Tag: post punk

New Audio: Nottingham, UK’s Hurtsfall Releases a Joy Division-Inspired Single

Featuring current and former members of acts like The Death Notes, In Isolation, Gossamer Veil, Dick Venom & the Terrortones, The Midnight Circus, Every New Dead Ghost, Arcane Winter and Tenpole Tudor, the Nottingham, UK-based post-punk act Hurtsfall — founding members Mike Sinclair (bass), Jamie Laws (keys) and Dave Perkins (drums), along with Sam Harrison-Emm (vocals) — can trace its origins back to 2017, when its founding members started a new band. The emerging British act solidified their lineup when they found Harrison-Emm after a lengthy and exhaustive audition process in 2018.

Since the band has solidified their lineup, the members of Hurtsfall have established their own sound, which pairs goth overtones with synth pop sensibilities while developing a following centered around an energetic live show. So far, the le Nottingham-based band has opened for Strange Circuits, one of the first acts to sign with Wax Trax! Records — and building upon a growing profile, the band’s recently released their latest single “12 Long Years.” Centered around angular and propulsive bass chords, forceful yet mathematically precise drumming, shimmering and atmospheric synth flourishes and Harrison-Emm’s Ian Curtis-like baritone, “12 Long Years” will immediately recalls Joy Division, as well as more contemporary acts like ACTORS and others — and while murky and brooding, the track manages to be dance floor friendly.  

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New Video: Moaning Release’s a Surreal and Uneasy Visual for “Ego”

Back in 2018, I spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Los Angeles-based indie rock/post punk trio Moaning.  Comprised of Sean Solomon (vocals, guitar), Pascal Stevenson (keys, bass) and Andrew MacKelvie (drums), the members of Moaning have been friends and collaborators in Los Angeles’ DIY scene for the better part of a decade through music and other creative pursuits in different media — Solomon is also a noted illustrator, art director and animator while Stevenson and MacKelvie have played in or produced and engineered acclaimed and rapidly rising acts like Cherry Glazerr, Sasami and Surf Curse.

With the release of 2018’s self-titled full-length debut, the Los Angeles-based trio received attention from a number of nationally and internationally known media outlets including  The Fader, The Guardian, DIY Magazine,Stereogum, and others for a moody and angular post-punk sound that seemed to recall Joy Division, Interpol and Preoccupations. Building upon the success of their self-titled debut, the trio’s long-awaited sophomore album Uneasy Laughter is slated for a March 20. 2020 release through Sub Pop Records. Interestingly, Moaning’s Alex Newport-produced and engineered sophomore album is a more collaborative effort that finds the members of the band brightening the claustrophobic and uneasy sound that first won them attention — mainly through trading guitars for synths and beats. Thematically, the album focuses on the everyday anxieties of being a somewhat function human in the madness that’s this current century — with the material touching upon the personal and universal. “We’ve known each other forever and we’re really comfortable trying to express where we’re at. A lot of bands aren’t so close,” the band’s Andrew MacKelvie says in press notes. Sean Solomon, who celebrated a year of sobriety during the Uneasy Laughter sessions adds “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.” 

Uneasy Laughter’s first single, the brooding “Ego” will further cement the trio’s long-held reputation for crafting moody material — and while featuring guitars during a blistering solo, the song is primarily centered around shimmering synths and a soaring hook. Although “Ego” finds the band’s sound boldly moving in the direction of say, 80s New Order, the song thematically finds its narrator desperately taking stock of himself and his relationships to others with an unflinching honesty. Interestingly, the initial demo was slower and was written in what the band’s Stevenson calls “a strange time signature,” which at the time stymied Solomon’s attempt to write vocal melodies. Borrowing a MacKelvie drumbeat from a demo of a different song, Stevenson found that it fit his original song perfectly. The track was fleshed out further in practices and through passing demos back and forth, with the result “perfectly capturing every idea we wanted to play with,” says MacKelvie. “I don’t think we would have been able to approach writing a song that way before,” adds Stevenson. “We purposely avoided the impulse to add guitars to everything, letting the melodies of the synth and vocals be the focus. We wanted to embrace the songs ability to slip between genre lines.

