Tag: Mazzy Star

New Video: Up-and-Coming Aussie Singer-Songwriter Gena Rose Bruce Releases a “Twin Peaks”-like Visual for “Rearview”

Can’t Make You Love Me is the highly-anticipated full-length debut of Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Gena Rose Bruce. Slated for a June 28, 2019 release through Dot Dash Records, the Tim Harvey-produced effort took roughly three years to write and record and features a notable guest spot from multi-instrumentalist Jade Imagine, who plays bass and guitar on the album — although fans have received glimpses of the album with its first two singles “Coming Down” and “The Way You Make Love” being released independently last year. 

The album’s latest single “Rearview,” which is the second single that Dot Dash has released this year, is centered by a sparse arrangement of atmospheric synths, shimmering guitars, propulsive and pulsating drumming and a smoldering vocal performance by Bruce imbued with longing — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Mazzy Star and JOVM mainstays Still Corners, the song as Bruce explains “is a conversation I could never have with this person, it’s about accepting failed love. I was angry at the time but I didn’t have the energy to stay angry or feel sorry for myself.” 

Directed by Alex Badham, the recently released video has a weird, fever dream-like logic as it begins with Bruce standing in the forest, and spontaneously jumping into the backseat of a driverless car. Throughout her ride, the car and her are confronted by a number of equally weird, unexpected guests, who join her as she takes control of the car. 

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Comprised of Stine Helen Tunstrøm (vocals), Terje Halmrast (guitar, vocals), Svein Petter Nilssen (guitar), Vegar Eriksfallet (drums, percussion) and Bendrik Dræge Orvan (bass), the Oslo, Norway-based band Monalia are deeply influenced by 60s pop and 4AD shoegaze.

The Oslo-based quintet’s debut single “My Little Lies” was released on Ghost Town Records and the song received airplay across Norwegian radio — but began to receive international attention once it was playlisted on German radio, and saw praise from international music blogs. Building upon a growing profile both nationally and internationally, the band’s debut EP 2016’s Waited All Too Long received regular airplay across Norwegian national radio and praise from a number of different blogs across the blogosphere. Since the release of their debut EP, the members of Monalia have played a number of high profile shows in Oslo and Eastern Norway, including a slot at Festivalen Sin, sharing a stage with some of their homeland’s most prominent artists including Stein Torlief Bjella, Enslaved and Greni.

Last February, the members of Monalia went into the studio to record their recently released full-length debut So Much Better. As the band explains in press notes, the album’s title is about taking an active choice in terms of how you want to live your life. In some way, the band wants to encourage the listener to step out of mediocrity and live a life in pursuit of your ambitions and passions, watching every new day with joy and anticipation rather than anxious dread. Sonically, the material on the band’s debut is a journey through doubt, darkness and longing and into a bight, hopeful future — all while further establishing what they’ve dubbed “mountain surf,” a sound and subgenre inspired by the Norwegian countryside and nature.

So Much Better‘s latest single is the slow-burning and atmospheric “Drank the Rain.” Centered around shimmering guitar lines, gently propulsive drumming, a soaring hook and Tunstrøm’s gorgeous and plaintive vocals, the Norwegian indie act’s latest single bears an uncanny resemblance to Mazzy Star and classic 4AD Records shoegaze; but as the band explains, the song is “about the contrasts between the good and bad feelings in a relationship and how all the band things make the love stronger and make you feel more alive.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie Brochu is a Savannah, GA-born, Chicago, IL-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of her musical career to feeling frustrated with the constraints of her craft, after completing her masters in fiction writing. And as a result, she turned to music for its raw and immediate emotional release. Beginning her musical career as a member of Chicago-based bands Astrobrite and Videotape, the Savannah-born, Chicago-based singer/songwriter and guitarist also leads her own project, Fauvely.

Featuring Dale Price, Scott Cortez, and Dave Piscotti, the Chicago-based band led by Brochu have received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for crafting deeply personal dream pop. The Chicago-based dream pop act’s debut, 2017’s EP Watch Me Overcomplicate This featured confessional material that ranged from delicately self-effacing to hauntingly sad; but its follow-up, last year’s Tides was inspired by Brochu’s birthplace and the effort found Brochu and company expanding their sound and approach, with bolder and brooding material that thematically focused on coming to terms with haunting and unsettling memories in a place revered for its beauty.

Slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Chicago-based indie label Diversion Records, Fauvely’s forthcoming This is What the Living Do EP derives its name from a collection of poetry by New York-based poet Marie Howe. The EP’s first single and title track, the brooding yet ethereal “This Is What the Living Do” is dedicated to her friend, who lost her mother to cancer. And while the sparsely arranged and hauntingly spectral track bears an uncanny resemblance to Mazzy Star, its centered by the grief and heartache of inconsolable, unfathomable loss.

 

New Video: Acclaimed Act Mass Gothic Release Surrealistic Visual for Atmospheric “How I Love You”

Last year, I wrote about the acclaimed New York-based synth-based band Mass Gothic, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of married duo Noel Heroux and Jessica Zambri can trace the project’s origins to the duo managing to dip in and out of their various creative projects throughout the course of their 18 year relationship, advising and supporting one another; but oddly, throughout the bulk of their relationship they never completely committed themselves to collaborating together on an entire album, sharing creative load.

Heroux stared 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, collaborative project. And perhaps most important, he didn’t feel that he was ready to do so with someone as close and fundamental to his life, like his wife. But before he began work on the sophomore Mass Gothic, the phrase “I’ve Tortured You Long Enough” reverberated through his head and quickly became a mantra and a premonition of his collaboration with his wife. And in many ways, that mantra became the title of the band’s sophomore album, a tongue-in-check reference to the fact that it took so long for the duo to work together. “It just popped into my head,” Heroux explained 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.”

As the story goes, as Heroux was about to work on the band’s sophomore album, he felt that he needed to force himself out of his comfort zone — and his deep-seated stubbornness. By the fall of 2016, circumstances found him facing 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 recalled 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, in early 2017, 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 the 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 said in press notes. “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 with the project’s sound evolving with the album’s material being an international meeting of the minds, centered around their openness to work together without rules or conditions — although oddly enough during the spring of 2017, Heroux and Zambri separately came to the conclusion that the material they wrote had way more potential. As the story goes, while they were preparing to tour with Zambri’s sister Cristi Jo and her boyfriend Joseph Stickney, Heroux woke up one morning, turned to his spouse and said “Oh God, we have to fucking re-record the whole album!” Heroux and Zambri agreed that re-recording was required and during the final ten days of recording, they made sure that the material was perfect while being as alive as possible.

Thematically, the album’s material basks in and celebrates the acceptance of co-dependence and independence simultaneously — and while being rooted within the relationship of its creators, the material isn’t so autobiographical that it’s off-putting and alienating in its intimacy; in fact, the material was intentionally written to be a conversation between its creators about something deeply universal. Now, as you may recall, the swooning  Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks-like “Keep On Dying” managed to be both vulnerable yet grounded in an earthy realism.  I’ve Tortured You Long Enough‘s latest single, the atmospheric and euphoric “How I Love You” is a song is centered around Zambri’s ethereal vocals, gently strummed guitar and shimmering synths — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Mazzy Star and others, the song as the act’s Jessica Zambri explains in press notes, “The lights turned on for me. Committing to something can be relieving, even pleasurable.  I used to think I had to protect myself from anything that I perceived to get in the way of making music, but all that did was close me off. Whatever is happening I want to enjoy it. I wrote this song as a reminder to live and not be lived.”

Directed by Evan Fellers, the recently released video is centered around strange yet realistic feeling environments that feel digitally constructed — and in some way, captures the unusual terrain of a new, committed relationship. “I wanted to create strange realistic feeling environments that also felt a bit digital. I used a process called photogrammetry to grab a bunch of real-world elements and turned them into 3d models which make up most of everything you see. Anything from small rocks to large sections of woods, trees, moss, and dirt, to Jess and Noel.

