Tag: Nine Inch Nails

New Video: Atlanta-born Artist Fusilier Releases Politically Charged Visuals for His Sultry Club Banger “Make You”

Starting his musical career as the bassist for the Boston-based indie rock band RIBS, an act that quickly rose to national prominence and opened for The Joy Formidable and Queens of the Stone Age, the Atlanta-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Blake Fusilier grew up having a similar experience that I did as a child, teenager and young adult — of not quite fitting in with your contemporaries. As a teenager while many of his peers aspired to sign to LaFace Records and SoSoDef Records, Fusilier picked up the violin, dreamt of being the black Itzhak Perlman and was obsessed with the work of Edgar Allen Poe. And of course, like odd teenagers everywhere — especially very odd, black teenagers — Fusilier quickly learned that when you’re a square peg, you can be equally hated and ridiculed. Around that time, the Atlanta-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer had begun writing his own material.

As RIBS started to achieve national attention, someone asked Fusilier about his experience being black and gay, and at the time, the Atlanta-born artist began to realize two very important personal truths — that he had been running away from those questions for most of his adult life, and that the world’s perceptions and assumptions of him and about him were spiritually and emotionally exhausting. And from that point forward, Fusilier decided that he wanted and needed to make music that would not only drain those questions about his experience and those of others of their power, but to also make them permanently irrelevant. As Fusilier explained in press notes, “I have this theory that if people knew who we really were in their minds, we probably would all have a lot more respect for one another. This applies to everyone: friends and acquaintances and bandmates. I think it’s our duty to ourselves to make sure that those around us have a chance to allow others to see our glorious, true selves. I finally feel like I’m beginning to live by those words. The songs I’m wrapping up have been floating around for years. I had been anticipating the moment when people could actually hear even 20 seconds of my potential.”

The early response so far to Fusilier’s work has been wildly positive with one critic describing his sound as being a synthesis of James Brown and Nine Inch Nails — although his latest single “Make You,” immediately brings to mind the work of Prince, Jef Barbara, Boulevards, and Gordon Voidwell as Fusilier pairs his sultry and sensual cooing with a slick, hyper modern production featuring a sinuous and propulsive bass line, tambourine-led percussion bolstered by stuttering drum programming, arpeggio synth chords, a funky brass sample and a deeply infectious hook. And while being a sultry, club banger the song possesses an ironic and withering sociopolitical commentary that ridicules and obliterates racial stereotypes in a fashion similar to Sly and the Family Stone’s “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey.”

Certainly, when we have a presidential administration that has emboldened supremacist and racist groups to flourish and be as hateful as they once were, having a wider variety of black voices, frankly discussing their unique experiences — and helping to tear down racist assumptions. But it also should serve as a powerful reminder that pop, dance music and funk have long been full of sociopolitical messages; after all, music, art and comedy are some of the best weapons against autocratic, power hungry governments.

As for the video, the Atlanta-born multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer/songwriter explains “I look at my body and what little I know of my family’s story and can’t help but think that I am a most American thing. I’m talking about the mixture of marriages and what I can only assume to be rapes amongst oppressors, the enslaved and the original inhabitants that gave me my coarse hair, jawline and skin and this name, ‘Fusilier.’ The ‘Make You’ video is a very public exorcism of my inner turmoil knowing that people will always see in me themselves and the other, friend and enemy, lust and aversion.”

Initially comprised of founding member Al Jourgensen (vocals and guitar), Stephen George (drums), Robert Roberts (keys) and John Davis (keys), the renowned and influential Chicago, IL-based industrial metal/industrial electronic act Ministry began as a New Wave synth pop act that released several 12 inch singles through Wax Trax! Records between 1981-1984. And after a series of lineup changes that included a deeper focus on the band’s founding duo of Jourgensen and George, and a radical change in sonic direction that lead to the aggressive and abrasive sound that later inspired the likes of Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails ,KMFDM and others.

