Tag: prog rock

New Video: Public Service Broadcasting’s Thoughtful Tribute to the RMS Titanic

Initially begun as the solo recording project of its founding member J. Willgoose, Esq. (guitar, banjo, stringed instruments, samplers, synths) back in 2009, the London-based instrumental prog rock act Public Service Broadcasting expanded to a duo with the addition of Wrigglesworth (drums, piano, electronic musical instruments) — and as a duo, they released an EP, 2012’s The War Room, and two full-length albums, 2013’s Inform-Educate-Entertain and 2015’s The Race for Space, which established their sound — expansive prog rock centered around sampled news programs, field recordings, found footage, old movies (particularly from the British Film Institute archives) and the like; in fact, the band’s The Race for Space, which thematically focused on the Space Race of the 1950s and 1960s may arguably be their most critically and commercially successful album — the album charted at #11 on the UK Independent Charts, before reaching #1 later that week.

The band’s third, full-length album, last year’s Every Valley found the band expanding to a trio with the addition of JF Abraham (lugelhorn, bass guitar, drums, vibraslap and others), while featuring guest vocals from Camera Obscura‘s Tracyanne Campbell, and thematically the album’s material focused on the coal mining industry’s rise and fall in the Welsh Valleys between the 1950s and 1980s. Now. if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you may recall that earlier this year, the newly constituted trio was commission by the BBC to write and record four new pieces, centered on the story of the RMS Titanic, which led to their soon-to-be released EP White Star Liner.

Slated for an October 26, 2018 release through Play It Again Sam Records, the EP thematically and sonically tells the story of the Titanic from its construction to its early, tragic, demise. Focusing on the perspectives of those who built and salted her, the EP will further the band’s reputation for crafting a unique audio-visual experience that provides a new and very different perspective on well-known events. As the band’s J. Willgoose, Esq. says in press notes “I thought it was an interesting challenge to tell the story of the ship’s construction as part of Belfast’s proud industrial history, the spirit of optimism of the pre-war age that she represented, and then an abstract and, I hope, respectful depiction of both the sinking of the ship (represented by the repeated Morse code distress call, C – Q – D) and the discovery of the wreck in 1985.”

The EP’s first official single is the breezy and hopeful motorik-like “White Star Liner,” which captures a sense of hopeful excitement as the completed ship is just about to set sail for America. There’s the sense of a world slowly unifying after a brutal war, of the possibility of increasing world travel meant for the economies of cities like Belfast and others, as larger and larger ships were built. And for a brief moment, the future seemed glorious and full of possibility. The recently released video features the band performing live, cut with the stock footage they use during their live shows. 

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Theodore is a critically applauded, Athens, Greece-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and composer, whose schooling in piano and traditional Greek folk music eventually led to a professional music career in London, where he studied Music Composition in 2011. As a composer and singer/songwriter, Theodore meshes classical compositions and arrangements with subtle electronic production and rock instrumentation to create a sound that’s atmospheric, cinematic that nods at psych rock, prog rock and experimental rock — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist cites Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Manos Hadjidakis, Vangelis Papathanasiou, Nils Frahm, The National, Olafur Arnalds and Max Richter as being major influences on his work and sound. “I like a composer or a band because when I listen to the music or attend a concert I am just getting lost in the atmosphere,” Theodore explains in press notes. “I understand that orchestral music is something that I am really into and I will try to test my self in the future.”

Theodore has written compositions for Matina Megla’s Window, Vladan Nikolic’s film Bourek and he was commissioned to write a new, live score for Buster Keaton’s classic, 1928 silent comedy The Cameraman, which he and his band performed during  a screening at the Temple of Zeus. But interestingly enough, his sophomore album It Is But It’s Not, which was performed live at London’s Abbey Road Studio 2 has been his breakthrough effort as the accompanying performance video has amassed more than 2 million YouTube views — and as a result, the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has played sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Reeperhbahn Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag, Release Festival and SXSW. Adding to a growing profile, he has opened for Sigur Ros and DIIV, and has received praise from a number of major media outlets, including Clash Magazine, Music WeekTsugi, FGUK, Gaffa and Szene, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne. Oh, and I must add that “Towards (for what is to come)” is currently playlisted on NPR’s All Songs 24/7 and Germany’s Flux Passport Approved.

