ and Sunny Day Real Estate’s Nate Mendel(bass), Jim O’Rourke’s, Sufjan Stevens’ and Rone’s Gaspar Claus (cello) and longtime collaborator Matt Olsson (drums) to craft a huge sound while keeping things intimate. Mixed and mastered by Remiddi’s brother Manolo, Come Rain is a personal statement on the importance of finding shelter within ourselves, to find our inner song and without fear or reservation sing it aloud.
Interestingly, the album’s release later this week has come as a somewhat last-minute decision, inspired by current world events. Because, the album’s material is reportedly the most personal he has written, he had been wrestling with whether or not they’d ever see the light of day. But the COVID-19 pandemic happened — and the impact on his homeland was profound and unsettling. “The world stopped. I managed to come back to Italy the day before the airports were on lock down. As I stepped in Rome I felt frightened, it’s surreal to see Rome silent,” Remiddi says in press notes. “You can feel how tense people are. On the other side you can tell there’s a lot of solidarity. Helping the neighbor with little things for instance. We have been confined in our houses and exposed to big numbers and huge scale operations. This is why I decided to share these songs now. What a better time to hear our inner voice. This album is my rain chant in the time of drought. Come Rain is an invitation to look inward, into our micro-cosmo, whatever we may find. To look for that place within us that is everything but hell, so we can give it space and let it dance.”
“Tall Grass,” Come Rain’s latest single is a lush and cinematic track featuring shimmering piano, Remiddi’s plaintive vocals, atmospheric electronics, a propulsive bass line, gently padded drumming and an enormous hook. And while sonically nodding at A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay, “Tall Grass” is centered around some of Remiddi’s most earnest, most heartfelt songwriting to date — while capturing the dizzying sense of nostalgia, loss and unease of our current moment.
Alison Mosshart is a Vero Beach, FL-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter best known as one-half of the acclaimed indie rock act JOVM mainstays The Kills — and for being the frontwoman of the indie rock/blues punk supergroup The Dead Weather. Over the past decade or so, Mosshart has been restlessly creative: her painting has been show in galleries across the world and she has published her first book, CAR MA, a collection of her art, photography and writing that serves as a love letter to all things automobile. In that same period of time, Mosshart has become a go-to collaborator, adding that extra dash of swaggering badassery, working with her Dead Weather bandmate Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Primal Scream, Gang of Four, Cage The Elephant, Foo Fighters, James Williamson and Mini Mansions in a rapidly growing list.
2020 will continue a period of remarkably creative prolificacy for Mosshart: Currently, Mosshart and her bandmate Jamie Hince are working on the next Kills record, which they hope to be able to bring to the road — pandemic willing, of course. This year will also see Mosshart stepping out into the spotlight as a solo artist, releasing material under her name for the first time in her career. Although, releasing music under her own name is a completely new and thrilling experience, the album’s material can be traced back to unreleased material Mosshart had been compiling for the better part of the past decade. Now, as you may recall, last month, I wrote about her debut single, the Lawrence Rothman-produced “Rise.” Initially tracing its origins to a song sketch that Mosshart wrote in 2013, the song is a slow-burning and searing blues with brooding and ominous undertones centered around thumping beats, fuzzy power chords, Mosshart’s imitable vocals and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook.
Mosshart’s second and latest single is the atmospheric and brooding, Alain Johannes-produced and recorded “It Ain’t Water.” Centered around a sparse arrangement of shimmering acoustic guitars, strings and gently padded drums, the song manages to bring PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, and JOVM mainstay Mark Lanegan to mind. Although the song was written late last year, Mosshart had been sitting on the track for some time — with the acclaimed signer/songwriter guitarist turning to the then-unfinished track whenever she found herself battling a bout of writer’s block.
