Tag: post punk

New Video: Fotoform’s Hallucinogenic Visuals for Brooding and Atmospheric “Running”

Deriving their name from a mid-century avant-garde photography movement, Seattle-based post punk outfit Fotoform — longtime collaborators and married couple Kim House (bass, vocals, synths) and Geoffrey Cox (guitar), along with newest member, former Death Cab for Cutie and The Long Winters member Michael Schorr (drums) — can trace their origins back to the formation of a previous project, the dark, goth-adjacent dream pop act C’est la Mort shortly after House and Cox married.

Specializing in what they dubbed “pointy-shoegaze,” C’est la Mort released their full-length debut through their own Dismal Nitch label, as well as various compilation tracks, including a limited split 7 inch with Stars for American Laundromat’s The Smiths’ tribute Please Please Please. After a series of lineup changes, House and Cox re-emerged as Fotoform in late 2016.

ouse and Cox released their Fotoform self-titled debut in 2017. Supported with tours of the West Coast and Europe, the album received airplay and praise both locally and nationally: Album single “I Know You’re Charming” was featured as a KEXP Song of The Day. The self-titled album was voted as one of KEXP Listeners’ Top 90.3 Albums of 2017 and it landed on several year-end lists, including The Big Takeover and Part-Time Punks. Building upon a growing profile, the band followed up with 2018’s Part-Time Punks EP, which was selected as one of The Big Takeover’s EPs of 2018.

Blue,” which was recored for voter outreach and the Christmas-themed “They Say It’s Always Lonely” to benefit local food banks. Both singles found the trio expanding upon their sound with the addition of synths. The trio went into the studio with Evan Foster to record the material for their forthcoming sophomore album Horizons in early 2020. And as a result of pandemic-related quarantines and restrictions, the Horizons sessions resumed a year later with Foster — and with Matt Bayles recording drum parts.

Slated for an October 15, 2021 release, Horizons reportedly finds the band pivoting even further from the towering wall of guitars-based sound of its predecessors towards a much more nuanced sound drawing equally from shoegaze, dream pop and post-punk: Pairing synths with layers of guitars and driving bass, the band’s sound seems indebted to the likes of The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Chameleons, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and others.

Horizons’ latest single, the brooding “Running” serves as a taste of what listeners should expect from the new album: atmospheric synths, swirling layers of guitars, driving bass lines, thunderous drumming and soaring hooks paired with House’s ethereal vocals. Essentially, the new single sees the band pairing patient, painterly textures with forceful motorik pulse in a way that makes the song feel — and sound — like a slick mesh of Garlands-era Cocteau Twins and Souvlaki-era Slowdive.

“‘Running’ was the first song we wrote with the new lineup (myself, Geoff, Michael), almost a statement of purpose as we rethought how we approached our sound and writing,” Fotoform’s Kim house recalls in press notes. “With one less guitar we had more space to play with and fill- or intentionally not fill. It was inspiring, and in some ways freeing, to reconstruct and re-envision everything. I’d just started playing around with a drum machine and 16-track at home, and this one was a result of really stripping back everything to the bass and vocals and then building it up from there. 

“At its core ‘Running’ is about peeling back the layers to connect with your innermost self. Summoning the courage, patience and stillness to distill it down and uncover what truly matters, to listen to our hearts and tap into the subconscious,” House says. “It’s about facing fears and insecurities and having the courage to go after what will truly make you happy (or “make your heart happy” as my dad would say), which oftentimes might be in the opposite direction of what we’re running toward, whether in relationships, life paths and choices, etc. The hardest thing sometimes is to look deep within and listen to ourselves, to follow our instincts and face what we may know is true but are too afraid to admit for fear of change, risk, loss, disappointment, or failure.”

House adds, “On a personal level, ‘Running’ was written in the midst of a period of significant change and reflection. I had just left my role as Footwear Design Director at Nordstrom. It was a whirlwind of a job I held for many years – one which required lots of travel in the US and Europe, intense long hours, and barely enough room for other passions or pursuits. It was rewarding, but almost all encompassing.”

