Tag: MTV

New Video: Introducing the Mysterious Detroit-based Act VAZUM and their Scuzzy Power Chord-driven Sound

With the release of two albums their self-titled debut and Void last year, the Detroit, MI-based dark rock band VAZUM quickly drew comparisons to Monster-era R.E.M., Sisters of Mercy and Placebo as their sound manages to pair an uncanny melodicism with scuzzy power chords. While the band is working on their third album, they released a video for the 90s alt-rock/120 Minutes-era MTV-inspired “Leech” off Void, a track centered by scuzzy and enormous power chords, a rousing, mosh pit friendly hook and an urgent, swooning romanticism. 

As for the video, its concept is simple — footage of the band performing the song in a murky black and white, which gives the visual a you-were-there immediacy. 



Currently comprised of Andrew Kissel (vocals, guitar, piano), Travis Pinkston (bass, vocals) and Brian Yurachek (drums, percussion), the New York-based indie rock act Valentin Marx originally formed in 2012. Shortly after their formation, they wrote, recorded and released their debut EP, which lead to shows at a number of renowned indie venues across town — including Piano’s, Arlene’s Grocery, Berlin Under A and Pete’s Candy Store and others. Since their formation, the band has gone through a lineup change while retaining the sound that first won them attention locally. 

Interestingly, the lineup change has resulted in a much more collaborative approach to their songwriting and recording, utilizing the skills and life experiences of each of the band’s members.  Their new single, the jangling and anthemic “Made Up” recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV but as the band notes the song is rooted in the frustration and disappointment surrounding modern relationships. Despite the fact that we’re all constantly connected to each other with Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and online dating sites, no one is actually having an authentic and meaningful interaction. 




New Video: Van Goose’s Twitchy and Neurotic Take on Post Punk

Shlomi Lavie is an Israeli-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and drummer, best known for stints in Habiluim, one of Israel’s most unlikely major label acts, an act that developed a reputation for pairing dark and subversive lyrics into a heady mix of punk rock, Balkan folk and klezmer music — and it eventually brought him and his bandmates to a Brooklyn recording studio. “I always felt like something was missing,” Lavie explains in press notes, “like there’s a whole world inside my head about to explode. That’s when I started writing my own music.” Lavie’s first post-Habiluim project was something like a manic theater piece with an electro-punk soundtrack rather than a proper band. “I was playing a character — wearing face paint and screaming in a raspy, Tom Waits-y voice,” he recalls. “We had people with gas masks handing onions to the crowd, dancers and a rubber rat. It felt oddly safe.” 

After that project’s run, Lavie pursued two entirely different paths — he joined the multi-platinum selling act Marcy Playground in 2008 and started his solo recording project Van Goose. Lavie’s Van Goose full-length debut Habitual Eater is slated for release early next year and from album single “Last Bus,” the Israeli-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter drummer specializes in a twitchy and propulsive, post-punk that recalls Freedom of Choice-era DEVO, early DFA Records and New Wave as its centered around lean yet throbbing bass lines, chintzy drum machine and processed beat, hollowed out, synth flashes and surrealistic, ridiculous lyrics. It’s dance music for hyperactive  nerds and those with severe neuroses. 

Directed by Van Goose’s Lavie, and starring Saki, Hitomi , Yoko, Gooch. Avery Brooks, Tsugumi Takashi, Eamon Lebow, Charlie McGrath, Freddie Nunez and Lavie begins with Lavie, his backing band and some random dancers squeezed into a small apartment before heading out into the streets. It’s surreal yet manages to bring early MTV to mind. 

