Tag: Neu!

New Video: Birmingham AL’s Wray Releases a Brooding Visual for Shimmering and Cinematic “Jogging/Neon Forming”

Wray is a critically applauded Birmingham, AL-based indie trio — David Bown (bass, vocals), David Swatzell (guitar, vocals) and Blake Wimberly (drums)  — that can trace its origins to its members’ shared decade-plus history in Birmingham’s indie and underground scenes. Interestingly, with the act’s first two albums — 2014’s self-titled debut and 2016’s Lynn Bridges and Wray co-produced sophomore album Hypatia, the Birmingham-based trio received praise from the likes of The New York Times and Mojo for their adventurous, genre-defying sound and approach. Adding to a growing profile, they’ve also made appearances on MTVu and Daytrotter. 

Slated for a June 5, 2020 release through their longtime label home Communicating Vessels Records, the band’s long-awaited, self-produced dual record Stream of Youth/Blank World thematically is an exploration of personal dichotomies: hope and pessimism, wildness and composure, joy and pain. Recorded at Communicating Vessels Birmingham area studio, the band experimented, wrote, revised and recorded the material at their own pace. Sonically, the material further establishes the band’s reputation for crafting a shimmering New Wave-like take on shoegaze that seems indebted to NEU!, Faust, Can, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, and even The Cure. 

“Jogging/Neon Forming,” Stream of Youth/Blank World’s brooding and cinematic latest single is a perfect example of the sound that has won them acclaim: centered around a motorik groove, shimmering synth arpeggios, plaintive vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook, the song feels like an ethereal yet lingering fever dream. At its core is an achingly wistful nostalgia for a past that we simply can’t get back — and considering the current state of the world, the song’s overall feel and vibe feels powerfully relevant. 

Created by Barbara Baron, the recently released video for “Jogging/Neon Forming” was hot on a grainy VHS-like tape and features a lonely woman in a laundromat and briefly in a park — and throughout there’s a sense of loss. 

 

Live Footage: Gaz Coombes Performs “Deep Pockets” on “The Late Late Show with James Corden”

Gareth “Gaz” Coombes is an Oxford, UK-born and raised singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member and frontman of renowned British indie rock act Supergrass, who over the course of their 17 years together released six full-length albums — 1995’s I Should Coco, 1997’s In It for the Money 1999’s self-titled, 2002’s Life on Other Planets, 2005’s Road to Rouen and 2008’s Diamond Hoo Ha, all of which landed on the UK Top 20. (Reportedly, the band had written material for a seventh album, just before their breakup, Release the Drones that remains unfinished and unreleased.)

Since Supergrass’ breakup Coombes has released two solo efforts — 2011’s Sam Williams-produced Here Comes the Bombs and his breakthrough 2015, self-produced sophomore album, Matador, which received a Mercury Prize nod thanks to the commercial success of its five singles, as well as critical praise from the likes of Q Magazine and Mojo Magazine. Interestingly, Coombes’ third, full-length album World’s Strongest Man, was released earlier this year through Hot Fruit/Caroline International Records. The album was written and recorded at  Coombes’ home studio and at Oxford’s Courtyard Studios with co-production with his longtime collaborator Ian Davenport, in a working process that Coombes has compared to being like “editing a novel.” And in some way that shouldn’t be surprising as the album was reportedly inspired by Grayson Perry’s autobiography The Descent of Man, Frank Ocean‘s Blonde, the work of Neu! and hip-hop while at points exploring the effects of unchecked and toxic masculinity among other things — but with a deeply personal bent.

The album’s latest single “Deep Pockets” finds the former Supergrass frontman taking on a decided motorik groove, with the song nodding at Screamadelica and Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, complete with a slick and infectious hook — and the song will likely cement Coombes reputation for crafting mischievously forward thinking and hook driven rock.

Recently Coombes and his backing band were on The Late Late Show with James Corden, where they performed a loose and urgent version of “Deep Pockets.”

New Video: Going on a Hallucinogenic and Surreal Car Ride with Gaz Coombes in Visuals for “Deep Pockets”

Gareth “Gaz” Coombes is an Oxford, UK-born and raised singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member and frontman of renowned British indie rock act Supergrass, who over the course of their 17 years together released six full-length albums — 1995’s I Should Coco, 1997’s In It for the Money 1999’s self-titled, 2002’s Life on Other Planets, 2005’s Road to Rouen and 2008’s Diamond Hoo Ha, all of which landed on the UK Top 20. (Reportedly, the band had written material for a seventh album, just before their breakup, Release the Drones that remains unfinished and unreleased.)

