Tag: NME

New Video: Low Hummer Releases a Stylish and Sleek Visual for Angular “The People, This Place”

Rising Hull, UK-based post-punk act Low Hummer — Daniel, Aimee, Steph, Jack, John and Joe — can trace their origins through the individual members’ connections to their hometown’s DIY scene. After meeting and bonding over mutual interests, the sextet quickly established a regular rehearsal home at the DIY venue The New Adelphi Club, where they were able to develop and hone their own danceable take on post-punk that thematically focuses on their lives in East Yorkshire, their place in a consumerist world and bad news stories sold as gospel.

September 2019 saw the release of the their debut single “Don’t You Ever Sleep” through Leeds-based label Dance To The Radio. The members of Low Hummer quickly followed that up with their second single “I Choose Live News” that October. Both singles were released to praise from the likes of Clash, Dork, Gigwise and BBC 6 Music Recommends — with airplay on BBC 6. Building upon a rapidly growing national profile their subsequent singles “The Real Thing,” “Picture Bliss” and “Sometimes I Wish (I Was A Different Person) received praise from NME, Gigwise and Under The Radar Magazine and were championed by BBC Radio 1‘s Jack Saunders and Huw Stephens, BBC 6’s Steve Lamacq, Marc Riley, and Tom Robinson.

The Hull-based act’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Modern Tricks For Living is slated for a September release through Dance To The Radio, and the album’s first single “The People, This Place” is an angular post punk anthem that’s danceable yet full of seething disgust and frustration that makes the song a spiritual mix of The Clashand Wire— while voicing, the sort of frustration felt when you live in a dead-end town, with dead-end people and no real options or opportunities.

Directed by Luke Hallett, the incredibly stylish visual for “The People, This Place” features film noir-ish split screens between members of the band primping, preening, hanging out and being insouciant, the band playing in a rehearsal space. It’s part music video, part perfume commercial, part look into modern young people’s lives.

New Audio: Rising British Post Punk Act Low Hummer Releases a Seething Anthem

Rising Hull, UK-based post-punk act Low Hummer — Daniel, Aimee, Steph, Jack, John and Joe — can trace their origins through the individual members’ connections to their hometown’s DIY scene. After meeting and bonding over mutual interests, the sextet quickly established a regular rehearsal home at the DIY venue The New Adelphi Club, where they were able to develop and hone their own danceable take on post-punk that thematically focuses on their lives in East Yorkshire, their place in a consumerist world and bad news stories sold as gospel.

September 2019 saw the release of the their debut single “Don’t You Ever Sleep” through Leeds-based label Dance To The Radio. The members of Low Hummer quickly followed that up with their second single “I Choose Live News” that October. Both singles were released to praise from the likes of Clash, Dork, Gigwise and BBC 6 Music Recommends — with airplay on BBC 6. Building upon a rapidly growing national profile their subsequent singles “The Real Thing,” “Picture Bliss” and “Sometimes I Wish (I Was A Different Person) received praise from NME, Gigwise and Under The Radar Magazine and were championed by BBC Radio 1’s Jack Saunders and Huw Stephens, BBC 6’s Steve Lamacq, Marc Riley, and Tom Robinson.

The Hull-based act’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Modern Tricks For Living is slated for a September release through Dance To The Radio, and the album’s first single “The People, This Place” is an angular post punk anthem that’s danceable yet full of seething disgust and frustration that makes the song a spiritual mix of The Clash and Wire– while voicing, the sort of frustration felt when you live in a dead-end town, with dead-end people and no real options or opportunities.

New Audio: Lucid Express Teams Up with The Bilinda Butchers’ Adam Honingford on Their Most Brooding Snigle to Date

Rising Hong Kong-based indie outfit Lucid Express — Kim (vocals, synths), Andy (guitar), Sky (guitar), and siblings Samuel (bass) and Wai (drums) — can trace their origins back to 2014: the then-teenagers formed the band in the turbulent weeks just prior to the Umbrella Movement, the most recent in a series of tense pro-democracy protests against increasingly brutal state-led suppression in their home region. Amidst the constantly scenery of tear-gassed, bloodied and beaten protestors, politically-targeted arrests and death threats from government officials, the five Hong Kong-based musicians met in a small practice space sun the remote, industrial Kwai Hing neighborhood. 

