Tag: Nonbinary Artists Who Kick Ass

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Dream Wife Share Urgent and Incisive “Who Do You Wanna Be?”

London-based punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Dream Wife — Rakel Mjöll (vocals) (she/her), Alice Go (guitar, vocals) (she/her) and Bella Podapec (bass, vocals) (they/them) — will be releasing their highly anticipated and long-awaited third album Social Lubrication through Lucky Number on June 9, 2023.

Throughout their career, the trio has been remarkably adept at merging the political and the playful, and Social Lubrication further cements that reputation. Forceful, vital statements are hidden within hot and heavy dance floor friendly anthems about making out, having fun and staying curious. In the JOVM mainstay act’s words, the album is: “Hyper lusty rock and roll with a political punch, exploring the alchemy of attraction, the lust for life, embracing community and calling out the patriarchy. With a healthy dose of playfulness and fun thrown in.”

There is a sense of fun and openness that is central to Social Lubrication, as well. “There’s a lot of lust in this album and taking the piss out of yourself and everyone you know,” Rakel Mjöll says. “It’s almost quite juvenile in that way.”

“The album is speaking to systemic problems that cannot be glossed over by lube,” Dream Wife’s Bella Podpadec says. “The things named in the songs are symptoms of f-ed up structures. And you can’t fix that. You need to pull it apart.”

Perhaps more than ever, the live show is at the core of the album and its material. “The live show is the truth of the band,” Alice Go says. “That’s at the heart of what we do and of the statements we’re making.” For the members of Dream Wife — and of any band, really — the live show is where the band and fans can come together in a shared moment of community. And to that end, the album is a celebration of community and a big ol’ middle finger to the social barriers that are enforced to sever connection, playfulness, curiosity and sexual empowerment. “Music is one of the only forms of people experiencing an emotion together in a visceral, physical, real way,” says Go. “It’s cathartic to the systemic issues that are being called out across the board in the record. Music isn’t the cure, but it’s the remedy. That’s what Social Lubrication is: the positive glue that can create solidarity and community.” 

An energetic, pedal-to-the-metal sound explodes through the album’s material. And you can hear it the loud, dirty riffs and shout-along worthy choruses specifically crafted for shaking asses, bouncing around and yelling joyously in shared spaces with friends and strangers. For the band’s Go, who produced the album, it was important to capture and bottle that joyful, frenetic feeling the band’s members all felt. “We wanted to get that rawness and energy across in a way that hadn’t been done before,” she says. 

 In the lead-up to Social Lubrication‘s release next month, I’ve written about three of the album’s released singles to date:

Leech,” an urgent, post-punk inspired ripper that saw the band’s Mjöll alternating between spoken-word-like delivery for the song’s verses and feral shouting for the song’s choruses. Mjöll’s vocal delivery is paired with an alternating song structure that features looping and wiry guitar bursts for the song’s verses and explosive, power chord-driven riffage for the song’s choruses. The song is a tense, uneasy and forceful, mosh pit friendly anthem for our uncertain, fucked up time, that addresses the inherent double standards of power — while urgently calling for more empathy.” 

“It’s an anthem for empathy. For solidarity,” the JOVM mainstays explain. “Musically tense and withheld, erupting to angry cathartic crescendos. The push and pull of the song lyrically and musically expands and contracts, stating and calling out the double standards of power. Nobody really wins in a patriarchal society. We all lose. We could all use more empathy. As our first song to be released in a while, we wanted to write something that feels like letting an animal out of a cage. It’s out. And it’s out for blood…”

Hot (Don’t Date A Musician),” a Gang of Four-like, tongue-in-cheek ripper inspired by Mjöll’s grandmother’s sage advice — despite the fact that she herself, dated many musicians in her day — while wryly poking fun at musicians and the music adjacent, the band included. “Dating musicians is a nightmare,” Mjöll explains. “Evoking imagery of late night make-outs with fuckboy/girl/ambiguously-gendered musicians on their mattress after being seduced by song-writing chat. The roles being equally reversed. Having a laugh together and being able to poke fun at ourselves is very much at the heart of this band. This song encapsulates our shared sense of humour. Sonically it is the lovechild of CSS and Motorhead. It has our hard, live, rock edge combined with cheeky and playful vocals.”

