JOVM celebrates Billy Idol’s 65th birthday — a bit belated.
Acclaimed French electro pop act Yelle — Julie “Yelle” Budet (vocals) and Jean-François “GrandMarnier” Perrier (production, percussion) can trace some of their origins back to 2000 when Budet and Perrier first met and became friends — but the duo didn’t start workin on music together until 2005. Initially formed under the name YEL, an acronym for the phrase “You Enjoy Life,” the duo had to change their name when discovered a Belgian band under that name. So they feminized the name to “Yelle.”
The members of Yelle quickly received attention when they posted a song originally titled “Short Dick Cuizi” on MySpace. The song eventually became “Je veux te voir,” but interestingly the song originally referred to Cuiziner of French hip-hop act TTC — and was initially released as a mock diss track. The track was commercial success and charted at #4 in their native France, and as a result of the buzz surrounding them, the French electro pop act caught the attention of Source Etc Records, who later signed the act. Around the same time that Budet and Perrier started working on their full-length debut, Perrier met the band’s now-former third member Destable, who was working full-time as a journalist. As the story goes, the duo were desperate for a touring keyboardist and they managed to rope Destable into the joining the band.
2007’s full-length debut Pop Up was released to widespread critical acclaim and was a commercial success as a result of “A cause des garçons,” which landed at #11 on the French Singles Chart and e “Parle a ma main,” a collaboration with Fatal Bazooka that landed at number 1.
Building upon a growing international profile, Baudet, Perrier and Destable spent a three year period between 2006-2009 touring to support Pop Up — with the band being named as MTV‘s Artist of the Week during the last week of March, 2008. After taking a few months off, the members of Yelle returned to the studio to began work on their sophomore album, and by February 2010 they started their own label Recreation Center, headed by Perrier.
Yelle’s sophomore album, 2011’s Safari Disco Club found the act focusing on harmonies, melodies and Budet’s vocals, and was released to generally positive reviews — including The Independent, who wrote that the album was “essential for anyone, who appreciates dancefloor-friendly European synth pop.” The album caught the attention of Katy Perry, who invited the act to open for her during the British leg of her California Dreams tour. After they completed that tour, they went on a European tour and went on a Stateside tour that fall.
The French electro pop act’s third album, 2014’s Completement fou was co-produced by Dr. Luke and a team of producers that included Kojak, AC, Billboard Mat, Oliver, Cirkut, Mike and Madmax. Dr. Luke learned about Yelle through their remix of Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold” — and after catching them live, he signed them to his label. The album was supported by extensive international touring, which included their third stop at Coachella, an extremely rare feat for a Francophone act, as well as tours across Europe, South American and China.
Last September saw the release of the acclaimed French act’s fourth album L’Ère du Verseau (The Age of Aquarius). Much like countless acts across the globe, the members of Yelle were gearing up for extensive touring to support the new album before the pandemic. But to celebrate their 15th year together, the band collaborated with Loïc Prigent for the video for “Je t’aime encore.” Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Due d’en Face,” is a breezy yet melancholy track, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, finger snaps, stuttering beats and Budet’s ethereal and achingly plaintive vocals.
Directed by Giant, the recently released video or “Vue d’en Face” stars Budet and renowned French actor Nicolas Maury as a pair of star-crossed doppelgängers — of sorts — who perform a series of Tik Tok-inspired dances, while managing to get close enough to the point of being completely inseparable.
Interview: A Q&A with Seattle’s Jupe Jupe
Since their formation back in 2010, the Seattle-based indie electro pop act Jupe Jupe — My Young (vocals, synths), Bryan Manzo (guitar, bass, sax), Patrick Partington (guitar), and Jarrod Arbini (drums, percussion) — have released four albums Invaders, Reduction in Drag, Crooked Kisses,and Lonely Creatures, which have helped to firmly establish the act’s sound: dance floor, synth-led, post-punk informed by synth pop and Americana.
