Tag: New Audio

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’d be familiar with Mark Roberts, the creative mastermind behind the critically acclaimed, Brooklyn-based indie electro pop project, We Are Temporary. Roberts and his recording project have developed a reputation for crafting  music that draws from a wide range of influences within contemporary electronic music from future beats, dream pop, witch house, post-rock industrial techno as well as classical music. And he pairs that sound with confessional lyrics based on his own personal experience and personal philosophy; in fact, some of his earliest solo work has focused on suffering through debilitating anxiety attacks, the near breakup and reconciliation of his marriage, his privileged but tumultuous childhood as the son of a renowned American opera singer, living abroad in Europe, as well as his humanistic atheism versus his wife’s devout Mormonism.

After the 2013 release of the Afterthoughts EP, Roberts released a deeply moving protest song inspired and informed by Eric Garner’s death and the grand jury decision that resulted in the acquittal of several police officers for Garner’s death. Simultaneously, Roberts had been spending time writing the material that would wind up releasing his soon-to-released and long-awaited full-length debut, Crossing Over. Interestingly, the album — especially its first single “You Can Now Let Go” was partially inspired by a conversation that Roberts had with his own mother about death. During this conversation Roberts’ mother announced “I’d like to be wide awake when it happens. Dying seems like such an important event in life; I’d hate to miss it.” According to Roberts, this conversation had helped change his mind about death — instead of something to avoid or delay, but something that can be complex, meaningful, beautiful and profound. After all, we and everyone we’ve ever loved and cared about will die; and without death our lives would lack meaning. Additionally, Crossing Over and “You Can Now Let Go” were inspired by Roberts’ own near-death experience: a drug-fueled anxiety attack, which landed him in the ER. Shock and confusion eventually turned into peace and acceptance — and as a result, it inspired a song that depicts a nonviolent death as a quietly beautiful fade to black. Sonically, the dark, unsettling yet hauntingly beautiful song is comprised of huge, tweeter and woofer boom-bap inspired beats, skittering drum programming, ominously swirling electronics and industrial clang and clatter, layers of undulating synths, soaring melodies that subtly arch heavenward are paired with Roberts’ plaintive, deeply emotive vocals.

The album’s second and latest single “Who’s Going To Love You Now” is a brooding and slow-burning ballad consisting of shimmering and chiming synths, swirling electronics and propulsive drum programming paired with Roberts plaintive and achingly desperate vocals. The song was written while Roberts was separated from his wife, and as a result the song thematically speaking focuses on real feels that many us have felt as a relationship was seemingly falling apart — i.e., the fear of not knowing how to love or not knowing how to love enough; the fear of being so fucked up and so damaged that you’ll end up alone. But it also explores the fact that all relationships, especially romantic ones are rooted in the uncertainty of compromise — sometimes compromise that you might be uncertain of actually wanting. In other worse, it points out that human relationships mirror the neuroses and doubts of the people within them, and it does so with a great deal of empathy, while not offering much of a solution one way or the other.

 

 

 

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If you’ve been frequenting this site a bit over the years, you may recall that I’ve written about the Atlanta-based trio The Coathangers on a couple of occasions. And interestingly, the band has what may arguably be one of the most prototypically punk rock and funniest formation stories that I’ve heard. As the story goes, the band formed when the then-quartet of guitarist and vocalist Julia Kugel (a.k.a. Crook Kid Coathanger), bassist Meredith Franco (a.k.a. Minnie Coathanger), drummer Stephanie Luke (a.k.a Rusty Coathanger), and keyboardist Candice Jones (a.k.a. Bebe Coathanger) decided to start a band for the sole purpose of being able to hang out and play parties — and they didn’t let the fact that none of them actually knew how to play an instrument get in the way of them being in a band and having a good time. As a result, the band’s earliest songs walked a tightrope between abrasive dissonance and a primal minimalism.

In the the decade or so since their formation, the band has released four full-length albums and have gone on a number of North American and European tours, which have cemented their reputation for writing incredibly catchy songs — and for unruly live shows. Back in 2014, during the recording sessions for Suck My Shirt, the band went through a lineup change as Candice Jones left the band. Naturally, as a result of the lineup change, the newly-consituted trio’s fourth effort revealed a refined songwriting approach in which the album’s material possessed a raw, spontaneous simplicity and fury with arrangements that felt streamlined and more direct. In other words, no frills, no bullshit, balls-to-the-wall rock that spiritually channelled AC/DC and the Ramones.  

