Tag: Los Angeles CA

New Audio: Los Angeles’ Numb.er Returns with a Lysergic-Tinged Visuals and Sounds of “A Memory Stained”

Earlier this year, I wrote about Numb.er, the brainchild of Los Angeles, CA-based mastermind and primary songwriter, photographer and visual artist Jeff Fribourg, who’s probably best known as a founding member of psych rock/kraut rock band Froth. Now, as you may recall, Fribourg can trace the origins of his love affair with synthesizers to when he was leading Froth, and with his latest project, Fribourg fully explores both his deep love of synthesizers and his wildly eclectic influences and inclinations; in fact with Numb.er Fribourg’s work meshes elements of punk rock, post-punk, noise rock and shoegaze.

Goodbye, Fribourg’s latest Numb.er album was released earlier this year through renowned post punk label Felte Records, and the album’s first single “Numerical Depression” featured elements of 77-era punk, post-punk and noise punk in a way that sonically brought the likes of Wire, Nirvana, The Clash, Bauhaus, without resorting to mimicry and cliches. Interestingly, Goodbye’s latest single finds Fribourg seamlessly meshing 60s psych pop with synth-led New Wave and four-on-the-four drumming in a way that brings British psych rockers TOY to mind, but murkier and more foreboding while retaining Fribourg’s uncanny ability to craft an infectious hook. 

Directed by Matt Creed and edited by Chris Rice, the recently released video for “A Memory Stained” employs the use of creepy yet trippy found footage that emphasizes the lysergic quality of the song and its foreboding vibes.

 

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays Sextile Release an Industrial New Wave-Inspired Banger

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the  Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk act Sextile, and as you may recall since the act’s inception in 2015, they’ve earned a devout following, as a result of an explosive live show and non-stop touring as both as an opener and as a headliner with the likes of A Place to Bury Strangers, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, The Soft Moon, Ought, ADULT., The Chameleons, Modern English and others. Adding to a growing profile, they’ve also played sets at Bersekertown, Cloak & Dagger and Levitation Festivals.

Interestingly, over that same year period, the act has gone through a massive lineup change that finds the act writing, recording and performing as a duo featuring Brady Keehn and Melissa Scaduto. Naturally, as a result of the lineup changes, Kehn and Scaduto have radically reinvented their sound with a move towards synths with minimal use of guitar; in fact, on their recently released EP, EP3, the duo use a KORG MS-10 sequencer, a Fender Stratocaster, a LinnDrum and various other percussion-based instruments to craft a decidedly industrial synth-based sound. Additionally, the duo cite futurist Luigi Russolo’s The Art of Noises as an influence on their approach, as their sound and songwriting is meant to evoke and mirror the chaos and brutality of the industrial era. EP single “Spun” was centered around explosive squealing bursts of guitar, scorching synths, thumping beats, industrial clang and clatter and a motorik-ike groove, and it some way the song found the band meshing  the aesthetics of Gang of Four and classic DFA Records (i.e., early LCD Soundsystem and Echoes-era The Rapture) while hinting a bit at Bay City Rollers‘ “Saturday Night,” thanks to its punchily delivered vocals.  “Disco,” EP 3’s latest single may argaubly be the most dance floor friendly song they’ve ever released as it sonically brings Yaz’s “Situation,” New Order’s “Blue Monday” and Ministry to mind, as it’s centered around a production of layers arpeggiated synths, industrial clang and clatter and a motorik groove — but lyrically, as the duo note,t he song’s lyrics focus on the lack of time to do anything productive or constructive, DIY spaces being shut down, gun control and constant media propaganda in a way that evokes our increasingly cynical, paranoid and uncertain world.  Civilization as we know it is collapsing before our eyes, and we might as well dance, dance, dance, dance, dance.

Keehn and Scaduto directed the video and as they mention in press notes, visually and aesthetically, the slickly shot black and white treatment was deeply influenced by the New German Wave.

New Audio: London’s White Lies Releases a Moody and Epic New Single from Forthcoming Album

Slated for a February 1, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings, the acclaimed London-based indie trio White Lies, comprised of Harry McVeigh (lead vocals, guitar), Charles Cave (bass, backing vocals) and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) will be marking their tenth anniversary as a band — and interestingly, the album reportedly finds the band pushing their sound and aesthetic in new directions with the addition of personal, and at times deeply intimate lyrics written by the band’s Charles Cave. Unlike the preceding albums, the writing and recording process was a Transatlantic one that included a trip to Los Angeles, where they worked on new material with Ed Bueller, who produced the band’s chart-topping debut To Lose My Life and their third album Big TV. Throughout the process, the band enlisted past associates and collaborators to assist on the proceedings including engineer James Brown, who has worked with Arctic Monkeys and Foo Fighters; the renowned producer Flood, who contributes synths and keys on a couple of tracks; and Grammy Award-winning Alan Moulder, who has worked with Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and The Killers to mix the album. 

