Tag: Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Death Valley Girls Release a Feverish Visual for “Hold My Hand”

I’ve also spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act JOVM mainstays Death Valley Girls throughout the bulk of this site’s 10 year history.  The act which features founding duo Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar) and a rotating cast of collaborators that includes Alana Amram (bass), Laura Harris (drums), Shannon Lay, members of The Make Up, The Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps’ Laura Kelsey can trace their origins back to over a decade ago, when they were formed by Schemel, Bloomgarden, Rachel Orosco (bass) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums).  And despite the fact that they’ve gone through a series of lineup changes throughout their history, the band’s sound and aesthetic for much of their history has been heavily indebted to The Manson Family and B movie theatrics — while thematically concerned with the occult. 

Earlier this year, the longtime JOVM mainstays released a two song, seven-inch EP Breakthrough. The EP found the Los Angeles-based act covering two songs which have a deep and profound connection to the band — both in their spirit and aural alignment. One of those songs was Atomic Rooster‘s “Breakthrough,” a song discovered through an even more obscure cover by Nigerian psych act The Funkees.  While the Death Valley Girls’ cover leans more towards The Funkees’ version — thanks to grimy power chords, fire-and-brimstone organ lines and an in-your-face, combative chorus — all three versions of the song evoke the age-old desire to be free from prisons both real and mental.

Although they’ve been unable to tour because of COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdowns and quarantines, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays have managed to make 2020 a busy year: Slated for an October 2, 2020 release through their longtime label home, Suicide Squeeze Records, the band’s forthcoming album Under the Spell of Joy derives its title from the text on a t-shirt that the San Diego-based heavy psych rock act Joy gave to Death Valley Girls’ Bloomgarden. As the story goes, Bloomgarden regularly wore the shirt constantly over the next five years, treating it like a talisman. “I read it as being about manifesting your biggest dreams and responding thoughtfully and mindfully to everything that comes in your path with joy and compassion first,” Bloomgarden explains in press notes. “There is a lot to be really angry about in the world but joy is just as powerful if used correctly!”

With Under the Spell of Joy, the members of the Death Valley Girls sough to make a spiritual record — what Bloomgarden describes as a “space gospel” — with the intention of bringing people together and creating the kind of participatory musical experience people have in places of worship. And as a result, the album’s material is generally centered around chants, choirs and rousing choruses, written with the purpose of encouraging people to sing along. Where the band had once sought to connect people through more esoteric means, Spell of Joy finds them tapping into an age-old tradition of uniting people by inviting them to be an active participant.

Although Bloomgarden and Schemel knew their intention for the album’s material before they had written a single note, the nature and direction of the music was initially inspired by the Ethiopian funk records they had been listening to while touring — but once they began playing and recording the material they had written, the music, which they claim came from tapping into their subconscious seemed to come from the future. Now, as you may recall, last month, I wrote about Under the Spell of Joy’s first single, the slow-burning. expansive and yearning “The Universe,” a track which seemed to simultaneously nod at Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here era Pink Floyd, 60s psych rock and shoegaze. 

Under the Spell of Joy’s second and latest single “Hold My Hand” is simultaneously a return to form and arguably one of the album’s seemingly more straightforward songs: centered around stomping drums, reverb drenched guitars, soaring organs and a rousingly anthemic hook, the song evokes both the urgent swoon of new love, as well as the urge to improve upon oneself deep personal reflection and through love. 

“Relationships are really tricky and can be super messy and complicated! I used to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again,” Death Valley Girls’ Bonnie Bloomgarden explains in press notes. “I realized it’s cause I thought relationships were an agreement you made with another person. And that meant giving away my power to the other person and letting them navigate our way along our path. Then I realized things either happen to you or for you! Any relationship you have is an opportunity to make an agreement with yourself! It’s a chance to learn to be more compassionate and to grow stronger and more powerfully into the person you want to be and are meant to be! Hopefully, the other person will help along the way and grow with you! If not, peace and next, please.”

Curated by Andi Avery and Kate E. Hinshaw, the recently released video for “Hold My Hand” features painted film by a collection of artists. The end result is a visual that’s lysergic, urgent and feverish.  

New Video: Mexican Shoegazers Mint Field Release a Gorgeous Visual for Meditative New Single “Natural”

With the release of their debut EP Primeras Salidas, acclaimed shoegazer act Mint Field — initially founded in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico by Estrella del Sol Sanchez and Amor Amezcua — quickly received international attention that landed them sets across the North American festival circuit, including Coachella and SXSW, as well as sets at venues across both the States and their native Mexico. Interestingly, their Christopher Koltay-produced full-length debut, 2018’s Pasar De Las Luces found the then-duo establishing a clearer sense of what they wanted to do sonically, as a result of having the tools to do so. Drawing from dream pop, krautock, stoner rock and shoegaze, the material was imbued with sorrow and nostalgia. 

