Tag: PJ Harvey

Formed back in 2010, the acclaimed Baltimore-based dream pop act Lower Dens can trace its origins to when its primary songwriter and founding member Jana Hunter had grown tired of touring and decided to take a hiatus. For what was supposed to be their final tour as a solo artist, Hunter recruited a backing band which featured Geoff Graham, Abram Sanders and Will Adams. Finding that playing with a band was much more enjoyable to them than playing as a solo artist, helped Hunter form Lower Dens. “During that tour, I realized that it wasn’t the touring life that I hated, but more so that the kind of music I wrote as a solo artist wasn’t something I felt entirely comfortable sharing in performance setting. Lower Dens then was the eventual result of the decision to make music with the specific intention of sharing and enjoying it with others,” Hunter said at the time.

Lower Dens’ full-length debut, Twin Hand Movement was released to critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork, who compared Hunter’s vocals to those of PJ Harvey and Beach House’s Victoria Legrand and Dusted Magazine, who praised the album’s lyrics for being “delivered without irony, yet self-aware enough to appreciate the obviousness.” While touring to support Twin Hand Movement, the band began writing on the road — but the limitations of writing on the road forced Hunter to work through a laptop and keyboard rather than a guitar, which lead to an increasing presence of synths on what would become their sophomore album Nootropics.

After they completed their tour, the band chose to record their sophomore album at The Key Club Recording Company in Benton Harbor, MI.  Hunter cited the studio’s remote location as an imperative part of the writing and recording process. Geoff Graham added that the amount of time spent in the studio allowed them to add extra dimensions to the material to make it lusher and thicker. Largely influenced by Kraftwerk‘s Radioactivity, Fripp and Eno and David Bowie‘s production on Iggy Pop‘s The IdiotNootropics was released to critical praise from the likes of PitchforkRolling Stone and Spin

Building upon a growing profile, Lower Dens opened for Beach House and indie rock legends Yo La Tengo at the Baltimore stop of the legendary act’s  2013 Fade tour. And the following month, they released “Non Grata” on a split 7″ with Baltimore-based band Horse Lords, an effort that was released as part of the Famous Class LAMC series, which benefited VH1’s Save The Music Foundation

2015 saw the release of the band’s third album Escape from Evil, which continued a run of critically applauded albums. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes — with the band now being a duo featuring its founding member and primary songwriter Jana Hunter and Nate Nelson. And during that period, the members of Lower Dens had been working on their highly-anticipated follow up to Escape from Evil, The Competition.

Slated for a September 6, 2019 release through their longtime label home Ribbon Music, and the album is reportedly a pop album with an emotionally and politically urgent concept at its core. Competition, by design is the driving force of modern capitalism and the title is Hunnter’s term for a socio-psychological phenomenon that competition generates — a kind of psychosis that accelerates and amplifies our insecurities and anxieties to the point of overload. And as a result our intimacies, our communities and even our senses of self are corroded and distorted. “The issues that have shaped my life, for better or for worse, have to do with coming from a family and a culture that totally bought into this competitive mindset.  I was wild and in a lot of pain as a kid; home life was very bleak, and pop songs were a guaranteed escape to a mental space where beauty, wonder, and love were possible. I wanted to write songs that might have the potential to do that.”

Interestingly, The Competition‘s third and latest single is the atmospheric and slow-burning synth pop “Galapagos.” Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a motorik-like groove, a soaring hook, four-on-the-floor drumming and Hunter’s achingly tender vocals, the song evokes an unfulfilled and plaintive longing while sonically recalling Kate Bush and Siouxsie and the Banshees. And it may arguably be one of the most cinematic-leaning songs the act has released to date.

