Tag: Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here

Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act JOVM mainstays Death Valley Girls. The act, which currently 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 UpThe 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). Interestingly, despite the fact that the band has had a series of lineup changes thrhgout their history, the band’s aesthetic and sound has been generally indebted to The Manson Family, B movie theatrics and the occult.

2020 has been a very busy year for the JOVM mainstays: Earlier this year, the band released the two song, seven-inch EP Breakthrough, an effort that saw the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays covering two songs that have a profound connection to the band — both in their spirit and aural alignment. One of the songs included on the EP was  Atomic Rooster‘s “Breakthrough,” a song the band originally discovered through an even more obscure cover by Nigerian psych act The Funkees.  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 — but all three versions are centered around the age-old desire to be free from prisons — both literal and figurative.

Continuing upon the momentum of Breakthrough EP, the members of the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays will be releasing their newest album Under the Spell of Joy through their longtime label home Suicide Squeeze Records on October 2, 2020. The album’s title is derived from the text on at-shirt that the San Diego-based heavy psych rock act Joy gave to Death Valley Girls’ Bonnie Bloomgarden. 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.

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: the slow-burning and expansive, Wish You Were-era Pink Floyd-like “The Universe,” which featured elements of shoegaze and classic psych rock — and the straightforward and soaring “Hold My Hand,” a track that evoked the swoon of new love, and the urge to improve oneself through deep personal reflection. Interestingly, Under the Spell of Joy‘s third and latest single, album title track “Under the Spell of Joy” is a hallucinogenic fever dream featuring chanted lyrics, fiery blasts of saxophone, enormous hooks and even bigger power chords. Seemingly one-part Fun House-era The Stooges, one-part acid-tinged psych rock, one-part Giant Steps-era Coltrane, the track is a rock”n’ roll take on the good news gospel stomp — while centered around an ebullient and mischievous joy.

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 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 Video: Rapidly Rising Birmingham-based Act Chartreuse Releases a Brooding Visual for Atmospheric “Woman, I’m Crazy”

With the release of the previously released, acclaimed tracks “Three Days” and “Midnight Oil,” the Birmingham, UK-based alt jazz/dark pop act Chartreuse — comprised of founding members Harriet Wilson (vocals, piano) and Micheal Wagstaff (vocals, guitar, piano) with Perry Lovering (bass) and Rory Wagstaff (drums) — quickly emerged into the British national scene and elsewhere. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Birmingham-based quartet will be releasing their highly-anticipated debut EP Even Money Doesn’t Get Me Out of Bed through [PIAS] Recordings on Friday. Interestingly, the EP’s latest single, the atmospheric and expansive “Woman I’m Crazy” finds the British upstairs channeling Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd, complete with a languid jazz-like piano-led opening  before closing off with an explosive and cathartic coda. Interestingly the track is the first track off the soon-to-be released EP with Harriet Wilson taking on lead vocal duties — and as a result the song is imbued with a haunting melancholy. 

“I wrote ‘Woman, I’m Crazy’ a few years ago when I was thinking negatively about myself,” the band’s Harriet Wilson says in press notes. “It changes from ‘you’ to ‘I’ throughout the track as I’m speaking to myself as though I was someone else and reassuring my other self that everything will be fine. I am asking my other self if they can feel how I’m feeling as though we’re sat opposite each other having a conversation.” 

Directed by Dylan Hayes, the recently released video features the members of the band performing the song in a dimly lit and moody house and an empty club. Centered around intimately shot close ups, the video captures an incredibly self-assured young band seemingly taking stock of themselves and their lives. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Allah-Las Releases a Gorgeous and Nostalgic Visual for “Prazer Em Te Conhecer”

I’ve written a bit about the acclaimed Los Angeles-based psych rock act and JOVM mainstays Allah-Las throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus-year history, and as you may recall, the Southern Californian band — Matthew Correia (drums), Spencer Dunham (bass), Miles Michaud (vocals, guitar) and Pedrum Siadatian (guitar) — formed back in 2008, and can trace their origins tow hen three of the band’s four members worked at famed, Los Angeles-based record store Amoeba Music. Since then, the band has released three full-length albums that have firmly established their sound, a sound that draws heavily from 60s psych rock, surfer rock and garage work — while thematically, their work is largely inspired by their hometown. 

The acclaimed psych rock band’s fourth album LAHS is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through Mexican Summer Records, and the album, which derives its name from a common misspelling of the band’s name reportedly finds the band crafting material that reveals their growth as songwriters, performers, arrangers and producers. Much of the album’s material focuses on Krautrock-like grooves — with album single “In The Air,” a shimmering and hook-driven track evoking a hazy and lingering lysergic fugue. “Polar Onion,” the album’s second track was centered around shimmering, acoustic guitar, gently padded drumming — and while evoking an aching longing, the song sounded as though it could have been released between 1966-1969. Interestingly, LAHS third and latest single “Prazer Em Te Conhecer” is the first single in the band’s growing catalog that’s written and sung exclusively in Portuguese. Much like its immediate predecessor, the track is centered around shimmering guitars — both acoustic and electric — plaintive vocals and harmonizing and a soaring hook. And while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd, the song manages to evoke an aching nostalgia that feels appropriate with yet another summer coming to a close. 

The recently released video by Matt Correia features Super 8 mm footage at California’s shore — young people hamming it up at the beach, as well as the members of the band flying around the coast in a small airplane. All if it is shot in declining sunlight, which helps emphasizes the wistful nostalgia at the heart of the song.