Jupe Jupe’s Matt Bayles-produced Nightfall EP was released earlier, and the EP continues their ongoing collaboration with Bayles, who also produced and engineered their last full-length album. Meticulously written over the course of the preceeding year, the five song EP finds the band adding soulful saxophone to material that thematically focuses on yearning and desire.
Over the course of this past year, I’ve written about two of the EP’s singles:
- The New Order-like “Leave You Lonely.” The accompanying video meshed three different visual styles – line animation, live footage shot in high contrast negative and a lyric video in a way that draws comparisons to a-ha’s “Take On Me” to mind.
- The bring Avalon-era Roxy Music-like ‘How Could We Both Be In Love.” Directed by Dirty Sidewalks‘ Erik Foster, the accompanying moody visual seems to draw from French nouvelle vague and 80s MTV.
Earlier this year, I set up an interview with the members of Jupe Jupe to discuss their Nightfall EP, their influences, the videos for the aforementioned “Leave You Lonely” and “How Could Be In Love,” and how they were all getting along during the pandemic in a rather prototypical JOVM Q&A session. I received the band’s responses a few days after George Floyd’s tragic murder at the hands of Minneapolis police. Understandably, as a Black man, Floyd’s death hit close to home. With police brutaliy, police reform, the Black Lives Matter movement and protests brewing up in major cities across the world, I initially wanted to ask the band a handful of questions related to those particular topics. Unfortunately, those follow-up questions never came up and the Q&A languished in my email inbox for months – without explanation to anyone.
2020 has been difficult. But with Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’ Election Day victory over Donald Trump has given me some hope. We have an incoming administration that will be competent, caring and will do everything in their power to make things right through policy and action.
In the meantime, check out the EP and the interview below:
WRH: Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, festivals have been postponed or cancelled outright, artists of all stripes have postponed, rescheduled or cancelled tour dates – and there are a number of artists, who have rescheduled releases of new material. You released a new EP shortly before the pandemic. How has COVID-19 impacted you and your career?
Jupe Jupe: Like so many other bands, we’ve had to cancel quite a few shows following the COVID outbreak. We luckily had our Nightfall EP release show before the lockdowns began, but the only “live” performance we’ve done since February was a live-stream benefit show to help support out-of-work employees at a local club. It was a blast playing again, though we look forward to in-person audiences! We wonder if live streaming will be the norm for bands until next year at least.
Despite the pandemic situation, the EP still received quite a bit of college-station airplay and press coverage, which we’re happy about. Given the scary times everyone is going through, we’re not sweating the lack of live performances. We’ll just ride it out like everyone else. We also hope that the smaller music venues can survive this—that’s something we’re definitely concerned about.
WRH: How have you been holding up? What have you been doing to keep busy? Binge watching anything?
Patrick Partington: I’ve been holding up OK—lucky to still be working from home. I try limit my newsfeed time during the day—though it’s been difficult lately, of course. As far as binge-watching, I’ve finished Ozark, which I love, and now I’ve moved on to a crime documentary series called Trial by Media. When I need some levity, I go with comedies (series and movies)—Hot Tub Time Machine, Superbad, Stripes, Vice Principals, The Righteous Gemstones, etc.
Jarrod Arbini: It varies from day to day, but I’ve finally gotten around to doing some of those home improvements. After 14 years, the refrigerator ice and water dispenser hookup has finally been accomplished. And I’ve discovered a new love for video games!
So before COVID, say that I decided to fly into Seattle. Where would I go to eat and drink, if I wanted to meet and be around locals?
Bryan Manzo: Seattle is a really fun place to visit. It kind of depends on what you’re into or what you’re looking for. When people visit me I tend to offer lots of restaurants, bars, or clubs, but the thing that people seem the most into is just being outside. It’s really remarkable how green the city is. We have mountains to the east and west. Water, water everywhere and forests so thick they’re dark during the day. It’s like Endor. Honestly, I can’t even believe I’m writing this because I’m not really into that. So for me, I guess I’d say the weed stores.