“The lyrics are about letting go of your own bullshit to help other people. Wanting to love yourself to love others. The ego can make you feel like you’re the greatest person in the world or the worst.” stated vocalist Sean Solomon. It makes you think your problems are abnormally different which is isolating and rarely true. The song is a reminder that listening to other perspectives is important and beneficial to both parties involved.”

Directed by Ambar Navarro, the recently released video for “Ego” features the members of the band in a variety of different costumes — but at its core, the video’s protagonist takes stock of himself, his life and how he relates to others. 

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act Secret Shame over the past year. The act, which is currently comprised of Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar), formed in 2016, and can trace its origins to the desperate need that its members felt to create. “If I couldn’t sing or play music, I would tear my skin off.” the band’s front person Lena explains in press notes. Shortly after their formation, the band released their self-titled debut EP, which quickly established the band’s dark and atmospheric sound paired with lyrics that thematically touch upon issues of domestic abuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration. 

The band’s full-length debut Dark Synthetics was released last year to critical acclaim, while further establishing their sound an enormous, reverb heavy sound seemingly influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Building upon the growing momentum the band has received since the release of their full-length debut, the members of the band went on a short tour to support the album, which included an apt Friday the 13th stop at The Broadway and a Halloween set that featured Joy Division covers. Along with that, the rapidly rising post punk act recently announced a series of remixes of Dark Synthetics material they’ll be releasing while they return to the studio to record new music slated for release later this year.

Now, as you may recall I wrote about two of the singles in the growing remix series: XOR‘s icy, industrial take on the guitar-led “Calm,” which retained the song’s intensity, vulnerability and ache, along with Lena’s powerhouse vocals — and Skinquarter‘s early Depeche Mode-like remix of the Siouxsie and the Banshees-like “Haunter.”   The latest remix of the series finds None of Your Concern turning the aforementioned “Haunter” into a propulsive club-banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats while retaining Lena’s vocals. Sonically, the remix — to my ears at least — reminds me a of a slickly produced synthesis of KraftwerkFrom Here to Eternity and From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder and of course, the aforementioned Siouxsie and the Banshees.

The members of Secret Shame will be hitting the road to support the vinyl release of Dark Synthetics. After a handful of North Carolina dates in February, Secret Shame will embark on an East Coast and Midwest run throughout March and April that will include an April 2, 2020 stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates
1/26 – Asheville, NC – The Lazy Diamond
2/07 – Winston-Salem, NC – Monstercade
2/08 – Chapel Hill, NC – Nightlight
2/09 – Wilmington, NC – Reggies
2/12 – Asheville, NC – Static Age
3/28 – Charlotte, NC – TBD
3/29 – Raleigh, NC – Slims
3/30 – Richmond, VA – TBD
4/01 – Philadelphia, PA – TBD
4/02 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Vitus %
4/03 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Skidmore College
4/04 – Boston, MA – Dark Spring Boston
4/06 – Pittsburgh, PA – TBD %
4/07 – Columbus, OH – TBD %
4/08 – Louisville, KY – TBD %

 

 

Muuk is a Mexico City-based experimental rock act, comprised of Emiliano Baena (bass), JC Guerreo (beats, samples), LS Rodriguez (guitar), Omar Carapia (synths) and Erre Guevara (drums). Formed back in 2013, the act meshes electronic elements (turntables, sequencers, synthesizers and samples) with traditional rock instrumentation (guitar, bass and drums) to create a dense, frenetic and thunderous sound, centered around uncommon harmonies and improvisational passages.