Theodore’s third, full-length album Inner Dynamics is slated for a November 2, 2018 release and the album finds him thematically looking inward to examine the dichotomies (and dualities) of his identity in order to seek new creative potential. “On It Is But It’s Not, I tried to explore how the opposite elements in the universe interact, how they fight and how without the one you can’t have the other.” Theodore says, adding, “For Inner Dynamics, I was trying to express my urge to connect the conscious and subconscious part of myself so I can be creative. It’s an understanding that humans are not just one thing, and they shouldn’t try to hide certain elements of their personality because society likes to put labels of who we are. It’s the different sides of my self that makes who I am.” Inner Dynamics‘ third and latest single “Disorientation” clocks in at a little over 6 minutes, and it finds Theodore’s sound nodding at dramatic film scores, Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead-like atmospherics, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Rush-like prog rock expansiveness, centered around Theodore’s yearning vocals and slick production.

 

New Video: Baltimore’s Super City Releases Creepy Visuals for Bombastic Arena Rocker “Sanctuary”

Baltimore, MD-based alt rock/indie rock quintet Super City, which is comprised of Dan Ryan (lead vocals, guitar) Greg Wellham, (lead vocals guitar), Brian Brunsman (bass, vocals), Jon Birkholz (guitar, keys, vocals), and Ian Viera (drums, vocals) has developed a reputation for a hook-laden sound that draws from heavy rock and prog rock — but with a pop-leaning sensibility; in fact, “Sanctuary,” the album title track off their forthcoming Sanctuary recalls the arena rock bombast of Muse and Rush, as well as Milemarker as the track is centered around arpeggiated synths, explosive, power chords and an uncanny melodic sense.

Directed by Tyler W. Davis, the recently released video for “Sanctuary” draws a subtle influence from the legendary video for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” as its shot in a similar murky light while focusing on the members of the Baltimore-based act performing in a room full of what appears to be cult members dressed in the same outfit. Adding to the video’s overall creepy vibe is the mathematical preciseness of the choreography throughout.

Baltimore, MD-based alt rock/indie rock quintet Super City, which is comprised of Dan Ryan (lead vocals, guitar) Greg Wellham, (lead vocals guitar), Brian Brunsman (bass, vocals), Jon Birkholz (guitar, keys, vocals), and Ian Viera (drums, vocals) has developed a reputation for a hook-laden sound that draws from heavy rock and prog rock — but with a pop-leaning sensibility; in fact, “Sanctuary,” the album title track off their forthcoming Sanctuary recalls the arena rock bombast of Muse and Rush, as well as Milemarker as the track is centered around arpeggiated synths, explosive, power chords and an uncanny melodic sense.

The band has two upcoming live dates and will be making a national tour to support the new album upon its release; but in the meantime, check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
August 10th – SoHo House – New York, NY
August 31st – Gypsy Sally’s – Washington, DC

 

New Audio: Los Angeles-based Quintet Ancestors Release a Slow-buring Shoegazer Take on Doom Metal

Currently comprised of founding duo Justin Maranga (guitar, vocals) and Nick Long (bass, vocals) along with Jason Watkins (organ, piano, electric piano, mellotron, vocals), Matt Barks (modular synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, guitar, vocals) and Daniel Pouliot (drums), the Los Angeles-based metal/doom metal/psych rock/stoner rock quintet Ancestors can trace their origins back to 2006 when Maranga, Long, and Brandon Pierce began the band as a trio; Englishman Chico Foley, who had met Pierce shortly after relocating to Los Angeles joined the band. Jason Watkins joined to complete the band’s initial line up. Their full-length debut was released in 2008 through North Atlantic Sound Records in Europe and Tee Pee Records in the States — and the album featured artwork by Arik Roper, who has done artwork of the likes of Sleep, High on Fire, and Earth. Their 2009 sophomore Of Sound Mind was produced by the band and Pete Lyman and featured collaborations with Melvins’, Unwound and Slug’s David Scott Stone, Black Math Horseman’s Sera Timms and cellist Ramiro Zapata.