Despite the ugliness of their sociopolitical moment, the band manages to specialize in an ethereal and shimmering blend of indie pop, dream pop and shoegaze with their practice space being someplace where they could escape their world. “At that time, it felt like we have [sic] a need to hold on to something more beautiful than before. Like close friendships, the band, our creation,” the band’s Kim says in press notes. 

The band’s name can be seen as a relatively modest mission statement describing the band’s intent: their use of the word lucid is in the poetic sense of something bright and radiant. Essentially, Lucid Express operates as the service to take the listener on a journey through their lush, blissful and dreamy sounds. Unsurprisingly, their material manages to carry the mood of their inception: with the band’s members working late-night shifts, their rehearsal and recording schedules found the band playing, writing and recording material between midnight and 4:00AM, and then crashing for a few hours in the studio before going back to work. 

The end result is the band’s highly-anticipated, full-length debut. the 10-song album thematically touches upon being young, being in love and maneuvering through heartache in difficult times. Of course while writing and recording together served as a unifying and soothing presence for the members of the band, their music fell victim to their complicated circumstances: The pervasive uncertainty over Hong Kong’s sociopolitical future created an overwhelming feeling of depression that found its way into the local music scene. Shows were cancelled and releases delayed. And for a time, it just didn’t feel relevant to promote music. 

While there’s much to be fought for at home, the members of the rising indie rock act have recently begun to feel a fresh hope in their work. They’ve felt as though they’ve reached an understanding of their music’s place amongst the world it inhabits — and they’ve decide to release their full-length, self-titled debut through Kanine Records on July 16, 2021. 

So far, the act has received glowing praise from Time Out for their “dreamy live performances” with their debut single “Lime” receiving praise from Drowned In Sound, NME and others. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Hong Kong shoegazers released the self-titled album’s second single “Wellwave,” a sculptured and lush soundscape centered around Kim’s ethereal vocals, glistening synths, skittering four-on-the-floor and a motorik groove — with the end result being a song that reminded me quite a bit of Lightfoils, Palm Haze and Cocteau Twins but while feeling like a lucid fever dream.

Building up more buzz for the forthcoming album’s release, the album’s third single “Hollowers” finds the Hong Kong-based quartet subtly pushing their sound towards its darkest corners — while also being the album’s only collaborative track: the features The Bilinda Butchers’ Adam Honingford, who contributes his baritone to the track’s chorus. Interestingly, their collaboration can be traced back to when Lucid Express shared a bill on the Hong Kong stop of a Bilinda Butchers tour to the region and as the members of Lucid Express share, they’ve been mutual fans since that show. “From the first time we heard Adam on stage in Hong Kong, we always wanted to ask him to sing on one of our songs,” Kim explains. During the album’s writing sessions, “Hollowers” began to take shape as a song that might offer the perfect opportunity to collaborate.

And although the song features shimmering synth arpeggios, shimmering guitars, the track’s stormy feedback driven chorus give the song its emotional heft, keeping the material grounded in an uncertain reality. Thematically, the song finds its narrator coming to terms with the gnawing realization that even if two people have all the passion of the world, a lack of deeper understanding can leave a relationship with finite time on the clock.

New VIdeo: Follow St. Vincent on a Gritty 70s Inspired Heist

Initially starting her professional career as a member of The Polyphonic Spree and as a touring member of Sufjan Stevens’ touring band, the Tulsa-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist and frontperson with her acclaimed project St. Vincent. Since the release of 2007’s full-length debut Marry Me, Clark’s work has continued to grow in stature and complexity with her self-titled fourth album winning a 2014 Grammy for Best Alternative Album, making her only the second female artist to ever win in that category.

Along with her work as a solo artist, Clark has collaborated with the legendary David Byrne on 2012’s Love This Giant, performed with the living members of Nirvana at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and da 2019 Grammy Awards duet with Dua Lipa.

