Tag: post punk

New Audio: Weeknight’s Anthemic Take on Post-Punk

Initially formed as a duo featuring founding members, longtime partners an co-frontpeople Andy Simmons and Holly MacGibbon, the Brooklyn-based dark pop/post-punk act Weeknight received attention with the release of 2014’s full-length debut Post Everything.  And as the story goes, after playing hundreds of shows to support Post Everything including touring with Phantogram, Bear in Heaven, Frankie Rose, Moonface, School of Seven Bells, and Crystal Stilts, the duo returned home and began to write the material that wound up eventually comprising their forthcoming sophomore album Dead Beat Creep, which is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through Dead Stare Records. 
Written at the duo’s Bushwick home studio and recorded during the bleak winter of 2017 at House Under Magic Studios with co-producer and engineer Danny Taylor, the recording sessions for the album found the band expanding into a quartet with the addition of Russell Hymowitz (bass) and Jasper Berg (drums). And while inspired by the disillusionment of the 2016 election and profound loss and grief, the album’s material finds the band imposing limitations as they were writing and recording, as the band’s Andy Simmons explains in press notes: “We would only use analog gear and we would only write parts that we would be able to play live.” 

Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Holes In My Head” manages to bring classic 4AD post-punk to mind as the track is centered around a moody arrangement featuring shimmering and arpeggiated synths, an angular and propulsive bass line, delay pedal effected guitars, dramatic drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook –with a clean, studio polish. However, the song was written for Holly MacGibbons’ father, who died last year after a decade struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. It was written from his perspective, and says what I imagined he would have wanted to say to me if he was able to,” the band’s Holly MacGibbons explains in press notes. 

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Initially formed back in 2015 in Thessaloniki, Greece as a duo featuring founding member and creative mastermind Jimmy Polioudis, a.k.a. Zimmy Lips (guitar, vocals) and Konstantinos Iosifidis, a.k.a. Lostinthe (drums, vocals), Vagina Lips released a self-titled cassette, which they followed up with a 5 song mini-album Youth in Chaos, which was released through MO.MI Records. Interestingly around the same time, Polioudis appeared on a popular Greek TV show — and coupled with the project’s unique name, Polioudis along with Vagina Lips became much more widely known in Greece; however, after Konstantinos’ departure in 2016, Vagina Lips has become a solo project — with Konstantinos producing the band’s Athanasia, an album that was listed on several Greek blogs as one of the best albums of that year.

Interestingly, since the release of Athanasia Polioudis has been remarkably prolific releasing two EPs, a mini album and three full-length albums — 2016’s Decadent Life EP, 2017’s Elixirthe Vernorexia mini album, and Of Our Lives. Inner Ear Records release Athanasia on limited edition vinyl earlier this year. Building upon a growing profile. Polioudis has played at some of Greece’s bigger festivals, including PS2020, Plissken Festival, Westside Festival and Saristra Festival among others. His latest album Generation Y was recorded over the summer, and while the album is primarily influenced by Stereolab, Sonic Youth, and Car Seat Headrest, album single “This Is A Good Life” seems to draw from post-punk — particularly from the likes of Suicide, as the song is centered around rapid-fire, four-on-the-floor drum machine, arpeggiated synths, an angular and propulsive bass line and an anthemic, shout along worthy hook; but the song is underpinned with a bitter irony, as it points out the fact that the “perfect life” is usually extremely phony, if not damn well impossible.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: San Francisco’s Balms Release a Brooding Visual for “Plane”

Although they met about a decade before while attending high school in San Jose, CA, the members of San Francisco-based indie rock trio Balms (Jared, Michael and John) officially formed the band in 2013. Initially playing extremely loud pop rock sets in John’s basement, the band’s sound began to evolve towards a dream pop leaning sound with an uneasy undertone as they spent increasing time in San Francisco record stores and venues. Interestingly, some coined the term “dreamare pop” to describe their sound, which is centered around fuzzy and distorted guitars, melodic bass, dynamic vocals and plaintive vocals.

The band self-released their first batch of singles and they began to receive praise from the indie and underground shoegaze scene, and as a result they spent the next year self-recording, mixing and then releasing their self-titled debut, which they followed up with some extensive West Coast touring. (Of course, such extensive touring helped the band develop a reputation for a energetic yet vulnerable live show.)