“Working with Alain on ”It Ain’t Water’ was a blast. He’s such a talent and such a kind person,” the JOVM mainstay says of working with Alain Johannes. “His mind is wide open. He understands and sees the beauty in imperfection, magic moments, accidents- the soulful human stuff, and the spirited super-human hard to explain stuff that makes a song great. Working with him was an honor, and also, hot damn he can play any instrument like a champ . . . like he invented the instrument himself. Alain Johannes IS music.”
Directed, edited and shot by Mosshart, the recently released video continues a run of decidedly DIY visuals — but unlike its predecessor, its shot in an aptly film noir-like black and white and evokes our pandemic-influenced isolation, as we see the acclaimed Kills and Dead Weather frontwoman in her own home, expressively dancing in the background while we see a superimposed image of a sunglasses wearing Mossheart singing the song.
VAR is a Reykjavik-based post-rock collective that initially began in 2013 as the solo project of Júliús Óttar (vocals, guitar and piano) but shortly after its creation, Óttar realized that his vision couldn’t be fully realized without additional help, so he recruited those who were the closest to him — his wife Myrra Rós (synths, vocals), his brother Egil Björgvinsson (bass) and his friends Arnór Jónasson (guitar) and Adrni Freyr Þorgeirsson (drums). With that lineup, the act wrote and recored the Vetur EP — and over the course of the subsequent years, the band builds up a fiercely loyal fanbase through relentless touring and live shows.
Because of competing responsibilities, Ròs was pulled in a different direction and Sigurður Ingi Einarsson (drums) replaced Freyr in a major lineup change that created a smaller lineup — and as a result, necessitated a reimagining of the project’s sound. Released earlier this year through Spartan Records, the Icelandic act’s latest album The Never Ending Year sees the band crating one of the label’s most awe-inspiring releases to date. “Moments,” the latest single off the album is a perfect example of that: centered around alternating arena rock friendly choruses with enormous power chords and intimate, shoegazer-like verses featuring shimmering guitars and ethereally sung vocals, the song manages to evoke the wide-screen cinematic air of acclaimed countrymen Sigur Ros with the intensity and anthemic hooks of Foo Fighters and others.
The recently released video for “Moments” was shot in the town Stokkseyri, on Iceland’s southern coast, about an hour outside of Reykjavik: Stokkseryri is the home of the country’s only existing organ workshop — and coincidentally is owned by Óttar and Björgvinsson’s father. Featuring live footage of the band performing at the organ workshop, the video also offers an intimate look within the band’s world — and that of the small community of Stokkseryi.
Holyoke, MA-based rock band The Sighs can trace their origins back to 1982 when its founding members Robert LaRoche (vocals, guitar) and Tommy Pluta (bass, vocals) met and bonded over their mutual of love of acts like The Beach Boys, Crosby, Stills and Nash and other that employed the use of multi-part harmonies. Interestingly enough, it helped that while the Holyoke-based band’s founding members were jamming together, they discovered that their own voices blended together beautifully.
Tom Borawaski (drums) and Matt Cullen (vocals, guitar) were recruited to flesh out the band’s sound and to complete the band’s initial lineup. Shortly after the band’s lineup was finalized, they quickly began makin a name for themselves as a must-see live act across the region. As Tommy Pluta explained in press notes, “One luxury of living in Western Mass is that we played all the colleges and clubs for years and years. By the time things started happening for us, we were primed for it — we sounded really tight and everything was just spot on.”
As luck would have it, the members of The Sighs crossed paths with John DeNicola, an Oscar Award-winning songwriter and producer, who co-wrote “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” and his production partner Tommy Allen at the China Club in 1990. And after meeting DeNicola and Allen, the Holyoke-based band signed with Charisma/Virgin Records, who released their full-length debut, What Goes On to critical acclaim. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the band toured with nationally touring acts like Gin Blossoms, Dada and others.
The band eventually split up with members of the band pursuing individual creative projects and/or focusing on family life. Interestingly, the material on the band’s third full-length album, 2017’s Wait On Another Day can trace its origins to an unearthed batch of demos that the band’s Matt Cullen stumbled upon. Originally recorded in the early 1990s, and later placed on hard drives, the demos had been forgotten about for the better part of 20 years – until Cullen played them. He was so impressed by what he heard, that he shared the demos with his bandmates and their longtime producer John DeNicola.