“I knew I wanted to take the viewer through these different environments, but I wanted it to be more than just a camera flying around — something simple and purposeful, searching for something. I wanted there to be this feeling of a journey. I also wanted to trace specific paths through the environment I thought were pleasing. Creating a single red orb that illuminated the environment was a nice way to accomplish all of those goals with the story, and control the way in which I revealed each scene at the same time. The red orb also came to represent the voice of the song to me.”

 

Luvia is an up-and-coming Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, who has received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that she describes on her Facebook  page as a mix of Lana Del Rey, Mazzy Star and a hint of Stevie Nicks, brining together a tender ethereal, acoustic sound. Lyrically, the up-and-coming, British pop artist is inspired by spoken word poetry and story-telling — in particular, she’s been deeply influenced by stories of people, who have given into their guilty pleasures and have taken that proverbial walk on the wild side. Luvia’s latest single is the noir-ish “Love Lust,” centered around the young British artist’s achingly tender vocals and an atmospheric and slow-burning production featuring dramatic drumming, twinkling keys and a soaring hook. Sonically, the track bears an uncanny resemblance to JOVM mainstays ACES as it evokes a cinematic air, that recalls 80s movie soundtracks; but interestingly enough the song seems to capture

As Luvia explains in press notes, “’Love Lust’ is a reflection of what it was like growing up for me but also a lot of people I know. Lots of feeling numb and having a lot to deal with and doing things to feel something or anything. I think that’s where the main line ‘even if it kills me it makes us feel alive, even if it thrills me we might as well just try’ came from, an act of teenage thrill seeking perhaps. Although on the flip side the song is also about growing away from that and finding a way to come alive and wake up from the darker side of things and from the dull day to day.”

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New Audio: Columbus Ohio’s didi Releases Surreal Visuals for Ethereal Album Single “Beached”

Consisting of founding members Meg Zakany (vocals, guitar) and Sheena McGrath (drums) with Kevin Bilapka-Arbelaez (vocals, guitar) and Leslie Simizu (vocals, bass), the Columbus, OH-based indie rock quartet didi can trace their origins to when its founding duo of Zakany and McGrath met in college, and began jamming together as a way of exorcising life’s frustration. Bilapka-Arbelaez and Shimizu were local musicians that didi’s founding duo had admired from afar, and they were recruited to join the band shortly after its formation.  The members of the Columbus, OH-based indie rock band cite Sonic Youth and Built to Spill as influences on their sound and approach. However, the band’s songs find the band generally eschewing a single charismatic frontperson in favor of allowing all of the individual members the freedom and ability to write and sing.

Each member of the band proudly embraces their heritage and differing backgrounds, creative ambitions and songwriting styles, and while they seek to give context and bring personal depth to the music they write together, they firmly believe in music as a way to foster positive communication between people of underrepresented backgrounds as a means to grow a positive environment both within the band and outside of it. Interestingly, the band derives their name from Leslie Shimizu’s grandmother Dorothy Sugawara-Shimizu. Didi, as her grandchildren call her was born and raised in Seattle in the 1920s. And until recently, Didi Sugawara-Shimizu kept most of her personal history to herself, not wanting to burden anyone with the story. “I didn’t really think my story was that different from anyone else. Everyone has their story,” Sugawara-Shimizu would often say. However, Didi was taken from her home when she was 13 and placed in an internment camp for Japanese Americans in Idaho for the next two years of her life. 

One’s teenage years can be incredibly difficult but imagine being a teenager —  and being treated as though you were an illegal alien in your own homeland. As the band explains “but the reason we chose to honor her is not solely because of the struggle she face, but is [sic] so that her story and the story of every woman will be told. We want her to know that her life and her story matter, and that we will be telling it for as long as we can. We want her to know that her quiet strength has given us inspiration to be loud. And we need her to know that she will be remembered and immortalized in our music.” 

didi’s sophomore album like memory foam was released last week through Damnably Records and the album’s material thematically seek to explore the power of an ambiguous identity in terms of of race, gender, class and others to navigate difficult or guarded conversations; the pain of forgetting what once seemed to be an unforgettable love; the sing a woman is capable of in the face of an unchecked man socialized to underestimate her and so on. 

