Tag: New Audio

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past four years or so, you’ve likely been made familiar with the Seattle, WA-based JOVM mainstays Shabazz Palaces. Interestingly, the act continues Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler’s long-held reputation for being exceedingly different that goes back to his days as a founding member of  the Grammy-winning Digable Planets, one of the more forward-thinking acts of their time. After Digable Planets broke up, Butler moved back to his hometown, where he met multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire, the son of Dumisani Maraire and formed Shabazz Palaces.

Butler and Maraire quietly released two albums in 2009 — their self-titled debut and Of Light, which caught the attention of renowned indie label Sub Pop Records, who signed the band and released 2011’s Black Up, an effort release to critically applause across the blogosphere and major media outlets for its kaleidoscopic synth and heavy low-end based sound paired with Butler’s witty and incredibly dexterous flow. While continuing to cement Butler’s and Mariare’s reputation for crafting incredibly weird, psychedelic-tinged hip hop paired with Butler’s ridiculously dexterous flow,  2014’s Lese Majesty was a decided change in sonic direction with much of the material possessing an eerie cosmic glow; in fact, the best description I could come up with for the material was along the lines of intergalactic trap music. But along with the decided change of sonic direction, was a bold challenge to contemporary hip-hop artists. As Butler told the folks at NPR during an interview about Lese Majesty, “This endeavor that I pursue, that we all pursue in Shabazz Palaces, make no mistake, this is an attack. We’re trying to show off and really stunt on all other rappers and let them know that this is our style, this is what we do and we’re ready to put it up against anybody else’s stuff.”

Some time has passed since I’ve personally written about Shabazz Palaces; however, Butler spent part of last year on a reunion tour with the members of Digable Planets while Maraire had written and released music with a side project, Chimurenga Renaissance. But the duo managed to find time to write and record their Knife Knights (the production duo of Shabazz Palaces’ Butler and Eric Blood)-produced fifth, full-length effort Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star, which is slated for a July 14, 2017 release through Sub Pop Records. As the members of Shabazz Palaces explain, their forthcoming album is a surreal yet politically-charged concept album that first introduces the listener to and then tells the tale of Quazarz, a sentient being from somewhere else, sent to be an observer and musical emissary, whose mission is to explore and chronicle the things he sees, experiences and thinks — and in some way it seems to echo the cult-classic film The Brother From Another Planet and Alexis De Tocqueville‘s Democracy in America; however, what our otherworldly emissary finds is a bizarre, cutthroat landscape of brutality, conformity, alternative facts, hypocrisy, greed, suffering, selfishness and death masquerading as patriotism and connectivity. And as result, Quazarz finds himself feeling increasingly uncomfortable and out  of place.

Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star‘s first single “Shine A Light” continues the duo’s long-running collaboration with Thadillac, who contribute a lush, dusty, old-school soul-leaning arrangement featuring shimmering strings, a strutting bass line, warm psychedelic guitar blasts, shuffling drum beats, and a retro-futuristic-like hook consisting of distorted, vocoder-filtered vocals while Butler’s narrator describes a hellish, pre-apocalyptic world that feels much like our own; but it’s a world that the song’s narrator can’t fathom — and in some way he’s horrified and confused by everything he sees. I certainly couldn’t blame him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently comprised of founding members Beau Croxton (guitar, vocals) and Mike Groehler (production), along with Willie Mosto (guitar), Paul Truitt (keys/guitar), Forrest Hackenbrock (bass), and James Esposito (drums) — and a live horn section featuring Carter Yasutake, who’s played in the backing bands of David Byrne and St. Vincent and Charles Bradley; Jason Disu, who’s played in the backing bands of David Byrne and St. Vincent, and LCD Soundystem; and Noah Drielblatt, who’s played with Blitz the Ambassador, the members of the Brooklyn-based indie rock/garage rock/blues act Damn Jackals have received a bit of attention locally for a sound that draws from 70s Bowie, T. Rex, Johnny Thunders, The Stooges and Television — while to my ears nodding at The Black Keys, as you’ll hear on “Freezing Blues,” the latest single off the band’s soon-to-be released debut EP, That’s It.

And much like the classic rock and bluesy influences behind their sound, Damn Jackals’ latest barn burning single, as the band’s Beau Croxton explains is about “the type of cold, loneliness that reduces the heart to burning carnage and leaves the subject so crippled with emptiness and anger that he is rendered utterly unrecognizable.” And as a result, the song possesses an anthemic, arena rock-friendly hook that manages to express a boozy bitterness.

