Tag: John Zorn

New Video: Netherlands Releases a Stark Visual Full of Existential Dread

Formed by its creative mastermind, Timo Ellis, a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has collaborated with Yoko Ono, Cibo Matto, John Zorn, Melvins, Gibby Haynes, Ween, Joan As Police Woman, Spacehog, White Hills and others back in 2010, the New York-based act NETHERLANDS currently features Chealsea “Thee Chuq” Wierbonski, John Musto and Damien Moffitt. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past handful of years, you may recall that the New York-based band has developed a reputation for adhering to a sound and approach that actively rejects restraint for ambitious maximalism featuring pummeling drumming, dexterous guitar shredding, rapid fire tone, tempo and time signature changes — while being remarkably hook-driven in a way that sort of recalls Melvins, Torche, Mastodon and Jane’s Addiction.  

Building upon a growing profile, the members of NETHERLANDS have played with a number of renowned and acclaimed acts across a diverse and eclectic array of genres and styles including Napalm Death, Melt Banana, Mutoid Man, Yob, Black Flag, EYEHATEGOD, Candiria, Valient Thorr, Child Abuse, Mutilation Rites, Primitive Weapons, Freshkills, Vaz, Naam, Martin Rev, The Giraffes, The Death Set, BANGLADEAFY! DN’T, Unstoppable Death Machines, Mouth of the Architect, White Hills, Gull, Godmaker, Spacehog, The Austerity Program, No Way, Moon Tooth and Radkey.

Recalling an industrial-leaning take on King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Murder of the Universe, Netherlands’ latest single “Zombie Techno” retains the pummeling sound and sludgy power chords that has won them attention but while arguably being one of the most danceable — yes, really danceable — songs they’ve released to date.  “The theme of his song, as well as our entire new wave of material, is a comment on the illusion of community and civic participation that’s become the currency of all the new media platforms,” the band’s Timo Ellis explains. “Virtually everyone is constantly feeding overlapping algorithms that are sustained by a near-constant supply of curated narcissism, which while outwardly appearing to be ‘issue driven,’ much more often than not, don’t actually reflect any kind of real world action or real coalition-building or organization, whatsoever.”

Directed and designed by Kenny Curwood, the recently released video for “Zombie Techno” is centered around incredibly stark New Yorker cartoon-like animation, which shows human history and the human condition but through the lens of psychedelic, existential dread. Ultimately, the visual features an indifferent universe that sarcastically smirks and mocks humanity’s attempt to make meaning of their lives, as well as putting existence to a danceable rhythm.  

New Video: Lisel’s Gorgeous Visuals for Ethereal Debut Single “Ciphers”

Perhaps best known as one-half of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays Pavo Pavo, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and experimental artist Eliza Bagg has spent the last few years developing a prolific career in her own rite, collaborating with Helado Negro, Julianna Barwick, John Zorn, and Caroline Shaw and performing in avant-garde operas by Meredith Monk with the L.A. Philharmonic.

Bagg has stepped out further as a solo artist with her latest recording project Lisel, which grew from Bagg’s desire to turn inwards as a way to get in touch with her own sense of authenticity. “I had found space in the classical world that made sense for me,” says Bagg, “but I realized I needed to make something that was truly mine, that sprung from my own voice.” Naturally, that realization led to a year-long writing and recording process with Bagg waking up every morning to spend time alone with just a microphone and her computer.

“My main instrument is my voice, not a keyboard or a guitar, so I wanted it to be the genesis of every song,” Bagg explains. “I was trying to use the resources I had within me, within my body, to make something that feels true about the way we live our lives now, in 2019. That’s why I wanted to focus on my voice-I wanted each song to be literally made out of me.”

Bagg’s debut Lisel single “Ciphers” is an ethereal song built around a spectral arrangement of shimmering synths, flute, glitchy beats and Bagg’s vocals, which manage to be intimate, crystalline and achingly tender — with a plaintive yearning. Directed by Jing Niu, the accompanying video is a hazy and feverish dream that emphasizes the song’s plaintive and yearning quality.

