Tag: krautrock

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.

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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.

 

 

 

New Audio: Mute Records Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Influential Krautrock Act CAN with a Compilation of Singles — Includes a Never Before Digital Re-Release

Initially, beginning his musical career as a pupil of avant garde composers Karlheinz Stockhausen and Gyorgy Ligeti, CAN’s founding member and primary composer/songwriter Irmin Schdmit (keyboard) had conducted a number of high-profile orchestrated pieces in his native Germany and aboard; however, a trip to New York where he encountered Andy Warhol and Hotel Chelsea, and heard the sounds of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa had transformed his life. Along with the band’s other core members — Holger Czukay (bass), Michael Karoli (guitar) and Jaki Liebezei (drums) CAN officially formed in Cologne, Germany (then-West Germany) in 1967. With the release of 1969’s Monster Movie, 1971’s Tago Mago, 1972’s Ege Bamyasi and 1973’s Future Days the German experimental act collaborated with a number of vocalists including Malcolm Mooney (1968-1970), Damo Suzuki (1970-1973) and a rotating cast of musicians and wound up developing a reputation for an imitable sound that possessed elements of avant garde and modern classical composition, minimalism, electronica, world music, psych rock and funk, while being widely hailed as pioneers of the German krautrock movement. And because of their eclectic, genre-defying sound the band’s influence has been massive and can be traced in the work of acts like Joy Division, Primal Scream, Radiohead and avant-garde composer Bernhard Lang, among others.

Throughout the band’s history — the bulk being a continuous run from 1967 or so – 1979 with the members of the band reconvening periodically over the past 30 years — the band has released a number of singles, some which have appeared on the band’s albums and others that have not. And to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band’s formation, Mute Records will be releasing CAN The Singles, a compilation featuring all the band’s single releases, including “Shikako Maru Ten,” a B side to the “Spoon,” a top ten hit in their native Germany back in 1972 and it’ll be available for the first time ever digitally. Interestingly, the single manages to possess a percussive and breezy arrangement that sounds as though it were influenced by Brazilian samba and Afro-Cuban/Afro-Caribbean jazz, further reminding listeners of the band’s reputation for being defiantly difficult to pigeonhole and being relentlessly, mischievously experimental with their sound and approach.

Art Feynman is a Californian-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and from “Feeling Good About Feeling Good,” the first single off his full-length debut, Blast Off Through the Wicker, the Californian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist specializes in a genre-defying sound that possesses elements of krautrock, Nigerian Highlife, Afrobeat, trippy psych rock fuzz and Graceland-era Paul Simon pop. And while recorded on four-track tape, Feynman maintained the track’s easy-going, motorik meets Afrobeat groove without he use of loops or drum machines, which points both to dexterous musicianship and careful attention to craft. But perhaps more important, this track may arguably be the funkiest and most unique songs I’ve come across this year.

 

 

 

Back in 2013, I wrote quite a bit about Anika Henderson, best known under the mononym that she writes, records and performs under, Anika . Initially, Henderson spent her professional career as a political journalist, who split time between Berlin and Bristol, UK. While in Bristol, Henderson was introduced to Geoff Barrow, who’s best known for his work with Portishead. And at the time, Barrow was looking for a vocalist, who would work with his band Beak> for what would be a side project. As the story goes, Henderson and Barrow bonded over a mutual love of punk, dub and 60s girl groups — and about a week later, Barrow, Henderson and the members of Beak>  went into the studio to record what would eventually turn out to be Henderson’s 2010 self-titled full-length debut, completely live with Henderson and the band in the same room without overdubs — and in 12 days.

2013 saw the release of Henderson’s self-titled EP, a collection of covers and remixes that included Henderson’s murky, Portishead and The Velvet Underground and Nico-inspired cover of Chromatics’ “In the City.” And what the self-titled EP revealed is that Henderson, Barrow and company have a way of covering a song with a unique take that makes a song their own — and in the case of Chromatics’ “In The City,” their cover feels as though it was always their song. That’s a rare thing, indeed. Last week, as February was coming to a close, Invada Records, released an icy, lo-tech analog synth electro pop and dub-leaning cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” by the mysterious Invada All Stars featuring Anika on vocals as part of that weekend’s Stop Trident National anti-nukes demonstration in London, a demonstration protesting the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system. Proceeds from the digital single will go to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

