Tag: krautrock

New Video: Birmingham AL’s Wray Releases a Brooding Visual for Shimmering and Cinematic “Jogging/Neon Forming”

Wray is a critically applauded Birmingham, AL-based indie trio — David Bown (bass, vocals), David Swatzell (guitar, vocals) and Blake Wimberly (drums)  — that can trace its origins to its members’ shared decade-plus history in Birmingham’s indie and underground scenes. Interestingly, with the act’s first two albums — 2014’s self-titled debut and 2016’s Lynn Bridges and Wray co-produced sophomore album Hypatia, the Birmingham-based trio received praise from the likes of The New York Times and Mojo for their adventurous, genre-defying sound and approach. Adding to a growing profile, they’ve also made appearances on MTVu and Daytrotter. 

Slated for a June 5, 2020 release through their longtime label home Communicating Vessels Records, the band’s long-awaited, self-produced dual record Stream of Youth/Blank World thematically is an exploration of personal dichotomies: hope and pessimism, wildness and composure, joy and pain. Recorded at Communicating Vessels Birmingham area studio, the band experimented, wrote, revised and recorded the material at their own pace. Sonically, the material further establishes the band’s reputation for crafting a shimmering New Wave-like take on shoegaze that seems indebted to NEU!, Faust, Can, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, and even The Cure. 

“Jogging/Neon Forming,” Stream of Youth/Blank World’s brooding and cinematic latest single is a perfect example of the sound that has won them acclaim: centered around a motorik groove, shimmering synth arpeggios, plaintive vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook, the song feels like an ethereal yet lingering fever dream. At its core is an achingly wistful nostalgia for a past that we simply can’t get back — and considering the current state of the world, the song’s overall feel and vibe feels powerfully relevant. 

Created by Barbara Baron, the recently released video for “Jogging/Neon Forming” was hot on a grainy VHS-like tape and features a lonely woman in a laundromat and briefly in a park — and throughout there’s a sense of loss. 

 

With the release of their first two EPs, which have received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6, the Belfast, Northern Ireland-based indie act Junk Drawer — Stevie Lennox (guitar, synth, vocals), Jake Lennox (guitar, synths ass, drums, vocals), Brian Coney (guitar, bass) and Rory Dee (drums, bass, guitar, synths, piano, backing vocals) —  have firmly established a unique sound that draws from Krautrock, post-punk and psych rock while earning quite a bit of acclaim in their native Northern Ireland: they’re the first DIY act to ever win a Northern Ireland Music Prize for Best Single with last year’s critically applauded “Year of the Sofa.” They’re also responsible for spearheading the independent Northern Irish music community with the acclaimed Litany of Failures compilations, which have become something of an institution. And adding to a growing national and regional profile, the act have toured across the UK and Ireland, opening for the likes of Mclusky, Built to Spill, Jeffrey Lewis and And So I Watch You From Afar.

The Belfast-based quartet’s highly-anticipated Chris Ryan-produced full-length debut Ready For The House is slated for an April 24, 2020 release through Art for the Blind Records reportedly finds the rising act channeling Pavement, Silver Jews and Beak> with the album’s material veering between slacker rock, post-punk, kraurock and psych across seven songs that thematically touch upon malaise, self-worth, the transience of mental illness and the fragmented and distorted narrative that it brings with it.

The album’s first single “Temporary Day” is a decidedly krautrock-inspired track, centered around an off-kilter and propulsive motorik groove, droning synths, blasts of fuzzy guitars and Jake Lennox’s ironically detached vocals. And while nodding at Pavement, the song chronicles a struggle with sexual identity and eating disorders and the string of the constant internalization of these issues on mental health. “‘Temporary Day’ is about having a temporary day of relief from all the horrible feelings I usually have.” the band’s Jake Lennox says in press notes. “The fog ascends briefly & I can think clearly for a time. Also about my face not being puffy from burst blood vessels because I hadn’t thrown up in a day or two.”

New Video: The Trippy Visuals and Krautrock Sounds of Tokyo’s Minami Deutsch

With the release of 2015’s self-titled debut and 2016’s Tunnel/New Pastoral Life EP, the Tokyo-based krautrock act Minami Deutsch, comprised of Kyotrao Miula (guitar, vocals, synthesizer), Taku Idemoto (guitar) and Keita Ise (bass), quickly established themselves with their homeland’s growing and incredibly vital psych scene. Much like their contemporaries, the band meshes the best influences from the global psych rock scene and meshes that with a delicate touch of Japanese music tradition. 

Their latest effort, Can’t get there, a six song EP, which was released through Höga Nord Rekords earlier this year marks their second release through the Gothenburg, Sweden-based label, and interestingly the EP’s material is meant to crush negativity, sorrow and depressive energy while continuing their long-held adherence to a sound and approach that’s defiantly anachronistic. There are only small hits and elements of modernity throughout; however, the new album finds the band going along and trying some new paths, as the EP features a cover of Index’s 1968 song “Israeli Blues” and two remixes from Hoga Kord labelmates and mainstays Jamie Paton and Mythologen. 

