Tag: prog rock

New Video: Mexico City’s Muuk Releases a Hypnotic and Unsettling Visual for “Seis Ausente”

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

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

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

May 2018 saw the members of Muuk collaborate with members of B.A.R.D.O.S.S. on an  improvised recording session titled Octomano. That July saw the band play the Hipnosis Festival lineup reveal gig at the Foro Indie Rocks. Last year, the band wrote and recorded their recently  sophomore album Balbuceo, which was released through Devil in the Woods Records.

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

The recently released visual for “Seis Ausente” manages to be hypnotic and unsettling: the viewer sees some gorgeously detailed line drawings pulsating and undulating to the song’s mesmerizing and trippy arrangement, and as the visual progresses, the drawings are overcome with explosive splashes of color — particularly a blood-like red. 

New Video: Acclaimed Canadian Experimental Rock Act WHOOP-Szo Releases a Gorgeous and Cinematic Visual for Expansive “Amaruq”

Featuring members who split their time between London, Ontario and Guelph, Ontario, WHOOP-Szo is an acclaimed DIY prog rock/experimental rock act centered around a core  group led by Adam Sturgeon (vocals, guitar), who is a proud member of the indigenous Anishinaabe community; Kirsten Kurvink Palm (guitar, synths, vocals), Joe Thorner (bass, vocals, Casio), Andrew Lennox (12 string guitar, synth) and Eric Lourenco (drums) with a rotating cast of collaborators. Since their formation, the act has received attention  for enthusiastically crossing, meshing and blurring genres, sounds and styles: their sound is a fusion of folk, metal, pop, grunge, classical, psych rock, noise and prog rock. Thematically, their work focuses upon the effects of colonialism and colonization, self-determination, language and history, identity, empowerment and so on. 

Through frequent touring across North America, the band has developed a reputation for being a relentless force of nature, enveloping audiences in an emotional storm that dances conscientiously between anger, frustration, discipline and hope. Along with that, the collective is known for their passion for social work and activism — particularly when it involves Canada’s indigenous communities. 

The acclaimed Canadian act’s forthcoming album Warrior Down focuses on finding identity when it has been exterminated from your life. The material looks into the past — not with hazy nostalgia but as a way to find an indigenous future. “There is no single stereotype to associate with indigenous people.” the band writes in a statement. “The image taught in history books is not the reality of modern indigenous experience. We live in cities, have to drive cars and do a lot of the same things everyone else has to do to survive. 

“Indigenous people are not relegated to the past, but sometimes that past can help you look into the future. We can enjoy making art in contemporary ways and we love future tropes; Star Trek, Star Wars and 80’s miniatures are relatable to our community.”

Centered around propulsive and tribal-like drumming, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, atmospheric synths and arena rock-like power chords, Warrior Down’s latest single “Amaruq” is a expansive and mind-bending song that’s a seamless synthesis of prog rock, metal and post rock that captures and evokes the concerns and thoughts of the Inuit community with a conscientious and rabble-rousing spirit. “‘Amarug’ is a dedication to the Inuit village that helped birth WHOOP-Szo,” the band explains. “The song itself is named after the remote, fly-community of Salluit, Quebec’s local high school.” 

Directed by Ross Millar, the recently released and gorgeously shot video for “Amaruq” employs the use of miniatures and action figures in what looks to be Northern Quebec. Throughout the video, its protagonist, who’s set in contemporary times with electricity, technology, modern houses stumbles onto a portal that allows him to contact to the past — and with the ancients. 

Lyric Video: Post Animal Releases Shimmering Dance Floor Friendly New Single

With the release of last year’s self-produced, critically applauded full-legnth debut, When I Think of You In  A Castle, the Chicago-based prog pop act Post Animal — Dalton Allison (bass, vocals), Jake Hirshland (guitar, keys, vocals), Javi Reyes (guitar, vocals), Wesley Toledo (drums, vocals), and Matt Williams (guitar) — received attention nationally for a kaleidoscopic, guitar-heavy sound. Interestingly,  “Safe or Not,” the first bit of new material from the act since the release of When I Think of You . . . is a bit of a change of sonic direction for the Chicago-based act, as the track finds the band employing a dance floor friendly sound centered around shimmering guitars, four-on-the-floor drumming and glistening synths, a sinuous base line, a motorik-like groove and a mind-bending and expansive song structure. 

“We wanted to leave the content more open ended for the listener to navigate, but it’s about self reflection,” the members of Post Animal explain in press notes. “We played around with more somber, serious lyrical content over a particularly dance-oriented song to juxtapose how one may feel internally versus how they’re outwardly portraying themselves in the moment.”

Post Animal recently released an aptly hallucinogenic lyric video to accompany the song.

New Video: Ether Feather Releases a Surreal Italian Thriller-Inspired Visual for Expansive Album Single “New Abyss”

Ether Feather is a Los Angeles-based trio featuring an acclaimed and highly-regarded collection of musicians: the band’s creative mastermind Dylan Ryan (vocals, drums) has played with the likes of Man Man, Cursive, Red Kraoyla and others; Tim Young (guitar) is currently a member of the Late Late Show with James Corden house band with extensive experience as a session player, playing with the likes of Todd Rundgren, Mike Patton and Fiona Apple; and JOVM mainstay Sylvia Black, an acclaimed solo artist, who has collaborated with Telepopmusik, Lydia Lunch, The Black-Eyed Peas and others.