Since Supergrass’ breakup Coombes has released two solo efforts — 2011’s Sam Williams-produced Here Comes the Bombs and his breakthrough 2015, self-produced sophomore album, Matador, which received a Mercury Prize nod thanks to the commercial success of its five singles, as well as critical praise from the likes of Q Magazine and Mojo Magazine. Interestingly, Coombes’ third, full-length album World’s Strongest Man, which is slated for a May 4, 2018 release through Hot Fruit/Caroline International Records was written and recorded at Coombes’ home studio and at Oxford’s Courtyard Studios with co-production with his longtime collaborator Ian Davenport, in a working process that Coombes has compared to being like “editing a novel.” And in som way that shouldn’t be surprising as the album was reportedly inspired by Grayson Perry’s autobiography The Descent of Man, Frank Ocean‘s Blonde, the work of Neu! and hip-hop while at points exploring the effects of unchecked and toxic masculinity among other things — but with a deeply personal bent.

The album’s latest single “Deep Pockets” finds the former Supergrass frontman taking on a decided motorik groove, with the song nodding at Screamadelica and Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, complete with a slick and infectious hook — and the song will likely cement Coombes reputation for crafting mischievously forward thinking and hook driven rock.

The recently released self-directed, filmed and edited video features Coombes in the back of an Uber Pool during one of the oddest and trippiest rides I’ve ever seen, as the Uber Pool picks up a variety of weird characters as the car zooms through Los Angeles — and interestingly enough, for some reason the video reminds me of the paranoid and fucked up sequences during the movie rendition of Comfortably Numb in Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  As Coombes says in press notes about the video, “I shot the ‘Deep Pockets’ video on a shoestring, mostly in LA at the end of 2017. The idea came from the lyrics and memories of weird night drives over the years — a never ending car journey laced with paranoia, intermittent hallucinations and unexpected carpooling. I liked the idea of getting together with some fun, interesting people in a cat at night, filming it all and just seeing what happened. “

New Video: The Brooding and Intimate Black and White Visuals for Fufanu’s “Tokyo”

Last year was a breakthrough year for the Reykjavik, Iceland-based indie rock/post-punk trio Fufanu as their sophomore effort Sports received attention nationally and internationally, thanks in part to critically applauded album singles like album title track, Sports,” which retains the synth-driven sound of their debut A Few More Days to Go while nodding at Can, Neu!  Joy Division and early ’80s Peter Gabriel,  and the slow-burning and moody  “Liability” and “White Pebbles.” And if you were frequenting this site, you’d recall that the Icelandic trio ended a breakthrough year with the release of a previously unreleased album single “Top of the Queens,” which was recorded during the Sports sessions and didn’t make the cut. 

Building upon a growing national and international profile, the members of the Icelandic post-punk trio recruited photographer Jonatan Gretarsson to direct and shoot the striking visuals for the moody and atmospheric album single “Tokyo.” Nodding at the gorgeous black and white photography and video work of the legendary Anton Corbjin, and perfume commercials, the incredibly intimate  video features the members of the band in individual and group portraits and tight close ups — and while capturing these brooding young men, there’s an underlying sense of their vulnerability, frailty, and ultimately their own loneliness. And as result, it further emphasizes the brooding nature of the song. 

Gareth “Gaz” Coombes is an Oxford, UK-born and raised singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member and frontman of renowned British indie rock act Supergrass, who over the course of their 17 years together released six full-length albums — 1995’s I Should Coco, 1997’s In It for the Money 1999’s self-titled, 2002’s Life on Other Planets, 2005’s Road to Rouen and 2008’s Diamond Hoo Ha, all of which landed on the UK Top 20. (Reportedly, the band had written material for a seventh album, just before their breakup, Release the Drones that remains unfinished and unreleased.)

Since Supergrass’ breakup Coombes has released two solo efforts — 2011’s Sam Williams-produced Here Comes the Bombs and his breakthrough 2015, self-produced sophomore album, Matador, which received a Mercury Prize nod thanks to the commercial success of its five singles, as well as critical praise from the likes of Q Magazine and Mojo Magazine. Interestingly, Coombes’ third, full-length album World’s Strongest Man, which is slated for a May 4, 2018 release through Hot Fruit/Caroline International Records was written and recorded at Coombes’ home studio and at Oxford’s Courtyard Studios with co-production with his longtime collaborator Ian Davenport, in a working process that Coombes has compared to being like “editing a novel.” And in som way that shouldn’t be surprising as the album was reportedly inspired by Grayson Perry’s autobiography The Descent of Man, Frank Ocean‘s Blonde, the work of Neu! and hip-hop while at points exploring the effects of unchecked and toxic masculinity among other things — but with a deeply personal bent.