Clocking in at a little over seven minutes, Can’t get there’s latest single, EP title track “Can’t get there” is an expansive and trippy composition that’s a seamless synthesis of classic krautrock and psych rock. Centered around a performance that feels like a free-flowing jam and tightly rehearsed, the track features shimmering and angular bursts of guitar wrapped around a forceful, motorik groove making it the rare song that’s perfect for speeding down the Autobahn  — and for getting high and for trying to get on a different astral plane. 

Directed by Ryohei Kumamoto, the recently released video stars Lou Andreasu as a paranoid woman, wandering the streets of Tokyo, as though someone has been following her. Oddly enough, her moments are almost perfectly synched with the movement of the song. 

New Video: Oh Sees Release Lysergic Visuals for Their Krautrock-Driven New Single “Anthemic Aggressor”

Throughout this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Bay Area-based  Oh Sees (a.k.a. Thee Oh Sees, OCS, The Oh Sees, The Orange County Sound, Orinoka Crash Suite and other variations). And as you may recall, the band which is led by its ridiculously prolific primary songwriter John Dwyer (vocals, guitar) and currently comprised of Tim Hellman (bass), Dan Rincon (drums) and Paul Quattrone (drums) have a long held reputation for a wide ranging experimentalism that has seen the band dabble and bounce between lysergic folk, furious and sweaty garage punk, sci-fi driven krautrock and countless others — with each successive album generally being completely different from its predecessors.

Last year’s Orc was a muscular and darkly inventive turn for the current lineup with the material balancing a cosmic vibe with some of their most punishing tendencies in some time. They promptly followed that up with Memory of a Cut Off Head which found the band revisiting the sound and approach of their early years, However, their latest album, the recently released Smote Reverser was recorded at the dusty pecan farm, where they recorded Orc — and the album’s latest single is the expansive “Anthemic Aggression.” Clocking in at almost 13 minutes, the track is centered by a spacious, lysergic-tinged and percussive, krautrock groove and explosive blasts of cosmic ray-like feedback and bursts of fuzzy guitar. And while the song brings a cerebral, prog rock sensibility to mind, as I’m reminded of Yes, Rush and King Lizard and the Gizzard Wizard, it balances that with a primal, forceful groove that subtly hints at Afrobeat — all while directly drawing at krautrock.

Directed by John Dwyer and featuring puppets, a spaceship and green screen work by Dwyer, the recently released video follows two intergalactic space travelers fleeing our tiny little section of the galaxy and the mind-bending things they see as they go through dimensions and further galaxies.

Currently cloaked in a bit of mystery, the reclusive members of the up-and-coming indie rock act ilu split their time writing, recording and residing in Tallinn, Estonia and rural Wales, and from their first official single “Graffiti Hen Ewrop,” the Estonian-Welsh band specialize in a sound that draws from krautrock and shoegaze as the song is centered around a motorik groove, swirling feedback, shimmering keys, ethereal vocals, angular bass chords and a soaring hook — but underneath the song’s anthemic nature, is an aching and wistful longing.

As the band notes, the song’s lyrics came in a rather organic fashion, as they were driving around a snowy Tallinn on Christmas Day, full of deep grief and sadness. “I had just lost my father a few months before moving to Tallinn and I was dealing with my grief and my own confusion that was crippling at the time. The album was written and recorded there in a small flat in Merivälja looking across the harbour over at the old medieval town, it is very much a journey back into the light”.

New Video: Immersion Returns with a Krautrock-Inspired New Single

Last month, I wrote about the Brighton, UK-based art rock duo Immersion, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of husband and wife duo, Wire‘s Colin Newman and Minimal Compact’s Malka Spigel can trace their origins back to when the duo initially collaborated together in the early 90s on a handful of Colin Newman’s solo albums and later as Immersion.  Slated for a June 15, 2018 release, Sleepless is the follow up to 2016’s critically applauded Analogue Creatures Living on an Island and the forthcoming album is reportedly both an extension of its predecessor’s sound and a leap forward sonically. While still deeply influenced by Tangerine Dream and Popal Vuh with a textured, painterly approach, Newman and Spigel have expanded their sonic palette, to incorporate guitars, drums and bass with analog synths; and in fact, the album features the duo collaborating with Holy Fuck‘s Matt Schulz, and Hexenschuss‘ Gil Luz and Asi Weitz.

