Tag: krautrock

With the release of their Jeff Berner-produced full-length debut, last year’s Unmask Whoever, the rising experimental/krautrockff act Activity, which is split between New York and Philadelphia — Grooms‘ Travis Johnson (vocals, sampler) and Steve Levine (drums), Field Mouse‘s Zoe Browne (bass) and Russian Baths‘ Jess Rees (guitar) — received attention across the blogosphere for an eerily minimalist and uneasy sound that saw the band pair modern production, electronic instrumentation and organic instrumentation. Thematically, the album’s material touched upon paranoia, exposed character flaws and the broader capacity for growth when an uneasy truth is laid bare.

In the lead-up to the album’s release, I managed to write about there of the album’s released singles:

Sadly, Unmask Whoever was released within the first full week of pandemic-related lockdowns and as a result, the band wasn’t able to support their effort with a proper tour. But after a lengthy delay, the members of Activity will be embarking on a North American tour, which begins October 6, 2020 at Mercury Lounge. Tour dates are below — as always.

Along with the tour announcement, the JOVM mainstays released a new single, the eerily spectral and expansive “Text the Dead.” Centered around Travis Johnson’s achingly plaintive vocals, layers of percussive, almost polyrhythmic beats, mutilated samples, and atmospheric synths, the new single swoons from the weight of despair and inconsolable loss — with the tacit understanding that ghosts do linger, and that grief often comes in waves.

“My mom passed away in February. We had 24 days from when we found out she was sick with pancreatic cancer until she died. I still can’t process it honestly,” Activity’s Travis Johnson explains in press notes. “I remember her telling me over the phone, when I was losing it, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.’ I knew how awful the diagnosis was but I didn’t want to tell her and I really tried to cling to her telling me that. Throughout the day, still, I’ll catch myself thinking ‘I should tell mom about this or that’ or ‘I wonder how my mom is doing’ and get out my phone to call or text or email her before I realize that I can’t talk to her, and that I can’t talk to her about how I can’t talk to her. Knocks the wind out of me and makes me feel insane every time. That’s a picture of her when she was probably about my age on the cover. It was built on samples I’d put together and really mutilated a long time ago and forgotten about. I was going through old stuff and found it and started singing the verse melody. Then we all added our parts and subtracted others, etc. It’s not a very ‘live’ song but we all came together on it still.”

Tour:
10.06 New York NY @ Mercury Lounge
10.08 Boston MA @ Cafe 939
10.09 Philadelphia PA @ Ortlieb’s
10.10 Toronto ON @ Drake
10.11 Cleveland OH @ Mahall’s
10.12 Chicago IL @ Schubas
10.13 Minneapolis MN @ 7th St Entry
10.15 Milwaukee WI @ Cactus Club
10.19 Atlanta GA @ Masquerade
10.20 Carrboro NC @ Backroom Cat’s Cradle
10.21 Richmond VA @ The Camel
10.23 Lancaster PA @ Tigh Mary
10.24 Washington DC @ Pie Shop

New Audio: Montreal’s Yoo Doo Right Releases a Trippy Motorik Groove Driven Single

Deriving their name from one of Can‘s best known songs, the rising Montreal-based act Yoo Doo Right — Justin Cober (guitar, synths, vocals), Charles Masson (bass) and John Talbot (drums, percussion) — have developed an improvisational-based sound and approach that features elements of krautrock, shoegaze, post-rock and psych rock that the band describes as “a car crash in slow motion.”

Since their formation, the members of the Montreal-based band have quickly become a highly demanded live act that has toured crossed their native Canada and the States while making stops across the North American festival circuit with stops at  Levitation, M for Montreal, Sled Island and Pop Montreal. Back in 2018, You Doo Right was the main support act during Acid Mothers Temple‘s North American tour — and as a result, they’ve shared stages with the likes of DIIV, A Place to Bury Strangers, Wooden Shjips, Kikagkiu Moyo, FACS, Frigs, and Jessica Moss and several others. 

The act’s full-length debut Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose is slated for a May 21, 2021 release through Mothland. Last month, the members of the Montreal-based act released the album’s first single, album title track “Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose,” an expansive, slow-burning and carefully sculptured soundscape divided into three distinct parts: a lengthy introduction with atmospheric synths, tribal drumming and shimmering guitars; a towering middle section with scorching dirge-like power chords, twinkling keys and crashing cymbals; and a gentle fade out as the song’s coda. The song is an exercise in restraint, unresolved tension and delayed release.

Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose’s second and latest single “Presto, Presto, Bella’s Dream” is a layered song that finds the team weaving shimmering and angular guitar riffs, twinkling synths, propulsive drumming and bass lines into a relentless, repetitive and trippy motorik groove. The band’s Justin Cober says of the song “Driving, simple, straight forward repetition, built into a psychedelic haze with no apparent meaning. Like the day the clocks struck midnight on January 1st, 1970. The title is an ode to both the tempo and a good friend who indirectly influenced us, helped us write this song.”

New Video: Montreal’s Yoo Doo Right Releases an Expansive and Brooding Single

Deriving their name from one of Can’s best known songs, the rising Montreal-based act You Doo Right — Justin Cober (guitar, synths, vocals), Charles Masson (bass) and John Talbot (drums, percussion) — have developed an improvisational-based sound and approach that features elements of krautrock, shoegaze, post-rock and psych rock. Or as the band describes it, “a car crash in slow motion.”

Since their formation, the act has become an in-demand live act that has toured across Canada and the States, making stops across the North American festival circuit, including Levitation, M for Montreal, Sled Island and Pop Montreal. In 2018, the band was the main support act during Acid Mothers Temple’s North American tour — and as a result, they’ve shared stages with the likes of DIIV, A Place to Bury Strangers, Wooden Shjips, Kikagkiu Moyo, FACS, Frigs, and Jessica Moss and several others.

The act’s full-length debut Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose is slated for a May 21, 2021 release through Mothland. Clocking in at exactly six minutes, the album’s first single, album title track “Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose” is slow-burning, brooding and carefully sculptured soundscape divided into three distinct parts: a lengthy introduction with atmospheric synths, tribal drumming and shimmering guitars; a towering middle section with scorching dirge-like power chords, twinkling keys and crashing cymbals; and a gentle fade out as the song’s coda. Sonically and structurally, the song is centered around unresolved tension and delayed release.

“Title track. It’s about a person who is losing touch with reality. Who thinks he has a higher purpose, and is supposed to be an ambassador to a higher extraterrestrial race. It’s a looming atmospheric rhythm and crawl,” the band says of their latest single.

New Audio: Perth Australia’s Mt. Mountain Releases a Hypnotic New Single

With the release of their first three albums, 2016’s Cosmos Terros, 2017’s Dust, 2018’s Golden Rise, the Perth, Australia-based psych rock quintet Mt. Mountain — Stephen Bailey (vocals, organ, flute), Thomas Cahill (drums), Glenn Palmer (guitar, synth), Brendan Shanley (bass) and Derrick Treatch (guitar) — developed and honed a sprawling, motorik-driven, minimal-as -maximal approach inspired by the likes of NEU! and CAN. And through a wildly all-consuming live show, the Aussie psych rockers have added their names to a an impressive list of contemporaries including Moon Duo, Kikagaku Moyo and Minami Deutsch while sharing stages with JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, ORB, Sleep, MONO, Thee Oh Sees, Acid Mothers Temple and the aforementioned Moon Duo.

The Aussie quintet recently signed to London-based Fuzz Club Records, who will be releasing the band’s fourth album Centre. Slated for a February 26, 2021 release, Centre continues the band’s long-held reputation for crafting material from long, improvised jams with much of the album recorded live to tape, capturing the band at their most freewheeling. Thematically, the album reportedly is centered around a dissection of faith — both spiritual and secular — and Stephen Bailey’s personal, often complicated relationship to it. “The album for me, lyrically, is mostly about my experience of religion. It explores these concepts and the rules that were told to me from childhood to adulthood and my thoughts on my own connection to them,” Bailey explains. “Similar themes arise between the tracks whether it be lyrically or structural, both a play on repetition and simplicity. ”

“Aplomb,” Centre’s hypnotic and brooding first single features an expansive, booze and hallucinogen-fueled song structure driven by rolling rhythms, a motorik groove, droning keys, a looping and shimmering guitar line paired with Bailey’s yearning vocals — and the end result is a deeply textured, painterly take on psych rock.

“‘Aplomb’ is essentially the voice that I hear in my head, reminding me to not rush and slow down, and to have the confidence to bring this into practice in everyday life,” Mt. Mountain’s Stephen Bailey explains in press notes. “We wanted there to be this clear contrast here between the tempo of the song and the lyrical content, an approach which appears throughout the album.”

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”.