Tag: indie rock

ØZWALD is a Nashville-based Americana act, featuring Jason Wade and Steve Stout, two old pros, who have had lengthy stints as touring musicians in Lifehouse and Blondfire respectively. The project can trace its origins back to about five years ago when Stout was recruited to play on a Lifehouse world tour that would eventually be canceled; however, Stout and Wade developed a bond — and when Wade returned to California, he needed an engineer to work on some material, so he asked Stout, who had started working in production.

“What if we both sing?” Wade and Stout asked themselves. Instead of artist to engineer, their relationship quickly became artist to artist. Inspired by the prospect of creating something new, the duo set a goal of completing three songs in two weeks. The end result was the duo’s full-length debut Sweet Delirium, which was heavily influenced by the sounds and albums of the late 60s and the songwriting of Elliott Smith and Paul Simon. Since the release of Sweet Delirium, the duo relocated from Los Angeles to Nashville, where almost naturally, they wound up changing their songwriting approach — with their surroundings finding a way to bleed into the material they were writing.  As a result, the band’s forthcoming Born In A State EP, which is slated for a December release, is a major sonic departure and thematic influenced by the likes of Wilco, Foxwarren and Nashville that finds the duo in a contemplative and nostalgic mood.

Adding to the overall contemplative mood, while working on the material, which would comprise the Born In A State EP, Stout and his longtime girlfriend broke up. Crashing on Wade’s couch, the two wrote two songs a day, amassing twelve songs in two weeks. The duo recruited fellow musician and engineer Max Allyn, who helped fleshed out the material by directly contributing on the tracks, turning the duo into a trio.

The EP’s second and latest track “Worth The Wait” is a shimmering 70s AM rock-like track with a buoyant melody — but at its core is an awareness of the passing of time, of dreams unfulfilled and subverted, of the inevitable compromises of adulthood. But there are the small victories of love and family, of simply just being here another day — and those are things to celebrate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Video: Dayglow’s Hook-Driven and Sincere Pop for Millennials

Sloan Struble is the 20 year-old, Aledo, TX-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind behind the rapidly rising indie rock project Dayglow. The project, which is centered around a hard-fought, hard-won and palpably sincere optimism can trace its origins to Struble’s adolescence, growing up in a Fort Worth suburb that he has referred to as a “small football-crazed town,” where he felt irrevocably out of place — and as a result, he turned to music, as a escape from his surroundings. “I didn’t really feel connected to what everyone else in my school was into, so making music became an obsession for me, and sort of like therapy in a way,” Struble says in press notes. “I’d dream about it all day in class, and then come home and for on songs instead of doing homework. After a while I realized I’d made an album.” 

Working completely on his own with a minuscule collection of gear that included his guitar, his computer and some secondhand keyboards he picked up at Goodwill, Struble worked on transforming his privately kept outpouring into a batch of songs — often grandiose in scale. “Usually artists will have demos they’ll bounce off other people to get some feedback, but nobody except for my parents down the hall really heard much of the album until I put it out,” Struble says in press notes. After self-releasing Fuzzybrain last year, the Aledo-born, Austin-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer received widespread attention and an ardent online following — primarily as a result of the material’s overwhelming positivity.  “People have been really kind about getting in touch with me and telling me that the album makes them happy, or that it’s helped them through a rough time,” he says. “That was my greatest goal for it, so it’s amazing to hear that people feel that way.”

The recently re-released Fuzzybrain is a fully realized version of his full-length debut. And while featuring the attention grabbing “Can I Call You Tonight,” the new version of the album will include two previously unreleased singles “Nicknames” and “Listerine” — while further cementing his growing reputation for illuminating emotional pain in a way that not only resonates with listeners, but somehow manages to make that pain feel lighter. Both those songs were written around the same time as the rest of the album and very much exist in the Fuzzybrain universe,” Struble says. “Each is deeply intertwined into the conceptual universe and purpose of Fuzzybrain, and it just wouldn’t feel right releasing them in a separate body of work.”

“Listerine,” the album’s latest single is an infectious and sincere bit of pop centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, jagged post punk-like guitar, a sinuous bass line and Struble’s plaintive vocals — and while possessing a self-assuredness beyond the Aledo-born, Austin-based artist’s relative youth, the song’s narrator expresses a mix of confidence, anxiety, confusion and hope that’s beguiling and realistic, as it accurately captures the thoughts and feelings of 20 somethings, who have stumbled into adulthood and adult relationships — without fully realizing who they are and what they really  want. 