“Make It Right,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming Nosebleed Weekend continues in the same lines of their previous effort as it possesses a raw and furious feel paired with a primal simplicity — it’s grimy, gritty punk that also manages to nod at old fashioned garage rock and surfer rock, complete with a “we don’t give a fuck” sneering attitude. Interestingly, the largest departure for the forthcoming album was the actual recording process. Their previous albums were recorded at The Living Room Studios in Atlanta with Ed Rawls while this effort had the band recording the material at Valentine Recording Studios in North Hollywood, where The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby recorded albums. As the band’s Julia Kugel mentioned in press notes “The studio had been custom built by Jimmy Valentine and he was very protective of his passion. It sounds weird, but his spirit was there, checking in on us and fucking with us a bit.” That shouldn’t be surprising as the Nosebleed Weekend sessions were the first sessions at the studios in 36 years — and yet in some way, the location seems to help capture the materials’ primal immediacy.

 

 

 

With the release of their debut album Coco Beware and their sophomore self-titled album, New York-based quintet Caveman — comprised of Matthew Iwanusa (vocals, guitar), James Carbonetti (guitar), Jeff Berrall (bass), Sam Hopkins (keys) and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Prescott-Clark — have developed a profile locally and nationally for a moody and gorgeous guitar and synth-based sound that at times owed a sonic debt to Peter Gabriel, U2 and others. And as a result the quintet has toured with the world, playing shows with the likes of The War On Drugs, Weezer and Jeff Tweedy, and they’ve received praise not just from this site, where they’ve become mainstays but from a number of major media outlets.

Now, it’s been some time since we’ve heard from them but the band’s long-anticipated third full-length effort Otero War is slated for release this summer. And the album’s first single “Never Going Back” is arguably the most upbeat and anthemic song the band has released to date, while sonically sounding as though it drew from early 80s Bruce Springsteen (in particular, think of “Dancing In The Dark“) but with Carbonetti’s gorgeous guitar work paired with soaring synths and Iwanusa’s plaintive vocals, while dealing with themes that Springsteen would have easily written about back then — figuring out the complications of love, desperately wanting to escape a humdrum and bland life, of recognizing that at a certain point, your decisions loom larger and larger over your life and more. It’s powerfully universal and speaks to things we’ve all felt and known at some point in our own lives.

 

Led by its founding members and bandleaders singer/percussionist Irving “Honey” Banister, Big Chief of the Creole Wild West Tribe and drummer Joe Gelini, who have both been involved with New Orleans‘ Mardi Gras Indians for years, the members of the funk septet Cha Wa have developed a reputation for a sound and aesthetic that combines the Mardi Gras indian tradition and the area’s reputation for rhythm and blues and funk. And after playing countless shows in their beloved hometown, the septet’s long-awaited debut album Funk ‘n’ Feathers is slated for an April 1, and the album reportedly draws from the seminal Mardi Gras Indian-inspired work of the 1970s — Wild Magnolias (backed by The Meters), The Neville Brothers and Dr. John‘s Nite Tripper albums; however, the material also has a contemporary twist as the album was produced by Galactic‘s Ben Ellman, who has also worked with the likes of Trombone Shorty, and mixed by San Francisco, CA‘s go-to engineer Count, who has worked with DJ Shadow, Radiohead, Lyrics Born and others.

The album’s first single is a loose, stomping and swinging cover of Dr. John’s “All On A Mardi Gras Day” that feels as though you’re following a hot and jamming band with the marching Indians in their featured costumes marching down the streets of Uptown New Orleans — but with a slick, studio polish that doesn’t scrub away the inherently gritty, street-level funk and the ebullient, let the good time roll-feel within the song.  If the song doesn’t make you want to stomp around and dance, then you have a cold, cold heart.

The band has a number of live dates coming up throughout the next few months. Check out tour dates below.

