Tag: New Order

New Video: The Symbolic (and Messy) Visuals for INVSN’s “This Constant War”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Umea, Sweden-based post-punk quintet INVSN, an act comprised of some of Sweden’s most accomplished musicians — including Dennis Lyxzen (vocals), a founding member and frontman of Refused, and a former member of The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Lost Patrol Band, AC4, and who has collaborated with The Bloody Beetroots and others; Sara Almgrem (bass, vocals), a member of The Doughnuts, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Vicious and Masshysteri; Andres Sternberg (guitar, keyboards), a member of Deportees, The Lost Patrol Band and a member of Lykke Li’s backing band; Andre Sandström (drums, percussion), a member of Ds-13, The Vicious, The Lost Patrol Band, Ux Vileheads and others; and Christina Karlsson (keyboards, vocals), a member of Tiger Forest Cat, Honungsvägen and Frida Serlander‘s backing band. And interestingly enough, the members of the band are five, long-term friends, with Lyxzen in particular being known for a lengthy career incorporating sociopolitical themes into his work; in fact, as Lyxzen has publicly explained, “Music always meant more to me then just entertainment. It has had a profound impact on everything that I am as a person and I see music as art and art as life. We live in a world devoid of meaning where we serve the lowest common denominator at all times. Where politics as an idea has failed us and where art is being reduced to consumerism and clickbait.”

The band’s initial recordings were written and recorded with lyrics in their native Swedish under the name Invasionen, but when the members of the band decided that it was time to take the project and their work internationally, they felt that writing and singing lyrics in English, along with a new name would be necessary — and they settled on INVSN.   Regardless of the name or the language, the post-punk band has always had a political message — and during this particular moment, when humanistic, Enlightenment values and thinking are being challenged by extreme right wing and extreme religious movements across the world, the members of INVSN strongly believe that their music, and the work of other like-minded musicians are part of a necessary and urgent outcry from a counterculture that has yet to give up. And while being righteously angry, their overall approach is rooted in the belief that change is gonna come — and it’s going to come real soon. 

The Swedish band’s latest effort The Beautiful Stories is slated for release on Friday, and the album was recorded and produced by by Adam “Atom” Greenspan, best known for his work with Nick Cave and The Veils at Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Reportedly, the album finds the band experimenting and expanding their aesthetic and songwriting approach with material that possesses elements of post-punk, industrial electronica, indie rock and indie pop, which gives their sociopolitical concerns an accessible, almost radio-friendly vibe. 

Now, as you may recall “I Dreamt Music” was a decidedly post-punk leaning song, sounding as though it drew influence from Joy Division and Gang of Four, thanks to the song’s decided politically charged tone. And as Lyxzen explained in press notes,  “I wanted to write about the longing for resistance to the cultural/political/musical landscape that holds us imprisoned. I wanted to write about the naive, romantic and pretentious notion that music and art should be about ideas that can change and transform and maybe even be the beacon of hope in these dismal times.” And as a result, the song manages to possesses a sense of cynicism and distrust and an equal bit of outrage.”

Interestingly enough, Beautiful Stories’ latest single “This Constant War” finds the band pairing jangling, Country-leaning guitar chords, layers of buzzing electronics and a propulsive rhythm section with boy/girl harmonies and a soaring, swooning hook in a song that sounds a bit like Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby-era U2 but filtered through Primal Scream, New Order and Ministry, while nodding at The Lonely Wild, as the material possesses a cinematic yet yearning quality at its core. 

The recently released video for “This Constant War” features the members of the band passionately singing the song or broodingly staring off into space as the hands of an unseen person smears colored paint onto the faces and bodies of the bandmembers. 

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New Video: The 80s Post Punk and New Wave-Inspired Sound and Visuals of Berlin’s A.D. Mana

sentimental records is a Brussels, Belgium-based record label hat specializes in cassette tape-only releases from a variety of post-punk and New Wave-leaning acts all over the world, including the Los Angeles-based post-punk outfit Second Still. The Belgium indie label’s will be releasing the debut EP from Berlin, Germany-based A.D. Mana, an artist, who specializes in a sound that meshes elements of coldwave, post-punk, synth pop and industrial electronica; in fact, the EP’s first single “Take Hold” will immediately bring memories of early 80s New Order (i.e., “Blue Monday” and “Bizarre Love Triangle”), Ministry (i.e., “What About Us?”) and Depeche Mode (i.e., “People Are People,” and “Just Can’t Get Enough”) but with a murky and moody vibe that nods at goth as you’ll hear industrial clang and clatter, shimmering synths, angular guitar chords and a dance floor and arena rock-friendly hook paired with Mana’s aching and tender vocals.
Shot, edited and directed by Sally Dige Jørgensen, the recently released video for “Take Hold” is a decidedly 80s influenced affair featuring black and white sequences of a brooding Mana walking through the crowded rush-hour streets of Berlin, what appears to be someone developing photos of Mana and his intense graze in a dark room and more — and in some way, the video captures and evokes the woozy effect of obsession.

