Tag: Mercury Lounge

Born Tessa Violet Williams in Chicago, the up-and-coming, Nashville-based indie pop singer/songwriter and vlogger, Tessa Violet can trace the origins of her music career to a school project in which she began daily vlogging in 2007 for a school project with the screen name Meekakitty while working in Hong Kong and Thailand as a model; however, by 2009 Williams quit modeling and relocated to New York, to focus on her vlog, which primarily focused on storytelling, skits and music videos — particularly, fan-made music videos for popular artists like Reliant K, Family Force 5 and MIKA.

Wiliams gained national attention after winning $100,000 in a YouTube competition by receiving the most comments on her video entry.  In 2011, Williams was featured in fellow YouTube creator Nanalew’s fan-made “Sail,” which went viral and has amassed over 310 million views. In 2012, The Chicago-born, Nashville-based indie pop singer/songwriter followed her appearance in “Sail” by appearing in the video for Family Force 5’s “Cray Button,” and then directing the act’s video for “Chainsaw,” which featured Tedashii.

By 2013 Williams began to focus on writing, recording and releasing music and the focus on her YouTube channel shifted to her original music, eventually leading to her dropping the Meekakitty moniker and using her real name Tessa Violet across all of her online platforms.

So far the past year or so has been a breakthrough, whirlwind year for the up-and-coming Chicago-born, Nashville-based indie pop artist: she’s released two critically applauded singles “Crush” and “Bad Ideas” — “Crush” has amassed over 18 million Spotify streams and the video has received over 36 million views. “Bad Ideas” became a viral hit. As result of the success of those two singles, Williams toured with her first live, backing band, which featured Jess Bowen (drums) — and that tour included her first sold-out headline shows at Los AngelesThe Troubadour and the Mercury Lounge. 

Building upon an exploding profile, she just finished her first UK tour, which featured a sold out London show, and Billboard featured her as one of 10 new festival artists to look out for this year. She was also named the first YouTube Foundry Artist of 2019 — and she’ll be making her Lollapalooza debut this year. Her full-length album Bad Ideas will be released one song a month or so throughout the year, and the album’s third and latest single “I Like (The Idea of) You” recently premiered on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist and YouTube Music’s Pop Before It Breaks playlist. Centered around a disco meets New Wave-like bass line, the Chicago-born, Nashville-based pop artist’s latest single is a sultry and coquettish, late night strut that recalls DFA Records heyday.

“I was seeing this guy at the time, who I knew wasn’t into me. And even though I could see that, it was still so much fun to think and obsess about him,” Tessa Violet says of the song. “Replaying the way he said my name on the phone, imagining what I would wear or say the next time I saw him, thinking of things I could write about him. I remember that I could logically see it wasn’t going anywhere, so I thought maybe I should feel embarrassed about how much time I was spending on him. But it didn’t make me feel embarrassed, it made me feel sexy and powerful. So what if they’re not that into me? I like the idea of it and I’m going to enjoy that.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Dream Syndicate’s Lysergic Ode to Getting Older and Miles Davis

Currently comprised of founding members Steve Wynn, an accomplished and critically applauded singer/songwriter, guitarist and solo artist and drummer Dennis Duck, along with bassist Mark Walton and guitarist Jason Victor, the Los Angeles-based psych rock act The Dream Syndicate can trace its origins back to the early 80s when Wynn along with fellow founding member Kendra Smith and future True West members Russ Tolman and Gavin Blair founded and played in one of the area’s first new wave bands in the Davis, CA music scene, The Suspects. Wynn also recorded a single with another band, 15 Minutes, which included members of Alternate Learning.