UPCOMING SHOWS:

02/08- Riverwalk – New Orleans, LA [Lundi Gras Celebration]
02/08- Tipitina’s Mardi Gras Stands – New Orleans, LA
02/09- 30×90 – New Orleans, LA
02/27- Universal Studios Orlando – Orlando, FL
03/05- Howlin’ Wolf – New Orleans, LA
03/31- Lafayette’s – Memphis, TN
04/01- Blue Nile [Album Release Show] – New Orleans, LA
04/07- French Quarter Fest – New Orleans, LA
04/10- d.b.a – New Orleans, LA
04/21- Ogden Museum of Southern Art – New Orleans, LA
04/23- New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – New Orleans, LA
04/30- French Broad River Festival – Asheville, NC
06/04- Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Festival – Augusta, NJ

Comprised of Rishi Dihr (lead vocals, sitar, bass), Jean-Gabriel Lambert (drums, backing vocals), and Miles Dupire (drums, backing vocals), Montreal, QC-based psych rock trio Elephant Stone have developed a national profile across their native Canada, as well as a profile Stateside for a vintage psych rock sound reminiscent of  The Beatles, The Kinks and others, as it the Canadian trio’s material employed elements of traditional Eastern instrumentation — i.e., the sitar — with Western songwriting. And as a result, over the past few years, Elephant Stone has become a JOVM mainstay artist.

The 2014 release of the Canadian trio’s third full-length effort, The Three Poisons, revealed a band that was in the process of a major change in sonic direction. Unlike the band’s first two albums, the material on Three Poisons pushed sitar to the background — and when it was employed, it was mainly to add texture and color. Now, if you were frequenting this site towards the end of last year, you may recall that I wrote about “The Devil’s Shelter,” a song that featured a guest spot from The Black Angels‘ Alex Maas. The members of Elephant Stone pair tense, undulating synths, shimmering sitar and guitar chords, and propulsive rhythm with Dihr’s vocals for the song’s verses and Maas’ vocals to craft a song that feels (and sounds) ominous and murky, while channelling The Black Angels “Don’t Play With Guns.”

The Montreal-based trio’s latest single “Where I’m Going” continues where the trio’s experimentation left off — while suggesting that the band’s newest sonic direction has been inspired by the likes of Primal Scream (in particular, I think of “Autobahn 66” and
Detroit”  as Dihr’s ethereal cooing with shimmering guitar chords, a tight and propulsive, motorik groove, four-on-the-floor drumming and layers of shimmering and undulating synths in what may arguably be the most dance-floor ready songs that they’ve released to date — all while remaining as psychedelic as ever. Interestingly, the band have been working on their fourth full-length effort, and if the last two singles they’ve released are indicative of its sound, the members of Elephant Stone are set to push their sound — and in turn, psych rock — in new directions.

The band will be on tour throughout March, and it includes an NYC date. Check out the tour dates below.

 

ELEPHANT STONE TOUR DATES
03/10 Toronto ON – Sneaky Dee’s (Tickets)
03/11  Indianapolis IN – Joyful Noise (Tickets)
03/12  Little Rock AR – Vino’s (Tickets)
03/14  Austin TX – SXSW
03/18  Memphis TN – Hi-Tone (Tickets)
03/19  Cincinnati OH – MOTR (Info)
03/20  Brooklyn NY – Baby’s All Right (Tickets)
04/14  Montreal QC – La Sala Rossa (Tickets)

As I’ve mentioned on this site a number of times, the Internet really has proven to be a wonderful place to discover both new music and extremely rare, lost music — and with an increasing ease. Just think about it, the technology that brings this site into your home has contributed to a wild proliferation of independent labels across the world, equally competing against the major conglomerates for your ears, attention and money. And interestingly enough, smaller, independent artists have been much more willing (and able) to take the sort of risks that their larger, monied rivals wouldn’t and couldn’t — i.e., attempting to re-introduce artists, whose work was so wildly ahead its time that audiences at the the time just couldn’t accept it — and yet fill in a musical gap, or seem so current that it was impossible to figure how it was missed; attempting to reintroduce regionally favored artists from a time when hit songs in Milwaukee were often different than hit songs in Atlanta, Baltimore, Des Moines, Minneapolis or New York.