This Friday will mark the limited release of the long-awaited Trax! Rarities double album featuring rare, early tracks and versions of songs from Wax Trax! Records-era Ministry and unreleased material from Al Jourgensen’s related side projects including Revolting Cocks, PTP, Pailhead and 1000 Homo DJs through Cleopatra Records. And we’ve got three tracks from the Trax! Rarities collection — the A Flock of Seagulls meets Roxy Music-like demo version of “The Game Is Over,” which reveals that even with a completely different sound that Jourgensen, his late bandmate George and company had an uncanny ability to write an incredibly anthemic hook paired with shimmering guitars and a propulsive groove;  the mid 80s New Order and Depeche Mode-nodding “I See Red,” which is not only a dance-floor friendly song but manages to be a more conscious move towards something resembling industrial electronic music; and lastly, “Same Old Madness,” which strangely enough, bears an uncanny resemblance to Freedom of Choice-era DEVO. Of course, while the compilation will be a must have for die-hard fans and completetists, it’s a revealing look into how a band’s sound and aesthetic can morph from making them a mere footnote of a particular time into one of the more influential bands of their generation.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Dark Post-Apocalyptic, Industrial Sounds and Visuals of Toronto’s Odonis Odonis

“Needs,” the latest single off Post Plague has the trio pairing layers of undulating synths, howled and shouted vocals, industrial clang and clatter, rapid fire, staccato drum programming, chopped up vocal samples, a rousing, anthemic hook and a propulsive, hypnotic groove in a tense, anxious song that sonically channels early Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and others — but with a contemporary and stark sense of unease, uncertainty and the realization that we’re on the precipice of our own mutually assured self-destruction.

Directed by Scott Cudmore, the recently released video for “Needs” is the first episode of a series of short films, based around the material of Post Plague that blends virtual reality with traditional video to tell a larger, fictional story. And in the case of “Needs,” the video begins with a person transferring their existence into a barely functional AI robot — and are quickly pulled into a post-apocalyptic future that somewhat resembles our own present. As Cudmore explains in press notes, the video is about “Old, entitled, white men and the system of oppression and exploitation that they’ve created to serve their…well…needs, which are usually money and power. I’m looking at this through the lens of science fiction, but I wanted to depict that power structure breaking down finally. Breaking down internally. There’s no linear narrative and you are free to think of that aspect in any way, but each image is a depiction of this breakdown as well as of repression, exploitation and desperation.”

Growing up in Atlanta, Blake Fusilier didn’t quite fit in with his contemporaries — while many of his peers aspired to sign to LaFace Records and SoSoDef Records, as a teenager Fusilier picked up the violin, dreamt of being the black Itzhak Perlman and was obsessed with the work of Edgar Allen Poe. And much like odd teenagers — especially odd black teenagers —  a young Fusilier learned that sometimes when you’re extremely different, you can be hated and ridiculed, and around that time he began writing his own music. By the time, he relocated to Boston for college, Fusilier had learned to play the bass and was a member of moody rock band RIBS, which eventually rose to national prominence; in fact, they’ve opened for The Joy Formidable and Queens of the Stone Age, and have been written about across the blogosphere. 

As the story goes, as the band was achieving quite a bit of success, someone asked Fusilier about being black and gay, and the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer began to realize that running away from those questions and the world’s perceptions of him was spiritually and emotionally exhausting. From that point forward, he wanted to make music that would not only drain those questions of their power but to make them permanently irrelevant. As Fusilier says in press notes, “I have this theory that if people knew who we really were in their minds, we probably would all have a lot more respect for one another. This applies to everyone: friends and acquaintances and bandmates. I think it’s our duty to ourselves to make sure that those around us have a chance to allow others to see our glorious, true selves. I finally feel like I’m beginning to live by those words. The songs I’m wrapping up have been floating around for years. I had been anticipating the moment when people could actually hear even 20 seconds of my potential.” 

So far the response from the blogosphere and music critics has been wildly positive with one critic in particular describing Fusilier’s sound as being a synthesis of James Brown and Nine Inch Nails — although as soon as I heard his latest single “Make You,” I immediately heard Prince, Jef Barbara, Boulevards, Gordon Voidwell and quite a bit of contemporary electro pop as the former RIBS bassist’s sultry and sensual cooing is paired with a slick, hyper modern production consisting of a sinuous bass line, propulsive drum programming led by finger snaps, layers of buzzing synths and electronics, and an incredibly infectious hook in a club banging song that possess an unresolved sexual tension and a sly and ironic commentary on racial and sexual identity. And it all should be a reminder that you can pair some deeply personal and political messages in dance music — and the most important that music can be one of the most powerful weapons imaginable.  