“Microclimate,” Sleepless’ first single was an lush yet atmospheric composition consisting of gently arpeggiated synths, simmering guitar chords, swirling electronics and a stuttering bass line — and while being meditative and dreamy, the song possesses an cinematic quality, as though it should be part of the soundtrack of a futuristic, sic-fi-leaning drama. The album’s second and latest single “Propulsiod” is a decidedly krautrock-inspired affair, as it’s centered around an appropriately propulsive, motorik groove with squelching and trembling synths and electronics. As the duo says about the song, “The roots of Immersion lie in abstract techno but somehow over the years we’ve acquired the motorik of krautrock without ever consciously deciding on that direction. ‘Propulsoid’ is a kind of propulsive mythical beast, an unholy alliance of Klaus Dinge’s beats and acid squelch filtered through the ever present MS-10. We guess it’s a kind of dance music! The video was made by us in the same spirit as we make the music and write these words. It’s about speed, light & repetition.” Unsurprisingly, the video features footage of relentless transpiration, movement sped up and occasionally in reverse, which emphasizes the sense of repetition and endlessness to it. 

Newman and Spigel will be touring to support Sleepless and it includes a July 14, 2018 stop at Rough Trade. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

New Video: Wire’s Colin Newman and Minimal Compact’s Malka Spigel Team Up on a Lush and Painterly Track

Comprised of Wire’s Colin Newman and Minimal Compact’s Malka Spigel, the Brighton, UK-based art rock duo Immersion can trace their origins back to when the duo initially collaborated together in the early 90s on a handful of Newman’s solo efforts and later with Immersion. Sleepless which is slated for a June 15, 2018 release is the follow up to 2016’s critically applauded Analogue Creatures Living on an Island and their forthcoming album is reportedly both a logical development and a leap forward — while still deeply influenced by the likes of Tangerine Dream and Popal Vuh with a textured, painterly approach, Newman and Spigel have expanded their sonic palette, to incorporate guitars, drums and bass with analog synths; in fact, the album also features guest appearances from Holy Fuck’s Matt Schulz, and Hexenschuss’ Gil Luz and Asi Weitz. 

Sleepless’ first single, album opener “Microclimate” is an atmospheric yet lush and upbeat composition consisting of gently arpeggiated synths, shimmering guitar chords, gently swirling electronics and a stuttering bass line — and while being dreamy and thoughtful, it’s a decidedly cinematic track that possesses a mysterious quality. 

New Video: The Psychedelic and Lynchian-like Visuals for Norma’s “S.A.D.”

Largely inspired by NEU! and Faust, as well as Spiritualized and Spacemen 3, the Stockholm, Sweden-based trio Norma, comprised Erik Vallin, Love Martinsen, and Petter Bendelin formed in a living room in 2007, watching David Lynch movies while experimenting with pedal steel guitars, vintage organs and synthesizers. As the story goes, after a while, the trio started rehearsing in a bomb shelter and eventually developed a bigger, heavier sound, which wound up on their debut effort Book of Norma. Several years later, the band followed that up with their 2013 sophomore effort, The Invisible Mother. Over the past few years, they’ve developed a reputation for being deliberate — and over a decade since their formation, the band will be releasing their third, full-length album sometime in 2018. 

“S.A.D,” the yet-untitled album’s first single features a prerequisite, chugging motorik groove paired with shimmering, pedal effected guitars and a soaring hook to create a song that reminds me quite a bit of Join the Dots-era TOY — but interestingly enough, the song is both about seasonal affective disorder and a character that the band has dubbed Neil, a figure that appears during the darkest season, and attempts to thwart you as you go about your daily life. As the band explains, “. . . We probably all have our personal devils, wherever we want them or not, it’s just about learning how to live with them. It may be quite difficult to get a daily life working as it is and it will not be easier to discuss economics, logistics or food when Neil creeps along your spine and says he’s going to shoot you in your leg.”

Edited by Frederick Stewart Holm and featuring photography by the band and Najda von Bahr with scenography, costumes and makeup by Emila Esping, the recently recently video for “S.A.D.” follows Neil, a vagabond-like character as he travels the countryside in a custom built jalopy to the kindergarten where he entertains kids as a clown/entertainer. Eventually, he disappears into a dream where he floats among planets, fishes and laser lights in a Lynchian and psychedelic nightmare. 

Comprised of Jonathan Phillips, Dylan Palmer, Terry Kane and Reid Cummings, the Nashville, TN-based quartet Faux Ferocious can trace their origins to when they all met while attending the University of Tennessee. And since the formation of the band, they’ve released music through Burger Records, Infinity Cat Records and Striped Light Records that’s been described as brain-liquefying fare and strange, hypnotic rock and like John Lee Hooker‘s Endless Boogie while on speed. Interestingly, the band’s soon-to-be released EP, 12″ will be released next week through Drop Medium Records, and as you’ll hear on “Solvency,” the second single off the soon-to-be released EP, the Nashville-based quartet will further cement their reputation for being uncompromisingly weird, as the new single seems to draw from thrash metal, stoner rock and Krautrock as they pair layers of buzzing guitar chords with a chugging, motorik-groove and spoken word-delivered lyrics describing how difficult it is to stay financially solvent, which gives an incredibly trippy song a bitterly ironic bite reminiscent of Gang of Four.