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this over the past few years, you’ve come across several posts featuring JOVM mainstay artist Rhythm Scholar, who has developed a reputation for being both incredibly prolific and for a series of genre-mashing remixes stuffed to the gills with both obscure and recognizable samples that are reminiscent of  Paul’s Boutique-era Beastie Boys and Girl Talk. He’s also developed reputation for releasing a series of more straightforward and traditional-leaning remixes, including a breezy and jazzy remix of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” consisting of cascading organs, strummed guitar, double bass, warm blasts of funky horn and swirling electronics and a breezy, lounge funk/lounge jazz leaning remix of Tribe’s “Bonita Applebum.” 

Rhythm Scholar returns with a remix of DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s 1991 smash-hit “Summertime” and while retaining Will Smith‘s cool delivery and the song’s overall nostalgia-tinged Roy Ayers-like vibe the remix adds bits and snippets of samples from Kool and The Gang, Dexter Wansel, James Brown, Dave Grusin, The Eagles and a few other hidden gems, including some soulfully meandering keys and boom-bap beats.

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past year, you may recall that although Johan Angergård may be best known as a member of renowned Swedish electro pop acts Djustin, Club 8 and Acid House Kings, as well as the founder and heard of renowned  Stockholm, Sweden-based electro pop label Labrador Records. But interestingly enough, Angergård has had an accomplished solo career, as he’s released several albums with his solo recording project  The Legends — including 2009’s noise pop-leaning self-titled effort and 2015’s It’s Love, which featured lead single “Keep Him.” Last year was an extremely busy year for Angergård as Djustin and Club 8 released long-awaited albums and he released two original singles “Cocaine” feat. Maria Usbeck, “Summer In The City (Living Is For Somebody Else)” and a cover of The Chainsmokers smash-hit “Roses” feat. Rozes with his solo recording project. Those first three tracks wound up revealing a decided change of sonic direction for him and The Legends as his sound went towards a swaggering, neon-colored, retro-futuristic sound reminiscent of 80s Giorgio MoroderComputerworld-era Kraftwerk, early house and Holy Ghost!’s Crime Cutz as heavily vocoder-processed vocals are paired with tweeter and woofer rocking 808s, processed cowbell and layers of arpeggio synths; and in fact, the cocksure “Cash” and the dance floor and boom-box rocking “In Love With Myself,” the two most recently released singles off his recently released album Nightshift. 

“Riding The Wave,” is the latest single off Nightshift and sonically speaking, while the song continues the neon-colored, retro-futuristic vibe of the preceding singles, “Riding The Wave” manages to sound like a Giorgio Moroder-leaning take on Harold Faltermeyer‘s “Axel F,” and as a result, the song possesses a late night, coke and strobe-like fueled sensuality.

 

 

 

Ward White is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who is arguably best known for his work as one-half of the critically applauded chamber pop duo McGinty and White, which features Joe McGinty, a former member of Psychedelic Furs, and the creator of The Loser’s Lounge tribute series; in fact, the duo’s debut effort together received praise from  The New Yorker and The New York Press.  And while a member of McGinty and White, White has quietly developed a reputation as a solo artist of note as 2013’s Bob and 2015’s Ward White is the Matador were released to critical praise from iTunesNew York Magazine, Magnet Magazine and CMJ for a songwriting approach and sound that has been compared favorably to Scott Walker (one of the great and sadly under-appreciated songwriters of the past 50 years or so), 1970s  David Bowie, T. Rex and others.

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of 2015, you may recall that I had written about White’s Ward White is the Matador, an album that while clearly drawing from 70s classic rock and AM rock, also possessed an experimental art rock sheen. And while unquestionably, a very New York rock sound, at points the material lyrically and thematically covered things that we become conscious of as we get older — that life is increasingly about a series of loss; that most relationships throughout one’s life will inevitably end; and of a rapidly disappearing New York into eccentrics and lunatics, and improbable situations.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about White, and as it turns out, White has been rather busy. Over the past couple of years, Ward has relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles — and his soon-to-be released tenth full-length album As Consolation chronicles his relocation to the West Coast; in fact, the album’s first single “Dude” will further cement his reputation for crafting 70s AM radio friendly rock in the veins of the aforementioned Scott Walker, David Bowie, T. Rex and Roxy Music — with a winking and witty irony; but under the surface is the hazy confusion of being disconnected, of being a stranger in an even stranger place that you can’t quite figure out with people who seem completely alien to you. And as a result, the song evokes the recognition of not fitting in — while wondering if people are looking at you with disapproval and disdain because you can’t quite tell.

 

 

Earlier this month I wrote about the sibling indie rock quartet  Stonefield. Healing from Darraweit Guim, a small rural town in the southeastern Australian state of Victoria, the sibling quartet featuring Amy (drums, lead vocals), Hannah (guitar), Sarah (keys) and Holly Findlay (bass) can trace the origins of the band and their music careers to when they began playing together at a rather young age — ranging from the youngest being seven and the oldest being 15. The band’s first song “Foreign Lover” was recorded by the band’s eldest member, Amy Findlay for a school project — and was then reportedly entered in Triple J’s national, unsigned band competition for youngsters Unearthed High as an afterthought; however, the Findlay Sisters wound up winning the contest, and within an incredibly short period of time, they had two singles receiving regular airplay and an invitation to play at the Glastonbury Festival.

