Tag: Los Angeles CA

New Video: Black Mountain Takes on 8-Bit Video Games in New Visuals for “Licensed to Drive”

Stephen McBean is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he became involved in the Victoria, British Columbia music scene, forming his first band Jerk Ward in 1981. In 1984, the band recorded a demo that was re-released in 2009 as Too Young to Thrash. Jerk Ward evolved into Mission of Christ (MOC), who recorded a split 7 inch in 1987 — but two years later, the band broke up and McBean relocated to Vancouver, where he started Gus, a band that released two singles, a split EP and a full-length album, 1995’s The Progressive Science Of Breeding Idiots For A Dumber Society, which lead to McBean’s first experience with extensive touring.

In 1996 McBean asked Radio Berlin’s Joshua Wells to join his new band Ex Dead Teenager. Much like his first band Jerk Ward, Ex Dead Teenager eventually morphed into Jerk With a Bomb. Signing with Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records. the band released three albums — 1999’s Death To False Metal, 2001’s The Old Noise and 2003’s Pyrokinesis, which featured Dream on Dreary’s Amber Webber contributing vocals.

While McBean and Wells were still writing, recording and performing as Jerk With a Bomb in 2003, McBean started to demo material that included “Black Mountain” and by the following year, the duo began working on demos under the name Black Mountain with contributions from Webber, Matt Camirand (bass) and Jeremy Schmidt (keys). Those early demos eventually led to their self-titled debut album and a split 7 inch with Destroyer that featured “Bicycle Man,” and was released by Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records.

Building upon a growing profile, Black Mountain toured across North America and Europe and by the following June, the band released the 12″ single “Druganuat”/”Buffalo Swan” in the US. In August 2005, the band opened for Coldplay during their Twisted Logic Tour.

2008 was a huge year for the band, their sophomore album In The Future was a finalist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize, and the album received a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. Additionally, “Stay Free” was featured on the Spiderman 3 soundtrack.

By 2010, McBean relocated to Los Angeles, where they wrote and recorded their Randall Dunn and Dave Sardy-co-produced third album, 2011’s Wilderness Heart, an album that was long listed for that year’s Polaris Music Prize and appeared on !earshot’s Top 50 chart.

2016 saw the release of their fourth album, the aptly titled IV. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes and now features McBean along with Arjan Miranda, Rachel Fannan, Adam Bulgasem and Jermey Schmidt. Interestingly, during that same period McBean got his first proper driver’s license — and for him, it was as though he essentially became a teenager again, discovering a new sense of personal independence and freedom.

Now, as you may recall, the band’s newest album Destroyer derives its name from the discontinued, single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car, and reportedly the album is imbued with the wild freedom and newfound agency, anxiety and fear that comes from one’s first time behind the wheel. The serpentine, slow-burning, whiskey fueled, boogie strut “Boogie Lover” was meant to evoke cruising down the Sunset Strip late at night while drawing from space rock, doom metal and stoner rock simultaneously. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Licensed to Drive” evokes a sense of wild freedom  — of speeding down the highway with the music blaring at eardrum shattering levels while sonically drawing from krautrock, space rock, Black Sabbath and Ted Nugent, as the track is centered around a motorik pulse, shimmering synths, buzzing power chords and a razor sharp hook. Get in your car, play this one loud, man.

Directed by Zev Deans, the recently released video for “Licensed to Drive” is an extended riff on classic 8-bit video games and Mad Max, complete with leather and ax-wielding barbarians, a tricked out 1976 GMC Spirit, a guy playing trash can drums, and an enormous, mutant bat. And of course, while McBean and his buddy are playing the “Licensed to Drive” game, a cord is yanked out or something and they wind up having to watch a hilarious take on the classic Maxell Cassette tape commercial. For those of you who came of age in the 80s or grew up in the 80s, this video will bring back a lot of memories. 

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Taylor Knox is a Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who can trace the origins of his musical career to over a decade ago, when he was recruited to play drums for The Golden Dogs, an act that was considered one of Canada’s criminally under-appreciated bands — and coincidentally, one of Knox’s favorite bands, too.

During his stint with The Golden Dogs, Knox forged friendships with several other bandmembers, who all go on to form Zeus. As a result of Zeus, Knox was a frequent presence at the band’s Toronto studio Ill Eagle, which naturally offered him the perfect environment and the opportunity to begin experimenting with his own original material. Interestingly, Knox and his then-newly formed Zeus were tapped by Jason Collett to be his regular backing band — and it brought him into contact with an even wider circle of musicians, including Luke Doucet, whom he joined on Doucet’s tour to support his acclaimed Steel City Traveler. He also joined Hayden for the Us Alone recording sessions and subsequent tour. He also played with acclaimed Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin.

