Tag: Radiohead

New Video: Hearts Hearts Returns with Feverish and Surreal Visuals for Genre-Defying Single “Phantom/Island”

Comprised of David Österle, Daniel Hämmerle, Johannes Mandorfer and Peter Paul Aufreitet, the Vienna, Austria-based quartet Hearts Hearts developed a reputation for crafting brooding, slow-burning and elegiac music indebted to classic musical and electro pop that drew comparisons to Sigur Ros, Flying Lotus, The Darcys and Radiohead as you would have heard on “I Am In” and “AAA” off their critically applauded debut album Young, an effort that thematically focused on tension and release — in the sense of someone desperately trying to break through and out of the familiar and debilitating patterns of their own life. 

During the release of the Austrian act’s debut Young, the band’s Peter Paul Aufreiter and Johannes Mandorfer sent two radically different sound snippets to their bandmate David Österle — an aggressive and jazzy piano loop titled “Phantom” and an electronic drum take recorded overseas titled “Island,” which interestingly enough is the German word for the country of Iceland. And as the story goes, Österle frantically began attempting to put these disparate pieces together; to synchronise what was never meant to be unified, and start singing over the results. The genre-defying album reportedly draws from the work of Bon Iver, Jamie XX and Son Lux while taking its thematic cues from the in between spaces and undefined borderlines in meaning, symbolized by the slash in every title on the album — with the band exploring both emotional and moral ambiguities, the ineffectiveness and confusions that the dichotomies and borderlines that define modern society. As the band’s Hämmerle says, the band prefers to think “think in options,” seeing the slash as representing an openness and flexibility in meaning; in similarities as much as in difference. 

The album’s first single “Phantom/Island” offers a heady and trippy taste of the overall aesthetic and sound of the album, as the band draws from jazz, electronica, indie rock, experimental pop in a way that immediately brings Kid A-era Radiohead, Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington — and while being at their most sonically expansive and genre-defying, the track finds the band conjuring a mix of anguish and ecstasy, yearning and desire within a turn of a musical phrase, as you’ll hear a propulsive, almost dance floor friendly motorik groove during the song’s verses and a soaring, cinematic hook that conveys yearning and ache. The song finds the band at their most intimate yet cinematic,  experimental yet accessible, feverish and frenetic in what is arguably one of the most gorgeous and transcendent songs I’ve heard this year. 

Filmed and directed by Austrian artist Gabriel Hyden, the breathtakingly gorgeous visuals are a surreal and feverish dream inspired by Iceland’s equally surreal and gorgeous landscapes.  

After 2014’s full-length effort, Voir Dire, the Chicago, IL-born and-based members of Minor Characters, the trio of long-time friends and schoolmates Andrew Pelletier (guitar, vocals), Shelby Pollard (guitar) and Thomas Benko (drums) felt a collective sense profound angst and confusion that almost broke the band up. “Getting that out was such a stressful moment in all of our lives that I think the band kind of imploded and deflated because of it,” the band’s Andrew Pelletier recalls in press notes. “We weren’t playing anymore and we decided to take a number of months off. In that interim, I did a little bit of traveling.”

Coincidentally, Pelletier’s traveling primarily took place during 2016, arguably one of the most politically contentious periods in at least 50 years, and naturally those trips criss-crossing the States and to Asia wound up influencing the Chicago-based band’s frontman, who eventually wrote a series of deeply personal vignettes focusing on his observations on the sociopolitical moment and thoughts but paired with sardonic reflections on the band’s health; but reportedly underneath it all, is a desire that many of us have felt — a desire to pack up your shit and leave for a while, despite the fact that American culture is inescapable. There’s literally a Starbucks or a McDonald’s on every corner with minor regional and cultural differences on the menu and an episode of Law & Order on TV.

