Tag: Garbage

New Video: Rituals of Mine’s Queer “Space Jam” Themed Visuals for Sultry “Burst”

Initially formed in 2009 as Sister Crayon, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo  Rituals of Mine, currently comprised of singer/songwriter Terra Lopez and percussionist Adam Pierce have received attention for a sound that draws from 90s trip hop, footwork and  downtempo R&B — and for years of relentless touring up and down the West Coast, playing house shows, DIY venues and basements with the likes of The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree and others. Adding to a quickly growing profile, the Los Angeles-based duo’s first two albums — 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic — were released to critical acclaim. 

2015 was a profoundly harrowing and difficult year for Lopez: her father committed suicide and several moths later, her best friend Lucas Johnson tragically died in an accident. Reeling from the grief of inconsolable and unexpected loss, Lopez in a period of deep reflection felt the need to reassess her life and her work in Sister Crayon. She decided to put the Sister Crayon name to rest, moving forward with a new moniker  — Rituals of Mine. As Terra Lopez wrote at the time, “It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times. Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”

After years of obscuring her own story and emotions through metaphorical lyrics, Lopez felt a sudden confidence to write much more directly about her experiences and life as a queer woman of color. Lopez began fleshing out the material on what would become her Rituals of Mine debut Devoted with her longtime collaborator and producer Wes Jones, who helped turn her heartfelt writing on her trauma and personal growth into urgent and pulsating electronic tracks. Lopez then enlisted Adam Pierce to play drums, knowing that their background in metal percussion would provide an intensity that could match her own.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you might recall that last year was a very busy year for Lopez and Pierce. They opened for a handful of dates for The Afghan Whigs and Built to Spill’s co-headliing tour, including a Chicago area stop last April. They also opened for Garbage during the multi-plantium Grammy Award-winning band’s US tour. They also went on their first UK tour with JOVM mainstay Geographer and The Seshen. 

Interestingly, the duo’s highly anticipated Wes jones and Neal Pogue co-produced follow-up to Devoted, Sleeper Hold EP is slated for an October 4, 2019 release through Carpark Records — and the EP will include the urgent anti-Trump anthem “No Time To Go Numb,” a track that forcefully reminded the listener that now isn’t the time to slink back from the horrors of a power mad, greedy and hateful administration; that we have to be fueled by righteous anger and fight like hell for the things that truly matter.  “Burst,” Sleeper Hold’s second and latest single is a glitchy and hyper-modern bit of electro R&B that’s centered around stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and Lopez’s sultry, self-assured vocals. And while the track may recall Timbaland’s forward-thinking work with Aaliyah and Missy Elliott, Rituals of Mine’s latest single is driven by Lopez’s commitment to unvarnished emotional honesty.  “I made a promise to myself that I’m no longer going to play small or hide behind metaphors, that I’m going to really lean into self-confidence, self-reliance and take up space,” Lopez says in a statement to Billboard. “‘Burst is the beginning of that.” 

Co-directed by Kris Esfandiari and Colette Levesque, the recently released video for “Burst” features Rituals of Mine’s Terra Lopez playing basketball against a team of evil and monstrous figures. At one point, her younger self appears and helps Lopez win the game. According to the statement Lopez wrote to Billboard, the recently released video represents overcoming past trauma to effectively move on in your life, with the young protagonist representing a younger version of herself. “The opponents all represent obstacles I’ve had to face being a queer woman of color in this industry … this video was a way for me to confront both my childhood traumas and adulthood obstacles through the activity that has always grounded me,” she says. “Also, I just really wanted to create our version of a Queer Space Jam for 2019.”

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New Audio: Imperial Teen Releases a Murky Yet Anthemic New Single

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the acclaimed indie band Imperial Teen. Now, as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Roddy Bottum (guitar, vocals), a former member of Faith No More; Will Schwartz (guitar, vocals), who splits his time with hey willpower; Lynn Perko Truell, (drums, backing vocals), a former member of Sister Double Happiness, The Dicks and The Wrecks; and Jone Stebbins, a former member of The Wrecks originally formed in San Francisco in the mid 90s.

Their Steve McDonald-produced debut effort, 1996’s Seasick was released to praise from Spin Magazine, who went on to list it as their fourth best album of that year and from the New York Times. Building upon a growing profile, the band’s sophomore album, 1998’s What Is Not to Love found the band ambitiously expanding upon their sound and approach with the album’s material routinely clocking over six minutes — and album single “Yoo Hoo” appeared on the Jawbreaker soundtrack. The accompanying video featured the movie’s star Rose McGowan appearing alongside the band, and it was included as as special feature on the DVD. Additionally, the song was heard in the beginning of episodes of episodes of Numb3rs and Daria.

