Tag: L7

New Video: Two from Grunge Legends L7

Currently comprised of founding members Donita Sparks (vocals, guitar) and Suzi Gardner (guitar, vocals) along with Jennifer Finch (bass) and Demetra Plakas (drums), the acclaimed and pioneering, Los Angeles-based grunge act L7 can trace their origins back to 1985, a full year after Gardner had contributed backing vocals to Black Flag’s “Slip It In.”

Once Sparks and Gardner formed the band, they were added by Finch and Roy Koutsky (drums). Koutsky left shortly after and was briefly replaced by Anne Anderson (drums) in 1988. After Anderson left the band, Plakas became the band’s permanent drummer. Although they formed Rock for Choice, a pro-choice women’s rights group that was supported by the likes of Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, and Rage Against the Machine, they’re best known for their third album, 1992’s Butch Vig-produced Bricks Are Heavy, which featured their seminal track (and smash hit) “Pretend We’re Dead.” “Pretend We’re Dead” spent 13 weeks on the US Alternative Charts, peaking at #8 and reached #21 on the UK Singles Chart.

After the release of 1994’s Hungry for Stink, which was supported by that year’s Lollapalooza tour with Smashing Pumpkins and The Breeders, the band went through a number of lineup changes: Finch left the band during the recording of 1997’s The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum, an album that featured bass playing by Sparks and Greta Brinkman; however, Belly’s Gail Greenwood joined the band.

1999’s Slap-Happy didn’t chart on either side of the Atlantic, and sometime after the release of that album, the Los Angeles-based grunge band went through yet another lineup changes with Greenwood leaving the band to be replaced by Stone Fox’s Janis Tanaka, who later played bass in Pink’s and Bif Naked’s backing bands.

By 2001, the members of L7 weren’t touring and were on an indefinite hiatus. During that time Sparks formed a new band, Donita Sparks and The Stellar Moments while Finch was a member of punk rock act The Shocker. Simultaneously during that period, Sparks was working on a documentary on the band, which was rumored to have a 2014 release date. And interestingly enough, by the end of 2014 the band announced that they would reuniting featuring the lineup with which they achieved their biggest success — Sparks, Gardner, Finch and Plakas.

The reunited L7 toured Europe and North America with a number of stops across the international circuit in 2015 including Germany’s Rock am Ring, Riot Fest stops in Denver and Chicago, and Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Festival.  The Sarah Price-directed L7 documentary, L7: Pretend We’re Dead was released in 2016 while the band was on a busy tour schedule throughout both 2016 and 2017.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding the reunited band, the members of the Los Angeles-based grunge outfit released “Dispatch from Mar-a-Lago,” their first new song in almost 18 years in September 2017. They followed that up with “I Came Back to Bitch,” which was released in February 2018. The band’s recently released seventh album Scatter the Rats is the first album from the Los Angeles-based grunge outfit in 20 years and from album singles “Burn Baby” and “Stadium West,” the new album is sort of a return to form: scuzzy and distorted power chords, thunderous drumming, snarled lyrics and rousingly anthemic hooks. And interestingly enough, both singles reveal that the members of L7 have had a massive influence on contemporary indie rock — you can hear L7’s influence in the work of JOVM mainstays The Coathangers, Sharkmuffin, Dream Wife and others. 

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Featuring primary and founding members Ryan Needham and Liza Violet, along with a rotating cast of friends, collaborators and others, the Leeds, UK-based indie rock band Menace Beach received both national and international attention with the release of their full-length debut Ratworld and its follow-up Super Transporterreum EP — both of which were praised for an off-kilter, buzzing and fucked up take on 90s rock. Now, if you had been frequenting this site last year, you may recall that I wrote about “Ghoul Power,” the first single off Super Transporterreum EP, a song that tales a story about a pocket-sized, alien thou, who soaks up your darkness and anxieties –but after hanging out with the members of Menace Beach, who take him to way too many parties and shows, the alien winds up as a pale, sweaty  mess. Sonically, the song seemed to draw from PixiesThe Breeders and L7 while evoking a lurching fucked up, nauseating haze.

Written while in Ibiza and recorded in Sheffield, UK with Russ Orton, who’s worked with M.I.A., Arctic Monkeys and The Fall, the band’s forthcoming sophomore effort Lemon Memory was partially written as a way to lift a citrus-based curse that the band’s primary duo believe was placed on their house and as a way for them to forge their own sound and identity. The album’s latest single “Give Blood” begins with a couple of false starts before noisily chugging along in earnest with layers of scuzzy power chords fed through effects pedals and tons of feedback, propulsive and thundering drumming and an anthemic hook in which Needham and Violet sing about death — all while sounding as though the song were inspired by Blur and psych rock.

