Tag: indie rock

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Limiñanas Team up with Peter Hook on the Shimmering “The Gift”

Over the past couple of years I’ve written a bit about the Perpignan, France-based psych rock duo The Limiñanas, and as you may recall the duo have become one France’s most renowned indie acts, thanks in part for a sound that draws from psych rock, shoegaze, and yé-yé, centered around arrangements featuring fuzzy, distorted power chords, reverb heavy hooks and effortlessly cool vocals. And much like fellow countrymen La Femme, their sound is heavily indebted to 60s American guitar rock and psych rock — while managing to capture something  quintessentially French.

The last 18 months or so have been very busy for the French duo, as they released the Istanbul Is Sleepy EP, an effort that was initially recorded at their home studio and finished it at Anton Newcombe‘s Berlin-based studio. Of course,  The Brian Jonestown Massacre founder and frontman,contributed his imitable vocals and guitar playing to the scuzzy, garage rock stomper and EP title track “Istanbul Is Sleepy” which was reportedly influenced by Rain-era The Cult. Earlier this year, the duo released the Shadow People LP and the album finds the renowned French duo collaborating with a number of folks including French actress Emmanuelle Seigner and Renaud Picard, the frontman of Hair and the Iotas on the meditative and hazy “Shadow People,” Bertrand Belin on the chilly and menacing, synth-based  “Dimanche.” Adding to a very busy 18 months, Because Music will be releasing I’ve Got Trouble in Mind, Vol. 2, The Limiñanas’ second collection of rare recordings, 7 inch singles and unreleased material on November 16, 2018; but in the meantime. the duo released a video for “The Gift,” off Shadow People, a single that features the imitable and unforgettable bass playing of Peter Hook.  Interestingly — or perhaps I should say unsurprisingly — the track sounds like the perfect amalgamation of Hook’s most beloved New Order work with the renowned French duo’s effortlessly cool take on psych rock. “We wrote and recorded ‘The Gift’ at home in Cabestany and then finished it Berlin at Anton Newcombe’s studio,” explains Marie. “I’m pretty sure you’ll recognise Peter Hook’s lead bass. He’s been one of our heroes for a very long time.”  (I’ve Got Trouble in Mind, Vol. 2 features Anton Newcombe’s mix of the song, so in some way this video is something of a teaser for the compilation.) 

Directed by longtime collaborator Aurélien Richter, the recently released video is decidedly French New Wave-inspired and continues a run of incredibly cinematic accompanying visuals. Unsurprisingly, the video features Foulke de Boixo in a prominent role, and as the duo explains “The video reflects on high school years in gangs; the mods, the skins, the rockabs and the rudeboys smoking cigarettes while hanging in the schoolyard. ‘The Gift’ looks at what’s happened to two of these people over the years and how they may have missed out on a lifelong love story.”

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New Video: Dire Wolves’ Ambient and Trance-Inducing Sounds and Visuals

During the early part of last year, I wrote a bit about the Bay Area-based psych pop/free jazz/indie rock quintet Dire Wolves, and as you might recall, the band, which is currently comprised of Sheila Bosco (drums), Brian Lucas (bass), Kelly Ann Nelson (vocals, wooden flute), Jeffrey Alexander (guitar, wooden sax), Arjun Mendiratta (violin) and Georgia Carbone (vocals) have developed a reputation for both being remarkably prolific as they’ve released 12 full-length albums since forming back in 2008 — and for crafting deeply hypnotic music with a lysergic tinge. 

The Bay Area-based collective’s forthcoming album Paradisiacal Mind is slated for release in November — and the album’s latest single “Unfettered and Alive” is a free-form and improvised track centered around winding guitar lines, angular string arrangements and vocals meant to induce a trance-like state. Naturally, the track will further cement the Bay Area-based band’s reputation for crafting gauzy and trippy material meant to encourage you to delve deep into your mind’s eye. 

Directed by Andy Puls, the recently released video features trippy concentric and psychedelic patterns meant to push the viewer towards tripping out. 

