Tag: New Wave

New Video: Los Angeles’ Spacette Urges Us to Dance Away Our Troubles

Jordan Heimburger is a Los Angeles-based guitarist, who has spent the past few years as a session player and a touring musician with acts like The Feed, John Henry and Kevin Bowers’ Nova. Earlier this year, Heimburger began translating his experience of living during a pandemic into a series of songs that drew inspiration from the dystopian sci fi movies and books that seemed to come to unsettlingly vivid life. As songs began to take shape, Heimburger began his latest project Spacette and then reached out to a collection of acclaimed and talented local musicians including Anna Louise Thaiss (vocals), who has worked with Honey Whiskey Trio and as a solo artist; Heather Rivas (keys), who works as a solo artist; Doug Organ (keys, production, engineering), who works with Here Lies Me and Stunt Double; Kevin Bowers (drums), who has worked with The Feed and Kevin Bowers’ Nova; Tony Barbara (drums), who has worked with John Henry and Laren Loveless; John Pessoni (drums), who has worked with The Urge; Ben Reece (sax), who has worked with The Feed, Ben Reece Unity Quartet; and Bryan Hoskins (vocals), who has worked with John Henry to flesh out the songs and contribute solos.

Slated for release next week, Spaceette’s debut EP was recorded using remote recording — as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, much like most of the material being released right now. Interestingly, “Sweat,” the EP’s latest single is centered around squiggling synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, thumping four-on-the-floor and a driving motorik groove paired with ironically detached vocals. Sonically, the track is a slick synthesis of creepy and cinematic John Carpenter-like analog synth soundtracks, disco funk and 80s New Wave.

The recently released video follows a female dancer, who dances to the song with a series of moves that mix hip-hop, ballet and club dancing — with the video suggesting that when times get tough, dance your troubles away.

New Video: Lost Horizons’ Hopeful Collaboration with Kavi Kwai

Lost Horizons — Cocteau Twins‘ and Bella Union Records label head Simon Raymonde (bass. guitar, keys, production) and Dif Juz’s Richie Thomas (drums, keys, guitar) — ended a 20+ year hiatus from creating music with the 2017 release of their full-length debut, Ojaiá, (Spanish for “hopefully” or “God willing”) to critical praise. “These days, we need hope more than ever, for a better world,” Thomas said in press notes at the time. “And this album has given me a lot of hope. To reconnect with music . . . And the hope for another Lost Horizons record!”

Since the release of Ojalá, the state of the world has gotten much worse. Up until a few weeks ago, the possibility of a better world seemed increasingly dim, iff not impossible,. And yet, we recognize that even with that small bit of hope, things are dire: our socioeconomic and political systems are collapsing before our eyes, exposing hidden gaps and flaws. While we’re hopefully working towards a better, much more fairer world, one small portion of Thomas’ hopes have been immediately fulfilled: Raymonde and Thomas will be releasing a new album’s worth of together, In Quiet Moments.

Written and recorded during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, In Quiet Moments’ material is inspired by the sense of existential doom, fear, uncertainty and anxiety of the larger world surrounding them, as well as the same emotions and sensations of their own personal lives: Just as the duo were settling into the studio to craft the largely improvised, instrumental bedrock of the album’s material, Raymonde’s mother died.

As a response,. Raymonde threw himself into his work as a way to channel his grief. “The way improvisation works,” he says, “it’s just what’s going on with your body at the time, to let it out.” The duo eventually forged ahead crafting 16 instrumental tracks that they eventually sent to an eclectic array of guest vocalists including Ural Thomas, Penelope Isles‘ Jack Wolter, The Hempolics Nubiya Brandon, Tim Smith, Gemma Dunleavy, the innocence mission’s Karen Peris, Horse Thief‘s Cameron Neal, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio‘s Dana Margolin, John Grant, Ballet School‘s Rosie Blair, Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (as her solo recording project KookieLou) and an impressive list of others. When they sent the instrumental tracks to their then-prospective guest vocalists, Raymonde suggested a guiding theme for their lyrics: “Death and rebirth. Of loved ones, of ideals, at an age when many artists that have inspired us are also dead, and the planet isn’t far behind. But I also said, ‘The most important part is to just do your own thing, and have fun.”

About half of the album’s lyrics were written in the middle of pandemic-related lockdowns, but interestingly enough, Raymonde in particular, saw a silver lining: people were slowing down and taking stock of their lives. Having heard a lyric written by Ural Thomas, Raymonde singled out one phrase “in quiet moments” and thought it would be the perfect album title. “It just made sense,” he says. “This moment of contemplation in life is really beautiful.”

