Tag: post punk

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Dream Wife Return with a Tense Post-Punk Influenced Ripper

Deriving their name from a pointed criticism of society’s long-held objectification of women, the acclaimed London-based punk rock trio and JOVM mainstays Dream Wife — Rakel Mjöll (vocals) (she/her), Alice Go (guitar, vocals) (she/her) and Bella Podapec (bass, vocals) (they/them) — can trace their origins to when the trio met and started the band back in 2015 as an art project rooted in a unique concept: a band born out of one girl’s memories of growing up in Canada in the 1990s.

Dream Wife’s 2018 self-titled debut was released to widespread critical acclaim, and led to the punk outfit opening for GarbageThe Kills and Sleigh Bells, as well as playing that year’s SXSW. Building upon a growing international profile, the members of Dream Wife also went on a series of headlining tours across the European Union and the States, which included a Rough Trade stop with New York-based genre-defying artist Sabri

The acclaimed London outfit’s 2020 Marta Salogni-produced So When You Gonna . . . saw the JOVM mainstays writing and recording their most urgent and direct material to date. Thematically touching upon “women’s issues” like abortion, miscarriage and gender equality, the album’s material is fueled by a “it’s-now-or-never” immediacy, with the listener being reminded that now is the time to get off their ass and start doing something right now to make a world a much better place for all of us. If not, we may all be doomed.

In the UK, Dream Wife’s sophomore album was a critical and commercial success: The album landed at #18 on the UK Albums Chart, making it the only album in the Top 20 to be produced by an all womxn/non-male production and engineering team — and the only non-major label release to chart that high. 

The trio’s latest single “Leech” is the first bit of new material from the member of the London-based JOVM mainstays since So When You Gonna . . . is an urgent post-punk inspired ripper that sees the band’s Mjöll alternating between spoken-word delivery for the song’s verses and feral shouting for the song’s choruses. Mjöll’s delivery is paired with an alternating song structure that features a looping and wiry guitar bursts for the verses and explosive power chord-driven riffage for the song’s chorus. The song manages to be a tense, uneasy and forceful mosh pit friendly anthem for our uncertain, fucked up time with the song addressing the double standards of power — while urgently calling for more empathy.

“It’s an anthem for empathy. For solidarity,” the JOVM mainstays explain. “Musically tense and withheld, erupting to angry cathartic crescendos. The push and pull of the song lyrically and musically expands and contracts, stating and calling out the double standards of power. Nobody really wins in a patriarchal society. We all lose. We could all use more empathy. As our first song to be released in a while, we wanted to write something that feels like letting an animal out of a cage. It’s out. And it’s out for blood…”

Directed by Bethany Fitter, the accompanying video is centered around a concept and creative direction by the members of Dream Wife, and CGI effects by Amy Gough: The video features the band wearing outfits by East London-based designer Ingrid Kraftchenko, playing the song in someone’s blood stream with CGI leeches crawling around.

New Audio: ZADAR Teams up with Isa Niels on Shimmering and Brooding “Halos On The Moon”

Antonio G is a Philadelphia-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the goth/darkwave outfit ZADAR. He’s currently working on the project’s first album — and is searching for like-minded musicians to join him in playing the material live.

ZADAR’s latest single “Halos On The Moon” sees the Philadelphia-based Antonio G collaborating with Isa Nielsen, a singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has opened for Rage Against the Machine‘s Tom Morello and John 5, who has played with Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie — and is the newest member of Mötley Crùe. Nielsen has also played on MTV Specials, MTV’s VMB Awards. Built around shimmering guitars, a relentless motorik-like groove, Neilsen’s plaintive vocals and enormous hooks, “Halos On The Moon” may recall The Sisters of Mercy and Cocteau Twins, while being rooted in swooning Romanticism.

“‘Halos’ is a song about regret and loss. It’s a song about somehow coming to terms with your failure and past mistakes and still moving on with your life,” Antonio G explains.

New Video: Automatic Share Urgent and Angular “Teen Beat”

Los Angeles-based post punk outfit Automatic — Izzy Glaudini (synths, vocals), Lola Dompé (drums, vocals) and Halle Saxon (bass, vocals) — met while immersed in their hometown’s DIY scene. They started jamming together back in 2017.