As Pelletier says in press notes, “The insanity of the current government would be…I wouldn’t call it a source of inspiration, but certainly a source of disillusionment turned into inspiration. There are many things in my life that I put off,” the band’s frontman adds on a more personal note, “one of them being travel, especially to Asia because I’ve always wanted to go to Asia, and then also being in a relationship I put off for many, may years.” After his travels, Pelletier reconvened with his bandmates Pollard and Benko, along with Joe Meland (piano, string arrangements) and a series of collaborators at SHIRK Studios, where instead of a breakneck recording sessions, the band allowed the songs to morph with every recorded iteration, which would give each individual version a unique life. As the band’s Pollard says, “We’re doing string arrangements on this record, horn arrangements, there’s organ. There’s all of these components that, because we gave ourselves such unlimited amount of time to focus on, ‘Is this song ready?’ we were really able to figure out what each track needed individually and then it just so happens that it fits together.”The end result is the band’s forthcoming album We Can’t Be Wrong, which is slated for an April 6, 2018 release — and while the album’s latest single “Pimps of Freedom (Whores of D.C.)” will remind some listeners of The Bends-era Radiohead and JOVM mainstays Husky, possesses a breathless and bristling sense of outrage, as the song thematically focuses on the crony capitalists in DC deregulating then dismantling the government and handing it over to make money. “Vulnerable people’s lives are in their hands, and they’re passing handouts to the wealthiest of us, rather than the neediest. It’s whorish and abhorrent. But at the end of the day, it’s all so fucking entertaining. I can’t stop tuning in. All day long. Everyone I know can’t stop watching this madness. And what am I actually doing about it? Nothing. But this generation is turned up, and so we have to push back anyway we can. It’s a monstrous, captivating live television show, and it’s in full fucking high-definition.”  With this song, the Chicago-based band has managed to put into words, the seemingly futile horror and anger that many of us have felt on a regular basis, while gently attempting to rouse the listener out of the doldrums, to get up from the couch, to put the phone down and do something.

New Audio: The Gorgeous and Soaring Sounds of Dublin’s Cloud Castle Lake

Currently comprised of Daniel McAuley (vocals, synths), Brendan William Jenkinson (guitar, piano), Rory O’Connor (bass) and Brendan Doherty (drums), along with a rotating cast of collaborators and friends, the Dublin, Ireland-based act Cloud Castle Lake derive their name from a Vladimir Nabokov short story about a voyager, who finds a place so beautiful that he wants to spend the rest of his life there, but is cruelly dragged back to reality. And with their 2014 self-released debut EP, Dandelion, the Irish act received attention for a sound that routinely juxtaposes dark and despairing lyrics with a euphoric catharsis that increasingly draws from the work of Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders while being equal parts pastoral folk and soaring post-rock crescendos. And adding to a growing profile, the band has opened for touring acts such as Glasser, Lisa Hanningan and Ultraisa. 

Cloud Castle Lake had recently re-surfaced with the release of “Twins,” their first single in quite some time and building upon the buzz of that single, the Irish quartet released the stunning and breathtakingly gorgeous, Amnesiac-era Radiohead-like single “Bonfire,” which features twinkling, arpeggiated keys, and jazz-infected drumming and a tender yet soaring melody. As the band’s Daniel McAuley explained in press notes, “Bonfire is based around a pretty simple melody I came up with a few years ago. I kept being drawn back to it periodically and steadily adding and expanding it until it grew out into a full song. Writing it felt like a meditative task – what I’d imagine knitting a scarf is like. The choir parts were performed by our pals Tonnta, a contemporary choral group from Dublin. The giddiest day of recording for me was probably the first day they came in and sang through their parts. Getting to hear such talented musicians turn all that midi data and notation into music feels like magic. The lyrics have to do with doubt and denial and keeping secrets. They’re very loosely based on an old Irish/Welsh myth about rival tribes trying to find out the secret name of the other’s god in order to defeat them.”

