Tag: Pixies

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Beacon Share a Surreal Animated Visual for Brooding “Pay My Debts”

Over the course of this site’s 12 year history, I’ve managed to spill a copious amount of virtual ink covering New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. Their third album, 2018’s Gravity Pairs saw the duo — Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gossett (production, keys, synths) — radically changing their creative process and writing material that was a sonic left turn from their previously released work. 

Mullarney III and Gussett embarked on open-ended writing sessions, in which they adopted a more linear songwriting style instead of the loop and texture-driven method they had developed and honed during the creation of their first two albums. The initial demos they wrote were built around piano chords and guitar phrases paired with vocal melodies, which they then edited into a number of different iterations. Doing so allowed the duo to look at each individual version from a multitude of angles and directions. 

As they continued through Gravity Pairs‘ creative process, they expanded upon some songs and pared others back. Much like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract, patient and deeply painterly process eventually turned the material they had been working on into a space in which wildly different colors, tones and textures — in the album’s case, minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist simultaneously and at different speeds. 

Interestingly, with each iteration they created, the JOVM mainstays quickly discovered that they could easily expand upon how they presented Gravity Pairs‘ material in a live setting: They could play the album’s material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play that material in a very different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances, their moods and their desires. 

While Gravity Pairs found Beacon boldly pushing their sound and approach in adventurous, new directions, the material remained imbued with the vulnerability and yearning that they’ve long been known for. 

A couple of years have passed since the release of Gravity Pairs, but the JOVM mainstays have been busy: Back in 2019, they opened for acclaimed Aussie electro pop artist Nick Murphy during his North American tour, which included a stop at Brooklyn Steel. The duo shared a series of stripped down, live studio sessions — and they released a remix album, which featured remixes and edits by ElkkaHelios, and CRi. 

2020 saw the release, of 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 song’s mutability. Just before the pandemic struck, the members of Beacon embarked on a headlining European tour. 

Beacon capped off 2020 with the release of “Feel Something,” which saw Mullarney III and Gussett continuing to prioritize the creative process behind Gravity Pairs while painting a surrealistic and disturbing vision of desire, longing and control that feels like a lived-in perspective of a codependent and dysfunctional relationship — with a person or a situation. 

Last month, the longtime JOVM mainstays announced that their highly-anticipated and long-awaited fourth album, Along the Lethe will be released on September 9, 2022 through their own imprint, Apparent Movement. The pandemic forced the duo to change their creative approach again but reportedly, the end result is a gorgeous and brooding album meant to make the listener stop and reflect. 

The duo wrote, recorded and produced the album during a period of extreme uncertainty in the pandemic, with the band’s Thomas Mullarney III explaining: “I was haunted by this feeling of history intruding on our reality as lockdown descended on NYC, I was reading a book called The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth about the apocalyptic aftermath of the Norman Invasion of England in 1066, written in a ‘shadow tongue’ combining old and modern english. This uncanniness followed me through the pandemic.” Thematically, Along the Lethe is as much about the allure of forgetting tragedy as it is the need to maintain our connections to the past. But interestingly, it may arguably be the most eclectic, expansive album of their growing catalog to date. As the band’s Jacob Gossett says, “It feels like a record without restraints.”

So far I’ve written about three of the album’s singles:

  • Until Next Time,” the first bit of new material from the duo in over two years. The single revealed a fresh, new aesthetic rooted in contrasts: Rumbling electronic feedback and noise gives way to a swirling and twinkling piano-led melody paired with Mullarney’s achingly delicate falsetto, trembling metronomic beats and swirling static, which rises and crashes into Mullarney’s vocals. 
  • “Can’t Turn Back,” a stunning and seemingly effortless mesh of electronic music genres, timbres and moods centered around UK garage-like rhythms, twinkling synth arpeggios, skittering beats and atmospheric pads while Mullarney III sings of losing himself “in the constant dark” with achingly delicate vocals. As part of an album largely written during pandemic-related quarantines, the specter of hopelessness, uncertainty and struggle looms large — and yet, the song attempts to keep the existential doom at bay, while looking upward. 
  • “Ostrich” is a mesmerizing piano-driven song featuring contributions from multi-instrumentalist Colin Stetson, who contributes fluttering and mournful horns and woodwinds into the song’s gently swelling electronic noise. Inspired by a tuning technique used by The Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed and John Cale, “Ostrich” required all strings of every stringed instrument to be tuned to the same note. And with that foundation, Gossett and Mullarney III improvised on the synths and instruments in their studio, which gives the song a hypnotic and dreamy atmosphere. 