The members of Lower Dens recently announced that they’ll be hitting the road to support their new album. They’ll be opening for Of Monsters And Men for most of the tour with the exception of a three special album releases shows in Los Angeles and Baltimore. The tour will include a September 5, 2019 stop at Radio City Music Hall. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

 

Tour dates – all dates opening for Of Monsters And Men except where noted:
08/31/19 Baltimore, MD @ Rituals *

09/01/19 Baltimore, MD @ Rituals *

09/04/19 Washington, DC @ The Anthem

09/05/19 New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall

09/08/19 Boston, MA @ Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion

09/10/19 Philadelphia, PA @ Metropolitan Opera House

09/11/19 Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage

09/13/19 Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom

09/14/19 Minneapolis, MN @ Surly Brewing Festival Field

09/16/18 Denver, CO @ The Mission Ballroom

09/17/19 Ogden, UT @ Ogden Twilight

09/19/19 Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl

09/20/19 Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room *

09/22/19 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium

09/24/19 Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater

09/26/19 Seattle, WA @ WaMu Theater

09/27/19 Troutdale, OR @ McMenamins Edgefield

09/28/19 Vancouver, BC @ Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre

10/19/19 Maspeth, NY @ Pitchfork Octfest ^

11/01/19 Houston, TX @ Axelrad Beer Garden *

11/02/19 Mexico City, MX @ RadioBosque Festival ^

* Lower Dens headline show

^ without Of Monsters And Men

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New Video: Gemma Ray’s Creepy Visuals for Slow-Burning and Gothic “Death Tapes”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Basildon, Essex, UK-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Gemma Ray, and as you may recall, Ray has collaborated with the likes of SparksAlan Vega and members of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds while releasing 8 full-length albums that have found the Basildon-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist meshing a number of disparate genres into what’s been described pop-noir, sideway blues and gothic folk.G

Bronze Rat Records, the Basildon-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter’s longtime label home released her latest effort Psychogeology earlier this year, and the album which was recorded at Candybomber Studios and Ray’s Berlin-based studio found her expanding upon her sound and approach throughout the incorporation of elements of sci-fi synthscapes, girl group dramarama, gothic surf disco, blues cantatas, Melody Nelson-era Gainsbourg groove, and harmony-laden reverb-drenched folk-pop among other things. Album single “Blossom Crawls” was a Stevie Nicks meet Phil Spector Wall of Sound-era bit of girl pop that revealed some ambitious songwriting, centered around a careful attention to craft.

The Basildon-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist is gearing up for a 2 part evening of music that will feature two audio installations presented for the first time and for one night only — Psychotic Gemmation: A sonic tapestry process, progress, madness and form, which is a psychedelic and personal appendix to the new album and ‘The Gemmatron, an interactive instrument/choir generator. Musically,. the night will feature Ray and her backing band playing material from the new album as well. But in the meantime, Psychogeology‘s latest single is the Western gothic-tinged “Death Tapes.” The brooding track is centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, buzzing synths, Ray’s sultry delivery and some girl group harmonies — and while bearing a bit of a resemblance to PJ Harvey and The Black Angels, the song possesses a swooning, Edgar Allan Poe-like Romanticism.

Directed by Ziska Riemann, the recently released video is split between sequences of Ray wearing an elaborate headdress with her backing band performing the song in the studio and what appears to be a mass grave robbery among other weird goings-on.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Eliza Shaddad Releases 90s Rom-Com Inspired Visuals for “Just Goes To Show”

With the release of her first two EPs Run and Waters, the London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Eliza Shaddad quickly rose to international prominence, receiving praise from a number of major media outlets including The Fader, Nylon, Stereogum, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash, The 405, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra, Beats 1 Radio and countless others for a sound that some have compared to the likes of PJ Harvey, Cat Power and others.

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed British singer/songwriter, and as you may recall, Shaddad’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Future is slated for an October 26, 2018 release through Beatnik Creative. Earlier this year, I wrote about Future‘s second single “My Body,” a moody track featuring shoegazer-like atmospherics and a dark, seductive, trip hop-inspired groove that evoked a plaintive and uncertain need. “This Is My Cue” the album’s third single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor — moody atmospherics but centered around a candid and ironically rousing breakup song.

Future‘s fourth and latest single “Just Goes to Show” continues a run of atmospheric tracks with a deceptively anthemic nature but much like its immediate predecessor, the track is deeply confessional and unabashedly honest description of the desperate, uneasy feelings of a breakup –but from the perspective of the person being left behind to deal with the aftermath. And while some have compared the song to The Cranberries,Wolf Alice and Marika Hackman, the song isn’t completely dire as it (subtly) suggests that life and one’s heart does go on after a while.