Next month, the members of the Irish quartet will be embarking on a 5 date North American tour with stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and a February 6, 2018 stop at Rockwood Music Hall. These tour dates will serve as a bold re-introduction to the band, as well as building up buzz for the band’s Rob Kirwan-produced debut, slated for a Spring 2018 release. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or even over the past couple of weeks, you’ve likely seen a handful of posts featuring the Utrecht, The Netherlands-based indie trio Stillwave. Currently comprised of founding members Michael van Putten and Marcel Jongejan, along with their friend and long-time roadie Joris Keizer, the Dutch indie rock trio have developed a reputation for uncompromisingly refusing to do what their fellow countrymen have done, instead making the trip to the UK to play some of their first shows in dingy, beer soaked clubs and music venues that their influences  — namely, Radiohead, David Bowie and Slowdive — have played in before they made it. As a result of their dedication, hustle and moxie, the Dutch trio began to receive attention and praise from media outlets across the UK and the States, including Q Magazine, Speak Into My Good Eye and others.

The band had started to achieve some level of success and attention when member van Putten and Jongejan were rocked by the departure of original, founding member Adriaan Hogervost. As the band explained to me through email earlier this month, “When Adriaan quit, it felt as if we had lost a brother. We were risking our last savings for another tour in a cramped ’94 Civic, but we knew we had to continue. Stillwave had become more than just music, it became the bond that held us together. We asked our long-time roadie and childhood friend Joris [Keizer] to join us.” They go on to explain that the band’s newest member, had a deep understanding of their dedication and passion for music, knowing that the band was each individual member’s labor of love, “an almost physical place, which we can create, enter and share with those who listen to it.”

The band’s long-awaited full-length debut Sell Another Soul is slated for a November 3, 2017 release, and as the band says about the recording sessions, “When we decided to start recording our album, we had ceased to care about compromise, polish and overanalysed bullshit, which supposedly celebrates the idea of being young and carefree. We do care. For 3 sleep deprived weeks we toiled in a dilapidated structure that would soon after be swallowed by the attempt of gentrification around it. We did away with vocal comping and held onto the tracks where we fucked up. Every second was a battle, every minute a victory.”  As you may recall, I wrote about “94 Civic” earlier this month, a single that derives it name from the 94 Civic that the band drove around in for tours across Europe, and the song was a slow-burning and dreamy ballad that featured a gorgeous but minimalist arrangement of strummed guitar and gently swirling electronics paired with yearning and contemplative vocals that reminded me quite a bit of  Damon Albarn’s solo work and his work with Gorillaz.

Sell Another Soul‘s latest single “Adelaide” find the band returning a bit to the sound that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere — angular, David Bowie Berlin triology-influenced post-punk with similar, moody atmospherics and a rousing, larger-than-life hook and industrial clang and clatter.

The recently released video continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with former member Adriaan Hogervost. And interestingly enough, the video stars Jop Gorris, as a man, who runs around a race track with a metal ladder strapped around him. And although, the ladder is clearly a hinderance to his movement, and he grows increasingly frustrated with the ladder — until he uses it to climb up an abandoned house.

With last year’s release of their debut single “TrafficLightCyclopsDisco” and their self-titled debut EP, the Manchester, UK-based indie rock trio New Luna, comprised of Tommy Deedigan, Zack Bamber and Toby Duncan, have quickly developed a reputation as being a staple of their hometown’s indie rock/alternative scene while drawing comparisons to Radiohead, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Twilight Sad. Adding to a growing profile,  the Manchester-based trio have opened for the likes of Happiness, Bruising, PLAZA, Trudy and the Romance, as well as played sets at a DIY Magazine showcase, YNOT?, ArcTanGent, Truck and Great Escape Festivals. However, with their latest single, “Opinionated,” the British trio’s sound reminds me a bit of My Vitriol and Blur, thanks to layers of distortion-filled, buzzing power chords, thundering drumming and a rousingly anthemic, mosh-pit friendly hook within a quiet, loud, quiet song structure. And while clearly being inspired by 90s alt rock, the song possesses what may be the most direct social statement they’ve released to date — openly suggesting as the old adage says that opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one, and they’re usually shitty.

