Tag: Highsnobiety

New Video: Pom Pom Squad Releases a David Lynch-like Cover of “Crimson + Clover”

Last year, I wrote a bit about the rising Brooklyn-based grunge rock/punk rock act Pom Pom Squad — Mia Berrin (vocals, guitar), Mari Ale Figeman (bass), Shelby Keller (drums) and Ethan Sass (guitar)  — and the act quickly became a local DIY scene staple for a modern take on the 90s grunge rock scene that find the band balancing solemnity and whimsy, old school punk aesthetics and emotional vulnerability in which they’ve dubbed Quiet Grrl punk. They’ve also developed and honed a raucous live show while sharing stages with the likes of Soccer Mommy, Adult Mom, Long Neck and others.

The Brooklyn-based act’s sophomore EP Ow was released last year to critical praised rom the likes of Stereogum, Paste, Under the Radar, Highsnobiety and Thrillist, and EP material received airplay on SiriusXM Alt Nation — and that shouldn’t be surprising: the band’s work is generally mosh pit friendly, power chord-driven rock paired with an unhinged, feral intensity reminiscent of Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The band recently recorded a brooding and atmospheric,  David Lynch-like cover of Tommy James & The Shondells’ “Crimson + Clover” in honor of both Pride Month and to support Bandcamp’s Juneteenth fundraising campaign. “This year would have been my first Pride as an ‘out’ person,” Pom Pom Squad’s Mia Berrin explains in press notes. “It took me a long time to come to terms with my identity in a true and honest way, but I am proud to meet myself where I am now. This year, the idea of walking down a street proudly, in my queerness and in my brown skin, feels particularly difficult for a multitude of obvious reasons, but this song is my small celebration of the scary, complicated, empowering process of owning my black, queer identity.” Directed by Mia Berrin and Shelby Keller, the recently released video, much like the song was produced during quarantine is a sultry fever dream. 

Now. as you may recall Bandcamp donated their share of all sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Pom Pom Squad will be donating their share of all digital downloads to For the Gworls Medical Fund, a POC-led emergency medical relief medical fund that pays for black trans folks to travel to clinics and pharmacies during the pandemic, and provide co-pay assistance if needed, so that they can continue to receive necessary — and important — prescriptions. 

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New Audio: Philly’s Control Top Releases the Anthemic Single We All Need Now

With the release of their full-length debut Covert Contracts, the Philadelphia-based post-punk trio Control Top — Ali Carter (vocals, bass), Al Creedon (guitar, sampler) and Alex Lichtenauer (drums) — exploded into the national scene: their debut landed on the Top Albums of 2019 lists of NPR, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Stereogum, Bandcamp Daily, Highsnobiety and others. and they were featured on Pitchfork Rising. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band’s latest single — the first bit of new material from the band this year, “One Good Day” is an anthemic and decidedly pop-leaning take on post-punk that’s energetic and much more optimistic while retaining the explosive guitar work, propulsive bass lines and thunderous drumming of their previously released work. Sonically, the song is like a seamless synthesis of The Go-Gos and Gang of Four. And although the band couldn’t have anticipated, the song’s “we can get through this together” air is absolutely necessary right now. 

Control Top on “One Good Day”:

Alex Lichtenauer: “I’m grateful to be part of the growth of this project and see how it unfolds. Music should constantly evolve, and I think our progression as both musicians and people really shows in this song. We stepped out of our comfort zone and came up with a pop song that has more optimistic elements than our debut album. A band’s first album usually sets the tone for how they are going to sound, but that can get redundant. With this song, we stayed true to our punk background while also creating something new.”

Al Creedon: “‘One Good Day’ started as a rough sketch I made one day in the midst of cleaning our practice space. I brought it to the group and together we continued to evolve it well into the recording process. I had been listening to a lot of disco, particularly the Bee Gees. They are a band everyone claims to hate, so naturally the contrarian in me wanted to give them a chance. I got hooked immediately.

For ‘One Good Day’, I started with the idea of a back and forth between a syncopated verse in the vein of the Bee Gees’ ‘You Should Be Dancing’ and a driving chorus akin to some of our other songs. Guitar and bass weave in and out of each other, while the drums act as gravity holding the notes together. Ali wrote an ambitious pop vocal melody that really glued it all together. The three of us keep pushing ourselves to execute these types of ideas where all musical elements lean on each other for support. Take away one element and the song instantly loses all sense of cohesion.

