Tag: John Congleton

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstays Plague Vendor Release a Shimmering and Tense Bruiser

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Whittier, CA-based post-punk/ punk rock quartet Plague Vendor. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Brandon Blaine (vocals), Luke Perine (drums), Michael Perez (bass) and Jay Rogers (guitar) released 2016’s Stuart Sikes-produced sophomore album Bloodsweat, which landed at number 2 on that year’s Best of List, thanks in part to frenetic and anthemic album singles  “ISUA (I Stay Up Anyway)“, “Jezebel” and “No Bounty,” which were delivered with a blistering and forceful swagger. Two years passed before the band released two singles “I Only Speak in Fiction,” and “Locomotive,” which were recorded with Epitaph Records’ head and Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz and Morgan Stratton, which served to revitalize the band and restore their focus before joining  acclaimed producer John Congleton for the By Night sessions.

Slated for a June 7, 2019 release through Epitaph Records, Plague Vendor’s third full-length album By Night reportedly finds the band stretching and warping their sound to evoke a merciless and unrelenting sense of tension and apprehension, seemingly evoking our current sociopolitical moment. “New Comedown,” the third album’s first single was an explosive roar, centered around a propulsive rhythm section, thunderous drumming, layers upon layers of power chords, a mosh pit friendly hook and Blaine’s howled vocals — and while bearing a resemblance to the singles recorded with Gurewitz and Stratton, the song reveals some of the most confident and self-assured songwriting and playing of their growing catalog.  “All of the Above” the album’s second single was a shimmering yet brooding bit of post-punk centered around buzzsaw-like guitars, a shout-along worth hook and a motorik-like groove — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to The Cars, the futuristic, sci-fi punk song captures a narrator, who has partied and fucked around to the point of losing what’s left of his sanity. The album’s third single “Let Me Get High/Low” was a serpentine take on stoner rock that possessed a similar swagger to “No Bounty.”  Interestingly, the album’s fourth and latest single “Prism” is a tense, swaggering bruiser centered around angular guitar chords, breakbeat drumming inspired by Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut,” and an enormous, arena friendly hook — and while bearing a resemblance to the material off their sophomore album, the song possesses a slick, studio sheen. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Plague Vendor Releases Explosive Visuals for Blistering and Anthemic “New Comedown”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about Whittier, CA-based post-punk/ punk rock quartet Plague Vendor. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Brandon Blaine (vocals), Luke Perine (drums), Michael Perez (bass) and Jay Rogers (guitar) formed back in 2009, and within a relatively short time, the band quickly developed a reputation for frenetic and raucous live sets. And as a result of that reputation, they began playing an increasing number of live shows in the area — and those early shows helped lead to 2014’s debut album, Free to Eat, an album that some critics have described as terse, dark and thrashing post-punk. 

2016’s Stuart Sikes-produced sophomore effort Bloodsweat landed at number 2 on this site’s Best of List, and from album singles “ISUA (I Stay Up Anyway)“, “Jezebel” and “No Bounty,” the album was full of frenetic, furious and anthemic punk performed with a blistering and undeniable swagger. Interestingly, two years or so passed before the members of the band released two singles, “I Only Speak in Fiction,” and “Locomotive,” which were recorded with Epitaph Records’ head and Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz and Morgan Stratton that served as a way to help revitalize the band and restore their focus — before joining renowned producer John Congleton, who would helm the sessions that would eventually result in the band’s forthcoming third album, By Night. 

While reportedly, the album is a return-to-form for the Whittier-based punk act, the album’s first single “New Comedown,” is a furious and explosive roar of a song, centered around a propulsive New Wave-like rhythm section, complete with thunderous drumming and a forcefully chugging bass line, layers power chords, and a mosh pit-friendly hook paired with Blaine’s howled vocals. Similar to the material recorded with Gurewitz and Stratton, “New Comedown” features some of the most confident and self-assured songwriting and playing of their growing catalog, making it arguably one of the best rock songs I’ve heard this year. 