The album’s latest single “Deep Pockets” finds the former Supergrass frontman taking on a decided motorik groove, with the song nodding at Screamadelica and Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, complete with a slick and infectious hook — and the song will likely cement Coombes reputation for crafting mischievously forward thinking and hook driven rock.

 


2017 has been a breakthrough year for the Reykjavik, Iceland-based indie rock/post-punk trio  Fufanu.. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this past year, you’d recall that the band, currently comprised of founding members Kaktus Einarsson (vocals, guitar), whose father Einar was a member of The Sugarcaubes and Guðlaugur “Gulli” Einarsson (guitar, programming) (no relation, by the way) along with newest member, Erling Bang (drums) can trace their origins to when the band’s founding duo met while at school. And according to the band’s founding duo, Katkus had glanced at Gulli’s iTunes and noticed that they had listened to a lot of the same techno and electronic music. After quickly bonding over mutual interests, the duo went into a studio and began writing and recording electronic music under the name Captain Fufanu. Interestingly, within a month of their formation, Kaktus and Gulli had started playing shows in and around their hometown.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the duo went into the studio to record what would be their full-length debut as Captain Fufanu; but in a strange twist of fate, the studio where Kaktus and Gulli had recorded the album was burgled. Naturally, everyone involved in the process presumed the album was lost. While many bands would be devastated by losing their life’s work in such a shitty fashion, Kaktus and Gulli put a positive spin on the ordeal, viewing it as an opportunity to reinvent themselves and their sound, as they were developing a growing technical and musical prowess. Coincidentally, Kaktus Einarsson had been spending time in London working on Damon Albarn’s Everyday Robots and touring with the late and legendary Bobby Womack when he began writing lyrics. Simultaneously, Gulli had started to craft a completely revised sound, which according to Kaktus managed to convey exactly what he had been thinking and feeling at the time. The result was the duo pairing Kaktus’ brooding and ironically detached vocals with an arrangement that featured guitar, bass, drums, synths and other electronics. Armed with a new sound, the duo renamed the project Fufanu.

Fufanu’s first live set as Fufanu, with their new sound and material was at 2014’s Iceland Airwaves and they quickly became one of the most talked about bands of the entire festival. Right after the festival, they went into the studio to record their full-length debut, A Few More Days To Go, which was released to applause both nationally and internationally; in fact, with an even bigger profile, Fufanu toured with The Vaccines and others, and played some of Northern Europe’s and Scandinavia’s largest festivals, including the aforementioned Iceland Airwaves, JaJaJa Festival and others.

Released earlier this year, the band’s sophomore album Sports finds the band going through some significant changes — Kaktus and Gulli recruited Erling “Elli” Bang (drums) to further flesh their sound out, with the newly constituted trio refining their material’s sound and thematic concerns, represented through album title track  “Sports,” which retains the synth-driven sound of their debut while nodding at CanNeu!  Joy Division and early ’80s Peter Gabriel,  the slow-burning and moody  “Liability” and “White Pebbles.”  However, the highly buzzed about Icelandic trio begin the holiday season and close out the year, with “Top Of The Queens,” a track that was recorded during the Sports sessions and didn’t make the cut.

Of course, what makes an the release of a previously unreleased album track intriguing is the fact that they frequently give the listener — if they’re familiar with the album in question — some insight into the complex editorial decisions that comprise the making of an album. In some cases, you can immediately tell why a particular song wasn’t included — it just didn’t fit the tone and vibe of the album. In other cases, it’s not apparent. Sometimes, it’s a matter of a song floating around for a while and the band just is tired of the song or it’s an issue of not having a whole lot of time and something has to get cut — or a variety of other issues. Interestingly enough, “Top Of The Queens” manages to continue in a similar, anthemic hook-laden, synth-based rock vibe but it has a rougher, punk rock band in a dive bar edge to it.

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Psychedelic and Lynchian-like Visuals for Norma’s “S.A.D.”

Largely inspired by NEU! and Faust, as well as Spiritualized and Spacemen 3, the Stockholm, Sweden-based trio Norma, comprised Erik Vallin, Love Martinsen, and Petter Bendelin formed in a living room in 2007, watching David Lynch movies while experimenting with pedal steel guitars, vintage organs and synthesizers. As the story goes, after a while, the trio started rehearsing in a bomb shelter and eventually developed a bigger, heavier sound, which wound up on their debut effort Book of Norma. Several years later, the band followed that up with their 2013 sophomore effort, The Invisible Mother. Over the past few years, they’ve developed a reputation for being deliberate — and over a decade since their formation, the band will be releasing their third, full-length album sometime in 2018. 