Clark collaborated with co-producer Jack Antonoff on 2017’s critically applauded, smash hit album MASSEDUCATION, an album that landed on both the US and UK Top 10 Charts while landing at #1 of the Best of 2017 list of The New York Times and The Guardian — and placing high on the Best of 2017 lists of The AV Club, Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, Mashable, New York Daily News, NME, Paste, Pitchfork, Q, Stereogum, USA Today and a length list of others. 2018’s MassEducation found Clark collaborating with pianist Thomas Bartlett: Recorded over two nights in August 2017, the effort found Clark stripping back MASSEDUCATION’s material to its bare bones, revealing the vulnerable and earnest songwriting at their core.

MASSEDUCATION’s title track won a Grammy for Best Rock Song with the album winning another Grammy for Best Recording Package in 2019. As she was celebrating an enviable run of critical and commercial success, Clark’s father was released from prison. Clark began writing a new batch of materials which would become her soon-to-be released seventh album, Daddy’s Home. Daddy’s Home thematically closes the loop the loop on a journey that began with her father’s incarceration back in 2019 — and it ultimately led her back to the vinyl records her dad had introduced her when she was child — the gritty and sleazy rock records written and recorded in New York between 1971-1975.

Interestingly, Daddy’s Home’s latest single, “Down” is centered around a groove that’s simultaneously sultry and anxious with the track evoking images of the legendarily sleazy New York: in this case, a coke and booze fueled bender that starts at the local bar, features a stop at CBGB’s or Max’s Kansas City to see Blondie or Ramones before heading off to Studio 54. Warhol is somewhere in this picture, right? Now, while some critics have compared the album’s overall aesthetic and sound to Young Americans-era Bowie and Prince, “Down” to my ears reminds me more of Station to Station and Lodger-era Bowie. It’s far more anxious and murkier with a bit of menace seeping through.

Co-directed by Clark and Bill Benz, the recently released video features Clark in Candy Darling-like regalia through an anxious chase that’s one part French Connection and one part drug-fueled, paranoid fever dream. It fits the song’s careening and glitchy groove perfectly.

Liam Brown is a Liverpool-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electro pop artist and producer, best known as the creative mastermind behind the applauded, 80s synth pop-inspired, JOVM mainstay act pizzagirl. Since exploding into the blogosphere in 2018 with Brown has released two EPs, 2018’s an extended play and season 2 and his full length debut, 2019’s first timer — all of which have been championed by a handful of BBC personalities including Huw StephensAnnie Mac and Lauren Laverne, Gemma Bradley, Shaun Keaveny and Radcliffe and Maconie, as well as KCRW’s Travis Holcombe, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, NME, DIYHighsnobietyWonderlandThe Line of Best Fit and a growing list of others.

Brown’s sophomore album, Softcore Mourn is slated for a July 16, 2021 release through Heist or Hit Records. Reportedly, the album will further establish his critically applauded aesthetic, in which he actively pits maximalist pop sounds against claustrophobic production but while delving deeper into the emotional hard-drive in a way that may remind some sonically and thematically of LCD Soundsystem and The Postal Service. But at parts, the album’s material can be seen as a return to form with the album drawing a bit from the sonic palette from an extended play.

“Bullet Train,” Softcore Mourn‘s second and latest single is a high octane banger featuring a chugging synth bass line, twinkling synth arpeggios, Brown’s plaintive vocals paired with a rousingly anthemic hook that sonically recalls mid 80s New Order — i.e. “Bizarre Love Triangle” and others. But despite the uptempo thump and neon colors, the song is ironically rather downbeat, with the song detailing the bitter and uneasy feelings of a nasty breakup.

“Here’s my second single ‘Bullet Train’, another breakup song I think,” Brown says, “but this time, at 200mph. I sound really bitter on this, and for good reason I’d say, my screen time is high, my battery is low and there’s no 5g at the end of this tunnel; haha ;)” 

 

New Video: Hong Kong Shoegazers Lucid Express Release a surreal and Feverish Visual for Shimmering “Wellwave”

Rising Hong Kong-based indie outfit Lucid Express — Kim (vocals, synths), Andy (guitar), Sky (guitar), and siblings Samuel (bass) and Wai (drums) — can trace their origins back to 2014: the then-teenagers formed the band in the turbulent weeks just prior to the Umbrella Movement, the most recent in a series of tense pro-democracy protests against increasingly brutal state-led suppression in their home region. Amidst the constantly scenery of tear-gassed, bloodied and beaten protestors, politically-targeted arrests and death threats from government officials, the five Hong Kong-based musicians met in a small practice space sun the remote, industrial Kwai Hing neighborhood.