2010 saw the first of several lineup changes as Chico Foley left the band and was replaced by Matt Barks and with a new lineup, they went into the studio to write and record the Kenny Woods-produced Invisible White EP.  And despite, a series of lineup changes, the band’s sound generally draws from prog rock, psych rock, stoner rock and doom metal — but they’ve also at points increasingly incorporated elements of experimental rock and musique concrete among others.  The Los Angeles-based rock quintet’s forthcoming album Suspended In Reflections is slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Pelagic Records, and from the album’s latest single “Gone,” the new single and the album itself reportedly reflects a different take on their sound and approach as the single is a slow-burning dirge that manages to bridge shoegaze and doom metal as it features enormous power chords, played through tons of effects pedals, soaring and ethereal synths within an expansive yet moody song structure that nods a bit at prog rock.

 

 

Comprised of Kristian Dunn (double-neck bass/guitar) and Tim Fogarty (drums), the Southern California-based post rock duo El Ten Eleven have developed a reputation for using a dizzying array of effect pedals and looping pedals to create a dense, complex, enormous and incredibly cinematic sound.  And if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d know that since their formation back in 2002, the band has maintained a steadfast DIY approach throughout their career; however, with their forthcoming, seventh full-length album, and first for Topshelf RecordsBanker’s Hill, the duo enlisted Sonny Dipierri, who has worked with Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors to produce the album, marking the first time that they’ve ever worked with an outside producer.

Slated for an August 10, 2018 release, the album reportedly finds the duo thematically exploring a number of contradictory yet important things — the paradoxical beauty in anxiety, the importance of family and familial bonds, especially in a world that’s gone absolutely mad, as well as the fleeting sensation of satisfaction. Earlier this summer, I wrote about Banker’s Hill first single “Phenomenal Problems,” a single that found the duo deliberately walking a tightrope between meditative introspection and a widescreen, cinematic quality with the composition being centered around  propulsive boom bap-like beats and drumming, enormous, arena rock friendly power chord-based hooks within an expansive song structure.

“We Don’t Have A Sail But We Have A Rudder,” is Banker’s Hill’s latest and last official single and the composition is centered around shimmering and expressive guitar lines, a propulsive bass line and four-on-the-floor drumming — and while retaining the meditative and cinematic quality that has won them attention, the track may arguably be their most straightforward, prog rock-leaning song off the album.

Throughout the fall, you can catch El Ten Eleven on tour. Sadly there aren’t any East Coast dates yet, but if you’re in the Midwest or the West Coast, you should check them out. In the meantime, check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
9/05 – Morro Bay, CA @ The Siren
9/06 – Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst Atrium
9/07 – San Francisco, CA @ August Hall
9/08 – Reno, NV @ Saint Bar
9/09 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s
9/12 – Bend, OR @ Volcanic Theatre
9/13 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
9/14 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
9/15 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett
9/18 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
9/19 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
9/20 – Ft. Collins, CO @ Washington’s
9/21 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
9/22 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
11/06 – St. Louis, MO @ The Old Rock House
11/07 – Indianapolis, IN @ HiFi
11/08 – Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
11/09 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
11/10 – Chicago, IL @ ChopShop
11/13 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
11/14 – Milwaukee, WI @ Shank Hall
11/15 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
11/16 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
11/17 – Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
11/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
11/30 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
12/01 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah

 

New Video: French Trio Jean Jean Return with Creepy Visuals for the Cinematic and Anxious “Event Horizon”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the  Paris-based instrumental space rock/math rock/experimental rock trio Jean Jean, currently comprised of Edouard Lebrun (drums, samples), Sebastien Torregrossa (guitar) and their newest member multi-instrumentalist Gregory Hoepffner, and as you may recall although the act has gone through a series of lineup changes in which the band started off as a trio and had a brief period as a duo, before expanding back to a trio with the release of their self-titled debut EP and 2013’s full-length debut Symmetry, which they supported with hundreds of live shows across the European Union, Japan and the US.

