Tag: Mogwai

New Audio: Introducing the Gorgeously Cinematic Sounds of The Soft Calvary

Formed by husband and wife duo Steve Clarke and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, The Soft Calvary is a new project, and their self-titled full-length debuts slated for a July 5, 2019 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records. For Clarke, the album is equal parts labor of love and long-held dream finally realized — and perhaps more important, the first album that he has masterminded from start to finish with the assistance of his wife and his brother Michael, who produced the album.

Reportedly, the album’s material radiates both midlife crisis and elation — the sigh of finally finding real contentment and peace after living a messy life, full of heartache and confusion. And as Clarke emphasizes in press notes, an album that he “needed” to make, as it can also be seen as a way of rewriting his own narrative: Divorced in 2011, Clarke admittedly spent the next three years in a haze. He had played bass and sung backing vocals in bands as a session musician and as a touring member since the late 90s, while also working as a tour manager.

At one point, he began working as a tour manager for the reunited Slowdive. “I was hungover in the back of my van trying to work out how I was going to fit all the band’s gear into this confined space whilst I still had all of mine from the show that I’d played in London the night before,” Clarke recalls in press notes. “The second of two sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo with David Brent!” Coincidentally, that same day Clarke was introduced to Goswell. A year later, they were living together in Devon, before marrying last year. Rachel not only turned his world “upside-down,” as he recalls, she also unwittingly produced “the catalyst” for the new project. “I’d always had ideas but never felt that anything I had to say was worthy of anyone’s attention, let alone my own,” he says in press notes. “I wish that I could have done this fifteen years ago but, in reality, I simply couldn’t have. But I’m not one to overly wallow. I’d rather plough the various levels of confusion into songs.”

The album in many ways is an exercise in creative and personal therapy. The first songs Clarke wrote specifically for the album are Goswell-inspired paeans to fate, love, new beginnings and hope. But as he began to open up, the past found a way to seep in — the years of frustration, confusion, anxiety, heartache. If there’s a theme to the material, reckons Steve, “it’s recovery versus new doubt. I’m there, in the middle. The word that kept coming back to me was ‘resilience.’ With the right mentality and people around you, especially family, we get through and find a level of hope.”

Interestingly, the writing sessions were in some way an extended conversation between the couple. Clarke, as Goswell says “is always writing, his head always full of lyrics.” Goswell, as Clarke says “reins me in when I get obsessed. She’s a good editor. She says my songs can still work without sections of words, that leaving spaces is OK.” As Clarke began to assemble songs, he invited a handful of dear friends including Mercury Rev‘s and Midlake‘s Jesse Chandler (keys), Tom Livermore (guitar) to assist with the album’s overall sound and tone. “I’d grown up with guitar bands and I didn’t want it to be overly guitar-y,” Clarke says. “We evolved things by trying out ideas. We’d be build things up, and then stripe them back and build them again.”

Interestingly, as the album progresses Goswell formed Minor Victories with members of Mogwai and Editors while all of those bands had gaps in their schedules, eventually writing and recording an album, which Goswell and Clarke contributed vocals and lyrics for. “It got the cogs turning on a writing and lyrical level, and gave me a certain amount of self-belief,” Clarke recalls.

After completing their album together, Clarke found a name for the band and the album, seemingly out of thin air — The Soft Calvary. “I can’t explain its literal meaning,” he says. “It just made sense.” Might Rachel be the calvary? “Maybe! it would be subconscious, but that makes sense too, strangely.”

The album’s first single is the cinematic yet ethereal “Dive.” Centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive backbeat, Clarke and Goswell’s gorgeous harmonies, the track is one part contented sigh, one part romantic swoon; but underneath that there’s a creeping sense that it’s all a fleeting dream.

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Arnaud Sigonney is a Bordeaux, France-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter (piano, keys, guitar, vocals), who first came to international attention when Hidden Shoal Recordings released Beautiful Lunar Landscape’s critically acclaimed 2007 debut EP Alone in This Dark Romantic Night. Sigonney took a break from music and returned in 2015 fronting the instrumental rock act Les Limbes; but interestingly enough, the material that comprises The Infinite Pleasure of Being, the debut album from his latest project Lunar Landscape were written throughout most of his musical life — and was recorded by Mario Gomes at Studio Carat with a backing band featuring Les Limbes’  Yoann Roy (bass), Franck Lantignac (drums), Line Senium (piano) and Marine Hebard (vocals).