Shortly, after their formation the Mexican experimental rock quintet recorded a homemade self-titled EP, which led to appearances across Mexico’s outdoor festival circuit with a number of collectives including Aqui no Hubo Escena (Here There Was No Scene), Colapso Post Rock, Lxs Grixes, Noise Affair and others. The members of Muuk followed up 2013’s debut EP with a small, handmade physical release in 2015 that was reviewed by a nubmer of outlets both nationally and internationally including Marvin, IMAS, URL Magazine, Letras Explicitas, Noisey, Remezcla, Post Rock, Faeton Music and Atlas of Sound. Album tracks “Are You Mad,” “De Niro” and  “Trypophobia” received airplay from Codigo DF Radio, GritaRadio and NoFM Radio.

The album was also named one of the best albums of the year by the likes of Indie Rocks and Sound & Vision. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band appeared in the documentary film Aqui No Hubo Escena, which offered a snapshot of Mexico City’s indie music scene. The band has also played sets at some of their hometown’s most important venues and clubs including Foro Indie Rocks, Caradura, Imperial, Pasaguero, Multiforo Cultural Alicia, Mutliforo 246 and Centro de Cultura Digital y Bajo Circuito.

May 2018 saw the members of Muuk collaborate with members of B.A.R.D.O.S.S. on an  improvised recording session titled Octomano. That July saw the band play the Hipnosis Festival lineup reveal gig at the Foro Indie Rocks. Last year, the band wrote and recorded their sophomore album Balbuceo, an effort mixed by Dalek’s Alap Momin and is slated for a February 21, 2020 release through Devil in the Woods Records.

Balbuceo‘s first single “Seis Ausente” is a genre-defying song featuring elements of prog rock, psych rock, shoegaze, post rock and even Dilla-esque beatmaking as the track is centered around a mesmerizing arrangement of found vocal samples, shimmering and atmospheric synths and swirling electronics, boom bap-like drumming, a funky bass line and bursts of guitar feedback. And from Balbuceo‘s first single, the rising Mexican act specializes in synthesizing elements of the familiar into something completely novel.

 

 

 

Led by songwriter/producer and founder of Ice Queen Records and founding member Joseph Lekkas, the Nashville-based indie rock act Palm Ghosts can trace its origins back
to when Lekkas lived in Philadelphia. After spending a number of years playing in local bands like Grammar Debate! and Hilliard, Lekkas took a lengthy hiatus from writing and performing music to book shows and festivals in and around the Philadelphia area. When he started Palm Ghosts, the project initially began as a solo recording project and creative way for Lekkas to deal with a rather incapacitating blunt of depression and anxiety. Lekkas then spend a long Philadelphia/Northeastern winter recording a batch of introspective songs that he dubbed “sun-damaged American music” that would eventually become the Palm Ghost debut album.
After a short tour in 2013 to support the Palm Ghost debut album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Nashville, enticed by the city’s growing indie rock scene. Once he settled in to his new hometown, Lekkas set up a small home studio in the guest bedroom of a rental house on Greenland Avenue in East Nashville, where he eventually wrote and recorded the sophomore Palm Ghosts album, 2017’s Greenland, an album that
featured elements of electro pop, folk and indie rock, influenced by his adopted hometown’s long-held “song-is-king” culture. 2018’s Architecture found Lekkas further influenced by the sounds of the 80s — in particular, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, New Order and The Cure among others — although the album’s first single “Turn the Knife” to my ears, managed to bring New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen to mind but with male/female harmonies.
Palm Ghosts’ latest single “Wide Awake and Waiting” continues a run of material that’s deeply inspired by and indebted to 80s post-punk: this time, the new single brings Joy Division and New Order’s “Ceremony” to mind. And at its core, the song is centered around a similar aching longing, shimmering synth arpeggios and an angular and propulsive bass line.

 

 

New Audio: British Indie Act Beat Hotel Releases a Shimmering 80s New Wave-Inspired Single

Split between Brighton, UK and Plymouth, UK, the rising British indie rock act Beat Hotel, which features current and former members of The June Brides, The Loft, The Weather Prophets, Distractions, Mudlow, Mojo Fins and Lolita Storm can trace its origins to when its founding members — The June Brides’, The Distractions’ and The Granite Shore’s Arash Torabi and Paul Pascoe met after a 1988 The Jasmine Minks show.  (Interestingly, many years later, the first Beat Hotel single featured a guest vocal spot from The Jasmine Minks’ frontman Jim Shepherd.) 