 

Last year, I wrote about Swedish-born and based, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sofia Härdig, who with the release of “Streets,” the first single off her two part EP The Street Light Leads to the Sea added herself to a growing list of Swedish artists that have seen international attention across Europe and North America. And as a result of a growing international profile, Härdig, who is considered Sweden’s “rocktronica queen of experimental music,” has collaborated with  Grammy Award-winning acts The Hellacopters and Bob Hund, Boredoms and Free Kitten‘s Yoshimi P-We and has opened for Lydia Lunch and Belle and Sebastian‘s Stevie Jackson.

Interestingly, The Street Light Leads to the Sea was recorded with handpicked musicians, who were known for their improvisational skills, and each musician was encouraged to improvise on the rough sketches that Härdig brought in whenever and however they felt fit. As the Swedish singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist explains in press notes “I find beauty in flaws and that which is not perfect is what excites me, I love the unusual, the unexpected, untrained and unplanned . . . ” And as you’ll hear on the EP’s latest single “Sitting Still,” the material possesses a raw and gritty urgency as slashing and angular guitar chords, wild squalls of feedback and rapid fire drumming are paired with Härdig’s punchy delivered vocals in a tense and anxious song that captures a narrator, who’s at odds with herself and her conflicting emotions, thoughts and desires — and does so in a way that feels and sounds like the interior conversations we all have at some point or another. Sonically, the single much like its predecessor still manages to sound as though it were influenced PJ Harvey but equally influenced by Nine Inch Nails and Earthling-era David Bowie, complete with a swaggering, anthemic hook.

 

 

New Audio: Milemarker’s New Video Captures Their Live Song and An Anthemic, Mosh Pit Worthy Song

Over the last few months I’ve written quite a bit about  Chapel Hill, NC-based experimental/post-hardcore punk/new wave-leaning trio Milemarker. Initially comprised of Al Burian, Dave Laney and Ben Davis, the members of Milemarker quickly developed a reputation in indie […]

With the release of his critically applauded full-length debut, Brooklyn-based electronic music producer, DJ and artist Krycek saw a growing national profile; in fact, Buzzfeed, Fresh Beats 365 and others compared the Brooklyn-based artist’s sound to Nine Inch Nails and CHVRCHES. And although to some extent those comparisons are fair, as you’ll hear on his latest single “My Limit,” Krycek’s sound possess a swaggering sensuality that owes a debt to hip-hop and trip hop as the song nods at Sneaker Pimps, Portishead and Tobacco while sonically,  the Brooklyn-based DJ, producer and electronic music artist pairs woofer and tweeter rocking, boom-bap beats, funky and angular burst of guitar, murkily atmospheric synths and wobbling low end with his sultry and breathy vocals.

Comprised of Daniel Knowler, Paul Middleton and Samuel Mclaughlin, London, UK-based trio The Infinite Three have developed a reputation for a sound and aesthetic that possess elements of post-punk, drone and porto-industrial rock, and channels Killing Joke, SWANS, Cop Shoot Cop and Nine Inch Nails — but with nods towards psychedelia and noise rock. Of course, on a certain level that shouldn’t be surprising as the members of the trio have an extensive history of genre defying work. Middleton has had a stint in industrial jazz act GOD and was a member of noise pioneers Cindytalk along with his fellow bandmate Knowler while McLaughlin has collaborated with poet and artist Gerry Mitchell. Knowleer has also worked on MFOTWU with performance artist Franko B. And in The Infinite Three, the members of the band have worked with renowned saxophonist Tom Jackson and London-based producer Den Liberator.

Recorded with engineer Jon Clayton, who has worked with Band of Holy Joy and The Monochrome Set, The Infinite Three’s third officially released full-length effort Lucky Beast will cement the band’s burgeoning reputation for a muscular, post-punk leaning take on prog rock and experimental rock. The album’s latest single “Hydrogen” has the band pairing angular power chords, swirling electronics, propulsive drumming and a punchy and aggressive hook to craft a song that sounds as though it were indebted to Wire, Mission of Burma and SWANS; in other words it the song possess a mosh pit worthy, sneering aggression while nodding at industrial metal.