Tag: Rolling Stone

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Alice Merton Performs “Lash Out” on “Live with Kelly and Ryan”

Over the past 12-18 months or so, I’ve written quit ea bit about Alice Merton, a Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, and as you may recall Merton has lived a rather nomadic life: most of her formative years were spent in Canada but she finished high school in Germany before relocating to England. Unsurprisingly, music managed to be a major part of her life, no matter where she was; in fact, as the story goes, Merton started taking classical piano lessons when she was five, and when she was nine, she was introduced to formal, vocal training. After spending the better part of a decade in classical training, the Frankfurt-am-Main-born, Berlin-based pop artist and singer/songwriter discovered contemporary songwriting during one of her high school courses while in Germany. And from that point onward, Merton went on to study songwriting and began pursuing her dream of becoming a professional singer/songwriter.

Of course, while studying in school, Merton would wind up working with a number of producers on a variety of producers, and finding the right producer, who can both compliment and challenge a singer/songwriter as a true collaborator in the creative process is an increasing rarity. But when she met Berlin-based producer Nicolas Rebscher, Merton quickly recognized that she found a musical match, and so far their collaboration together has been wildly successful — the duo’s swaggering, hook-driven and attention grabbing smash hit debut single, “No Roots,” which was inspired by her nomadic youth held the #1 spot for 2 weeks on the Alternative Radio Charts in the States and held it for 8 weeks in Canada. The song cracked the Top 30 on the pop charts, the Top 15 on the Hot Adult Contemporary charts and entered Billboard Hot 100. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the song has been synced in a Mini Cooper ad campaign — and earlier this year, she was featured in Rolling Stone‘s “One To Watch” and Billboard‘s “Chartbreaker” section, which has previously featured artists such as Cardi B and Khalid. Also, she’s made the rounds of national, late night TV with appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Late Late Show with James Corden.

And now, building upon the buzz surrounding her since the release of “No Roots,” Merton’s latest single “Lash Out” is an incredibly hook-driven song centered around a young woman narrator, who feels the need to speak up boldly (and loudly!) about what she wants and needs, about what she’s ready to fight for — and perhaps, more important to confidently answer her needs as she felt fit, in her own way. It’s an earnest, empowering feminist anthem that says to its listener, you better go out there, be bold and get what you deserve because no one else is going to be paying attention or care.

Merton and her backing band were recently on Live with Kelly and Ryan. Check out the footage.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays WINDHAND Return with 90s Grunge Take on Doom Metal

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND, and as you may recall, the band which is currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums), the Northern Virginia-based metal act formed back in 2009 — and by the following year, they released a two track, self-recorded CD that quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath. Building upon a growing profile, their 2012 self-titled debut became an underground hit and sold out multiple vinyl pressings within a few months.

2013 saw WINDHAND sign to Relapse Records, who released their sophomore album Soma to critical praise from Stereogum, Spin, LA Weekly, Revolver, Invisible Oranges, MetalSucks, Metal Injection, Rolling Stone and NPR — with Pitchfork naming the album as one of the third best metal releases of the year. Adding to a breakthrough year, the members of the Richmond, VA-based doom metal band had spent the bulk of 2013 and 2014 touring North America, the European Union, and Australia with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak, as well as the festival circuit, wth appearances at Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest.

2015’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Infernal Flower featured album singles Crypt Key.” and “Two Urns” which managed to further cement their reputation for crafting sludgy, murky, punishing and downtempo dirges. Slated for an October 5, 2018 release, the Richmond, VA-based doom metal act’s forthcoming Jack Endino-produced Eternal Return is reportedly an observation and reflection of life’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows and beginnings and ends. Between 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower and their forthcoming album, the members of the band welcomed new life, experienced a number of lineup changes and mourned unexpected and tragic death — and as a result, the album’s material and the sequential order of its songs are the direct result of those experiences. Sonically, the album also finds the band growing artistically with the material balancing heavy, psychedelic and meditative, and in a way that have drawn early comparisons to Soundgarden, an act known for stretching genre boundaries.

Eternal Return’s latest single “Grey Gardens” was part of an early batch of album singles that were among the heaviest batches of material they recorded — and while being a thunderous and slow-burning dirge, the single finds the band’s sound and approach subtly moving towards Screaming Life/Fopp and Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, complete with a lysergic bridge. Directed by Jordan Vance, the recently released video for “Grey Gardens” features some trippy and murky stock footage that evokes a foreboding sense of dread at its core.

Live Footage: Up-and-Coming Danish Act Collider Performs “Glockster” at Tapetown Studio

With the release of “Bruno” last year, the Danish psych rock act Collider, comprised of Mikkel Fink, Marie Nyhus, Johan S. Polder, and Troels Damgaard-C quickly emerged into the national scene. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Danish psych rock act have been playing showcases across the European Union and the States without much of an internet presence — until recently. But despite that, from what I’ve been told the band has received some attention from the likes of Rolling Stone and other internationally recognized outlets.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 15-18 months or so, you would have come across a couple of live sessions shot in the Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studio, and as you may recall the studio along with Sound of Aarhus started a live video series in which they invite national, regional and even internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studio. The newest installment features the aforementioned Collider, who played their latest single, the trippy and chaotic track that nods at krautrock, psych rock and space rock simultaneously while being centered around anthemic, grunge rock-like hooks.