Over the past few years, I’ve written a bit about the London-based JOVM mainstays Ten Fe, and as you may recall, the act, which was initially comprised of founding members and primary songwriters Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan, the duo won national and international attention for pairing their distinct writing styles and voices into a unique sound. Moorhouse and Duncan had played in a number of London-based bands in which they individually felt as though there was pressure to fit into a particular scene, whether through a one way of playing or a certain way of looking, and it was something they felt unnatural and unnecessarily labored — and they deeply reviled it.  As the story goes, the duo met at party and became busking partners in the London Underground. In those very early days, they enjoyed the very simple pleasures of playing music they loved — mostly early rock, early Beatles and the like — and earning cash while doing so. Coming from a place of pure joy, they noticed a profound simpatico, and they began to play their own original material. “We had a very clear idea of what we wanted. For things to be simple, based around songs that are unashamed in their directness, and that we love: The CureU2Springsteen and The Stones. We’d spend years playing through these on the tube, realising you don’t need to break the mould. Its best to ignore all the voices telling you that you need to for the sake of it, and go for something deeper,” the duo explained in press notes.  And with Ten Fe, Moorhouse and Duncan wanted to focus primarily on the song with style serving the song — and while centered around anthemic and downright arena rock friendly hooks, their sound is difficult to describe and even more so to pigeonhole, as it possesses elements of the Manchester sound, Brit Pop, Americana, electro pop and contemporary indie rock. They manage to do this while balancing careful, deliberate attention to craft with soulful earnestness and bombast.

Moorhouse and Duncan then spent the next two years, writing, revising and recording in each other’s bedrooms, which included prolonged writing sessions at Duncan’s dad’s house in Walsall, UK, relentless busking, hustling and saving, and an impossibly lengthy list of band members and producers before they signed a publishing deal and briefly relocated to Berlin, where they recorded their Ewan Pearson-produced full-length debut effort Hit the Light. “Its no coincidence that the name of this band means ‘have faith’” says Leo Duncan.

After spending 18 months touring to support their critically applauded full-length debut effort Hit the Light, the project officially expanded into a full-fledged band with the permanent additions of touring members Rob Shipley (bass) and Johnny Drain (keys), who are two of Duncan’s oldest friends from Walsall, and Alex Hammond (drums). As the story goes, the members of the band felt a renewed sense of confidence when it came to preparing to write and work on their follow up effort Future Perfect, Present Tense. They set up shop in a vacant driving license office in East London, where the majority of the writing was done, and as they were nearing the end, they went to Oslo, Norway where they tracked the material before returning to London to finish the album with producer Luke Smith, who has worked with Foals, Depeche Mode, Petite Noir, and Anna of the North — and mixed by Craig Silvey, who has worked with Arcade Fire, Florence & The Machine and Amen Dunes.

Thematically, the material reportedly is a mediation on everything that has brought them all to the point of their sophomore album, and everything they’ve willingly (and perhaps unwillingly) left behind in actually getting there. Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Won’t Happen” is centered around a buoyant groove, jangling guitars and a soaring, arena friendly hook while the band’s Duncan laments and repents for his past indiscretions — perhaps to a lover or to himself. Sonically, the song will further cement the band’s reputation for being uncompromisingly genre-defying as the song seems to draw from 70s AM rock, Brit Pop and arena rock simultaneously; but with a decidedly individualistic take that has them sound unlike any other contemporary act I can think of.

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Danny Murcia is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, founding member and creative mastermind of Los Angeles-based bilingual indie rock act El Mañana. As an English major in college, Murcia immersed himself in magical realism, a major tenet of modernist and post-modernist Latin American literature, and after graduating, he was able to marry his loves for language and music as a songwriter. Interestingly, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter wound up penning a number of songs that were recorded by mainstream radio and as a result of the attention he received as a go-to songwriter, Murcia wound up as part of the major label system, signing a record deal with a major label that released a single; however, it didn’t take long for Murcia to to realize that he was a commodity in a machine that wanted to exploit his Colombian heritage — and that the label was actively trying to mold him into a white person’s version of a Latino pop star. At the end of the experience, he felt as though is creative energy was sapped.

El Mañana finds Murcia returning to his original dream of what he wanted his sound and music to be: insightful, earnestly emotional and bilingual rock driven by enormous power chords and plaintive vocals. As the story goes, Murcia who suffers from bipolar disorder began writing material for this new project while he was battling cancer, having to undergo multiple surgeries before the cancer went into remission. During his recovery, he read the works of Pablo Neruda and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which long informed his own work.

“Gota En El Mar,” the Los Angeles-based band’s latest single sonically manages to bridge the dreamy psych pop of Tame Impala and Washed Out with enormous Siamese Dream Smashing Pumpkins-era like  power chords fed through distortion and other effects pedals, thumping drumming and arena rock friendly hooks — but most importantly, the song is a swooningly urgent and earnest song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Sólveig Matthildur,  Margrét Rósa and Laufey Soffía, the Reykjavik, Iceland-based synth-based post-punk act Kælan Mikla have had a breakthrough year so far: they played a critically applauded set at this year’s Roadburn Festival, were championed by The Cure’s Robert Smith and toured with King Dude — and all of this before the release of their forthcoming album Nótt eftir nott, which is slated for a November 9, 2018 release through Artoffact Records.