Despite the ugliness of their sociopolitical moment, the band manages to specialize in an ethereal and shimmering blend of indie pop, dream pop and shoegaze with their practice space being someplace where they could escape their world. “At that time, it felt like we have [sic] a need to hold on to something more beautiful than before. Like close friendships, the band, our creation,” the band’s Kim says in press notes.

The band’s name can be seen as a relatively modest mission statement describing the band’s intent: their use of the word lucid is in the poetic sense of something bright and radiant. Essentially, Lucid Express operates as the service to take the listener on a journey through their lush, blissful and dreamy sounds. Unsurprisingly, their material manages to carry the mood of their inception: with the band’s members working late-night shifts, their rehearsal and recording schedules found the band playing, writing and recording material between midnight and 4:00AM, and then crashing for a few hours in the studio before going back to work.

The end result is the band’s highly-anticipated, full-length debut. the 10-song album thematically touches upon being young, being in love and maneuvering through heartache in difficult times. Of course while writing and recording together served as a unifying and soothing presence for the members of the band, their music fell victim to their complicated circumstances: The pervasive uncertainty over Hong Kong’s sociopolitical future created an overwhelming feeling of depression that found its way into the local music scene. Shows were cancelled and releases delayed. And for a time, it just didn’t feel relevant to promote music.

While there’s much to be fought for at home, the members of the rising indie rock act have recently begun to feel a fresh hope in their work. They’ve felt as though they’ve reached an understanding of their music’s place amongst the world it inhabits — and they’ve decide to release their full-length debut through Kanine Records on July 16, 2021.

So far, the act has received glowing praise from Time Out for their “dreamy live performances” and their debut single “Lime” was praised by Drowned In Sound, NME and others. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Hong Kong shoegazers latest single “Wellwave” is a sculptured and lush soundscape centered around Kim’s ethereal vocals, glistening synths, skittering four-on-the floor and a motorik groove. Sonically, the track may remind listeners of the likes of Lightfoils, Palm Haze and Cocteau Twins but while feeling like a lucid fever dream.

The recently released video will bring 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind with the band playing in a room full of old, cathode ray TVs, footage shot with a grainy VHS-like quality, split with footage of the band walking around in an equally surreal backdrop of flying fish. It’s appropriately trippy and dream-like.

New Video: Genesis Owusu’s Shimmering and Brooding “Gold Chains”

With the release of his debut, 2017’s Cardrive EP, the rapidly rising Ghanian-born, Canberra, Australia-based, 20-something artist Genesis Owusu — born Kofi Owusu-Anash — quickly established himself as a perpetually restless, genre-blurring chameleon with a defiant, difficult to pigeonhole sound an approach and an ability to conjure powerful and deeply personal storytelling in diverse forms. Cardrive eventually garnered an ARIA Award nomination for Best R&B/Soul Release and praise from Sir Elton John (!), NME, i-D, mixmag and others. And adding to a growing profile, Owusu has opened for the likes of Dead Prez, Col3trane, Sampa The Great, Cosmo’s Midnight, Noname, Animé, Ruel and others in Australia.

Last year, the rising Ghanian-born, Aussie-based artist released a handful of highly-celebrated singles including the fiery mosh-pit friendly banger “Whip Cracker” and the ARIA Award-nominated smash hit “Don’t Need You,” which quickly became the #1 most played song on triple J radio — and since then has received airplay in the UK on both BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 and here in the States on KCRW, KUTX, The Current and Alt98.

“Whip Cracker” and “Don’t Need You” will be on Owusu-Anash’s forthcoming 15 song Andrew Klippel-produced full-length debut Smiling With No Teeth. Slated for a March 5, 2021 release through House Anxiety/Ourness, Smiling With No Teeth reportedly sees the rising Ghanian-born, Aussie artist further honing and developing his genre-confounding sound and approach while charting the epic peaks and troughs of mental health struggles and his experience as a black man in a very white world that hates him — often for no particular reason. Much of the album’s material is centered round raw punk rock-like and hip-hop-like energy while routinely veering into industrial, punk, funk, trip hop and pop, sometimes within the same song. And as a result. the album’s brash and defiant material is seemingly dedicated to those who boldly refused to be boxed into stereotypes or cultural norms, and those who fit in everywhere and nowhere.