“S.A.D,” the yet-untitled album’s first single features a prerequisite, chugging motorik groove paired with shimmering, pedal effected guitars and a soaring hook to create a song that reminds me quite a bit of Join the Dots-era TOY — but interestingly enough, the song is both about seasonal affective disorder and a character that the band has dubbed Neil, a figure that appears during the darkest season, and attempts to thwart you as you go about your daily life. As the band explains, “. . . We probably all have our personal devils, wherever we want them or not, it’s just about learning how to live with them. It may be quite difficult to get a daily life working as it is and it will not be easier to discuss economics, logistics or food when Neil creeps along your spine and says he’s going to shoot you in your leg.”

Edited by Frederick Stewart Holm and featuring photography by the band and Najda von Bahr with scenography, costumes and makeup by Emila Esping, the recently recently video for “S.A.D.” follows Neil, a vagabond-like character as he travels the countryside in a custom built jalopy to the kindergarten where he entertains kids as a clown/entertainer. Eventually, he disappears into a dream where he floats among planets, fishes and laser lights in a Lynchian and psychedelic nightmare. 

New Video: The Surreal and Noir-ish Visuals for JOVM Mainstay Fufanu’s Latest Single “White Pebbles”

Over the course of this site’s 7 year history, I’ve been proud to champion an increasingly diverse batch of artists across the globe, writing and perform across a widely eclectic array of genres, sub-genres and styles. And as you may recall, earlier this year, I’ve written a quite a bit about Reykjavik, Iceland-based indie rock/post-punk trio Fufanu. Currently comprised of founding members Kaktus Einarsson (vocals, guitar), whose father Einar was a member of The Sugarcaubes and Guðlaugur “Gulli” Einarsson (guitar, programming) (no relation, by the way) along with newest member, Erling Bang (drums) the up-and-coming Icelandic band can trace their origins to when the band’s founding members met while at school. According to the band’s founding duo, Katkus had glanced at Gulli’s iTunes and noticed that they had listened to a lot of the same techno and electronic music. After quickly bonding over mutual interests, the duo went into a studio and began writing and recording electronic music under the name Captain Fufanu. And within a month of their formation, Kaktus Einarsson and Gulli Einarsson had started playing shows in and around Reykjavik.

Building upon a growing local and national profile, the duo went into the studio to record what would be their full-length debut as Captain Fufanu; but in a strange twist of fate, the studio where Kaktus Einarsson and Gulli Einarsson had recorded the album was burgled. And as a result, the album was presumed stolen and lost — forever. While many bands would be devastated by losing their work in such a fashion, the band’s founding duo decided that it was the perfect time to reinvent their sound and themselves, as they were beginning to develop a growing technical and musical prowess. Coincidentally, around the time that this was happening, Kaktus Einarsson was in London working on Damon Albarn’s Everyday Robots and touring with the late and legendary Bobby Womack when he began writing lyrics. Simultaneously Gulli had started to create a craft a completely revised sound, which according to Kaktus managed to convey exactly what he had been thinking and feeling. They then paired Kaktus’ brooding and ironically detached vocals with live instrumentation — guitars and drums — and electronics, and with their new sound, renamed themselves Fufanu.

Fufanu’s first live set with their new sound and material was at 2014’s Iceland Airwaves and they quickly became one of the most talked about bands of the entire festival. Almost immediately after the festival, the duo went into the studio to record their full-length debut A Few More Days To Go. And with the release of their debut effort, the then-duo saw a rapidly growing national and international profile as they toured with The Vaccines and others, and they played some of Northern Europe and Scandinavia’s largest festivals, including the aforementioned Iceland Airwaves, JaJaJa Festival and others.

Released earlier this year, the band’s sophomore album Sports finds the band going through some significant changes — Kaktus and Gulli recruited Erling “Elli” Bang (drums) to further flesh their sound out, with the newly constituted trio refining their material’s sound and thematic concerns, represented through album title track  “Sports,” which retains the synth-driven sound of their debut while nodding at the likes of Can, Neu!  Joy Division and early ’80s Peter Gabriel, and the slow-burning and moody  “Liability.” Sports’ third and latest single “White Pebbles” continues in a similar vein of its immediate predecessor as it’s a slow-burning, moody and enigmatic track featuring angular bass and guitar chords and ominously swirling electronics, all of which evoke a late night, meditative sense of regret over the embittering, confusing and downright heartbreaking events of one’s life; after all, as the band explained to Billboard, the song is about “looking back in time, and understanding all the little things you didn’t get back then, but are so obvious today.” 

