Tag: Pixies

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Beacon Release a Driving New Meditation on Desire

Throughout this site’s 10 year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. Now,. as you may recall, the act’s third album, 2018’s Gravity Pairs found the duo — Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gussett (production, keys, synths) — writing material that was a sonic left turn from their previously released work.

As they continued, they expanded upon some songs and pared others band. Much like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract, patient and almost painterly creative process of Gravity Pairs eventually turned the material they wrote into a space in which wildly different colors, tones and textures — in this case, minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist simultaneously and at different speeds. With each iteration, the duo discovered they could easily expand upon how they presented the material within a live setting: they could play the same material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play the same material in a different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances, their moods and their desires. And while Gravity Pairs pushed the JOVM mainstays sound and songwriting approach in an adventurous new direction, the album’s material remained imbued with a vulnerability and aching yearning.

Since the release of Gravity Pairs, the members of Beacon have been extremely busy: Last year they opened for Nick Murphy. during his North America tour, which included a stop at Brooklyn Steel. They shared a series of stripped back, live studio sessions and they released a remix album, which featured edits by Elkka, Helios, and CRi. They began 2020 with a meditative, piano-led take on the Pixies‘ “Wave of Mutilation.” Inspired by the slower tempo and phrasing of the UK Surf B-side, which showcased the original’s mutability — and then they went off on a headlining European tour, which stopped in my second favorite city in the entire world, Amsterdam.

“Feel Something” is the first bit of new, original material from the JOVM mainstays since Gravity Pairs and the track finds the duo continuing to prioritize discovery and experimentation in their songwriting approach. Centered around blown out boom-bap beats, a sinuous bass line, atmospheric yet menacing electronics, jagged synth arpeggios, shimmering guitar lines, a motorik-like groove and Mullanary’s plaintive falsetto, the song’s lyrics paint a surrealistic and disturbing vision of desire and control. offering an almost lived-in perspective of a codependent and dysfunctional relationship.

Beacon have released an accompanying visual featuring a kaleidoscopic and undulating array of colors, moving along to the song’s motorik-like grooves. Without touring on the horizon as a result of the pandemic, Mullarney and Gussett teamed up with their friends at inlet.tv to create a 24/7 steaming channel featuring live visuals from the band’s extensive and lengthy touring history, which you can check out on their website — https://www.beaconband.tv. The channel is also syndicated on YouTube, where users can engage in an active chat.

Each week through the duration of the pandemic, the members of the JOVM mainstays will be releasing a new live visualizer from their archives to the channel and will utilize it going forward to broadcast studio sessions, Q&As and premiers, leading up to new music in 2021.

New Video: KID DAD Releases an Earnest and Anthemic New Single Paired with an Urgent Visual

KID DAD is an emerging Paderborn, Germany quartet —  Marius Vieth (vocals, guitar), Maximillian Alexander Zdunek (bass, backing vocals), Michael Reihle (drums) and Joshua Meinert (guitar) — that’s heavily influenced by Radiohead, Placebo, Elliott Smith, Joy Division and Pixies. During their history, the band has toured across the European Union with Taking Back Sunday, Marmozets and Fatherson among others. 

Building upon a growing national and international profile, the band’s full-lengths debut In A Box is slated for an August 21, 2020 release through Long Branch Records. Thematically addressing feelings of isolation and entrapment, In A Box was cowritten over a prolonged period of time  — and was inspired by songwriting trips to England, China, Switzerland and Berlin.  “I really enjoyed working with so many different setups. You absorb everything when you’re young – I want to take advantage of that,” KID DAD’s Marius Vieth says in press notes. 

“Limbo,” In A Box’s latest single was cowritten by acclaimed Welsh-born singer/songwriter Sarah Howells, a.k.a. Bryde during a trip that the band’s Marius Vieth took to London. Centered around an alternating quiet-loud-quiet song structure, with an enormous power-chord based hook reminiscent of Silversun Pickups paired with Vieth’s plaintive vocals. But at its core, the song deals with feeling unsafe, hassled and being abused, particularly if you’re powerless and lack agency — and desperately searching for something to hope for. 

The recently released video for “Limbo” follows a teenaged boy, as he hurriedly puts on sneakers and desperately tries to escape what’s an untenable situation for him. But at some point, the video seems to suggest that the boy quickly recognizes that he has nowhere to go and nowhere to help him. Although the video employs a relatively simple concept — thanks in part the COVID-19 based quarantine restrictions, the video reflects an all too common fear, with a surge of domestic abuse cases worldwide.  Home can be hell for those who are being abused by loved ones. 