“Smiling With No Teeth is performing what the world wants to see, even if you don’t have the capacity to do so honestly,” Owusu explains in press notes. “Slathering honey on your demons to make them palatable to people who only want to know if you’re okay if the answer is yes. That’s the idea, turned into beautiful, youthful, ugly, timeless and strange music.” Each of the album’s 15 tracks can trace their origins back to studio jam sessions with a backing band that features Kirin J. Callinan, Touch Sensitive’s Michael DiFrancesco, World Champion‘s Julian Sudek and the album’s producer Andrew Klippel.

Late last year, I wrote about “The Other Black Dog,” a mind-bending production that meshed alternative hip-hop, industrial clang, clatter, rattle and stomp, off-kilter stuttering beats and wobbling synth arpeggios that was roomy enough for Owusu-Anash’s breathless, rapid-fire and dense flow. Managing to balance club friendliness with sweaty, mosh pit energy, the song is a full-throttled nosedive into madness that reminds me of the drug and booze fueled chaos of ODB, and the menace of DMX.

“Gold Chains,” Smiling With No Teeth’s fourth and latest single is a brooding and seamless synthesis of old school soul, strutting and swaggering G Funk and Massive Attack-like trip hop. Centered around shimmering and atmospheric synths, a sinuous bass line, stuttering boom bap beats and squiggling blasts of guitar, “Gold Chains” finds the rising Ghanian-born, Canberra-based artist adopting a sort of Mos Def/Yasiin Bey-like delivery, alternating between spitting dense and dexterous bars and crooning with an achingly tender falsetto. “‘Gold Chains’ got me thinking about the flaws of being in a profession where, more and more, you have to be the product, rather than just the provider of the product, and public misconceptions about how luxurious that is,” Owusu-Anash explains in press notes. “Lyrically, it set the tone for the rest of the album.”

Directed by frequent visual collaborator Riley Blakeway, the recently released video for “Gold Chains” alternates between luxurious and glossy, 70s inspired glam, glitter and commodities and a behind-the-scenes look at desperation and loneliness. The cars, gold, money and fame are empty and phony — and ironically only add to the protagonist’s increasing dissatisfaction with everything, including himself. “The video is about the hollowness of a lot of the things we hold as idols,” the rising Ghanian-born, Canberra-based artist told The Fader. “The shiny things that get made to look like goals from the outside looking in, but in reality won’t be the source of happiness that we’d hoped for. The gold chains become shackles.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Thyla Releases a Shimmering Ode to Loneliness, Heartbreak, and Survival

Rising Brighton, UK-based indie rock band Thyla can trace its origins to when its founding trio — Millie Duthie (vocals), Danny Southwell (drums) and Dan Hole (bass) — met while attending college. Bonding over shared musical interests, the band’s founding trio started writing original material together, but with the addition of Mitch Duce (guitar) , the band began to reimagine their sound and aesthetic, centered around a distaste what they felt was the stale, boring and tired state of the British recording industry.

As they quickly became JOVM mainstays back in 2019, the Brighton-based act helped to cement their hometown’s growing reputation for a music scene that features some of England’s hottest emerging acts while playing shows with Dream Wife, Luxury Death, Matt Maltese, Yonaka, Husky Loops, Lazy Day, Sunflower Bean, INHEAVEN and Fickle Friends. Adding to a growing profile in their native England, the band was spotlighted alongside Pale Waves, Nilüfer Yanya, and Sorry in NME‘s 100 Essential Acts for 2018.

The act’s debut EP 2019’s What’s On Your Mind was released to critical applause from Pitchfork, Stereogum, NME, The Line of Best Fit and Dork — and it received airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, Radio X and KCRW. Adding to a momentous year, which saw the band receive attention from outside the UK, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays opened for Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever, played attention-grabbing sets at The Great Escape, Live At Leeds and Hit The North. They then followed all of that with their first national tour, which also included one of their biggest shows to date at London’s Electrowerkz.