Orbit,” a dance punk ripper. built around a a propulsive disco-inspired post punk rhythm, bursts of wiry guitars paired with enormous hooks and Mjöll’s sultry rock goddess-like delivery that recalls Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah YeahsEchoes-era The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem among others. Much like its predecessor, the song is fun and rooted in a sense of youthful adventure and possibility. 

“Written through the joy of jamming together and locking into the groove like a multi limbed space age organism, ‘Orbit’ has a dance rock edge from the early noughties of bands like New Young Pony Club and Yeah Yeah Yeahs,” the band explains. “Lyrically, it was inspired by post-lockdown London coming back to life and sharing a space through friendship and community. And how each day you never know what’s in store for you or how a stranger can become someone close to you – for a day, a heartbeat, a phase, or a lifetime.” 

The album’s fourth and latest single “Who Do You Wanna Be” continues a remarkable run of scuzzy post punk rippers built around slashing power chords, relentless four-on-the-floor and rousingly anthemic, shout-along worthy choruses paired with Mjöll’s delivery, which sees her alternating between flirty and bitterly sarcastic within a turn of a phrase. The song sees the band taking on capitalism and faux-activism — with a lived-in annoyance and bemusement. As they explain, the song is “about running on the capitalist treadmill and falling face first on the pavement. Hollow slogans, social media activism without action, leftist infighting, monetising feminism, ‘girl boss,’ all soul crushing nonsense. Capitalism consumes everything. We should tear down the unreachable, anxiety filled idea of perfectionism, and move from hyper individualised narrative to collective action to create hopeful, rebellious, collective, systems of care. This is a call to arms for change.

The accompanying stylishly shot video features the band performing the song in an abandoned leisure center pool in East London, and captures the frenetic energy of their live show.

New Video: Rising Brooklyn-based DJ and Producer Fiveboi Teams up with Sola on a Shimmering Meditation on Loss

Opening for the likes of Madison McFerrin, KeiyaA and Shabazz Palaces, the rising nonbinary, Brooklyn-based DJ and producer Fiveboi has steadily established am atmospheric and melancholic dance sound that moves listeners to dance while completing existential matters of the heart. Following the release of their attention-grabbing debut single “Out of My Head,” the rising Brooklyn-based DJ and producer started working on their latest single “Fall Apart,” at In Session, a virtual, one-week summer camp that they co-founded and organized for women, nonbinary and trans producers of color, “as a way to center joy and creativity after enduring many months of pandemic isolation and racial injustice on a global scale.”

After posting the original instrumental track on Discord, London-based “warped-soul” artist Sola reached out to Fiveboi to collaborate. “That was the very first track I ever produced where I worked with a vocalist and was a huge moment for me,” they explain, “tapping into the power that can come from putting my music out into the world and collaborating with others and recognizing that my collaborators can be anywhere— IRL, on the internet and even countries apart.” The end result is a song that’s dreamily introspective and full of loss, centered around atmospheric and wobbling synths, skittering beats and Sola’s achingly soulful vocals.
“It’s funny,” Fiveboi continues, “at the time I was still processing a breakup I had gone through at the beginning of lockdown and the lyrics were a perfect reflection of how I was feeling.”

Directed by Hasan Khalid and shot by Imani Nikyah, the recently released and incredibly cinematic video for “Fall Apart” was shot in Arizona and features a couple dancing together as the sun sets — but throughout there are reunions and departures. And according to the rising Brooklyn-based artist the video shoot helped the song take on a different meaning: “I was actually going through another breakup, this time with a best friend. That time around, the lyrics took on an entirely new meaning for me, and being able to act out and translate the pain and sadness I was going through when filming the video.”

New Video: Canadian Rock Duo Crown Lands Releases an Impassioned and Fiery Visual and Single

Crown Lands is a rising Oshawa, Ontario, Canada-based rock duo — Cody Bowles (vocals, drums) and Kevin Comeau (guitar, bass, synths) — that can trace its origins back to 2014, when the duo met. Bonding over a shared love and passion for music, Bowles and Comeau quickly became best friends and started jamming together in a local barn. And although they switched up instruments, they never strayed from writing, recording and performing as a duo. 