While generally centered around loss, the album’s material is more specifically tied to hope — and as a result, the album is more about rebirth than death. “I think it’s more joyous than Ojalá,” Thomas says. “But both albums have a great energy about them.” That shouldn’t be surprising as both Lost Horizons albums find the duo and their various collaborators undulating across a dizzying array of moods and voices.

Over the past couple of months I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles:

“Cordelia,” a lush track centered around atmospheric synths, gorgeous steel pedal guitar from David Rothon, elegant strings from Fiona Brice, and John Grant’s brooding vocals. The song is a meditation on the passing of time, the inevitable changing of the seasons — but with the tacit understanding and acceptance that all things in our world are transient.
“One For Regret,” a dark and foreboding song centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive drumming and Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin’s frantic vocals. While sonically, the song finds Raymonde and Thomas paying homage to the beloved sound and approach that won Raymonde accolades “One For Regret” is a meditation on the messiness of regret and loss, that acknowledges that regret and loss are a necessary part of life — and that the only way out is through.

“Every Beat That Passed,” In Quiet Moments’ third and latest single is a gorgeous and old-timey-like waltz centered round shimmering and arpeggiated keys, jangling guitars and the soaring and achingly ethereal vocals of Kavi Kwai’s creative mastermind, Julia Ringdahl. Interestingly, much like its immediate predecessor, “Every Beat That Passed” seems sonically indebted to Raymonde’s work with Cocteau Twins — but while arguably being one of In Quiet Moment’s more defiantly upbeat and hopeful tracks.

“Richie came up with the piano part for this and it grabbed my attention immediately. That ‘waltz’ rhythm is pretty much in my DNA from my Cocteaus days, and the other instrumentation just kinda flowed out in a rush of emotion and memory,” Raymonde says in press notes. “Discovering Kavi Kwai was akin to roaming the beaches of Bognor with a defective metal detector and discovering a whopping blue diamond. She is from Sweden and on hearing her music, I vowed to create a track especially for her. When I received her vocal back, I had that unusual experience of simultaneously laughing and crying at the same time. Laughing because I couldn’t believe how incredible it was, and crying because she turned our tune into a beautifully sad song which really moved me. Still does to be honest.”

“The feeling that came to me when I first heard the instrumental version was that it felt very hopeful,” Kavi Kwai’s Julia Ringdahl explains. “Hope always has an undertone of something heavy or dark – otherwise we wouldn’t need it. When I wrote the melodies and the lyrics I stayed in that mode, I wanted to capture the combination of dark and light.”

Written, directed, and edited by Jonathan Caouette, the recently released video for “Every Beat That Passed” begins with a bleak and dire landscape that sees renewal and human hope and joy through some trippy, almost supernatural looking phenomenon.

Caoutte also directed the video for “Cordelia,” and as he says of “Every Beat That Passed:” “Through the work I did on the videos, I began feeling that ‘Cordelia’ represented memory, loss, melancholy, and how inescapable impermanence is and that ‘Every Beat that Passed’ represented the antithesis of those ideas: the promise of resetting and renewal, and the hope that not all is lost, even under the hardest of circumstances. So, even though they have two distinct feelings they also work together as two different perspectives, yin and yang etc.”

New Video: Lost Horizons Teams Up with Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin on a Lysergic Journey

Lost Horizons — Cocteau Twins‘ and Bella Union Records label head Simon Raymonde (bass. guitar, keys, production) and Dif Juz’s Richie Thomas (drums, keys, guitar) — ended a 20+ year hiatus from creating music with the 2017 release of their full-length debut, Ojaiá, (Spanish for “hopefully” or “God willing”) to critical praise. “These days, we need hope more than ever, for a better world,” Thomas said in press notes at the time. “And this album has given me a lot of hope. To reconnect with music . . . And the hope for another Lost Horizons record!”

Since the release of Ojalá, the state of the world has gotten much worse. Up until a few weeks ago, the possibility of a better world seemed increasingly dim. And yet, we’re forced to recognize that things are dire: our sociopolitical and economic systems are in the middle of a slow-burning collapse while entire portions of the globe have burned — with some still smoldering. Interestingly enough, one small portion of Thomas’ hopes have been immediately fulfilled: Raymonde and Thomas will be releasing a new album, In Quiet Moments. Written and recorded while the world was facing existential doom, anxiety, fear, heartache and tragedy, the album’s material is inspired by those same emotions in its creators’ personal lives. Just as Raymonde and Thomas were able to settle in and craft the largely improvised, instrumental bedrock of the new album’s material, the Bella Union Records label head, producer and musician’s mother died.