Currently comprised of founding member Justin Clay (guitar, vocals), his long-time music partners Cody Honey (drums) and Morgan Moody (bass) with reclusive outsider musician Jandek playing a handful tracks on the Galveston, TX-based act Darwin’s Finches’ third, full-length album Good Morning Creatures II, the act can trace their origins back to 2006 when its founding member, along with some friends in his Biology class started the band as a bit of a prank. Eventually, the act which derives its name from the finches that inspired Darwin’s On the Origins of Species featured a rotating cast of players, some of the band’s early iterations played pop-shop shows at biker bars (some that have provoked fist fights), art museums, national parks — and even a number of shows that ended with fruit fights.

In 2012 Clay took a break from music to be a family man and to spend time with his son Odin. When he returned from his hiatus, Clay joined long-time friend and renowned, Texas psych folk legend Jandek for a series of shows in the UK. Upon his return, Justin reformed the band with its current lineup. The band’s third, full-length album reportedly recalls Camper Van Beethoven, Butthole Surfers, The Frogs and Pixies — and the album’s latest single “Hosea!” is a jagged, twangy and hook-driven song that sounds both boozy, demented and as though it were released during 120 Minutes-era MTV.



New Video: Perth Australia’s The Money War Release an Intimate, Behind the Scenes, Life on the Road-like Video for “Hey Now”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Perth, Australia-based dream pop/indie pop/indie rock duo The Money War, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Rainy Day Women’s Dylan Ollivierre and  Warning Birds’ Carmen Pepper can trace its origins to a road trip that the pair took across the US in late 2015. Inspired by the trip, they recorded a ton of iPhone demos. And as the story goes, after a chance meeting with producers Thom Monahan and Arne Frager in a San Francisco dive bar, the duo were convinced of the value of their demos together, and began working on an album.

Last year saw the release of their debut EP and to support the effort, they spent the better part of that year touring with Holy Holy and Meg Mac, and then went on a headlining national tour during December. EP single “Recall,” was the fifth most played song on Triple J Radio, and as result they had received a growing national profile in their homeland; but interestingly enough, they also received attention Stateside with airplay on SiriusXM, KEXP, CJAM FM, KXRN, WLKK and college radio. The duo’s highly-anticipated full-length debut is slated for release early next year, and the album’s first single was the Still Corners-like “Hollywood,” was a moody and cinematic track inspired by a difficult year the duo had in which someone close to each individual had died. “There’s a hospital in Perth called Hollywood, and I was pondered its ironic name,” Olliviere says in press notes. “We were in LA when I got the news that a family member was passing away, and the lyrics started forming from there. We wanted the song to sound like a moving and we took production cues from that idea.”

“Hey Now,” the second and latest single off the up-and-coming Australian duo’s debut album is a breezy and cinematic track that recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock — but with an infectiously anthemic hook that makes the song sound as though it would be the perfect addition to anyone’s road trip playlist. And while further cementing their reputation for crafting breezy, hook driven indie rock, the song has an underlying bittersweet quality.  As the band’s Dylan Olliviere explains “is about making a commitment to someone and being ecstatic about it but also realising that you’re in a very different position to where you thought you’d be when you reached that milestone. Life usually takes a different course than you anticipated and doesn’t always match the set of ideals you once held. I like how the line ‘time is coming for us baby’ can be interpreted in different ways depending on how you look at it. It’s kind of a romantic yet bittersweet sentiment.” 

Shot and edited by the members of The Money War, the recently released video for “Hey Now” is an an intimate “life on the road of a touring band” styled video that’s split between the band playing in front of audiences in Los Angeles, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, goofing off and traveling around the world with stops that include a bridge crossing at Tasmania’s Cataract Gorge, beach huts in Fremantle, Australian Rules Football on a Perth beach, and riding in a van, crossing the American West. 

Last year, I wrote a bit about he Austin, TX-based dream pop/shoegaze quartet Blushing, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of two married couples — Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Noe Carmona (guitar, keys) and Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Jake Soto (drums) can trace its origins back to 2015, when Michelle Soto recruited her classically trained friend Christina Carmona to join her new project, after spending several years writing material on guitar. Soto and Carmona then recruited their spouses to complete the band’s lineup. And after about a year of writing and revising material, they went into Bad Wolf Recordings to record their debut EP Tether, an effort that at points recalled A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve and Lightfoils Hierarchy.