Directed  and edited by Jackson Ingraham and Sloan Struble, the recently released video for “Listerine” features Struble alternately walking, dancing and air guitar soloing on an empty stretch of road. Sure it’s a simple treatment but it also emphasizes the DIY nature of the project, while being simultaneously playful and sincere. 

I’ve written quite a bit about the  Los Angeles, CA-based indie pop project and JOVM mainstays Oddnesse over the past couple of years — and as you may recall, the act, which features core duo, singer/songwriter Rebeca Arango and producer Grey Goon has received attention from this site and elsewhere for crafting infectious, hook-driven material centered around dark and heavy grooves. But with each successive single, the do has managed to subtly expand upon the sound that captured this site and the rest of the blogosphere.

Interestingly, the duo’s latest single “Lover’s Calling” continues a run of hooky, synth-driven tracks, centered around atmospheric synth arpeggios, blasts of shimmering guitars, Arango’s plaintive vocals and a chugging rhythm — and while seemingly drawing from 80s New Wave and pop, the song is actually about a deeply personal yet universal, lived-in experience. “I was restless when I wrote this song,” Rebeca Arango says in press notes. “Change was inevitable, but I was afraid to act. I imagined all sorts of destructive consequences—hurt feelings, loss of status, judgement, stability—none of them real. In avoidance, I went numb for a while. Then one night came a full moon, a new experience, a new flirtation. It was just enough of a taste, of a fuller, deeper, mountaintop connection, to remind me that I still had life in me and something better was waiting. So I stopped clinging and let the cards fall. Because no one wants to be on their death bed wondering “what if?”

 

 

 

 

Eva Lawitts is a New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has been both a session and touring musician for the likes of Vagabon and Princess Nokia — and she’s also known as one-half of the production and engineering team at
Brooklyn-based Wonderpark Studios.
Lawitts’ recording project Stimmerman finds the New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer stepping out into the limelight as a solo artist — and as a musical force to be reckoned with. Her Stimmerman full-length debut Goofballs is slated for release at the end of the year, and as Lawitts explains in press notes,  “the album is more or less about loss and survivor’s guilt: it’s a meditation on a friend’s fatal overdose at a young age through that lens. Side A of the album focuses on looking back at the environment in which our friendship started — pressures imposed on chidden to be successful, growing up too fast in all the wrong ways, and the often debauched nature of our great and terrible adolescence here in Brooklyn. Side B centers me more as an unreliable narrator, and features songs about grief and culpability in a close friend’s death, some of which are, I believe, misguided.”
“The name ‘Goofballs’ is twofold,” Lawitts continues. “I think this album recaptures some of the sense of humor my other projects have had that the first Stimmerman EP lacked, and of course, there is the drug allusion — ‘Goofballs’ meaning barbiturates or any cocktail thereof.” 
Now, as you may recall, earlier this month I wrote about album single “It Shows.” Centered around a classic, grunge rock song structure — alternating quiet verses and loud choruses — the song features enormous, arena rock friendly power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals. And while bearing a resemblance to Bleach-era Nirvana, PJ Harvey and others, the song evoked the uneasy internal struggle of its narrator, a character, who simultaneously strikes out against themselves and others, to no avail or satisfaction. Interestingly, the album’s third and latest single “Dentist vs. Pharmacist” is centered around a expansive, mind-altering arrangement that vacillates between dense and explosive math rock in which the listener is pummeled by thunderous drumming, muscular power chords and howled lyrics, shoegazey dream pop and experimental jazz. But at its core is a seething frustration that comes from being pinned in and forced to be and accept things you can never do.
“I wrote this song directly after having lunch with a friend fm one who went to middle school (Mark Twain) and high school (Laguardia) with me,” Lawitts explained in an interview with Audiofemme,” and it was directly influenced (stolen? I don’t know) by a conversation we had about this kind of half-joke about modern Russian fatalism, which was that so many of the kids we went to middle school with were raised with only two possible tracts they could follow into adulthood — they could become a dentist or they could become a pharmacist. This is the highest achievement you could attain. This was the gleaming dream of our Russian and Jewish cohorts of yesteryear. We were being silly about it, but within that silliness are many real wounds about the expectations of our own parents, their parents, and an examination of how we can possibly honor the sacrifices made by our families while still attempting to function in a world that is basically incalculably different than anything they could have possibly conceived of when they made those sacrifices. Fuck! And also I just wanted to scream.”