Released earlier this month, the album finds Sigonney and company effortlessly bridging neo-classical compositions with sprawling shoegaze while delving deeply into intimate emotional terrain — and interestingly enough, “Les nuits célestes,” The Infinite Pleasure of Being‘s gorgeous and meditative latest single is mesh of muscular and propulsive shoegaze with an ethereal touch, centered around hushed vocals and a towering yet hypnotic arrangement that recalls Mogwai and The Octopus Project, with a cinematic and elegant air.

 

New Video: French Instrumental Trio Jean Jean Releases Creepy Yet Cinematic Visuals for Anxious and Dread-Filled Album Single “Anada”

Currently comprised of Edouard Lebrun (drums, samples), Sebastien Torregrossa (guitar) and their newest member multi-instrumentalist Gregory Hoepffner, the Paris-based instrumental space rock/math rock/experimental rock trio Jean Jean began as a solo recording project before expanding into a duo — and as a duo the project released their 2010 self-titled debut EP, and their 2013 full-length debut Symmetry, which they supported with hundreds of live shows across the European Union, Japan and the States; but as the story goes, the then-duo wrote and recorded a follow up EP that they scrapped because something — or someone — was missing. Lebrun and Torregrossa were initially unsuccessful in their search for a third musician to further flesh out their sound, until their longtime friend Hoepffner, who had been responsible for the band’s visuals signed up to join the band, and as the band’s Lebrun recalls in press notes, things clicked right away. “He [Hoepffner] brought this glue linking the drums and the guitars, adding another level,” Lebrun says.

The band’s recently released album Froidpierre is the first featuring the band as a newly constituted trio, and the album, which was recorded in a cabin named Froidspierre (or cold stone) in the French Alps is reportedly a marked departure from their previously released work. “We were tired of complex and festive tracks; we wanted to avoid over-doing things, to stop doing patchwork and have proper songs with real hindsight. The songs are shorter because they were composed with a sense of urgency.” And while these were all very conscious decisions, it was also driven by a sense of urgency as the band’s Lebrun frequently had to take the first night bus from the suburban studio to his home in Paris. Interestingly enough, as the band notes as they were writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise their latest effort, each member of the band while being aware of the fact that they all had great creative chemistry and something musically powerful was happening, something in the air just wasn’t right.

During the third day of the recording sessions Torregrossa went out on the balcony to smoke a cigarette and suddenly he felt an uncontrollable sense of fear throughout his own body. With a racing heart, he rushed back inside without looking band. The next day, Lebrun managed to be in the exact same spot and he couldn’t shake the persistent feeling that there was a presence behind him. Just as he turned around, he caught what looked like a ghost out of the corner of his eye. Frozen in fear, he stared at this presence and got lost in its inverted human-like silhouette. As Lebrun recalls, it felt as though he were slowly sinking into quicksand until somehow he managed to get away; but he felt unsettled and uneasy throughout the rest of the night. Hoepffner felt a strong sense of discomfort as he was sitting in the studio’s kitchen — so much so that, after a few days, he made sure to never enter a room on his own. At night, he someone or something whispering his name. And while he spent time trying to convince himself that someone was trying to play an elaborate prank on him, Hoepffner couldn’t shake having impressions of a wasted life, without any rational explanation. The band’s friend and photographer Maxime slept in a room that was made entirely of stones and was once a former stable, and one night he heard a woman’s voice calling his name, and felt something lean on him, and a cold sensation overtake his entire body.

Sometimes, they all would hear strange noises and banging on the walls that kept them awake most of the night. They  all spoke about something with a beastly scream and of objects suddenly and unexpectedly being knocked down. Although it was only until after the recording sessions were complete that the members of the band shared their own experiences, the sensation of anxious, uncertain dread and fear, of being on the edge, of not being able to trust your senses and your reason. Album single “Anada” is centered around a thunderous drumming, shimmering and gently undulating synths and guitar — and while being reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Mogwai, The Octopus Project and Remember Remember, the composition evokes an unshakeable, dark, menacing and inexplicable presence that’s lurking behind you, felt but unseen. And as a result, the incredibly cinematic track feels and sounds as though it should be included as part of the soundtrack of a psychological thriller that would capture the anxious dread of our current sociopolitical moment.

Filmed by  Maxime Leyravaud and the members of Jean Jean, and edited by the band’s Gregory Hoepffner, the recently released video features some almost Stanley Kubrick-esque like footage shot during the band’s Fall 2017 Japan tour that’s split between the band capturing portions of everyday Japanese life with a surrealistic touch and the band performing live.