Over the course of the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay post-punk act The Harrow. Deriving their name from a name of a device used to punish and torture prisoners in the Franz Kafka short story “In the Penal Colony,” the band can trace a portion of their origins back to 2008 when its founding member Frank Deserto (bass, synths and electronics) started it as a solo recording project that expanded into a full band in 2013 when Deserto recruited Vanessa Irena (vocals, synths and programming), Barrett Hiatt (synth, programming), and Greg Fasolino (guitar) to flesh out the project’s sound. As a quartet, the Brooklyn-based act released the “Mouth to Mouth”/”Ringing the Changes” 7 inch and their full-length effort Silhouettes to critical praise across the blogosphere including The Deli MagazineThe Big TakeoverImposeAltSounds as well as this site for a sound that is deeply indebted to The CureSiouxsie and the BansheesJoy Division, and others —  although with Silhouette, the material, which was mixed by friend and frequent collaborator, Automelodi’s Xavier Paradis revealed a band that had been subtly experimenting with and expanding upon their sound, as their sound took on a bit of an industrial feel, as though nodding at Depeche Mode and New Order.

Up until relatively recently, some time had passed since I had written about them; however, in the last few weeks, the band announced that they will be releasing a remix album Points of View, which would be comprised of remixes, re-workings and re-imaginings of the material off Silhouettes by various friends, collaborators and associates as part of a “living” album that will grow as they receive additional contributions to the album.  And fittingly, the album’s first single was Xavier Paradis’ propulsive, dance floor-friendly remix of “Kaleidoscope” in which industrial clang and clatter and tweeter and woofer rocking beats are paired with the original’s shimmering guitars and Irena’s ethereal vocals — and as a result, the remix retained the spirit and mood of the original, while being a subtle new take.

Interestingly enough, if you had been following the site since the early days, you may recall that I wrote about the Brooklyn-based synth pop duo Azar Swan. Comprised of singer/songwriter Zohra Atash, who was a touring vocalist with A Storm of Light and multi-instrumentalist and producer Joshua Strawn, who was a member of Blacklist, Vaura, Vain Warr and others, the duo’s current project can trace its origins to when Atash and Strawn ended their previous project Religious to Damn in 2012. And much like it, The Harrow it had been some time since I had written about them — that is until now, as the duo remixed The Harrow’s “Secret Language,” giving an already stark minimalist song an even moodier, retro-futuristic John Carpenter soundtrack vibe.

Soviet Soviet is Pesaro, Italy-based post-punk trio, who have received both national and international attention for a uniquely Italian take on the genre, while clearly drawing from familiar sources such as Joy Division/New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen, and shoegazers like RIDE, Slowdive, and others as you’ll hear on the wistfully nostalgic and anthemic “Endless Beauty” off the band’s recently released effort Endless.

Directed by fellow countryman Giulio Letizi, the recently released video for “Endless Beauty” features the members of the band performing the song in front of a projection screen that displays 60s stock footage of crashing waves, brilliant sunrises and sunsets and palm trees, cocksure surfers surfing but in wildly psychedelic hues, which creates both an aching nostalgia for a seemingly less complicated pass, while simultaneously being a reminder that like clockwork, another summer will soon be here. As the band explains of the video concept “We love this concept and these images complementing our music. We shot the live images of the band inside an old cinema where are from in Pesaro, Italy. ‘Endless Beauty’ reminds us of this kind of imagery — the beach, the surfers and days at the beach. We live in a coast city and love the sea.”

If you’ve been actively following the music blogosphere as I do, you’d likely know that the band’s Stateside tour and forthcoming SXSW appearances have been cancelled, due to visa issues that resulted in the members of the band being detained for the better part of a day before they were deported and sent back home. Based on the official statement from the band, the experience was both humiliating and terrifying; but I hope that maybe one day they will return to play in front of Stateside audiences — and soon.