“We address feelings of isolation and entrapment on our debut album In A Box and feel obliged to call attention to this situation. We want to raise awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence cases worldwide and encourage people to donate to SOS-Kinderdorf (GERMANY: https://www.soskinderdorf.de/portal/spenden/haeusliche-gewalt) & NSPCC: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/make-a-donation/ ) in order to support the work they are doing in preventing such violence and supporting victims,” the band says in a statement. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Deal Casino Releases a Brooding Single Paired with Cinematically Shot Visuals

I’ve managed to spill a bit of virtual ink covering the Asbury Park, NJ-based indie rock band Deal Casino over the past couple of of years of this site’s almost ten year history. And as you may recall, the Southern New Jersey-based act — childhood friends Joe Parella (vocals), Jon Rodney (bass) and Joe Cowell (keys, guitar)  — formed back in 2013 and released a series of EPs before releasing 2017’s self-titled full-length debut to critical praise from Stereogum, New Noise and others. 

The members of Deal Casino released their sophomore album 2018’s LLC. And from album singles “Happy People,” and “Baby Teeth,” the JOVM mainstays managed to expand upon the sound, approach and thematic concerns that won them attention and praise across the blogosphere with the material walking a tight-rope between lo-fi bedroom recordings and studio polish while thematically focusing on living in a uncertain, horribly fucked up world.  Building upon a growing profile, the band has made appearances at Governor’s Ball, Firefly, Sea.Hear.Now., and The Front Bottoms’ Champagne Jam. Last year, they supported LLC through tours with The Wrecks, Badflower, The Happy Fits, The Parlor Mob and The Technicolors– and it included the band’s first European tour with the aforementioned Badflower. 

2020 began with the release of a cover of Frank Sinatra’s iconic “My Way,” a tour to build up buzz for their then-unreleased five song EP Woof and the release of the EP’s first single “Chicken Head.” Interestingly, while the single retains the hook-driven nature of the band’s previously released work, it reveals a decided change of sonic and thematic direction. Influenced by the members’ lifelong obsessions with Pixies and Radiohead, the material draws from the band’s experiences over the past two years. And as a result, the material may arguably be the most introspective they’ve written and released to date. Interestingly, “Chicken Head” is a slow-burning and brooding track centered around boom bap-like drums, buzzing guitars, atmospheric synths, Parella’s plaintive crooning and an enormous hook. In some way, the track — to me, at least — manages to evoke the uncertainty and unease of current moment, as well as the utter weirdness of being an artist at this juncture.

The recently released, cinematically shot video for “Chicken Head” features the members of the band in a classic, black convertible Oldsmobile with concert amps hooked up to the backseat, driving around suburban emptiness. At some point, we see the band goofing off and doing donuts in an empty parking lot. Of course, through the video, the members of the band look like the coolest dudes on the face of the earth.  

The band recently announced that they’ll be going on a Quarantour, in which they’ll team up with local bands to give fans a unique concert experience through Instagram Live. Of course, merch will be available to help support the bands in a difficult time — and there’ll be the option to donate to Feeding America. 

Throughout the course of this site’s almost 10 year history — yes, almost 10! — I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. Now, as you may recall, the duo, which is comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gussett (production, keys, synths) have developed a reputation for a minimalist approach and sound that draws from R&B, house and electro pop paired with Mullarney’s achingly tender falsetto.

Beacon’s third album, 2018’s Gravity Pairs found the duo writing material that went off in a completely different direction from their previously released work. They embarked on open-ended writing sessions in which they adopted a more liner style of songwriting instead of thee loop and texture-driven method they had long used. And the initial demos they wrote were essentially built around piano chords and guitar phrases with vocal melodies, which they then edited into a number of iterations, which found them looking through each individual version from a multitude of angles and directions.

Naturally, the duo expanded some songs and pared others back. Much like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract, deeply patient, almost painterly creative process eventually turned the material they wrote into a space in which seemingly different colors, tones and textures — minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist simultaneously and at different speeds, spreading out like a sort of spectrum. And with each iteration, the duo discovered they could easily expand upon how they presented the material within a live setting: they could play the same material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play the same material in a different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances, their moods and their desires. And while pushing the duo’s songwriting and sound in new adventurous, new directions their work has remained imbued with a vulnerable and aching yearning.