“Pay My Debts,” Along the Lethe‘s fourth and latest single sees the duo effortlessly meshing genres as you’ll hear skittering trap beats, glistening synth-driven hooks paired with syrupy R&B-like grooves and Mullarney III’s achingly plaintive vocals. “Pay My Debts” manages to convey a core theme of the album, as the song lyrically reckons with the weight of guilt and absolution.

“The title of our new album, Along the Lethe, came from lyrics in the song ‘Pay My Debts.’ The Lethe is one of the five rivers of the underworld in Greek mythology, and souls who drank from it lost all memory of their lives on earth. Forgetting can be seductive, and the Lethe offers a kind of absolution—not in the form of forgiveness, but erasure. The desire to transform the collective trauma of the last two years into a collective amnesia is one of the themes of our new record. The chorus in ‘Pay My Debts;’ alludes to an impending ecological disaster that’s followed the narrator even into Hades: ‘Something in the sky turns black, start another fire, I guess.’ Despite the allure of forgetting, and the Lethe’s metaphysical power to do so, the spectre of the last two years is inescapable.”

Directed by Boy Tillekens, the accompanying surreal, animated video follows a faceless, purple humanoid on a journey from the idyllic, Holland-like banks of a motionless river towards a billowing plume of black smoke across the horizon. “I was picturing a Thomas Hart Benton painting coming to life,” Tillekens says in press notes. “Kind of treating the landscapes as if it’s a character itself — quite surreal, a bit Lynchian.”

Over the course of this site’s 12 year history, I’ve managed to spill a copious amount of virtual ink covering New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. Their third album, 2018’s Gravity Pairs saw the duo — Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gossett (production, keys, synths) — radically changing their creative process and writing material that was a sonic left turn from their previously released work.

Mullarney III and Gussett embarked on open-ended writing sessions, in which they adopted a more linear songwriting style instead of the loop and texture-driven method they had developed and honed during the creation of their first two albums. The initial demos they wrote were built around piano chords and guitar phrases paired with vocal melodies, which they then edited into a number of different iterations. Doing so allowed the duo to look at each individual version from a multitude of angles and directions.

As they continued through Gravity Pairs‘ creative process, they expanded upon some songs and pared others back. Much like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract, patient and deeply painterly process eventually turned the material they had been working on into a space in which wildly different colors, tones and textures — in the album’s case, minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist simultaneously and at different speeds. 

Interestingly, with each iteration they created, the JOVM mainstays quickly discovered that they could easily expand upon how they presented Gravity Pairs‘ material in a live setting: They could play the album’s material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play that material in a very different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances, their moods and their desires. 

While Gravity Pairs found Beacon boldly pushing their sound and approach in adventurous, new directions, the material remained imbued with the vulnerability and yearning that they’ve long been known for. 

A couple of years have passed since the release of Gravity Pairs, but the JOVM mainstays have been busy: Back in 2019, they opened for acclaimed Aussie electro pop artist Nick Murphy during his North American tour, which included a stop at Brooklyn Steel. The duo shared a series of stripped down, live studio sessions — and they released a remix album, which featured remixes and edits by ElkkaHelios, and CRi. 

2020 saw the release, of 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 song’s mutability. Just before the pandemic struck, the members of Beacon embarked on a headlining European tour.

Beacon capped off 2020 with the release of “Feel Something,” which saw Mullarney III and Gussett continuing to prioritize the creative process behind Gravity Pairs while painting a surrealistic and disturbing vision of desire, longing and control that feels like a lived-in perspective of a codependent and dysfunctional relationship — with a person or a situation. 

Yesterday, the JOVM mainstays announced that their highly-anticipated fourth album Along the Lethe will be released on September 9, 2022 through their own imprint, Apparent Movement. The pandemic forced the duo to change their creative approach again but reportedly, the end result is a gorgeous and brooding album meant to make the listener stop and reflect.