The album’s second single, the slow-burning yet gorgeous and atmospheric “Beached” is centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar chords and ethereal vocals. Sonically, the song recalls Mazzy Star and Sun June, as it possesses a similar delicate quality.  Shot by the members of didi and edited by Alex Bloch, the recently released video features the band’s members at the beach — some in the water or running into the water. At one point, the drummer hurls her drums into the water, while another member plays the cello as the waves lap on the shore. The visuals are a feverish and hallucinatory dream. 

Comprised of long-time friends and collaborators Hope Sandoval and David Roback, the renowned Santa Monica, CA-based indie duo Mazzy Star formed back in 1989 and can trace their origins to the breakup of Roback’s previous band Opal. As the story goes, Roback recruited Sandoval to replace departing vocalist Kendra Smith. Of course, if you managed to come of age in the early 1990s, you’d remember the duo’s smash hit, the moody and haunting “Fade into You,” off their sophomore album So Tonight I May See as it peaked at #44 on the  Billboard Top 100 and was #3 on the  Billboard Modern Rock Tracks charts — and if I remember it correctly, it was also featured on an episode of 90210.

Sandoval and Roebuck’s follow up, 1996’s Among My Swan wasn’t as commercially successful as its predecessor, and the band went on a lengthy hiatus with Sandoval recording solo material and collaborating with Massive Attack and My Bloody Valentine’s Colm O’Coisog in Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions. Since 2011, Sandoval and Roback have sporadically recorded together releasing a handful of singles, 2013’s bluesy Season of Your Day, which was the first full-length effort from the duo in over 15 years, and  a 2014 Record Store Day release, “I’m Less Here.”

Slated for a June 1, 2018 release, Still EP is the first batch of recorded material in over 4 years, and the band will be playing a series of tour dates for the first time in about 5 years — and it will include their first ever tour dates in Australia, as they’ll play three dates at the Sydney Opera House. But to the business at hand . . . The EP’s first single “Quiet, The Winter Harbor” consists of gorgeous and sparse arrangement of piano, twangy guitar and gently tapped drums over which Sandoval’s imitable and achingly lonely vocals ethereally float — and much like Season of Your Day the track is a subtly bluesy/old-timey country expansion of their sound that retains the moody, late night vibes that we all expect.

 

 

Currently comprised of founding member Luisa Black (vocals, guitar), August Churchill (guitar), Jonny Naismith (guitar) and Gavin Haag (drums), the New York-based indie rock band, which specializes in a sound that meshes elements of British art work with American garage rock initially began as a solo project of its then San Francisco, CA-based founding member, after the breakup of her previous band The Blacks, and evolved around a series of demos Black wrote while she was living in London. Since then, the band has worked with a rotating cast in which they’re often a trio but occasionally a duo — and interestingly enough, with the release of a handful of EPs, the band has developed  following in the UK and the European Union.

Rich Girls’ recently released full-length debut Black City finds the band pushing their moody minimalist sound into new directions, and while they retain the reverb-drenched guitar-based sound that first won them attention, the album’s material employs the use of vintage, analog synths and marimbas, as well as some ambitious songwriting that finds the band further blurring genre lines as the material swings back and forth between a pop-leaning focus on melody and a punk-leaning focus on urgency.

“Wayne” Black City‘s latest single is a slow-burning and anthemic, ballad that sonically reminds me of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps,” Concrete Blonde’s “Joey” and Mazzy Star, thanks in part to a sparse arrangement centered around reverb-drenched power chords, thundering drumming, a soaring hook and Black’s vocals singing heartbreaking lyrics on a post-addiction love; but underneath the song’s ache is the self-assuredness of old pros, who can craft an ambitious, arena rock friendly torch song in a way that feels both profoundly sincere and effortless.