Over the past few years, the individual members of the band have wrestled with the unfolding questions and realties of their lives and with each other, and that wound up influencing the material that would comprise their full-length debut Mirror, which is slated for a February 2019 release. Naturally, the album is a deeply introspective record with arguably some of the band’s darkest and heaviest thematic material to date. As the members of the band explain in a lengthy and detailed statement on the album:

“Mirror is our debut as well as double-sided concept album.  The album’s narrative is a journey-of-self; an exploration confronting the shadow-aspect of the soul.  That being said, the only two characters in this story are the Self and the Shadow.  With this comes the introverted drama and solitude of the ego.  And while this was a source of contention for us in terms of perception, it is our genuine hope that this album can exist as a place of reconciliation, revitalization, and growth.  It is a place that has been built for you because we had to make it and to make it the best we can.

The story begins at the bottom – the relative place that some of us are lucky enough or damned enough to reach.  And with that place comes a choice:  Do I rely on someone else to pull me out?  Do I retreat to someone else’s arms?  Do I make a choice to dive into myself and deal with the darkness?   That moment can become you for the rest of your life, or become the beginning.  What choice do you make?  Who do you choose to be?  And after, to realize that this is a choice you must continue to make for the rest of your life. The shadow inside will always continue to tempt you; it never leaves.  The dark, the dove, the shadow is you.

To write this record, we spent a considerable amount of time working out the parts and structures through repetitive jamming followed by conversation over the course of about a year.  On a personal level, the lyrics and story are journalistic, confessional, healing, confrontational, and accepting.  As a band, we dealt with these questions and realities through the songs and through our relationships with each other.  As we began to mix and finalize the album, and it began to take shape, it was challenging to grasp exactly which part of the album was most important, or if there should be a message communicated directly through its release.  We finally came to the conclusion that the most important thing is for this record — MIRROR —  to be a healing and nurturing place for you.  It certainly is for us.”

The album’s latest single, the moody “Plane” is centered around shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, equally propulsive drumming and plaintive vocals — and while nodding at 4AD Records post-punk, the song is moody meditation on our unseen, interior lives and how we carefully and deliberately balance our interior selves with our exterior selves. The accompanying video aims up — if not heavenward, at least skyward — as the video focuses on a collection of clouds moving across the sky. further emphasizing the brooding nature of the song. 

New Audio: London’s White Lies Returns with a Rousingly Anthemic Single from Their Forthcoming New Album

Five, the acclaimed London-based indie trio White Lies’s forthcoming, fifth full-length album is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings, and the album marks the band’s tenth anniversary while finding them pushing their sound and aesthetic in new and adventurous directions, paired with deeply personal and intimate lyrics written by the trio’s Charles Cave. Unlike its predecessors, the writing and recording process was Transatlantic, and included a trip to Los Angeles, where they worked on new material with Ed Bueller, who produced the band’s chart-topping debut To Lose My Life and their third album Big TV. Throughout the process, the band enlisted past associates and collaborators to assist on the proceedings including engineer James Brown, who has worked with Arctic Monkeysand Foo Fighters; the renowned producer Flood, who contributes synths and keys on a couple of tracks; and Grammy Award-winning Alan Moulder, who has worked with Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and The Killers to mix the album.

Now, as you may recall, the Snow Patrol-like album single “Time to Give,” was an ambitious song that clocked in at a little over 7 and a half minutes, and was centered around a lush yet moody arrangement of shimmering synths, a propulsive motorik groove, Harry McVeigh’s sonorous baritone and an arena rock-friendly hook — but underneath the enormous hooks was a song that focuses on a dysfunctional and abusive relationship from a real and lived-in place; so real, that the song bristles with the bitterness, confusion and hurt that comes from being in a relationship that leaves you fucked up and broken. Five’s latest single “Believe It” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor as it’s full of enormous, arena rock friendly hooks — but it manages to bear a resemblance to Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears, Jef Barbara and Joy Division/New Order, as the song is centered around big power chords, shimmering and twinkling synths, a forcefully propulsive rhythm section and McVeigh’s baritone. 