Raymonde threw himself into his work as a way to channel his grief. “The way improvisation works,” he says, “it’s just what’s going on with your body at the time, to let it out.” The duo eventually forged ahead crafting 16 instrumental tracks that they eventually sent to an eclectic array of guest vocalists including Ural Thomas, Penelope Isles‘ Jack Wolter, The Hempolics Nubiya Brandon, Tim Smith, Gemma Dunleavy, the innocence mission’s Karen Peris, Horse Thief‘s Cameron Neal, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio‘s Dana Margolin, John Grant, Ballet School‘s Rosie Blair, Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (as her solo recording project KookieLou) and an impressive list of others. When they sent the instrumental tracks to their then-prospective guest vocalists, Raymonde suggested a guiding theme for their lyrics: “Death and rebirth. Of loved ones, of ideals, at an age when many artists that have inspired us are also dead, and the planet isn’t far behind. But I also said, ‘The most important part is to just do your own thing, and have fun.”

During the writing and recording process, COVID-19 paralyzed and frightened the entire world. And while about half of the album’s lyrics were written in the middle of pandemic-related lockdowns, Raymonde in particular, saw a silver lining: people were slowing down and taking stock of their lives. Having heard a lyric written by Ural Thomas, Raymonde singled out one phrase “in quiet moments” and thought it would be the perfect album title. “It just made sense,” he says. “This moment of contemplation in life is really beautiful.”

While generally centered around loss, the album’s material is more specifically tied to hope — and as a result, the album is more about rebirth than death. “I think it’s more joyous than Ojalá,” Thomas says. “But both albums have a great energy about them.” That shouldn’t be surprising as both Lost Horizons albums find the duo and their various collaborators undulating across a dizzying array of moods and voices.

Last month I wrote about the lush album single “Cordelia.” Centered around atmospheric synths, some gorgeous steel pedal guitar from David Rothon, elegant strings from Fiona Brice, paired with John Grant’s layered and brooding vocals, “Cordelia” is a brooding meditation the passing of time, the inevitable changing of seasons — but with the tacit understanding and acceptance that all things are transient.

In Quiet Moments’ latest single “One For Regret” features Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin on what may arguably be the album’s darkest and most foreboding songs. Centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive drumming and Margolin’s frantic vocals, the song thematically is a meditation on the messiness of regret and loss — with the acknowledgment that regret and loss are part of the price of admission, and that the only way out of both is through. Sonically, the song finds Lost Horizon paying homage to the sound and approach that won Raymonde accolades but with a loose yet modern take.

“The process of collaborating on ‘One For Regret’ was really fun for me,” Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin says in press notes. “Simon sent me an instrumental to write lyrics and vocal melodies for, which isn’t a way I’ve written in the past and helped me think about songwriting in new ways. It was really cool to be a part of this, and I’m excited to share this song.”

Lost Horizon’s Simon Raymonde adds, “I was clearing out my cupboards earlier this year and found the old drum machine and pedals I used in some of my early Cocteau Twins days and dusted them down and started messing about with them. The sonics that came out of my improvisation felt like they represented both elements of my past and my future. I’d wanted to work with Dana since I heard Porridge Radio a few years ago and we met at The Great Escape here in Brighton and I thought she might like the vibe of this piece. Once Richie added real drums to it, it felt dark and exciting and Dana really got inside the skin of it all and captured those feelings I had with her intensity and words.”

Directed by Rachel Amy Winton, the recently released video for “One For Regret” follows Margolin on a trippy green-screened journey through hell, the skies, the cosmos and presumably her own consciousness.

In Quiet Moments is slated for for a two part release through Bella Union. The first part will be released on December 4, 2020. The second part will be released on February 26, 2021 with the physical release of the entire album.

Gaspard Eden is a restlessly creative, emerging Quebec City-based singer/songwriter and musician. Eden’s full-length debut Soft Power is slated for release later this year through Coyote Records, and the album’s material reportedly finds the emerging Quebec-based singer/songwriter and musician pushing his sound in a completely new direction from his previously released work while evoking a wide ranger of emotions through melodic soundscapes and poetic lyricism.

Earlier this year, I wrote about Soft Power‘s first single, the brooding jangle pop “Pancakes,” a track centered around Eden’s plaintive falsetto and an achingly wistful nostalgia for a seemingly simpler past — in particular, the age-old need (and desire) to have family and loved ones nearby. The album’s latest single “Automatic Dreams” is a shimmering, hook-driven track centered around jangling guitars, atmospheric synths, softly padded drums, a euphoric hook and Eden’s plaintive vocals. Sonically, the track reminds me a bit of Jef Barbara’s Soft to the Touch, as “Automatic Dreams” possesses a similar ethereal take on New Wave. The track also features backing vocals from Eden’s longtime friend, singer/songwriter Gabrielle Shonk, who adds a dreamtyl quality to the song.