 

Over the past year, I’ve written a bit about the rapidly rising Brighton, UK-based indie rock band Thyla. The act can trace its origins back to when its founding trio — Millie Duthie, Danny Southwell and Dan Hole — met while attending college. Bonding over shared musical interests, the band’s founding trio started writing material together. But with the addition of Mitch Dutch, the band began to reimagine their sound and aesthetic, centered around a general distaste of what they felt was the stale and boring state of the British recording industry.

Interestingly, during that same period of time, the members of Thyla have helped establish and cement their hometown’s reputation for production a music scene that features some of England’s hottest emerging acts — while playing shows with the likes of Dream WifeLuxury DeathMatt Maltese, YonakaHusky Loops and Lazy Day. They’ve also shared bills with  Sunflower Bean, INHEAVEN and Fickle Friends while being spotlighted alongside Pale Waves, Nilüfer Yanya, and Sorry in NME‘s 100 Essential Acts for 2018.

They’ve continued on the remarkable momentum of last year with their debut EP What’s On Your Mind, which was released earlier this year to reviews from Pitchfork, Stereogum, NME, The Line of Best Fit and Dork. The EP also received airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, Radio X and KCRW. Building upon a growing national and international profile, the band has spent a portion of this year on the road opening for Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever, played attention-grabbing sets at The Great Escape, Live At Leeds and Hit The North. And adding to a massive year for the band, they also went on their first national UK tour, which included their biggest show to date, at  London’s Electrowerkz.

And while it’s been an extraordinarily busy year for the band, they’ve managed to work on new material, which will compose their highly-anticipated sophomore EP slated for release early next year. Now, as you may recall, last month, I wrote about the EP’s first, official single, the boldly ambitious “Two Sense,” a single centered around a rousingly anthemic, arena rock friendly hook, explosive power chords, thunderous drumming, earnest vocals and a slick, modern production that emphasizes a band that has grown more confident and self-assured. But along with that the song, featured a purposeful and defiant message about claiming your right to self-determination.

The EP’s second and latest single “Lenox Hill” continues in the same sonic vein as its immediate predecessor, as it features a driving groove, shimmering and angular guitar lines and a rousing hook. And while continuing a run of remarkably self-assured and ambitious songs — it may arguably be the most personal song they’ve written in some time, as it’s an honest and triumphant coming-of-age story that touches upon finding oneself again to figure out where you need to be and need to go.

Lenox Hill is the hospital I was born in, with the track inspired by my early years as a kid living in New York City. It’s an honest and emotional coming-of-age tale,” the band’s Millie Duthie explains in press notes. “Life can take so many turns and you can forget where you came from and what makes you you. The important stuff like family can get set aside in the pursuit of whatever it is that drives you. ‘Lenox Hill’ is about realising you’re lost and deciding to go back to your roots to find the way again.” 

New Video: Denmark’s Twin Dive Releases a Surreal Visual for Mosh Pit Friendly Single “Holly”

Over the course of this past year, I’ve written a bit Aarhus, Denmark-based indie rock act Twin Dive. And as you may recall, the Danish alt rock act formed back in 2018 when its founding duo of Robert Jancevich (vocals, guitar) and Ragnar “Raggi” Gudmunds (drums)  met and bonded over a mutual passion for all things rock ‘n’ roll. Since then, the band has split their time between the studio and live gigs honing and polishing their sound while releasing material that has been compared favorably to Foo Fighters, The Hives and others. During that same period, Charlotte Mortensen (bass) joined the band, helping the band bolster their sound. 

Building upon a growing profile in their native Denmark and across Scandinavia, the band played at this year’s Spot Festival, which caught the attention of Drowned in Sound, who picked the band as one of the best acts of the festival — and they just recently finished a tour of Finland with Finnish act Ursus Factory. Earlier this year, I wrote about the grungy “Animal,” a track that recalls 120 Minutes-era alt rock — i.e., Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and the like — while thematically, the song was about knowing and taming one’s inner animal. 

The rapidly rising Danish trio’s latest single “Holly” continues a run of grungy, power chord-driven material that draws from 120 Minutes-era alt rock. In fact, because of an arrangement centered around heavily pedal effected and jagged power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals the band’s latest single may arguably be the most indebted to Bleach and In Utero-era Nirvana of their entire catalog — but at its core. the song explores the unending battle between our sense of self and our ego in a way that’s partially ironic. 

Directed by Mark Vesterlund, the recently released and incredibly cinematic video is a surreal fever dream featuring a troupe of older Asian women doing traditional dances to the song — and while it’s an odd juxtaposition, the visual is meant to leave the interpretation of its message and meaning to the  viewer.