Developing a strong live presence in their local scene, the act managed to record a number of demos,  but they didn’t officially release anything until 2013 — the “Best of Our Years”/”The Fire,” double A-side 7 inch, which featured The Loft’s and The Weather Prophets’ Dave Morgan (drums), who then became a permanent member of the band. 

Slated for a January 31, 2020 release through Occultation Records, the band’s long-awaited self-titled EP was recorded at Hove, UK’s Church Road Studios by the band’s Paul Pascoe and features five originals written by Pascoe and a cover of The Wishing Stones’ “Beat Girl.” The EP features guest spots from The June Brides’ Frank Sweeney, who contributes strings and piano and former Mojo Fins member Stephen Brett (guitar), who releases material as a solo artist under the moniker SJ Brett. “Every now and again, we produce something that’s very special to us. These forays into the physical world are usually inspired by a collaboration,” Beat Hotel’s Paul Pascoe says in press notes about the band’s self-titled EP. “This time it was driven by an unexpected creative surge due to the sudden and shocking end of a relationship. I felt like I had to relearn everything about how to be in the world and look seriously at who I actually am. I found comfort in the music that had given me a sense of belonging the first time around. The Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Weather Prophets…these songs and songwriters, so familiar to my psyche, were there again to drag me to safety.”

“This collection of songs is about love and near-death and confronting the very worst aspects of ourselves, facing down those inner demons, the fears that haunt us and our deepest, darkest secrets,” Pascoe says of the EP’s material. “And… with one of the tracks beginning its recording journey in 1997 and getting its final guitar overdub and mix in 2019 (in all its 3 minutes 14 seconds of rock’n’roll glory), this record is also a tribute to the awesome power of getting shit done.”

The EP’s latest single “Bury It Deep” is a propulsive and upbeat, hook-driven song centered around layers of shimmering guitars that immediately brings Starfish-era The Church, early-to-mid 80s Echo and the Bunnymen (i.e., Crocodiles, Heaven Up Here and Ocean Rain), The Dream Syndicate and others, as it hints at radio psych rock, New Wave and post-punk in an uncanny period specific fashion. But the song isn’t just another  soulless homage to a classic and beloved sound we’ve grown up with; at its core, the song finds it narrator trying to maneuver a confusing and uncertain world while facing their own demons.

New Video: Vancouver-based Post Punk Act SPECTRES Release a Nostalgia-Tinged Visual for Shimmering Hook Driven “Northern Towns”

Vancouver, British Columbia-based post-punk act SPECTRES was founded back in 2005  by its frontman Brian Gustavon. And since the band’s formation, they’ve been cited as one of the acts at responsible for kicking off their homeland’s rented interest in the post-punk sound. Initially inspired by the British anarcho-punk scene of the late 70s and early 80s, the Vancouver-based post-punk meshed that scene’s ethos with post punk stylings and an uncanny knack for crafting hook driven, catchy material. But over time the band’s sound has evolved to the point where it subtly yet increasingly meshes elements of New Wave and punk.

“The band started as a way to creatively explore 1980s British anarcho-punk and while creatively we have drifted in new directions, this core influence still holds a lot of inspiration for us,” the band’s Zach Batalden  (guitar) says in press notes. Bands like The Mob, Crisis, Crass and Zounds are all still very important for us. From there we took a deep interest in ’80s post-punk and new wave with bands like The Sound, The Chameleons, Theatre of Hate and Modern English, central to the way our sound has developed.”

Slated for a March 6, 2020 release through Artoffact Records, the Vancouver-based post-punk act’s forthcoming Jason Corbett-produced album Nostalgia lyrically finds the band touching upon the alienation of modern life and the search for hope in an increasingly terrifying world. “Deepening political partisanship, aging, and finding one’s own way through alienating times are common themes the on the Nostalgia LP,” says Batalden. Sonically, the material fnds the band continuing their ongoing exploration of a decidedly post-punk like sound with Gustavon’s plaintive and melodic vocals ethereally floating over chiming guitars and propulsive beats. “For the new album, Nostalgia, we were listening to a lot of Flying Nun bands like The Bats, The Verlaines and The Clean as well,” Batalden adds. 