Imperial Teen eventually left Universal Records and signed with Merge Records, who released their third album, 2002’s Steve McDonald and Anna Waronker co-produced effort, On. The album’s lead single “Ivanka” received airplay — and they spent a portion of the year touring with The Breeders. Interestingly, that tour include a stop at famed Hoboken club Maxwell’s, which was recorded and released a few months later as Live at Maxwell’s. Shortly after, the band’s Will Schwartz teamed up with Tomo Yasuda for Schwartz’s dance music side project hey willpower, which released their self-titled debut EP in 2005. And by 2007, the members of Imperial Teen returned with two shows at that year’s SXSW and their fourth album, The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band, which landed at #38 on Rolling Stone‘s Best Albums list that year.

Since the release of the band’s fifth album, 2012’s Feel the Sound, the members of the band have relocated to different parts of the country, with members in New York, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Understandably, the geographical locations and distances can make it extremely difficult to write and record music on a regular basis — but the members of the acclaimed indie rock act reconvened to write and record their forthcoming, sixth album Now We Are Timeless.

Slated for a July 12, 2019 release through their longtime label home, Merge Records, the band’s sixth album will further cement their long-held reputation for crafting deeply personal material that offered a view into the bandmember’s individual lives, complete with victories, losses, aspirations, where they were emotionally and personally — while thematically, the material touches upon time, movement, averting and succumbing to crisis, dealing with and accepting loss and pain.

The album’s first single “We Do What We Do Best” was a swaggering, arena rock friendly track centered around an enormous hook and equally enormous power chords, buzzing synths, a propulsive rhythm section, a lysergic guitar solo paired with stream-of-consciousness lyrics delivered with a mischievous and ironic aplomb. The album’s second single “Walkaway” was more like 120 Minutes alt rock-inspired dream pop, centered around a soaring hook and plaintive vocals and personal, lived-in experience — the sensation of feeling simultaneously connected and disconnected from those you love.  Interestingly, “Don’t Want to Let You Go” is a murky yet anthemic pop song featuring propulsive drum programming, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, explosive bursts of fuzzy power chords and an enormous, shout-along worthy hook– and while bearing a resemblance to early Garbage, the track is imbued with a sense of inconsolable loss — and its initial denial, then begrudging acceptance. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Act Starcrawler Releases a Cinematic and Symbolic Visuals for Mosh Pit Friendly Ripper “She Gets Around”

With the release of last year’s critically applauded, self-titled debut, the Los Angeles-based indie rock act Starcrawler, comprised of Arrow de Wilde (vocals), Henri Cash (guitar), Austin Smith (drums) and Tim Franco (bass) quickly emerged into the national and international scene for a sound that is indebted to 90s alt rock — and for a feral live show. Since the release of their full-length debut, the Los Angeles-based quartet have been busy with a busy touring schedule that has seen them play at some of the world’s major festivals including Primavera Sound, Rock Am Ring, Download Festival, Voodoo Festival, FujiRock Festival, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, SXSW and others; in fact, the band won last year’s SXSW Grulke Prize for best US act, after consistently kicking ass over the course of 9 shows in a grueling 4 or 5 day period.

Adding to a rising profile, the band opened for the likes of Foo Fighters, MC50 and Morrissey — and they were included as part of last year’s incredibly diverse crop of Vevo DSCVR artists; however, they were the only ones to have Garbage‘s Shirley Manson praise the band and their frontperson in a video testimonial. 2019 may arguably be an even bigger year for the up-and-coming band: their first single of this year “Hollywood Ending” received praise from NPR and Rolling Stone, and as a result, the track spent several weeks at #1 on speciality radio charts — and they’ll spend a good portion of this year opening for the likes of Beck, Cage The Elephant, Spoon and The Distillers to support their forthcoming, highly-anticipated sophomore album.

“She Gets Around,” the second single of the year from the buzzworthy, Los Angeles-based quartet will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting material that’s clearly indebted to 90s alt rock as the track is centered around scuzzy, distortion pedal-fed power chords, thunderous drumming, heavily down-tuned yet propulsive bass lines, snarled vocals and a rousingly anthemic, mosh pit friendly hook delivered with a ass-kicking, name-taking self-assuredness and an unhinged fury. 