The duo’s name manages to be forcefully indicative of their ambitions and intentions. Crown Land is territorial area belonging to a monarch — or as Bowles puts it: “Crown Land is stolen land and we are reclaiming it.” The band’s overall mission is to represent a sense of empowerment for marginalized communities through their music and their work’s thematic concerns and lyrical content. People are going to listen to you, so you may as well say something that matters,” Crown Land’s Kevin Comeau says in press notes. 

Since their formation, the band has released three EPs 2016’s Mantra, 2017’s Rise Over Run and this year’s Wayward Flyers, Volume 1. Each of those releases have firmly established the band’s unique sound, a sound that draws from a wide range of influences including folk. blues, psych rock and prog rock among others. Along with those releases, the band has released two singles — “Spit It Out,” and “Howlin’ Back” — which will appear on their forthcoming Dave Cobb-produced full-length debut, which is slated for an August 13, 2020 release. “Dave pushed us to listen to ourselves and really trust our initial instinct with a song,” the band’s Bowles’ says in press notes. 

The Canadian duo’s latest single, the anthemic “End of the Road” is the third and latest single they’ve released this year, and the track is fueled by Bowles’ personal experiences — while calling attention to an urgent social issue. According to Statistics Canada, between 2001 to 2015, the homicide rate for Indigenous Womxn in Canada was almost six times as high as the rate for non-indigenous womxn. “‘End of the Road’ is an outcry for awareness and action surrounding the colonial horrors of the missing and murdered Indigenous Womxn, Girls, and Two-Spirits that still haunt Indigenous communities today,” Bowles explains. “Violence against Indigenous people is something I have witnessed firsthand throughout my life. I am half Mi’kmaw and grew up spending of a lot of my childhood in and around Alderville First Nation. I identify as Two-Spirit and dream of a better world for the brilliant Indigenous womxn, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people who face adversity every day for their very existence. It’s up to all of us to make this world a better place for future generations, and this song is a small message of hope adding to the rising wave of Indigenous resistance throughout this land.” 

Sonically, the track finds the duo bringing  JOVM mainstay Sam Fender and even fellow Canadian Bryan Adams to mind: enormous, power chord-driven arena rock friendly hooks and thunderous drumming within an expansive song structure. And while being  remarkably accessible, the song is centered around ambitious and passionate songwriting — the sort informed by the righteous fury of lived-in injustice, of people who have reached their breaking point and are screaming “I’VE HAD ENOUGH!”  “We don’t claim to have any answers., but we want to use our voice to bring awareness and help make a difference,” the band’s Comeau adds. 

Directed by Tim Myles and Alex P. Smith, the haunting video for “End of the Road” opens with impassionaied narration by Canadian Inuk vocalist Tanya Tagaq, who offers some contextualization of the ongoing disappearances and murders of Indigenous womxn. The video features cast of Indigenous dancers, who are dancing to choreography by Teineisha Richards, a Mi’kmaq artist based in Bear River First Nations, Nova Scotia, wearing red dresses inspired by the work of The REDress Project, a collection of 600 red dresses by community donation installed across Canada as a visual reminder of the staggering number of missing womxn and the gendered, racial nature of violent crimes against Indigenous womxn, girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ people. The dancers represent the souls of those missing and murdered womxn, demanding answers from the afterlife — and adding to overall eerie yet urgent nature of the song and its accompanying video, the video was shot on British Columbia Highway 16, better known (infamously so) as “The Highway of Tears,” where most of these women have disappeared. 

“To create the choreography I had to go to a pretty deep and dark place and put myself in the shoes of both the women who went missing and the families of those women who suffered with their loss,” Richards explains. “I  wanted to express the desperate feeling of someone fighting to escape, but with no redemption. Additionally, I aimed to generate a sense of self-empowerment and unity within a shared struggle, by my use of staccato, aggressive, and synchronized movement during the group sections of choreography. Most of the choreography derived from that dark, yet powerful place, and the overall message and feeling I received from the song.”