JOVM’s William Ruben Helms’ celebrates Alex Lifeson’s 69th birthday.
JOVM celebrates what would have been Neil Peart’s 69th birthday.
People Museum is a rising New Orleans-based art pop/dance pop act largely inspired by Afrobeat, hip-hop and choral and marching music. The duo — Jeremy Phipps (trombone, production) and Claire Givens (vocals, keys) — can trace their origins back to 2016: Phipps and Givens were eager to start a music project that incorporated the feelings and vibes of their hometown. Founded with the expressed intention of bringing nature to the future, the New Orleans-based duo’s sound and aesthetic seamlessly meshes their hometown’s beloved and world famous brass band tradition with the Crescent City’s synth heavy, progressive underground scene.
Givens and Phipps’ soon-to-be released effort I Could Only See The Night EP is slated for release next week through Community Records and Strange Daisy Records. The new EP features a mix of songs made during last year’s pandemic-related quarantines and restrictions and songs the duo initially created during the first few months of their collaboration together. Thematically, the EP is a contemplation of our past, how we’re making sense of where we have ended up — and as a result, learning how to be more malleable with our visions of what the future could and should be. As the duo explains in press notes, the songs are an attempt to offer a bit of light in our very dark times while opening space for the listener to reflect, dance or just feel some sort of joy.
Last month, I wrote about “Forever” a Larry Levan-era house music influenced club banger that’s full of late night regret and trepidation centered around shimmering Giorgio Moroder-like synth arpeggios, skittering beats, Phipps’ mournful and melodic trombone played through reverb and delay pedal and Givens’ achingly plaintive vocals. You can literally feel the song’s narrator spiraling into indecision, regret and despair — although they’re desperately trying not to do so.
“Rush,” I Could Only See The Night’s latest single continues a run of house music inspired bangers, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering beats, Gaines coquettish vocals, explosive bursts of fluttering and melodic trombone and a euphoria-inducing hook. The end result is a much-needed escape to the dance floor, where there’s true liberation and equality.
“‘Rush’ was written in July of 2020 during quarantine with our drummer and co-producer, Mopodna. It is a dance anthem about letting go of the expectations we had for where we thought would be right now and reframing our thoughts and words to rebuild a better environment socially and emotionally. It’s intended to be this idea of a mourning that’s moving us toward evolving personally and globally. We have second-lines here in New Orleans which are basically street parades that are for deaths and for parties – I think it’s that’s a huge vibe of ‘Rush.’ We cry, we dance it out, we move on together and celebrate what we have and help each other.”
Directed, filmed and edited by People Museum’s Claire Givens, features black and white footage of a horn player walking to the beach with his horns, the band’s Phipps conducting an informal march, the recording of the song and Givens singing and dancing along to the song. It’s a playful and feverish visual that captures aspects of life in a quarantine.
Rochester, NY-based metal/prog rock trio King Buffalo — Sean McVay (guitar, lead vocals), Dan Reynolds (bass) and Scott Donaldson (drums, vocals) — formed back in 2013, and with the release of demo, several split releases, a handful of one-off singles and an energetic live show, the members of King Buffalo quickly earned an international profile in the metal and prog rock scenes. And with their self-recorded and self-produced full-length debt Orion, King Buffalo firmly established a sound that meshed elements of heavy psych, stoner rock and the blues in a way that many critics compared to Tool and Pink Floyd among others.
2018’s Ben McLeod-produced sophomore album Longing To Be The Mountain found the band expanding upon the hard rock and stoner rock sound that own them attention — but while increasingly incorporating elements of expansive prog rock. Longing To Be The Mountain‘s highly-anticipated follow-up, the self-recorded and self-produced Dead Star EP reportedly finds the band pushing the psychedelia aspects of their sound into the cosmic ether with elements of ambient drone, space rock, prog rock, synths paired with the bluesy hard rock and early metal riffage of their earliest efforts.