Since the release of their full-length debut, there’s been a number of massive changes with the band’s universe. The band relocated to Mexico City and upon moving to the Mexican capital, the band has gone through a massive lineup change: Amor Amezcua  left the band, and the band has expanded into a trio with the addition of Sebastian Neyra and the band’s newest member, Ulrika Spacek’s Callum Brown. Additionally, the band recently signed to Los Angeles-based post punk label Felte Records — and to celebrate the occasion, the band released a new single, “Natural.”

Recorded at London-based Wilton Way Studio, the Syd Kemp-produced track “Natural” finds the newly constituted trio collaborating with Vanishing Twin’s Cathy Lucas and Nathan Pigott. And while continuing a run of ethereal and dreamy material, centered around contemplative lyrical content, “Natural” finds the band expanding upon their sonic palette with the addition of strings and saxophone, which strike me as being subtle nods to 60s psych rock and Dark Side of the Moon-era Pink Floyd but with some industrial clang and clatter. “‘Natural’ is a song about speaking words and how the fluency of words is very important to our subconscious, as well as being self-aware,” the band explains in press notes. 

Directed by their friends Daniela Solis and Maria Ramirez, the recently released video for “Natural” was shot in late February, just before the COVID-19 shut downs. Featuring sequences shot both inside and outside, the video reveals gorgeous, almost painterly  contrasts between light and shadow. “The idea was to capture the movement of light and how time elapses,” the band says. “It was recorded in an empty house, which belongs to the grandmother of the two directors. Visually we were aiming for pleasing and matte colors. It was all natural with no post production effects.”

New Audio: Oakland Psych Rockers Whiskerman Releases an Ambitious and Swooning New Single

Over the past seven years of their existence, the Oakland-based psych rock act Whiskerman — Graham Patzner (vocals, guitar, violin, piano/keys), Will Lawerence (bass, mandolin), Dan Schwartz (drums), Charles Lloyd (guitar, sitar) and Jeremy Lyon — have developed a reputation for thematically taking the sublime through ambitious songwriting, a rapturous live show and acute lyricism, and for being at the forefront of the Bay Area’s psych rock and festival scenes. 

The Oakland-based psych rock quintet is preparing to release their fourth album Kingdom Illusion and while the album’s material will reportedly continue the band’s run of crafting rock rooted in the traditions of classic rock, psych rock and glam rock but while pushing towards a louder, more colorful and more forceful sound. “Kingdom Illusion,” the album’s title track and cinematic, latest single is centered around an arrangement featuring soaring strings, strummed acoustic guitar, a sinuous bass line, thunderous drumming, church choir-like backing, shimmering electric guitar, a church choir-like backing vocal section and an enormous hook. And while sonically recalling Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd, The Band and Sgt. Pepper-era The Beatles, the song is rooted in an ambitious yet earnest songwriting and a rapturous, larger than life performance meant to inspire you to get caught in your feelings. 

New Audio: the bird and the bee’s Jazz-like Take on Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher”

Last month, I wrote about the Los Angeles-based indie pop act the bird and the bee — singer/songwriter Inara George and seven time Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin, who has worked with the likes of Sia, Adele, Beck, Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters and Paul McCartney — and as you may recall, the act can trace their origins to when the duo met while working on George’s 2005 solo debut All Rise. Bonding over a mutual love of 80s pop and rock, the duo decided to continue to work together in a jazz-influenced electro pop project.

The Los Angeles indie pop duo’s debut EP Again and Again and Again and Again was released in late 2006. They quickly followed that up with their self-titled full-length debut in early 2007 — and with their earliest releases George and Kurstin quickly developed a reputation for bringing a breezy elegance to their work, which finds them putting their own idiosyncratic twist on time-bending indie pop.

Although serving as the long-awaited follow up to 2015’s Recreational Love, the bird and the bee’s fifth album, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen actually closely follows 2010’s critically applauded Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Hall & Oates. And while Van Halen‘s most anthemic and beloved work may initially seem like an unlikely vessel for the Los Angeles-based duo’s sound and approach, George and Kurstin are both lifelong fans of David Lee Roth-era Van Halen. Back in 2007, George caught her first-ever Van Halen show — and it was the first tour to feature David Lee Roth as the band’s frontman since 1985. George was so charmed by Roth’s presence, that after that show, she approached Kurstin about writing a song for Roth. The end result was the swooning serenade “Diamond Dave,” which appeared on their 2008 sophomore album Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future. “We asked him to be in the video, but instead he signed a picture and gave me the yellow top hat he’d worn at the show I saw, which I thought was very sweet,” George says in press notes. “When we were trying to figure out who to cover for the second volume of Interpreting the Masters, we were both a little bit like, ‘Oh my god, can we really do it?’ But then we just went for it.”