After returning to his hometown, Wynn spent a brief stint of time rehearsing in another local band, Goat Deity with future Wednesday Week members, Kelly and Kristi Callan — and while with Goat Deity, Wynn met Karl Precoda, who had an answered an ad seeking a bassist. The two started a new band with Precoda switching to guitar. Wynn’s college pal and former bandmate Smith and Duck (Mehaffey), who was a member of Pasadena-based act Human Hands joining the band to complete The Dream Syndicate’s initial lineup. (Interestingly, as the story goes, Duck suggested the band’s name as a reference to Tony Conrad’s early 1960s New York-based experimental ensemble, best known as the Theatre of Eternal Music, which featured John Cale.)

With the release of their Paul B. Cutler-produced debut EP, The Dream Syndicate received attention locally for a sound influenced by The Velvet Underground, Neil Young and Television, completely with aggressively long, feedback-filled improvisations. The members of the band signed to Slash Records subsidiary Ruby Records, who released the band’s 1982 full-length debut, the attention-grabbing and influential Days of Wine and Roses. Rough Trade Records released their debut’s lead single “Tell Me When It’s Over” as the A-side of a UK EP, which included a live cover of Neil Young’s “Mr. Soul” that was released in early 1983. Smith left the band and joined David Roback in Opal — and she was replaced by David Provost.

Their Sandy Pearlman-produced sophomore effort Medicine Show was recorded and released through A&M Records in 1984 — and as a result of being on a major label, the band opened for R.E.M. and U2. Attempting to build on a growing profile, the members of the band released a five song EP This Is Not The New Dream Syndicate Album . . . Live!, which was noteworthy as it was the last recorded effort to feature Precoda, who left soon after to pursue a career in screenwriting — and it was the first to feature Mark Walton on bass. The EP’s commercial failure led to the band’s first breakup — although a temporary one. The band was then dropped by A&M Records after the label rejected the band’s demo for “Slide Away.”

During the band’s break up, Wynn along with Green on Red’s Dan Stuart wrote and recorded 10 songs with Duck and a number of other musicians, which was released by A&M Records in 1985 as Danny and Dusty’s The Lost Weekend. After the release of Lost Weekend, Wynn, Duck and Walton teamed up with Paul B. Cutler to form a then-newly reunited iteration of The Dream Syndicate that recorded two full-length studio albums — 1986’s Cutler-produced Out of the Grey and 1988’s Elliot Mazer-produced Ghost Stories. The band recorded a live album Live at Raji‘s which was recorded in 1988 before the release of Ghost Stories but released afterward.

The band broke up in 1989 — and a batch of previously unreleased material was released that included 3½ (The Lost Tapes: 1985-1988), a compilation of studio sessions and The Day Before Wine and Roses, a live KPFK radio session, recorded just before the release of the band’s applauded debut album were released.  After the breakup, Walton went on to play bass in the Continental Drifters while Wynn went on to become an acclaimed singer/songwriter and solo artist with a reputation or restlessly exploring a variety of different styles — and leading a number of different projects including Steve Wynn and The Miracle 3, The Baseball Project and others.

Wynn led a reunited Dream Syndicate to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their full-length debut that featured Walton, Duck and Jason Victor, Wynn’s longtime Steve Wynn and The Miracle 3 guitarist at a festival appearance at 2012’s Festival BAM in Barcelona Spain. The reunited band went on to play a handful of other live sets, including two 2013 Paisley Underground reunion shows that included The Bangles, The Three O’Clock and Rain Parade. September 2014 saw the band playing a handful of shows in which they played their first two albums in their complete entirety — and those shows marked the band’s first shows in the Southeast in almost 30 years.  Between their first reunion show and 2017, the band played more than 50 shows.

Anti-Records released the band’s fifth full-length album How Did I Find Myself Here in 2017. The album which featured a lineup of Wynn, Walton, Duck and Victor with keyboardist Chris Cacavas was recorded at Montrose Studios — and notably the album’s final track “Kendra’s Dream” featured vocals and lyrics from Kendra Smith.  Building upon the growing attention around the reunited band, the members of The Dream Syndicate recorded three songs, which were included on the compilation 3 x 4, a collection of tracks that featured new material from their Paisley Underground counterparts, The Bangles, The Three O’Clock and Rain Parade with each of the four bands covering songs by the other bands.

