Tag: MTV

With the release of their debut track “Ambulance,” the Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Russian Baths, comprised of Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner, received attention for a sound that the band has described as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others; however, “Slenderman,” which I wrote about last month, reminded me much more of brooding, 90s alt rock/120 Minutes-era MTV as the song featured the familiar alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure — in which you would have had heard shimmering guitar chords, throbbing bass chords and propulsive drumming paired with a rousingly anthemic hook.

 

Interestingly, “What’s In Your Basement,” the latest single off the Brooklyn-based act’s forthcoming EP Penance continues the 90s alt rock vibes — but this time, their latest single is blistering and abrasive, mosh pit worthy grunge rock that brings to mind Bleach and In Utero-era Nirvana and Finelines-era My Vitriol, with a similar balls-to-the-walls self-assuredness.

Penance drops on February 23rd.

 

With the release of their debut track “Ambulance,” the Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Russian Baths, comprised of Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner, have received attention for a sound that the band has described as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others; however, the Brooklyn-based indie rock act’s latest single “Slenderman” strikes me as drawing from brooding, 90s alt rock/120 Minutes-era MTV as the song finds the band employing the quiet, loud, quiet strong structure — in which you’ll hear shimmering guitar chords, throbbing bass chords,  propulsive drumming paired with a rousingly anthemic hook. But what immediately struck me about the song, is that the band is an incredibly self-assured unit, and I’m looking forward to hearing more.

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Shimmering, Early 80s MTV-Inspired Visuals for Moaning’s “Artificial”

Comprised of Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson and Andrew MacKelvie, the Los Angeles, CA-based trio Moaning have spent the past few years crafting a moody and angular sound that draws from shoegaze, slacker rock and post-punk which has received attention both nationally and internationally from the likes of The Fader, The Guardian, DIY Magazine, Stereogum, and others. 

Building upon the growing buzz that’s surrounding them, the Los Angeles-based indie rock/post-punk trio’s highly-anticipated self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through Sub Pop Records. The album’s fourth and latest single “Artificial” possesses a decidedly familiar post punk sound reminiscent of Joy Division, as well as contemporaries like Precocupations and others, complete with an anthemic and directly infectious hook; but just underneath the surface, the song bristles with a tense, self-awareness of artifice, superficiality and ugliness. 

Directed by directorial team A Stranger, the recently released video for “Artificial” draws from early 80s MTV videos — and appropriately, it was shot on 35mm film, complete with tight zooms that follows the band, dressed completely in white as they play the song in a house covered in tin foil, filled with fake plants. At various points, the bandmembers faces are distorted and mirrored in ways that are trippy and somewhat disturbing. And in some way, the video continually points out artifice, insincerity and superficiality, while suggesting that there’s ugliness and uncertainty just beneath. 

New Audio: Up-and-Coming Portland, OR-based Act Blackwater Holylight Specializes in a 120 Minutes-era Alt Rock Sound

Comprised of founding member, Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass), Laura Hopkins (guitar, vocals), Cat Hoch (drums) and Sarah McKenna (synth), the Portland, OR-based rock act Blackwater Holylight began as an experiment of what Faris’ own version of what should feel heavy both sonically and emotionally. “I also wanted a band in which vulnerability of any form could be celebrated.” But interestingly, as Faris explains in press notes, her current band can trace its origins to when Faris’ longtime band split up. “In my last band, I was the only female in a group of 6, so I wanted to see how my songwriting and vulnerability could glow taking the drivers seat and working with women.” 

As you’ll hear on “Sunrise,” off the band’s self-titled debut effort, the band’s sound meshes elements of Breeders-era alt rock and garage, swirling and towering shoegaze, psych rock and moody post punk with soaring hooks — and although the song manages to be reminiscent  of classic, 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock, the song structurally walks a tightrope between moody, slow-burning dirge, anthemic power pop within a fluid song structure that eschews the familiar verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus of the past. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Nicola Returns with Lush Yet Stripped Down Single

Born in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Nicola Vasquez, a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who performs under the moniker Nicola grew up in low-income projects, sharing toys with her baby brother. Her father was a mechanic and her mother a nurse, and while neither was musically inclined, they shared their appreciation and love for all types of music with their children. “Music was always playing in our house . . . we grew up with the sounds of Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles,” Vasquez recalls. When she turned 7, Vasquez started to learn the guitar; by the time she was 11, the piano, and by the time she was a teen, she attended the The Fiorello LaGuardia School of Art and Music and the Performing Arts, famously known as the school Fame was based on. She was classically trained at the Manhattan School of Music and Queens College, while studying dance and acting on the side. Shortly after graduating, Vasquez landed roles in the Broadway and National Road Companies of Les Miserables. 

Leaving the theater to embark on a music career based around her own original material, Vasquez started her own record label Hot Cherry Records in 2002 and over the following few years,  spent time living and performing in Europe and South America, and touring across the US refining her sound, which can be best described as a sultry mix of pop, rock, soul and Latin music. With a the release of five independently released albums, the New York-born and -based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has seen her work chart on over 200 national radio stations, been featured on ABC, CBS and NBC News, Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club, MTV, VHI, Women Who Rock Magazine, Songwriter Universe Magazine, National Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Songcircle Music and twice in Billboard Magazine’s Underground section, opened for the likes of Eve 6 and Edwin McCain and has even shared stages with Ricky Martin and Living Colour’s Muzz Skillings. 