Slated for an August 2, 2019 release through No Expectations/Release Me Records, the duo’s fifth album features an impressive backing band of guest musicians including Justin Meldal Johnsen (bass), who has worked with Beck and Nine Inch Nails; Joey Waronker (drums), who has worked with R.E.M and Elliott Smith; and Omar Hakim (drums), who has worked with the David Bowieand Miles Davis assisting the duo in making familiar David Lee Roth-era Van Halen anthems completely their own, imbuing even the most over-the-top tracks with a slinky intimacy.

Interestingly, for Kurstin, an accomplished jazz pianist, who once studied with Jaki Byard, a pianist that once played in Charles Mingus‘ band, one of the greatest challenges he had translating Eddie Van Halen’s virtuoso guitar work into piano arrangements that kept some of the spirit and vibe of the original. “I know there’s a jazz influence with the Van Halen brothers, so I tried to channel some of the things that I felt might’ve influenced Eddie,” Kurstin notes. “In a way ‘Eruption’ is almost like a piece of classical music, so I mostly treated it that way as I interpreted it for piano,” he adds, referring to the iconic instrumental guitar solo from Van Halen’s self-titled debut. 

While creating arrangements around Eddie Van Halen’s guitar work will reveal the duo’s ingenuity and playfulness as interpreters and arrangers paired with a deeply nuanced reading of the material, which is influenced by their deep and profound emotional connection to the band.“I remember being 10-years-old and seeing their videos and feeling both excited and totally terrified—I responded to them in this very visceral way,” George says in press notes. Kurstin, who also is a lifelong fan, actually got a chance to work with Eddie Van Halen in the early 80s when the Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist was a 12 year-old member of Dweezil Zappa’s band. “I got to hang out with him in the studio and go backstage when Van Halen played The Forum, which was a really big moment for my younger self,” Kurstin recalls.

The album’s two singles found the members of the bird and the bee taking on Van Halen’s “Panama” and “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.” The duo turned “Panama” from a power chord-based arena rock anthem into a sultry club banger, centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, bright blasts of twinkling piano and cowbell, a wobbling Bootsy Collins-like bass line and George’s sensual vocal delivery. Their cover of”Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” was a slinky and shimmering New Wave-like take that recalled New Order and It’s Blitz-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs while imbued with a feverish quality.  The album’s third latest single finds the band taking on “Hot For Teacher,” the last official single that band released with their original lineup.  Featuring drummer Omar Hakim, who has worked with David Bowie, Sting, Daft Punk, Weather Report, Madonna, Kate Bush and others and a spoken word cameo from Beck, the bird and the bee deliver a swinging bop jazz-inspired take that actually pulls, tugs and teases out the jazziness of the original — particularly within Eddie Van Halen’s dexterous guitar solo-ing. Interestingly, much like Easy Star All-Stars take on Dark Side of the Moon, the bird and the bee version of “Hot For Teacher” isn’t a purely straightforward cover — rather, it’s a subtle and mischievous modernization that retains the spirit and intent of the song in a thoughtful and loving way. 

Comprised of Joel Robinow (keys, guitars, vocals), Raj Ojha (drums, percussion and recording engineer), Eli Eckert (bass, guitar, vocals) and Raze Regal (guitar), the Oakland, CA-based quartet Once and Future Band specialize in a dreamy and wistful psych pop sound that simultaneously draws from Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and Animals-era Pink FloydThe Yes Album-era Yes, and the jazz fusion of the likes of Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra as you’ll hear on “Tell Me Those Are Tears of Joy,” the latest single off the Bay Area-based quartet’s mostly self-produced full-length debut, slated for a  January 27, 2017 release through Castle Face Records. But just under the dreamy and psychedelic-leaning prog rock surface, is a song with a blues-filled heart as the song’s narrator tries to trick himself out of a devastating sorrow — and somehow considering the difficulties that many of our dearest and closest may soon face, tricking yourself out of devastating and hopeless sitaution may be the only way to get survive.