 

 

 

 

 

Born in California, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Shana Falana spent time in San Francisco‘s D.I.Y. scene and and in a Bulgarian women’s choir before relocating to New York. By 2006, Falana had been struggling through drug addiction and money woes when she lost part of her index finger in a work-related accident. And while under most normal circumstances that might be considered extremely unlucky, the settlement money the California-born, New York-based singer/songwriter received actually provided her a period of financial stability that allowed her the much needed time and space she needed to overcome her addictions and find a new focus in her life and music. Reportedly, much of the music on Falana’s much-anticipated second full-length effort Here Comes the Wave was conceptualized both during one of the most difficult periods of her life and in the subsequent years that followed, and has been continually refined — and as a result, the album manages to thematically be centered around the duality of “then and now,” while sonically covering diverse moods and possessing elements of shoegaze, gothic pop and indie rock.  Of course, thematically speaking the material focuses on change, transformation and emotional turmoil; in fact as Falana says in press notes ““Somehow, I knew those songs would serve me well later,” and at least one of Here Comes the Wave‘s songs reportedly foreshadows its creator’s eventual sobriety while other songs reportedly accept the passing of youth, the death of her father and other themes that come up as one gets older.

Interestingly, Here Comes the Wave also manages to be the second collaboration with producer D. James Goodwin, best known for his work with Bob Weir, Whitney and Kevin Morby and with her long-time partner, collaborator and drummer Mike Amari. And the album has Goodwin and Amari playing much larger roles than on Falana’s debut as the collaborative trio went for audacious sounds and heightened moments — and for being bold as possible.  The album’s first single “Lie 2 Me” has Falana and Amari pairing enormous and buzzing power chord-heavy riffs and thunderous drumming with Falana’s anguished howls before ending with an explosive blast of feedback before slowly fading out. Lyrically, the song is full of bitter recrimination, accusation, self-doubt, self-flagellation and dysfunction –and as a result, the song feels bilious and fucked up while sonically nodding at L7, PJ Harvey and others.

 

 

New Video: The Surreal and Ironic Visuals for Courtney Barnett’s Equally Ironic “Elevator Operator”

With the release of her first two critically applauded EPs I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Farris and How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Courtney Barnett quickly received attention from the North American, British […]

With the release of two EPs and their full-length debut Consent released last year, the Vancouver, BC-baesd post-punk trio Lié, comprised of Brittany West, Ashlee Luk and Kati J, have developed reputation for a sound that draws from both early post-punk and noise bands, their hometown as well as each individual member’s own creative side efforts — West’s darkwave project Koban, Kati J’s trash punk band SBDC and Luk’s electronic project Minimal Violence; but perhaps much more important, they also developed a reputation for politically charged material — last year’s Consent was a barbed commentary on rape culture. However, the Canadian trio’s follow-up Truth or Consequences reportedly turns inward to the deeply personal, focusing on the dichotomy between the destructive and fragile elements of the ego. And as a result, the album’s first single “Failed Visions” is a tense, maniacally anxious song that evokes the fucked up inner dialogue we maintain within our heads — the sort in which you may vacillate from cocksure confidence to self loathing. Sonically and structurally, the band pairs slashing, angular guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section and rapid fire tempo changes and in some way it makes the song sound as though it draws from L7 and Bikini Kill — or in other words it’s abrasive and furiously cathartic.

 

 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about  Atlanta-based trio  and JOVM mainstay The Coathangers. In the the decade since their formation, the band has released four full-length albums and have gone on a number of North American and European tours, which have cemented their reputation for writing incredibly catchy songs — and for unruly live shows. Back in 2014, during the recording sessions for Suck My Shirt, the band went through a lineup change as Candice Jones left the band, making the band a trio comprised of Julia Kugel (vocals and guitar), Meredith Franco (bass), and Stephanie Luke (drums). Naturally, as a result of the lineup change, the newly-constituted trio’s fourth full-length effort, Suck My Shirt revealed a refined songwriting approach in which the album’s material still retained the raw, seemingly spontaneously simplicity and fury that has won them national and international attention — but with streamlined, more direct arrangements that made the material feel more urgent.

Make It Right,” the first single off the band’s soon-to-be released fifth full-length album Nosebleed Weekend continued in the same lines of their previous effort as it possessed a similar primal simplicity — in other words although it nodded at garage rock and surfer rock, there was an underlying sneering, “we don’t give a fuck” attitude. The album’s latest single and album title track “Nosebleed Weekend” pairs their signature sneering “zero fucks given” attitude with an anthemic hook that you can imagine a room full of sweaty concertgoers lustily yelling along with upraised fist and in a way that’s reminiscent of 90s alt rock.  In particular, I’m reminded of L7, Hole and Bikini Kill but angrier and seemingly fueled on whiskey.

 

New Audio: Menace Beach’s Latest Single “Ghoul Power” Channels 90s Grunge Rock

With the release of their debut full-length effort, Ratworld earlier this year, the Leeds, UK-based quintet Menace Beach, comprised of Ryan Needham, Liza Violet, Matt Spalding, Nestor Matthews and Nick Chantler received international attention for what has been described as channelling grunge/alternative’s […]