The incredibly cinematic and lush black and white shot video directed by Gilbert Trejo features de Wilde in an enormous parachute struggling to get get free and as a suspended angel — while her bandmates perform the song. As Trejo and de Wilde say of the song and video ““It’s about building someone up in your own head, deifying them, only to have that mental image destroyed in seconds. Not everyone is actually an angel, and sometimes we have to destroy our own marble, saccharine image of them in order to move on. Crow bars and baseball bats make it easier.” 

Formed last year, the Los Angeles-based indie rock act Cynister features Cynnie Jane (vocals) and two mysterious members, who wear black and white masks respectively.  The act’s debut single “Stuck” reveals a band, whose sound is centered around elements of arena friendly, power chord-based heavy rock, thumping trap beats and enormous, rousing hooks paired with Cynnie Jane’s powerhouse, pop belter vocals — and while bearing a resemblance to Paramore and Garbage, the song as the band’s Cynnie Jane explains in press notes “is about anxiety and sadness can feel like a trap, like prison walls closing in on you. Whether triggered by heartbreak or otherwise, racing thoughts and self-deprecating attitudes can be really difficult to control once they take ahold of you. This can be very destructive, and it’s something that many of us struggle with. With this song, our hope is for people to understand that they’re not alone in dealing with these emotions. We all go through it.”

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Introducing the 90s Grunge Rock-Inspired Sound of Los Angeles’ Starcrawler

With the release of last year’s critically applauded, self-titled debut, the Los Angeles-based indie rock act Starcrawler, comprised of Arrow de Wilde (vocals), Henri Cash (guitar), Austin Smith (drums) and Tim Franco (bass) quickly emerged into the national and international scene for a sound that is indebted to 90s alt rock — and for a feral live show. Since the release of their full-length debut, the Los Angeles-based quartet have been busy with a busy touring schedule that has seen them play at some of the world’s major festivals including Primavera Sound, Rock Am Ring, Download Festival, Voodoo Festival, FujiRock Festival, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, SXSW and others; in fact, the band won last year’s SXSW Grulke Prize for best US act, after consistently kicking ass over the course of 9 shows in a grueling 4 or 5 day period.

Adding to a rising profile, the band opened for the likes of Foo Fighters, MC50 and Morrissey — and they were included as part of last year’s incredibly diverse crop of VEVO DSCVR artists; however, they were the only ones to have Garbage’s Shirley Manson praise the band and their frontperson in a video testimonial. 2019 may arguably be an even bigger year for the up-and-coming band: their first single of this year “Hollywood Ending” received praise from NPR and Rolling Stone, and as a result, the track spent several weeks at #1 on speciality radio charts — and they’ll spend a good portion of this year opening for the likes of Beck, Cage The Elephant, Spoon and The Distillers to support their forthcoming, highly-anticipated sophomore album.

“She Gets Around,” the second single of the year from the buzzworthy, Los Angeles-based quartet will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting material that’s clearly indebted to 90s alt rock as the track is centered around scuzzy, distortion pedal-fed power chords, thunderous drumming, heavily down-tuned yet propulsive bass lines, snarled vocals and a rousingly anthemic, mosh pit friendly hook delivered with a ass-kicking, name-taking self-assuredness and an unhinged fury.

Black Bear Whisper is the collaborative dark, electro pop project of Danish singer/songwriter and producer Kat Boelskov, who has released music that has been largely ignored in her homeland but has found some popularity among the Mexican gay community; and the London-born Iranian producer Unfamed, who has collaborated in a number of projects, including this one, which has already seen praise from Allmusic, Uncut and The Quietus among others — also, Unfamed also spent 18 years studying the Iranian santur, a 72 stringed dulcimer, played with small wooden hammers, developing a reputation for being one of the best santur-players outside of Iran.

Interestingly, the duo have never met in person but they can trace the origins of their long-distance collaboration to a chance meeting on the Internet. Although their collaboration is currently based primarily in email and music files, the duo quickly realized that the material they had begun working on centered around extremely dark themes with lyrics that specifically focused on anger, euphoria, jealousy, deception, desire and other forbidden emotions and thoughts. Sonically speaking, the duo’s work is defiantly difficult to categorize as it pairs modern electronic production with santur, adding an ancient vibe to the proceedings.