Interestingly, as the band explains, the song is “about types of therapy, seen from a shifting perceptive of those passionate towards it, those skeptical of it, and those out to make money from it. We wrote it mid-way through the sessions and it became an instant favourite of ours. It’s a four-minute ‘no-nonsense’ singalong with lots of ingredients we’ve used before so we hope our fans will love it.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ganser Return with a Tense and Incisive Song on Our Social Media Mad World

Throughout the year, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser. And as you may recall the act which is comprised of founding members Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals) and Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals) with Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) formed in 2014 and since the band’s formation, they’ve managed to build a profile both locally and nationally for a sound that was largely influenced by  Sonic Youth and Magazine paired with lyrical content that thematically was concerned with larger social concerns. In fact, the Chicago-based quartet’s critically applauded full-length debut Odd Talk focused on communication breakdowns  with the song’s narrators desperately seeking meaning in hopeless confusion and messiness — and throughout the album, each song’s narrator seems as though they were literally sorting though syllables and signals in an attempt to find the right words to say what they wanted or needed to say. 

Building upon a growing profile and an attention-grabbing year, the Chicago-based quartet’s latest single “Pastel” will further cement their reputation for crafting neurotic, tense post-punk centered around slashing guitar chords, a rolling and propulsive bass line, four-on-the-floor like drumming and punchily delivered, stream of consciousness-based lyrics and while clearly indebted to Gang of Four and Wire, the song concerns itself with incredibly contemporary issues — particularly, the nagging and unshakeable sense that no one is watching you shout desperately into the void to get anyone at all to pay attention. Everything is happening all the time and everyone is a performing all the time — and it’s all superficial and hateful. And as a result, the song evokes a creeping sense of existential panic that we all quietly feel and never really acknowledge. 

The recently released video was edited and produced by the band and features stock footage self-consciously performing in front of the camera — and paired with the tense and uneasy song, it heightens the self-consciousness of the video’s subject. 

Live Footage: Up-and-Coming Icelandic Post-Punk Act Kælan Mikla Perform Shimmering and Euphoric “Næturblóm”

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Reykjavik, Iceland-based synth-based post-punk act Kælan Mikla, and as you may recall, this year has proven to be a breakthrough year for them so far: they played a critically applauded set at this year’s Roadburn Festival, were championed by The Cure’s Robert Smith and toured with King Dude — and all of this before the release of their forthcoming album Nótt eftir nott, which is slated for a November 9, 2018 release through Artoffact Records. 
“Nornalagið,” Nótt eftir nott’s first single was a chilly yet dance floor friendly track, centered around a motorik groove, shimmering and arpeggiated synths. Punctuated by piercing waiting throughout, the track managed to be both eerily atmospheric and cinematic, evoking a storm slowly rolling across enormous skies. The album’s latest single “Næturblóm,” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor — centered around an arrangement of shimmering synths, angular bass lines, four-on-the-floor drumming, industrial clang and clatter and Laufey Soffía’s ethereal vocals, the track manages to be atmospheric and cinematic; however, the song may arguably be one of the most euphoric songs they’ve written to date as it manages to recall Siouxsie and the Banshees and the classic 4AD Records sound simultaneously. 

Interestingly, as the band explains in press notes, the song’s title “Næturblóm” translates into the English as “Nightflowers,” and its lyrics were initially a poem that the band’s Laufey Soffía wrote and then gave to Sólveig Matthildur as a birthday present. ” It’s about how Laufey sees Sólveig as a beautiful flower that blooms in the winter darkness. An everlasting reminder of their friendship.” 

The members of the Icelandic post-punk trio will be playing an album release show on November 8, 2018 at this year’s Iceland Airwaves and to build up buzz for the momentous occasion and for a handful of live dates across Scandinavia, they’ve released a live video performing “Næturblóm” in an abandoned factory space. 

Although they met about a decade before while attending high school in San Jose, CA, the members of San Francisco-based indie rock trio Balms (Jared, Michael and John) officially formed the band in 2013. Initially playing extremely loud pop rock sets in John’s basement, the band’s sound began to evolve towards a dream pop leaning sound with an uneasy undertone as they spent increasing time in San Francisco record stores and venues. Interestingly, some coined the term “dreamare pop” to describe their sound, which is centered around fuzzy and distorted guitars, melodic bass, dynamic vocals and plaintive vocals.

