Tag: punk rock

New Video: JOVM Mainstays METZ Release a Cinematic and Epic Visual for Euphoric Single “Blind Youth Industrial Park”

Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink covering the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the last couple of months, you might recall that he longtime JOVM mainstays fourth album Atlas Vending is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records.

Their previously released material found the band thriving on an abrasive relentlessness but before they set to work on Atlas Vending, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album — that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they (and the listener) navigated life’s trials and tribulations.

Reportedly, the end result is an album’s worth of material that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Much like its immediate predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole — with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.

Naturally, the album’s material runs through the gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. And in some way, the album finds the back taking what’s inevitable for all of guys — getting older, especially in an industry seemingly suspended in perpetual youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

As it turns out, METZ’s currently mission is to faithfully mirror the inevitably painful struggles of adulthood while tapping into the conflicting relationship between rebellion and revelry — particular in a period of profound and seemingly unending bleakness. I’ve written about two of the album’s singles so far: “A Boat to Drown In,” the album closing track, which finds the band moving away from their long-held grunge influences and crafting one of the most expansive, oceanic tracks of their catalog — and “Hail Taxi,” a deceptive return to form centered around an aching and deeply adult sense of regret, as the song features a narrator, who attempts to reconcile who they once were and who they’ve become.

“Blind Youth Industrial Park,” Atlas Vending’s third and latest single is a rapturous and euphoric ripper done in true METZ style — enormous, rousingly anthemic hooks, Eadkins urgently howled vocals, pummeling drumming and towering feedback drenched power chords. But at its core, the song is an ode to the naivety of youth and the blissful freedom of being unburdened by the world around you with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail.

Directed by Dylan Pharazyn, the recently released and cinematically shot visual for “Blind Youth Industrial Park” was shot in Queenstown, New Zealand as is set in a dystopian and futuristic planet with futuristic technology that may be derived from aliens. We follow the videos protagonist Ayeth on a nomadic walk through an epic landscape with a severely wounded companion. The video’s protagonists are followed by an armed militia. “I started thinking of the feeling of war or samurai films, beautiful but dark and violent… but then I had this idea to work up a more unique world… I started to think of a more futuristic setting — more unusual and dream-like with the story set on a distant planet where there is future technology and some kind of alien magic… like a futuristic fable,” Pharazyn says of the new video. “I loved the idea of the hero Ayeth on this nomadic walk through an epic landscape… I loved the strength in her and the pairing of her with a wounded companion, something really human and vulnerable… I wanted that emotive warmth countering the cold military images.”

New Audio: Acclaimed Norwegian Act Pom Poko Release an Exuberant and Breakneck New Single

Deriving their name from one of the more outre films ever released by Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, Pom Poko is a rising Norwegian quartet — Ragnhild Fangel (vocals), Martin Miguel Tonne (guitar), Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) — that can trace their origins back to 2016 when the members of the band met while they were studying jazz at Trondheim Music Conservatory, and bonded over their desire to play punk rock at a jazz gig at a literature festival.

Interestingly, the individual members of the rising Norwegian act have publicly cited a wide and eclectic array of influences on their sound and approach, including Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure, Vulfpeck, Palm, KNOWER, Hella, Death Grips, Jenny Hval and Nick Drake among others. And as a result, the act has managed to establish a sound and approach that defies easy description or categorization. “We’ve all done lots of improvised music in the past, and I think that shapes the way we play, even though the tunes are not improvised,” the band explained in press notes. “We like when new and strange things happen in an old song, and that music can change over time by being played live, because that removes predictability and the ‘recipe’ that some genres of music have.”

Last year’s full-length debut Birthday received praise from the likes of Interview Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash Magazine, DIY Magazine and NME, who picked the band as one of the acts to watch out for in 2019 — and with the breakneck “My Blood,” a track that possessed elements of math rock, punk rock and indie rock was a great example of their wildly inventive, exuberant sound. Adding to a breakthrough year, the band also received airplay on BBC Radio 6 while landing Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannprisen) Award and Nordic Music Prize nods.

Building upon the momentum of last year, the Norwegian quartet’s highly-anticipated Marcus Forsgren-produced sophomore album Cheater is slated for a November 6, 2020 release through Bella Union Records. Written during the same period that produced one-off singles like “Leg Day” and “Praise,” Cheater finds the band further establishing the sound that has won them national and international acclaim — but the major difference between the two is that Cheater’s material wasn’t road-tested before the band went into the studio.”That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time,” Pom Poko’s Ragnhild Fangel explains.

“I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process, I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic education and recording but also let ourselves explore the less frantic part of the Pom Poko universe,” Fangel says of the differences between Birthday and Cheater. “I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.”