What’s your favorite venue to see shows in Seattle? Why?
PP: I think my favorite venue for larger shows is The Showbox. It fits around 1100 people, the sound is terrific, and pretty much everywhere you stand is a great spot—whether you want to be right up front or in back watching from one of the venue’s bars, which I usually opt for.
JA: Yeah, The Showbox for sure.
How did you get into music?
PP: My older brothers were music-heads, and they turned me on to The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, The Monkees, Led Zeppelin, and lots of 70’s progressive stuff when I was a little kid. Through my teenage years, I was addicted to a small AM station in Seattle called KJET. That’s how I discovered bands like The Cure, XTC, Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, and tons of other bands you couldn’t hear on regular FM radio in Seattle. When I first learned guitar at 14, I wanted to be like Pete Townshend—windmilling and leaping around.
My Young: My father is a guitarist and came from a family of musicians. He used to play and sing 60’s folk songs and other old hits like “Ghost Riders in the Sky” to us when we were little kids. When I was 12, I started a punk/new-wave band with my pals in Denver called the Bloody Ear Muffs. I’ve been in various bands since then.
JA: There was always music in our house and from an early age, the drums were fascinating to me. Once I was able to join the 5th grade symphonic band, I was hooked. I bought my first drum kit in the 7th grade and found being in a band and sharing my passion for music with like-minded individuals to be so satisfying.
Who are your influences?
PP: I gravitate toward a lot of British bands from the 80’s—OMD, New Order, and The Cure. Plus hooky 60’s music.
MY: In addition to the obvious synthpop and post-punk influences, I get inspiration from a larger bag of artists like Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, the 90’s WARP catalog, 70’s glam, and 60’s artists like The Kinks, Pink Floyd, Roy Orbison, and The Zombies. And of course, James Bond themes.
JA: Anything with a hook and I’m in!
WRH: Who are you listening to right now?
PP: I’ve been listening to Gorillaz, The Clash, and early Who lately. Wham! and Erasure when I want to be in a good mood quickly. Usually I just shuffle playlists so that I’m surprised. I also listen to First Wave on SiriusXM Radio—I’ve heard all of it, but it’s comforting in these uncertain times.
JA: During COVID, I’ve been trying to run more, and for my run mix I’ve recently added The Magic Group, lots of Kaiser Chiefs, The Goldbergs, and some Tame Impala. To take the edge off some of my ongoing periods of anxiety, I’ve actually been turning toward smooth 60’s Motown stuff with the likes of The Temptations and The Four Tops, among others.
WRH: Are there any acts from Seattle that the outside world should know now and doesn’t? Why?
BM: Yes. There’s a band called The NitWitz. They’re 11 and 12 year olds. One of the members is my kid. Another one of the members is My’s kid. Someone please discover them and get them OUT OF MY GARAGE BECAUSE IT’S SO LOUD! Also, they’re kind of funny.
WRH: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with Jupe Jupe?
Jupe Jupe: We describe our music as dark yet danceable—a “noir cocktail” of crooning vocals over pulsing beats, with guitars and sax that cut across washes of synth.
PP: When people ask me personally what we’re like, I say we try to sound like an updated version of our 80’s new-wave influences.
JA: Definitely a more current take on an 80’s-type vibe. Quite a mixed bag really, but it works!
WRH: Your latest EP, Nightfall continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Matt Bayles. How has it been to work with him?
Jupe Jupe: Matt’s done an amazing job recording and mixing our last two albums, Nightfall and Lonely Creatures. Though he’s produced many harder bands (Mastadon, He Whose OX Is Gored, Murder City Devils, etc.), he gets our sound completely and we generally don’t have to give him much input, especially when it comes to how he mixes the songs. We bring the tunes in fully written, so that we can get straight into recording. He’s a serious, no-nonsense guy in the studio—and he definitely doesn’t put up with less-than-stellar performances!