Since the release of Gravity Pairs, the duo have been extremely busy. Last year they went on a successful North American tour with Nick Murphy. They shared a series of stripped-back studio sessions — and they released a remix album featured edits by Elkka, Helios, and CRi. 

Interestingly, Beacon introduced covers into the Gravity Pairs writing process as a way of breaking out of melodic patterns while discovering new sonic spaces within others’ songwriting. The JOVM mainstays start off the new year with a run of live dates in Europe, which includes a January 21, 2020 stop at the Paradiso in Amsterdam — and their first ever studio recorded cover, a cover of the Pixies‘ “Wave of Mutilation.” Inspired by the slower tempo and phrasing of the UK Surf B-side, which showcased the original’s mutability, Beacon’s slow-burning piano-led meditation finds the duo amplifying the playfully morbid surreality of Black Francis‘ lyrics, said to be about the phenomenon of Japanese businessmen taking their own lives after their businesses fail in the 1980 while being hauntingly gorgeous.

“We wanted it to feel uncanny and have the recognition of the original unfold slowly for the listener rather than being obvious or immediate,” Beacon explains in press notes.

The JOVM mainstays will be embarking on a European tour through January. Check out the tour dates below.

Beacon Europe Tour 2020

01.17 Berlin, DE – Musik & Frieden
01.18 Hamburg, DE – Uebel & Gefährlich
01.19 Copenhagen, DK – Vega
01.21 Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
01.22 Cologne, DE – Helios 37
01.23 Brussels, BE – La Machine
01.25 Warsaw, PL – Hydrozagadka
01.26 Prague, CZ – Cafe V Lese
01.28 London, UK – O2 Academy Islington
01.29 Paris, FR – Supersonic
01.30 Bucharest, RO – Club Control

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Penelope Isles Releases a Lysergic and Technicolor Visual for “Round”

Throughout the course of this year, I’ve written a bit about the rising  Brighton, UK-based indie rock quartet Penelope Isles. Led by its Devon, UK-born, Isle of Man-raised sibling songwriting duo Jack Wolter and Lilly Wolter, the band also features Jack Sowton and Becky Redford. Unsurprisingly, the band is centered by the bond between the Wolters, a band that was ironically strengthened when Jack, who’s six years older, moved out of the family home at 19 to study art.  “By the time I moved home, Lil was not so much of an annoying younger sister anymore and had grown up and started playing in bands and writing songs. We soon become very close. I had written some songs, so we started a band called Your Gold Teeth. We toured a bit and then Lily left for Brighton to study songwriting.”

While Lily Wolter studied in Brighton, she met Jack Sowton and Becky Redford, with whom she formed a band. As the story goes, when Lily Wolter returned home for the holidays, the idea of a forming a new band rapidly developed. Though Jack and Lily have long written separately, they chucked their disparate songs into a shared song pot, their new band was fueled by a passion for DIY alt rock/indie rock — and are influenced by the likes of Deerhunter, Pixies, Tame Impala, Radiohead and The Thrills among others.

So far, this year has been a big year for the Brighton-based act. They signed a record deal with Bella Union Records, who released their full-length debut Until the Tide Creeps In earlier this year. Thematically, the album is informed by the Wolters’ shared experience — in particular, leaving home to start your life and the various transitions you’ll experience in your life as you begin to experience adulthood. “We are six years apart, so we had a different experience of some of this, but we share a similar inspiration when writing writing music. Family, leaving home, disconnection and connection all ring bells!”

“Chlorine,” Until the Tide Creeps In’s Sleepy Sun-like album opener was centered around an arrangement that subtly bridges shimmering dream pop, shoegaze and fuzz pop — and while buoyant and seemingly ethereal, the song possessed a bracing quality, much like stepping into a cold shower. Interestingly, the song has an underlying emotional push and pull; the sort of complexity brought about by obligation and duty and the need to go out on your own. The album’s latest single is the woozy “Round,” a track that sonically seems to mesh 70s AM rock with shoegaze as the track is centered by a looping and shimmering guitar line and a soaring hook. And much like its predecessor, the new single will further establish the band’s bracingly wistful take on a familiar and beloved sound — all while evoking the ebb and flow of complicated and ambivalent emotions.