Of course, before the Internet, bulletin boards and social media, much of this material was only known to cultish and dedicated insiders, who would spend their time seeking and collecting long-lost and long-forgotten albums, often hoarding them in private collections or selling them at collector’s shows. The Internet and blogosphere have democratized the process, allowing the average listener and fan a chance to listen and to love some of these long-forgotten wonders. Unsurprisingly, there’s money that can be made from discovering long lost material, and it often results in labels and bloggers mining beloved and influential genres to exhaustion through endless compilations of certain genres — in particular psych rock, AM rock, doo wop, singer/songwriter folk, funk, soul and a few others come to mind.

Now, strangely enough up until last year, there hadn’t been many proto-metal, pre-stoner rock compilations when the Chicago, IL and Los Angeles, CA-based distributor Permanent Records released a compilation of incredibly rare singles from the 60s and 70s on Brown Acid: The First Trip. With the help of Daniel Hall of RidingEasy Records, Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi spent time not just collecting and compiling the singles on the compilation, they also spent a great deal of time tracking down the songs creators, often bands who haven’t been together in over 30 or 40 years, and encouraging them to take part in the entire process.  As Barresi explained in press notes for the first compilation, “All of (these songs) could’ve been huge given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.“ And by having the artists participate it can give the songs and the artists a real second chance at success, if not some kind of attention.

Barresi and Hall have complied a second volume of rare proto-metal and pre-stoner rock from the 60s and 70s, Brown Acid: The  Second Trip, which is slated (fittingly enough) for release on April 20. The Second Trip‘s first single, Ash’s “Midnight Witch” manages to sound as though it drew from Mountain‘s “Mississippi Queen,” Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” and early Black Sabbath as layers of huge, sludgy and bluesy power chords are paired with a driving rhythm and soulful vocals. And while being forceful, the song manages to possess a trippy feel — and in some way the song nods at material that has been released by a number of contemporary bands including Ecstatic Vision and others.

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past five or six years, you’d likely be familiar with JOVM mainstays, New York-based  electronic music duo Beacon. Comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gusset (production), the duo caught my attention with the release of their debut EP, For Now and their debut full-length effort, The Ways We Separate, both of which pair Mullarney’s aching and yearning vocals with a minimalist and spacious production consisting of chilly synths and wobbling bass to craft a sound that meshes elements of R&B, house music and electro pop. Thematically speaking, the New York-based duo’s work explores the complexities of and nuances of human relationships including the difficulties of truly connecting with others in a society that seems to value superficiality and platitudes; the confusion between love and lust and how they drive every relationship we’ll ever have; how longing can quickly turn into life-consuming obsession; how relationships are driven by both selfishness and selflessness — often simultaneously; how relationships can bring out both the best and worst qualities of ourselves — simultaneously; how our pasts continually influence our present and future, and so on. And as a result, their material possesses a sense of regret over what was and what could have been, as well as a sense of dread over fucking it all up from your own blindness, selfishness and stupidity. (Personally, their material has long struck me as  being seemingly much like the sound of what’s really inside our heads and hearts when we’re alone and forced to confront our innermost demons and fears.)

Interestingly, Beacon’s soon-to-be released sophomore effort, Escapements is about time and the baggage it both creates and brings. Unsurprisingly, the album’s title is reportedly influenced by clock mechanics — escapements are timekeeping regulators designed to transfer energy at a constant and regular pace. As Mullarney explained in press notes ” I was attracted to this concept because of the entropy it implies. Friction and changes in amplitude over time mean[s] every escapement, no matter how well crafted, will lose its accuracy and effectively slow down time via its own decay.”

Featuring drumming from Tycho‘s Rory O’Connor, the material on Escapements was written, revised, refined and recorded over the course of about nine months at Beacon’s Brooklyn-based home studio and Gary’s Electric and the album reveals that the duo experienced a period of restless experimentation that included changing their songwriting and production approach to follow wherever their muses take them. And as the members of Beacon note, it meant trying out new studio tricks and recording techniques — sometimes on the fly, essentially capturing the free-flowing energy of the creative process. Last November, I wrote about the album’s first single “Preserve,” a heavily house music-leaning single consisting of woofer and tweeter rattling bass, layers of undulating and cascading synths and skittering and stuttering drum programming parked with Mullarney’s achingly yearning falsetto — that gives the song a plaintive and urgent sense of need and desire. The album’s second single, opening track “IM U” was as Stereogum suggests, “subtly cinematic,” as Gusset’s production paired skittering drum programming, layers of wobbling and shimmering synth stabs with Mullarney’s plaintive pleas to do seemingly anything to please a lover, who seems both incredibly difficult to please and fed up with Mullarney’s narrator. And as a result the song possessed an obsessive despair over the narrator’s uncertainty and the uncertainty of the relationship at the core of the song.