Now, as you might recall, last month, I wrote about “Until Next Time,” the first bit of new material from the duo in over two years. The single revealed a fresh, new aesthetic rooted in contrasts: Rumbling electronic feedback and noise gives way to a swirling and twinkling piano-led melody paired with Mullarney’s achingly delicate falsetto, trembling metronomic beats and swirling static, which rises and crashes into Mullarney’s vocals. 

“Until Next Time” is the start of a new chapter for the dup with more music to be released throughout the year. “It really captures some key dynamics of our new work,” Beacon’s Gussett reveals. “Shifts between rich, delicate piano and intense electronic noise are defining characteristics of this genre-bending, soft-loud direction.”

To celebrate the album announcement and to build up buzz for the new album, the JOVM mainstays have shared two new singles from the forthcoming album:

“Can’t Turn Back,” a stunning and seemingly effortless mesh of electronic music genres, timbres and moods centered around UK garage-like rhythms, twinkling synth arpeggios, skittering beats and atmospheric pads while Mullarney III sings of losing himself “in the constant dark” with achingly delicate vocals. As part of an album largely written during pandemic-related quarantines, the specter of hopelessness, uncertainty and struggle looms large — and yet, the song attempts to keep the existential doom at bay, while looking upward.

“Ostrich” is a mesmerizing piano-driven song featuring contributions from multi-instrumentalist Colin Stetson, who contributes fluttering and mournful horns and woodwinds into the song’s gently swelling electronic noise. Inspired by a tuning technique used by The Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed and John Cale, “Ostrich” required all strings of every stringed instrument to be tuned to the same note. And with that foundation, Gossett and Mullarney III improvised on the synths and instruments in their studio, which gives the song a hypnotic and dreamy atmosphere.

“Colin delivered his performance a day before Christmas Eve in 2021,” Thomas Mullarney III explains, “and with it being the first demo written for the record in late 2019, ‘Ostrich’ is both the oldest song on the record and the last to be finished.” Stetson adds “What a joy to spin and whirl and call out into the ether with these lovely Beacon folks. Many thanks for having me on.”

Beacon will be embarking on their first tour in two years this fall, and the tour starts off with a September 10, 2022 stop at Public Records. The rest of the tour dates are below.  

2022 WORLD TOUR DATES

Sep 10th – Brooklyn, NY @ Public Records

Sep 13th – Boston, MA @ Middle East

Sep 14th – Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5

Sep 25 – Chicago IL @ Schubas

Oct 6 – Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz 

Oct 15 – Portland, OR @ Holocene

Oct 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room

Nov 15 – Haarlem, Netherlands @ Patronaat

Nov 17 – Budapest, Hungary @ Turbina

Nov 18 – Glasgow, UK @ The Hug &w Pint

Nov 19 – Manchester, UK @ YES

Nov 20 – London, UK, @ Nells

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Beacon Shares Cinematic “Until Next Time”

JOVM turns 12 later this month and over the course of it history, I’ve spilled a copious amount of virtual ink covering New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. Their third album, 2018’s Gravity Pairs saw the JOVM mainstays — Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gussett (production, keys, synths) — writing material that was a sonic left turn from their previously released work. 

Gravity Paris‘ creative process saw Mullarney III and Gussett embarking on open-ended writing sessions, in which they adopted a more linear songwriting style instead of the loop and textured-driven method they had developed and honed through the early part of their career. The initial demos the duo wrote were built around piano chords and guitar phrases paired with vocal melodies, which they then edited into a number of iterations. That allowed the JOVM mainstays to look at each individual version from a multitude of angles and directions.

As they continued through their creative process, they expanded upon song songs and pared others back. Much like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract, patient and deeply painterly process eventually turned the material they had been working on into a space in which wildly different colors, tones and textures — in the album’s case, minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist simultaneously and at different speeds.

Interestingly, with each iteration they created, the JOVM mainstays quickly discovered that they could easily expand upon how they presented Gravity Pairs‘ material in a live setting: They could play the album’s material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play that material in a very different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances, their moods and their desires.

While Gravity Pairs found Beacon boldly pushing their sound and approach in adventurous, new directions, the material remained imbued with the vulnerability and yearning that they’ve long been known for.