The recently released video for “Running” manages to emphasize the brooding and trippy late night vibes of its accompanying song — all while being gorgeously shot and slickly edited.

Besides the new album, the trio — much like the rest of us — is looking forward to getting back to live shows and touring. They’ve also been writing and working on new material, including a split 7 inch with Savage Republic.

New Video: Rising Post Punk Act Menthüll Release a Haunting Visual for Brooding and Cinematic “Profonde Tristesse”

Formed last year, the rising Gatineau, Québec-based indie electronic/goth duo Menthüll –Gabriel and Yseult — have quickly established a retro-futuristic sound that draws equally from New Wave and electro pop paired with lyrics written and sung exclusively in French.

The Hull-based duo’s releases have received praise and accolades globally. Building upon a growing profile in the Francophone music scene and in the global post-punk and goth scenes, Menthüll’s latest single “Profonde tristesse” continues a run of brooding and cinematic material that sounds — to my ears, at least — indebted to John Carpenter soundtracks and the early 4AD Records catalog paired with vocals delivered in a wispy and ethereal French.

Interestingly, the accompanying visual aesthetically reminds a bit of Jorge Elbrecht: the viewer sees a classically-inspired marble bust superimposed in the foreground of a misty forest that gradually burst into a explosive conflagration.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays ACTORS Release a Oliver Stone-Inspired Visual for Dance Floor Friendly “Only Lonely”

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut It Will Come To You, the acclaimed Vancouver-based JOVM mainstay act ACTORS — currently Jason Corbett (vocals, guitar), Shannon Hemmett (synth, vocals), Kendall Wooding (bass) and Adam Fink (drums) — found the band quickly establishing an anthemic yet brooding post-punk sound centered around icy synths, angular bass lines, squiggling guitars and Corbett’s reverb-drenched croon.

ainstays have been busy: Until the pandemic put touring on pause, the band had been on an extensive touring schedule to support the album, including at stop at the long-shuttered Brooklyn Bazaar for a headlining set at 2018’s A Murder of Crows Festival. Simultaneously, Corbett has been busy as an in-demand producer working with a number of post-punk acts including fellow JOVM mainstays Bootblacks and Ultrviolence.

ober 1, 2021 release through Artoffact Records. Recorded and produced at Corbett’s Jacknife Studio, the album reportedly finds the Vancouver-based pushing their synth-driven post-punk sound in a much more dance floor friendly direction while retaining the brooding melancholy and massive hooks that have won them attention.

Late last year, I wrote about “Love U More,” a single that can trace its origins to the band being on the road: While traveling the Autobahn at 190km per hour (about 120 mph), the song’s opening synth melody looped through Jason Corbett’s head. The song itself is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, angular and reverb-drenched bursts of guitar and a relentless motorik groove in one of the act’s more sensual songs to date. The band’s Shannon Hemmett describes the song’s atmosphere as “standing alone on a shadowy street. I see the flash of a cat’s eyes in the dark. I am hunting and hunted, recognizing that tension that lives inside me, and all of us. This track embraces the bittersweet moments of loss with the ancipatoon of new possibilities.” 

“Only Lonely,” Acts of Worship’s second and latest single is a brooding yet sensual song featuring glistening synths, a disco inspired baseline, metronomic four-on-the-floor, rousingly anthemic hooks and Corbett’s plaintive delivery expressing aching yearning and vulnerability. Arguably one of the Vancouver-based act’s most dance floor friendly songs, the song as Corbett explains is indebted to Roxy Music — in particular “The Space Between” “Dance Away” and “Love Is The Drug” come to my mind as reference points.

“‘Only Lonely’ pumps with a bass grind that harkens back to top tier Roxy Music. It finishes with a flourish of arpeggiated synths that’s the icing on the cake. Dance floor approved,” Corbett says.

The recently released video is indebted to Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers and continues a run of visuals that sees the video’s obsessed and deranged anti-heroes drive across surreal landscapes to find the members of ACTORS, brutally torture them while dancing around the room. It’s disturbing much like the source that inspired it.