The band self-released their first batch of singles and they began to receive praise from the indie and underground shoegaze scene, and as a result they spent the next year self-recording, mixing and then releasing their self-titled debut, which they followed up with some extensive West Coast touring. (Of course, such extensive touring helped the band develop a reputation for a energetic yet vulnerable live show.)

Over the past few years, the individual members of the band have wrestled with the unfolding questions and realties of their lives and with each other, and that wound up influencing the material that would comprise their full-length debut Mirror, which is slated for a February 2019 release. Naturally, the album is a deeply introspective record with arguably some of the band’s darkest and heaviest thematic material to date. As the members of the band explain in a lengthy statement on the album:

Mirror is our debut as well as double-sided concept album.  The album’s narrative is a journey-of-self; an exploration confronting the shadow-aspect of the soul.  That being said, the only two characters in this story are the Self and the Shadow.  With this comes the introverted drama and solitude of the ego.  And while this was a source of contention for us in terms of perception, it is our genuine hope that this album can exist as a place of reconciliation, revitalization, and growth.  It is a place that has been built for you because we had to make it and to make it the best we can.

The story begins at the bottom – the relative place that some of us are lucky enough or damned enough to reach.  And with that place comes a choice:  Do I rely on someone else to pull me out?  Do I retreat to someone else’s arms?  Do I make a choice to dive into myself and deal with the darkness?   That moment can become you for the rest of your life, or become the beginning.  What choice do you make?  Who do you choose to be?  And after, to realize that this is a choice you must continue to make for the rest of your life. The shadow inside will always continue to tempt you; it never leaves.  The dark, the dove, the shadow is you.

To write this record, we spent a considerable amount of time working out the parts and structures through repetitive jamming followed by conversation over the course of about a year.  On a personal level, the lyrics and story are journalistic, confessional, healing, confrontational, and accepting.  As a band, we dealt with these questions and realities through the songs and through our relationships with each other.  As we began to mix and finalize the album, and it began to take shape, it was challenging to grasp exactly which part of the album was most important, or if there should be a message communicated directly through its release.  We finally came to the conclusion that the most important thing is for this record — MIRROR —  to be a healing and nurturing place for you.  It certainly is for us.”

The album’s latest single, the moody “Plane” is centered around shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, equally propulsive drumming and plaintive vocals — and while nodding at 4AD Records post-punk, the song is moody meditation on our unseen, interior lives and how we carefully and deliberately balance our interior selves with our exterior selves.

 

 

Comprised of Sólveig Matthildur,  Margrét Rósa and Laufey Soffía, the Reykjavik, Iceland-based synth-based post-punk act Kælan Mikla have had a breakthrough year so far: they played a critically applauded set at this year’s Roadburn Festival, were championed by The Cure’s Robert Smith and toured with King Dude — and all of this before the release of their forthcoming album Nótt eftir nott, which is slated for a November 9, 2018 release through Artoffact Records.

The members of the Icelandic post-punk trio will be playing an album release show on November 8, 2018 at this year’s Iceland Airwaves but before then, the album’s first official single is the chilly yet dance floor friendly, synth-led track “Nornalagið” — and the track, which is centered by a motorik groove and punctuated by piercing wailing manages to be both eerily atmospheric and cinematic, evoking a storm rolling across enormous skies.

 

 

 

 

 

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. As the story goes, 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. Initially began as a solo recording project and creative way for Lekkas to deal with an incapacitating bout of depression and anxiety after discovering that music was his only way out the mire. So Lekkas spent a long Philadelphia 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, last year’s Greenland, an album that found him employing elements of electro pop, folk and indie rock that was influenced by his new hometown’s long-held song-is-king culture. Last May, the Palm Ghost founding member began working on the third Palm Ghosts album Architecture, an album heavily influenced by the sounds of the 80s — in particular, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, New Order and The Cure among others. The album’s first single “Turn the Knife” is a hook-driven bit of 80s post-punk that will recall New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen and others but centered by the two part male/female harmonies, angular guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section and a bitter sense of betrayal and distrust.
As Lekkas told me via email, “‘Turn the Knife’ is basically a song about betrayal in love — or a one sided relationship that ends badly. It was written and recorded in my studio here in Nashville. My influences are all over the map but I’m an enormous fan of 80s post punk and New Wave music, so perhaps that shines through to you in the song? Basically, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Chameleons and The Jesus and Mary Chain are big influences.”