New Video: The Breezy and Summery Visuals and Sounds of Wooden Shjjips’ Road Trip Anthem “Already Gone”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the renowned San Francisco, CA-based psych rockers Wooden Shjips, and as you may recall, although the act is currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ripley Johnson (guitar, vocals), Dusty Jermier (trumpet, bass), Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) and Nash Whalen (organ), the band can trace their origins back to 2003 when Johnson started the band with the intention of finding a group of non-musicians and creating music with them, centered by the underlying idea that untrained musicians would have a different outlook on what music is and how it’s played, essentially bringing something fresh to to the table in a fashion reminiscent of the garage rockers of the early 60s, the  Velvet Underground and 70s punk rockers did. As the story goes, Dusty Jermier, one of the longest tenured members of the band was originally recruited to play saxophone, an instrument he had never picked up before while members of earlier iterations of the band frequently had such a lack of interest in playing live for anyone that the band didn’t bother looking for gigs. 
Eventually, the band settled to its current lineup but with different intentions. Johnson, who’s a fan of largely impenetrable albums and arcane, small-press poetry books was fascinated by the idea of books that went unread or became largely out of favor and/or of print that were rediscovered by collectors or some bored critic looking for something different, and praised for being lost and under-appreciated gems. The band had purposely set out to make obscure albums that Johnson envisioned randomly leaving in libraries, thrift store margin bins and on park benches. Eschewing a MySpace page, a Soundcloud account or a website with MP3 downloads, the band gave away a limited pressing of 300 copies of their debut 10 inch vinyl album, paying the shipping costs for out of town requests — and unexpectedly, the album received some rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, which raised the album’s cachet and the band’s profile, thanks in part to a sound that the band has described as “a minimal, droning kind of garage band-influenced psychedelia with a noticeable 60s Krautrock influence” with some comparing the band to Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Soft Machine and Guru Guru.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the members of Wooden Shjips released 2006’s “Dance California”/”Clouds Over the Earthquake,” to mark the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which sold enough for the band to break even on their investment, and “Summer of Love 2007,” a single inspired by groups, who worked to make the world the kind of place they wanted to live in, like the Diggers, a local anarchist collective that founded the first Free Store and served free meals in Golden State Park to any and all comers, and the proceeds from the single went to the charitable foundation Food Not Bombs. Adding to a growing profile, the band’s second, real gig found them opening for the psych rock legend Roky Erickson.

The band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut was recorded in the band’s rehearsal space, using a half-inch eight-track console that Jermier found, making the album a strictly analog affair aimed at getting high-quality and high-fidelity on an extremely low budget. Some tracks were layered-up demos while others were live studio jams with drum parts adding later, since they only had two tracks of the drums and no way to keep instruments from bleeding into each other noisily. But despite — or perhaps because of its DIY fashion, the album was released to critical applause that lead to the “Loose Lips”/”Start to Dreaming” 7 inch released by Sub Pop Records. Since then, the band has released three more full-length albums, 2009’s Dos, 2011’s West, 2013’s Back to Land and two compilations 2008’s Volume 1 and 2010’s Volume 2 — and they’ve managed this while the band’s Johnson has been busy with his acclaimed side project Moon Duo, with Sanae Yamada that has released four full-length albums and one EP.  Interestingly, V, the Bay Area-based psych rock band’s fifth full-length album and first album in over five years, finds the band reportedly expanding upon their sound while lightening the overall vibes, with the material being decidedly laid back, almost summery jams. 

Written last summer, Johnson has publicly said that he has viewed the material as a necessary antidote to the pervasive political anxiety and apocalyptic panic of American life; in fact, as Johnson says in press notes,“We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.” 

V’s first single ““Staring at the Sun” featured a shimmering guitar pop sound with a steady groove reminiscent of Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Psychic Ills‘ Inner Journey Out, and “Red Line,” its shoegazer rock meets classic psych rock-inspired follow up single may strike listeners and fans as a bit of return to form, as it features a hypnotic groove — while much like its predecessor, emphasizing slowing, down and pressing the reset button in a world gone absolutely mad. The album’s latest single is the twangy, Buffalo Springfield and Neil Young and Crazy Horse-like “Already Gone” — with a subtle twist to the proceedings, twinkling synths reminiscent of Who Are You-era The Who; but regardless of its influences, it’s the perfect road trip song, as it possesses an overwhelmingly optimistic view, centered on the possibility of new adventures, new friends, of transformation, of being lost and found within the double lines. Unsurprisingly, the recently released video begins with the band’s Johnson getting his bike to ride to the band’s studio space on a glorious day — much like today here in New York — to meet the rest of the band. And of course, they play some hackeysack together — because they’re hippies. But all is right and glorious: bullshitting with your friends and playing music is necessary in a world that’s mad. It’s sometimes the only thing you’ve got. 