Building upon a growing profile and the positive reception of their debut EP, the Austin-based shoegazers returned to the studio to record their sophomore EP Weak, which was released through Austin Town Hall Records earlier this year, and from EP single and title track “Weak,” the band further cemented their reputation for crafting material that sonically was indebted to the likes of Lush, Cocteau Twins and The Sundays —  and while arguably being one of the more direct and anthemic songs of their growing catalog, the song revealed a gentle refinement of the overall sound and aesthetic that first caught the attention of the blogosphere. Adding to a busy year, the band recently released the Elliot Frazier-produced and mixed “The Truth”/”Sunshine” 7 inch both digitally and on colored vinyl through The Nothing Song Records, and the 7 inch single represents a band that has yet again expanded upon their sound: “The Truth” is arguably the most muscular song they’ve released as it featured crunchy and fuzzy guitar lines, thundering drumming paired with soaring vocals. And throughout, there’s a decided focus on crafting an anthemic and rousing hook that sounds as though it inspired by 120 Minutes-era MTV before ending with a feedback-driven coda. “Sunshine,” the second track of the 7 inch is  arguably the most towering and expansive sound that the Austin-based shoegazers have released to date, as Christina Carmona’s and Michelle Soto’s vocals soar over layers of lushly shimmering and pedal effected guitars, a simple yet propulsive backbeat and a soaring hook while recalling A Storm in Heaven and Lightfoils but with a bold self-assurance. Both singles may be among the most ambitious and focused songwriting and playing the band has recorded to date, and I’m looking forward to the forthcoming full-length, slated for early next year.







New Video: The 120 Minutes-Inspired Visuals for Fawns of Love’s Ethereal and Shoegazey “Someday”

Comprised of married duo and full-time educators Joseph and Jenny Andreotti, the Bakersfield, CA-based indie act Fawns of Love have performed together for the past 16 years, recording, touring and recording music under various names and through several different labels — and they’ve been married for the past 13 of those 16 years. In 2013, Jenny enrolled in a graduate school history program, and the duo went on a hiatus from music; but in 2017, the duo felt it was time to get back into music, and started anew with a new band name. 

The duo’s forthcoming full-length album Permanent is slated for January 18, 2019 release through Test Pattern Records, their first release through that label — and the album will be the follow-up to their recently released EP documenting their session for the renowned Los Angeles area radio show Part Time Punks, an EP that features a cover of The Chills’ “Rocket Science.” As for Permanent, the material is inspired by deeply personal experience.  “For the past year, my life has been in a complete flux,” the duo’s Jenny Andreotti explains in press notes. “People have moved away, relationships have changed, and this has challenged my belief that people’s love for you is permanent.” 

Interestingly, Permanent’s latest single is the chilly and woozy, 4AD Records heyday channeling “Someday,” a track centered around shimmering synths, four-on-the floor beats, a motorik groove, shimmering guitar chords and Jenny Andreotti’s ethereal falsetto. Sonically, the song manages to bring New Order, The Cure and others to mind, but with a gauzy, shoegazer-like quality.  The recently released video for “Someday” features some lush, black and white photography and black and white stock video footage to evoke a creepy and anxious air, all while recalling 120 Minutes-era MTV. 

New Video: Kings of Spade Release Semi-Autobiographical Visuals for “Strange Bird”

Comprised of founding members Kasi “KC” Nunes (vocals) Matt Kato (drums) and Jasio Savio (guitar) with Tim Corker (bass), Ken Lykes (keys) and DJ Packo, the Honolulu, HI-based sextet Kings Of Spade can trace their origins back to when Nunes,  a self-described “somber, closeted queer kid, who felt soul and blues music,” was bartending at Honolulu’s Anna Bananas and was pulled up on the stage to sing. “They started playing ‘Sweet Child O’Mine,” Nunes says in press notes.  “I started singing and was like ‘Hey, I sound pretty good.”