“The word cipher has two meanings — it can be a coded message, but it can also be an empty hole, a zero,” Bagg says of her latest single. “The song is about the haunting uncertainty in the pathways that have been set out before you, and realizing these courses have become more ambiguous and disorienting than you thought – at best entangled, at worst empty. There’s also, however, the glimmer of trying to find authenticity within that reality – the background choir serving as the basis for the song is simultaneously pure and glitchy, faulty but still true.” Adds Bagg, “The video is set in three surreal, manufactured landscapes: a celestial beach next to a reflection pool, a dark space where a shadow figure mimics and supports my movement, and a river of red silk. My identity is echoed in the pool and splintered in the shadow figure.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Pavo Pavo Release Cinematic and Feverish Visuals for Achingly Gorgeous New Album Single

Over the past couple of years of this site’s eight-plus year history, I’ve written a bit about the Brooklyn-based indie pop act Pavo Pavo, and as you may recall the band, which derives its name from the southern constellation Pavo (Latin for “peacock”) can trace its origins back to when its founding trio Eliza Bagg (vocals, violin and synths), Oliver Hill (vocals, guitar, synths) and Ian Romer (bass) met while studying at Yale University. And since their formation back in 2015, individual members of the band have collaborated with the likes of  Here We Go Magic, John Zorn, Dave Longstreth, Porches, Olga Bell, Lucius, Roomful of Teeth and San Fermin among others while the band has received attention both from this site and elsewhere for a retro-futuristic sound that draws from 60s psych pop, synth pop, prog rock and New Age.

Since the release of the band’s critically applauded debut album Young Narrator in the Breakers, the band has gone through a series of massive lineup changes as the band has become centered around two of its founding members — Oliver Hill and Eliza Bagg. Interestingly, much like Rubblebucket’s latest album, Pavo Pavo’s forthcoming (and long-awaited) sophomore album Mystery Hour is thematically and narratievly focused around the breakup of the duo’s six-year romantic relationship and the changing of their relationship; in fact, the album and its creative process began as a way for Hill and Bagg to process their breakup and what it meant both for them and the band — and in some way, it also became a feedback loop, influencing their separation and the new roles they would have in each other’s lives. And as result, the album manages to be a cinematic yet intimate mediation on relationships from different angles — but primarily on messy, incomplete endings between equally messy and incomplete people. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the album’s first official single, album title track “Mystery Hour” is an incredibly tight yet swooning pop song that recalls Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles, as its driven by a gorgeous orchestral arrangement, a soaring background choir arrangement, strummed acoustic guitar, and the duo’s haunting harmonies before a celestial fadeout; but the song is an acutely bittersweet and aching lament centered around the line “I realize love is to see every side of you/but mon cheri, I’m designed to be unsatisfied.” It’s a painfully sad reminder that eventually all things end — and we’re left to figure out some way to pick up the broken pieces and move forward. 

Directed by Harrison Atkins, the video is a vibrant and gauzy fever dream full of joy, ache, longing and regret in the wild and confusingly ambivalent mix that life throws at us. As Pavo Pavo’s Oliver Hill explains of the video’s treatment: “Our new record was written after Eliza and I were separating after a six–year relationship. For the title track, we wanted to make a video that introduced us as two characters meditating on relationships from all angles, while matching the romantic melodrama of the orchestra and choir with lots of cinematic action and narrative. John, the 7–foot protagonist of the video, is an angel of love and sex, and serves as a superhuman mascot for the record – he represents the search for intimacy and connection. The human heart tattoo on his neck is the core of his power, and within the tattoo lives us, Pavo Pavo, casting spells and guiding his movements as he makes out with everyone in sight.”

Mystery Hour is slated for a January 25, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings. 