New Video: Vancouver’s Aversions Release a Hallucinogenic Visual for Tense “Famous Last Lines”

Led by frontman Sam Coll, the Vancouver-based post-punk act Aversions is a band that manages the difficult balance between having legitimate day jobs, and attempting to live the axiom of art interlacing life. Sonically, the Vancouver-based act’s work features muscular riffs, angular bass lines and thunderous drumming paired with Coll’s takes on a variety of topics big and small — while alternating between exalting and disparaging the many contradictions of their hometown.

io Rain City Records and self-recorded and -self-engineered the sessions live-off-the-floor with friends. The four songs they recorded together were mixed by Jordan Koop at The Noise Floor and mastered by Jack Shirley at the Bay Area-based Atomic Garden. Their latest single, “Famous Last Lines” is the first release from those pandemic-restricted sessions.

muscular riffs, angular bass lines, thunderous drumming and Coll’s shouted lyrics, the taut and uneasy “Famous Last Lines” finds the members of Aversions darting between forceful thrash, anxious thrum and desperate howl — all while sonically recalling fellow Canadians Preoccupations and METZ. The band explains that the song lyrically explores the disconnect between our memory of a thing and its true nature, using commonly misunderstood “last lines” of famous works of art and literature to illustrate the idea. Thematically, the song questions what true ownership really is: of ideas, associations and objects themselves.

The accompanying visual is a hallucinogenic fever dream that draws from horror movies, dystopian sci-fi and believe it or not, Peter Gabriel.

Lesser Care is an emerging West Texas-based shoegaze act. While they’re currently putting the finishing touches on their Chris Common-produced full-length debut, they released the “Palm”/”Acquired Taste” 7 inch:

  • A-Side single “Palm’ is a stormy song centered around thunderous and propulsive drumming, angular bursts of shimmering and delay pedaled guitar, atmospheric synths and brooding Ian Curtis-like baritone vocals that sonically builds up to a towering and catharsis before gently fading out.
  • B-Side single “Acquired Taste” is a slow-burning and forceful track centered around a classic grunge rock song structure — rousingly anthemic choruses featuring scorching guitars and thunderous drumming and dreamy verses featuring shimmering guitars and atmospheric synths paired with brooding baritone vocals.

Thematically, both tracks tracks loss, grief, loneliness, and acceptance. Considering the past 16 months, those themes are all too relevant with all of us figuring out how to maneuver a world transformed by fear, death, political instability and inequality. And in some way, the song captures and evokes the overall sense of uneasiness, dread and begrudging acceptance that many of us have felt — and will feel for some time.

New Video: Flossing (The Wants’ Heather Elle) Releases a Sultry and Unsettling Visual for “Switch”

Best known for being a member of New York-based band The Wants (f.k.a. BODEGA), Heather Elle steps out into the spotlight with her solo recording project Flossing. Elle’s Flossing debut, Queen of the Mall is slated for a September 10, 2021 release through Brace Yourself. Thematically, her work is a hedonistic siren call while presenting provocative ideas of identity and connection in a largely isolated and unhinged Western society.

array of emotions through cool insouciance, smutty double entendres and dark confessions while walking a tightrope of yearning, disgust, frustration and awe. But throughout, the song’s narrator recognizes the unique power in knowing when to dominate and when to submit — on their own terms and for their own needs.

Bonding over their mutual love of the visual work of The Cure, Oingo Boingo and Nine Inch Nails, Elle found a special creative kinship with director Devan Davies Woods and created a darkly seductive and uneasy visual that celebrates versatility while following a character, who’s no longer bothering to hide her conflicting and absurd true selves.

Houston-based post-punk/darkwave act Victorian Death Photos are purposely shrouded in a cloak of mystery: Featuring two anonymous artists, a man and a woman, who publicly go by He and She, the mysterious duo’s latest project can trace its origins back to their previous multimedia collaborations together. Interestingly, Victorian Death Photos was initially meant to be a metal album — but the best laid plans of mice and men, and they say.