WRH: The EP’s material thematically focuses on yearning and desire. How much of the material comes from personal experience – or that from someone you know?
Jupe Jupe: We usually write the lyrics as a group. Though it takes longer this way than it would with one person doing all the heavy lifting, we feel like we end up with stronger material. Everyone’s input is probably based on their own experiences, but we usually don’t go into it with an individual’s specific story in mind (“Hey, this thing happened to me—let’s write a song about it”). We might offer anecdotes that lend themselves to a song, but after the music is written, we pick subject matter that we think will work best with the vibe. For this batch of songs, “yearning and desire” seemed to fit really well!
While much of the EP’s material continues the synth-based, hook-driven sound that has won you attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere, EP single “How Could We Both Be in Love” features the addition of saxophone. It may arguably be the most Avalon-era Roxy Music track of the EP – and it’s one of my favorite off the entire EP. How much did Roxy Music influence it? What’s the song about?
MY: Bryan and I started playing music together in an Austin prog band called Maximum Coherence During Flying, in which Bryan played both guitar and sax. We always wanted to bring it back into our songs, but kept forgetting to do it. For the Nightfall EP, Bryan proposed how it would add a new element to the direction we were already heading in. We’re both huge Roxy Music fans (especially their first four records), and it was exciting and inspiring to bring it back into the mix.
PP: Essentially, that song is about being in a relationship with a narcissist.
How did the videos for “How Could We Both Be in Love” and “Leave You Lonely” come about?
Jupe Jupe: For “How Could We Both Be in Love,” we teamed up with our friend Erik Foster of the great Seattle band, Dirty Sidewalks. He directed our last two videos and he’s always done a spectacular job. We usually start by sending him a rough mix and the lyrics, then discussing some broad ideas over beers. For this video, we really didn’t have to offer any guidance. He’s extremely creative and talented at matching the vibe of the video to the song. He did some great stop-motion and visual effects—he always surprises us. It’s an awesome partnership.
”Leave You Lonely” was created by two of our band members, Bryan and Jarrod, using a combination of hand drawings, still photos, lyric text, and shifting color palettes to capture the movement and feel of the song.
WRH: The band has been together for a decade now, which is an eternity in contemporary music. What do you ascribe to your longevity? What advice, if any do you have for bands trying to make a name for themselves?
PP: We’re all best friends and we’ve worked together in various bands over the past 20 years, so we know each other’s strengths and idiosyncrasies really well. Plus, with that type of history, it’s easier to be honest—as opposed to walking on eggshells with someone you don’t know well. Apart from music, we just like hanging out!
As far as advice for bands trying to make a name, I’d say figure out your sound, and continue to evolve it! Don’t worry about what’s popular or the next trend. Hopefully you can break through the clutter by sticking to your convictions and continuing to improve as a band. Also, it helps to share band duties—rather than one person doing all the writing, promo, booking, etc. It makes it much more fun and keeps everyone invested. And when you play live, be sure to promote the hell out of every show and make sure the other bands on the bill do too.
JA: I think our longevity is due to the lack of inter-band drama and a shared love of music and playing live. It also helps that everyone brings a different expertise and perspective to the group —outside of the actual music. This really helps us to get through all the less-than-glamorous band duties that come along with being a musician.
What’s next for you?
Jupe Jupe: Bryan and My are currently working on new song ideas individually, and we check in with each other for a “virtual” band happy hour once a week. We’re really just playing things by ear during the pandemic—it’s difficult to make concrete plans right now, but we know for sure we’ll be releasing new music eventually!
Originally formed in Madison, WI and currently based in Chicago, the rising indie act Slow Pulp — Emily Massey (vocals, guitar), Alexander Leeds (bass), Theodore Matthews (drums) and Henry Stoehr (guitar) — will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut Moveys, which features attention-grabbing singles “At It Again,” “Idaho,” and “Falling Apart” Friday through Winspear Records.