The members of the Icelandic post-punk trio will be playing an album release show on November 8, 2018 at this year’s Iceland Airwaves but before then, the album’s first official single is the chilly yet dance floor friendly, synth-led track “Nornalagið” — and the track, which is centered by a motorik groove and punctuated by piercing wailing manages to be both eerily atmospheric and cinematic, evoking a storm rolling across enormous skies.

 

 

 

 

 

Led by songwriter/producer and founder of Ice Queen Records and founding member Joseph Lekkas, the Nashville-based indie rock act Palm Ghosts can trace its origins back
to when Lekkas lived in Philadelphia. As the story goes, after spending a number of years playing in local bands like Grammar Debate! and Hilliard, Lekkas took a lengthy hiatus from writing and performing music to book shows and festivals in and around the Philadelphia area. Initially began as a solo recording project and creative way for Lekkas to deal with an incapacitating bout of depression and anxiety after discovering that music was his only way out the mire. So Lekkas spent a long Philadelphia winter recording a batch of introspective songs that he dubbed “sun-damaged American music’ that would eventually become the Palm Ghost debut album.
After a short tour in 2013 to support the Palm Ghost debut album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Nashville, enticed by the city’s growing indie rock scene. Once he settled in to his new hometown, Lekkas set up a small home studio in the guest bedroom of a rental house on Greenland Avenue in East Nashville, where he eventually wrote and recorded the sophomore Palm Ghosts album, last year’s Greenland, an album that found him employing elements of electro pop, folk and indie rock that was influenced by his new hometown’s long-held song-is-king culture. Last May, the Palm Ghost founding member began working on the third Palm Ghosts album Architecture, an album heavily influenced by the sounds of the 80s — in particular, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, New Order and The Cure among others. The album’s first single “Turn the Knife” is a hook-driven bit of 80s post-punk that will recall New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen and others but centered by the two part male/female harmonies, angular guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section and a bitter sense of betrayal and distrust.
As Lekkas told me via email, “‘Turn the Knife’ is basically a song about betrayal in love — or a one sided relationship that ends badly. It was written and recorded in my studio here in Nashville. My influences are all over the map but I’m an enormous fan of 80s post punk and New Wave music, so perhaps that shines through to you in the song? Basically, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Chameleons and The Jesus and Mary Chain are big influences.”

 

 

 

New Audio: Montreal’s Anemone Returns with a Deceptively Breezy and Sunny Take on Pop

Earlier this year, I caught the Montreal-indie pop/dream pop act Anemone open for the acclaimed indie pop act HAERTS at Baby’s All Right, and the act led by Chloe Soldevila (keys, vocals) and featuring Miles Dupire-Gagnon (drums), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), Samuel Gemme (bass) and Zachary Irving (guitar) specializes in a breezy and dreamy pop sound that hints at psych pop — and at points to In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Forever and Horizon-era Painted Palms. The Canadian act released their attention-grabbing debut EP earlier this year, which they’ve supported with a series of critically applauded SXSW shows, and some relentless touring across North America. Now, as you may recall, “Daffodils,” off the band’s debut EP was a breezy bit of synth-led dream pop centered around arpeggiated, analog synths, an ethereal melody, reverb drenched drums, shimmering guitar lines and a sinuous bass line within a gently unfolding, expansive song structure — and interestingly, the song recalls Pavo Pavo’s gorgeous, retro-futurstic dream Young Narrator on the Breakers. 

Recently, the Montreal-based band announced that their full-length debut Beat My Distance will be released early next year through Luminelle Records, and the album’s first single “Sunshine (Back To The Start)” is a breezy and sunshine-filled track built around a jangling and chiming guitar lines, a propulsive, disco-influenced bass line, a steady back beat and Soldevilla’s plaintive and ethereal vocals — but the song’s brightness is a bit deceptive as it focuses on the hope of a brighter day, after dealing with something shitty. As Soldevilla explains in press notes that the song is about “Overcoming the pattern of falling i love with someone who is unworthy, but that you still believed it could work. I called it ‘Sunshine’ because this song should resonate positively — it’s about focusing on the bright side and coming out stronger person; daydreaming of better, sunnier days.”  (I should note that sonically speaking, the song features one of the best guitar solos I’ve heard in about a good month or so.) 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay San Mei Releases “Romeo and Juliet”-Inspired Visuals for “Heaven”

Throughout the past few years of this site’s eight-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about Gold Coast, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Emily Hamilton and her acclaimed recording project San Mei, which began as a bedroom recording project but quickly received attention from this site and a number of major media outlets including NME, Indie Shuffle, NYLON and Triple J. Her San Mei debut EP Necessary found the Gold Coast, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist decidedly moving away from the bedroom recorded synth pop that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and towards organic instrumentation and a sound that immediately brings Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cat Power, Feist and others to mind.