With the release of the Lines EP and his full-length debut Love, Knox stepped out into the spotlight, crafting anthemic power pop that has drawn comparisons to acclaimed and highly influential Canadian power pop act Sloan and others. Slated for a June 7, 2019 release, Knox’s sophomore album Here Tonight thematically focuses on the mystery, stillness and artistic inspiration of the night; in fact, Knox’s tendency to be a night owl was a major influence on the album. And when he started writing the material that would eventually comprise his forthcoming sophomore album, he focused on precisely what he was thinking about — and what he wanted to do and say with it. He didn’t want to waste the insight that nighttime has always given him.“I really try to make sure the songs I write come from a place of not something I want to write but something I kind of have to get out. What I’m feeling below what I’m thinking,” Knox says in press notes.

Sonically speaking, the album, which sees Knox working with Josh Korody reportedly sees Knox continuing with the power pop that has won him attention — fuzzy and /or crunchy power chords, forceful drumming and rousingly anthemic hooks; but he sought guidance and inspiration from much more contemporary artists like The Weeknd, SZA and Prince in terms of production and songwriting, as well as the legendary Joni Mitchell. In fact, Korody’s production helped to add new textures to his overall sound, thanks to the incorporation of synths and keyboards to create glistening gutter tones. Knox also worked with Rob Schnapf in Los Angeles, who helped make one song reportedly to sound like one of the best Oasis songs to never appear on an Oasis album.

Interestingly, what sets the Toronto-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s sophomore album apart from this previously released work is a free flowing spontaneity that was encouraged by Korody and Schnapf — and that left room for unrestrained creativity. Doing this, he says, “leaves a little bit of room for discovery with the collaborator and room for their influence. I’ve always tried to do that but I did it more this time because I have confidence that I’ll be able to come up with it on the spot.” Adding to that, Knox brought in a number of Toronto’s finest musicians to collaborator for the sessions including July Talks‘ Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay and Tokyo Police Club‘s Dave Monks.

Here Tonight‘s latest single is the rousingly anthemic, Live It Up.” Centered around fuzzy power chords, forceful drumming, a big arena rock friendly hook and an ethereal falsetto, the track recalls 120 Minutes alt rock — in particular, The Posies, The Breeders, Smashing Pumpkins and even more contemporary acts like Silversun Pickups but with the free-flowing air of a bunch of guys jamming and coming up with something incredibly cool and full of furious passion.

 

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Aussie Electro Pop Act Haiku Hands Release a Cinematically Shot Visual for “Dare You Not To Dance”

Featuring a core trio comprised of Claire Nakazawa, Beatrice Lewis and Mie Nakazawa, the Australian indie electro pop act Haiku Hands is split between Melbourne and Sydney, and together the members of the act, who are influenced by hip-hop, pop, electro pop dance music and others, curate, perform and work as part of a larger collective that engages with and explores social norms with their lyrical, musical and visual content. Last year was a big year for the Aussie electro pop act as their previously released, high-energy bangers “Squat,” “Jupiter,” and “Not About You” amassed over 3.5 million streams — and as a result, each single landed spots on iTunes charts across the globe; in fact, “Jupiter” was included on Matt Wilkinson‘s Best Songs of 2018 So Far list, and received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Radio X.

Earlier this year, the Aussie electro pop act went on a month-long North American tour with CHAI that featured stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and the Market Hotel, as well as an opening date for Cupcake in Chicago, along with appearances at a handful of SXSW showcases.

Building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile, the Aussie electro pop act are about to embark on a month-long tour of North America with CHAI that features stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and the Market Hotel, as well as an opening slot for Cupcake in Chicago, and along with that they had a busy SXSW, making appearances at a number of showcases, which have helped expand their profile internationally. But in the meantime, the act’s latest single is the brash and infectious “Dare You Not To Dance,” which will further cement their reputation for crafting club bangers that mesh elements of riot grrl punk, hip-hop, house music, drum ‘n’ bass, EDM and trap music with enormous, shout along worthy hooks in a way that brings M.I.A. and Gwen Stefani to mind.

Directed by Nathan Lewis, the recently released, incredibly cinematic video follows a collection of different young people, enthusiastically dancing in public — and in some cases while they’re supposed to be working or some other moment; and unlike the occasional passerby, these dancers are completely unguarded and free. 

New Audio: Acclaimed Indie Act Imperial Teen Releases a Rousingly Anthemic New Single

Comprised of Roddy Bottum (guitar, vocals), a former member of Faith No More; Will Schwartz (guitar, vocals), who splits his time with hey willpower; Lynn Perko Truell, (drums, backing vocals), a former member of Sister Double Happiness, The Dicks and The Wrecks; and Jone Stebbins, a former member of the Wrecks, the acclaimed indie act Imperial Teen originally formed in San Francisco in the mid 90s.