 

 

 

New Video: The Contemplative Sounds and Visuals of Stillwave’s “94 Civic”

Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so, you’ve likely come across a small handful of posts featuring the Utrecht, The Netherlands-based indie trio Stillwave. Currently comprised of founding members Michael van Putten and Marcel Jongejan, along with their friend and long-time roadie Joris Keizer, the Dutch indie rock trio have developed a reputation for uncompromisingly refusing to do what their fellow countrymen have done, instead making the trip to the UK to play some of their first shows in dingy, beer soaked clubs and music venues that their influences  — namely, Radiohead, David Bowie and Slowdive — have played in before they made it. As a result of their dedication, hustle and moxie, the Dutch trio began to receive attention and praise from media outlets across the UK and the States, including Q Magazine, Speak Into My Good Eye and others. 

Although the band had started to achieve some level of success, the founding members were rocked by the departure of founding member Adriaan Hogervost. As the band said to me through email, “When Adriaan quit, it felt as if we had lost a brother. We were risking our last savings for another tour in a cramped ’94 Civic, but we knew we had to continue. Stillwave had become more than just music, it became the bond that held us together. We asked our long-time roadie and childhood friend Joris [Keizer] to join us.” They go on to explain that the band’s newest member, had a deep understanding of their dedication and passion for music, knowing that the band was each individual member’s labor of love, “an almost physical place, which we can create, enter and share with those who listen to it.” 

The band’s long-awaited full-length debut Sell Another Soul is slated for a November 3, 2017 release, and as the band says about the recording sessions, “When we decided to start recording our album, we had ceased to care about compromise, polish and overanalysed bullshit, which supposedly celebrates the idea of being young and carefree. We do care. For 3 sleep deprived weeks we toiled in a dilapidated structure that would soon after be swallowed by the attempt of gentrification around it. We did away with vocal comping and held onto the tracks where we fucked up. Every second was a battle, every minute a victory.”  The album’s latest single “94 Civic” derives its title from the aforementioned 94 Civic that the band drove around for tours, and the song is a slow-burning and dreamy ballad featuring a gorgeous yet minimalist arrangement of strummed guitar and gently swirling electronics paired with yearning and contemplative vocals — and interestingly enough, the latest single finds the Dutch trio gently expanding their sound in a fashion that reminds me quite a bit of Damon Albarn’s solo work and his work with Gorillaz. 

Directed and produced by former member Adriaan Hogervorst, the recently released music video stars Harold van de Kamp, as a lonely man sitting in the backseat of a car, lost in his own thoughts, further emphasizing the contemplative nature of the song. 

Live Footage: Ulrika Spacek at Tapetown Studios Aarhus Denmark

Comprised of long-time friends and collaborators Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams, the indie rock act  Ulrika Spacek can trace their origins to a night in Berlin, when the duo conceptualized the project based around their mutual passions and influences — namely, Television, Pavement, Sonic Youth and krautrock. And as the story goes, upon their return to Homerton, the duo began working on the material that would eventually comprise their full-length debut The Album Paranoia, an album which featured the 120 Minutes-era  MTV-like single “She’s A Cult,” and the shoegazer-like Strawberry Glue.”
Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about them; however, the members of the project has been pretty busy writing and recording new material and touring — with their latest single “Everything, All The Time” managing to sound as though it nods at A Storm in Heaven and  A Northern Soul-era The Verve and The Bends-era Radiohead, thanks in part to jangling and distorted power chords, a propulsive rhythm section and an anthemic hook. And while among the most 90s alt rock-inspired songs they’ve released to date, the song reveals a subtle yet decidedly contemporary production sheen, along with a blistering urgency. 

While on a European Union tour, the members of the band stopped by Aarhus, Denmark-based Tapetown Studios to participate in the Live at Tapetown Series, in which Sound of Aarhus and the recording studio invite touring bands during their downtime to get a taste of the city beyond the routines of load-ins, sound checks, shows, tear downs and van rides — and it’ll include a live session in their studio.