Directed by Patrick Taylor, the recently released video was shot in one of Shaddad’s favorite venues in London, specifically decorated to fit, along with some willing friends and family as extras “(My little (big) bro is in it, and my cousins, in fact it’s a repeat performance from one:) The costume and hair and make up teams worked total miracles on all of us and then we channeled our inner teenagers and the result is something completely and bananasly different for me.” Of course, the video features Shaddad at a painfully awkward and terrible 90s-like prom, complete with its attendees doing sad two-steps, while the video’s protagonist sit off to the side singing the song before being asked to dance — while capturing the innermost thoughts, desires and frustrations of teenagers. Interestingly, as Shaddad says, the “song has always felt like the kind of thing that would be playing in one of those terrible but incredible 90s movies prom scenes and so I was dying to make a video played on that.” 

New Audio: Mother Feather Releases an Arena Rock Friendly Ripper

Comprised of founding and primary duo Ann Courtney and Lizzie Carena, along with Chris Foley and Gunnar Olsen, the New York-based rock act Mother Feather formed back in 2010 and since their formation they’ve developed a reputation for swaggering and epic songs that some have said invoke Marc Bolan, David Bowie and To Bring To You My Love-era PJ Harvey. And while that can debated, the band’s sophomore album Constellation Baby is slated for a November 11, 2018 release through Metal Blade Records/Blacklight Media, and the album’s second and latest single “Snakebite” will further the act’s growing reputation for crafting anthemic, arena rock centered around enormous power chords, thundering drumming and Ann Courtney’s powerhouse vocals.  Interestingly, the track manages to simultaneously nod at 80s hair metal and classic rock, complete with a coked-up, balls to the wall swagger. 

As the band’s Ann Courtney explains of the song, “‘An homage to the evil impulse and the speed of its ambush, I wrote ‘Snakebite’ in a hot 20 minutes. With its production setting it in the cinematic imagination of an 80s punk cult-film, this is the riotous theme song for your psycho ex-girlfriend with an axe to grind.”

 

Currently comprised of primary songwriting and founding duo Laura Fisher (vocals) and Jeremy Marx (guitar), along with Jonathan Arcenueax (drums), who has played with Toonces, Julie Odell and Debuache; and Devin Kerrigan (bass), who has played with Toonces, Bionica, Gravity A, the New Orleans-based indie rock act Tranche have developed a reputation locally and regionally for a sound that meshes elements of dream pop, shoegaze and grunge in a way that’s dark and moody yet familiar. In fact, their anthemic, mid-tempo “Wishing on the Water” brings to mind Concrete Blonde, JOVM mainstay Chelsea Wolfe, PJ Harvey and others, as the track is centered around shimmering, delay and distortion pedal fed guitar, four on the floor drumming, a soaring hook paired with Fisher’s powerhouse vocals, expressing a profound yearning.

Interestingly, as the band’s Laura Fisher told me through email, “‘Wishing on the Water’ is born of deep and relentless reflections on the current state of our world, in all of it’s dark dystopian inclinations and tragic beauty; in particular I explore the separation and perception of reality vs. mind. Sometimes I feel like our most modern technologies purposefully breed paranoia and dissociation. Or maybe those are just inherent parts of human nature?

When I asked Jeremy for his input, he noted that the song isn’t so much a story as it is a ‘literary wishing well.’ Which I love. It’s also super accurate considering I was greatly inspired lyrically by the images conjured in Marlon MacAllister’s novel Meld Resistance (as well as it’s illustrations by Yona Yurwit). Musically, I think the riff just came to Jeremy and we played with it, developing the hook together. I wrote the verses. It felt like channeling all of our favourite grunge anthems into something new and for 2018.”

With the release of her first two EPs Run and Waters, the London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Eliza Shaddad quickly rose to international prominence, receiving praise from a number of major media outlets including The FaderNylonStereogumThe Line of Best FitThe IndependentClashThe 405, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1XtraBeats 1 Radio and countless others for a sound that some have compared to the likes of PJ Harvey, Cat Power and others.