Feeling that the band had unfinished business – and that they should continue the collective story they started 20+ years previously, the band decided to reconvene at DiNicola’s Upstate New York-based studio to revise a handful of songs. But as the band’s Tom Borawski explained at the time “. . . it all came together so well, and we were having such a great time, we ended up making a whole album. It really just took on a life of its own.”
“All the years of playing together left a permanent mark on us. It wasn’t too difficult to tap into our musical and personal bond again,” LaRoche said of the five-day recording session that produced Wait On Another Day. Borowski added “Everything had more of a spark to it than when we made What Goes On, where we put all the songs under a microscope and tried to get it all completely perfect.” As a result, the material possesses a urgency and vitality to it that many contemporary bands wish they could capture on record. Interestingly, while much of the album’s material focuses on many of the things that they wrote about in their youth – girls, getting kicked around, hopes and dreams and falling in love but tinged with the wistful and aching nostalgia of middle-aged men, who have been forced to accept the passage of time, their impending mortality – and the old adage that the more things change, the more they remain the same: no matter how old you are, heartache is heartache and life is ultimately about figuring out how to learn from it and move forward.
Building upon the attention they received from Wait On Another Day, the members reconvened to write and record its highly-anticipated follow-up, the five song Tearing My Heart Again, which OMAD Records released today. The EP’s material finds the band continuing where its predecessor left off but while revealing a band that has grown in the past three years. While they pull in some new ideas to the mix, they do so without straying too far afield from what has been successful – carefully crafted, hook-driven rock paired with earnest songwriting.
I recently exchanged emails with the members of The Sighs for this edition of the JOVM Q&A. World events have found a way to impact all of us – and as a result, they’ve managed to bleed into every aspect of our professional and person lives in ways that will reverberate for quite some time to come. With COVID-19 forcing cities and localities across the world to indefinitely shut down bars, restaurants, clubs, music venues and countless other non-essential businesses, the impact on musicians and the music industry will be far-reaching and devastating. Over the next few months, I’ll be discussing how COVID-19 has impacted the careers and lives of artists of all stripes – and the members of the Holyoke-based band openly and honestly discuss where they stand right now and what may be next. Of course, we chat about the recently released EP at length, the band’s tour with The Gin Blossoms and more. Check it out below.
Support these artists by buying their work. You can order The Sighs EP here:
WRH: Most of the country has been enacting social distancing guidelines and stay at home orders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. How are y’all holding up in such a difficult and uncertain time? What are you doing to preoccupy yourself? Anything you’re binge watching?
Robert LaRoche: Been pretty much staying home. Except to go for a daily run and food shopping.
Tommy Borowski: Been binge watching bad 70’s movies…
WRH: Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, festivals have been postponed or canceled outright, artists of all stripes have postponed or rescheduled tour dates, album releases have been rescheduled. I’ve asked this question to a handful of artists already – and I suspect that for some period of time I’ll be asking a lot of bands this: How has COVID-19 impacted you and your career?
Matt Cullen: Well, we’re all at a standstill. We had a Sighs gig booked in mid-March in our home base of western Massachusetts. Robert flew in from Austin and I flew from Des Moines. After couple of spirited rehearsals, the gig was cancelled. I’m now home and have seen all of my gigs here cancelled for the foreseeable future. I don’t make my living entirely from music but playing roughly 100 gigs a year certainly helps the family kitty. Those lost wages will hurt and the loss of that enjoyment, performing, making music, that hurts equally.
WRH: Who’s the funniest guy in the band?
RLR: It depends on the given day I suppose! We all have our moments. [But] I’m going to go with Tommy Pluta on this one 💙
RLR: I was heavily influenced by The Everly Brothers. And tried to incorporate their two-part harmony style into The Sighs music. Also love early American Rock ‘n’ Roll pioneers like Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry. And, of course The Beatles and Beach Boys were a big influence.