Also in that post, I mentioned that Henderson is part of a new project Exploded View — and as it turns out, Exploded View is something of a side project  from her solo work with the members of Beak>. Although the project’s full-length debut is slated for release later on this year through Sacred Bones Records, they will be performing several sets at this year’s SXSW. But before that, the project released their single “No More Parties in the Attic,” that draws from post-krautrock, krautrock, dub and industrial music as the band pairs electronic bloops and bleeps, industrial clang and clatter, buzzing and angular synth and guitar chords with Anika’s signature icy delivery to craft a sound that’s tense and icy  — while evoking the contemporary zeitgeist of trying to navigate in a world that’s gone absolutely mad all the time.

 

 

 

 

Initially formed in 1971 and comprised of Werner “Zappi” Deirmaier, Hans Joachim Irmler, Arnulf  Meifert,  Jean-Hervé Péron, Rudolf Sosna and Gunther Wüsthoff, German sextet Faust developed an internationally recognized reputation for a sound and aesthetic that proudly defied genre conventions and expectations — and perhaps most important as being pioneers of a sound that critics have since dubbed krautrock. Adding to their reputation of pioneering a new sound and eventually a new genre, the German band was one of the first acts to sign with Richard Branson‘s Virgin Records. And as the story goes, after Virgin Records rejected what was slated to be the band’s fifth full-length effort, the band broke up — with the individual members of the band largely disappearing from the public. Other than a handful of shows sometime in the 80s and the release of Patchwork, a compilation of outtakes, which featured three pieces the band recorded in the early 80s, the band’s whereabouts and what they were even up to were shrouded in mystery until the trio of Irmler, Diermaier and Péron began performing reunion shows in the early 1990s.  But despite the questions regarding Faust’s whereabouts, the band’s recorded output maintained a level of interest and curiosity among krautrock fans and newer fans as Recommended Records reissued and re-released their four full-length efforts, as well as releasing unreleased material and a variety of compilations.

Interestingly, since their reunion in the early 1990s, the band has managed to be remarkably prolific, although they’ve managed to record and tour with a variety of different lineups and members with the most recent effort being 2010’s Faust Is Last.

“Jennifer,” off their fourth and aptly titled album Faust IV is a song that defies conventional songwriting and structure at every single turn. The song eschews the familiar format of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, coda for a series of distinct movements held together with a propulsive rhythm section. And as you listen to the song, you’ll hear a band that tackles minimalist drone and noise rock, jazz fusion and creaky, old-timey vaudeville with an unexpected turn of a musical phrase to create something that’s mind-bendingly trippy and unexpected.

Although the Birmingham, AL-based trio Wray formed a little over two years ago, the individual members of the band, David Brown (bass and vocals), Blake Wimberly (drums) and David Swatzell (guitar) have been mainstays in their local music scene, performing in a number of musical projects including Last Flight In, Comrade, Waterfall and several others. However, Wray has been a sonic departure from Brown’s, Wimberly’s and Swatzell’s previous work as the trio have developed a national profile for a textured, atmospheric shoegazer rock sound; in fact, the band’s debut effort was released to critical praise from media outlets such as The New York Times and MOJO — and they made appearances on MTVu and Daytrotter.

The members of the Birmingham AL-based trio have spent the past year writing, revising and then recording the material that would eventually comprise their soon-to-be released and highly-anticipated sophomore effort, Hypatia, which the renowned and eclectic Birmingham, AL-based indie label Communicating Vessels Records will release on January 15, 2016. Co-produced by the band and Lynn Bridges, who has worked with Jack Oblivian, Devendra Banhart and Dan Sartain, the album reportedly has the band making what they believe is their most cohesive effort yet with the material fitting into a particular mood as the band explored subtle contrasts.

Hypatia‘s latest single coincidentally is a somewhat stripped down cover of Faust’s “Jennifer” that turns the expansive and structure defying song into a slow-burning, minimalist and shoegazey meditation on the Jennifer that the song’s narrator seems to adore; however, Wray’s cover managed to possess a wistful, melancholic feel, as though Jennifer has become part of the narrator’s past that they can never get back.

Check out how Wray’s cover stands up against Faust’s original below.