New Video: Acclaimed Country Duo Rogue + Jaye Releases a Hauntingly Gorgeous Meditation on Intimacy and Vulnerability

Last year, I wrote a bit about the the country music duo Rogue + Jaye, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Courtney Jaye, who has spent stints living in Nashville, Atlanta, Austin and elsewhere; and Bay Area-based singer/songwriter Zach Rogue, the frontman of indie rock act Rogue Wave can trace its origins back to a December 2013 songwriting session in which the duo quickly recognized they had an easygoing simpatico centered around the fact that as songwriters, who were deeply influenced by country, their material possesses a wistful, late night, drinking and thinking in a divey honky tonk vibe, reflected on their critically applauded debut single together “Til It Fades.”  

Pent Up, the duo’s full-length debut features a backing band consisting of Bands of Horses’Bill Reynolds (bass), Floating Action’s Seth Kauffman (guitar) and Grace Potter and The Nocturnals’ and Natalie Prass’ Michael Libramento (drums), and it was released last year to critical praise from a number of  major media outlets including  The Associated Press, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, American Songwriter and others, with Rolling Stone Country recently naming the duo one of their “10 New Artists You Need to Know,” and with the album single “Golden Lady,” the duo’s sound seemed to draw from indie rock, 70s AM Rock and Renegade Country, complete with an understated emotional honesty; the sort that comes from living a full and messy life of mistakes, foibles, joy, heartache, loneliness, being lost and found and lost again, and profoundly life altering experiences and experiencing them as completely and fully as possible — and with an effortless gracefulness.

“Open Your Mind,” Pent Up’s latest single finds the duo drawing from jazz, psych rock and psych country in an effortless and slickly produced  fashion — and while sonically the song will further cement their reputation for anachronistic-leaning pop/country that could have been released in 1968, 1972, 1982 or 2012, and much like its predecessor, the song comes from the perspective of those who have lived full and messy lives — with dignity and quiet resolve; but as Jaye says, the song is “about opening up to intimacy and vulnerability without fear, as well as exploring the unknown in ourselves and through another.”

Directed by Ben Bennett, the recently released video for “Open Your Mind” is a gorgeously sun-dappled dream of two people trying to connect in an intimate and powerful fashion.

 

Currently comprised of founding members  and primary songwriters Chuck Cleaver (vocals, guitar), known for being a member of Ass Ponys  and Lisa Walker (vocals, guitar), along with Mark Messerly (bass, keys), John Erhardt (pedal steel, guitar), and Joe Klug (drums), the Cincinnati, OH-based shoegaze quintet Wussy can trace their origins back to 2001 when its founding duo began playing together as a dare during a brief run of solo Cleaver shows. The first show they played together while being largely unplanned went without incident, so they agreed that they should continue as a fully fleshed band. Cleaver and Walker recruited Dawn Burman (drums) and Messerly in 2002 And as a quartet, Wussy released three full-length albums and a critically applauded EP that received praise from a number of major media outlets including Rolling StoneSPINVillage VoiceNPRThe Washington PostUncut and the legendary Robert Christgau, who placed the Cincinnati act’s first two efforts Funeral Dress and Left for Dead on his best of the decade list, and their third, self-titled release on his best of 2009 list.

After receiving critical success, the band went through a series of lineup changes, as Burman left the band and was replaced with Cincinnati music scene vet Joe Klug, who joined the band for Attica! and Forever Sounds. The band’s newest member John Erhardt has helped evolve the band’s sound, adding a twangy psychedelic vibe as they’ve expanded their profile with recorded sessions for BBC 6 Music and KEXP, appearances at SXSW and CMJ, touring with the likes of The Afghan Whigs, and have shared stages with Yo La TengoThe BreedersBest CoastMudhoneyOkkervil RiverThe MekonsCOMEWreckless Eric and Jeffrey Lewis.

The Cincinnati-based indie rock act’s seventh studio album What Heaven Is Like is slated for release later this month through Damnably Records in Europe and Shake It! Records in the States, and as you may recall, earlier this year, I wrote about “Gloria,” a song that was reportedly inspired by the protagonist of Fargo‘s Season 3, Gloria Burgle, played by Carrie Coon — but in a much larger sense, the song is meant to paint a portrait of an inscrutable everywoman, who dares to stand up to an omnipresent, almost supernatural, villain. The album’s latest single “Cake,” while continuing in a similar, cinematic yet 90s inspired vein of its predecessor is arguably one of the album’s bleaker songs, evoking the sort of existential dread and anxiety that feels inescapable and pervasive. Shit has gone bad and quickly, and it’s time to start hunkering down because it’s about to get much worse.