Since then, the trio quickly became a local club circuit mainstay. Their full-length debut, 2019’s Signals saw the trio quickly establishing their sound, which paired motorik grooves with icy atmospheres. 

 Stones Throw Records released the Los Angeles-based trios sophomore album, Excess earlier this year. Sonically Excess reportedly rides the imaginary edge where the ’70s underground met ’80s corporate culture — or as the band says “That fleeting moment when what was once cool quickly turned and became mainstream all for the sake of consumerism.” Using that particular point in time as a lens through which to view our uncertain and seemingly apocalyptic present, the album’s material sees the trio taking aim at corporate culture and extravagance through deadpan critiques and razor sharp hooks. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “Skyscraper,” a dance floor friendly bop built around glistening synth arpeggios, relentless four-on-the-floor and disco-influenced bass lines paired with an icy, insouciant delivery and razor sharp, well-placed hooks. And while sonically seeming like a slick and effortless synthesis of BlondieDevo and Talking Heads, the song is rooted in incisive and politically charged commentary. The band’s Halle Saxon explains that “Skyscraper” is ” . . .about spending your life making money and then spending it to fill the void created by said job.” Lola Dompé adds, “Kind of like going to LA to live your dreams.”

“Teen Beat,” Excess‘ latest single is a centered around multi-part harmonized chanted vocals, bubbling and arpeggiated synths and a relentless motorik groove. Sonically being a bit of a mesh of Gang of Four and Nots, the song continues a run of material rooted in incisive and urgent political commentary.

“The title was taken from a preset on a dinky drum machine, and the song is about the chaos of climate change descending upon Gen Z,” the band explain.

Directed by Kevin Clark, the accompanying video for “Teen Beat” is a surreal and apocalyptic fever dream that features the trio seemingly preparing for the end of the world in the California desert.

Since their formation back in 2013, the Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia-based post-punk trio PLOHO have firmly established themselves at the forefront of a contemporary, new wave of Russian music. Inspired by Joy Division and late Soviet-era acts like Kino, the Siberian act’s cold and bleak sound evokes both the bitter cold of their homeland and that uncertain and uneasy period of the Soviet Union just before its inevitable collapse.

Back in 2020. Artoffact Records released the Siberian trio’s fifth album, the critically applauded, Фантомные Чувства (Phantom Feelings), which featured: 

  • Танцы в темноте (“Dancing in the Dark”), a nostalgia-inducing, dance floor friendly bop featuring reverb-drenched guitars, shimmering synth arpeggios, a motorik groove and rousingly anthemic hooks paired with lyrics delivered in a seemingly ironically detached Russian. 
  • Нулевые” (in Cyrillic) or “Nulevyye” (in Latin),” a bracingly chilly bit of 4AD Records-like post punk centered around frontman Victor Ujakov’s sonorous baritone, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, skittering four-on-the-floor, a relentless motoik groove and an enormous hook. And much like its predecessor, is a dance floor friendly bop. 

The Russian post-punk outfit began the year with “Plattenbauten,” their first ever German-language song. “Plattenbauten,” is a translation of the band’s 2015 debut single “Новостройки (New Buildings)” featuring lyrics translated by German poet Boris Shneider and re-recorded as a standalone single. Centered around a relentless motorik groove, forceful four-on-the-floor, Uzhakov’s deadpan delivery and shimmering guitar attack, “Plattenbauten” is a decidedly new take that evokes an oppressive, seemingly infinite grey; an overwhelmingly oppressive sameness, crushing poverty and bitter frustration over lack of options and opportunities. 

Ploho’s sixth album,  Когда душа спит (When The Soul Sleeps) is slated for a November 4, 2022 release through Artoffact Records. Centered around somber yet beautiful lead guitar, Uzhavok’s lush baritone, gorgeous melodies and emotionally devastating synth and drum work, the new album will reportedly be among the most engaging of their growing catalog. 