Clocking in at a little over 7 and a half minutes, the album’s latest single “Time to Give” may arguably be among the most ambitious songs the band has released, as the track is centered around a lush yet moody arrangement of shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line that’s part of a propulsive, motorik groove and soaring, arena rock-friendly hooks paired with McVeigh’s sonorous baritone. And while nodding a bit at Snow Patrol and others, the song seems to focus on a dysfunctional and abusive relationship from a real an lived-in place; in fact, it’s so real that as a result, the song bristles with bitterness, confusion and hurt. 

Last month, I wrote about Evalyn, an up-and-coming Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter whose soon-to-be released Salvation EP thematically explores the seven deadly sins, while also being centered around the concept of trying to find something to save you from yourself and the world — whether it be a religion or a cult or anything else you might worship. Now, as you may recall, EP single “Big Bad City” featured an arena rock-like production consisting of thumping beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook. And while possessing the emotional heft of an old school spiritual, the song was one examination of pride — in particular, an unapologetic passion for a sinful, greedy and vapid way of life.

Interestingly, the EP’s latest single “A Pill to Crush” reveals an artist who readily experiments with her sound and songwriting as the track manages to subtly hint at 60s psych pop as its centered around a trippy production of bubbling and wobbling synths, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar chords paired with the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter’s dreamily distracted vocals (which are distorted at various points). And while the song is arguably the most expansive and mind-altering of the up-and-coming artist’s growing catalog, the song lyrically finds its narrator bitterly describing a relationship in which the other person treats you like a pill they can crush and eventually discard — and the feelings of wrath that being rejected and treated poorly can engender.

With the release of The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind, which landed at number 26 on Bandcamp Daily’s 100 Best Albums of the Year, the Chicago, IL-born, Los Angeles, CA-based emcee Lando Chill quickly received national attention for crafting hip-hop that freely encompasses elements of funk, gospel, jazz, indie rock, psych rock and folk music — although Boy Who Spoke to the Wind featured an even more abstract, experimental sound than his previous releases.

Lando Chill’s forthcoming album Black Ego is slated for an October 12, 2018 release through Mello Music Group, and the album continues the Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based emcee’s ongoing collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and producer The Lasso. And interestingly, Black Ego’s first single features a lysergic take on West Coast-inspired hip-hop as its centered around a production consisting of shimmering hi hats, wobbling synths and thumping beats — and while trippy, it’s roomy enough to give Lando Chill, Quelle Chris and Rey the space to spit self-assured, swaggering bars. Sonically, the single bears an uncanny resemblance to Black Up and Lese Majesty-era Shabazz Palaces with a grittier vibe.

 

New Audio: Acclaimed Duo Silk City Team Up with Dua Lipa on a Sultry Classic Chicago House-Inspired Banger

Born Thomas Wesley Pentz, Diplo is a prolific and acclaimed Los Angeles-based producer, DJ and electronic music artist. As a solo artist, he’s managed to see a fair degree of commercial success with 2013’s Revolution EP, which debuted at #68 on the US Billboard 200 — and the EP’s title track was later featured in a Hyundai ad campaign and on the WWE 2K16 soundtrack. Diplo is also known as the co-founder and lead member of the electronic dancehall project Major Lazer, and one-half of electronic music production and artist duo Jack U with Skrillex. And as a producer, the Los Angeles-based producer, DJ and electronic music artist has collaborated with M.I.A., Gwen Stefani, Die Antwoord, Britney Spears, Madonna, Shakira, Beyonce, No Doubt, Justin Bieber, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Trippie Redd, Chris Brown, CL, and G-Dragon. 

Mark Ronson is a London-born and-based multi-instrumentalist, DJ, singer/songwriter and producer and although his debut effort, 2003’s Here Comes the Fuzz failed to make the charts, his sophomore effort, 2007’s Version landed at number 2 on the UK charts, thanks to the fact that the album had three Top 10 singles — and as a result, he won a Brit Award for Best British Male Solo Artist. Building upon a growing profile, 2010’s Record Collection peaked at #2 on the UK Charts.