Slated for a May 3, 2019 release through Anti-Records, the John Agnello and The Dream Syndicate co-produced These Times will be the second full-length studio album since the band reunited, and the album’s material is reportedly a subtle yet noticeable departure for the band sonically. “When I was writing the songs for the new album I was pretty obsessed with Donuts by J-Dilla,” lead singer and songwriter Steve Wynn explained. “I loved the way that he approached record making as a DJ, a crate-digger, a music fan wanting to lay out all of his favorite music, twist and turn the results until he made them into his own. I was messing around with step sequencers, drum machines, loops—anything to take me out of my usual way of writing and try to feel as though I was working on a compilation rather than ‘more of the same.’ You might not automatically put The Dream Syndicate and J-Dilla in the same sentence, but I hear that album when I hear our new one.” Additionally, Wynn also changed up his lyric writing process for the album — instead of the song’s sound being dictated by previously written lyrics, he wrote all the material’s lyrics after the band finished instrumental tracking, so that the lyrics were influenced by the sounds.

The album’s first single was the atmospheric and surrealist dream, “Black Light,” a track built around a looped arpeggiated key and congo sequence, shimmering bursts of guitar, and a motorik groove comprised of a propulsive and sinuous bass line and a backing vocal section that sings “aaah” while Wynn’s vocals sing surrealistic and symbolic lyrics about how the night exposes our darkest and deepest inhibitions and fears.  These Times’ second and latest single “Put Some Miles On” continues a on a somewhat similar vein as its immediate predecessor as it’s centered around a chugging, motorik groove, blasts of feedback driven guitar, twinkling synths and Wynn’s languid, speak-singing vocals singing surrealist lyrics with a profound double meaning — after all, the song and its title refers to getting older while on the road and actually playing the work of Miles Davis. 

“This is our third video directed by David Dalglish, a Scotsman who is gradually becoming the official visual interpreter of our music,” the band’s Steve Wynn explains in press notes. “And I love the way he captured the triple meaning of “Put Some Miles On”—actual road miles logged, the ensuing experience and wisdom of the turning of the calendar pages and, of course, our love of Miles Davis himself. It’s truly a zig zag marathon!”

New Video: Warbly Jets’ Propaganda-Fueled Visuals for Kasabian-like Single

With the release of their self-titled, full-length debut the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock act Warbly Jets, comprised of Samuel Shea, Julien O’neill, and Dan Gerbang quickly emerged into the national and international scene; in fact, their critically applauded effort eventually resulted in the band opening for Liam Gallagher and making three separate world tours to support it.

After a whirlwind year, the members of the Los Angeles-based indie rock trio returned to the studio to write and record the material that would eventually comprised their self-recorded, self-produced EP Propaganda. Thematically speaking, the material explores our modern, globalized, algorithm-ruled, data-based society, where the lines between what’s public and private are frequently blurred beyond recognition and where the hive mind masquerades as marketable individualism with Big Brother being welcomed with open arms in the name of convenience. If we’re truly thinking and feeling humans, we should constantly ask ourselves a few questions: What’s real human connection? How easily are we (and our lives, ideas and souls) bought and sold? Can we cut through the fluff, noise and bullshit we’re relentlessly fed? Does anyone care anymore? Does music fit into it at all? Does music mean anything anymore? 