Since then, the members of the sibling quartet have released two EPs and their self-titled, full-length debut and with a growing international profile have toured extensively,  including at some of the world’s largest festivals. Adding to a growing profile, the Australian indie rock quartet  has opened for a variety of renowned acts including Fleetwood Mac, Meat Puppets — and a Stateside tour with fellow countrymen King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard earlier this year.

Stonefield’s sophomore full-length effort As Above So Below was released earlier this month through Rebel Union Recordings/Mushroom Records and the album’s first single “Changes” was a dreamy and swirling bit of psych rock featuring a propulsive, motorik-like groove and some impressive guitar work, played though massive amount of effects pedals. And while nodding at The Mallard’s Finding Meaning in Deference and The Fire Tapes’ Phantoms, the track reveals a cool-self assuredness that belies their relative youth and some ambitious songwriting. The Australian sibling quartet’s latest single “Sister” is featured both on the “Changes”/”Sister” 7 inch and on their recently released album, and the single is a doom-laden, power chord dirge that sounds as though it were influenced by Black Sabbath and stoner rock. And much like “Changes,” “Sister” reveals some ambitious songwriting by a band, who seems poised to kick ass and take names — right this very second.

 

 

 

Perhaps best known as the frontman of British-based indie act Kins, the Australian-born and now, Stockholm, Sweden-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and alt pop artist Thomas Savage’s latest, solo recording project Vilde reportedly draws influence from Radiohead, Wild Beasts, TV on the Radio, BØRNS  and Tim Hecker — but with a uniquely atmospheric yet warm take that he’s dubbed “study-dance.”

Savage plans to release the material off his debut full-length album with a new single every month — in a similar fashion to The Raveonettes and others. The album’s latest single “Maintain” is reportedly a bit more of an uptempo release featuring cascading arpeggio synth chords, chilly and swirling electronics with bleeps and bloops and a propulsive rhythm section and anthemic hooks paired with Savage’s plaintive falsetto vocals floating over the chilly mix. And while sonically being reminiscent of a slightly more uptempo take on Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place,” the song thematically as Savage explains “is somewhat of a crammed amalgamation of ideas. Part inspired by the film Ace in the Hole, where a news reporter begins to twist events in a dark way to gain fame through his portrayal of the story. There’s some pretty bleak imagery in the lyrics yet bits of optimism seep through too, provoking a sense of solitude, release and calm.” But just under the surface is a urgent and visceral yearning.

 

 

 

 

 

L.A. Witch is a Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock trio that has started to receive attention for a ragged, scuzzy, reverb-filled garage rock/punk rock sound that some have compared favorably to the likes of The Black Angels and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and if Kim Deal were inspired by Nirvana among others —  although as you’ll hear on their boozy, bluesy-leaning “Ain’t Comin’ Home,” the band’s sound reminds me more of JOVM mainstay artists The Coathangers, Sharkmuffin and Death Valley Girls; but with a dingy, honky took vibe that subtly nods towards 60s psychedelia. Interestingly, this version was recorded live during their Levitation Festival a couple of years ago, but I think it’ll give the listener a good sense of their live sound, as they will be road testing their new material throughout the rest of the year — and the tour will include two NYC dates, more on that below.