Earlier this month I wrote about “Магнитофон,” a bracingly cold bit of post-punk centered around glistening synth arpeggios, reverb-drenched bursts of guitar, paired with a motorik groove and Uzhakov’s lush and expressive baritone. And while sonically bringing The CureCocteau Twins and 4AD Records to mind, the song evokes something much darker and foreboding — an impending sense of doom.

“Никогда не говори никогда (Never Say Never),” Когда душа спит (When The Soul Sleeps)‘s latest single is a seemingly upbeat and swooning bop centered around an angular and propulsive bass line, relentless four-on-the-floor and glistening synths arpeggios paired with Uzhakov’s lush baritone, a fluttering synth solo, a sizzling guitar solo and the trio’s unerring knack for big hooks and enormous chorus. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Магнитофон” will continue to bring 4AD Records and 80s post-punk to mind but with a slick, modern production.

Emotional Response RecordsTypical Girls compilation series derives its title from the legendary British all-female punk/post-punk outfit The Slits, who gleefully proclaimed “Who invented the ‘Typical Girl'” as they attacked gender and sexual stereotypes back in 1979. Obvious, if you’ve lived long enough and have gotten to know real, human women, you’d discover that the “typical girl” is a bunch of bullshit.

Inspired by the bold and pioneering women of punks and post-punk’s fist wave, the Typical Girls compilation series has proudly highlighted remarkable women making remarkable music. Volume 6 of the series features the finest female-led acts in contemporary punk, indie rock and darkwave from all over the planet. Volume 6 features tracks from:

Typical Girls Volume 6‘s latest single “Landscape Shift,” is by Memphis-based duo Optic Sink, an which features Nots‘ Natalie Hoffmann and Ben Bauermeister that specializes in a genre-defying sound that morphs from cold wave to psychedelia to distorted noise rock, often within the same song. Thematically and sonically, the duo fragment and reassemble sounds, concepts and verbal constructs while attempting to find beauty in the journey despite what the final resolution may be. 

“Landscape Shift” is a bracingly icy, minimalist track centered around skittering Casio synth-like beats, Hoffman’s deadpan delivery and woozy and pitchy synth oscillations. Sonically, the song evokes, the sense of having the rug yanked out from under you — and being in a brutal and mad, mad, mad world that makes no sense.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Secret Shame Share Stormy and Cathartic “Zero”

Asheville-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Secret Shame can trace their origins back to summer 2016 when Matthew (bass) and Lena (vocals) met through mutual friends. As a duo, the band released their self-titled debut EP, but they mostly stuck to hometown DIY shows. 

Nathan, who had released the band’s debut EP, later joined on drums and not long after, Aster joined on guitar. The Asheville-based outfit’s full-length debut, 2019’s Dark Synthetics was released to widespread critical acclaim with album single “Calm” being featured on The New York Times‘ playlist, and the album landing on a number of that year’s Best-of-lists, including landing at #77 on Bandcamp Daily and #1 on Post-Punk.com

Building upon that momentum, the band embarked on an East Coast tour, which kicked off at Hopscotch Festival. They also recorded a split 7″ single “Dissolve/Pure” with Aster as the band’s sole guitarist. 

Throughout the band’s growing catalog, they’ve maintained a steadfast refusal to a single genre, but pull from a wide range of influences including post-punk, death rock, shoegaze and dream pop among others. But at the core of their sound is a palpable and uneasy tension between rage and melancholy, the beautiful and the bleak that finds some resolution in the way the music reflects the lyrics’ mood. 

2022 has been a busy year for the Asheville-based JOVM mainstays: They headlined this year’s Dark Spring Boston and they’ve quickly become a regular presence at Hopscotch Music Festival. They’ve also spent much of the year touring extensively, opening for the likes of Xiu XiuWednesdaySoft KillChoir Boy, and Vision Video

Secret Shame’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Autonomy is slated for an October 28, 2022 release. Recorded at Asheville’s Drop of Sun with engineer/producer Alex Farrar, the album reportedly sees the JOVM mainstays reaching a new level of maturity both musically and lyrically: While the 11-song album may be diverse and yet cohesive, the album’s material is centered with lyrics that directly confront the realities of addiction, body dysmorphia, abuse and mental illness with an unvarnished honesty. 