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Oddnesse Release 1980s MTV-Inspired Visuals for Slow-Burning, Torch Song “I Used To”

Over the past year or so, I’ve written a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based indie pop project Oddnesse, and as you may recall, the project comprised of singer/songwriter Rebeca Arango and producer Grey Goon can trace its origins to when both members individually relocated from the East Coast to Los Angeles after being in several failed bands. As the story goes, Arango and Goon bonded over a shared vision of beautiful and infectious music with a dark, heavy groove, and initially the project began as two friends jamming and experimenting with ideas before they began to take it as a serious endeavor. 
Last year, I wrote about “Are You Down,” a sultry Mazzy Star -like single that paired Arango’s sultry, self-assured yet laid back crooning with a moody and sleek production featuring shimmering guitar chords, a sinuous and propulsive groove and a soaring hook — and a come hither vibe. The duo’s latest single “I Used To” is an atmospheric and meditative track featuring an ethereal arrangement consisting of twangy, guitar chords, gently droning synths with Arango’s crooning vocals ethereally gliding over the the surface and while nodding at 80s New Wave and pop, there’s a subtle alt-country leaning to a song that has a rather cinematic vibe. As the duo’s Rebeca Arango explains in press notes, the song comes from a rather personal experience: “I had driven alone from LA to Utah and back twice. I absolutely loved it, in the way I’ve always loved the independence of no one needing me, no one expecting me, no one to confer with about where I might stop, when I might leave, if I might come back. I was grateful on those trips (as one usually is) for the dissolution of a relationship I had been overly attached to.  I was grateful that my mind was clear and that I had the experience to myself. I was happy. I didn’t need to know what was next.” And as a result, the song buzzes with an anticipation over a new, unseen future.

Directed by Casey Feldman, the recently released video was shot in a furious three day period along with the video for “I Used To” that included one crew member and two different directors — but interestingly enough, while the new video is decidedly inspired by 1980s MTV, it subtly emphasizes the song’s emotional complexity in which loss can be equally punctuated with pride, acceptance and hope. 

New Video: The Hauntingly Eerie 360º Visuals for Oginalii’s Moody and Slow-Burning “Substance Abuse”

Comprised of founding members Emma Hoeflinger (vocals, guitar) and Karolyn Winegarner (vocals, drums), and Kurt Kraft (bass), the Nashville, TN-based psych rock/sludge rock trio Oginalii derive their name from the Cherokee word for “my friend,” and the up-and-coming band can trace their origins to when its founding members met in the dorm hall they both shared while studying at Belmont University back in 2014 — with Kraft joining the band in 2016. 

Locally, the trio have developed a reputation for a sound that’s difficult to pin down, as their material finds the band at one moment playing slow-burning, dreamy shoegaze and then the next moment playing ripping, sludgy power chords paired with Hoeflinger and Winegarner harmonizing and trading vocals throughout; in fact, from what I understand the Nashville-based trio, who released their critically applauded debut EP earlier this year, won quite bit of attention from crowds at SXSW last week. 

Building on the growing buzz that the Nashville, TN-based trio has already received for their debut EP, their follow-up EP, The Grey is slated for an October 20, 2018 and while reportedly continuing in a similar sonic vein as its predecessor, the Curtis Roush-produced and engineered effort thematically focuses on “the grey.” As the trio’s Hoeflinger explains in press notes, “The grey [as a concept] has been a thing for me my whole life. The in-between. Black and white shuts the demons up, but the grey is always constantly calling my name. It’s in between the grey of things that not  a lot of people talk about.” And as a result, the material discusses the sensation of feeling lost, the space between the inner self, which you rarely reveal and the out self, which you present to the world — but interestingly enough the material balancing pensiveness, with a tongue-in-check irony at other points while  being self-aware of both. “Substance Abuse,” the EP’s firs single and opening track begins with a slow-burning and mournful jangling reminiscent of Mazzy Star but boozier and bluesier with a chugging, sludgy chorus and an anthemic, beer raising, fist pumping chorus; however, throughout the song, it’s narrator is desperately and transparently putting on a brave face, smiling and claiming that everything is fine, when it’s obvious that everything is on the verge of complete 
collapse. 

The recently released 360º virtual reality video features the band performing the song in a basement that quickly turns into an eerie and ominous graveyard with bare, swaying trees just above them with haunting cult-like figures surrounding them. It’s incredibly creepy and further evokes the sense that something isn’t quite right.