 

Live Footage: Corbu on Baeble’s NEXT Sessions

With the release of two critically applauded EPs, We Are Sound and Everything You Imagine is Real, the New York-based trio Corbu, comprised of Johnathan Graves (guitar, synths and vocals), Amanda Scott (vocals, synths) and Todd Hoellerman (drums), have received praise from the likes of several major media outlets including NYLON, Stereogum, The Guardian, NME and others for a sound that’s not only heavily influenced by the Warp Records roster, sci-fi imagery, psychedelia and their own dreams but also draws from the likes of Moonbabies, M83, Washed Out, Yes, and others as their swooning and shimmering take on dream pop and synth pop possesses a cinematic quality. 2016 has been breakthrough year for the band as they released their gorgeous, attention-grabbing full-length debut Crayon Soul earlier this year — and from album singles “Battles,” and “Better Better Off,”and a national tour that included the trio’s first festival set at this year’s Austin City Limits, the band is looking forward to an even bigger 2017.

The folks at Baeble recently invited the members of Corbu to participate in the website’s Baeble NEXT Session series, which features a band of interest performing several songs at the Baeble offices down at the Industrial City complex in Sunset Park, Brooklyn along with an interview. The live footage features the band performing “Neon Hallway,” “Prism,” and “Battles” off Crayon Soul and from the footage, you should get a sense of how their live sound hews very closely to their immersive and lush recorded sound. And in the band’s full-ranging interview, the band talks about their unexpectedly big year, which featured their first national tour and their first festival set, how their music videos and other visuals tie into their aesthetic, how they wanted to make a full album in the veins of Radiohead’s In Rainbows and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Mood, how the album’s mixer helped create a lush, nuanced sound, the album’s overarching themes and more. (This is another one where the embed works a little funny, so click on the link and it’ll drive you to a full-page embed window — and enjoy!)

Comprised of Phenomenal Handclap Band‘s Daniel Collas (keyboards, production) and Morgen Phalen (vocals guitar) and members of Stockholm, Sweden-based bands Dungen and The Amazing, indie psych pop act Drakkar Nowhere can trace their origins to when Collas and Phalen had been making music in the kitchen of a rented apartment in Stockholm. And in a relatively short period of time, Collas and Phalen’s kitchen-based music project caught the attention of the members of Dragen and The Amazing, who then joined the project to flesh out its sound, a sound that’s largely influenced by cosmic jazz, soul, jazz fusion, prog rock and psych pop among others — and by their direct surroundings, including the forests that surround the Bagarmossen and Midsommarkransen neighborhoods of Stockholm.

Now you may recall that I wrote about “How Could That Be Why,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming self-titled debut, and the shuffling and trippy single has the band pairing twisting and turning synths and keys, a sinuous bass line and an infectious sense of melody to craft a song that sounds as though it could have been released in 1973. The album’s second and latest single “The Line” continues on a similar vein although it has the band pairing slow burning psych pop and psych rock with 70s AM rock — and in a fashion that nods at America‘s “Horse With No Name” and Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd but with a plaintive ache just under the song’s cosmic glow. Interestingly, the song may arguably the prettiest song the band has released to date.

 

 

New Video: The Harsh and Haunting Sounds and Visuals for Boogarins “Cuerdo”

Much like the album’s previously release single “Tempo,” the album’s latest single “Cuerdo” is a deeply contemplative song; however, the dreamy new single sounds as though it draws from Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead and Dark Side of the Moon-era Pink Floyd as reverb-heavy guitar chords, a subtle yet gorgeous horn arrangement with the vocals at times feeling peacefully submerged, almost entombed within the dreamy and slow-burning mix. Interestingly, as the band’s guitarist Benke Ferraz notes, the song focuses on the feeling of not belonging and being in a situation in which you can’t express yourself — perhaps out of danger if you’re part of a minority group.

Directed by Ricardo Spencer, the recently released video for “Cuerdo” reveals the haunting and harsh beauty of nature as it depicts a group of buzzards descending upon a dead cow at various angles — a cinematic wide screen which has every figure involved look like microscopic dots before quickly panning in to see the vultures eating the dead cow in super slow motion. As the band’s Ferraz expressed in press notes, the vultures seemed to represent quite a bit for anyone who feels for minorities of any stripe and how our especially conservative — and seemingly sadistic — societies and media outlets deal with them.

Live Footage: Pure Phase Ensemble 4 with RIDE’s Mark Gardener Performing A Mind-Bending “Notatki” at Space Fest 2014

    This weekend Gdansk, Poland hosted the fifth annual Space Fest, an annual festival of shoegaze, space-rock and alternative music featuring concerts, workshops for Polish and internationally-based musicians, meet and greets with legendary and renowned artists, a competition […]