As the band’s multi-instrumentalist Julien O’neill says in press notes. “‘Propaganda’ is a term as much as it’s a cultural ethos that’s been widely accepted. Anything from advertisement to self-aggrandizement qualifies.From social media, push notifications, targeted ads—we’ve openly elected to carry around miniature billboards, playing our part under the promising guise of a sense of ‘connection.’ We feel empty without it.” The band’s Samuel Shea adds, “On this new collection of songs, we made an effort to set no particular stylistic boundaries. I believe it’s extremely important to make drastic differences as you transition through phases. That was something that Julien [O’neill] and I talked about from the conception of this band. I hope you always hear what you’re not expecting when you listen to a new release from us.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about EP single “Alive,” and as you may recall. the single, which was featured in the opening scene of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 found the band drawing from classic rock, psych rock, and Brit Pop as it was full of enormous power chords fed through distortion pedals, rousingly anthemic hooks and pummeling drums — and the whole affair was delivered with the swaggering self-assuredness of road-tested old pros. Interestingly, EP title track “Propaganda” is a bit more of a straightforward Brit Pop-influenced affair, sounding as though it were influenced by early Kasabian with the song being centered by thundering and thumping beats, angular and propulsive bass lines, layers upon layers of synths and distorted electronics and guitars, found sounds and other samples, delivered with an arena rock swagger. 

Directed by Samuel Richard, the recently released video for “Propaganda” consists of wood and quickly edited found footage centered around pain, over-saturation, confusion and chaos, as well as propaganda footage. It’s trippy but yet feels as bizarre and as fucked up as our current sociopolitical moment. As the band’s Samuel Shea says in press nots about the video, “The era of real life human interaction is heading for a swift end. We experience life through likes, comments, and products ignoring the chaos and suffering around us. Our culture at large has been weaponized by propaganda. We exist like robots inside of a program we ourselves created.” Adds the video’s director, Samuel Richard “The idea behind the visual direction of this song is to show a side of feeling overwhelmed. There’s lots of fast changes showing pain and over-saturation. The Propaganda EP is primarily sample based, so the idea was to match the visuals to what the music is also doing. There’s lots of sample footage of propaganda and pain. I also shot super 8 footage of people on the streets of Los Angeles, showing different sides of life. My goal was to shine a light on the extreme suffering and overindulgence.”

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada-born, Seattle, WA-based Jordan Cook (vocals, guitar) can trace the origins of his music career to when he was 15, playing with a blues rock trio, which performed at Montreux Jazz Festival. After recording a full-length album under his own name, Seven Deadly Sins, Cook began recording in Memphis with Matt Chamberlain and Soundgarden‘s Ben Shepherd; but around 2012 Cook relocated to Seattle, where he adopted the moniker Reignwolf. When Cook played his first official show as Reignwolf, he was accompanied by Joseph Braley (drums) and S. J. Kardash (bass).
Since their formation, the band has developed a reputation for a raw sound paired with a high energy live show that has earned them a devoted following, as well as appearances at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Glastonbury and Download and opening slots for the likes of Black Sabbath and Pixies. Following on the heels of a 34 date Fall 2018 North American tour, the Seattle-based trio’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated full-length debut Hear Me Out is slated for a March 1, 2019 release.

Hear Me Out‘s first single is the swaggering “Black and Red.” Co-written by Jordan Cook and Aqualung’s Matt Hales, the song is centered around enormous, arena rock friendly blues power chords, thundering drums, an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure and rousingly anthemic hooks. The song reveals (and captures) a band that’s ready to kick ass, take names, wreck stages and destroy eardrums.

The band will be touring throughout March and the tour includes two New York area dates — March 9, 2019 at Mercury Lounge and March 10, 2019 at Baby’s All Right. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

FRIDAY, MARCH 1ST – SEATTLE, WA @ THE SUNSET

MONDAY, MARCH 4TH – LOS ANGELES @ MOROCCAN LOUNGE

THURSDAY, MARCH 7TH – CHICAGO, IL @ COBRA LOUNGE

SATURDAY, MARCH 9TH – NEW YORK, NY @ MERCURY LOUNGE

SUNDAY, MARCH 10TH – BROOKLYN, NY @ BABY’S ALL RIGHT

TUESDAY, MARCH 12TH – TORONTO, ON @ DRAKE UNDERGROUND

THURSDAY, MARCH 14TH – SATURDAY, MARCH 16TH – AUSTIN, TX @ SXSW