Theodore is a critically applauded, Athens, Greece-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and composer, whose schooling in piano and traditional Greek folk music eventually led to a professional music career in London, where he studied Music Composition in 2011. As a composer and singer/songwriter, Theodore meshes classical compositions and arrangements with subtle electronic production and rock instrumentation to create a sound that’s atmospheric, cinematic that nods at psych rock, prog rock and experimental rock — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist cites Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Manos Hadjidakis, Vangelis Papathanasiou, Nils Frahm, The National, Olafur Arnalds and Max Richter as being major influences on his work and sound. “I like a composer or a band because when I listen to the music or attend a concert I am just getting lost in the atmosphere,” Theodore explains in press notes. “I understand that orchestral music is something that I am really into and I will try to test my self in the future.”

Theodore has written compositions for Matina Megla’s Window, Vladan Nikolic’s film Bourek and he was commissioned to write a new, live score for Buster Keaton’s classic, 1928 silent comedy The Cameraman, which he and his band performed during  a screening at the Temple of Zeus. But interestingly enough, his sophomore album It Is But It’s Not, which was performed live at London’s Abbey Road Studio 2 has been his breakthrough effort as the accompanying performance video has amassed more than 2 million YouTube views — and as a result, the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has played sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Reeperhbahn Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag, Release Festival and SXSW. Adding to a growing profile, he has opened for Sigur Ros and DIIV, and has received praise from a number of major media outlets, including Clash Magazine, Music WeekTsugi, FGUK, Gaffa and Szene, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne. Oh, and I must add that “Towards (for what is to come)” is currently playlisted on NPR’s All Songs 24/7 and Germany’s Flux Passport Approved.

Theodore’s third, full-length album Inner Dynamics is slated for a November 2, 2018 release and the album finds him thematically looking inward to examine the dichotomies (and dualities) of his identity in order to seek new creative potential. “On It Is But It’s Not, I tried to explore how the opposite elements in the universe interact, how they fight and how without the one you can’t have the other.” Theodore says, adding, “For Inner Dynamics, I was trying to express my urge to connect the conscious and subconscious part of myself so I can be creative. It’s an understanding that humans are not just one thing, and they shouldn’t try to hide certain elements of their personality because society likes to put labels of who we are. It’s the different sides of my self that makes who I am.” Inner Dynamics‘ third and latest single “Disorientation” clocks in at a little over 6 minutes, and it finds Theodore’s sound nodding at dramatic film scores, Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead-like atmospherics, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Rush-like prog rock expansiveness, centered around Theodore’s yearning vocals and slick production.

 

Over the last half of 2016, I had written quite a bit about the Philadelphia, PA-based indie rock quartet Oldermost, and as you may recall, the band led by its creative mastermind and primary songwriter Bradford Bucknam received attention from this site and elsewhere for a 70s AM radio rock sound that immediately brought to mind  Nick Drake, and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd with the release of singles like “Honey With Tea”  “Finally Unsure” and a gorgeous cover of  Graham Nash’s I Used To Be A King,” that emphasized the song’s bittersweet nature.

Now, up until recently, some time had passed since I had written about the band, which had spent the better part of last year writing and recording their fourth, full-length album, How Could You Ever Be The Same?, which is slated for a July 13, 2018 release through AntiFragile Music. Reportedly, the album finds the band continuing to move towards more complex sonic territory while the material carefully blends neuroticism and mysticism. Album single “The Danger of Belief” was a rollicking and anthemic track centered around a twangy guitar line, a propulsive bass line and shuffling drumming that seemed to draw from Tom Petty while possessing the intimacy of old friends, who have the same arguments, know how to needle each other, and yet they wouldn’t have it any other way. “Same To Me,” the album’s second album is a wistful track that brings to mind, a dusty, beer soaked honky tonk at 3am or so, when you’re left with that last half pint of beer, that last bit of whiskey and the lingering ghosts of regret; in this case, the song focuses on how relationships subtly change as the people within them change — but oddly enough, they’re rooted in a comfortable routine, and old memories.

 

 

Over the last half of 2016, a lifetime and a half ago, based on our current sociopolitical climate, I had written about the  months, Philadelphia, PA-based indie rock quartet Oldermost. And as you may recall, the band led by its creative mastermind and primary songwriter Bradford Bucknam received attention from this site and elsewhere for a 70s AM radio rock sound that immediately brought to mind  Nick Drake, and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd with the release of singles like “Honey With Tea” and “Finally Unsure” and a gorgeous cover of  Graham Nash’s “I Used To Be A King,” that emphasized the song’s bittersweet nature.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about the band; but as it turns out they’ve spent some time writing and recording their fourth full-length album How Could You Ever Be The Same?, which is slated for a July 13, 2018 release through AntiFragile Music, and interestingly enough the album reflects the band’s continuing move towards more complex sonic territory while thematically walking a tightrope between a blend of neuroticism and mysticism. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “The Danger of Belief” is a rollicking and anthemic track centered around a twangy guitar line, a propulsive bass line and shuffling drumming — and while seemingly drawing from Tom Petty, the song possesses the intimacy of old friends, who have the same arguments and know how to needle each other, and they couldn’t have it any other way. But underneath that is a bittersweet meditation on belief and in believing in anything too much; it’ll break your heart, just like everything else will.