Tag: Nots

New Audio: Memphis’ Optic Sink Releases a Tense and Neurotic New Single

Optic Sink — Nots’ Natalie Hoffmann and Ben Bauermeister — is a Memphis-based act that specializes in a genre-defying sound that morphs from cold wave to psychedelia to distorted noise rock, often within the same song. Thematically and sonically, the duo fragment and reassemble sounds, concepts and verbal constructs while attempting to find beauty in the journey despite what the final resolution may be.

The duo’s self-titled debut is slated for an October 2, 2020 release through Goner Records — and the album’s second and latest single “Exhibitionist” is a tense and minimalist track centered around arpeggiated synths and chintzy Casio-like metronomic beats paired with Hoffmann’s insouciant delivery. And at its core, is an uncertain and neurotic narrator, who’s rightfully a bit paranoid. “From the pressure to constantly commodify yourself, market yourself, appear to be a certain thing –– the BEST thing –– on social media, to the cold machine eye on the other side that is always watching, taking notes, fitting all of us neatly into its algorithm, and selling this idea of the best version of ourselves back to us,” Optic Sink’s Hoffman explains. “And the overwhelming evidence is that we’re buying it, but what are we actually paying for it?”

New Video: Stockholm’s SNAKE Releases a Mosh Pit Friendly Anthem

SNAKE is a rising Stockholm-based noise punk trio, featuring old friends Mia Maria Johansson  (guitar, vocals), Madeleine Frankie (synths, Theremin, vocals) and Tess De La Cour (drums). Tracing its origins back to 2014, the band found the longtime friends doing something decidedly different from any of their previously work: completely analog garage punk centered around heavily distorted guitars, trashy drums and filthy old synthesizers that the band says is dark without being overly emo rock and yet raw and hard without being full on hardcore punk. 

A month after their formation, the band landed their first gig — and shortly after that, the band began booking gigs across Sweden, eventually sharing stages with Chinese punk act Fan Zui Xian Fa, Bass Drum of Death and Refused among others. Building upon a growing national profile, the band released their Stefan Brändström-recorded and engineered debut, 2015’s Cradle of Snake, which the band supported with a European tour during October and November of that year.  The following year, the band won the Year’s Rock Award at the 2016 Manifest Awards. 

“Falling,” which continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Stefan Brändström, and interestingly enough, the track is simultaneously, the first bit of new material from the rising Swedish indie act in four years — and the first single of their sophomore album. which is slated for a fall 2020 release. Clocking in at a little over four minutes, the track sonically — to my ears — finds the band meshing L7, Bikini Kill and 90s Riot Grrl punk with the tense and grimy synth punk of JOVM mainstays Nots and Prettiest Eyes, as the song is centered around distorted power chords, propulsive and steady drumming, howled vocals and a rousing hook. Simply put, the song is a mosh pit friendly anthem that’s deceptively anachronistic: it sounds as though it could have been released in 1993, 2003 — or yesterday. 

Directed by Per Norman, the recently released video is a fittingly 120 Minutes MTV-like visual, in which we see the heavily made up members rocking out and moving in a frenetic fashion — before quickly switching to playing a house party in front of a cool bunch of local Swedes. 

Currently comprised of founding member Natalie Hoffman (vocals, guitar, synth) with Charlotte Watson (drums) and Madison Farmer (bass), the Memphis, TN-based punk rock  act Nots quickly rose to national prominence with the release of their full-length debut, 2014’s We Are Nots, an effort that sonically drew from 60s garage rock, 77-era punk, thrash punk, No Wave and New Wave. 2017’s sophomore effort Cosmetic found the act expanding upon the sound that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and elsewhere, while lyrically commenting on sociopolitical concerns — in particular, the album focused on the rough and complicated edges of desire, deceit and distortions. and how they impact appearances and your sense of reality.

Last year, the band went through a significant lineup change with longtime keyboardist Alexandra Hoffman leaving the band. Understandably, the threat of the band losing Eastburn’s hammering synth progressions resulted in some growing pains for the band. But when the newly constituted trio arrived at Bunker Audio to recored material with their longtime friend, collaborator and engineer, Andrew McCalla, each member fully embracing the band’s new identity and approach. Rather than completely abandon the noisy synth attack aspect of their sound, Hoffman decided to take up synths. Slated for a May 10, 2019 release through their longtime label home Goner Records, the band’s forthcoming album, the aptly titled 3 should be seen and understood as something altogether different from its predecessors.”Once we really leaned into the space that being a three-piece afforded us, our writing started to make better sense and connect,” the band’s Natalie Hoffmann explains in press notes. “It made for a more interesting record than if we stayed comfortable and safe in the way we were writing.”

