Tag: indie rock

New Audio: British Indie Act Beat Hotel Releases a Shimmering 80s New Wave-Inspired Single

Split between Brighton, UK and Plymouth, UK, the rising British indie rock act Beat Hotel, which features current and former members of The June Brides, The Loft, The Weather Prophets, Distractions, Mudlow, Mojo Fins and Lolita Storm can trace its origins to when its founding members — The June Brides’, The Distractions’ and The Granite Shore’s Arash Torabi and Paul Pascoe met after a 1988 The Jasmine Minks show.  (Interestingly, many years later, the first Beat Hotel single featured a guest vocal spot from The Jasmine Minks’ frontman Jim Shepherd.) 

Developing a strong live presence in their local scene, the act managed to record a number of demos,  but they didn’t officially release anything until 2013 — the “Best of Our Years”/”The Fire,” double A-side 7 inch, which featured The Loft’s and The Weather Prophets’ Dave Morgan (drums), who then became a permanent member of the band. 

Slated for a January 31, 2020 release through Occultation Records, the band’s long-awaited self-titled EP was recorded at Hove, UK’s Church Road Studios by the band’s Paul Pascoe and features five originals written by Pascoe and a cover of The Wishing Stones’ “Beat Girl.” The EP features guest spots from The June Brides’ Frank Sweeney, who contributes strings and piano and former Mojo Fins member Stephen Brett (guitar), who releases material as a solo artist under the moniker SJ Brett. “Every now and again, we produce something that’s very special to us. These forays into the physical world are usually inspired by a collaboration,” Beat Hotel’s Paul Pascoe says in press notes about the band’s self-titled EP. “This time it was driven by an unexpected creative surge due to the sudden and shocking end of a relationship. I felt like I had to relearn everything about how to be in the world and look seriously at who I actually am. I found comfort in the music that had given me a sense of belonging the first time around. The Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Weather Prophets…these songs and songwriters, so familiar to my psyche, were there again to drag me to safety.”

“This collection of songs is about love and near-death and confronting the very worst aspects of ourselves, facing down those inner demons, the fears that haunt us and our deepest, darkest secrets,” Pascoe says of the EP’s material. “And… with one of the tracks beginning its recording journey in 1997 and getting its final guitar overdub and mix in 2019 (in all its 3 minutes 14 seconds of rock’n’roll glory), this record is also a tribute to the awesome power of getting shit done.”

The EP’s latest single “Bury It Deep” is a propulsive and upbeat, hook-driven song centered around layers of shimmering guitars that immediately brings Starfish-era The Church, early-to-mid 80s Echo and the Bunnymen (i.e., Crocodiles, Heaven Up Here and Ocean Rain), The Dream Syndicate and others, as it hints at radio psych rock, New Wave and post-punk in an uncanny period specific fashion. But the song isn’t just another  soulless homage to a classic and beloved sound we’ve grown up with; at its core, the song finds it narrator trying to maneuver a confusing and uncertain world while facing their own demons.

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Loudmammoth is a Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based shoegaze act — currently comprised of Sophie, Will, Liam and Declan — that can trace its origins back to August 2018, when its founding members bonded over a mutual appreciation of shoegaze, DIY recording and Ian Curtis. With the release of their self-produced debut single “Enough,” the Northeastern English band caught the attention of Scottish indie label Last Night From Glasgow, who signed the act seven weeks later.

Building upon a growing profile, the members of Loudmammoth released their second single “Let Go” last summer, which they followed up with a sold out hometown show at Newcastle’s The Cumberland Arms with labelmates L-Space and Stephen Solo. The single helped the band land praise from The Crack Magazine, who described the band as “purveyors of the very finest jangle,” while receiving airplay on BBC 6 Music‘s The Tom Robinson Show and a feature on the BBC Introducing Mixtape.

Since the release of “Let Go,” the band has been rather busy:  they’ve spent the past few months in intensive writing sessions  — and in that same period of time, they’ve gone through a slight lineup change. Interestingly enough, those past few months of intense writing have helped to produce the rising British act’s latest single, the shimmering one part jangle pop, one part shoegaze, one part dream pop number “In Blue.” Centered around shimmering and jangling guitars, Sophie’s ethereal vocals and a soaring hook, the track — to my ears, at least — brings The Sundays and Slowdive to mind, complete with an unfussy yet clean production and a yearning ache at its core.