The recently released Dan Monick-directed video for the new single features intimate close ups the band performing the song in the studio, with explosive strobe-lit sequences that captures the frenetic and passionate energy of the band’s live set. 

New Video: Plague Vendor’s Frenetic New Single “Locomotive”

Over the years, I’ve written a bit about the Whittier, CA-based punk rock quartet Plague Vendor, and as you may recall the act which is comprised of Brandon Blaine (vocals), Luke Perine (drums), Michael Perez (bass) and Jay Rogers (guitar) formed back in 2009 — and in a short period of time, the members of Plague Vendor developed a reputation for frenetic and raucous live sets. Naturally, as a result of their reputation they played an increasing number of shows, and along with that they had begun to write an increasing batch of material. Those early live shows lead to 2014’s debut album debut Free to Eat, an album that has been described as terse, dark and thrashing post-punk.

2016’s Stuart Sikes-produced sophomore effort Bloodsweat landed at number 2 on this site’s Best of List, and from album singles “ISUA (I Stay Up Anyway)“, “Jezebel” and “No Bounty,” the album was full of frenetic, furious and anthemic punk performed with a blistering and undeniable swagger. Up until recently, two years had passed without any original material from the members of Plague Vendor; but before joining renowned producer John Congleton to begin work on their untitled third album, the members of Plague Vendor, along with Brett Gurewitz and engineer Morgan Stratton entered Sunset Sound Studio 2, where they spent a furious two days writing, completing and recording two songs in two days — the first single was the anxious, raw and stomping “I Only Speak in Fiction.” As the band’s Luke Perine explained in press notes at the time, the writing and recording of “I Only Speak in Fiction” helped revitalize the band and restore their focus. “As a band, we grow anxious—often depressed to some degree—during our downtime,” Perine said in press notes. “Having these two days to get in the studio ahead of working on the next album released a lot of that tension. It became a more productive two days than we expected, as we were only planning on recording one song. I think we are reaching a higher level of focus together as we go into this next album.”

The breakneck “Locomotive,” Plague Vendor’s latest single was recorded during the “I Only Speak in Friction” sessions, and track is centered by rapid fire four-on-the-floor drumming, brooding guitar chords, a chugging bass line, a mosh pit friendly hook and Blaine’s vocals, which shift from crooning to manic howling — and while the song possesses a primal and furious energy at its core, the new single reveals a band that has grown increasingly confident in their songwriting and approach, decidedly expanding upon the sound that has won them attention. 

The accompanying video captures the band at their best — live, frenetic, furious and downright rousing. 

Now, if you were frequenting this site back in 2016, you’d recall that I had written quite a bit about the Whittier, CA-based punk rock quartet Plague Vendor. Comprised of Brandon Blaine (vocals), Luke Perine (drums), Michael Perez (bass) and Jay Rogers (guitar) the band formed in 2009 and in a short period of time, they developed a reputation across Southern California for raucous and frenetic live shows. And through reputation, their live shows began stacking up and along with that their material. Unsurprisingly, those live shows led to their 2014 debut Free to Eat, an album that has largely been described as terse, dark and thrashing post-punk.

The Whittier, CA-based punk rock quartet’s 2016 Stuart Sikes-produced sophomore album Bloodsweat landed at #2 on this site’s Best of List that year, and from album singles like “ISUA (I Stay Up Anyway)“, “Jezebel” and “No Bounty,” was furious, frenetic and anthemic punk full of piss and vinegar and undeniable swagger. Two years have passed since the release of the impressive Bloodsweat and before joining renowned producer John Congleton to begin work on their untitled third album, the members of Plague Vendor, along with Brett Gurewitz and engineer Morgan Stratton entered Sunset Sound Studio 2, where they spent a furious two days writing, completing and recording two songs in two days — and the and and first single from that session is their first bit of new material since their sophomore album, the raw, volatile and stomping “I Only Speak in Friction.” Sonically, the song feels and sounds anxious, and to me at least, it evokes a desperation of men at the end of their rope.