Christopher Franzen is a Gothenburg, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer, whose solo recording project Lights & Motion began back in 2012 during a frequent bout with insomnia — and during the extremely dark Scandinavian winters, Franzen took to restlessly sequestering himself in a studio, where he would spend his time writing and recording music as a way to help battle his condition, and as a much- needed emotional release.  Interestingly, since Franzen has started the project, he’s been remarkably prolific releasing four cinematic, indie rock-like efforts,  2013’s Save Your Heart and Reanimation, 2015’s Chronicle and 2017’s Dear Avalanche, as well as two albums as soundtrack composer, 2014’s Dreamweaver and 2017’s Phenomenon — all of which have further cemented the Gothenburg, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer’s reputation for crafting lush and cinematic material that balances a tightrope between melancholy and optimism.

In fact, Franzen’s latest effort Bloom, which be released through Deep Elm Records will continue in a similar sonic vein as its predecessors; however, thematically, the album focuses on rejuvenation and rebirth — and the album’s latest single “Vanilla Sky,” which prominently features twinkling piano keys, swirling synths, thundering drumming and power chords played through copious reverb around a soaring, arena rock-like hook that will remind some listeners of Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, M83, Sigur Ros and others. And while the song evokes a pleasant breeze on a glorious Spring day; but just underneath, the song’s warm and ethereal air, is a bittersweet note, as though there’s the brief acknowledgement of life’s fleeting and impermanent nature.

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Leeds, UK-based Band Koyo Returns with an Arena Rock-Friendly New Single

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the first few months of this year, you may recall a post featuring the Leeds-based indie rock quintet KOYO. Comprised of Kettering, UK-born, Leeds-based founding members Huw Edwards (lead vocals, guitar) and Jacob Price (synths and samplers) along with Seb Knee-Wright (guitar), Dan Comlay (bass) and Tom Hingham (drums). the up-and-coming British indie rock act have received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that reportedly draws from n across the blogosphere for a sound that draws from 90s grunge and alt rock and from Edwards’ and Price’s parents’ classic rock and prog rock-heavy record collections, as well as the electronica and post rock sounds of Floating Points, JOVM mainstays Mogwai and Brian Eno — but manages to sound as though it nodded at the work of Tame Impala, Wish You Were Here and The Wall-era Pink Floyd, 90125-era Yes and Radiohead as you would have heard on “Tetrochromat,” the album title track and first single off the band’s forthcoming full-length debut Tetrochromat.

The album’s latest single “Lost in the Kingdom” continues in a similar vein as its preceding single as it clearly draws from prog rock and art rock while being remarkably accessible, thanks in part to a rousingly Brit Pop-like hook; however, “Lost in the Kingdom” may arguably be one of the most ambitious and adventurous songs the up-and-coming British band may have written and released to date. In fact, the song sounds as though the band actively were trying to write an arena rock anthem that nodded at the likes of U2, Coldplay and others, while retaining a buzzy psychedelia.

Filmed and edited by Barry Hoffman at Soundyoucansee with additional footage by Joseph Burn and Joseph Burn Video Production and Kayla Cosgrove at Loving Lotus, the recently released music video for “Lost in the Kingdom” employs kaleidoscopic footage shot in the desert, superimposed with footage of the band performing the song, followed by other surreal and dream like imagery — and it’s done in a way that sort of reminds me Candlebox’s “Far Behind” and others.

Currently comprised of co-founding members Huw Edwards (lead vocals, guitar) and Jacob Price (synths and samplers), along with Seb Knee-Wright (guitar), Dan Comlay (bass) and Tom Higham (drums), the Leeds-based indie rock quintet KOYO‘s sound draws from several varied sources — including 90s grunge and alt rock, Edwards’ and Price’s parents’ classic rock and prog rock-heavy record collections. Although recently the band has started to incorporate a variety of electronica and post-rock such as Floating Points, JOVM mainstays Mogwai and Brian Eno‘s influential ambient soundtracks, and as a result the band expanded to a quintet to fully flesh out their sound to incorporate their expanding influences and sonic palette. Naturally, the band’s forthcoming full-length debut is slated for release later this year will reportedly mesh psych rock, prog rock and ambient electronic in a way that will remind listeners of Tame Impala, Pink Floyd, Yes and Radiohead — but with a decidedly modern turn, as you’ll hear on the atmospheric, moody and slow-burning “Tetrochromat,” the album title track off the band’s forthcoming debut, Tetrochromat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Brian Purington (guitar), Chris Hackstie (electric and pedal steel guitar), Earl Bowers (drums), James Alexander (viola), Kirk Latkas (keys) and Scott Telles (bass), the Austin TX-based prog rock sextet my education have four previously released albums — 5 PopesItalianMoody DipperBad Vibrations, Sunrise, and A Drink for All My Friends with material off those albums being remixed by  members of Kinski, Pelican, Red Sparowes and Dalek — and the members of the band released a remastered editor of their full-length debut back in 2013. And adding to a growing profile, the band has played with a number of national and internationally recognized bands including A Place to Bury Strangers, Kinski, Bardo Pond, Dalek, The Black Angels, The Sea and Cake, Warpaint, Alexander Hacke and Algis Kizys, The Psychedelic Furs, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, This Will Destroy You, Sleepy Sun, White Denim, Radar Bros., Eluvium, Sian Alice Group, Don Caballero, Trans AmMaserati and The Red Sparowes among others.