Talinn, Estonia-based shoegazers Pia Fraus — currently comprised of founding members Kärt Ojavee (synths), Rein Fuks (guitars, vocals) and Reijo Tagapere (bass),  along with their returning longtime drummer Joosep Volk and newest members Eve Romp (vocals, synths, met allophone) — can trace its origins back to 1998, when the band’s founding sextet were all art school students. Since the band’s founding, they’ve gone to release five full-length albums and a handful of EPs of material that have cemented their sound — a mix of dream pop, shoegaze and electronica with layered male-female harmonies.

Slated for a January 20, 2020 release through Vinyl Junkie Records in Japan and Seksound Records globally, Pia Fraus’ John McEntire-produced sixth album Empty Parks was recorded at Nevada City, CA-based Soma Electronic Music Studios with album title track  “Empty Parks” being recorded in two separate kitchens, a windowless basement and Reijo Tagapere’s barn. “This is the poppiest album we’ve ever made. It’s melancholy and happy at the same time – definitely happier than our latest Field Ceremony album,” the band’s Rein Fuks says in press notes. “To work with John McEntire was my teenage wet dream.  I have been a massive fan of John’s work over the years, and I never thought that one day I have a chance to sit next to this guy and make my own record. Of course, it was quite challenging and stressful for me.”

“Although the process of making this album wasn’t been the easiest, I associate this album relates mostly with the feeling of happiness and positivism,” the band’s Eve Komp says in press notes. “The awareness of being able to be hopeful and make jokes about life even if everything seems to going downhill.”

The band’s Joosep Volk adds “Personally, Empty Parks means a lot. It’s sort of a homecoming to me. 16 years has past since I last played with the rest of the group and when Rein asked me to return, I never thought twice. Understanding that sometimes things do fall apart and you just have to pick yourself up and deal with it. Life is deviously clever, we just have to endure.”

Album single “Love Sports” is a decidedly upbeat song, centered around jangling guitars, propulsive drumming, ethereal male-female harmonies and soaring hooks. And while continuing their long-held reputation for meshing shoegaze and dream pop, “Love Sports” finds the band adding a bit of Flying Nun Records-like jangle pop — but with a subtly modern production. Album title track “Empty Parks” is a more contemplative and seemingly wintry affair, centered around layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering and  jangling guitar, hushed male-female harmonizing. Both songs are gorgeous and kind of bittersweet in a way that acknowledges what life really is: full of heartbreaking losses, minor victories, brief moments of transcendent beauty and all of its important and necessary.  We find a way to endure somehow — and that’s what matters.

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Blue Stones Return with an Explosive and Anthemic Single

JOVM mainstays The Blue Stones — longtime friends Tarek Jafer (vocals, guitar) and Justin Tessier (drums, percussion, backing vocals) — can trace their origins to when the duo met while in college, and decided to start a band together. As the story, the duo then spent the next seven years honing and perfecting their sound and approach — with the result ending with their self-released debut EP. 

2017 saw the release of their highly-anticipated full-length debut Black Holes, an effort that featured “Rolling With The Punches,” which received placements on USA Network‘s Suits, Showtime‘s Shameless and ESPN‘s Monday Night Football, lead single and album title track “Black Holes (Solid Ground), which amassed 8 million streams, and “Be My Fire,” a track that brought The Black Keys, Jimi Hendrix, and North Mississippi All Stars to mind — although the song was actually an urgent and plaintive yearning for someone just out of reach. Interestingly, as confident and self-assured as Black Holes’ material was, the album in its own way, was also very much about the duo finding themselves both musically and personally — with the members of hte band deciding to pursue their lifelong dream of music but jumping into the unknown rather than a more ordinary life. 

“Shaking Off the Rust” is the first bit of original material since the release of  Black Holes and while continuing in the same incredibly confident and self-assured, arena rock friendly vein — but while expanding a bit upon the sound that has won them attention across the blogosphere. The song possesses a much more nuanced and textured take on their sound with the band employing a grunge rock song structure — quiet, loud, quiet, along with the addition of strummed acoustic guitar, which sets up the song’s explosive hook and 808 like beats. In fact, the song finds the band actively moving away from the “just another blues rock duo” off their previously released material. 