As the band’s Luke Perine explains writing and recording “I Only Speak in Friction” helped to revitalized the band and restore their focus. “As a band, we grow anxious—often depressed to some degree—during our downtime,” says Perine. “Having these two days to get in the studio ahead of working on the next album released a lot of that tension. It became a more productive two days than we expected, as we were only planning on recording one song. I think we are reaching a higher level of focus together as we go into this next album.”

Plague Vendor has a handful of upcoming shows, including festival appearances at Ohana Fest and Aftershock. Check out the tour dates, below.
PLAGUE VENDOR TOUR DATES

Aug 14 Pomona, CA – The Glass House w/The Kills

Sep 29 Dana Point, CA – Ohana Fest

Oct 14 Sacramento, CA – Aftershock

New Video: Goldfrapp Releases Gorgeous and Cinematic Visuals for the Reworked Version of “Ocean” featuring Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan

With the release of 2013’s Tales of Us, Goldfrapp, comprised of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, released one of their most hauntingly cinematic and gorgeous efforts they’ve ever released, as the album’s material found the duo pairing Goldfrapp’s arresting vocals with classical music-inspired arrangements centered around piano and strings, acoustic guitar and occasional electronic flourishes. However, last year’s critically applauded and commercially successful Silver Eye was a striking return to form — and as you may recall Anymore,” the album’s first single featured a slick yet abrasive sound featuring  enormous, thumping 808-like beats, layers of buzzing and undulating synths. Interestingly, “Anymore” much like the rest of the material on the album buzzed with a restless, creative energy and sense of experimentation that was partially the result of the acclaimed duo working with  Grammy-wining producer John Congleton, who has worked with St. Vincent, John Grant and Wild Beasts; as well as collaborations with electronic composer Bobby Krlic, best known as The Haxan Cloak and Leo Abrahams, a guitarist, who has collaborated with Brian Eno.

Album single “Ocean” continued in a similar vein as the song centered around an abrasive and minimalist-leaning production of arpeggiated synths, thunderous beats. As the duo explained to Billboard the song was created during a morning writing and recording session and was originally built from what Goldfrapp called a “a very small improvisation.” “I remember coming into the studio one morning and I think we just had a few drums going and it was really basic,” Goldfrapp recalled. “Will said ‘Do you fancy doing some vocals this morning?’ So I was like, ‘Alright then’ and slightly reluctantly, i went into the vocal both and the words just came out.” And as a result, the song manages to bristle with a furious sense of unpredictability.

July 6, 2016 will mark the release of Silver Eye: Deluxe Edition and while the deluxe edition will include the original album material, there will be a bonus disc of remixes and alternate versions, including a re-recording of “Ocean” that features Depeche Mode‘s Dave Gahan, as well a previously unreleased Will Gregory remix of “Anymore.” Naturally, turning the original song into a duet with Gahan’s and Goldfrapp’s imitable vocals gives the song a harder, darker, moodier, goth edge while still managing to be a straightforward rendition of the song. But perhaps, more important, if you’re a fan of both, it’s the most necessary and effortless collaboration that you needed to hear.

Directed by Alison Goldfrapp, the gorgeous and cinematically shot video for “Ocean” found her returning to Fuerteventura, where the videos for “Anymore” and “Everything Is Never Enough” were shot for her scenes, while she directed Dave Gahan in Madrid during a break in Depeche Mode’s current world tour. As a photographer, the video features some scenery and cinematography that has me jealous. As Alison Goldfrapp says of the video, “I had an amazing time directing Dave in the video for the track and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.”
 