Tour Dates

04.21.17 – Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory

04.22.17 – London, ON @ Call the Office

04.23.17 – Montreal, QB @ L’Esco

04.25.17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory

04.26.17 – New York, NY @ Berlin

05.01.17 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar

05.02.17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Vague Space

05.03.17 – Denver, CO @ Hi Dive

05.04.17 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar

05.05.17 – Norman, OK @ Opolis

05.06.17 – Austin, TX @ Levitation Presents at Hotel Vegas

05.07.17 – Dallas, TX @ Transit Bike Company

05.09.17 – Indianapolis, IN @ Pioneer

05.10.17 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas

05.11.17 – Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s

05.12.17 – Milwaukee, WI @ Milwaukee Psych Fest

05.13.17 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar

05.14.17 – Springfield, IL @ Alter Fest

05.16.17 – Amarillo, TX @ Golden Light

05.17.17 – Taos, NM @ Mesa Brewing

05.18.17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar

05.19.17 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar

06.02.17 – Nelsonville, OH @ Nelsonville Fest

06.24.17 – Pomona, CA @ Glass House

Comprised of Shane Hunter (vocals, guitar), Robin Deione (guitar), Tom Gregory (bass), Mark Rochman (drums) and Charlie Addison (keys), the Leeds, UK-based shoegazer quintet Colour of Spring quickly received praise from the likes of NME and The Line of Best Fit for a sound that has been compared favorably to Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils — although the band’s latest single, the slow-burning and moody “Echoes” off the Leeds-based quintet’s soon-to-be released,  self-titled EP nods at The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth and others, as well as 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock, thanks in part to its quiet, loud, quiet song structure, and swirling guitar work punctuated with an rousingly anthemic hook. But just underneath the surface is a bittersweet nostalgia that frequently comes about as you get older — and further away from your seemingly simple youth. As the band’s Tom Gregory explains in press notes, “‘Echoes’ is about losing the innocence of youth. As you enter your teenage years, you’re told to grow up and take responsibility and some of the beauty of childhood is gone. We probably spend a lot of time as adults trying to regain that side  just act we lose. ‘Echoes’ is about how deal with this in our funny way.”

 

 

 

 

New Audio: The Afghan Whigs Return with a Tribal and Darkly Seductive New Single

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you’d likely be familiar with the Cincinnati, OH-based indie rock act, The Afghan Whigs. Currently comprised of founding members Greg Dulli (guitar, vocals) and John Curley (bass) along with Dave Rosser (guitar), Jon Skibic (guitar), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and Patrick Keeler (drums), the Cincinnati-based outfit can trace its origins to when its founding members — Dulli, Curley and Steve Earle (drums) founded the back in 1986, after the breakup of Dulli’s previous band The Black Republicans. As the story goes, Curley introduced Dulli to Rick McCollum (guitar), a frequent jam partner of Curley’s, who had developed a reputation within the Cincinnati scene for his use of effects pedals. With their initial lineup complete, the band went on to write material that Dulli has publicly described as being a cross between a cross between The Band, The Temptations and Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

Although the band has since gone through several lineup changes, a lengthy breakup and a recent and very fruitful reunion, the Cincinnati-based band has the distinction of being within the first batch of bands that Sub Pop Records ever signed outside of the Pacific Northwest, and one of the more highly-regarded and critically applauded bands of the early 90s with 1993’s Gentlemen landing at number 17 on The Village Voice‘s Pazz and Jop critics list and 1996’s Black Love, arguably their most commercially successful effort landed at number 79 on the Billboard Top 200. Interestingly, while being their most commercially successful effort, Black Love was praised for sound that reportedly drew from 1970s Rolling Stones while setting themselves apart from the rock music being released that year.

After their breakup in 2001, the members of the band went on towards other creative pursuits — with Dulli frequently and famously collaborating with Mark Lanegan and others; but after reuniting for a series of festival tours, the band released 2014’s Do To The Beast, which marked both the band’s first proper release in over 16 years and the band’s return to Sub Pop Records. And while being one of that year’s most forceful and seductive albums, the album continued Dulli’s long-held reputation for writing angst and bile-filled lyrics, focusing on bitter, lingering memories of relationships gone sour and on his own long-held obsessions with drug addiction, sexual deviancy, suicidal ideation and bleak, gallows humor. And because most of the lyrics are written and sun from the first person, it gives the material a disturbing and deeply personal air, as though the song’s narrators are confession their darkest, most fucked up secrets, desires and fantasies.

In Spades, the band’s forthcoming album is slated for a May 5, 2017 release through Sub Pop Records and the album, which was produced by the band’s Greg Dulli reportedly finds the band at their most soulful and urgent and while being darkly seductive, emphasizing a pop leaning sensibility. And much like their previously recorded work, the material manages to be veiled. “It’s a spooky record,” notes Dulli. “I like that it’s veiled. It’s not a concept album per se, but as I began to assemble it, I saw an arc and followed it. To me, it’s about memory — in particular, how quickly life and memory can blur together.” Last month, I wrote about In Spades’ first single “Demon In Profile,” a single that evoked life’s uneasily lingering ghosts — the electric tough of a lover’s skin, their smell, their very physical presence, and the sense of loss and confusion that permeates everything once that person is no longer in your life; that hurt and ache are inescapable parts of our lives that makes the necessary process of letting go and moving forward seem ridiculous and impossible; and that worse yet, even when you’ve moved forward, you can’t possibly forget. Drawing more directly from soul — thanks in part to a horn section — the song manages to be evoke Quiet Storm soul-like sexiness with a bold, arena rock friendliness. In Spades’ second and latest single “Arabian Nights” is an enormous, arena rock-friendly song that indirectly nods at Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy and The Who’s Who’s Next and Who Are You — thanks in part to Keeler’s swaggering, tribal-like stomp drum work, propulsive synths and blistering guitar work; but just underneath the stormy and swaggering surface is a vulnerability and sensuality that Dulli evokes through crooned vocals.