“There were times along the way where I felt I wasn’t good enough, “ the band’s Tarek Jafar explains, “or that I didn’t deserve any happiness or success. This song is about battling those thoughts in your head that make you doubt yourself, and coming through with the confidence to make something great.”

Directed by James Villeneuve, the recently released video rehearsing and then playing for a live crowd in virtual reality — including fitting with fans. Is it a view into our increasingly disconnected digital world?  

 

Good Time Mystery Vision is an emerging Brooklyn-based indie act, featuring David Jacobsen (vocals, guitar, mellotron), Jesse Lapin (bass, backing vocals). With the release of “Cala Lilies,” the band received attention from the The Deli Magazine. So building upon growing momentum, “Be Good,” the trio’s swaggering, 90s alt rock meets Brit Pop-like latest single is centered around enormous power chords, thunderous drumming and an arena rock friendly hook — but while being full of the anxious uncertainty of our world, as well as the desire to huddle up with someone and hope that all of this crazy shit will dissipate.

 

 

 

NANCY is a rapidly rising, enigmatic and rather mysterious Brighton, UK-based indie artist, who quickly received attention across the blogosphere from StereogumNME and DIY and airplay on BBC Radio 1 from personalities like Annie Mac, Huw Stephens and Jack Saunders and BBC Radio 6 personalities Iggy Pop, Lauren Laverne and Steve Lamacq.

Earlier this year, the Brighton-based artist re-emerged from a brief creative hiatus, he re-emerged with the release of the attention-grabbing single “When I’m With You (I Feel Love).” Building upon the success of that single and a growing profile in his native England, the Brighton-based artist released “Clic Clac,” a breakneck ripper — and self-described ode to anxiety —  that seemed to draw equally from ’77 era punk and glam rock. Nancy closes out 2020 with the warped and dryly ironic “The World’s About to Blow (Thank God, It’s Christmas)” Centered around heavy distorted and fuzzy power chords, layers of whirring feedback and handclap-led percussion, the Brighton-based artist’s latest single is a holiday song for the exhausted and defeated — and anyone else, who has accepted the fact that everything is fucked up. We live in a hellish dystopia and it’s only getting worse.

“No matter what side you’re on, there’s one thing we can surely all agree on: everything has gone wrong and we’re going to hell in a hand basket . . . so let’s join together and find strength in the consensus that we’re all fucked, and that it’s okay to cover your eyes and ears and just get mortal to celebrate the birth of our lord and saviour: Santa Claus,” NANCY says of his latest single.

 

 

 

Casey Meehan is a Chicago area mainstay best known for his work with Chicago Mixtape, a weekly curated playlist of the best music shows happening in and around the Chicagoland area. Interestingly, his latest music project Sy Somebody can trace its origins to a conversation he had with Father John Misty‘s David Vandervelde. Vandervelde introduced Meehan to his bandmate Eli Thompson and the trio began discussing the possibility of making a record together.

As the story goes, eventually Meehan began sending demos to Vandervelde. Those demos thematically contemplating the mysterious and complexities of the human and cosmic condition — but written as though an omnipotent, mysterious person was in control, which inspired him to name the project Sy Somebody. Meehan, Vandervelde and Thompson then recruited an All-Star cast of collaborators that included Jeremy Enigk‘s and The Intelligence‘s Kaanan Tupper, Richard Swift’s The Weepies’, Everest’s and Pedro The Lion’s Frank Lenz, Bobby Bare Jr.’s Mr. Jimmy, The O’My’s, and Chance the Rapper‘s Maceo Haymes and Chance’s Social Experiment’s and Santah‘s Vivian McConnel to flesh out the material that eventually coalesced into the project’s full-length debut Life is Cruel, Let’s Be Friends, which is slated for a January 31, 2019 release.

The album’s latest single “Zookeeper” is a grunge-inspired track, centered around fuzzy power chords, a steady propulsive rhythm and Meehan’s world weary delivery rooted in the frustrations and pressures of daily adult life. And while recalling Pavement and others, it’s basically a desperate and exhausted trip to the bar to drink and forget — at least for a little while. (We’ve all been there!)