Cheater’s latest single “My Candidacy” finds the act managed to walk a tightrope between breakneck mosh pit friendly punk, centered around enormous power chords and saccharine sweet verses. Featuring the classic grunge rock alternating loud, quiet, loud song structure, the song explodes with an unpredictable, brash and girlish coquettishness while evoking the swooning rush of love. According to the band “the song itself is about the wish to be able to believe in unconditional love, even though you know that there probably is no such thing. We, at least, believe in unconditional love for riffy tunes with sing-song choruses.”

New Video: Hot Snakes Release a Hilarious and Hallucinogenic Visual for Anthemic “Not in Time”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the acclaimed — and downright legendary — punk act Hot Snakes. Continuing upon the momentum of 2018’s Jericho Sirens, the band released the “Checkmate”/”Not in Time” 7 inch late last year as the first of a series of four 7 inch singles released to lead up to the JOVM mainstay act’s highly-awaited fifth album.

The physical copies of “Checkmate”/”Not in Time” were sold only at shows during their UK tour to close out 2019 — and as you may recall, Sub Pop released, the sleazy AC/DC-like “Checkmate,” digitally through all DSPs. And until — well, today, the B-side “Not In Time” was unavailable anywhere else. “Not in Time” is essentially classic Hot Snakes: rousingly anthemic and euphoric hooks, pummeling guitar riffs, thunderous drumming and howled vocals. Goddamn it, I miss loud rock shows and sweaty mosh pits — because this one is a mosh pit anthem.

“Not in Time” will be available on Hot Snakes’ Bandcamp page tomorrow at Pay-Whatever-the-Hell-You-Want pricing for Friday only, as part of Bandcamp’s ongoing monthly fundraisers to generate funds for artists unable to tour as a result of the pandemic.

Directed by Jessica Kourkounis (Jason Kourkounis’ sister), the recently released video is a hilarious and hallucinogenic visual that follows a crew of skateboarders, who during an afternoon of wholesome shredding take tabs of Hot Snakes-branded acid and suddenly strange things happen — mainly, they see their arms elongate as they continue skating.
“This video started with a basic idea I had, which was, wouldn’t it be funny to see a bunch of skater dudes try and shred with extra-long arms” Jessica Kourkounis explains. “I have a bit of an obsession with homemade-looking costumes. So I hit up my friend Brian Emig to see if he would help me find the guys and film them. The rest happened pretty organically. We just went out and did it mostly. I also wanted to somehow include a visual of the band so I asked Rick to draw their heads so I could print them on blotter paper to help move the story forward. To great relief, it all worked out.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays METZ Return with a Pummeling Meditation on Compromise and Adulthood

Over the course of this site’s 10 year history, I’ve managed to spill copious amounts of virtual ink covering Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. The JOVM mainstays fourth album Atlas Vending is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records. Their previously released material found the band thriving on an abrasive relentlessness but before they set to work on Atlas Vending‘s material, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album — that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they (and the listener) navigated life’s trials and tribulations.

The end result is an album that reportedly retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world — but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind.  Much like its predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory. And as a result, the album’s material runs through the gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simple of childhood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. So in some way, the album find the band tackling what’s inevitable for all of us — getting older, especially in an industry seemingly suspended in youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

So yes, their current mission is to mirror the inevitably painful struggles of adulthood while tapping into the conflicting relationship between rebellion and revelry — particularly in a period of seemingly profound and unending bleakness. Last month, I wrote about album closing track and first single “A Boat to Drown In.” And while continuing the band’s long-held reputation for crafting enormous and punishing aural assaults centered round layers of distortion fueled power chords, thunderous drumming and mosh pit-friendly hooks, the song finds them moving away from their grunge inferences and creating one of the most expansive, oceanic tracks they’ve released to date. 

Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Hail Taxi” is a deceptive return to form. Yes, it’s an enormous and urgent mosh pit friendly ripper, full of rousingly anthemic hooks, thunderous drumming and Eadkin’s howled vocals  — but at its core, the song is full of a aching and deeply adult sense of regret, as the song’s narrator attempt to reconcile who they once were and who they’ve become. After all, being an adult often means making uneasy and uncomfortable compromises; the sort of compromises that an idealistic younger version of you would likely hate and have little empathy for.  The end result is a howl of desperation, frustration and fury for what once was and what has to be right now — and for when things seemed simpler. 

Directed by A.F. Cortes, the recently released video for “Hail Taxi” was shot in a highly symbolic and cinematic black and white. The video captures and further emphasizes the song’s intensity in its pummeling choruses as we see a woman struggling to keep afloat in the open sea — and her brooding on a rowboat full of trash on the song’s verses. “I wanted to tell a simple story that captures the song’s overarching theme,” A.F. Cortes says of the video. “The idea of longing for the past creates many visual motifs and I wanted to create a piece that feels timeless and conveys a sense of isolation, highlighting that while we can hide our feelings, we can’t run from them.”