The Austin, TX-based septet’s forthcoming full-length effort Schiphol is reportedly influenced by the band’s relentless North American touring schedule, which they began back in 1999 and by a grueling tour across Europe in which they played 20 shows in 21 days. And as the band, along with producer Mike McCarthy, who’s best known for his work with Spoon, . . . And Know You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and Patty Griffin, began working on the material that would comprisgggge Schiphol, the band began recognizing that a series of themes would seem to repeatedly come up with their latest mat rial — expressing feelings of paranoia, longing, fear, the desperate desire to escape and an overwhelming sense of statelessness, of being on the road and forgetting where you were from or what home was like. Schiphol‘s latest single “Open Marriages” is a moody and cinematic track in which shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass and an expansive sound structure familiar to Remember Remember,  Mogwai and others.

 

 

New Video: Indie Rock, All-Star Side-Project’s Orchestral Interpretation of Their Noisy, Debut Material

While expanding upon the sound of their most famous primary projects, the band finds each member of the band sonically pushing themselves and crossing as many creative barriers as possible. Interestingly, the project’s soon-to-be released effort, Orchestral Variations is an album of orchestral and instrumental interpretations of the material off Minor Victories’ debut album. The concept, as the band’s Justin Lockey explained to the folks at VICE THUMP began with Lockey “fucking around” but as he progressed, it felt increasingly valid because it presented the songs and harmonies in a completely different light — revealing a stunning beauty underneath the vitriol. In press note Lockey explains that Orchestral Variations’ latest single “Give Up The Ghost” is an orchestral arrangement on the original song. On the full band album, the song begins with an enormous bit of fuzz and vitriol; however, the Orchestral Variation version has Lockey stripping the arrangement down to Rachel Goswell’s vocal melody, which was buried underneath layers of guitar tracks and arena rock-like drums. “In the end, I started with marimbas . . why? Because everyone loves a marimba (if not, they ought to). I guess from my part, it’s a huge nod to Steve Reich, with some melodramatic strings woven in for good measure.” And the result, is gorgeous and soaring and melodramatic composition that sounds as though it should be part of a movie soundtrack while capturing the mood of harried commuters rushing to and fro.

Interestingly, as Lockey explains in press notes, the video was shot by his brother James while they had a day off in Berlin and it features an incredibly simple concept — the band’s Rachel Goswell riding the Berlin metro with enormous headphones on, sitting next to her fellow commuters. And as the train travels you see the Goswell and her fellow commuters sitting next to her, lost in their thoughts and daydreaming; at points the motion of the train or the length of their day has someone close their eyes and nod off; at other points, people get off at their various stops; people and train stops rush by. If it wasn’t so relatively clean, it would look and feel as though you were riding the subway in New York.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the South Devon, UK-based shoegaze/dream pop/indie rock duo Matthew and Me. And with the previous release of singles such as “Patterns” and “Kitsune,” the duo received a reputation across their native UK for a sound that seemed to draw from the likes of Sigur Ros and Mogwai, and as a result, the duo received airplay on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, XFM, and they’ve made appearances at some of Britain’s largest festivals including  including Field Day, Somersault, Port Eliot, and Glastonbury. Now “Joy,” the single I wrote about at the time, was a slow-burning and expansive song that began with a lengthy, delicate and hazy introduction in which Board’s aching falsetto was paired with shimmering and swirling guitar chords and gently padded drumming — with each individual chord feeling as though it were painter’s brushstroke adding color and texture in a fashion that was reminiscent of both the aforementioned Sigur Ros and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve.

“Silver,” the is the duo’s latest single and the first single off their forthcoming EP Startpoint, which is slated for a November 18, 2016 release through Beatnik Creative Records. Recorded between their home studio, Deep Litter Studios and Startpoint Studios, and was produced by Chris Bond, who has worked with Ben Howard and Eliza Shaddad. Interestingly, the single  is an sparse and atmospheric song in which shimmering guitar chords, swirling and soaring electronics, and a steady backbeat are paired with Board’s plaintive and aching falsetto to craft a song that sounds reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie‘s Narrow Stairs — but with an anthemic hook.