Late last month, I wrote about album single “Color Drain,” a single that found the JOVM mainstays taking up a dreamy, shoegazer-like take on post punk that brought Cocteau Twins to mind paired with enormous, catharsis-inducing choruses and Lena’s achingly plaintive vocals. Lyrically the song features some of the most painfully honest lyrics in the band’s growing catalog: “Color Drain” details Lena’s long battle with anorexia, and how it feels to walk through the world in an apathetic and dissociative state after realizing that they both wanted help and simultaneously didn’t want to accept that help.

Autonomy‘s latest single, “Zero” much like its immediate predecessor sees the band’s Lena detailing struggles with addiction, body dysmorphia, abuse and mental illness with the unfiltered and unvarnished honesty of someone, who has gone through hell and back multiple times over. Lena’s lyrics and expressive, Sinead O’Connor-like delivery are paired with an arrangement that turns from shimmering and brooding to full on raging storm for the song’s catharsis-inducing coda.

I’m certain that someone out there has gone through many, if not all, of the same things that Secret Shame’s frontperson has experienced. But what “Zero” will say to you is that you’re not alone, that someone out there has been through the same hell, that not only would they empathize and truly get your struggle, but that there is understanding, kindness and hope — even if its three or four minutes.

Directed by the band’s Lena Machina and Aster Nema, the accompanying video for “Zero” is captures the inner monologue-like feel of the song with a feverish and feral intensity.

New Audio: The Empty Mirrors Team Up with Robert Severin on a Shoegazey Meditation on Time

Finnish JOVM mainstays The Empty Mirrors publicly cite The Cure, The Smiths, PJ Harvey, Pixies and Suzanne Vega as major influences on their sound and approach — but generally speaking, the Finnish outfit specializes in a seemingly 4AD Records/Cocteau Twins-inspired sound.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you might recall that the Finnish outfit had a collaborated with Welsh-born, Finnish-based singer/songwriter and musician Jenny Stevens, a.k.a. The Ukelele Girl over the course of a handful of singles including:

  • Beneath Smooth Waters,” a slow-burning , Dummy era Portishead like song featuring glistening, reverb-drenched synth arpeggios and sinuous bass lines paired with Stevens’ plaintive vocals. 

  • Unfinished Conversations,” a track that saw the rest lessly experimental Finnish outfit pushing their sound in a new direction — towards the dance floor, while retaining their unerring knack for sharp hooks.

Their latest single “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” is a slow-burning A Storm in Heaven-meets-4AD Records like song centered around shimmering and swirling guitars, atmospheric synths and a propulsive rhythm section. Adding to the dreamy feel of the entire affair, Glasgow-based, Hungarian-British singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Robert Severin contributes his gentle and vulnerable crooned delivery. The end result is a wistful and aching meditation on time, aging and mortality that feels like a gentle lullaby.

Acclaimed London-based post-punk act and JOVM mainstays White Lies — Harry McVeigh (vocals, guitar), Charles Cave (bass, vocals) and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) — released their sixth album, the Ed Bueller and Claudius Mittendorfer co-produced As I Try Not To Fall Apart earlier this year. 

Recorded over two breakneck studio sessions, As I Try Not To Fall Apart features what may arguably be White Lies’ most expansive material to date with the songs possessing elements of arena rock, electro pop, prog rock and funky grooves paired with their penchant for enormous, rousingly anthemic hooks. 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this year, you might recall that I’ve written about four of As I Try Not To Fall Apart singles

  •  “As I Try Not To Fall Apart,” a rousingly anthemic yet psychologically precise character study of a desperate man, who feels hopelessly stuck in a socially prescribed “appropriate” gender role, while also trying to express his own vulnerability and weakness. 
  • I Don’t Want To Go To Mars,” one of the most mosh pit friendly, guitar-driven rippers the band has released in some time that tells a story of its main character being sent off to a new colonized Mars to live out a sterile and mundane existence. The band goes on to say: “Fundamentally the song questions the speed at which we are developing the world(s) we inhabit, and what cost it takes on our wellbeing.” 
  • Am I Really Going To Die,” a glittery, glam rocker centered that seemed inspired by Roxy Music and Duran Duran, but thematically touches upon mortality and the uneasy acceptance of the inevitable 
  • Blue Drift,” an expansive prog rock-like song centered around the rousingly anthemic hooks that White Lies has long been known for, a relentless motorik groove, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, thunderous drumming and glistening synths paired with McVeigh’s yearning delivery. The song captures a narrator, who’s a gaping wound of heartache and despair, uncertain of their footing and on the verve of a breakdown. 