“Northern Towns,” off the band’s “Provincial Wake” 7 inch is centered around layers of chiming guitars, propulsive drumming, Gustavson’s plaintive vocals and an enormous, radio friendly hook the Vancouver-based act’s sound brings Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen,The Cure and even Siouxsie and the Banshees to mind. And while featuring a pitch perfect, era specific production that’s deceptively anachronistic, the song possesses a bittersweet and nostalgic air that feels very modern.Interestingly,  the single also manages to be a nice little taste of what we should expect from the band’s forthcoming album.

The recently released video by Wayne Moreheart is comprised of archival footage taken from the My VHS Videos 80s, 90s, 00s YouTube channel. As a result, the video manages to capture the bittersweet nostalgia at the core of the song, as well as the world of small town kids with big dreams of making it big without knowing how to get there. 

New Video: Bambara Teams Up with Palberta’s Ani Ivry-Block and Public Practice’s Drew Citron on the Brooding and Atmospheric “Sing Me to the Street”

Throughout the course of this nine-plus year history of this site, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering long-time JOVM mainstays Bambara. Last year, the Brooklyn-based trio — brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh and their childhood friend William Brookshire — released their critically applauded third, full-length album Shadow on Everything. Sonically, the album’s material was a decisive and new direction for the band: the material found the band moving away from the noise rock and punk rock of their previously released material — 2013’s DREAMVIOLENCE and 2017’s Swarm — to incorporate a more Western Gothic-inspired take on punk rock and while still centered on their tight and forceful rhythm section, the album had the band place Reid Bateh’s vocals at the forefront, symbolically placing the damaged characters and seedy locales of his lyrics on center stage. And in some way, it captures something wholly and uniquely American.

While Shadow on Everything was constructed around one central narrative with each of its songs sort of functioning like chapters in a novel, the band’s fourth album Stray, which is slated for a February 14, 2020 release through Wharf Cat Records, plays more like a short story collection, featuring a group of inter-related characters, set in the band’s native Georgia. Interestingly, Stray’s second and latest single is the slow-burning  David Lynch soundtrack-like “Sing Me to the Street.” The brooding and meditative song features an atmospheric arrangement of shimmering and swirling synths, a sinuous baseline, Blaze Bateh’s metronomic drumming. Interestingly, while continuing a run of material centered around Reid Bateh’s moody and dramatic baritone, Palberta’s Ani Ivry-Block and Public Practice’s Drew Citron’s harmonies serve as an ethereal counterpart, giving a brief glimpse of gorgeousness through the gloom. Many of the Stray’s characters are named, like the album’s hard charging and explosive “Serafina” but as the band’s Reid Bateh explains in press notes, he used a different approach for “Sing Me to the Street,” ‘”Sing me to the Street’ is about loneliness, isolation, and the dreamy allure of chaos. The song follows an unnamed character wandering the streets of a vast city that feels both alive and abandoned, as he attempts to silence the persistent song of oblivion singing in his head.”

Co-directed by Will Hart and Bambara, the recently released video for “Sing Me to the Street” was filmed by Will Hart, and the video captures and evokes the loneliness and unease of an enormous city at night — and it does in a way that feels indebted to film noir and French New Wave cinema. 

Emerging from a period of creative hibernation, the emerging British post punk trio JC Palmer released their first single in some time, “Violence.” Centered around explosive bursts of cascading guitars, angular and propulsive bass and thunderous drumming, the trio’s latest single is a noisy and paranoid track that feels as though it’s about to burst at the seams. And while being clearly indebted to Entertainment! and Solid Gold-era Gang of Four, “Violence” as the band explains  “is a song about learning the validity of anger and traversing friction between you and those you care about.”