I’ve started to incorporate my sampler more and more as we write our next record. On this song, I use it most prominently in the bridge to sample and effect both my guitar and Ali’s voice. I’m a big fan of the way Ichiro Agata from Melt Banana uses effects, and here I was able to apply my own take on his glitchy style. The sampler is also used subtly in the choruses. I sample myself during the verse and then run a small slice of that sample through pitch automation to create something that functions as a rhythm guitar part in the chorus.”

Ali Carter: “When Al showed us the beginnings of this song, I was instantly hooked by its upbeat feel. I set out to write a pop vocal melody with a positive message that didn’t sound trite, which is harder said than done. I ended up with ‘One Good Day,’ a song about about a few things: facing your flaws to become a better person for yourself and the people around you, getting outside of yourself to realize everyone has their own struggles and are doing the best they can, and above all trying to help each other even if what we do is imperfect.

Some problems we inherit, like mental health or substance abuse issues, and some problems stem from our environment, like home or working conditions. Some problems are individual and some problems are systemic, the product of entrenched social structures that favor one group over another. Whatever the cause, they are ours to deal with, and they will continue to disrupt our lives until we work through them. Problems are persistent and won’t let you ignore them for long. They can also be the greatest teachers. It is worthwhile to listen to them.

As frustrating as they can be, our problems–personal, local and global–bind us together. Many of us are facing very similar issues. We can’t solve all our problems alone. We depend on one another for support, but we can’t help each other if we can’t help ourselves. If we can show ourselves compassion, overcome shame and self-hate and allow ourselves to grow into the people we want to be, we can also develop empathy for one another. Cynicism is a coping mechanism of avoidance. It is difficult to be vulnerable, but it is the only way to access love.

This song feels especially relevant right now. We’re in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis with the coronavirus outbreak. Our lives have been completely suspended. We are forced to consider not only how we affect others but also how others affect us. In no uncertain terms, we see how much we depend on each other every day to survive. Workers in hospitals, pharmacies, groceries, waste management and more are working tirelessly to provide for their communities. The choice to self-quarantine is an act of self-protection as well as an act of kindness toward others who would be endangered by the disease.

People can’t go to work or leave their homes. All we can do is try to keep calm and make the best of this situation. What have we been missing due to the constant motion of our daily lives that we can return to in this period of stillness? Connection with friends and loved ones? Activities that make us happy? Deep spiritual reflection? How can we bring balance to this bleak landscape? Perhaps we take a cue from the people of Italy currently under lockdown, singing from their balconies to share a moment of joy in a moment of anxiety.

The fact is, we’re in this state of collective uncertainty and panic because our government has failed to act and communicate information in a timely and appropriate manner. It’s clear now more than ever that we need a president like Bernie Sanders who puts the needs of the American people above Wall Street bailouts, makes sure every single person gets quality healthcare and understands that our problems are not isolated or disconnected.”

Like countless touring bands across the world, most of the rising Philadelphia-based post-punk act’s upcoming dates are being rescheduled, but at the moment they’re still slated to play Calgary’s Sled Island Festival in June.

Liam Brown is a rapidly rising British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, who has been making waves across the blogosphere and elsewhere with his solo recording project pizzagirl.  With the release of last year’s An Extended Play EP, Brown was championed by Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound.

Building upon a growing profile, the release of his sophomore EP, season 2 further cemented Brown’s reputation for crafting swooning and shimmering synth pop — but this year may be Brown’s breakthrough year: his highly anticipated full-length debut first timer is slated for release later this year through through Heist or Hit Records, the label home of the Her’s, Baywaves and Honey Moon among others.

Earlier this year, I wrote about first timer‘s second single “ball’s gonna keep on rollin,”a hook-driven synth pop bop with shimmering synths, explosive blasts of horns, dramatic drum rolls and Brown’s pop star vocals. The album’s latest single “yesterday” is a slow-burning  ballad-ice track centered around shimmering keys, boom bap-like beats,  and Brown’s plaintive vocals. Arguably, the album’s most melancholy and wistful track, “yesterday” touches upon the rapid passing of time, and the lingering ghosts of the past — particularly those of romantic relationships and lovers. And while achingly sad, the track possesses an underlying sense of hope.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay pizzagirl Releases a Feverish 80s Movie-Inspired Visual for “ball’s gonna keep on rollin”

Over the past year, Liam Brown, a rapidly rising singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as pizzagirl became one of this site’s many mainstay artists. With the release of last year’s An Extended Play EP, Brown was championed by Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. 