Slated for an October 21, 2022 release through [PIAS], the bonus edition of As I Try Not To Fall Apart features four songs recorded during the AITNTFA sessions but were ultimately cut from the album.

Trouble In America,” the first of the four bonus singles was centered around a John Taylor-like disco-friendly bass line, glistening and squiggling synths, thunderous drumming and a bombastic cock rock-meets-arena rock chorus paired with some incisive and politically charged lyrics about the current state in America that simultaneously seem indebted to American Psycho.

“We gave up on b-sides years ago, and went into making an album with the sole aim to fit the most cohesive 40mins of music onto two sides of a 12″ that we could,” White Lies explains. “Unfortunately, that means some music is sidelined at the final hurdle. ‘Trouble In America’ was the hardest song to leave off. It was written a couple of days after ‘Am I Really Going to Die’ and lives in the same world and energy. Desperation Funk? In this song we jump between the mind of a serial killer, and his good Christian teenage daughter as she realizes who…or what her father is and always has been. ‘My old man’s making trouble in America! Oh, lord, take the weight off me!’ she pleads over a cock-rock, Todd Rundgren-esque chorus. We have a history of bonus tracks becoming live favorites, and we’re putting a bitcoin on this horse to keep up tradition.”

The second of the four bonus tracks, “Breakdown Days” is dance floor friendly bop centered around arpeggiated piano and synth stabs, thunderous boom bap-like drumming paired with the JOVM mainstays’ unerring knack for enormous, arena rock-like hooks. But under the sleek arena pop meets house facade is a tense, uneasy song that evokes being trapped with yourself and with a significant other, and desperately trying to hold it together during the height of pandemic-related lockdowns.

“’Breakdown Days’ was written in the heart of the first UK lockdown. The song reflects my mood at the time, I felt trapped in many ways not being able to tour or to work,” White Lies’ Harry McVeigh explains. “The lyrics are about yearning to reach out about your problems but because you’re living together, in close quarters, it means you can’t totally lose your shit! I always enjoy dressing up quite dark lyrics in a pop song and I love the contrast in this track. I’m sure we all dress ourselves up sometimes!”

As I Try Not To Fall Apart Tracklisting

1. Am I Really Going To Die

2. As I Try Not To Fall Apart

3. Breathe

4. I Don’t Want To Go To Mars

5. Step Outside

6. Roll December

7. Ragworm

8. Blue Drift

9. The End

10. There Is No Cure For It

11. Trouble In America*

12. Breakdown Days *

13. Staring At The Sun *

14. What If We’re Bad Together *

* Bonus tracks

With the release of 2020’s self-released, full-length debut, the Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada-based art rock/post punk outfit Blessed — Drew Riekman, Reuben Houweling, Jake Holmes and Mitchell Trainor — received attention and praised for crafting a self-assured, fully formed sound and aesthetic informed by their reverence for their small, rural city, located in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley

Last year’s iii EP saw the Abbotsford-based act further expanding upon their sound and approach: The EP’s material featured glitchy electronics, measured drum work and guitar work that frequently shifted from chiming and cheerful to serrated and snarling within a turn of a phrase, paired with Riekman’s expressive vocals.

The EP also continued the long-held ethos of collaboration and community that’s been at the center of their work. The self-produced EP was recorded at Vancouver-based Rain City Recorders with vocals tracked at friends’ houses across their hometown. They then recruited four different mixers for each EP’s song — Purity Ring’s Corin Roddick, Tortoise’s John McEntire, Holy Fuck‘s Graham Walsh and the band’s own Drew Riekman. 

iii‘s material reflected Riekman’s own experiences and struggles with anxiety, which at its worse confined him to his home for months at a time. “I really struggled with agoraphobia when I was younger, and still do to this day,” Riekman said in press notes. Frequently, collaborating with members of their community helped create a “feeling of the world getting smaller” and served as a salve for anxiety and uncertainty. 