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed British singer/songwriter, and as you may recall, Shaddad’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Future is slated for an October 26, 2018 release through Beatnik Creative. Earlier this year, I wrote about Future‘s second single “My Body,” a moody track featuring shoegazer-like atmospherics and a dark, seductive, trip hop-inspired groove that evoked a plaintive and uncertain need. “This Is My Cue” the album’s third single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor — moody atmospherics but centered around a candid and ironically rousing breakup song.

Future‘s fourth and latest single “Just Goes to Show” continues a run of atmospheric tracks with a deceptively anthemic nature but much like its immediate predecessor, the track is deeply confessional and unabashedly honest description of the desperate, uneasy feelings of a breakup –but from the perspective of the person being left behind to deal with the aftermath. And while some have compared the song to The Cranberries, Wolf Alice and Marika Hackman, the song isn’t completely dire as it (subtly) suggests that life and one’s heart does go on after a while.

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter Eliza Shaddad Releases a Rousing and Candid Breakup Song

With the release of her first two EPs Run and Waters, the London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Eliza Shaddad quickly rose to international prominence, receiving praise from a number of major media outlets including The Fader, Nylon, Stereogum, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash, The 405, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra, Beats 1 Radio and countless others for a sound that some have compared to the likes of PJ Harvey, Cat Power and others. I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed British singer/songwriter over the past couple of years, and as you may recall Shaddad arguably has one of the more interesting biographies and backstories I’ve come across in some time: she’s the daughter of Sudanese and Scottish parents — and on her mother’s side, she’s the descendant of a long and very proud line of artists and poets that can be traced back to the 1800s; in fact, her great great grandfather James Paterson was a member of the Glasgow Boys, a collective of extremely forward-thinking artist, best known best known for challenging the style and subjects of Victorian Scottish painting. She’s also been a true citizen of the world, with stints living in seven different countries, and as a result she speaks four languages. Along with that she’s earned a Masters in Philosophy and graduated from the Guildhall School with a degree in Jazz. Considering that background, it should be unsurprising that Shaddad’s work centers around constantly shifting and widening perspectives.

Shaddad has developed a reputation for pairing her creative work with significant causes. Along with fellow musician Samantha Lindo, she co-founded Girls Girls Girls, a female arts collective that has worked to empower women within the arts through special cross-disciplinary events across the UK. She has also raised awareness and funding for the anti-female genital mutilation charity Orchid Project. Although she’s been extremely busy, Shaddad’s highly anticipated full-length debut Future is slated for an October 26, 2018 release through Beatnik Creative, and the album finds the acclaimed singer/songwriting continuing her longtime collaboration with Chris Bond.

Now, earlier this summer, I wrote about Future’s second single “My Body,” a moody and hook driven track centered around shoegazer-like atmospherics and dark, seductive trip hop-like groove — and while evoking a plaintive but uncertain need, the song as Shaddad explained in press notes was about ” “Being betrayed by your body.  Knowing full well that you need to be alone, but doubting it every night.” Future’s latest single “This Is My Cue” sonically continues in a similar vein as its predecessor — moody and shimmering atmospherics but the major difference is that the song is a candid and ironically rousing breakup song in which the song examines the period of ambivalence and uncertainty in romantic relationships when passion cools to indifference, and throughout the song its narrator is desperately trying to figure out what to do — and to gain the strength to leave. 

The recently released video features footage shot by Jodie Canwell, Tom Pollard and Ben Jackson while Shaddad and her were on tour across Europe, and its an intimate view of the artist and her band goofing off, performing in clubs, wandering the streets of European towns that manages to capture the touring life as a blur of joy, awe, boredom and confusion. 