The recently released released video for “Round” is a lysergic and technicolor fever dream that features a person walking  and dancing around a very British-looking town in an inflatable, round suit in bright colors with floating images of the band performing the song in the background. “‘Round’ was the first song I wrote when I moved to Brighton a few years ago. I wrote it on a dan electro 12 string, which I had to sell to pay the rent,” the band’s Jack Wolters says in press notes. “We played the song constantly when we first started gigging and ended up leaving it out of the set for a while. We revisited it, as it felt weird to not include it on this record. We made the video in Brighton on one of the hottest days of the year. It consists of footage of Lily, dressed in a large round blow-up suit that pulsates with bright psychedelic colors and floating images of the band. We had a laugh making this one!”

New Video: Iceland’s Laura Second Releases a Surreal “120 Minutes”-like Visual for “Crop Circles”

Laura Second is a fairly mysterious multi-national indie rock act based in Iceland. Their forthcoming full-length debut Ending Friendships is slated for a November release through Icelandic indie label Why not? Plötuútgáfa! Records. The album was recorded last winter in a cabin in the Icelandic countryside — and interestingly enough, the album’s first single “Crop Circles” is a decidedly 120 Minutes-era MTV-inspired track: alternating slow-burning and dreamy verses and explosive, power chord-driven choruses. And while seemingly bearing a resemblance to the likes of The Breeders, The Posies, Pixies and others, the song possesses a drunken and uneasy lurch.

The recently released video features two Icelandic children attentively watching a surrealistic TV show on a videocassette player. It’s appropriately bizarre — and much like its accompanying single manages to emphasize the oddness of the song.

New Audio: Up-and-Coming British Indie Rock Act Penelope Isles Release a Sludgy and Slow-Burning New Single

Throughout the course of this year, I’ve written a bit about the Brighton, UK-based indie rock quartet Penelope Isles. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Devon, UK-born, Brighton-based sibling songwriting duo Jack Wolter and Lily Wolter, along with Jack Sowton and Becky Redford is centered by the bond between the Wolters, a bond that ironically was strengthened when Jack, who’s six years older moved out of the family home to study art when he was 19. “By the time I moved home, Lil was not so much of an annoying younger sister anymore and had grown up and started playing in bands and writing songs. We soon become very close. I had written some songs, so we started a band called Your Gold Teeth. We toured a bit and then Lily left for Brighton to study songwriting.”

When Lily Wolter studied in Brighton, she met Jack Sowton and Becky Redford, with whom she formed a band. And as the story goes, when Lily Wolter returned home to the Isle of Man for the holidays, the idea of forming a new band rapidly developed. Although Jack and Lily have long written separately, they chucked their disparate songs into a shared song pot, their new band was fueled by a passion for DIY alt rock/indie rock — and are influenced by the likes of Deerhunter, Pixies, Tame Impala, Radioheadand The Thrills among others.

The up-and-coming Brighton-based indie rock act’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Until the Tide Creeps In will officially drop on Friday through renowned indie label Bella Union Records, and the album thematically is informed by the Wolters’ shared experience — in particular leaving home, moving away, dealing with the various transitions in life and growing up. “We are six years apart, so we had a different experience of some of this, but we share a similar inspiration when writing writing music. Family, leaving home, disconnection and connection all ring bells!”  The Wolters explain in press notes. 

“Chlorine,” Until the Tide Creeps In’s Sleepy Sun-like album opener was centered around an arrangement that subtly bridges shimmering dream pop, shoegaze and fuzz pop — and while buoyant and seemingly ethereal, the song possessed a bracing quality, much like stepping into a cold shower. Interestingly, the song has an underlying emotional push and pull; the sort of complexity brought about by obligation and duty and the need to go out on your own. “Round,” the album’s second single found the band meshing 70s AM rock with shoegaze while evoking the ebb and flow of the complicated and ambivalent emotions of adulthood.”

Centered around a quiet-loud-quiet song structure, complete with a slow-burning and sludgy groove, shuffling drumming and an anthemic hook, the album’s fourth and latest single “Cut Your Hair” manages to subtly recall 120 Minutes-era alt rock. “One of my favourite songs to play live. The slow sludgy groove always feels like a refreshing moment in the set. I wrote it in our old garage on the Isle of Man whilst in uncertainty of whether or not to move away to pursue a career in music or not,” the band’s Jack Wolters says of the album’s latest single. “I had a small studio set up and it started with the drum groove and the rest happened really quickly. I guess it’s a fixtinal tale and concept of what could have been me if I didn’t have a go at doing ‘the band thing’. A don’t give up on your dreams kinda thing.”