Initially taking shape while the members of the band toured with Alex G last year, the band scrapped an album’s worth of material after Emily Massey was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and chronic Mono. What the band eventually worked on and finished wound up being a testament to hard-fought personal growth and persistence during remarkably difficult times: Massey’s parents were in a severe car accident about a week before pandemic-related shutdowns began. And as a result, the album’s material is centered around blistering energy, emotional catharsis and the resourcefulness to complete the album when the world feels like it’s ending.
Moveys fourth and latest single is the slow-burning and shimmering “Montana.” Centered around jangling guitars, gentle blasts of gorgeous and twangy slide guitar, soulful harmonica and Massey’s achingly plaintive vocals. And while being a decidedly, 120 Minutes MTV alt rock, Sunday afternoon sort of single, the track is actually a deeply self-reflective track rooted in personal experience. “This song is about moving beyond defining myself in terms of my mental health. I’ve been working through this over the last couple of years and this song is a reflection of this process and where I am now,” the band’s Emily Massey explains. “‘Montana’ was the first song we finished recording for the album. Henry’s early demo was kind of heavy and distorted, and when we went to play it together for the first time, it came out a lot slower and cleaner. Our friend Willie Christianson wrote and recorded the slide guitar and harmonica parts.”
Deriving their name from what is considered one of the most miserable locations in Iceland, Reykjavik’s BSÍ Central Bus Terminal, BSÍ is an emerging Icelandic indie rock duo featuring Sigurlaug Thoransen and Julius Rothlaender. With the release of the “Tomatenplatten/Berlin”/ “Why Not? plötur/Reykjavík” 7 inch vinyl and a single on Post-dreifng’s Drullumall #2 compilation, the Icelandic duo quickly established their sound and songwriting approach: centered around a DIY ethos, the duo’s specializes in what’s known around Iceland as Krútt pönk — and from what I’ve been able to look up, is a decidedly Icelandic take on indie rock and post punk.
Since then, the release of the “Tomatenplatten/Berlin”/ “Why Not? plötur/Reykjavík” 7 inch and their Post-dreifng’s Drullumall #2 compilation, the Reykjavik-based duo have played concerts and festivals across Iceland and Germany. Like countless bands across the world, they started the year with writing and recording new material — but interestingly, their latest single “Manama,” was initially recorded back in 2018. Regardless of when the track was recorded, it’s a jangling yet brooding bit of guitar rock that sounds indebted to 120 Minutes era MTV — but with a hazy and trippy vibe.
Directed by Venezuelan-born, Berlin-based filmmaker Adriana Berroteran, the recently released video follows the stunningly beautiful Folasade Adeseo as she wanders around the streets of Mexico City– but her Mexico City is a fittingly viewed through a lysergic and hazy dream.
Bea Kadri is an emerging Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter. Much like countless young people across the world, Kadri had her Walkman and iPod practically glued to her — and she watched endless hours of MTV and YouTube to get her fix of pop, hip-hop and R&B. As a painfully shy teenager, who was afraid to express her true self and her true feelings, the Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter found understanding and solace through the music she was listening to at the time. And much like teens all across the world, she’d stay in her room, daydream and imitate her favorite artists in front of her mirror and jot down thoughts and lyrics in her journal.
In 2018, Kadri relocated to London to pursue a Master’s Degree in Music Business Management from the University of Westminster, with the hopes of being close to her lifelong passion and maybe landing a job somewhere within the music industry. She gradually decided to pursue a career as an artist as her confidence in her talents grew — but she can trace the origins of her career as an artist to when she put together a list of songs to show her mentor, who was writing songs for Universal Music UK. Kadri landed an opportunity to write songs and sync placements. And adding to a big year for her, she performed in the backing choirs for Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton during both artists’ BRIT Awards performances that year.