Blessed’s sophomore album Circuitous is slated for an October 28, 2022 release through Flemish Eye. “‘Circuitous: Of a route or journey, longer than the most direct way,” Blessed’s Drew Riekman recites. Interestingly enough, for the band, the word is a description of a profound and rare way of creating that makes their sophomore album, much like their previous releases, a singular, moving and unsettlingly committed piece of work. 

Circuitous reportedly will further cement and expand upon the band’s status as a band’s band: a patient, eclectic outfit guided by reverence for and an intense pursuit of an internally-dictated creative agenda focused on musicality, songwriting, performance and artistic growth. The album sonically sees them sharpening their strengths and bringing more depth and expansion into their creative process. The end result is a sweeping, industrial art-rock tragedy rooted in walls of noise, tightly controlled drums, meandering ambient and staccato syncopation that was pulled from hours of jam material and hundreds of demos. 

While the album’s eight tracks sprawl, thrash, burst and fall, the album’s material thematically touches upon agoraphobia, isolation, grief, the hyper control of capital and the numbness it breeds. 

In the lead-up to the album’s release later this month, I’ve written about two album singles:

Anything,” a slow-burning, hypnotic and brooding track featuring looping and shimmering guitars, bubbling electronics, thunderous drumming, and a propulsive and throbbing bass lines paired with Riekman’s plaintive vocals. But at its core, is a song that incisively ridicules modern life. 

“The narrative that you can be anything if you work hard enough is absurd. It ignores so many facets of life, development, geography, class, on and on et al,” Blessed’s Riekman says in press notes. “But it pits people against each other in an effort to become ‘something’, a ‘something’ that is loosely defined and shaped by personality rather than a communal vision. It creates a pedestal to put yourself or others on. You’re never good enough, because there’s always someone above you doing more. We’re reaching for unattainable lifestyles, that we don’t even need, that are hyper individualistic and negate the need for community. When you’re looking at the environment you exist in socially as a pyramid, and there’s people you want to be closer to “at the top”, that’s a net negative for anyone. The more accessible we are, and on the level with each other we are in our immediate places, the more we gain.”

Redefine,” a slow-burning and patient song centered around dexterous and shimmering acoustic guitar lines and jazz-like percussion paired with Riekman’s achingly plaintive delivery. While sonically “Redefine” may draw comparisons to OK Computer-era Radiohead, the song is rooted in longing for much more than the banality of wake, sleep, eat, work until you die. 

“The idea that we cannot disrupt the status quo only serves someone with power over us,” Blessed’s Riekman says of the new single’s thematic concerns. “It’s easy to feel that you’re never doing enough, that your mere existence in the face of crushing weights of the world isn’t an act of triumph in itself. We’re generally fed a narrative at this juncture that no one works hard enough, and your circumstances are your own fault exclusively. Being told that the only path forward is working 10 hour days, volunteering your labor to companies that make billions, and that you’ll one day be rewarded is a farce.” 

Built around scorching, angular guitar attack, bursts of glistening synths, walls of wailing feedback and distortion, mathematically precise drumming that alternates between thunderous and tightly controlled, a sinuous and propulsive bass line and Riekman’s expressive vocals, Circuitous‘ third and latest single is “Agoraphobia,” evokes a sense of creeping, woozy panic overtaking its narrator. But there’s the tacit understanding that only they are suffering and fearful — alone.

Dealing with moments of panic and crisis is confusing for the people around you,” Blessed’s Riekman explains. “Especially if you’re suffering from something that doesn’t have heft in the common day to day world. Wide open spaces and being far from home is generally exciting for most, and touring was a vehicle for me to feel that same feeling a lot of the time. But with so much home time, I was enveloped again with a sensation that makes little sense to anyone else, and attempted to open the door a little to that isolation.”