Building upon a growing profile, the release of his sophomore EP, season 2 further cemented Brown’s reputation for crafting swooning and shimmering synth pop. This year may be the biggest year of the JOVM mainstay’s career to date, as his highly-anticipated, full-length debut first timer is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through Heist or Hit Records, the label home of the Her’s, Baywaves and Honey Moon among others.

first timer‘s second and latest single “ball’s gonna keep on rollin” is a hook-driven, 80s synth pop bop with shimmering synths, explosive blasts of horns, dramatic drum rolls and Brown’s pop star vocals. And while sounding as though it could have been part of the soundtrack of Stranger Things, the track details the journey of a showbiz wannabe — from wide-eyed, hungry and humble origins to buzz-worthy artist to superstar to broke, washed up and bitter former star. In many ways, the success that the song’s protagonist desperately wanted to attain was his worst nightmare.“It’s a Twilight Zone-type of tale of hunting for the big ‘success’ whatever that may be,” Brown explains in press notes. “Anyways, just remember that if the grind is getting you down, that ball’s gonna keep on rollin.”

Directed by Tom Chetwode-Barton, the recently released, feverish video for “ball’s gonna keep on rollin” is set at a bowling alley and features an epic battle between rivals and an incredibly awkward and self-aware performance before we see that the entire visual is a chloroform induced dream. “The sequel to my first timer anthology series takes place in the smoky lanes of that bowling alley you used to go to years ago!” Brown says in press notes. “A made for TV, Rocky-esque sports battle of the millennium, starring corruption, redemption, Denise and introducing Pizzagirl like you’ve never seen her before! See you in there x!”

The video’s director Tom Chetwode-Barton adds “For this video Pizzagirl had loads of really strong references ranging from The Big Lebowski to Twin Peaks, so we took this and really ran with it – we wanted to create something camp, psychedelic and sort of nightmarish using tropes from all our favourite 80’s films, with a bit of slapstick thrown in for good measure.”

New Video: Brooklyn’s Pom Pom Squad Releases a Decidedly “120 Minutes”-era MTV-like Visual for “Heavy Heavy”

Earlier this year, I wrote about Brooklyn-based grunge rock/punk rock-band Pom Pom Squad — Mia Berrin (vocals), Mari Ale Figeman (bass), Shelby Keller (drums) and Ethan Sass (guitar)  — and as you may recall, the act have quickly become a local DIY scene staple for a modern take on the 90s grunge rock sound that finds the band balancing solemnity and whimsy, old school punk aesthetics and emotional vulnerability, which they’ve dubbed Quiet Grrrl punk — and for a raucous live show that they’ve honed playing alongside the likes of Soccer Mommy, Adult Mom, Long Neck and others.

The band’s sophomore EP Ow was released last Friday. Now, as you may recall EP single “Honeysuckle” was an anthemic track, centered around fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming and a big hook within a quiet, loud, quiet song structure that accurately captured the mindset and emotions of a modern, young woman. Now, as you may recall, “Heavy Heavy” received attention from Stereogum, Paste, Under the Radar, Highsnobiety and Thrillist, as well as airplay on SiriusXM Alt Nation, and as soon as you hear it, you’ll understand why: the band crafts mosh pit friendly, power chord-driven hooks paired with thunderous drumming and a unhinged, feral vocal performance reminiscent of Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs. 

Directed by the band’s Mia Berrin, the recently released video features Pom Pom Squad’s front person in a variety of guises — cheerleader, princess, angel that busts of out of those stifling roles through the destruction of a number of cakes. Of course, there’s also footage of a Doc Marten-wearing Berrin and her bandmates furiously performing the song. For any of you that have actually come of age during the 90s as I have, the video immediately brings 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind. 

Over the last few months of last year, Liam Brown, an up-and-coming songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as pizzagirl quickly became a mainstay on this site. And as you may recall, with the release of last year’s An Extended Play EP, Brown was championed by Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. Brown also opened for the acclaimed — and all too tragic — British indie act Her’s, during one of their last UK tours.

Building upon a growing profile, the release of his sophomore EP, season 2 further cemented Brown’s reputation for crafting swooningly heartfelt, shimmering synth pop with a decidedly anachronistic sound and feel. But 2019 may be the JOVM mainstay’s biggest year to date, as his highly-anticipated full-length debut, first timer is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through Heist or Hit Records, the label home of the aforementioned Her’s, Baywaves and Honey Moon among others.

first timer‘s second and latest single “ball’s gonna keep on rollin” is a hook-driven, 80s synth pop bop with shimmering synths, explosive blasts of horns, dramatic drum rolls and Brown’s pop star vocals — and while sounding as though it could be part of the soundtrack of Stranger Things, the track details the journey of a showbiz wannabe — from wide-eyed, hungry and humble origins to buzz-worthy artist to superstar to broke, washed up and bitter former star. In many ways, the success that the song’s protagonist desperately wanted to attain was his worst nightmare.

