Tag: post punk

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Bootblacks Release a Shimmering Dance Floor Friendly Single

Throughout this site’s decade history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the rising New York-based post-punk act Bootblacks. The JOVM mainstay act — Panther Almqvist (vocals), Alli Gorman (guitar), Barrett Hiatt (synths) and Larry Gorman (drums) — derive their name from novelist William Burroughs’ description of the dark underbelly of New York. Unsurprisingly, the band’s surroundings have deeply influenced and informed their work both sonically and thematically. “It’s an energetic city and people have all the reasons in the world not to give you the time of day,” the band’s Panther Almqvist says in press notes. “I think our music has been shaped by that in many ways.”

In 2012, the New York-based post-punk released their Jim Sclavunos-produced debut EP Narrowed. 2016 saw the release of their full-length debut Veins, which they supported with extensive touring. Interestingly, 2017’s sophomore effort Fragments found the band expanding their sound with the material becoming more synth-based, more atmospheric and much bigger than its immediate predecessors. And as a result, Fragments received quite a bit of attention, which helped the band earn slots on a number of post-punk/New Wave/goth festivals including Cold Waves, Terminus, Absolution, Wave Gotik Treffen and A Murder of Crows — and the album landed on a lot of year-end lists.

Of course, like countless acts across the world, the members of the rising New York-based post-punk act had plans — and hopes — for a big 2020, pre COVID-19 pandemic quarantines and lockdowns: they were handpicked to open for Modern English during their North American tour this year. Unfortunately, that tour has been postponed. But in the meantime, the band’s highly anticipated Jason Corbett-produced third album Thin Skies will be released through Artoffact Records on October 9, 2020. Thin Skies reportedly finds the band zooming forward where Fragments left off, with the album’s nine songs meshing dance floor pulse and brooding post-punk with anthemic hooks.

Thin Skies continues the band’s long-held thematic concerns: the loneliness of city life. “Most of the lyrics on the album are about loneliness,” says Almqvist. “Looking back on the lyric writing process there seems to be some connective feeling of isolation and distance present in all of the songs… I’m always hoping that a listener personalizes the song, that’s why the songs never have a narrative but try to embody a feeling.”

I’ve written about Thin Skies’ first three singles: the brooding yet dance floor friendly “Traveling Light,” the jittery and anxious “The Jealous Star,” and the cinematic and atmospheric album title track “Thin Skies.” “Hidden Things,” Thin Skies’ fourth and latest single is centered around shimming, reverb-drenched guitars, arpeggiated synths and a dance floor friendly pulse, reminiscent of The Rapture and Cut Copy. According to Bootblacks’ frontman Panther Almqvist, “’Hidden Things’ is about looking into darkness to find your way out of it.”

New Video: Los Angeles-based Duo Peel Releases a Brooding Visual for Hypontic “Rom-Com”

Los Angeles-based duo Peel is a new collaboration between multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Sean Cimino and multi-instrumentalist and producer Isom Innis. Interestingly, the project can trace its origins back to a month-long recording session the duo held at Innis’ concrete loft above The Orpheum Theatre. The cavernous space, which once held fleets of sewing machines thrumming and humming served as the perfect setting for musical experimentation through drums, amps and modular synthesizers.

Interestingly, the duo’s debut single “Rom-Com” was the first song the duo wrote together, and the track is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a woozy guitar solo and hypnotic, motorik groove that brings Gary Numan and Antics-era Interpol to mind. “We are obsessed with records like Second Edition (Public Image Ltd.) and The Pleasure Principle (Gary Numan); records where spirit and improvisation guide expression,” Peel’s Isom Innis explains in press notes. “The lyrics, deriving from a stream-of consciousness, are from the perspective of trying to find your existential footing in the cyclical information spiral.”

Directed by Taylor Giali, Robbie Jeffers and the members of Peel, the recently released video for “Rom-Com,” is a live recording shot in a stark, industrial-like black and white while capturing the duo through different arrays of photographs and hazy analog, security cam-like video — but with an interactive twist in which the viewer can scroll through a split screen of the band performing.

Peel’s self-titled effort is slated for an October 16, 2020 release though Innovative Leisure. Be on the lookout

Led by frontman Zac Woolery, the London-based post-punk act DEADLETTER emerged into the national scene with the release of their debut single “Good Old Days” earlier this year, which received airplay on regional BBC and BBC 6. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the rising London-based act’s second single “Fit For Work” is an angry, attention-grabbing track featuring the angular guitar attack that recalls Entertainment!-era Gang of Four, centered around an alternating quiet verses, a No Wave-like, explosive chorus and call-and-response vocals.