“In the early stages of Dead Star, we made the decision to make a strong commitment to experimentation,” explains guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay. “From exploring different time signatures, tunings and textures, to tweaking the song writing processes themselves. We’re extremely proud of these recordings, and feel it’s some of our most ambitious work yet.” Adds the band’s Scott Donaldson, “These six songs deviate and expand on horizons that we as King Buffalo haven’t reached. It’s extremely exciting to make something familiar, but unlike anything we’ve previously done. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
“Eta Carinae” Dead Star EP‘s latest single is an expansive and hypnotic, prog rock-inspired take on their sound. Clocking in at a little over eight minutes, the track is centered around a chugging and forceful Black Sabbath and Rush-like riffage, thunderous syncopation, rapid fire tempo changes and some ambient and shimmering synth bursts and paired with dystopian sci-fi lyrics and imagery that feel much like our own fucked up world.
The members of King Buffalo will be embarking on a tour to support Dead Star EP and it includes a March 21, 2020 stop at Mercury Lounge. Check out the tour dates below.
Mar 19 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
Mar 20 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Mar 21 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
Mar 26 – Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar
Mar 27 – Milwaukee, WI @ Colectivo
Mar 28 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
Mar 29 – Winnipeg, MB @ Park Theatre
Mar 31 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino
Apr 2 – Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
Apr 3 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Apr 5 – Portland, OR @ Lola’s Room
Apr 7 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
Apr 8 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
Apr 10 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Apr 11 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Apr 13 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
Apr 14 – St Louis, MO @ Duck Room
Apr 15 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
Apr 16 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Apr 17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café
Apr 18 – Syracuse, NY @ Funk N Waffles
Over the past month or so I’ve written a bit about the emerging Brooklyn-based metal act Fliege. And as you may recall, the act which was founded back in 2016 began as an inside joke shared between its founding duo of Coleman Bentley and Peter Rittweger: a metal band based solo upon David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of The Fly. Although they initially wrote and recorded their self-titled debut demo for a laugh, the effort received praise from Decibel, who called the six song set infectious, and went on to say “Every once in a while, a band comes along, transgresses all genre boundaries and cuts a demo that stands as a genuine demonstration of a singular sound.”
The band recently expanded into a trio with the addition of Chris Palermo (synths). Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band’s soon-to-be released, highly-anticipated full-length debut The Invisible Seam is slated for release next week. Interestingly, the newly constituted trio’s full-length debut finds the band moving on to more serious cinema as an influence: Ingmar Bergman’s existential masterpiece, The Seventh Seal. “Our demo tackled The Fly, but we soon realized we had to expand from that universe in order to have anything new to say,” the band’s Coleman Bentley explains in press notes. “So for this one, we chose Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, the story of a Swedish knight returning home from the Crusades to find his homeland ravaged by the plague. He challenges Death to a game of chess, staving off his advances long enough to make it home one last time — questioning mortality, the meaning of life, and the existence of God, while trekking across a dying countryside. Within the framework of that film, we tackle the nihilism of modern life and the paradox of depression – not wanting to live but not actively wanting to die.”
Musically, the material on The Invisible Seam reportedly features a much more refined sound than its immediate predecessor: the addition of Chris Palermo finds the band adding synths to their sonic palette; but along with that, the album features Bentley’s vocals taking up a more central role while ensuring that it’s also heavier, more heartfelt and more grander, in order to fit the epic concept behind it. Along with this decided refinement of their sound, the newly constituted trio’s full-length effort finds them drawing influences from the likes of Immortal, Nine Inch Nails, Judas Priest, Cloud Rat, John Carpenter and a lengthy list of others.