New Audio: Goldfrapp Team Up with Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan on a Reworked Version of “Ocean”

With the release of 2013’s Tales of Us, Goldfrapp, comprised of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, released one of their most hauntingly cinematic and gorgeous efforts they’ve ever released, as the album’s material found the duo pairing Goldfrapp’s arresting vocals with classical music-inspired arrangements centered around piano and strings, acoustic guitar and occasional electronic flourishes. However, last year’s critically applauded and commercially successful Silver Eye was a striking return to form — and as you may recall Anymore,” the album’s first single featured a slick yet abrasive sound featuring  enormous, thumping 808-like beats, layers of buzzing and undulating synths. Interestingly, “Anymore” much like the rest of the material on the album buzzed with a restless, creative energy and sense of experimentation that was partially the result of the acclaimed duo working with  Grammy-wining producer John Congleton, who has worked with St. Vincent, John Grant and Wild Beasts; as well as collaborations with electronic composer Bobby Krlic, best known as The Haxan Cloak and Leo Abrahams, a guitarist, who has collaborated with Brian Eno.

Album single “Ocean” continued in a similar vein as the song centered around an abrasive and minimalist-leaning production of arpeggiated synths, thunderous beats. As the duo explained to Billboard the song was created during a morning writing and recording session and was originally built from what Goldfrapp called a “a very small improvisation.” “I remember coming into the studio one morning and I think we just had a few drums going and it was really basic,” Goldfrapp recalled. “Will said ‘Do you fancy doing some vocals this morning?’ So I was like, ‘Alright then’ and slightly reluctantly, i went into the vocal both and the words just came out.” And as a result, the song manages to bristle with a furious sense of unpredictability. 

July 6, 2016 will mark the release of Silver Eye: Deluxe Edition and while the deluxe edition will include the original album material, there will be a bonus disc of remixes and alternate versions, including a re-recording of “Ocean” that features Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan, as well a previously unreleased Will Gregory remix of “Anymore.” Naturally, turning the original song into a duet with Gahan’s and Goldfrapp’s imitable vocals gives the song a harder, darker, moodier, goth edge while still managing to be a straightforward rendition of the song. But perhaps, more important, if you’re a fan of both, it’s the most necessary and effortless collaboration that you needed to hear. 

Live Footage: Xiu Xiu Covers ZZ Top on AV Club “Undercover”

I’ve long been a fan of The Onion AV Club, as I think they’ve consistently offered some of most incisive and hilarious criticism of movies, movies and pop culture, written by some of the country’s smartest critics and writers. And it shouldn’t be surprising that for a long time I longed to write for them. Now, since moving exclusively to the interwebs, the folks at The Onion AV Club created the Undercover video series.  The concept behind the video series is pretty interesting — every season, the website’s writers and editors devise a list of songs that they would love to hear some contemporary artist or band cover.

The website’s staff then invites artists and bands over to their Chicago studio, where the invited band chooses a song from the AV Club’s list for that particular session — and then the band or artist records it in a live session. Here’s where things get truly interesting: Once a song is chosen and then covered, it’s crossed off their list, reducing the number of songs anyone else can cover that season, so if an artist or band is invited later on in their season, their choices may be much more limited than a band that was invited earlier. By doing that, it prevents having several invited artists or bands from covering the same sets of songs over and and over and over again.

And while revealing the influences and tastes of many contemporary acts, it also forces artists out of their confront zones, sometimes to a gloriously weird result — such as  They Might Be Giants’ boisterous  cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Screaming Females‘ feral, punk rock cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Gwar’s thrash punk covers of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams (And Into My Car),”  and  Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” which are so fucking awesome, that you need to check them out below) or to the “oh shit, I never thought that artist could pull that song,” like  Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s collaborative cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” And as you can imagine, sometimes the covers are straightforward — and other times, the band or artist brings a unique, never thought of take. Adding to the unpredictability of the series, they’ve had Shearwater cover Bowie’s Lodger in its entirety.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this very strange year, you may recall that to start off the eighth season of Undercover, The A.V. Club invited the Seattle, WA-based indie rock blogosphere darlings Minus the Bear to their newly redesigned Chicago studio, where they played a forceful and lovingly straightforward cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” Adding to a pretty interesting season of covers, The A.V. Club invited renowned and incredibly prolific experimental indie rock act Xiu Xiu into the studio, where they contributed a tense, manic, almost Devo “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”-like cover of ZZ Top’s smash hit “Sharp Dressed Man,” complete with a wild drum accompaniment that brings new life to an oft covered song. 