Although the song has a decidedly British point of view, the song thematically focuses on our seemingly unending Kafkaesque hellscape of cruelly indifferent bureaucrats, and ridiculous laws and regulations that crush dreams, hopes and lives — in particular, governments and institutions that force people to work in the most absurd situations to get by — or to get a little bit of money from the government. “‘Fit For Work’ was a concept a long time before it was a song,” DEADLETTER’s Zac Woolery explains in press notes. “As a band, and as a writer, we [I] have always regarded the call and response strategy as biblical. The idea of having a conversation during the delivery of art leads to this absurd metaphysical tangent of acknowledging your art is art whilst performing it; similar to when artists use the line “I wrote this song for you because…” what they are doing, when you think about it, is taking away the idea that what they’re creating exists in itself, and is in fact an entity that exists in a wholly real world.

“As a song, “Fit For Work” is about more than just the Department for Work and Pensions. It provides a mirror to the world, and specifically the Britain of today.  The ideas explored within the track are seemingly exaggerated accounts of reality but, upon close examination, have worrying roots in true experience, with the track aiming to parallel the savagery of the narrator in the song with the actual brutality of our government.

“The declaration of someone as ‘Fit For Work’ is symptomatic of the apathy and bureaucratic cruelty prevalent in society, where being unable to meet a certain ticked number of boxes (either literally or metaphorically), equates to the surrender of personal autonomy, and by extension, individual identity.”

New Video: Reims France’s Not A Number Releases a 4AD Records-like Single

Not A Number (N.A.N.) is a post-punk act led by its Reims, France-based creative mastermind, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Bernard Collot. Slated for an October 15, 2020 release, Collot’s self-titled, three song EP  was recorded and mixed by Sylvain Masure at Le Chalet Studio — and the EP’s material finds the emerging French artist drawing from a mix of coldwave, shoegaze and post-punk. 

The EP’s latest single is the shimmering and brooding 4AD Records-like “Black Water,” which features shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, atmospheric synths and thumping beats, a sinuous bass line, and anthemic hook paired with Collot’s plaintive vocals.  And while being both slickly produced and carefully crafted, the song thematically is centered around an achingly familiar sentiment — the age old battle between nostalgia and the desire to move forward. 

Directed by Collot and Arnaud Klein, the recently released video follows a brooding Collot through an industrial looking tunnel, him and his bandmate swimming and walking through a suburban-looking pool — and of course, the duo playing the song poolside. It’s symbolic and feverish, and it emphasizes the overall feel and vibe of the song. 

New Video: Amsterdam’s Rex Releases a Horror Film-Inspired Visual for Brooding EP single “Dm”

REX is a rising, Amsterdam-based indie rock trio that features members with very diverse musical backgrounds:  Jonathan Rex (vocals, guitar) grew up with flamenco in his blood,  Nout Kooji (drums) grew up in punk rock, and Sara Elzinga (bass) grew up in a blues loving home. But despite their different musical backgrounds, the Dutch band’s sound draws from Nick Cave, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen and flamenco, while thematically their material tackles dark and murky topics — and as a result the band has developed a profile both nationally and across sections of the European Union. 

Because of their growing profile, the members of the Dutch act have played shows in the UK, Germany and Spain. They’ve opened for Claw Boys Claw — and they’ve made appearances across the European Festival circuit, including Into the Great Wide Openlast year. Adding to a growing profile, Rex released their self-titled debut EP earlier this year, and the EP’s latest single is the brooding “Dm.” Sounding like an incredibly stylish synthesis of The Doorsand Nick Cave, the track is centered around slashing guitars, an explosive guitar solo, and a propulsive rhythm section powered by a sinuous bass line, the track is a darkly seductive platform for Jonathan Rex’s sonorous, Glenn Danzig meets Jim Morrison’s baritone and Silia Hollestelle’s plaintive and expressive vocals. It’s fitting since the song is focused on a troubled male protagonist desperately calling out to a lost lover. Expanding upon the song’s theme and story, Jonathan Rex says ““His lover tells him that they can only be together if he chooses to cross the ‘other side’ where she will be waiting for him. Knowing that he will have to cross the river to the land of the dead, insanity starts to creep in.”