As a solo artist, Kadri’s work focuses on self-discovery, empowerment and matters of the heart — with a sultry yet chill air. Interestingly, the Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter’s latest single “Be Alright,” which features a guest spot from Issac B is a slow-burning and sultry track centered around a minimalist production featuring skittering beats and atmospheric synths — and while helping to establish Kadri’s sultry yet laid back sound, the track finds Kadri and Issac B reminiscing on simpler days, old loves an slower paces with an achingly wistful air that seems to say “if I had known then, what I know now . . .”
“We wrote and recorded ‘Be Alright’ back in August 2019, before the madness of the pandemic, we were just reminiscing on simpler days and pace of our past but the message behind the song resonates now more than ever,” Kadri says in press notes. “In the chorus we go ‘roll in peace yeah call it pair of dice’ to highlight the nature of how we never truly know what dice life will serve us, but whatever it is, we got to roll with it peacefully and make like a paradise (“pair of dice”) in our minds, stay chill, find the balance and keep on because, really, ‘we gon’ be alright.'”
Directed Linda Dorigo, the recently released video for “Be Alright” stars the song’s creative duo, reminiscing in their bedrooms, and continuing with the dreary and ordinary routines of their lives — Kadri heading to work at a local supermarket while Issac B goes to a laundromat. There’s also a quite a bit of nouvelle vague-like split screens, which add to the slick stylistic vibe of the video.
Deriving their name from a retired racing greyhound that’s since been renamed Jenna, Jetstream Pony is an emerging shoegazer act split between Brighton UK and Croydon UK. Featuring Trembling Blue Stars,’ The Luxembourg Signal‘s and Aberdeen’s Beth Arzy (vocals), The Wedding Present’s and The Popguns‘ Shaun Charman (guitar), Kerry Boettcher (bass) and the band’s newest addition Hannes Müller, the members of the band bonded over their mutual love of post-punk and indie pop.
The band released a few 7 inch singles through Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten, along with a their 12 inch debut EP Self-Destruct EP — both of which received a bit of attention across the shoegazer and indie pop scenes. Building upon growing momentum, the British act’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a May 22, 2020 release through Shelflife Records and Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten. Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Trapped in Amber” is a shoegazer-like bit of guitar pop that recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV college radio that features an enormous hook, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, four-on-the-floor drumming and Beth Arzy’s ethereal vocals, delivered with the self-assuredness of old pros.
“‘Trapped in Amber’ is a relationship song, with lyrics by Beth,” the band’s Shaun Charmn explains in an email. “She writes a mixture of prose and verse on virtual scraps of paper. When I have new music, I flick through them to see which fits best, then edit to fit. Beth’s happy for things to be changed, she then edits again for the final version. It does work really well. This song was written at the very last minute before album recording, I was still working it out in the studio as we recorded it, but it was sounding too good to leave off.”
Formed in 2010, the rising Los Angeles-based act Gateway Drugs — siblings Gabe, Noa and Liv Niles, who all share vocal and instrumental duties, and their longtime friend James Sanderson (bass) — emerged into the psych rock scene with the 2015 release of their full-length debut, Magick Spells, an album that helped to establish noisey and melodic take on shoegaze that Hellbound has likened to “The Stooges meets My Bloody Valentine and The Brian Jonestown Massacre — a little dark, a little eerie and a little grainy and all intoxicating.”
Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Future Shock Records, the Los Angeles-based psych rock quartet’s, ten song, Sune Rose Wagner-produced sophomore effort PSA was recorded during a 12 day recording session at Josh Homme’s Pink Duck Studio. Centered around what the band says was some of the quickest and most direct songwriting process of their young careers, the album as the band told Foxes Mag “. . . is much more intimate and raw than our first album. All of the songs were recorded live for the most part.”
While further establishing their noisy and melodic take on psych rock, the material reportedly finds the band writing more introspective material, drawing from a wild and chaotic few years for the band — and for the world at large. According to the members of Gateway Drugs, the album reflects “everything that is wrong in the here and now: the weakness of the world laid bare, and the almost total state of apathy we all find ourselves in due to feeling powerless to effect any change with respect to all of this. PSA is an attempt to connect with others, who feel the same way and regain a sense of our ability to change things for the better.”
