JOVM’s William Ruben Helms belatedly celebrates Tom Morello’s 58th birthday.
As it turns out, the first couple of weeks of this month are rather auspicious in music history: John Paul Jones’ birthday was on the third, Michael Stipe‘s birthday was on the fourth David Bowie‘s […]
Vevo DSCVR is Vevo’s curated, emerging artist platform meant to promote the best up-and-coming artists that the video sharing site believes will have a significant impact on the future. Over the past few years, Vevo DSCVR has featured an eclectic array of chart-topping and critically applauded artists including Jack Garratt, James Bay, Years & Years, Wolf Alice, Sam Smith, Jorja Smith, Maggie Rogers, Alessia Cara, Ella Eyre, Billie Eilish, Bülow, Donna Missal, Charlotte Lawrence and JOVM mainstay Sam Fender among others.
For the sixth consecutive year, Vevo DSCVR has begun announcing their Artists to Watch — a list of 20 artists, who they believes will break through in the coming year with Vevo premiering two performances from each artist on the list per day between November 4,2019 and November 29, 2019. The latest act on Vevo DSCVR’s Artists to Watch list is the Los Angeles-based alt rock act Lily. Releasing their debut EP I Can Fool Anybody In This Town, the Southern California band — Dylan Nash (vocals), Sam De La Torre (guitar), Charlie Anastasis (bass) and Maxx Morando (drums) — quickly received attention locally for a jagged and angular sound that’s difficult to pin down, as it invokes Jane’s Addiction, Foals, Rage Against the Machine and power pop punk.
Centered by Morando’s breakneck four-on-the-floor drumming, “Wash,” which the band performed for Vevo DSCVR is a feral track featuring angular and noisy bursts of guitar, Nash’s neurotic and anxiously punchy delivery. Structurally and sonically, the mosh pit friendly anthem is seamless synthesis of noise rock, post-punk and hardcore punk that sounds both forcefully familiar and novel.
Over the past 18 months, the Mollymook, Australia-born, Sydney, Australia-based sibling duo Clews — Grace and Lily Richardson — have quickly emerged into their homeland’s national scene with the release of their first two singles “Museum” and “Crushed,” which displayed the sibling duo’s soaring vocal and guitar harmonies. As a result of the attention they’ve received for their first two singles, the Richardsons have opened for Portugal. The Man, Laurel, Albert Hammond, Jr. and Ocean Alley — and recently, they’ve headlined their own shows.
Building upon their growing national profile, the duo’s Nick DiDia-produced latest single “Hollywood” continues their collaboration with the Grammy Award-winning producer, who has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Rage Against The Machine and Pearl Jam. Sonically, the track is centered around shimmering and jangling guitars, the Richardson’s gorgeous harmonies and a soaring hook. And while the song subtly recalls the slick yet heartfelt pop of Lily & Madeleine, the song finds the sibling duo thematically focuses on the growing pains felt during the transition between youth and adulthood — and is rooted in autobiographical detail and the hard-won personal experience.
“‘Hollywood’ describes feeling so small that you end up making yourself invisible,” Clews’ Grace Richardson says in press notes. “It is full of self-fulfilling prophecies, and the common theme of feeling strongest when you’re alone. It’s a lot about what forces act on us to change our personalities.”
Currently comprised of founding members Donita Sparks (vocals, guitar) and Suzi Gardner (guitar, vocals) along with Jennifer Finch (bass) and Demetra Plakas (drums), the acclaimed and pioneering, Los Angeles-based grunge act L7 can trace their origins back to 1985, a full year after Gardner had contributed backing vocals to Black Flag’s “Slip It In.”
Once Sparks and Gardner formed the band, they were added by Finch and Roy Koutsky (drums). Koutsky left shortly after and was briefly replaced by Anne Anderson (drums) in 1988. After Anderson left the band, Plakas became the band’s permanent drummer. Although they formed Rock for Choice, a pro-choice women’s rights group that was supported by the likes of Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, and Rage Against the Machine, they’re best known for their third album, 1992’s Butch Vig-produced Bricks Are Heavy, which featured their seminal track (and smash hit) “Pretend We’re Dead.” “Pretend We’re Dead” spent 13 weeks on the US Alternative Charts, peaking at #8 and reached #21 on the UK Singles Chart.
After the release of 1994’s Hungry for Stink, which was supported by that year’s Lollapalooza tour with Smashing Pumpkins and The Breeders, the band went through a number of lineup changes: Finch left the band during the recording of 1997’s The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum, an album that featured bass playing by Sparks and Greta Brinkman; however, Belly’s Gail Greenwood joined the band.
1999’s Slap-Happy didn’t chart on either side of the Atlantic, and sometime after the release of that album, the Los Angeles-based grunge band went through yet another lineup changes with Greenwood leaving the band to be replaced by Stone Fox’s Janis Tanaka, who later played bass in Pink’s and Bif Naked’s backing bands.