New Audio: Penelope Isles Returns with a Woozy New Single

Earlier this week, I wrote about the up-and-coming Brighton, UK-based indie rock quartet Penelope Isles, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Devon, UK-born, Isle of Man-raised sibling songwriting duo Jack Wolter and Lily Wolter, along with Jack Sowton and Becky Redford is centered by the bond between Wolters, a bond that ironically was strengthened when Jack, who’s six years older moved out of the family home to study art when he was 19. “By the time I moved home, Lil was not so much of an annoying younger sister anymore and had grown up and started playing in bands and writing songs. We soon become very close. I had written some songs, so we started a band called Your Gold Teeth. We toured a bit and then Lily left for Brighton to study songwriting.”

While Lily Wolter studied in Brighton, she met Jack Sowton and Becky Redford, with whom she formed a band. As the story goes, when Lily Wolter returned home for the holidays, the idea of a forming a new band rapidly developed. Though Jack and Lily have long written separately, they chucked their disparate songs into a shared song pot, their new band was fueled by a passion for DIY alt rock/indie rock — and are influenced by the likes of Deerhunter, Pixies, Tame Impala, Radiohead and The Thrills among others.

The up-and-coming Brighton-based indie rock act recently signed to renowned indie label Bella Union Records, who will be releasing the British act’s full-length debut Until the Tide Creeps In. Slated for a July 12, 2019 release, Penelope Isles’ debut thematically is informed by the Wolters’ shared experience — in particular leaving home, moving away, dealing with the various transitions in life and growing up. “We are six years apart, so we had a different experience of some of this, but we share a similar inspiration when writing writing music. Family, leaving home, disconnection and connection all ring bells!”

“Chlorine,” Until the Tide Creeps In’s Sleepy Sun-like album opener was centered around an arrangement that subtly bridges shimmering dream pop, shoegaze and fuzz pop — and while buoyant and seemingly ethereal, the song possessed a bracing quality, much like stepping into a cold shower. Interestingly, the song has an underlying emotional push and pull; the sort of complexity brought about by obligation and duty and the need to go out on your own. The forthcoming album’s latest single is the woozy “Round,” a track that sonically seems to mesh 70s AM rock with shoegaze as the track is centered by a looping and shimmering guitar line and a soaring hook. And much like it’s predecessor, the new single will further establish the band’s bracingly wistful take on a familiar and beloved sound — all while evoking the ebb and flow of complicated and ambivalent emotions. 

New Video: Brighton’s Up-and-Coming Penelope Isles Release a Lysergic Visual for “Chlorine”

Comprised of Devon, UK-born, Isle of Man-raised sibling songwriting duo Jack Wolter and Lily Wolter, along with Jack Sowton and Becky Redford, the up-and-coming Brighton, UK-based indie rock at Penelope Isles is centered by the bond between the Wolters, a bond that ironically was strengthened when Jack, who’s six years older moved away to study art when he was 19. “By the time I moved home, Lil was not so much of an annoying younger sister anymore and had grown up and started playing in bands and writing songs. We soon become very close. I had written some songs, so we started a band called Your Gold Teeth. We toured a bit and then Lily left for Brighton to study songwriting.”

While Lily Wolter studied in Brighton, she met Jack Sowton and Becky Redford, with whom she formed a band. As the story goes, when Lily Wolter returned home for the holidays, the idea of a forming a new band rapidly developed. Though Jack and Lily have long written separately, they chucked their disparate songs into a shared song pot, their new band was fueled by a passion for DIY alt rock/indie rock — and are influenced by the likes of Deerhunter, Pixies, Tame Impala, Radiohead and The Thrills among others.

The up-and-coming Brighton-based indie rock act recently signed to renowned indie label Bella Union Records, who will be releasing the British act’s full-length debut Until the Tide Creeps In. Slated for a July 12, 2019 release, Penelope Isles’ debut thematically is informed by the Wolters’ shared experience — in particular leaving home, moving away, dealing with the various transitions in life and growing up. “We are six years apart, so we had a different experience of some of this, but we share a similar inspiration when writing writing music. Family, leaving home, disconnection and connection all ring bells!”

Until the Tide Creeps In’s latest single, the Sleepy Sun-like album opener is centered around an arrangement that bridges shimmering dream pop and shoegaze with fuzz pop, gorgeous harmonies and a soaring hook — and while buoyant and seemingly ethereal, the song possesses a bracing quality, like a cold shower. But underneath that is an emotional push and pull; the sort of complexity brought about by obligation and duty and the need to go out on your own. The recently released video employs the use of collages, found footage and superimposed footage of the band performing the song to create a visual that’s appropriate lysergic.