The Los Angeles-based trio can trace its origins to a previous project, which featured Ryan and Young, SAND, which released two albums.  “By the time I started writing the third SAND record, it became clear the music was shifting from the Mahavishnu-esque, mid 70’s-fusion to more part-oriented structures and the songs seemed to want vocals,” Ryan says of the gradual shift from SAND to Ether Feather. Encouraged by engineer Andrew Murdock, the members of Ether Feather fully embraced the stylistic shift and recorded their debut EP, 2017’s Other Memory.  “Ether Feather is definitely a band where we can try weirder stuff and stretch out creatively in ways that may not be appropriate in other musical situations,” Ryan adds. “We can mix and blend aesthetics and make hard turns. Tim was in the Pacific Northwest during the first wave of grunge and brings something very different from me to the table, having come up in the late 90’s Chicago No Wave/Free Jazz/Metal scene.”

After touring to support the EP with the likes of Cursive and Minus the Bear, the members of Ether Feather further honed their sound — with the result being their recently released full-length debut Devil – Shadowless – Hand. Last month, I wrote about “Cayenne,” a track that was one part desert/stoner rock, one part alt rock, one part grunge rock as it was centered around a dream-like melody for its verse, sludgy power chords during its anthemic hook and a guitar solo that recalls Pearl Jam‘s Evenflow. “New Abyss,” the album’s latest single is an trippy and expansive track that’s one part free-flowing jazz fusion, one part prog rock, and one part psych rock freakout — and while revealing some extraordinary musicianship and a telepathic sort of simpatico, the song will further cement the act’s genre-defying sound and approach. Written and directed by Matt Hewitt, the recently released video for “New Abyss” stars the band in a surreal, feverish, Italian thriller-inspired visual full of paranoiac dread, dopplegangers, and unease. 

Throughout the course of this site’s nine-year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink on the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstays Oh Sees (a.k.a. Thee Oh Sees, OCS, The Oh Sees, The Orange County Sound, Orinoka Crash Suite and other variations). And as you may recall, the act which is led by its ridiculously prolific creative mastermind John Dwyer has a long-held reputation for wide-ranging and restless experimentation that has seen the band dabble and bounce between a variety of genres and styles including lysergic-tinged folk, furious and sweaty garage punk rippers, sci-fi driven krautrock and more. Of course, with each successive album generally being wildly different from its predecessors, it makes the band incredibly difficult to pigeonhole.

Last year’s Smote Reverser found the band meshing classic psych rock and prog rock in a way that brought JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard to mind, but with a muscular and menacing air.

Oh Sees’ latest album, the 2LP Face Stabber is slated for an August 16, 2019 release through their longtime label home Castle Face Records. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Henchrock” is a free-flowing skronky The Yes Album-era Yes meets Return to Forever-like bit of prog rock that clocks in at a little over 21 minutes and possesses a lysergic, retro-futuristic air.

The members of Oh Sees will be embarking on a lengthy tour throughout the summer and fall months that includes a three night, October run at Warsaw — October 18, 2019 – October 20, 2019. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

July
11-13 Carnation WA Timber! Festival

August
 9 Pioneertown, CA Pappy and Harriet’s

23 Charleville Cabaret Vert festival

24 Guéret Check-in Festival

27 Ravenna Hana-Bi (Free)

29 Vienna Arena

30 Munich Strom

31 Berlin Kreuzberg Festsaal

September
Brussels Les Botaniquesen

Bordeaux BT 59

Toulouse Le Bikini

Paris Le Bataclan

London Troxy

Amsterdam Paradiso

30 San Francisco, CA The Chapel

October
San Francisco, CA The Chapel

San Francisco, CA The Chapel

4 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom

7 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theatre

10 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue Ballroom

11 Chicago, IL Thalia Hall

12 Chicago, IL Thalia Hall

14 Toronto, ON Danforth Music Hall

15 Montreal, QC Le National

16 Cambridge, MA The Sinclair

18 Brooklyn, NY Warsaw

19 Brooklyn, NY Warsaw

20 Brooklyn, NY Warsaw

22 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer

23 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle

24 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge

25 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks

26 Austin TX Hotel Vegas

27 Austin, TX Hotel Vegas

29 Albuquerque, NM Sister Bar

31 Los Angeles, CA Teragram Ballroom

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Release a Wild Disco Synth Boogie Track

Over the course of an incredibly prolific 2017, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, comprised of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, and flute), Ambrose Kenny Smith (synths, harmonica), Cook Craig (guitar), Joey Walker (guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass), Eric Moore (drums) and Michael Cavanagh (drums) released an incredibly prolific five albums — with each album consisting of material in a wildly different genre and style from the other, further cementing the band’s reputation for being restlessly experimental. In fact, some of their earliest output found the band blending elements of 60s surf rock, beach, rock, garage rock and psych rock with later albums being blends of film scores, prog rock, folk and soul — although two albums Flying Microtonal Banana and The Murder of the Universe found the acclaimed Australian act pushing their thematic concerns and sound in new, and darkly trippy directions.

Now, for a band that’s been as wildly prolific as King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, not having much in the way of new music during 2018 is a bit strange; but the band was busy relentlessly touring, including a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. Additionally, the band re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever, and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic. 

The first bit of new material from the Aussie JOVM mainstays, “Cyboogie” finds the band stepping in a wild new direction with five of its seven members playing synths in a funky and strutting disco boogie woogie paired with heavily vocoder’ed vocals that brings From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder, The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and DEVO to mind, as the song is actually about a dancing cyborg from the future — viewed with a decidedly retro-futuristic and prog rock-leaning. ” 

“Cyboogie,” is accompanied by a visual from longtime collaborator Jason Galea shot in a grainy VHS that has the band’s Mackenzie as a half-man, half-synthesizer who essentially plays himself (no pun intended here), along with the bandmembers. The visuals seem to undulate and pulsate with the synths, which is a wildly hypnotic and hallucinogenic effect. By the way, “Cyboogie” will be released on a limited-edition 7″ inch along with another new track “Arcane.” 

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. 

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.