Over the past decade, Vasquez has simultaneously been a professional busker and musician, performing as part of the MTA’s Music Under New York program, where she’s managed to get crowds of busy New Yorkers to stop what they’re doing and listen to her perform. Yes, seriously. Now, it’s been some time since I’ve written about her — over the past couple of years, she’s been busy on the development and performance teams writing several original prospective Broadway-bound musicals; however, her latest single “Back in Pieces” will further cement her reputation for writing thoughtful, lush and anthemic pop but interestingly enough, it finds the JOVM mainstay with a much more stripped down approach and sound, reflecting the song’s deeply introspective and ambivalent nature. After all, the song ends with an open-ended question of what happens once you pick up the smashed pieces of a life, after heartbreak or some other traumatic experience and what it does to you. 

The music video is split between some highly symbolic imagery including broken glass, Nicola walking on the beach and the like, cut with footage of Nicola performing the song on the beach and in a park. 

Throwback: RIP Joe Strummer/Joe Strummer Forever!/The Clash Forever!

Time flies by and it flies by at an incredibly dizzying pace. Just the other day, a Facebook friend mentioned that the 15th anniversary of Joe Strummer’s death had recently passed. I grew up listening to quite a bit of The Clash –and as a music obsessed boy, who spent an unusual amount of time watching MTV and other music related programming, I can clearly remember watching the video for “Rock the Casbah” and others. And when I found out that Strummer died, it felt as though a small part of my music loving childhood was gone; plus it made the seemingly dim possibility of a Clash reunion utterly impossible. Such is life. But this particular week, I thought of The Clash and how much those records had meant to me  — and interestingly, I stumbled on live footage of The Clash playing at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ in 1980 and in Japan in 1982 or so, plus other random things. 

As always Joe Strummer forever! The Clash forever! 

Deeply influenced by The Breeders, T-Rex, punk rock, psych rock and New Wave, the Wilmington, DE-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, Grace Vonderkuhn has received attention for a sound that meshes elements of psych rock, garage rock and guitar pop; in fact, back in 2015, I wrote about Vonderkuhn’s slow-burning, brooding, and lysergic cover of The Psychedelic Furs‘ “Love My Way.” Adding to a growing profile, over the past year, the Wilmington, DE-based singer/songwriter and her backing band, which features Brian Bartling (bass) and Dave Mcgrory (drums) has opened for the likes of Titus Andronicus, Lower Dens and blogosphere darlings Sheer Mag among others.

“Worry,” the first single off Vonderkuhn’s forthcoming full-length album, slated for a February release through Egghunt Records features some muscular and self-assured power chords paired with angular and driving bass chords, forceful drumming within a 90s alt rock song structure —  alternating quiet verses and loud choruses, arena rock friendly hooks, an explosive and cathartic bridge and a fade out into the song’s coda.  Though it clearly owes debts to the aforementioned Breeders, Veruca Salt and others in the 120 Minutes-era MTV universe, the song, as Vonderkuhn explained to the folks at GoldFlakePaint is an “anthem for over-thinkers” with the song’s narrator attempting to  act as a calming counterweight, as she constantly reminds herself that maybe she shouldn’t be worrying as much as she does about everything, that some things are just beyond your control. And as a result, Vonderkuhn’s latest is a deceptive and mischievously modern take on a beloved and familiar song and aesthetic.

 

 

Comprised of New York-born, Los Angeles, CA-based duo Miles Garber, who’s best known prominent male model and Dave Gagliardi, who’s best known as a member of renowned punk act Trash Talk, Swimsuit Issue can trace their origins to when the duo met outside of an art show on the Bowery back in 2014. And instead of quickly rushing to put out material, the duo spent the next two years honing and refining their sound with the end result being their anthemic, 120 Minutes-era MTV meets contemporary indie rock- like debut single “Look Now,” complete with jangling and fuzzy power chords, a propulsive backbeat paired with Garber’s crooning vocals, in a song that manages to balance earnest emotionality with a deliberate attention to craft.

 

 

New Video: The 120 Minutes-era Sounds and Visuals of Neaux’s “LUV”

With the release of their full-length debut, the indie rock duo Neaux, comprised of Versa Emerge’s Sierra Kay and Trash Talk’s Nick Fit received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that the duo says is influenced by the likes of Sebadoh, Mudhoney and Sonic Youth — while nodding at the likes of Slowdive and Swirlies. Building on a growing profile, the duo’s sophomore effort Chain Up The Sun was released earlier this year, and as you’ll hear on album single “LUV,” the duo further cements their reputation for crafting a sound that to my ears reminds me quite a bit of 120 Minutes-era MTV, complete with fuzzy power chords, rousingly anthemic hooks, driving rhythms and gorgeous pop belter vocals giving an otherwise aggressive bit of shoegaze it’s vulnerable and aching heart. And fittingly enough, the recently released visuals for the single also manage to nod heavily at 120 Minutes-era MTV, as it features the duo goofing off and lounging about  while superimposed with psychedelic imagery.