Ronson also won Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year, Non Classical, Best Pop Album and Record of the Year for his work on Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” and Back to Black. He also produced “Cold Shoulder,” off Adele’s critically applauded and commercially successful debut 19. And unless you’ve been living in a remote Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas, Ronson’s first UK and US #1 single was his collaboration with Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk,” and as a result of the single’s massive commercial success, Ronson won the Brit Award for British Single of the Year, as well as Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The London-born and-based producer, DJ, multi-instrumetanlist and singer/songwriter’s fourth full-length album Uptown Special was his first #1 album in the UK and peaked at #5.

Ronson’s and Diplo’s collaboration together Silk City can trace its origins to the duo’s long-time friendship, a friendship that dates back to the early 2000s. Their debut single “Only Can Get Better,” featuring Daniel Merriweather was released earlier this year, ahead of their Governor’s Ball set, and they’ve already made several other appearances across the international festival circuit with sets at Bestival and Treasure Island Music Festival among others.  The duo’s second single “Feel About You,” a collaboration with Mapei was a slickly produced and soulful track with arpeggiated synths that subtly nods at Robin S’s “Show Me Love” — but with a clean, hyper modern sheen. The acclaimed duo’s latest single “Electricity” find them collaborating with multi-Brit Award-winning Albanian-British singer/songwriter and model Dua Lipa, and The xx’s Romy Madley-Croft and Diana Gordon, who co-wrote and contributed lyrics and melodies, and much like it’s predecessors, “Electricity” is a slickly produced, anthemic banger. However, the piano-led, hook-driven track draws from classic Chicago house, complete with an irresistible sensual ecstasy at its core.

Directed by production duo Bradley and Pablo, the recently released video for “Electricity” is set during the Blackout of 2003 and stars Dua Lipa, who hosts a loft party that contains so much sexual energy that it keeps the lights on in the apartment. Of course, two of the guests — guess who, y’all? — wind up being stuck in an elevator and completely missing the party. 
 

Live Footage: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Perform “The Mercy Seat” Live in Copenhagen

Currently comprised of Australian-born founding member Nick Cave (vocals, piano, guitar), Australian-born multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis, Australian-born Martyn P. Casey (bass), British-born George Vijestica (guitar),  American-born Toby Dammit (keys, percussion) (a.k. Larry Mullins), Swiss-born Thomas Wydler (drums) and American-born Jim Sclavunos (drums), the renowned indie rock act Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds can trace its origins back to 1983 when the band formed after the breakup of Cave’s and multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey’s previous band The Birthday Party.  Throughout the band’s 35 year history, the band has gone through a series of lineup changes, but they’re known for featuring a cast of internationally-based collaborators — and perhaps most importantly, as one of the most critically celebrated and original post-punk, alt rock and indie rock bands of their era, managing to write and record material across a wide range of sounds, styles and genres — i.e., after the release of 1988’s Tender Prey, the band shifted from post-punk to experimental rock for a series of albums; 2008’s Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! found the band playing gritty garage rock; 2013’s Push the Sky Away found the band increasingly incorporating synths after Mick Harvey’s departure in 2009.

Additionally, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds have a long-held reputation for being one of the more intense live acts around and interestingly enough, the members of the band filmed one show, during their 2017 world tour — their Copenhagen stop — and presented in cinemas across the world for one night only as Distant Sky — Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Live in Copenhagen. September 28, 2018 will mark the release of the digital and 12 inch vinyl release of a limited, special release EP of the audio from the show. Of course, it’ll feature this urgent, live rendition of the gorgeous and moody “The Mercy Seat.”

Comprised of Dexy Valentine (vocals, guitar), Coleman Moore (bass) and Phil Galloni (synths, programming), the Los Angeles, CA-based dream pop trio My Ultra Violet can trace their origins to when the trio met at a gig and exchanged numbers — and since their formation, they’ve received some attention for crafting elegant yet moody dream pop. Interestingly, the trio’s latest single, “Wilde As Me” finds the act collaborating with producer Adam Greenspan, who has worked with Nick Cave, Supergrass and Band of Skulls and drummer Malcolm Cross on a decidedly 80s-inspired synth pop jam centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, Valentine’s ethereal vocals and rousing, radio friendly hooks within a hypnotic song that nods at Washed Out, Summer Heart and others.

Valentine takes up the space of a two-dimensional character within the track to highlight the internal irony of the lyrics of pop songs in general, noting that they generally can be shallower and more blatant — and as she admits in press notes, it’s a nod towards Oscar Wilde, one of her famous poets, who once quipped that “only the shallow know themselves.”