A couple of years have passed since the release of Gravity Pairs, the JOVM mainstays have been busy: Back in 2019, they opened for acclaimed Aussie electro pop artist Nick Murphy during his North American tour, which included a stop at Brooklyn Steel. The duo shared a series of stripped down, live studio sessions — and they released a remix album, which featured remixes and edits by ElkkaHelios, and CRi. 

2020 saw the release, of 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 managed to showcase the song’s mutability. Before, the pandemic struck and put the world on an indefinite hold for the next 15 months or so, the duo went on a headlining European tour, which featured a stop in one of my favorite cities, the charming city of canals Amsterdam.

Beacon capped off 2020 with the release of “Feel Something,” which saw Mullarney III and Gussett continuing to prioritize the creative process behind Gravity Pairs while painting a surrealistic and disturbing vision of desire, longing and control that feels like a lived-in perspective of a codependent and dysfunctional relationship — with a person or a situation.

“Until Next Time,” is the first bit of new material from the duo in about two years, and the single reveals a fresh aesthetic rooted in contrasts: Rumbling electronic feedback and noise gives way to a swirling and twinkling piano-led melody paired with Mullarney’s achingly delicate falsetto, trembling metronomic beats and swirling static, which rises and crashes into Mullarney’s vocals.

“Until Next Time” is the start of a new chapter for the dup with more music to be released throughout the year. “It really captures some key dynamics of our new work,” Beacon’s Gussett reveals. “Shifts between rich, delicate piano and intense electronic noise are defining characteristics of this genre-bending, soft-loud direction.”

Directed by Beacon’s Gussett, the accompanying visual is a cinematically shot fever dream, inspired by a key line in the song “With my face to the glass, both sides of the tether . . .” The video features Mullarney with an uncanny doppelgänger, whose actions frequently mirror, fracture and distort his own throughout. It opens with them feverishly running towards one another,” Gussett explains, “drawn to this inevitable collision. Two characters so intertwined as to be almost one, their journey from connection to rupture.”

New Video: The Murlocs Release a Surreal Visual for Melancholy “Bittersweet Demons”

With the release of their first four albums, The Murlocs  — King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith and Cook Craig with Cal Shortal, Matt Mlach and Tim Karmouche — have released four albums of fuzzy and distorted psychedelic blues. which they’ve supported as an opener for the likes of Gary Clark, Jr., Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Pixies, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, Wavves and of course, Kenny-Smith’s and Craig’s primary gig, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — and as a headlining act, as well.

The Aussie psych blues outfit’s fifth album. the Tim Dunn-produced Bittersweet Demons is slated for a June 25, 2021 release through their longtime label home ATO Records. Recorded at Button Pushers Studio, the 11-song album finds the band lovingly reflecting on the people, who have left a profound imprint on their lives, the saviors, the hell raisers and other assorted mystifying and complex characters. Arguably, the most personal and complex batch of material they’ve written to date, the album reportedly finds the band bouncing around and between sunny pop, blues punk and wide-eyed psychedelia informed by John Lennon‘s Plastic Ono Band and Harry Nilsson‘s Lennon-produced Pussy Cats. 

In the buildup to the album’s release, I’ve managed to write about two of Bittersweet Demons’ singles:

The Tim Karmouche penned “Francesca,” a rousingly upbeat, hook-driven ripper with a subtle New Wave polish written for Kenny-Smith’s mother, who found a new lease on life through newfound love. 
“Eating At You,” a slow-burning and melancholic sing-a-long that subtly recalls “I Got Friends in Low Places,” with the song being an ode to those deeply troubled friends and erstwhile n’er-do-wells of life that you can’t help but love.

Bittersweet Demons’ third and latest single is the mid-tempo, piano-driven, jangling blues and album title track “Bittersweet Demons.” And unlike its immediate predecessor, the song is one of those melancholy, pour some of your booze out for the dead homies jam that becomes sadly all too common when you get older.