Once they started working on original material together, they wound up zeroing in on a “haunted synthy post-punk electronic sound,” which wound up comprising their Victorian Death Photos debut, The Basement Tapes EP released earlier this year. “We went with it,” She says in press notes. Interestingly, the mysterious Houston-based duo’s latest single “RadIum Girls” is the first batch of new material since the release of The Basement Tapes EP. And as the duo explain “Radium Girls” is based on a true story: In the early 1920s, female workers in watch factories, painted watch dials with radium paint. The women were repeatedly told that the paint was harmful. But after being around and ingesting massive amounts of radium, the female factory workers wound up contracting severe radiation poisoning: the end result was teeth failing out; bone deterioration in the jaw — to the point that they’d have to have bones removed.; stillborn babies and eventually death.

Centered around thumping boom bap-like drumming, buzzing bass synths and guitars fed through reverb and delay pedal, She’s ethereal vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook, “Radium Girls” evokes a slow-burning and creeping sense of unease and dread, while sonically bearing a resemblance to Garbage‘s self-titled debut and Version 2.0.

Reykjavik-based post-punk/industrial act and JOVM mainstays Kælan Mikla — Sólveig Matthildur,  Margrét Rósa, and Laufey Soffía — had a breakthrough year back in 2018: The Cure’s Robert Smith championed the Icelandic trio, and handpicked them to open for the legendary British act’s festival stops through the UK and US. Adding to a big year, Kælan Mikla played at that year’s Roadburn Festival. And they toured with King Dude. Interestingly enough, all of that happened before the release of their critically applauded  third album Nótt eftir nott. 

Undir Köldum Norðumljósum, the Reykjavik-based trio’s upcoming, Barði Jóhannsson-produced fourth album is slated for an October 15, 2021 release through their longtime label home Artoffact Records. Undir Köldum Norðumljósum reportedly sees the trio crafting lush and cinematic material centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, ethereal vocals sung in their native Icelandic, spine-chilling background screams, relentless motorik grooves and programmed drums while pulling the listener into their unique world full of folklore, fairytales, magic, spells and mysticism. The album will also feature a guest spot from Alcest, who toured with the trio across the European Union before the pandemic.

So far I’ve written about “Sólstöður,” a brooding and cinematic track centered around droning and shimmering synths, nightmarish screams and an ethereal and gorgeous vocal melody. Sonically, “Sólstöður,” evokes horror soundtracks — especially those featuring witches and demons slinking out into the night to perform ancient rituals involving human or animal sacrifices. “’Sólstöður’ is an ode to the darkest night of the year, when witches summon winter spirits in the frozen vastness of Icelandic landscapes,” the members of the Icelandic trio explain in press notes. “The song represents the strength of unity, Kælan Mikla in its truest form, fueled by the power of harsh and raw nature.”

Undir Köldum Norðumljósum‘s second and latest single “Ósýnileg” originally premiered as part of Adult Swim’s Singles series. Continuing a run of remarkably cinematic singles, Ósýnileg” centered around shimmering and atmospheric synth arpeggios, relentless motorik grooves and rapid-fire four-on-the-floor beats, blood-curdling screams and the trio’s equally ethereal vocals Undir Köldum Norðumljósum‘s latest single may be the most dance floor friendly of the singles released off the album so far — while evoking howling wintry winds and unexplained phenomena.

New Video: Low Hummer Releases a Stylish and Sleek Visual for Angular “The People, This Place”

Rising Hull, UK-based post-punk act Low Hummer — Daniel, Aimee, Steph, Jack, John and Joe — can trace their origins through the individual members’ connections to their hometown’s DIY scene. After meeting and bonding over mutual interests, the sextet quickly established a regular rehearsal home at the DIY venue The New Adelphi Club, where they were able to develop and hone their own danceable take on post-punk that thematically focuses on their lives in East Yorkshire, their place in a consumerist world and bad news stories sold as gospel.