Last year, Thyla released their sophomore EP Everything at Once, which featured the anthemic and boldly ambitious “Two Sense,”and the shimmering yet anthemic, coming-of-age story “Lennox Hill,” which was arguably the most personal song the band’s Millie Duthie had written to date. And although, last year had put everyone’s career plans and aspirations on hold, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays had been busy working on their long-awaited and highly-anticipated full-length debut

The quartet’s latest single “Breathe” is their first single of 2021 — and is the first taste of their full-length debut, slated for release later this year. “Breathe” is an atmospheric yet dance floor friendly track featuring glistening synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, squiggling blasts of guitar, stuttering four-on-the-floor, Duthie’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals and an enormous hook. While the song sonically may remind some folks of When The Night-era St. Lucia, the song manages to be completely of this moment: Thematically, the song sees the band further exploring the idea that in a constantly connected world, we are paradoxically even more shut off from each other as individuals, evoking the profound and uneasy loneliness many of us have been struggling with. And unsurprisingly, the song captures our longing for the normalcy and real world interactions we can’t have right now while touching upon the fact that we will all get through this somehow. It may change us but we will get through.

“‘Breathe’ was written in the early hours of the morning. Eventually we chanced upon this really vibey atmospheric lick that you hear in the intro, and the whole song grew from there,” Thyla’s Millie Duthie recalls. “The song blossomed into a slightly melancholic dream-pop bop, it’s bittersweet and has a slightly inconclusive feeling to it; imagine a film where the main character never actually gets the happy ending you’ve been so long yearning for. The result of how the instrumental sounded no doubt manifested lyrics that held the same sentiment. The song is about loneliness, estrangement from family and close friends, yet despite this, feeling a sense of inner strength about the situation. It’s like recovering from a breakup and realising you’ve come out stronger, but a reflection of the scar tissue that resulted from the trauma.”

Directed by Joseph Daly, the recently released video for “Breathe” is a glittering yet intimate and hazy, 80s prom-inspired visual that captures the band in intimate and lonely moments, seemingly finding their own strength to continue onward — with the video turning into a sort of dance party for the lonely.

New Video: Norway’s Pom Poko Releases A Mischievous, Gender-Bending Visual for Grungy “Like A Lady”

Deriving their name from one of the more unusual films ever released by Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, Pom Poko is a rising Norwegian act — Ragnhild Fangel (vocals), Martin Miguel Tonne (guitar), Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) — that can trace their origins back to 2016 when the members of the band met while they were studying jazz at Trondheim Music Conservatory, And as the story goes, the members of the rising Norwegian quartet bonded over their mutual desire to play punk rock at a literature festival, rather than jazz.

Individually, the members of Pom Poko have publicly cited a wide and eclectic array of influences including Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Touré, Vulfpeck, Palm, KNOWER, Hella, Death Grips, Jenny Hval and Nick Drake among others. Interestingly, the rising Norwegian act has firmly established a sound and approach that defies easy description or categorization. “We’ve all done lots of improvised music in the past, and I think that shapes the way we play, even though the tunes are not improvised,” the band explained in press notes. “We like when new and strange things happen in an old song, and that music can change over time by being played live, because that removes predictability and the ‘recipe’ that some genres of music have.”

Last year’s full-length debut Birthday was released to praise from Interview Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash Magazine, DIY Magazine and NME, who picked Pom Poko as one of the acts to watch out for in 2019. Adding to a growing national and international profile, the album received airplay on BBC Radio 6, as well as Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannprisen) Award and Nordic Music Prize nominations.

Building upon the growing momentum of the past year or so, the rising Norwegian quartet’s Marcus Forsgren-produced sophomore album Cheater is slated for a January 15, 2021 release through Bella Union Records. Written during a rather prolific and busy period that saw them release a one-off singles “Leg Day” and “Praise,” Cheater reportedly finds the band further developing the sound that has won them national and international acclaim. But the major difference between Birthday and Cheater is that the latter’s material wasn’t road-tested before they went into the studio to record it. ”That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time,” Pom Poko’s Ragnhild Fangel explains.

