Tag: Mazzy Star

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.

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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. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Geowulf Return with Moody and Cinematic Visuals for Shimmering Album Single “Sunday”

Throughout the course of the past 18-19 months months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Geowulf, comprised of Noosa, Australia-born friends and collaborators, Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin. And although the duo have known each other since they were teenagers, their musical collaboration began in earnest when Kendrick, who grew up in a musical home, started to pursue music seriously a few years ago, and enlisted the help of her old friend to flesh out her earliest demos.

After a string of successful, critically applauded singles including “Saltwater,” which received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s top ten before landing at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts; the Mazzy Star meets  Fleetwood Mac-like   “Don’t Talk About You;” the  Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much,” and the jangling, 60s girls group pop-inspired single “Hideaway,” the JOVM mainstays released their highly-anticipated Duncan Mills-produced, full-length debut, Great Big Blue last month.

Building upon the buzz of their incredible run of buzz worthy singles, the duo’s latest single “Sunday” is a gorgeous, slow-burning and cinematic bit of guitar pop, with a soaring hook that should immediately bring comparisons like Mazzy Star, The Smiths and others — while continuing a string of songs that pair dark and moody lyrics with upbeat sounds.  As the duo says in press notes, “‘Sunday’ is a favorite of ours in the album. It’s a little cruiser of a song meant to make you feel all the good things. Lyrically, it’s about feeling like Sunday is a pretty lonely day sometimes.”

The recently released video continues a string of gorgeously shot, swooning yet surreal fever dream-like visuals, which further emphasizes the bitter loneliness at the core of the song.

Consisting of Paulina Palmgren, Fabian Ballago, Samuel Collmar,  Karl Hovmark and Johan Nilsson, La Lusid is a Swedish indie rock act that has received attention in their homeland for a melancholy yet dreamy sound that draws from the 60s and 70s music. The Swedish indie rock quintet’s latest single “Empty Bones,” which features a lush arrangement featuring shimmering guitars gently fed through reverb and delay pedal, twinkling keys and a driving rhythm section centered around a gorgeous vocal and a soaring hook; however, to my ears, the band’s sound reminds me quite a bit of Mazzy Star, The Cranberries and The Cardigans, complete with a carefully crafted, radio friendly vibe.

 

 

New Video: Falcon Jane’s Shimmering and Slow-burning Anthem for Anxious People

Comprised of Sara May, Andrew McArthur, Branson Giles, Racquel Hardy, and Jason Kuschmierz, the Orangeville, Ontario-based indie rock sextet Falcon Jane specialize in what they’ve dubbed “plez rock,” music that’s inspired by nature, truth, peace, magic, life and death and so on. The Canadian indie rock sextet’s third, full-length album Feelin’ Freaky is slated for release this summer, and the album’s first single “Go With The Flow” is a shimmering and slow-burning Mazzy Star-like anthem for anxious people to slow it down and to — well, go with the flow. 
The recently released video was directed, produced and edited by the band’s Sara May and features May chilling in her small, Ontario hometown doing things that make her feel relaxed — and the visuals further emphasize the laid-back vibes of the song. 

New Video: The Cinematic and Surreal Visuals for Oddnesse’s Sultry “Are You Down”

Comprised of singer/songwriter Rebeca Arango and producer Grey Goon, the Los Angeles, CA-based indie pop project Oddnesse can trace its origins to when both members independently relocated from the East Coast to Los Angeles haunted by the ghosts of expensive degrees in music, several failed bands and countless gigs at  Cake Shop and others. And as the story goes, Arnago and Goon bonded over a shared vision for infectious and beautiful music with a dark, heavy groove — and initially, they stopped by the studio as two friends jamming and experimenting with ideas before they began to take it as a serious endeavor.

“Are You Down,” the duo’s latest single finds the duo pairing Arango’s self-assured and coquettish crooning with a shimmering Mazzy Star-like production featuring a soaring hook. As Rebeca Arango explained in press notes, “Are You Down,” is her “Pina Colada” song, as “it’s a very confident and laid-back anticipation of my next lover, where I’m getting specific about calling in someone, who can match my energy and approach to life. The question of going ‘slow’ isn’t about romantic pacing per-se (though that is important), it’s more about generally moving slow, never rushing to pack in too much all at once or getting anxious about ‘missing out,’ and preferring to to sink in and explore the depths of all things.”

Directed by Thaddeus Ruzicka, the recently released video for “Are You Down” is a cinematically shot fever dream that subtly draws from old movies and early 80s music videos — and features a protagonist in gorgeous yet somewhat surreal settings.