“Slumber,” PSA’s second single is brooding yet shimmering and hook driven track that features the band’s Gabe Niles taking up vocal duties. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to the aforementioned Brian Jonestown Massacre, Riot City Blues-era Primal Scream, the song is an achingly earnest reflection on unrequited love, focusing on rejection and heartbreak.
Shot, edited and directed by the members of the band, the recently released video for “Slumber” is an intimate view into the band’s daily lives inn a way that personally reminds me of 120 Minutes-era MTV. “Videos nowadays tend to be overly cinematic or pretentious. The songs get lost and leaves little room for the listeners imagination,” the band says of the video. “We wanted to keep it simple, sincere, and true to form, so we shot and edited the video ourselves.”
Over the past 15-18 months or so, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act and JOVM mainstays Secret Shame. Founded in 2016, the act — currently, Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar) has been centered around its members desperate need to create, “If I couldn’t sing or play music, I would tear my skin off.” the band’s front person Lena explained in press notes. Shortly after their formation, the band released their self-titled debut EP, which helped established their dark and atmospheric sound — while the material thematically touched upon domestic rabuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration.
The Asheville-based JOVM mainstays’ full-length debut Dark Synthetics was released to critical acclaim last year — and the album find the band expanding upon their sound, crafting material that seemed indebted to both Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Building upon the growing momentum surrounding the band since the release of their debut, the members of Secret Shame have released a series of Dark Synthetics remixes as a teasers while they were returning to the studio to record new music.
Throughout their relatively short history together, they’ve developed a reputation for an ever-changing songwriting process centered around a collective songwriting approach. The end result is that it allows the band to not allow themselves to be pigeonholed into a single subgenere of goth or post-punk. Interestingly, Secret Shame’s latest single “Dissolve” finds the band turning towards a completely new sound while managing to evoke the same feeling and vibe of their previously released material. There’s clear nods to Joy Division, New Order, and Echo and the Bunnymen on this one — with a tiniest of nods to The Smiths here: the song features shimmering guitars, rapid-fire four-on-the-floor, enormous and rousingly anthemic hooks and Lena singing with a plaintive earnestness. It’s arguably their most gorgeous sounding song they’ve released to date, but underneath the shimmer, is a hardened bitterness and dark thematic concerns that have won the band attention. As the band’s Lena says of the song, “A cathartic break from a bad situation, but a gateway to something still destructive. What are the benefits of nobody knowing what’s on your mind? What are the drawbacks?”
Visually, the recently released video for “Dissolve” seemed indebted to 120 Minutes-era MTV with tape hiss and nods at Echo and the Bunnymen’s “Lips Like Sugar” and “The Killing Moon,” among others that immediately come to my mind.
“Dissolve” will appear on a self-released 7 inch that will be release don June 5, 2020.
Lexy is a Manchester, UK-born, Auckland, New Zealand-based singer/songwriter and guitarist who claims Greek, Persian and English heritage — or as she described herself as a young girl, “Half Greek, half Persian, half English.”Much like countless other musicians, her passion for music was stoked when she learned piano and violin as a girl.The British-born, Kiwi-based singer/songwriter and musician is the creative mastermind behind the emerging recording project Lexytron.
Lexytron’s full-length debut Something Blue was recorded in London with City Reign’s Mike Grice and the album reportedly finds the emerging singer/songwriter crafting material with roaring riffs, lush strings and soaring choral arrangements in a way that seamlessly meshing rock and classical music — while being an an indie rock girl’s guide to love, loss and lust. The album’s latest single “Blue” is a decidedly 120 Minutes-era MTV-like alt rock song centered around jangling power chords, soaring strings and the British-born, Kiwi-based artist’s plaintive vocals.
Directed by Lexy and Mike Grice, the recently released video is an intimate, DIY video of the emerging singer/songwriter on the shore of Lake Pukaki, located on the New Zealand’s South Island.