“I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process, I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic execution and recording but also let ourselves explore the less frantic part of the Pom Poko universe,” Fangel says of the differences between Birthday and Cheater. “I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about breakneck album single “My Candidacy.” Centered around the classic grunge rock song structure of alternating saccharine quiet verses and arena rock choruses, “My Candidacy,” evokes the urgently swooning rush of new love. According to the band “the song itself is about the wish to be able to believe in unconditional love, even though you know that there probably is no such thing. We, at least, believe in unconditional love for riffy tunes with sing-song choruses.”

Cheater’s latest single “Like A Lady” continues a run of infectious, grunge-like material featuring saccharine verses delivered with a brash coquettishness paired with blistering, power chord-driven, mosh pit friendly choruses. Interestingly, the song finds the band balancing mischievous levity with a brooding and probing seriousness.

“’Like A Lady’ was one of the first songs we wrote for the album – we started writing it in a cabin near Oslo and finished it in Piemonte in Italy, where we also started recording it,” the members of Pom Poko explain in press notes. “The whole song actually started with a long, jam-like sort of noise-rock intro, but when it was time to record it our friend/engineer/co-producer Marcus Forsgren suggested more of a Breeders/grungy intro that we just went with on the fly. The lyrics for the song slowly grew out from just jamming together, and are about what makes, or what one thinks makes, a woman, what even being a woman means, and it’s also a kind of tribute to all the different ways of being a woman that are out there.”

Directed by Marin Håskjold, the recently released video for “Like A Lady” stars Desiree Bøgh Vaksdal, Lærke Grøntved, Josephine Kylén Collins, Ann-Christin Kongsness and the members of Pom Poko subverting gender roles and rules in a way that points out their utter ridiculousness — and how gender roles deny one’s individuality.

New Audio: Acclaimed Norwegian Act Pom Poko Release an Exuberant and Breakneck New Single

Deriving their name from one of the more outre films ever released by Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, Pom Poko is a rising Norwegian quartet — Ragnhild Fangel (vocals), Martin Miguel Tonne (guitar), Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) — that can trace their origins back to 2016 when the members of the band met while they were studying jazz at Trondheim Music Conservatory, and bonded over their desire to play punk rock at a jazz gig at a literature festival.

Interestingly, the individual members of the rising Norwegian act have publicly cited a wide and eclectic array of influences on their sound and approach, including Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure, Vulfpeck, Palm, KNOWER, Hella, Death Grips, Jenny Hval and Nick Drake among others. And as a result, the act has managed to establish a sound and approach that defies easy description or categorization. “We’ve all done lots of improvised music in the past, and I think that shapes the way we play, even though the tunes are not improvised,” the band explained in press notes. “We like when new and strange things happen in an old song, and that music can change over time by being played live, because that removes predictability and the ‘recipe’ that some genres of music have.”

Last year’s full-length debut Birthday received praise from the likes of Interview Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash Magazine, DIY Magazine and NME, who picked the band as one of the acts to watch out for in 2019 — and with the breakneck “My Blood,” a track that possessed elements of math rock, punk rock and indie rock was a great example of their wildly inventive, exuberant sound. Adding to a breakthrough year, the band also received airplay on BBC Radio 6 while landing Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannprisen) Award and Nordic Music Prize nods.

Building upon the momentum of last year, the Norwegian quartet’s highly-anticipated Marcus Forsgren-produced sophomore album Cheater is slated for a November 6, 2020 release through Bella Union Records. Written during the same period that produced one-off singles like “Leg Day” and “Praise,” Cheater finds the band further establishing the sound that has won them national and international acclaim — but the major difference between the two is that Cheater’s material wasn’t road-tested before the band went into the studio.”That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time,” Pom Poko’s Ragnhild Fangel explains.

“I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process, I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic education and recording but also let ourselves explore the less frantic part of the Pom Poko universe,” Fangel says of the differences between Birthday and Cheater. “I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.”

Cheater’s latest single “My Candidacy” finds the act managed to walk a tightrope between breakneck mosh pit friendly punk, centered around enormous power chords and saccharine sweet verses. Featuring the classic grunge rock alternating loud, quiet, loud song structure, the song explodes with an unpredictable, brash and girlish coquettishness while evoking the swooning rush of love. According to the band “the song itself is about the wish to be able to believe in unconditional love, even though you know that there probably is no such thing. We, at least, believe in unconditional love for riffy tunes with sing-song choruses.”