Shot in the Dutch forests, just outside Amsterdam, the recently released video for “Dm” evokes Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe movies — a feverish and hallucinogenic journey through the dark recesses of the human soul and mind. 

Throughout this site’s decade history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the rising New York-based post-punk act Bootblacks. Now, as you may recall, the post-punk JOVM mainstays — Panther Almqvist (vocals), Alli Gorman (guitar), Barrett Hiatt (synths) and Larry Gorman (drums) — derive their name from novelist William Burroughs’ description of the dark underbelly of New York. Unsurprisingly, the band’s surroundings have deeply influenced their work both sonically and thematically. “It’s an energetic city and people have all the reasons in the world not to give you the time of day,” the band’s Panther Almqvist says in press notes. “I think our music has been shaped by that in many ways.”

In 2012, the New York-based post-punk released their Jim Sclavunos-produced debut EP Narrowed. 2016 saw the release of their full-length debut Veins, which they supported with extensive touring. Interestingly, 2017’s sophomore effort Fragments found the band expanding their sound with the material becoming more synth-based, more atmospheric and much bigger than its immediate predecessors. And as a result, Fragments received quite a bit of attention, which helped the band earn slots on a number of post-punk/New Wave/goth festivals including Cold Waves, Terminus, Absolution, Wave Gotik Treffen and A Murder of Crows — and the album landed on a lot of year-end lists.

The members of Bootblacks have played at every significant venue in the New York Metropolitan area, sharing stages with Clan of Xymox, Light Asylum, HEALTH and VOWWS. Along the way, they’ve managed to tour across North America and Europe. Of course, like countless acts across the world, the members of the rising New York-based post-punk act had plans — and hopes — for a big 2020, pre COVID-19 pandemic quarantines and lockdowns: they were handpicked to open for Modern English during their North American tour this year. Unfortunately, that tour has been postponed. But in the meantime, the band’s highly anticipated Jason Corbett-produced third album Thin Skies will be released through Artoffact Records and the album reportedly finds the band zooming forward where Fragments left off — with its nine songs meshing dance floor pulse and melodic, brooding post-punk with anthemic hooks. The album’s material also features backing vocals from ACTORS‘ Shannon Hemmett, SRSQ‘s and Them Are Us Too‘s Kennedy Ashyln.

Thin Skies continues the band’s long-held thematic concerns: the loneliness of city life. “Most of the lyrics on the album are about loneliness,” says Almqvist. “Looking back on the lyric writing process there seems to be some connective feeling of isolation and distance present in all of the songs… I’m always hoping that a listener personalizes the song, that’s why the songs never have a narrative but try to embody a feeling.”

So far I’ve written about Thin Skies‘ first two singles — the brooding yet dance floor friendly and motorik groove driven “Traveling Light,” and the jittery and anxious “The Jealous Star,” which managed to evoke the anxious and unsettled yearning of a confused. vagabond heart. The album’s third and latest single is the cinematic album title track “Thin Skies.” Centered around thunderous drumming, shimmering blasts of guitars, atmospheric electronics, skittering beats and Almqvist’s brooding vocals, the album title track evokes a very post-modern sense of alienation and despair while simultaneously sounding as though it could part of a soundtrack to a Tarantino-like film noir.

“The story of the road, empty spaces, hours of endless driving across barren landscapes, is not only romantic and fascinating, but something near to every musician’s heart,” Bootblacks’ Almqvist says. “The touring component of music attracts wandering spirits. ‘Thin Skies’ is a tribute to that feeling and to all the lore of independence, loneliness, and mystery that life on the road encompasses.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ganser Take Us on a TED Talk from Hell in New Visual for “Projector”

Chicago-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Ganser can trace its origins back to when its founding members Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals) and Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals) met while attending art school. Bonding over a mutual love of The Residents, outsider communities and the work of John Waters and David Lynch, the duo developed a hands-on DIY craftsmanship that eventually carried over into the band. Each of the band’s members — Garofalo, Gaines, Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) — sharing writing duties and collaborating on every aspect of their creative work, including music videos, album art and the visuals, which often accompany their live shows. 

2018’s full-length debut Odd Talk received widespread praise nationally and across the blogosphere with some critics comparing their sound and approach to Sonic Youth and Magazine. Thematically, the album focused on communication breakdowns — namely, the difficulties of being understood, avoidance and intimacy

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut, Odd Talk, the Chicago-based post-punk outfit developed a national profile with the album receiving widespread praise for sound that some critics have compared favorable to Sonic Youth and Magazine paired with incisive lyrics critiquing larger social issues. Odd Talk thematically focused on communication breakdowns, the difficult of being understood, intimacy and avoidance. 