“It’s a Twilight Zone-type of tale of hunting for the big ‘success’ whatever that may be,” Brown explains in press notes. “Anyways, just remember that if the grind is getting you down, that ball’s gonna keep on rollin.”

 

 

 

 

 

Liam Brown, an up-and-coming, Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as pizzagirl has become one of this site’s latest mainstays over the couple of months. Now, as you may recall, with the release of the An Extended Play EP earlier this year, Brown was quickly championed by Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.

With the release of singles like “highschool,” “gymnasium,” “body part,” off Brown’s soon-to-be released sophomore pizzagirl EP season 2, the Liverpool-based artist further cements a growing national and international reputation for crafting swooningly heartfelt, shimmering synth pop that draws from several decades simultaneously, giving it a decidedly anachronistic sound and feel. “blossom at my feet, flower,” season 2‘s latest single is a classic 80s-inspired power ballad, centered around thumping beats, shimmering synths, chiming guitars, and an anthemic hook. Unsurprisingly, Brown’s latest continues a run of cinematic singles — but unlike its predecessors, it’s the most prom-like, evoking teenaged hopes, desires and dreams with a novelistic detail to psychology and the psychological state of his narrators.

New Video: MUNYA Release Dreamy Visuals for “Hotel Delmano”

Josie Bolvin is a Quebec-based, classically trained pianist and opera vocalist, as well as an electronic pop producer, singer/songwriter and artist, best known as MUNYA — and as the story goes Bolvin had only written one song when she was asked to perform at last year’s Pop Montreal. Ironically, at the time, Bolvin had never intended to pursue music full-time but after playing at the festival, she quickly realized that what she was meant to do — be a musician. So Bolvin quit her day job, moved in with her sister and turned their kitchen into a home recording studio where she wrote every day. These recordings would eventually become part of an EP trilogy — with each EP comprised of three songs — named after a significant place in Bolvin’s life. Her self-released debut North Hatley derives its name from one of Bolvin’s favorite little villages in Quebec and her second EP Delmano, which was released earlier this month through Fat Possum Records derives its name from Williamsburg Brooklyn’s Hotel Delmano.

Delmano‘s first single ”Hotel Delmano” is a breezy and mischievous, synth-based tale of melancholy surrealism, centered by Bolvin’s ethereal vocals singing completely in her native French. Interestingly, the song is largely inspired by a dream Bolvin had that was inspired by the video for Vendredi sur Mer‘s “La Femme à la Peau Bleue.” As Bolvin says in press notes, “I watched it so many times that she entered my dreams once we were having a drink at Hotel Delmano. The song is about that dream.”  Sonically, the song sounds as though it should be a part of the soundtrack of a Michel Gondry film in which its sad protagonist gets thrown into a whimsical and colorful world while recalling La Femme, Polo & Pan, and others.

The recently released video premiered over at Highsnobiety, and as Bolvin told the folks there, “The song ‘Hotel Delmano’ came to me in a dream. So when it was time to make the video, I wanted it to have the same feeling—an ambiguous collection of images, whose meaning is derived by the connection of the time and place. We shot this in my hometown, visiting the most ‘trivial’ and ‘unremarkable’ places that I’ve known my whole life but now feel like a dream.”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about Liam Brown, an up-and-coming Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as Pizzagirl. Now, as you may recall, with the release of his debut EP An Extended Play earlier this year, Brown was quickly championed by Huw StephensAnnie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIYHighsnobietyWonderlandThe Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.

Building upon a growing profile and growing buzz, Brown’s sophomore Pizzagirl EP season 2 is slated for a November 2 release, and from the EP’s first two singles “highschool” and “gymnasium,”  Brown will further cement a reputation for crafting swooningly heartfelt, shimmering synth pop that draws from several decades simultaneously; in fact, both singles brought the likes of Washed OutSt. Lucia and Tears for Fears to mind. “body part,” the EP’s latest single while clearly bearing an uncanny resemblance to its predecessor, the song finds Brown successfully walking a difficult tightrope of an oversized, larger-than-life cinematic feel with an emotional intimacy that continues to evoke the very  urgent emotions and thoughts of being a teenager in love.