The album’s third and latest single, album title track “Escapements” pairs layers of shimmering and twinkling synths, skittering drum programming (that sounds quite a bit like the mechanism that moves watch hands), swirling electronics with Mullarney’s plaintive cooing in a mournful yet breezy song that evokes time relentlessly rushing forward, as well as the accretion of guilt and regret that can build up in one’s live over time. Much like “IM U,” the song’s narrator is describing an uncertain and confusing relationship in which there seems to be a push and pull.

 

 

 

Formed back in 2007, Pinkshinyultratablet is a St. Petersburg, Russia-based shoegaze quintet that takes their name from an Astrobrite album, as the project led by Scott Cortez has been a major influence on their songwriting approach and their sound. The St. Petersburg-based quintet’s debut effort Everything Else Matters was released to critical acclaim internationally — and as a result, the band toured across the European Union, received airplay across several radio stations and has seen a growing international profile.

Slated for release on February 26, Pinkshinyultratablet’s sophomore effort Grandfeathered is not only a highly-anticipated album among shoegazer fans, the album is also reportedly a much more experimental effort, as the material reveals a band blurring the lines between visceral noise and restrained subtlety, while adding electronic elements. Grandfeathered’s second single “The Cherry Pit” has the band pairing layers of guitars played through various effect pedals, gently swirling electronics and a driving rhythm section with ethereal vocals bubbling and floating over a shimmering and breezy mix that sonically resembles RIDE and Chicago‘s Lightfoils.

 

 

 

Roland Clark is a renowned Atlanta, GA-based house music producer, songwriter and vocalist who has recorded and released material under several different aliases including Houseboy, Keita, Jesus Jackson, People, Roland Clark Presents: Digital Pimps, Dark Clark and South Street Player, as well as releasing material under his own name. Clark has also been a member of Leviticus and Urban Soul — and has collaborated with Bob Sinclair, Todd Terry, Roger Sanchez and Fatboy Slim; in fact, “Song for Shelter,” borrows a sample from DJ Le Roi’s “I Get Deep” featuring Clark.

However, at their heyday Urban Soul was not just influential, they were commercially successful — the act had hit the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play Charts seven times during the 90s. And if you were in a club in the early 90s, you’d likely know of “Alright” one of Urban Soul’s biggest song. Skittering drum programming, thick, cascading synth chords and soulful yet ethereal vocals bubbling and floating over the mix. Although the song is now 25 years old, it manages to sound as though it could have been released within the few years — as though someone like 100% Silk Records.

Electronic music producer and artist Alexander Technique is best known for his time helping pioneer both the term and idea of the “mash up” with Princess Superstar when they launched DJs Are Not Superstars Records, where they both mixed rock, techno and 90s hip-hop, as well as releasing material under several genres and subgenres of electronic music including the work of Larry Tee, Harvard Bass, Etienne De Crecy, Zoo Brazil, Sia and others. Technique is also the co-founder of Drop Ready Records. The renowned producer, remixer, electronic music artist and label head recently remixed Urban Soul’s classic “Alright.” And as Technique explains in press notes “”The remix was originally about 7 minutes long but after playing it for Todd Terry and my label partner Pedro, they both suggested that I make it longer. Todd even got in and played some keys towards the end…”

Interestingly, the Alexander Technique remix pushes the song towards the 21st century as it pairs Clark’s soulful and sensual crooning with a dense and super slick production that sounds as though it channels both a John Carpenter soundtrack, if filtered through hyper modern European house music as layers of shimmering synth, layers of buzzing synth, are paired with explosive flashes of cymbal and skittering drum programming.