Now, as you may recall the Chicago-based JOVM mainstays’ highly-anticipated sophomore album Just Look at That Sky is slated for a Friday release through Felte Records. Thematically, their sophomore album finds the quartet probing the futility of striving for self-growth during chaos — while evoking an all too familiar manic worry and generalized sense of dread and doom. The album acknowledges that we’re online all the time and inundated with too much information about other people and situations. We’re all a tweet, a status update, an Instagram post or a text exchange away from truly knowing what our followers, friends and loved ones really think about us. And in a larger sense, the world as we know it is dying before our eyes. We can watch the replays every night at 8, 10, 11 — in slow motion. 

So far, I’ve written about two of Just Look at That Sky’s released singles — the tense and explosive album opener “Lucky.” and the atmospheric and brooding “Emergency Equipment and Exits.” The album’s latest single “Projector” is an uneasy song centered around propulsive drumming, angular blasts of guitar and bass paired with Garofalo delivering a psychological study of people desperately trying to hold on to anything when everything is so absolutely insane. 

“It’s what happens when someone becomes so far removed from general society that their thoughts become a Dunning-Kruger Effect echo chamber of pseudo-wisdom and self-affirmations. Connection and perspective gets lost, but that echo becomes louder and often public,” Ganser’s Garofalo says of the song, 

Directed by the members of the band, the recently released video for “Projector” stars the band’s Nadia Garofalo as a painfully awkward and intensely self-aware TED Talk-like speaker, giving a talk on “Pseudo Philosophies for Living in the Current Climate,” and the talk includes the prerequisite PowerPoint slides and video clips. But as the video pulls out at the end, we see that Garofalo’s TED talk speaker has been speaking in front of an empty room — the entire time. 

“We shot this the day after SXSW was cancelled,” the members of Ganser recall in press notes. “We didn’t know what was coming, but we knew it wasn’t going to be good.”

Led by founding member multi-instrumentalist Candace Lazarou and currently featuring Noah Adams (bass), Silver Shadows’ Chase Kamp (drums), Jascha Ephraim (lead guitar) and Mel Weikart (keyboard), Oakland-based punk act Body Double can trace its origins to a period of intense grief and transition for its founding member: Lazarou’s previous band, underground noise rock act Mansion went through a acrimonious breakup in 2016, months before the tragic Ghost Ship warehouse fire. Simultaneously, Lazarou began rethinking and then disentangling herself from longtime personal relationships and with drugs.

Lazarou withdrew into her bedroom, creating material about intimacy and consent in the style of a drag mass attended by Brian Eno and Al Jourgensen. After being confined to vocal duties in Mansion, Lazarou desired and savored creative control, indulging in dramatic arrangement and hooks — and then she found a collaborator with Noah Adams, the band’s bassist and cowriter.

Slated for a September 18, 2020 release through Zum Records, the Oakland punk quintet’s produced full-length debut Milk Fed can trace its origins back to sessions with co-producer Jason Kick at Tunnel Vision beginning around 2017. Lazarou played most of the instruments on the album with Silver Shadows‘ Chase Kamp and Mansion’s Jeff Cook sharing drum duties. Last year, the band began playing live shows and expanded to its current lineup.

“The Floating Hand,” Milk Fed’s first single (and coincidentally, the band’s debut) is an angular No Wave-like take on post punk that seethes and bristles with the unease of someone, who has long been a square peg that has never quite fit in anywhere, ever. And while reminding me a bit of The Mallard‘s Finding Meaning in Deference, the track is fueled by lived-in personal experience.

“‘The Floating Hand’ is generally about competition, and your options for reacting to it,” Candace Lazarou explains in press notes. “I grew up in a few different countries because my dad was a Marine, and each move felt interplanetary: the language changed, what was good and bad changed, even the bugs crawling on the ground changed.  I felt at odds with conservative military culture and run-of-the-mill high school viciousness, and fantasized about one day finding a safe haven in punk and underground music.  It turns out that even amongst weirdos you’ll still see people undercut each other, and you might be a maladjusted alien regardless of scenery.  I wrote this song about a musician I thought was particularly nasty, and it ended up being about myself, which is what happens whenever I try to write a dis track.”