Directed by the Snorri Brothers, the recently released video for “White Pebbles” features the members of Fufanu as a trio of existentially bored policemen, who drive around in a badass car with no particular purpose — until they go on a rather chilled-out, nonchalant police chase, with the members of the band seeming much more fascinated by the entire thing; but the women they chase always manages to be just ahead of them and out of reach.

Reportedly, the video required an unusual amount of preparation, including extensive research for a muscle car in a Reykjavik suburb and a back-alley meeting with a local, police detective to acquire the uniforms but it adds a strange sense of realism to a surrealistic video shot in a noir-ish fashion. “On the actual day of shooting, driving around in this bad ass Mustang in a complete police outfit, getting people really confused and then having a stare-off against one of Iceland’s leading public figures of the commercial culture made everything make so much sense and felt so right,” the band explains. 

Live Footage: Fufanu Live on KEXP

Over the past couple of months here, I’ve written quite a bit about the Reykjavik, Iceland-based indie rock/post-punk trio Fufanu. The trio, which is currently comprised of founding members Kaktus Einarsson (vocals, guitar), whose father Einar, was a member of The Sugarcaubes and Guðlaugur “Gulli” Einarsson (guitar, programming) (no relation, by the way) along with Erling Bang (drums) can trace their origins to when the band’s founding members met while at school. According to the band’s founding duo, Katkus had glanced at Gulli’s iTunes and noticed that they had listened to a lot of the same techno and electronic music. And after quickly bonding over mutual interests, the duo went into a studio and began writing and recording electronic music under the name Captain Fufanu. Within a month of their formation, Kaktus Einarsson and Gulli Einarsson had started playing shows in and around Reykjavik.

Building on a growing local profile, the duo went into the studio to record what would be their full-length debut as Captain Fufanu; but in a strange twist of fate, the studio where Kaktus Einarsson and Gulli Einarsson had recorded the album was burgled. And as a result, the album was presumed lost. Instead of trying to recall the material they initially wrote from memory, Kaktus Einarsson and Gulli Einarsson decided that the moment was a perfect time for them to completely reinvent their sound. Interestingly, as that happened, Katkus was in London working on Damon Albarn’s Everyday Robots and touring with Bobby Womack when he began writing lyrics. Simultaneously Gulli had started to create a revised sound, which according to Kaktus Einarsson managed to coney exactly what he had been thinking. The duo then added guitars and drums, along with Kaktus’ brooding and detached vocals — and with their revised sound, renamed themselves Fufanu.

Their first live set with their new sound and aesthetic was at Iceland Airwaves and they quickly became one of the most talked about bands of the entire festival. Building upon the buzz they had received, they went into the studio their full-length debut A Few More Days To Go. And with the release of their debut, the duo received a rapidly growing national and international profile as they toured with a number of internationally renowned acts including The Vaccines and have played at JaJaJa Festival. With their recently released sophomore effort Sports, Kaktus and Gulli recruited Erling “Elli” Bang (drums) to further flesh out their sound as they expanded upon it and its thematic direction.

Now, you may recall that I’ve written about the first two singles off the Icelandic trio’s recently released sophomore effort Sports — the album’s title track “Sports,” which retained the synth-driven sound that first captured national and international attention while pairing it with a tight, motorik-like groove reminiscent of Can, Neu! Joy Division and early ’80s Peter Gabriel (in particular, think of Peter Gabriel 3 and Security) along with live instrumentation, which gives the material both an organic feel and a forcefulness — and “Liability,” which while continuing in a similar vein was a bit more slow-burning. Both singles possessed a murky and enigmatic air, they point at the soul-crushing mundanity and drudgery of daily life but just under the surface there’s the broiling frustration and resentment of someone who’s desperate to break free — and not sure how to do so without some recrimination.

Last year, the members of the band were on KEXP and the set included live versions of “Circus Life” and “Now” off their full-length debut Few More Days to Go along with “Sports” and then-unreleased single “Bad Rockets” off the recently released Sports. And while being fairly straightforward renditions of the material, the KEXP set will give you a sense of their intense and live set, a live set that frequently includes Kaktus Einarsson storming, strutting and stomping about the stage, alternating between being menacing and playful and so on. During this set, Kaktus throws his monitor headphones off his head and on to the floor, to headbang and stomp about as Gulli plays a furious and blistering solo. Just from this particular footage, I’m hoping that the Icelandic act will play a set or two here in NYC.