Comprised of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Timo Ellis, who has recorded and played with the likes of Yoko Ono, Cibo Matto, John Zorn, Melvins, Gibby Haynes, Ween, Joan As Police Woman, Spacehog, White Hills and others, and has released over 25 wildly varied solo albums as TE and other pseudonyms; Ava Farber (synthbass), Joel “Moon Daddy” Willis (drums) and Chealsea “Thee Chuq” Wierbonski (synthbass) the New York-based act NETHERLANDS since their formation back in 2008 have developed a firmly-held reputation for a maximalist approach that follows Ellis’ personal mission statement of making music that can be equally light-hearted, brutal and ecstatic centered around power chord led shredding, pummeling drumming, soaring vocals and madding hooks.

And while generally possessing a difficult to describe sound, the band which draws from heavy metal, arena rock, post-hardcore and math rock, the members of the New York-based act have played with a number of renowned acts across a variety of genres and styles including Napalm Death, Melt Banana, Mutoid Man, Yob, Black Flag, EYEHATEGOD, Candiria, Valient Thorr, Child Abuse, Mutilation Rites, Primitive Weapons, Freshkills, Vaz, Naam, Martin Rev, The Giraffes, The Death Set, BANGLADEAFY! DN’T, Unstoppable Death Machines, Mouth of the Architect, White Hills, Gull, Godmaker, Spacehog, The Austerity Program, No Way, Moon Tooth and Radkey.

​The New York-based act’s Black Gaia is slated for release this Friday through Records and Tapes Records, and from the album’s latest single “Army!,” the album will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting pummeling and furious material centered around equally enormous power chords and arena rock friendly hooks, distorted synthbass and Ellis’s shouting politically charged lyrics, lambasting rampant commercialism and greed — all while drawing from math rock, psych rock and thrash metal in a way that reminds me of Cinemechanica. Arguably, this song may be one for the most explosive and forceful rippers I’ve heard all year, and it’s so fucking necessary.

NETHERLANDS will be touring with Mastodon and Dinosaur Jr. throughout September. Check out the tour dates below.

Mastodon, Dinosaur Jr, Netherlands – 2018 tour:
Sep 1 – Edmonton, AB @ Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Sep 2 – Calgary, AB @ Grey Eagle Resort & Casino
Sep 4 – Saskatoon, SK @ O’Brian’s Event Centre
Sep 6 – Winnipeg, MB @ Burton Cummings Theatre
Sep 7 – Duluth, MN @ Duluth Heritage Center
Sep 8 – Sioux City, IA @ Anthem @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Sep 11 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
Sep 12 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre
Sep 14 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Clyde Theatre
Sep 15 – Grand Rapids, MI @ 20 Monroe Live
Sep 16 – London, ON @ London Concert Theatre
Sep 17 – Kitchener, ON @ Elements
Sep 19 – Hamilton, ON @ FirstOntario Concert Hall
Sep 20 – Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theatre
Sep 21 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore

Co-founded in 1979 by the legendary Brian Eno, Bill Laswell and New York-based producer, engineer and producer Martin Bisi, the Brooklyn-based BC Studio has played a pivotal role in New York’s musical history as landmark albums by Sonic Youth, Swans, Unsane, Afrika Bambaataa, Herbie Hancock, John Zorn and others were personally recorded by BC Studio’s Martin Bisi. BC35 is a special compilation that chronicles a weekend of live performances celebrating the studio’s 35th anniversary in January 2016, recorded by Bisi at the studio featuring improvised and written pieces by current and former members of Sonic Youth, Swans, White Hills, Foetus, Cop Shoot Cop, Live Skull, Pop 1280, Violent Femmes, The Dresden Dolls, Alice Donut, Lubricated Goat and others.

“What A Jerk,” the first single from the BC35 sessions is a jam from a new project, EXCOP, which features Algis Kizys, who had a stint in Swams in the 90s and is currently a member of Lydia Lunch‘s backing band; Phil Puleo, who splits time between Swans and Cop Shoot Cop; and Puelo’s Cop Shoot Cop bandmates, Jack Nantz and Jim Coleman, and unsurprisingly, the single is a murky, pummeling and noisy affair consisting of scorching guitar, sizzling feedback, down-tuned bass, thunderous drumming and random burst of spoken word that give the song an art school rock vibe.