The duo’s latest single, the Garbage meets glittering disco-like “1000 Eyes” features a funky disco-inspired bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, blasts of shimmering santur chords — and while dance floor friendly, the song thematically focuses on selfishness, self-obsession, blind, spiteful rage at everything and everyone. As the duo’s Kat Boelskov says in press notes, “I’m self-obsessed, and I’m angry. All I ever see is me, and no-one else ever meets my expectations. Every good act I do is for myself only. If I’m nice to you, it’s only another tactic, another play. I try above all else to be in control, to not give you a chance to gain equality. When I fear that you may be my equal, I desperately try to hold you down, by whatever means.” Of course, what makes the song so disturbing is that it’s rooted in a profound and deeply cynical truth about human nature — people can be selfish, delusional, greedy, stupid assholes. We see it every single day in the Trump Administration and elsewhere.

 

 

Initially formed back in 2009 as Sister Crayon, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo  Rituals of Mine, comprised of  Terra Lopez and Dani Fernandez developed a national profile through years of relentless touring up and down the West Coast, playing house shows, DIY venues, basement rooms, followed by touring with the likes of The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree and others. Adding to a quickly growing profile, the Los Angeles-based duo’s first two albums — 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic — were released to critical acclaim, while cementing a reputation for crafting cathartic material centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, soulful vocals and trip hop-inspired production.

2015’s Wes Jones-produced album Devoted continued their successful run of critical applause with the album landing on a number of indie “Top Ten Albums of 2015” lists; but despite the attention the album received, that year was a rather harrowing and difficult year for the duo’s Terra Lopez, as her father committed suicide and several months later, her best friend Lucas Johnson died in a tragic accident. Reeling from the grief of such profoundly unexpected loss, the duo felt the need to put the Sister Crayon name to rest, moving forward with their new mane Rituals of Mine. As Terra Lopez wrote at the time, “It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times. Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”

2016 saw the re-issue of the Tom Coyne re-mastered Devoted through Warner Brothers Records and the re-issue featured some previous unreleased remixes and B-sides. And although some time has passed since I’ve personally written about the acclaimed Los Angeles-based pop duo, Lopez and Fernandez have been incredibly busy — earlier this year, they opened for a number of dates for The Afghan Whigs and Built to Spill’s co-headliing tour, and they’re currently opening for Garbage during the multi-plantium Grammy Award-winning band’s US tour. Additionally, the duo recently announced their first UK tour in November with Geographer and The Seshen. They’re also currently working on Devoted‘s follow up with longtime producer Wes Jones and Neal Pogue — and the first batch of new material from the duo is the righteously furious anti-Trump anthem “No Time To Go Numb.” Centered around a hyper modern production featuring stuttering and thumping beats, distorted vocal samples over which Lopez sings and spits fire, reminding the listener, that now isn’t the time to slink back from the horrors of a power mad and greedy administration; that it’s time to be fueled by righteous anger and fight like hell for the things that truly matter. As the duo’s Terra Lopez explains in press notes ” We started writing this song on Inauguration Day. It was a bleak time in the studio and we were feeling very hopeless, like most of the country. Two years later and the collective fear and disgust we all felt is still there, if not compounded, and that really inspired every lyric in this song. I wanted to address things that stay on my mind: the mediocrity of men and how our society treats womxn, the strength of the LGBTQ community and the resiliency of POC. I’m angry but also hopeful and ready to fight, to keep fighting. I’m so tired of seeing the same shit repeat itself – it’s time we set the bar higher. This song is an anthem for the LGBTQ community, to womxn and to people of color.

We carry so much on our shoulders, on our hearts. And this current administration continues to burden us and place us in danger, so we have to stick together. This is my way of showing up for us. “

 

Last year, I had written quite a bit about Holy Wars, led by Connecticut-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Kat Leon, and as you may recall, Leon initially developed a reputation for writing material that focused largely on her obsessions with death and the occult as one-half the of the Los Angeles-based electro pop act Sad Robot. Leon’s critically applauded Holy Wars debut Mother Father was influenced by some of the darkest days of her life — when she was reeling from the sudden losses of her mother and father, who both died within months of each other. Building upon the attention she received here and elsewhere with Mother Father, Leon’s latest Holy Wars single “Born Dark” was produced by AFI’s Hunter Burgan, and while arguably being among the slickest produced singles she’s released, the arena rock friendly, hook-driven track is centered by propulsive tribal drumming, buzzing power chords and Leon’s pop star-like powerhouse vocals — and sonically the song manages to nod at Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and Siouxsie and the Banshees in a self-assured and ambitious fashion.

Interestingly, the track reportedly finds Leon going back to her roots — literally — as she explores the very moment of her birth, with the possibility that she may have been a bit of a bad seed, if not devilish, complete with a “don’t give a single fuck” swagger.