Interestingly though, when the band was a trio featuring Lebrun and Torregrossa, they wrote and recorded a follow-up EP that they scrapped because they felt something — or someone — was missing. Lebrun and Torregrossa were initially unsuccessful in their search for a third musician to further flesh out their sound, until their longtime friend Hoepffner, who had been responsible for the band’s visuals signed up to join the band. And as Lebrun recalls in press notes, things immediately clicked. “He [Hoepffner] brought this glue linking the drums and the guitars, adding another level,” Lebrun says.

The band’s recently released album Froidpierre is the first featuring the band as a newly re-constituted trio, and the album, which was recorded in a cabin named Froidspierre (or cold stone) in the French Alps is reportedly a marked departure from their previously released work. “We were tired of complex and festive tracks; we wanted to avoid over-doing things, to stop doing patchwork and have proper songs with real hindsight. The songs are shorter because they were composed with a sense of urgency.” And while these were all very conscious decisions, it was also driven by a sense of urgency as the band’s Lebrun frequently had to take the first night bus from the suburban studio to his home in Paris. As the band collectively mentions in press note, as they were busily writing and recording the material that would comprise their latest effort, each individual member of the band recognized that they had a great creative chemistry and that while something musically powerful was happening during the sessions, something in the air wasn’t quite right.

During the third day of the recording sessions Torregrossa went out on the balcony to smoke a cigarette and suddenly he felt an uncontrollable sense of fear throughout his own body. With a racing heart, he rushed back inside without looking back. The next day, Lebrun managed to be in the exact same spot and he couldn’t shake the persistent feeling that there was a presence behind him. Just as he turned around, he caught what looked like a ghost out of the corner of his eye. Frozen in fear, he stared at this presence and got lost in its inverted human-like silhouette. As Lebrun recalls, it felt as though he were slowly sinking into quicksand until somehow he managed to get away; but he felt unsettled and uneasy throughout the rest of the night. Hoepffner felt a strong sense of discomfort as he was sitting in the studio’s kitchen — so much so that, after a few days, he made sure to never enter a room on his own. At night, he heard someone or something whispering his name. And while he spent time trying to convince himself that someone was trying to play an elaborate prank on him, Hoepffner couldn’t shake having impressions of a wasted life, without any rational explanation. The band’s friend and photographer Maxime slept in a room that was made entirely of stones and was once a former stable, and one night he heard a woman’s voice calling his name, and felt something lean on him, and a cold sensation overtake his entire body.

Sometimes, they all would hear strange noises and banging on the walls that kept them awake most of the night. They  all spoke about something with a beastly scream and of objects suddenly and unexpectedly being knocked down. Although it was only until after the recording sessions were complete that the members of the band shared their own experiences, the sensation of anxious, uncertain dread and fear, of being on the edge, of not being able to trust your senses and your reason. Naturally, these experiences whether consciously or subconsciously managed to influence the sound and tone of the album’s material; in fact, album single “Anada,” evokes an unshakably, dark, menacing, and inexplicable presence lurking behind you, felt but unseen. Froidspierre’s latest single “Event Horizon”  is an incredibly cinematic composition centered around shimmering, arpeggiated synths, buzzing power chords, thumping and propulsive drumming and a soaring hook, and much like its immediate predecessor, the composition evokes an anxious and creeping dread. And unsurprisingly, the gorgeously shot video filmed by the band’s longtime friend, photographer Maxime Leyravaud and the band further emphasizes the creeping dread in the song; of shadowy figures seemingly coming out of the dark — for you.

Live Footage: Spooky Cool Performs Genre Defying Single “Black Wine” on Good Day RVA

Although the Richmond, VA-based quintet Spooky Cool, comprised of founding members Zac Hryciak (guitar, vocals), Lee Spratley (drums) and Sean Williams (bass) along with Paula Lavalle (vocals) and Zavi Harman (lead guitar) officially formed in 2015, the […]