EXCOP, along with Bisi’s newest band Nowhere Near, which features current and former members of Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore, Lydia Lunch’s band; New Old Skull, which features all of the original Live Skull members, White Hills and Tidal Channel will be playing at the album release show at Saint Vitus on 4/20/18. Bronson Recordings will be releasing BC on April 20, 2018 as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Pavo Pavo Return with Hazy and Dreamy Visuals for “No Mind”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months or so, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based experimental pop/psych pop act  Pavo Pavo. Deriving their name from the name of southern constellation Pavo, which is Latin for peacock, the members of the band Eliza Bagg (violin, synths, vocals), Oliver Hill (guitar, synths and vocals). Nolan Green (guitar, vocals), Austin Vaughn (drums) and Ian Romer (bass) can trace its origins to when the members of the quintet were studying at Yale University. And since their formation, individual members of the band  have collaborated with the likes of a number of renowned and accomplished bands including Here We Go Magic, John Zorn, Dave Longstreth, Porches, Olga Bell, Lucius, Roomful of Teeth and San Fermin among others. Now, as you may recall their “Ran Ran Run”/”Annie Hall” 7 inch was praised by a number of media outlets and blogs, including Stereogum, who praised their sound as being “weightless pop music that sounds like it was beamed down from a glimmering utopian future.” Although, I’d mention that while clearly nodding at 60s psych pop and 80s New Age, just underneath the glimmering surface, there’s a subtle hint at unease, anxiety, rot and dysfunction. 
The band’s full-length debut Young Narrator in the Breakers was released last year through Bella Union Records and according to the members of Pavo Pavo, the material thematically describes both the magic and panic of adult life, with the understanding that much like getting caught in a vicious breaker while swimming at the beach, you have to stop fighting and ride it out until you can get to shore safely. And unsurprisingly, the album was met with critical applause with Pitchfork describing the album as “a lovelorn alien reaching out from the farthest reaches of the galaxy” and The Guardian describing the album to “Brian Wilson running amok in the BBC radiophonic workshop.” 

“No Mind,” Young Narrator in the Breakers’ latest single is a deceptively straightforward track. Although it hews very close to hazy 60s psych pop, the song is a swooningly wistful and lovelorn song that seems much more bittersweet than their previous releases while retaining their incredibly crafted sound centered on Bagg’s and Hill’s gorgeous boy/girl harmonizing, soaring, vintage analog synths and sharp hooks. “No Mind” may arguably be the most human of their tracks, as there’s a real ache over 

Directed by the band’s longtime friend Jon Appel, the video started as a concept devised by the band’s Eliza Bagg. Bagg’s concept began as a take on the prototypical performance-based music video; but featuring an abstract narrative and dance choreography. Reportedly, she pictured a bleak, digital space with her own character being a sort of rebellious siren of truth, dancing and singing songs of real connection while the rest of her band grew increasingly complacent and robotic within the video’s highly artificial and colorful confines. Appel guided Bagg and her bandmates through the process of adapting and bringing her ideas to life — and as a result, the video builds off the characters of the other videos off Young Narrator, an amalgamation with Bagg returning to the sunshine on a white cloud chrysalis. And while being a hazy, almost lysergic-tinged dream, the video possesses a tender and surreal beauty. 

Live Footage: Pavo Pavo and Friends Pay Tribute to Manhattan Inn with a cover of George Harrison’s “Wah Wah”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’ve come across a handful of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based experimental/psych pop act Pavo Pavo. Deriving their name from the name of the southern constellation Pavo — Latin for peacock —the members of the band Eliza Bagg (violin, synths, vocals), Oliver Hill (guitar, synths and vocals). Nolan Green (guitar, vocals), Austin Vaughn (drums) and Ian Romer (bass) can trace its origins to when the members of the quintet were studying while at Yale University, and since then individual members have collaborated with the likes of Here We Go Magic, John Zorn, Dave Longstreth, Porches, Olga Bell, Lucius, Roomful of Teeth and San Fermin among others. Adding to a growing profile, their “Ran Ran Run”/”Annie Hall” 7 inch was praised by a number of media outlets and blogs, including Stereogum as being “weightless pop music that sounds like it was beamed down from a glimmering utopian future.” And while nodding at 60s psych pop and 80s New Age, just underneath the glimmering surface there’s a hint at unease, anxiety, rot and dysfunction.