MC: My current go-to is a live record by Bo Ramsey and the Backsliders. Bo is a spooky, great player, known for his work with Lucinda Williams and Greg Brown. He’s an Iowa guy and I’ve opened for him here and have gotten to know him a little. I’m crossing my fingers to do some playing with him. Also, and sadly, I’ve been revisiting Fountains of Wayne since the news of Adam’s death.
WRH: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with The Sighs?
TP: Classic Power Pop / Rock sound. Two guitars, bass, drums, melodic with three part harmony. The Smithereens, Gin Blossoms
WRH: The band can trace its origins back to when its founding members – Robert LaRoche and Tommy Pluta – met back in 1982. Tom Borawski and Matt Cullen were the recruited and the band then spent next eight years gigging around Western Massachusetts. In 1990, the members of the band crossed paths with John DeNicola, who became your producer and you signed with Charisma/Virgin Records. So, the band went from playing the college circuit to touring with the Gin Blossoms, who were selling millions of records and being played on the radio every single day. How was that experience like?
TP: We always tried to make the most of every opportunity.
We had been on the road for months prior to touring with the Gin Blossoms so we were ready to take the next step. Getting the chance to perform our music to their fans night after night was a terrific experience. They were especially nice to us, and we found a lot of commonality with our music and influences. It would be great to do some dates with them again. . .
WRH: The band eventually split up after the release of their sophomore album with each of the individual band members focusing on other creative projects, on raising families and working day jobs. 20 years pass and as the story goes, Matt Cullen stumbles upon some demos that the band recorded in the early 90s. What was the experience of hearing the demos for the first time in so long like?
MC: It was really cool to find the old recordings. I had transferred a boxful of 1/4 tapes to a hard drive, without listening to them. That was in 2010. It was 6 years later that I opened the folder labeled Sighs. We had been cranking out demos from 90-93 (?), both for the Charisma album and also for what we hoped would be a follow up with them. None of us recalled recording a few of them. You’d finish a song and move on. I got goosebumps when I realized what I had stumbled upon. I did rough mixes and sent unnamed mp3s to the guys. They were really surprised, and we were all excited by how well the home recordings had held up.
WRH: How was it like to revisit material that you wrote some 20 years prior? How were the first writing sessions for Wait on Another Day? Did your songwriting process change between your sophomore album and 2017’s Wait on Another Day?
RLR: The WOAD songs were written before, during, and after the recording of our debut CD What Goes On, during the period between 1987 and 1993. We had a lot of songs to choose from at that time. And only a dozen were chosen for What Goes On. The tracks on WOAD were songs already included in our live performances. We were a pretty well-oiled machine by then. Revisiting and re-recording this material over 20 years after their inception was great fun! And genuinely satisfying.
WRH: The five song EP, Tearing My Heart Again was recently released. In some way the EP finds the band continuing where they left off, as though the lengthy hiatus had never happened. While the material is centered through some passionate performances as collective whole, the EP – to my ears – reveals quite a bit of growth. It seems to capture old, wizened pros, who have gotten back on the proverbial horse but with some new ideas. How does Tearing My Heart Again differ from your previously released work? Was that intentional? What inspired it?
TP: We drew inspiration from the fun we had recording WOAD in the Fall 2016. Recording new Sighs music (20+ years later) was something we discussed a couple times, and the possibility came around again in August of 2019. We had a couple songs and several ideas, we just had to find the time to all be in one place to record which ended up being 3 days starting New Years’ Day 2020. The process of writing was the same in some ways and very different in other ways. We always shared ideas to see which ones we though would fit, and then developed them, but sharing ideas is so much easier with technology. A lot of text and email.
WRH: What does the EP touch upon thematically?
RLR:The five songs on “Tearing My Heart Again” deal with personal relationships.
In the title track, the protagonist is involved in an unhealthy love affair. Where heartbreak is an ongoing concern, and dark attraction becomes a fatal flaw.