Reportedly through the entire album, the band explores themes of lost control, societal division and strife, the loss of reality in performance and how exhausting it can be to navigate the blurry lines between playing an actor/performer and playing human. And while continuing in a similar heady thematic space as its predecessor, the band’s forthcoming third album was recorded live — but with an intense, improvisational energy to the proceedings. 3’s first single, “Half-Painted House” is centered by a propulsive bass line, wild squealing feedback and synths, shouted lyrics, shouted lyrics and a mosh pit friendly hook — and while bearing a resemblance to Cosmetic, the hypnotic track may arguably be one of the darker songs they’ve released to date, as the song is “about being stuck in a haze of repetitive cycles while change proves to be both stubborn and elusive. The veneer of what it looks like to be ‘normally functioning’ during these tumultuous times is peeling to reveal a mind struggling to keep from turning against itself,” Hoffman explains in press notes.

Nots have confirmed a handful of SXSW sets and a couple of live shows. There will be more coming in the near future; but in the meantime, check out the live dates below.

Live Dates: 
 
3/14: Austin, TX – Levitation – Hotel Vegas – 5:45PM
3/15: Austin, TX – She Shreds – Saraha Lounge – 1:20PM
3/15: Austin, TX – Goner Records – Beerland – 1:00AM

3/29: Memphis, TN – Bar DKDC

5/25 – Memphis, TN – B-Side Bar (Album Release Show)
More To Come…

New Video: Chicago’s Ganser Returns with a Tense and Propulsive Single Paired with Badass B-Movie Visuals

Last month, I wrote about the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser, and as you may recall the act, comprised of  Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals), Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals), Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) formed back in 2014  — and with the release of their debut EP This Feels like Living, the quartet received attention locally for a art rock-leaning post-punk/noise rock sound that was influenced by Sonic Youth and Magazine. 
The Chicago, IL-based post-punk quartet’s forthcoming, full-length debut Odd Talk is an April 20, 2018 release through No Trend Records, and the album reportedly focuses on communication breakdowns — with the song’s narrators desperately seeking meaning in confusion and messiness, as though they were figuratively sorting through syllables and signals to find the right words to say what it is you want or need to say. Album single “PSY OPS” found the band walking a careful tightrope between angular Wire-like post-punk and the furious, bruising punk of Memphis‘ Ex-Cult and Nots but with explosive bursts of discordant noise, and the whole thing was held together by a rhythm section that was propulsive, frenzied and yet strangely danceable. Over that, Garofalo shouted and barked lyrics that sounded and felt like absurdist non-sequiturs. 

Odd Talk’s latest single “Avoidance” is arguably the most decidedly straightforward post-punk songs they’ve released as it features propulsive and angular bass chords, slashing guitar lines, tribal-like drumming and blasts of synths over which Garofalo’s voice rises and falls with increasing frustration, followed by a weary sort of acceptance. Interestingly, the song is about the sharp pain of miscommunication with someone you love and the exhaustion of trying to be understood when your language is just completely wrong. And ultimately, it makes communication and trying to be understood absurd and pointless. 

Centered around edited stock footage taken from 60s and 70s B movies, the video features classic muscle cars racing in a desert landscape towards an unknown end further emphasizing the absurdity at the heart of the song. 

New Audio: Introducing the Paranoid Post-Punk of Chicago’s Ganser

Comprised of Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals), Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals), Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar), the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser was formed in 2014, and with the release of their EP, This Feels like Living, the quartet received attention locally for a sound that was influenced by Sonic Youth and Magazine — or in other words for embracing art rock, post-punk and noise rock.

Ganser’s forthcoming, full-length debut Odd Talk is slated for an April 20, 2018 release through No Trend Records, and the album thematically speaking focuses on communication breakdowns — with the band seeking meaning in confusing, ugly, messiness; figuratively sorting through syllables and signals to find the right words for what they need to say. Sonically speaking, the band’s sound, as you’ll hear on Odd Talk’s first single “PSY OPS” walks a tight rope between angular post-punk, the furious and bruising punk of Memphis’ Ex-Cult and Nots and explosive bursts of discordant noise held together by a  rhythm section that’s propulsive, tense, frenzied and yet strangely danceable. And over it, the band’s Garofalo shouts and barks lyrics that feel like absurdist non-sequiturs.

Directed by the band and featuring camera work by Jason Kraynek, the recently released video for “PSY OPS” focuses on routine as a sort of absurdist and ridiculous spectacle with the individual members of the band observing and haunting the video’s protagonist as he’s preparing for his day — with the video and its protagonist (rightfully) becoming increasingly paranoid.