According to Eden, “Automatic Dreams” “explores the different levels of lucidity that dreams cause.” The track follows a narrator through a lucid dream about a car ride that goes horribly wrong and throughout the song, he (the narrator) describes all of the sensations he felt during this vivid dream.

Rising New York-based post-punk act Bootblacks — Panther Almqvist (vocals), Alli Gorman (guitar), Barrett Hiatt (synths) and Larry Gorman (drums) — derive their name from novelist William Burroughs’ description of the dark underbelly of New York. And it shouldn’t be surprising that the band’s surroundings have influenced their work both sonically and thematically. “It’s an energetic city and people have all the reasons in the world not to give you the time of day,” the band’s Panther Almqvist says in press notes. “I think our music has been shaped by that in many ways.”

In 2012, the New York-based post-punk released their Jim Sclavunos-produced debut EP Narrowed. 2016 saw the release of their full-length debut Veins, which they supported with extensive touring. Interestingly, 2017’s sophomore effort Fragments found the band expanding their sound with the material becoming more synth-based, more atmospheric and much bigger than its immediate predecessors. Fragments received quite a bit of attention, which helped the band earn slots on a number of post-punk/New Wave/goth festivals including Cold Waves, Terminus, Absolution, Wave Gotik Treffen and A Murder of Crows — and the album landed on a lot of year-end lists.

The members of Bootblacks have played at every significant venue in the New York Metropolitan area, sharing stages with Clan of Xymox, Light Asylum, HEALTH and VOWWS. And along the way, they’ve managed to tour across North America and Europe. Of course, much like countless bands across the world, the rising New York-based post-punk act had hopes for a big 2020 pre COVID-19 quarantines: they were recently handpicked to open for Modern English during their North American tour this year. Unfortunately, that tour has been postponed.

But in the meantime, the band’s highly anticipated Jason Corbett-produced third album Thin Skies will be released through Artoffact Records and the album reportedly finds the band zooming forward where Fragments left off — with its nine songs meshing dance floor pulse and melodic, brooding post-punk with anthemic hooks. The album’s material also features backing vocals from ACTORS‘ Shannon Hemmett, SRSQ‘s and Them Are Us Too‘s Kennedy Ashyln.

Unsurprisingly, the album continues the band’s long-held thematic concerns: the loneliness of city life. “Most of the lyrics on the album are about loneliness,” says Almqvist. “Looking back on the lyric writing process there seems to be some connective feeling of isolation and distance present in all of the songs… I’m always hoping that a listener personalizes the song, that’s why the songs never have a narrative but try to embody a feeling.”

Centered around reverb-drenched guitars that recall The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree-era U2, shimmering synth arpeggios, a relentless motorik groove, an enormous and Almqvist’s plaintive vocals, Thin Skies‘ first single “Traveling Light” may arguably be among the most dance floor friendly yet brooding songs Bootblacks has ever released, as it evokes sweaty nights on the dance floor, meeting some one who captures your attention and dreams — and eventually heading home alone to obsess over what you should have done.

SPECTRES  is a Vancouver-based post-punk act founded in 2005 by Brian Gustavson. And since the band’s formation, they’ve been popularly cited as being one of acts responsible for kicking off Canada’s renewed interest in the post-punk sound. Interestingly, the band was initially inspired by the British anarcho-punk scene of the late 70s and early 80s, the Vancouver-based post-punk meshed that scene’s ethos with post punk stylings and an uncanny knack for crafting hook driven, catchy material. But over the years, the band’s sound has evolved, increasingly incorporating elements of New Wave and punk.

“The band started as a way to creatively explore 1980s British anarcho-punk and while creatively we have drifted in new directions, this core influence still holds a lot of inspiration for us,” the band’s Zach Batalden  (guitar) says in press notes. Bands like The Mob, Crisis, Crass and Zounds are all still very important for us. From there we took a deep interest in ’80s post-punk and new wave with bands like The Sound, The Chameleons, Theatre of Hate and Modern English, central to the way our sound has developed.”

Slated for release this Friday, through Artoffact Records, the Vancouver-based post-punk act’s soon-to-be released Jason Corbett-produced album Nostalgia lyrically finds the band touching upon the alienation of modern life and the search for hope in an increasingly terrifying world. “Deepening political partisanship, aging, and finding one’s own way through alienating times are common themes the on the Nostalgia LP,” says Batalden. Sonically, the material fnds the band continuing their ongoing exploration of a decidedly post-punk like sound with Gustavon’s plaintive and melodic vocals ethereally floating over chiming guitars and propulsive beats. “For the new album, Nostalgia, we were listening to a lot of Flying Nun bands like The Bats, The Verlaines and The Clean as well,” Batalden adds.