By 2001, the members of L7 weren’t touring and were on an indefinite hiatus. During that time Sparks formed a new band, Donita Sparks and The Stellar Moments while Finch was a member of punk rock act The Shocker. Simultaneously during that period, Sparks was working on a documentary on the band, which was rumored to have a 2014 release date. And interestingly enough, by the end of 2014 the band announced that they would reuniting featuring the lineup with which they achieved their biggest success — Sparks, Gardner, Finch and Plakas.
The reunited L7 toured Europe and North America with a number of stops across the international circuit in 2015 including Germany’s Rock am Ring, Riot Fest stops in Denver and Chicago, and Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Festival. The Sarah Price-directed L7 documentary, L7: Pretend We’re Dead was released in 2016 while the band was on a busy tour schedule throughout both 2016 and 2017.
Building upon the growing buzz surrounding the reunited band, the members of the Los Angeles-based grunge outfit released “Dispatch from Mar-a-Lago,” their first new song in almost 18 years in September 2017. They followed that up with “I Came Back to Bitch,” which was released in February 2018. The band’s recently released seventh album Scatter the Rats is the first album from the Los Angeles-based grunge outfit in 20 years and from album singles “Burn Baby” and “Stadium West,” the new album is sort of a return to form: scuzzy and distorted power chords, thunderous drumming, snarled lyrics and rousingly anthemic hooks. And interestingly enough, both singles reveal that the members of L7 have had a massive influence on contemporary indie rock — you can hear L7’s influence in the work of JOVM mainstays The Coathangers, Sharkmuffin, Dream Wife and others.
Emerging Swedish industrial synth pop act LINES can trace its origins to when its founding trio — Erik, Fred and Nisse — traveled to Berlin, with the expressed purpose of losing themselves in that hedonism of its nightlife. As the story goes, as though under the influence of a higher power, lines were drawn and blueprints made of the sort of music that they wanted to create. Although the band was born in Berlin, the band’s roots are in Stockholm‘s indie scene. Interestingly, they manage to continue a long-held tradition of high-powered synth-based and hook-driven synth pop pioneered by the likes of The Knife, Teddybears and others but thematically centered around isolation, escapism and what the band calls “obsessive and destructive love” — and they do with some subtle political leanings. “We’re not Rage Against The Machine in our police, but we try to express some kind of social commentary between the lines.”
Along with crafting politically charged material, the trio are boldly and defiantly DIY — writing, producing and mixing their own work in their self-built studio. They’ve also self-directed and produced the bulk of their videos and thrown their own 24 hour release parties; however, the band is ambitious and they have their sights set on using their non-conformist pop to make a connection with audiences in their native Sweden and beyond. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the band’s the band has a growing national and international profile — their single “You” has amassed more than 6 million streams, and renowned Swedish pop artist Tove Lo has championed them.
The trio’s latest single “People,” which finds the trio collaborating with Adele Kosman is centered around lush layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and an infectious, sing-along worthy, anthemic hook that I can envision people shouting along to, while having their arms draped around their friend’s shoulders. The track will further cement the Swedish trio’s growing reputation for wildly euphoric and futuristic synth pop.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the New York-based collective Brass Against the Machine, and as you may recall, the act currently comprised of founding member Brad Hammonds (guitar, arrangement), Andrew Gutauskas (baritone sax, arrangement), Darius Christian (vocals, trombone), Sophia Urista (vocals), Mariel Bildsten (trombone), Wayne Tucker (trumpet), Oskar Stenmark (trumpet), Steven Duffy (sousaphone), the New York-based collective Brass Against the Machine specializes in covering protest music but with a unique sound and approach, as their sound meshes rock, alternative rock, hip-hop and New Orleans brass — and for repertoire that features covers of Rage Against the Machine, Living Colour, Gil Scott-Heron, Jane’s Addiction, A Tribe Called Quest, Led Zeppelin and a list of others.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0kJLW2EwMg&w=560&h=315%5D
The band is prepping for a series of live shows in the NYC area, which you can see below — and to build up buzz for those shows, the collective released an incredibly funky brass-backed interpretation of Rage’s “Guerrilla Radio” — and with vocalist Sophia Urista confidently taking filling the vocal role of Zack de la Rocha, there’s a decided and forceful reminder that women have long been the heart, soul and moral backbone of any resistance movement against corrupt and venal power — but also serves as a reminder, that music is a powerful weapon.
Grant Goldsworthy is a Central Pennsylvania-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, who over the past 15 years has played with a number of bands across Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Boston and New York — and with his latest project, Snow Villain, which he started in 2015, Goldsworthy began collaborating with a rotating cast of musicians from Philadelphia, Harrisburg, PA and NYC. Although some have said that Snow Villain’s sound nods at Death Cab for Cutie, Smashing Pumpkins, St. Vincent, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Ween and Beck, the project’s latest single “Torches.” off the forthcoming EP 1 strikes me as nodding heavily at early Rage Against the Machine, as the song is centered around enormous power chords, rousingly anthemic hooks, and politically-charged lyrics delivered with a swaggering, hip-hop like flow.