New Audio: The Men Release a Raw Punk Rock-Inspired Bruiser from Forthcoming Seventh Full-Length Album “Drift”

Although they have one of the more difficult to Google names I’ve come across in quite some time, the Brooklyn-based punk rock/post-hardcore/psych rock/post-punk act The Men, currently comprised of founding duo Mark Perro (vocals, guitar, keys) and Nick Chiericozzi (vocals, guitar), along with Rich Samis (drums) and Kevin Faulkner (bass, lap steel) formed back in 2008, and since their formation, they’ve released six, critically applauded albums — 2010’s Immaculada, 2011’s Leave Home,  2012’s Open Your Heart, 2013’s New Moon, 2014’s Tomorrow’s Hits and 2016’s Devil Music. Despite going through a few lineup changes during their ten year history, each successful album has found the band incorporating increasingly diverse elements and influences while expanding upon their sound — 2012’s Open Your Heart, which may be among the band’s more accessible albums found the band incorporating surf rock, country music and pop structures; 2013’s New Moon found the band incorporating classic rock and country rock influences, and was described by one critic as “akin to Dinosaur, Jr. on a serious Tom Petty kick;” Tomorrow’s Hits found the band employing punk rock and classic rock influences; and Devil Music was considered a necessary reset by the members of the band.

The band’s forthcoming, seventh, full-length album Drift marks their tenth year as a band and a proud return to their longtime label home Sacred Bones Records, and interestingly, Drift finds the New York-based quartet exploring the openness that its predecessor helped them find while continuing with an experimental bent — with most of the material not featuring a prominent appearance by an electric guitar; however, the album’s first single “Killed Someone” is a raw, rowdy, bruising mosh-pit worthy song, reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Ex-Cult and Nots.

Drift is slated for a March 2, 2018 release. The band will be e

 

Comprised of founding members Cory Feirman (bass, vocals) and Dan Wise (guitar, vocals) with Will Schmeichen (drums) the Brooklyn-based punk rock trio Honey can trace their origins to when its founding duo met at Academy Records — at the time Feirman worked as a buyer, while Wise was a regular customer. As the story goes, Wise stopped by Academy Records and mentioned that he was looking for The Gun Club‘s Death Party EP, which happened to be the next record in the stack of recent arrivals that Feirman was pricing. The coincidence ultimately led them to realize that they had had more in common than a love of punk rock and punk rock records, and they began playing together not long after that. Interestingly, at the time Wise was a member of JOVM mainstays Psychic Ills and shared an occasional bill with Schmeichen, who was a member of Amen Dunes. Wise and Freirman recruited Schmeichen, who was interested in joining a more straightforward rock-leaning project.
Since their formation, the band has shared stages with the likes of Dead Moon, J. Mascis, Sheer Mag, The Men, Destruction Unit and others, while quickly developing a reputation for being one of the area’s rawest punk bands; in fact, with the release of 2015’s Love Is Hard, the trio received praise for releasing, in the words of Bryon Coley, “a great hard-edged slice of rock noise.” and with the forthcoming release of their sophomore effort, New Moody Judy, the Brooklyn-based trio hope to further cement their burgeoning reputation for blistering noisey rock. And unsurprisingly, New Moody Judy‘s first single “Dream Come Now,” manages to sonically reminds me of JOVM mainstays Ex-Cult and NOTS in the sense that the Brooklyn trio is equally primal, forceful — and perhaps more important, mosh-pit friendly.

The band has a September 12, 2017 show at Union Pool with NOTS, and it may be one of the highlights of the musical year.

With the release of 2014’s We Are Nots, the Memphis, TN-based punk rock quartet Nots, currently comprised of founding member Natalie Hoffman, along with Charlotte Watson (drums), Madison Farmer (bass) and Alexandra Eastburn (synths), quickly rose to national prominence for a sound that possessed elements of 60s garage rock, punk, thrash punk, No Wave and New Wave. And since 2014, the Memphis-based punk quartet has been rather prolific, realizing a handle of singles that revealed a band that had expanded upon their sound while lyrically focusing on deeper, sociopolitical concerns; in fact, Cosmetic, Nots’ sophomore effort thematically focused on the rough and complicated edges of desire, deceit and distortions — and how they impact both appearances and your sense of reality. And in many ways, the album seemed to capture a narrator struggling to find some kind of footing in a vicious, perverse and fucked up world.

Now, a little bit of time has passed since I’ve written about the JOVM mainstays but they’ve been busy writing and recording new material — including their forthcoming 7 inch single “Violence”/”Cruel Friend,” which is slated for a June 30, 2017 release through Goner Records. And from the single’s “A side, “Violence,” the band has further experimented with their sound, pushing their sound in new, weird directions — all while still remaining a wild, feral rock band; in fact, the band replaces most of the guitar work for layers of buzzing and forceful synths, and as a result, it gives the song a razor sharp sense of menace and irony.