Interestingly, Jasio Savio frequently sat in with the bar’s house band. “He wasn’t old enough to drink,” Nunes recalls. “But he would start and rip these Johnny Cash tunes.” As the story goes, they were both impressed by each other. “You feel this energy when she sings,” Savio says. “My first thought was ‘Damn, she’s going to be famous.’” Nunes approached Savio and suggested they start a band. They recruited Matt Kato, a local punk rock drummer and played with a revolving door of bassists until they found Tim Corker. As a quartet that played power chord-based blues riff rock, they didn’t find their hometown to be very receptive to their sound — although Nunes took it upon herself to book club shows that featured the band alongside local DJs, artists and other bands. After amassing a decent local following, the band relocated to Southern California in 2006 to chase their dreams. But as Nunes and Kato quickly found out, the big city isn’t very welcoming; in fact, they were barely scraping by — and they were forced to sell their blood for cash. “Everyone at the clinic looked down-on-their-luck,” Nunes remembers. “I was hooked up to a plasma machine, reading the self-help books. This was the lowest point in my life.”

After three years of crushing let-downs and disappointment, Nunes, Savio and Kato quit their jobs and gave up their shared apartment in preparation for a lengthy tour that was just booked by their new manager; however, he disappeared once they figured out that there wasn’t an actual tour. They returned home to Hawaii, and ironically enough, upon their return, they finally began to have much better fortune. Several years later, the band played at SXSW, where former Headbanger’s Ball host and MTV VJ Riki Rachtman caught them — and after catching them, he booked them to play a show commemorating the 30th anniversary of his old metal club, The Cathouse, best known for giving rise to Guns N’ Roses. Around the same time, they met Sue Damon, the ex-wife of The Beach Boys‘ Mike Love. “She was a huge supporter of ours, bought us a new drum set. She was a total free spirit, who could party all of us under under the table. She ended up passing away. But all of us have her initials tattooed on us.”

The band’s self-titled Dave Cobb-produced full-length was recorded in Nashville over the course of two weeks.  “He produced a band I like, Rival Sons, which had this old-school sound with modern energy—like, analog-tape soul built into it,” Jesse says, admiringly. t Album single “Bottom’s Up,” was a swaggering and stomping bluesy ripper and party anthem inspired by their late friend and patron Sue Damon, and their own experiences partying ridiculously hard that sounds as though it were influenced by Highway to Hell-era AC/DC, Electric Blue Watermelon-era North Mississippi All Stars and The Black Keys — all while further cementing their reputation for boozy, power chord centered, riff-based rock. Released in time for National Coming Out Day, the album’s latest single “Strange Bird,” is a anthemic song centered around Led Zeppelin-like power chords and Nunes’ own experiences coming out, that proudly says “go out there and march to the beat of your own drum because life is short!” May this song be a call for arms for anyone, who’s struggling to find themselves in an unforgiving world. As Nunes says in press notes about the song, “‘Strange Bird’ is my big queer anthem – a song about being true to who your are no matter what it costs. It’s about self-love and growing into a person who is proud to be different. I always tell my coming out story before we play this song at a live show. It starts off so tragic I end up going back in the closet until way later in life. The beauty is coming around so far that I can tell the story on stage in front of a crowd of people cheering me on for it. After every show there is always people who share their own strange bird stories with me. That connection is everything. It’s why I play music and love being in a band.”

Directed by Vincent Ricafort, the recently released video draws from Nunes’ own experience as a young person,  feeling forced to hide who she really was, before finding the courage to defiantly and proudly be the person she needs to be, finding herself and making connections through music.  Additionally, the video suggests that music has always been a way for the strange and uncompromisingly individual to find comfort, as well.