“Years of Lead,” Nostalgia’s latest single is a decidedly New Order-like take on post-punk as its centered around jangling and shimmering angular bursts of guitars, four-on-the-floor drumming and rousingly anthemic hook. Interestingly, much like “Northern Towns” off the band’s “Provincial Wake” 7 inch, “Years of Lead” features a pitch perfect, deceptively anachronistic, era specific production paired with a bittersweet and nostalgic air.

 

 

 

Over the past couple of years, I’ve managed to write a bit about JOVM Matthew Messore, who’s an Orlando, FL-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. best known as the creative mastermind behind the rapidly rising bedroom recording project Cathedral Bells. Since the release of 2018’s self-titled EP, which received support from David Dean Burkhart and praise from The Line of Best Fit, Messore has released a handful of singles from his highly-anticipated Cathedral Bells full-length debut Velvet Spirit, which is slated for a March 6, 2020 release through Good Eye Records.

The JOVM mainstay begins 2020 with “Disconnected,” the latest single off his forthcoming debut, and much like its predecessors, the new single continues to cement the sound that has won the attention of the blogosphere, including this site: centered around Messore’s ethereal vocals, delicately shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars and a motorik groove, “Disconnected” is a shoegazer-like take on New Wave that recalls early 4AD Records and others but while possessing a swooning urgency.

 

New Audio: British Indie Act Beat Hotel Releases a Shimmering 80s New Wave-Inspired Single

Split between Brighton, UK and Plymouth, UK, the rising British indie rock act Beat Hotel, which features current and former members of The June Brides, The Loft, The Weather Prophets, Distractions, Mudlow, Mojo Fins and Lolita Storm can trace its origins to when its founding members — The June Brides’, The Distractions’ and The Granite Shore’s Arash Torabi and Paul Pascoe met after a 1988 The Jasmine Minks show.  (Interestingly, many years later, the first Beat Hotel single featured a guest vocal spot from The Jasmine Minks’ frontman Jim Shepherd.) 

Developing a strong live presence in their local scene, the act managed to record a number of demos,  but they didn’t officially release anything until 2013 — the “Best of Our Years”/”The Fire,” double A-side 7 inch, which featured The Loft’s and The Weather Prophets’ Dave Morgan (drums), who then became a permanent member of the band. 

Slated for a January 31, 2020 release through Occultation Records, the band’s long-awaited self-titled EP was recorded at Hove, UK’s Church Road Studios by the band’s Paul Pascoe and features five originals written by Pascoe and a cover of The Wishing Stones’ “Beat Girl.” The EP features guest spots from The June Brides’ Frank Sweeney, who contributes strings and piano and former Mojo Fins member Stephen Brett (guitar), who releases material as a solo artist under the moniker SJ Brett. “Every now and again, we produce something that’s very special to us. These forays into the physical world are usually inspired by a collaboration,” Beat Hotel’s Paul Pascoe says in press notes about the band’s self-titled EP. “This time it was driven by an unexpected creative surge due to the sudden and shocking end of a relationship. I felt like I had to relearn everything about how to be in the world and look seriously at who I actually am. I found comfort in the music that had given me a sense of belonging the first time around. The Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Weather Prophets…these songs and songwriters, so familiar to my psyche, were there again to drag me to safety.”

“This collection of songs is about love and near-death and confronting the very worst aspects of ourselves, facing down those inner demons, the fears that haunt us and our deepest, darkest secrets,” Pascoe says of the EP’s material. “And… with one of the tracks beginning its recording journey in 1997 and getting its final guitar overdub and mix in 2019 (in all its 3 minutes 14 seconds of rock’n’roll glory), this record is also a tribute to the awesome power of getting shit done.”

The EP’s latest single “Bury It Deep” is a propulsive and upbeat, hook-driven song centered around layers of shimmering guitars that immediately brings Starfish-era The Church, early-to-mid 80s Echo and the Bunnymen (i.e., Crocodiles, Heaven Up Here and Ocean Rain), The Dream Syndicate and others, as it hints at radio psych rock, New Wave and post-punk in an uncanny period specific fashion. But the song isn’t just another  soulless homage to a classic and beloved sound we’ve grown up with; at its core, the song finds it narrator trying to maneuver a confusing and uncertain world while facing their own demons.