Initially formed as a quartet, comprised of founding member, Benjamin Plant (production),  along with Josh Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Aaron Shanahan (guitar, vocals and production) and Daniel Whitechuch (bass, keyboards and guitar), the Melbourne, Australia-based indie electro pop act Miami Horror quickly received national and international attention with their 2010 debut Illumination, an effort that was praised for a sound that drew from fellow countrymen Cut Copy, as well as New OrderPrinceMichael JacksonE.L.O. and others.

The then-quartet spent the next three years shuttling back and forth between their hometown of Melbourne, Australia, Los Angeles and Paris writing and recording the material that would comprise their critically praised 2013 sophomore effort, All Possible Futures, a breezy and summery, dance floor-friendly effort that was deeply inspired by the time the band spent writing and recording in Southern California and drew from 80s synth pop, classic house and 60s pop. Building upon their rapidly growing profile, the members of the act have extensively toured the globe — and along with the aforementioned Cut Copy, and fellow Australians Total Giovanni and others, have put their hometown on the international map for a unique yet approachable electro pop sound and approach.

Now, it’s been a few years since the blogosphere has heard from Miami Horror, as the act’s Benjamin Plant has been busy co-writing tracks with Client Liaison and Roland Tings and writing new Miami Horror material, while the act has gone through a lineup change that has them writing and recording as a trio. But interestingly enough, their soon-to-be released conceptual EP, The Shapes finds the band further exploring and expanding upon their sound, as the material draws from art pop, Talking Heads, Caribbean funk and African beats among other things while retaining elements of the sound that won them international attention. And as you’ll hear on the EP’s upbeat, dance floor-friendly first single “Leila,” the song nods at Tom Tom Club, Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, 80s synth pop  as the act pairs a buoyant and rousing hook, plaintive vocals, shimmering synths, African percussion, and an incredibly funky bass line with Moriarty’s plaintive vocals.  Interestingly, in some way, the song teases at something like a return to the sound of Illumination — but in a deceptive fashion says “well, not quite” as the material manages to possesses a boldly neon colored sheen while being a dance-floor friendly anthem.

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Rick Hornby and Jen Devereaux, the Manchester, UK-born, London, UK-based electro pop duo TenFiveSixty have received attention across the blogosphere for a melancholy and urgent sound that to my ears reminds me a bit of New Order, Cocteau Twins and others, as you’ll hear on the duo’s latest single “You Say” — but with subtly bluesy and shimmering guitar lines and a sultry hook that evokes an urgent, plaintive need and vulnerability while being remarkably dance floor friendly.

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the better part of the past 6-9 months or so, you’d likely be familiar with JOVM mainstay producer and electronic music artist KC Maloney, and although he’s best known as being one-half of renowned electro pop act Radar Cult,  Maloney has received an increasing national profile with the release of last year’s LXII EP with his solo side project Adult Karate, a project that expands upon the sound of his primary project a is it draws from several different styles and sub-genres of electronic music — including house, acid house, techno, ambient electronica and others. And building upon the buzz that LXII received, Maloney’s Adult Karate follow up Indoors is slated for a March 31, 2017 and the effort will reportedly see Maloney’s side project taking on a decided sonic departure as the material generally possesses elements of post-punk and post-rock reminiscent of mid 80s New Order and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy.

From The Dust,” Indoors‘ first single while being a marked sonic departure, also managed to be a thematic departure as the song is less introspective than the material off LXII; however, the song possessed a swaggering confidence — the sort of confidence that can only come from living a fully-lived in life, in which the song’s narrator has had his heart broken made mistakes, and has found some hard-fought wisdom, by living life in his own terms. And Maloney does all of this in what may arguably be one of the breeziest songs he’s released to date.  The EP’s latest single “Friction” consists of an ethereal, Kate Bush meets contemporary electro pop production featuring featuring thumping 808-like beats, swirling yet ambient electronics and twangy blasts of guitar, shimmering cascades of synths and a swooning hook paired with Maloney’s and Adeline’s breathy cooing. Lyrically, the song continues in a similar vein as its preceding single; but in this case, the song captures the sensation of attempting to break forward from heartbreak or a dysfunctional past, towards a new relationship — with the hope that this time, that blind leap of faith will be result in something different than all the previous ones.