“I was messing around with the tune on the piano for a while but never knew where to take it lyrically,” The Murlocs’ Kenny-Smith recalls in press notes. “Over time the bones of the song sat away in the back of my mind waiting for the right time to come back out and be pieced together properly. Whilst we were on tour in America in 2019 one of my sweetest and dearest friends Keegan Walker passed away. His presence was unlike any other I have ever experienced. That kind of person that’s forever filling you up with joyous excitement. Someone that always took the time and effort to be in your life and support you through the thick and thin no matter what. Every time I came home from tour he was always the first to contact me and come by with some croissants and a handful of lavender that he’d pick from my front garden. Keegan was always there for his friends. A few days after the funeral I sat back down to play at the piano and the words started to come out and feel right. I reckon Keegan would’ve loved this song, he loved this kind of soppy stuff cause he’s a softie just like me.”

Directed and edited by Guy Tyzack, the recently released video for “Bittersweet Demons” was shot on grainy Super 8 Film and follows the adventures and memories of a lonely house that misses his human friends — and at one point is looking for a human to inhabit it.

New Video: The Murlocs Release a Slow-burning and Bluesy Ode to Troubled Friends

With the release of their first four albums, The Murlocs  — King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith and Cook Craig with Cal Shortal, Matt Mlach and Tim Karmouche — have released four albums of fuzzy and distorted psychedelic blues. which they’ve supported both as an opener for the likes of Gary Clark, Jr., Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Pixies, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, Wavves and of course, Kenny-Smith’s and Craig’s primary gig, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and as a headliner. 

The Aussie psych blues outfit’s fifth album. the Tim Dunn-produced Bittersweet Demons is slated for a June 25, 2021 release through their longtime label home ATO Records. Recorded at Button Pushers Studio, the 11-song album finds the band lovingly reflecting on the people, who have left a profound imprint on their lives, the saviors, the hell raisers and other assorted mystifying characters. Arguably, the most personal and complex batch of material they’ve written to date, the album reportedly finds the band bouncing around and between sunny pop, blues punk and wide-eyed psychedelia informed by John Lennon‘s Plastic Ono Band and Harry Nilsson‘s Lennon-produced Pussy Cats. 

Last month, I wrote about Bittersweet Demons first single, the Tim Karmouche penned “Francesca,” a rousingly upbeat, hook-driven ripper with a subtle New Wave polish written for Kenny-Smith’s mother, who found a new lease on life through newfound love. Bittersweet Demons’ second and latest single “Eating At You” is a slow-burning and melancholic sing-a-long centered around wailing harmonica, shuffling rhythms, some shimmering pedal steel, Kenny-Smith’s most plaintive and earnest delivery of his career. In some way, “Eating At You” is The Murlocs’ “I Got Friends in Low Places,” as a rousingly anthemic ode to those deeply troubled friends and erstwhile n’er-do-wells of life. “it’s an ode to all the lovable train wrecks out there that have gone off the rails and keep going back for more,” The Murlocs’ Ambrose Kenny-Smith explains. “The never-ending vortex cycle. Some seem to never learn their lesson even when it smacks them right in the face constantly. It’s important to address these issues before disaster strikes and it’s too late. Never give up on your loved ones when they’re in need of a helping hand.”

 Directed, edited and shot by John Angus Stewart, the recently released video for “Eating At You” begins with someone spray-painting “Eating At U” on Kenny-Smith’s orange sweatshirt. We then follow Kenny-Smith getting fucked up with a collection of homies in an abandoned and graffiti covered public bathroom but as the video continues we see the night slide into anarchic chaos and despair. And throughout, there’s something a bit menacing but off-kilter.

Deriving their name from a nickname that was given to its frontwoman while she was in college, and now seen as the band’s motto representing their approach to life and music, the emerging Los Angeles-based indie rock act Mihi Nihil (pronounced Mee-Kee, Nee-Keel) — Mihi Vox (vocals), Benjamin Montoya (guitar), Nick Sternberg (bass) and Adam Alt (drums) — currently feature a former New York-based opera singer and three self-taught rock musicians. Interestingly, the band can trace their origins to a free-flowing batch of sessions that the longtime friends jokingly called “Whiskey Rehearsals,” which helped to quickly establish a sound that draws from an electric array of influences including early Radiohead, The Clash, Ennio Morricone, Sixousie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Neil Young and Pixies.