 

 

New Video: An Intimate Look Behind the Scenes for Visuals for Mass Gothic’s Soaring 80s-Inspired Synth Pop Single “Keep on Dying”

Mass Gothic is an acclaimed New York-based synth based project comprised of married duo Noel Heroux and Jessica Zambri, and the over course of their 18 year relationship, the’ve managed to dip in and out of each other’s creative spaces, advising on their respective projects and supporting one another; but throughout that bulk of their relationship, they never completely committed themselves to collaborating together on an entire album, sharing equal load — that is until, the project’s recently sophomore album, I’ve Tortured You Long Enough, a tongue-in-cheek title based around the fact it took way too long for the duo to finally collaborate together. 

Interestingly, Heroux started Mass Gothic back in 2016 as a solo project, after the breakup of his previous band Hooray for Earth. Reportedly plagued by his own insecurities and anxieties, Heroux wasn’t yet ready to deal with putting his trust and confidence into a shared, collaborate project — and perhaps most importantly, he wasn’t ready to do so with someone so close and so fundamental to his life. But before work began on the second Mass Gothic album, the phrase “I’ve Tortured You Long Enough” had reverberated through his head and quickly became both a mantra and a premonition. “It just popped into my head,” Heroux explains in press notes. “You can say it to a loved one or to a friend. Or You could wish someone say it to you. It covers so many basses but it’s taken on extra meaning in the past couple of years, while everybody is at each other’s throats; frustrated and confused all the time.” At the time, Heroux was in need of forcing himself out of his comfort zone and letting go of his prior, deep-seated stubbornness — and by the fall of 2016, circumstances forced him to face his biggest fears head on. “We rented a small tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. We put ourselves away and worked on music all day, wondering what it would feel and sound like,” Jessica Zambri recalls in press notes. 

The first song they wrote together was an early iteration of “Keep On Dying.” Zambri had the melody and lyrics while Heroux had arranged the chords. From there, things snowballed and while the writing began in New York, early last year the duo threw caution to wind, got rid of their Brooklyn apartment, purged most of their belongings and relocated to Los Angeles to write and record their album. They then bought a car, drove to L.A. where they lived out of duffle bag with co-producer Josh Ascalon, and they spent the bulk of their time writing. “The entire record from start to finish was done without having our own place to live,” Heroux recalls. Maybe we wouldn’t have been able to do it if we were anchored at home. We were forced into it. Jess was trying to open me up and if we could have just sat on a couch and thrown on the TV it probably wouldn’t have worked.”

Working as a duo helped to evolved the project’s sound, with the duo’s sophomore album being a more intentional meeting of the minds, centered round a complete openness to work together without rules or conditions — although last spring, when they initially thought they had finished the album, Heroux and Zambri separately realized that the material had way more potential; in fact, while they were preparing to go on tour with Zambri’s sister Cristi Jo and her boyfriend Jospeh Stickney when Heroux woke up one morning, turned to his spouse and said “Oh God, we have to fucking re-record the whole album.” The duo quietly agreed that it was required and during the final ten days, they made sure that the material was perfect but felt alive. Reportedly, the album’s material basks in and celebrates the acceptance of co-dependence and independence simultaneously — and while being autobiographical (it’s rooted around the relationship of its creators), it’s not so autobiographical and a conversation between its creators but while not being  alienating to the listener. 

I’ve Tortured You Long Enough’s latest single”Keep On Dying,” is a  hook driven song that features brief blasts of horn, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Zambri’s ethereal vocals — and while sonically the song brings to mind Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks, it possesses a swooning Romanticism that’s tethered to the real world; vulnerable but with the recognition that love, like all things doesn’t make much sense and can be simultaneously easy and difficult yet so necessary in an increasingly stark, cynical world. 

Co-directed by the band and Nira Burnstein, the recently released video is an look of the band while on tour, goofing off, practicing — and with a profound, behind the scenes intimacy of a touring band.

 

Best known as a former member of dream punk bands So Many Wizards and Tomemitsu, the Los Angeles, CA-born and -based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Devin Ratliff’s solo recording project Dev Ray received attention last year with the release of his debut single, a moody, synth-based take on The Pointer Sisters‘ 1982 smash hit “I’m So Excited.” Interestingly, Ratliff’s latest single “Can’t Hide” was released earlier this summer through Dangerbird Records as part of their ongoing Microdose series, a monthly single release and live event series celebrating and promoting new music from up-and-coming Los Angeles-based artists — and beyond.  The single is centered around a dreamy and swooning psych pop arrangement that features shimmering and arpeggiated synths, gently padded yet propulsive drumming, shimmering guitar lines, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook — and interestingly enough, Ratliff does so in a way that recalls 60s psych pop, bubblegum pop and DIY lo-fi indie rock, complete with a placid and unhurried air.