Hamilton met songwriter, producer and musical phenom Oscar Dawson, who has worked with Holy Holy, Alex Lahey, Ali Barter, British India, Robbie Miller and Joyride at BIGSOUND last year, and the pair immediately hit it off. According to Hamilton, taking Dawson on as a producer and collaborator found the duo refining ideas, exploring different soundscapes and laying down the foundation for her — and in turn, San Mei’s — sonic progression. As Hamilton explains in press notes “[Dawson and I] hit it off straight away and it seemed like he understood where I was coming from, even if I had trouble conveying certain ideas in the demos I made at home.”

“Wonder” was the first single since the release of Necessary. Coincidentally “Wonder” was the first single off her forthcoming Heaven EP, which is slated for a November 2 release and interestingly, the single managed to be a subtle refinement of Hamilton’s sound and songwriting that found her creating radio friendly and arena rock friendly tracks, centered around a razor hooks, fuzzy shoegazer rock-like power chords and propulsive drumming — all while being incredibly earnest. “Heaven,” the EP title track is also the second and latest single of the EP, and its centered around layers of power chord-based guitar lines, four-on-the-floor drumming, Hamilton’s lush yet ethereal vocals, and shimmering synth lines.  And while the new track continues a run of arena rock friendly singles, it may arguably be the most shoegazer/dream pop-like track she’s written and released but underneath the song bristles with a bitter sense of frustration and dissatisfaction. In fact, as Hamilton says of the song, “This song is about when love is blind and it feels like heaven, but if you step back you can see things for what they really are. It’s about waking up to reality and letting go of something that’s going to end up causing harm, even if at first it felt like a dream.”

Directed by Somersault Visuals’ Jennifer Embleton, the recently released visuals for “Heaven” continues Hamilton’s ongoing collaboration with the director, and it’s an incredibly cinematic and swooning meet cute among strangers, that’s largely inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and Wong Kai Wai’s Chungking Express. As Hamilton explains in press notes, “The idea was to focus on the sweetness of the young love between two star-crossed lovers. Where the song itself can lean towards a more cautionary and even sad tale about love gone wrong, we wanted to keep the video light and the emphasis on the innocence and dreamlike state of the two lovers – the moment where they’re wrapped up in one another and it still feels like heaven (tying in with the lyrics in the chorus “did you think it was heaven?”). The story ends with them still in this surreal moment together before reality sets in to pull them apart.”

New Video: Jon Spencer Releases Dread-Filled Visuals for Scuzzy and Groovy “I Got the Hits”

Best known as the founding member of New York-based alt rock acts, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Boss Hog, Heavy Trash and Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer will be releasing his first solo album, Spencer Sings the Hits! on November 9, 2018 through In The Red Records, and the Bill Skibbe-produced album, finds the renowned guitarist and frontman embracing a DIY approach while collaborating with Quasi‘s and Heatmiser’s Sam Coombes and M. Sord. Now, as you may recall, earlier this year, I wrote about “Do The Trash Can.” Spencer Sings the Hits!’ first single, a blistering, scuzzy and abrasive ripper that drew from blues, industrial rock and metal centered snarling, garage punk attitude, caustic power chords and an oddly danceable groove.

Unsurprisingly, the album’s second and latest single is the swaggering and scuzzy industrial, garage blues “I Got the Hits,” and much like it’s predecessor, it’s an explosive ripper centered around explosive and abrasive guitar chords, a shit ton of double entendres and a propulsive junkyard groove that’s manages to be danceable and mosh pit friendly.

Directed by Alex Italics, the recently released video for “I Got the Hits” delves into the darkest and murkiest corners of America, and throughout the video we see a completely immobilized and helpless Jon Spencer, as life and sinister and shadowy figures lurk move around. “Over the past year I kept seeing wonderful and strange music videos that had one thing in common: all were directed by an Alex Italics,” Spencer explains in press notes. “I determined to track down this young auteur with the aim of getting a similar cinematic sensation for my new album Spencer Sings The Hits!. Alex turned out to be a mild-mannered young man from Tucson, Arizona living in Southern California. I gave him a free hand to pick the song and devise a treatment. The result is the scary slice-of-life that you can now see for yourself.”

“I love the creepy contrast with the song’s punk abandon,” Spencer continues. “We filmed at a rented house in Santa Ana. At the end of each day, after the nearby nightly Disneyland fireworks had faded and the cast and crew had left, I would sleep in a bunk bed in the child’s bedroom. Turns out doing an entire video laying on the floor is harder than it looks!” 

Adds the video’s director, “nothin’ says ‘rock and roll’ like suburban angst, existential dread, and shadowy figures!”