Their 1996 Steve McDonald-produced debut Seasick was released to praise from Spin Magazine, who went on to list it as their fourth best album of that year and from the New York Times.  Their sophomore album, 1998’s What Is Not to Love found the band ambitiously expanding upon their sound and approach with material routinely clocking over six minutes. Interestingly, album single “Yoo Hoo” appeared on the Jawbreaker soundtrack.  The accompanying video featured the movie’s star, Rose McGowan appearing alongside the band — and it was included as a special feature on the DVD. Also “Yoo Hoo” was heard in the beginning of episodes of Numb3rs and Daria.

The band left Universal Records and signed with Merge Records, who released their third album, 2002’s Steve McDonald and Anna Waronker co-produced effort, On. The album’s lead single “Ivanka” received airplay — and they spent a portion of the year touring with The Breeders. Interestingly, that tour include a stop at famed Hoboken club Maxwell’s, which was recorded and released a few months later as Live at Maxwell’s. 

The band’s Will Schwartz teamed up with Tomo Yasuda for Schwartz’s dance music side project hey willpower, which released their self-titled debut EP in 2005. And by 2007, the members of Imperial Teen returned with two shows at that year’s SXSW and their fourth album, The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band, which landed at #38 on Rolling Stone’s Best Albums list that year. 

The band’s fifth album was 2012’s Feel the Sound and since the release of that effort, the members of the band have relocated to different parts of the country — with members in New York, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Understandably, the geographical locations and distances can make it extremely difficult to write and record music on a regular basis — but the members of the acclaimed indie rock act reconvened to write and record their forthcoming, sixth album Now We Are Timeless. 

Slated for a July 12, 2019 release through their longtime label home, Merge Records, the band’s sixth album will further cement their long-held reputation for crafting deeply personal material that offered a view into the bandmember’s individual lives, complete with victories, losses, aspirations, where they were emotionally and personally — while thematically, the material touches upon time, movement, averting and succumbing to crisis, dealing with and accepting loss and pain.

“We Do What We Do Best,” Now We Are Timeless’s latest single is a swaggering, arena rock friendly track centered around power chords, an enormous hook, buzzing synths, a propulsive rhythm section, a trippy guitar solo and stream-of-consciousness-like lyrics delivered with a mischievously ironic aplomb; but at its core is the free-flowing spontaneity and joy of a bunch of old friends jamming and coming up with something that kicks ass. 

New Audio: Introducing the Classic Soul Sounds of Austin’s Black Pumas

Black Pumas are a rising Austin, TX-based soul act, comprised of Grammy-winning producer and guitarist Adrian Quesada and 27-year-old singer/songwriter Eric Burton and a cast of collaborators. Interestingly, Burton was a street performer for several years, who busked his way from Los Angeles to Austin, where he met Quesada.

In a relatively short time, the band has received praise for their live shows from Pigeons and Planes and the Austin American-Statesman, eventually winning Best New Band and Song of the Year for “Black Moon Rising” at this year’s Austin Music Awards. Building upon the rapidly growing buzz surrounding them, the act will be releasing their self-titled full-length debut through ATO Records on June 21. The album’s latest single “Colors” is old-school singer/songwriter soul centered around a gospel and blues-inspired arrangement featuring soaring organs, a looped 12 blues guitar line, a supple bass line, and twinkling Rhodes — but by far, the star of the show is Burton’s soulful vocals and incredible range, which evoke hurt, yearning and pride. 

The band is making their NYC debut next Wednesday with a set at The Knitting Factory. 

New Video: Los Angeles Synth Punks Prettiest Eyes Release Sleazy VHS-Styled Visual for “Nekrodisco”

Comprised of San Juan, Puerto Rico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Pachy Garcia (drums, vocals), San Juan Puerto Rico-born, Los Angeles-based Marcos Rodriguez (bass, vocals) and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Paco Casanova (keys, synths vocals), the Los Angeles-based synth punk act Prettiest Eyes can trace their origins back to San Juan, where Garcia and Rodriguez played in a number of local bands before relocating to Los Angeles to seriously pursue music. Rodriguez relocated independently and joined the band — and within their first couple of years together, the act released a couple of EPs and a couple of albums, including 2015’s Looks and last year’s Pools. Both albums established the band’s growing reputation for crafting sleazy, primal, synth-based punk that throbs with a nasty, muscular insistence. 