WRH: “Over the Line” is one of my favorite songs on the EP. It’s probably the most Smithereens-like on the five songs. Can you tell us a little bit about what it’s about?
RLR: “Over the Line” is about the near hopelessness and futility of caring for someone in active addiction. With the resignation that although you cannot judge the person you care for, and will continue to be there for them, the possibility of the active addict to cross over the line and become another fatality statistic, is forever present.
WRH: Oddly enough, there are sections of EP closing track “Rise” that somehow reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage.” Maybe I’m hearing thing but, did that influence the track at all about
RLR You’re spot on with the Pink Floyd reference on the EP’s closing track “Rise.” Tommy Pluta initially sent me the guitar riff and chord changes. Which were already quite psychedelic sounding. We put a two-part harmony over the music in the vein of Waters and Gilmour. Our producer John DeNicola used an old school tape echo on the vocals. This gave the track the retro feel we were striving for.
WRH: What advice would you give to bands/artists trying to make a name for themselves thematically
MC: I don’t know that my track record qualifies me to give advice but I will say that you must absolutely love what you do. There are many obstacles and it’s a long road. In today’s music world, I’d say you need to have a strong presence online. Sales are a different animal than what I grew up with. Touring is always helpful in spreading the word but can be financially daunting. CD mailers to college or community radio in your area are helpful. Try to grow it steadily. Again, you better love it! :/)
WRH: What’s next for the band
MC: It’s hard to say what is next for us. I’m not sure anyone of us would have guessed that we would have released a full-length record and an EP in the last three years. We never say never and leave ourselves open to all possibilities. We have a strong personal relationship which leaves the musical door open at all times.
Alison Mosshart is a Vero Beach, FL-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter a best known as one-half of the acclaimed indie rock act JOVM mainstays The Kills and for being the frontwoman of the indie rock/blues punk supergroup The Dead Weather. Interestingly, over the past decade or so, Mosshart has developed a reputation for being restlessly creative: she has had paintings shown in galleries across the world and she recently published her first book CAR MA, a collection of her art, photography and writing that serves as a love letter to all things automobile. Additionally, Mosshart has developed a reputation for being a go-to collaborator for that added dash of badassery, working with her Dead Weather bandmate Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Primal Scream, Gang of Four, Cage The Elephant, Foo Fighters, James Williamson and Mini Mansions in a rapidly growing list.
2020 will continue a period of remarkably creative prolificacy for Mosshart: Currently, Mosshart and her bandmate Jamie Hince are working on the next Kills record, which they hope to be able to bring to the road — pandemic willing, of course. Interestingly, this year also see Mosshart stepping out into the spotlight as a solo artist, releasing material under her name for the first time in her career. And although for Mosshart, releasing music under her own name is a new and thrilling experience, it’s a process that can be traced back more than a decade with Mosshart compiling a trove of unreleased material. Her debut single, the Lawrence Rothman-produced “Rise” can trace its origins back to 2013 when she first wrote the initial sketch of the song. The end result is a slow-burning and searing blues with brooding and ominous undertones centered around thumping beats, fuzzy power chords, Mosshart’s imitable vocals and a soaring hook.
“I didn’t ever forget it,” Mosshart recalls. “I remember right where I was when I wrote it, sitting at my desk in London, missing someone badly. Interestingly, when the Sacred Lies team reached out to the Kills and Dead Weather frontwoman about doing a signature song for the song, she knew “Rise” had the right sort of vibe for the show. Interestingly, “Rise” is prominently featured in the final episode of the FacebookWatch drama Sacred Lies with the song serving as a major plot point within the series’ story.
Much like everyone else across the world, Mosshart is hunkered down in her Nashville home and she’s used this period of social distancing and quarantine to teach herself video editing. Shot, edited and directed by Mosshart, the recently released video for “Rise” is comprised of footage from a recent trip she took to Los Angeles with most of it centered around capturing lowrider culture.