New Video: Married, Art Pop Duo, The Parlor Releases a Thoughtful Meditation on Grief

With the release of their critically applauded sophomore album Wahzu Wahzu, the Altamont, NY-based art pop duo The Parlor, comprised of multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, production and husband and wife team of Jen O’Connor and Eric Krans further cemented a growing reputation for a fearless willingness to explore a variety of sound palettes and styles while crafting intimate and thoughtful pop music; in fact, the Altamont, NY-based duo have progressed from indie folk to stomp and clap trance folk to “campfire disco” as Pitchfork described Wahzu Wahzu.

Slated for an April 13, 2018 the Altamont, NY-based art pop duo’s forthcoming, third full-length effort Kiku derives its name for the Japanese word for chrysanthemum. According to O’Connor and Krans, chrysanthemum began blooming in their farmhouse garden immediately following their second miscarriage, and for the couple, the flower became a symbol of their grief, despair, resilience and faith. Sonically speaking, the album represents a continued evolution of their overall sound, as Kiku is the duo’s first foray into trigged samples and orchestral synth soundscaping. “Kiku grew into something we never anticipated,” the couple admits in press notes. As they were grieving, they turned to their art and began writing and recording material inspired by what they were feeling and thinking, as the couple says they felt themselves “reaching out across the plane of the living and the dead, where we stumbled upon the tiny hand of the soul we lost. We brought a pice of her, of Kiku, back with us.”

Understandably, the material on Kiku sounds gloomier and more anxious than their previously released work while reportedly balancing a playful and relaxed air at points that suggests that while profoundly serious, the album can be coquettish, sexy and earnest; in some way, the album is meant to be the inner world of a couple, who keep trying over and over again — perhaps, because as cheesy as it may sound to some, they have each other.

Kiku’s first single, album opener “Soon” draws from dream pop, contemporary electro pop, movie soundtracks, jazz and experimental pop in a heady and swooning mix — and while to my ears, bringing to mind the work of Moonbabies, Beacon, Softspot, Mazzy Star and Flourish//Perish-era BRAIDS, the members of The Parlor manage to specialize in incredibly slick and lush production featuring soaring hooks paired with fearlessly heartfelt lyrics and sentiment. Yes, it’s meant to break your heart time and time again, but with a deeper purpose — to remind the listener of their empathy. Grief is grief is grief. We all know this and we all experience it at various points in our lives, and we try to move froward; that is what people do after all.

As O’Connor and Krans explain in press notes, “‘Soon’ was intended as a metaphor for the stages of grief. The chrysanthemums represent grief itself. We carry grief around with us, often to unlikely places. We try at times to let it go, to fling our grief from great heights or hope it’s carried off by time — an offering to the flowing waters of the hills. But ultimately we find ourselves steeping in it, drowning in it, and ideally cleansed by it in a baptism of intentional release. Allowing ourselves to stop fighting forces us to experience things that, as humans, we often try desperately to avoid. Allowing ourselves to dance in glowing sunlight empowers us to reclaim our spirit. And we are transported to a deeper place of understanding of one’s self and of the human experience as we know it. ‘Soon’ is an expression of painful hope and illuminated heart.”

The duo directed, shot and edited the video for “Soon” and naturally, the video prominently features chrysanthemums throughout — sometimes the husband and wife duo proudly and defiantly carrying them about, at other points, the flowers are being offered to the proverbial flowing waters of time or treated as a sort of sacrifice; but no matter what the flowers and their grief is inescapable — until they accept it.

Throughout the course of the past 18 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Geowulf, comprised of Noosa, Australia-born friends and collaborators, Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin. And although the duo have known each other since they were teenagers, their musical collaboration began in earnest when Kendrick, who grew up in a musical home, started to pursue music seriously a few years ago, and enlisted the help of her old friend to flesh out her earliest demos.

After a string of successful, critically applauded singles including “Saltwater,” which received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s top ten before landing at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts; the Mazzy Star meets  Fleetwood Mac-like   “Don’t Talk About You;” and the  Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much,” the JOVM mainstays announced that their highly-anticipated Duncan Mills-produced, full-length debut, Great Big Blue is slated for a February 16, 2018 release through 37 Adventures Records. And along with the announcement of their debut, the duo then released, the shuffling and jangling, 60s girl group pop-inspired single “Hideaway,” which continues the dream pop duo’s growing reputation for material that possesses a careful and deliberate attention to craft but with subtly modern flourishes — all while focusing on the complications, frustrations and aches of romantic relationships.

The album’s latest single “Sunday” is a slow-burning, gorgeous and cinematic bit of guitar pop, with a soaring hook that should immediately bring comparisons like Mazzy Star, The Smiths and others — while continuing a string of songs that pair dark and moody lyrics with upbeat sounds.  As the duo says in press notes, “‘Sunday’ is a favorite of ours in the album. It’s a little cruiser of a song meant to make you feel all the good things. Lyrically, it’s about feeling like Sunday is a pretty lonely day sometimes.”