September 2019 saw the release of the their debut single “Don’t You Ever Sleep” through Leeds-based label Dance To The Radio. The members of Low Hummer quickly followed that up with their second single “I Choose Live News” that October. Both singles were released to praise from the likes of Clash, Dork, Gigwise and BBC 6 Music Recommends — with airplay on BBC 6. Building upon a rapidly growing national profile their subsequent singles “The Real Thing,” “Picture Bliss” and “Sometimes I Wish (I Was A Different Person) received praise from NME, Gigwise and Under The Radar Magazine and were championed by BBC Radio 1‘s Jack Saunders and Huw Stephens, BBC 6’s Steve Lamacq, Marc Riley, and Tom Robinson.

The Hull-based act’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Modern Tricks For Living is slated for a September release through Dance To The Radio, and the album’s first single “The People, This Place” is an angular post punk anthem that’s danceable yet full of seething disgust and frustration that makes the song a spiritual mix of The Clashand Wire— while voicing, the sort of frustration felt when you live in a dead-end town, with dead-end people and no real options or opportunities.

Directed by Luke Hallett, the incredibly stylish visual for “The People, This Place” features film noir-ish split screens between members of the band primping, preening, hanging out and being insouciant, the band playing in a rehearsal space. It’s part music video, part perfume commercial, part look into modern young people’s lives.

New Audio: Venice, Italy’s New Candys Release a Dark and Brooding Single

Formed back in 2008, the Venice-based post punk/shoegazer act New Candys — currently Fernando Nuti (vocals, guitar), Andrea Volpato (guitar, vocals), Alessandro Boschiero (bass) and Dario Lucchesi (drums, sample) — developed a sound that they’ve dubbed dark, modern rock ‘n’ roll as it combines noisy, brooding sounds with distinct melodies. Additionally, they’ve managed to display a dynamic and symbiotic connection between their music and their visual aesthetic.

2012 saw the release of the Italian post punk/shoegazer outfit’s full-length debut, Stars Reach The Abyss, which they supported with a tour of the UK and Italy. Adding to a rapidly growing international profile, album single “Meltdown Corp.” was included on that year’s The Reverb Conspiracy compilation released by Fuzz Club and The Reverberation Appreciation Society. Their sophomore album 2015’s As Medicine was released through Picture In My Ear and Fuzz Club — and distributed by The Committee To Keep Music Evil. Over the next two years, the members of New Candys toured across Europe three times, playing at Secret Garden Party and Liverpool Psych Fest.

Their third album, 2017’s Bleeding Magenta was released by Fuzz Club and re-pressed in the US by Little Cloud Records. The Italian act supported the album with a European tour and a stop at SpaceFest in Gdańsk, Poland. 2018 began an extremely busy period for the band: they toured Australia, headlining Sydney Psych Fest, now and Melbourne Psych Fest now known as Bad Vibrations, as well as a set at Adelaide Fringe Festival. Then they went on a US-Mexico tour, which included a stop at Seattle’s KEXP for a live session. In 2018 they went on and completed a back-to-back tour of 50 shows across Europe, the US and Canada with stops at Desert Stars Festival, Milwaukee Psych Fest, Los Angeles’ The Echo, Austin, TX’s Hotel Vegas and The Mercury Lounge. And they ended the year with a full European tour with The Warlocks and The Dandy Warhols that also included a stop at Levitation France. And just before the pandemic wrecked havoc across the world, New Candys went on their first tour of the Balkans.Adding to a growing international profile, New Candys have had songs appear on several episodes of Showtime’s Shameless.

The band’s fourth and latest album Vyvyd officially dropped today through Little Cloud Records and Dischi Sotterranei with a exclusive vinyl edition through Fuzz Club — and the album, which was recorded at Venice’s Fox Studio by the band’s Andrea Volpato is the first recorded output with their current lineup. Thematically, the album finds the band exploring and toying with the idea of duality throughout its ten songs. And to celebrate the release of the album, the and released two singles, including “Factice.” Centered around a densely layered and sculpted soundscape featuring thunderous drumming, shimmering guitars, crunchy bass lines within an expansive song structure, the song sonically bears a resemblance to My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins and the like, while detailing its narrator’s desperate attempts to escape a slow-burning descent into madness.