Along with their John Congleton-produced 11th full-length effort FORGET, which was released earlier this year, the members of Xiu Xiu will be releasing a split 7 inch with Italian band (r) and it’ll feature both bands covering ZZ Top. 

As Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart explains in press notes, “It took me a long time to come around to ZZ Top. When I was a kid i thought they were a joke band and their beards and campy sexuality freaked me out. Later on Xiu Xiu tours we would and still do always listen to the Black Flag tour diary Get In The Van wherein Henry Rollins mentions playing ZZ Top to all the punks in England, telling them it was the new Exploited record and watching them cry. 

This was funny and I thought hmmm .  . .

Then after watching a long jag of music documentaries, Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top, time and time again was a commentator. He was always incredibly smart, clearly deeply devoted to the history of music and insane looking.  

We were asked by the AV Club cover’s series to play a song from a list they had chosen. Everything on the list was a bunch of 90s RnB that I was never into or lame-o indie rock EXCEPT for ‘Sharp Dressed Man.’

The stars had aligned. I had no idea what a radical guitar part it was and what a pleasure it was to learn, by the end of the song I had to have 4 different fuzz and distortion pedals on to make it as zonked out as it needs to be. 

Walking down the streets of Torino on tour and talking with dear friend and long time collaborator Fabrizio Palumbo of (r) and his husband Paul Beauchamp. I mentioned we were covering the song. They said very matter of factly, “‘Xiu Xiu as ZZ Top and (r) as ZZ Bottom. Let’s do a split 7 inch.’”

He sent in his perfect minimal, experimental, goth, cabaret version of ‘Gimme All Your Lovin.’ A perversion made in heaven was born. “

New Audio: Goldfrapp’s Latest Single Reveals Both a Return to Form and an Improvisational Feel

Now, with the release of 2013’s Tales of Us, Goldfrapp — comprised of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory —released what was arguably one of their most cinematic, hauntingly and lushly gorgeous efforts, as the album’s material paired Goldfrapp’s arresting vocals with classical-leaning arrangements featuring piano, a soaring string section, acoustic guitar with some electronic flourishes here and there. Interestingly, with the release of “Anymore,” the first single off the band’s soon-to-be released and much-anticipated follow up to Tales of Us, Silver Eye revealed a bit of a return to form for the duo as the single features a slick production consisting of enormous, thumping 808-like beats, layers of buzzing and undulating synths paired with Goldfrapp’s sultry vocals, expressing a tense impatience and longing with a tougher, more abrasive sound while buzzing with a restless, creative energy and sense of experimentation, which stems from the recording sessions with Grammy-wining producer John Congleton, who has worked with St. Vincent, John Grant and Wild Beasts; as well as collaborations with electronic composer Bobby Krlic, best known as The Haxan Cloak and Leo Abrahams, a guitarist, who has collaborated with Brian Eno contributed abstract guitar textures. And lastly, the album was mixed by David Wrench, who has worked with The xx, FKA Twigs and Caribou.

Much like the previously released singles, “Ocean” reveals an abrasive sound featuring layers of arpeggio synths, tribal like drumming, enormous, thundering beats, and ominously swirling electronics within a fairly minimalist-inspired production that allows Goldfrapp’s expressive vocals room to express anger, disgust and frustration. As the duo explained to the folks at Billboard the song was created during a morning writing and recording session and was originally built from what Goldfrapp called a “a very small improvisation.” “I remember coming into the studio one morning and I think we just had a few drums going and it was really basic,” Goldfrapp recalled. “Will said ‘Do you fancy doing some vocals this morning?’ So I was like, ‘Alright then’ and slightly reluctantly, i went into the vocal both and the words just came out.” And as a result, the song manages to bristle with a wild, unpredictability unlike any of their previously released material.