Eventually, those “Whiskey Rehearsals” between the four friends led to the material which would eventually comprise their Adam Lasus-produced full-length nine-song, self-titled debut album. Recorded and written by the band in one room, the album’s material captures their simpatico and collaborative working relationship.

In the lead-up to the album’s release, the band released four singles over the past few months: two of the singles have appeared in two major motion pictures, with all four appearing in a handful of media outlets across 15 countries, as well as on 45 playlists. Their self-titled album’s fifth and latest single “Gold” is a slow-burning desert rock-like dirge centered around Mihi Vox’s expressive vocals, rumbling bass lines and gently swirling guitars that slowly builds up until a rumbling roar with soaring hooks. And while possessing a patient, almost painterly quality, “Gold” evokes sand-swept blacktop that reminds me The Fire TapesPhantoms, PJ Harvey and Chelsea Wolfe among others.


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Veteran indie producer Adam Lasus (Yo La Tengo, Helium, Madder Rose) captured the band’s live energy to tape, revealing an album imbued with a timeless, lush and layered sound that’s meant to be savored and slowly ingested. Like colorful rock formations, the music encompasses a myriad of subtle tints and bold textures. Recorded without a click track, MIHI NIHIL naturally expands and contracts, pushes and pulls, moving with ease. Whether it’s the cinematic echo of Ennio Morricone in “Verberation” or the ominous yearning for connection in the more soporific electro “Space Invader,” MIHI NIHIL shifts tonal presentations effortlessly with maximum emotional thrust.

New Video: The Murlocs Release a Feel-Good 80s Inspired Ode to Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s Mom

The Murlocs  — King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith and Cook Craig with Cal Shortal, Matt Mlach and Tim Karmouche — have released four albums of fuzzy and distorted psychedelic blues that the band has supported both as an opener for the likes of Gary Clark, Jr., Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Pixies, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, Wavves and of course, Kenny-Smith’s and Craig’s primary gig,. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and as a headliner.

The Aussie psych blues outfit’s fifth album. the Tim Dunn-produced Bittersweet Demons is slated for a June 25, 2021 release through their longtime label home ATO Records. Recorded at Button Pushers Studio, the 11-song album finds the band lovingly reflecting on the people, who have left a profound imprint on their lives, the saviors, the hell racists and other assorted mystifying characters. Arguably, the most personal and complex batch of material they’ve written to date, the album reportedly finds the band bouncing around and between sunny pop, blues punk and wide-eyed psychedelia informed by John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and Harry Nilsson’s Lennon-produced Pussy Cats.

Bittersweet Demons first single “Francesca” was written by the band’s Tim Karmouche — and sonically, finds the band crafting a rousingly upbeat, hook-driven ripper that subtly adds a New Wave polish to the fuzzy psych rock barnburners that have won them national and international attention. To my ears, the members of The Murlocs have managed to write a road trip anthem that’s arena rock friendly. “The song is about my mother, and show she had been lost for love since the separation from my father, when I was, 10,” Kenny-Smith explains in press notes. “In the last year and a half or so, she’s found love again, with a very close family friend of ours, someone, who has always been a godfather and mentor to me in many ways. This has changed her spirit immensely for the better. You can really see the pop in her step as this enormous weight has been lifted off her shoulders.”

Kenny-Smith mentions that some of his favorite songs are odes to impressive women — i.e. Van Morrison’s “Gloria” — and says, “Francesca is my mother’s middle name and I’ve always loved it so much.” The Murlocs frontman adds “It’s probably the most positive, feel-good song we’ve ever done. It’s also the closest we’ve ever come to having an 80’s phase.”

Directed by Alex Mclaren, the recently released video for “Francesca” was shot last April. Melbourne was coming out of its first pandemic-related lockdown and restrictions were eased for a short period of time. The band and director quickly jumped on the opportunity to shoot while they had the chance, presumably recognizing that they may not get another chance. And for such an 80’s-like anthem, the video features the titular Francesca, Kenny-Smith and the band driving around in a convertible and rocking out, as well as 80’s computerized graphics and fade outs. The car footage was shot on Melbourne’s Ivanhoe Blvd., near where Kenny-Smith’s mom grew up. That part of the footage was informed by the video for Randy Newman’s “I Love LA.”

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.