The band’s third full-length album, the aptly titled Vol. 3 is slated for a June 24, 2019 release through Castle Face Records, and the album’s latest single “Nekrodisco” is a sleazy, cretinous stomp featuring  a muscular and insistent motorik-like, chugging groove, buzzing synths, Garcia’s vocal delivery, which alternates between shouted commands, whispers and howls paired with jagged hooks. And while the new track will further cement the Los Angeles-based synth punk act’s growing reputation for off-center, post-apocalyptic rippers, the track also manages to sound as though it were inspired by Q: Are We Men? A: We Are DEVO-era DEVO. Directed by Shane McKenzie, the recently released video is grainy, distorted VHS scuzz and snow, complete with the members of the band vamping and strutting throughout. 

New Video: Crywolf’s Gorgeous and Unsettling Visual for “CEPHALØTUS”

Crywolf is the solo recording project of Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumetnalist and producer Justin Phillips. When he started releasing music, he was practically homeless, living in a room the size of a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, Phillips has come a long way — he has amassed millions of streams, headlined the second largest stage at Electric Forest and has received praise from the likes of Consequence of Sound, Alternative Press, Billboard, Nylon, Complex. 

Deriving its name from the Latin name of a small, carnivorous plant, Phillips’ latest Crywolf single “CEPHALØTUS” will further his growing reputation for sensual, enveloping and cinematic pop centered around a gorgeous and atmospheric production featuring shimmering guitar chords, Phillips’ reverb-drenched ethereal falsetto which expresses vulnerability and plaintive need paired with  dramatic bursts of industrial clang and clatter. The song possesses a surrealistic and painterly quality — while delving deep into the depths of its creator’s psyche. 

Phillips latest Crywolf album, widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. II] was released earlier this year, and he further cements his reputation or boundary pushing in all aspects of his art with the release of the “WIDOW” series, a short film that will be released in three parts — and unsurprisingly, the short film series is designed to compliment the music perfectly.  “Mabul [CEPHALOTUS Official Video), is technically the second part of the series and begins in media res, as we follow the video’s protagonist (Phillips), dressed like a priest and underwater, seemingly stuck in a purgatorial state, unable to move and unable to die. Much like the song, the visual is at simultaneously dream-like, haunting and unsettling. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Act Starcrawler Releases a Cinematic and Symbolic Visuals for Mosh Pit Friendly Ripper “She Gets Around”

With the release of last year’s critically applauded, self-titled debut, the Los Angeles-based indie rock act Starcrawler, comprised of Arrow de Wilde (vocals), Henri Cash (guitar), Austin Smith (drums) and Tim Franco (bass) quickly emerged into the national and international scene for a sound that is indebted to 90s alt rock — and for a feral live show. Since the release of their full-length debut, the Los Angeles-based quartet have been busy with a busy touring schedule that has seen them play at some of the world’s major festivals including Primavera Sound, Rock Am Ring, Download Festival, Voodoo Festival, FujiRock Festival, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, SXSW and others; in fact, the band won last year’s SXSW Grulke Prize for best US act, after consistently kicking ass over the course of 9 shows in a grueling 4 or 5 day period.

Adding to a rising profile, the band opened for the likes of Foo Fighters, MC50 and Morrissey — and they were included as part of last year’s incredibly diverse crop of Vevo DSCVR artists; however, they were the only ones to have Garbage‘s Shirley Manson praise the band and their frontperson in a video testimonial. 2019 may arguably be an even bigger year for the up-and-coming band: their first single of this year “Hollywood Ending” received praise from NPR and Rolling Stone, and as a result, the track spent several weeks at #1 on speciality radio charts — and they’ll spend a good portion of this year opening for the likes of Beck, Cage The Elephant, Spoon and The Distillers to support their forthcoming, highly-anticipated sophomore album.

“She Gets Around,” the second single of the year from the buzzworthy, Los Angeles-based quartet will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting material that’s clearly indebted to 90s alt rock as the track is centered around scuzzy, distortion pedal-fed power chords, thunderous drumming, heavily down-tuned yet propulsive bass lines, snarled vocals and a rousingly anthemic, mosh pit friendly hook delivered with a ass-kicking, name-taking self-assuredness and an unhinged fury. 

The incredibly cinematic and lush black and white shot video directed by Gilbert Trejo features de Wilde in an enormous parachute struggling to get get free and as a suspended angel — while her bandmates perform the song. As Trejo and de Wilde say of the song and video ““It’s about building someone up in your own head, deifying them, only to have that mental image destroyed in seconds. Not everyone is actually an angel, and sometimes we have to destroy our own marble, saccharine image of them in order to move on. Crow bars and baseball bats make it easier.”