New Video: Phantastic Ferniture Release Whimsical Visuals for “Dark Corner Dance Floor”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Sydney, Australia-based band Phantasmic Ferniture, the garage rock/guitar pop side project (of sorts) of acclaimed singer/songwriter Julia Jacklin and two of her closest and dearest friends, Elizabeth Hughes and Ryan K. Brennan. And as the story goes, the band can trace their origins to a birthday gathering at a Sydney bar to celebrate Jacklin’s 24th birthday. At some point, a group hug had manifested itself with all ten of the group’s participants drunkenly promising to start a band together. “Only four of us remembered,” Hughes recalls. The band’s core and founding members bonded over a mutual love and appreciation for fern-related puns and leisurewear, and they would meet up whenever their individual schedules would allow, writing songs and playing smatterings of live dates to an increasingly devoted audience.

Eventually, Jacklin, Hughes and Brennan decided that Phantastic Ferniture wasn’t a side project, and they should focus on writing and recording an album together, centered around the fact that the band would be a lot more spontaneous and less technical than their individual pursuits. “That was the fun part,” Jacklin says in press notes. “Ryan never played drums in bands, Liz had never been a lead guitarist, Tom didn’t play bass and I’d never just sung before.” Hughes adds “We wanted a low level of expertise, because a lot of good music comes from people whose passion exceeds their skill.”

Now, as you may recall, the band’s self-titled full-length debut was released last month through Transgressive Records, and the album finds the band adopting their mantra of not overthinking and focusing on the urgency of the moment as the basis of the writing and recording sessions that produced it — but underpinned with a sense of whimsy. The album’s second single “Gap Year” was a 90s alt rock-inspired track that recalled  PJ Harvey while the album’s third single “Bad Timing” was a bit of rollocking indie rock with a cinematic sweep. The fourth and latest single off the Australian indie rock act’s debut “Dark Corner Dance Floor” is centered around a shuffling disco-like bass line, shimmering guitar chords and soaring, anthemic hooks making it one of the more danceable songs on the album although its underpinned by love, awe and disappointment. 
Co-directed by Nick Mckk and Phantasmic Ferniture, the recently released video for “Dark Corner Dance Floor” continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Mckk while featuring the band’s Jacklin and Hughes dressed up and wandering the streets of Sydney in a way that nods at David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Street” — but with a charming goofiness. As Jaclkin and Hughes explain in press notes, ” When you’re a kid from out of the city you think Darling Harbour is the essence of Sydney. The aquarium, the Ferris wheel, the IMAX theatre. You imagine when you finally make it to the big smoke you’ll spend your weekends falling in love under the lights of the high rises. Turns out if you move to Sydney you’ll probably never go there. We wanted to capture that feeling we had when we were two starry eyed teens imagining a fake city life.”

With the release of their debut single “Johnny,” the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based indie rock trio Basement Revolver, comprised of Chrisy Hurn (guitar, vocals), Nimal Agalawatte (bass) and Brandon Munro (drums) saw a rapid career trajectory as they received praise from the likes of DIY Magazine, The FADER and Exclaim! for a sound that draws from 90s alt rock and dream pop — but paired with deeply personal, yearning lyrics. Adding to a growing profile, the band released a handful of Hype Machine, chart topping songs which resulted in the Canadian indie rock trio amassing more than one million streams of their songs.

Recorded at TAPE Studio, where they recorded their first two EPs, their Adam Bentley and Jordan Mitchell-produced full-length debut Heavy Eyes is slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Fear of Missing Out Records and Sonic Unyon Records, and as the band’s Chrisy Hurn explains in press notes, recording in a comfortable environment allowed them to not only hone the sound that has won them international attention, it allowed them freedom to get heavy or more laid-back when the song required it; but perhaps more important, as Hurn says, “It also gave me the confidence as a writer to not take myself so seriously, to let myself get cheesy or goofy with some songs.”

“Dancing,” the buzz-worthy Canadian indie rock trio’s latest single finds the duo pairing buzzing and distorted power chords, propulsive drumming, a soaring hook and yearning lyrics within a song that sounds as though it were influenced by The Cranberries and PJ Harvey — and while subtly uptempo, it manages a buzzing and brooding nature. As the band’s Hurn explains of the song, When I’m feeling down, I like to borrow a car and drive until I am lost – it makes me feel better and distracts me a little. So, yeah, break out of your shell and dance… or get some fresh air.”