Released during the last few months of 2016, the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Young Narrator in the Breakers was released to critical praise across the blogosphere for material that thematically speaking — according to the members of the band — described both magic and panic of adult life. Conveying the understanding that much like getting caught in a vicious breaker, the swimmer has to stop swimming and fighting against the tide; that on a certain level, they have to go along and ride it out while sonically speaking album singles like “Ruby (Let’s Buy The Bike),” “Ran Ran Run” and “Annie Hall,” real a band that specializes in dreamy, minimalist and escapist synth-based pop that manages to be simultaneously retro-futuristic and utopian; but just under the surface, there’s a sense of anxiety and rot.

Interestingly, when the members of Pavo Pavo — which also includes members of the Swimmers art collective — heard that the renowned Greenpoint, Brooklyn venue Manhattan Inn was closing, they all decide that they should call up a bunch of musician friends and film a video at the last minute to commemorate and celebrate the space, as the space had a special connection for the band and for countless numbers of musicians across Brooklyn. As the band said to the folks at Brooklyn Vegan “Manhattan Inn was a rare place, a place where bands felt free to step out of their routine of Playing-The-Set-In-Rock-Clubs.” The members of the band went on to describe seeing some incredible, once in a lifetime/only in New York live music; but more important, that the venue was where they played their first New York area live show, where they met their manager, where they played an impromptu night of Bowie covers, upon learning of his death — and where they collaborated with a ton of musicians across Brooklyn. They go on to explain that All Things Must Pass is one of their favorite albums and that “Wah Wah” seems to suit the collective, experimental and joyous atmosphere of Manhattan Inn.

The end result was 24 musicians, including members of Lucius, Delicate Steve, San Fermin, Alpenglow, Uni Ika Ai, Wilder Maker, Antibalas, Underground System and others performing a straightforward yet gorgeous cover of George Harrison’s “Wah Wah,” off his critically and commercially successful All Things Must Pass.

New Video: New JOVM Mainstays Pavo Pavo Release a Surreal and Old-Timey Video for “Ruby (Let’s Buy the Bike)”

Now, as you may recall the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, Young Narrator in the Breakers was released last month through Bella Union Records and thematically, the material according to the members of the band describes both the magic and panic of adult life — with the understanding that much like a getting caught in a vicious breaker, you have to stop fighting and ride it out until you can get to shore safely. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Ruby (Let’s Buy The Bike)” consists of gorgeous falsetto boy/girl harmonies, a strummed and slightly ragged guitar-led melody, off-kilter percussion and soaring synths. And the result is a gorgeous and trippy acceptance of time’s passing and a swooning love song to a beautiful motorcycle named Ruby. Part of the song involves the hopes and plans the narrator has for the bike; some of which picturing himself riding around on the badass bike, potentially getting into a gruesome accident and dying — but saying “man, for the bike, it was fucking worth it.”

The video was shot, directed, produced and edited by the members of the band and as the band’s Oliver Hill explains in press notes about the video “Pavo Pavo’s Oliver Hill talks about the video, saying “There’s a great Kenneth Anger documentary about a biker gang called Scorpio Rising that peers into all the death-obsessed symbology in these gangs, and the whole bizarre environment piqued my interest. For the video we went up to Pleasantville, NY, which is both me and Ian [Romer]’s hometown, and tried to make something that captured that special type of suburban-high-school boredom where groups of friends rove around and try to find little adventures – a sort of reimagined biker gang. We directed it ourselves and shot it on Super 8, which has such a beautiful and cool character – so in a way the whole enterprise was a bit like a group of high school friends, making something on a spare Saturday.”