So far, I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: album title track “The Invisible Seam,” a certifiable Headbanger’s Ball-inspired headbanger, centered around towering 80s metal riffage, thunderous, industrial metal-like drumming, Bentley’s howled vocals and a shimmering and brooding bridge — and “Four Suns” another Headbanger’s Ball-era ripper with atmospheric synths and a decided feel of unease and dread. “Love Plague,” The Invisible Seam‘s latest single features shimmering and atmospheric synth arpeggios, some crunchy 80s power chord-based riffage, pummeling drumming and Bentley’s howled vocals, and while nodding at Moving Pictures-era Rush, Ministry, Slayer and John Carpenter, the album’s latest single may arguably be the bleakest they’ve released to date, as it offers an intensely ambivalent view of love.
JOVM chats with Detroit-based emerging synth pop artist Phaserland about his new single “Flip The Switch” and its accompanying video.
With the release of 2014’s full-length debut Sateen, the Cincinnati, OH-based quartet Electric Citizen, currently comprised of husband and wife duo, Laura Dolan (vocals) and Ross Dolan (guitar), along with Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums), received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that owes a debt to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, early 70s Rush and others. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on a busy schedule of touring both nationally and internationally with several renowned acts, including Fu Manchu, Wolfmother, The Budos Band, and Pentagram. The quartet’s critically applauded sophomore effort, 2016’s Higher Time found the band expanding upon their sound, as they were crafting muscular and anthemic hooks around prog rock-like structures but while retaining the conciseness of its predecessor. Additionally, the band’s sophomore album found Laura Dolan stepping up into more of a traditional frontperson role, which was reflected during the tour to support Higher Time as she strutted, stomped and swaggered across the stage with a larger-than-life confidence.
The band’s third, full-length effort Helltown was released through RidingEasy Records last month, and the album derives its name from the neighborhood in which the bandmembers live, practices and where the album was written, recorded and mixed. Now more prosaically known as Northside, Helltown earned its name in the early 1800s. thanks to a reputation for the rowdy taverns frequented by the neighborhood’s factory workers and immigrants. And while being an ode to the band’s neighborhood and its buried past, the album is also a decided return to form, employing a much grittier sound that in some way recalls their debut. Additionally, the album finds the band returning to their original lineup. As the band’s Laura Dolan says in press notes, “In many ways this album is a realignment to the first,” Laura says. “We experimented a lot on the second album, some of which we learned we didn’t like.”
“Hide It In The Night,” Helltown‘s first single is centered around Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chords, thundering drumming, arena rock friendly hooks and Laura Dolan’s rock star belter vocals — and while heavily indebted to its influences, the track will further cement the Cincinnati-based band’s reputation for tough, gritty, power chord rippers with an anthemic, larger-than-life feel. Further emphasizing the gritty vibe of the song, the recently released video is centered around a brutal, winner-take-all street fight that the members of the band watch with a insouciant cool.
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 Week, Tsugi, 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.
With the release of 2014’s full-length debut Sateen, the Cincinnati, OH-based quartet Electric Citizen, currently comprised of husband and wife duo, Laura Dolan (vocals) and Ross Dolan (guitar), along with Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums), received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that’s indebted to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, early 70s Rush and others. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on a busy schedule of touring both nationally and internationally with several renowned acts, including Fu Manchu, Wolfmother, The Budos Band, and Pentagram.
The Cincinnati heavy psych rock/heavy metal quartet’s sophomore effort, 2016’s sophomore effort Higher Time found the band expanding upon their sound, as they were crafting muscular and anthemic hooks around prog rock-like structures — within concise songs that typically clocked in at around 3 minutes or so. Additionally, the album found the band’s Lauran Dolan stepping up into more of a frontperson role, which was reflected in their live shows to support their sophomore effort, as she strutted, stomped and swaggered with a larger-than-life confidence. And unsurprisingly, the album was released to massive critical applause from the likes of Consequence of Sound, who placed it on their 20 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016.
Slated for a September 28, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, Electric Citizen’s forthcoming, third full-length effort Helltown derives its name from the neighborhood in which the members of the band live, practices and where the album was written recorded and mixed. Although now more prosaically known as Northside, Helltown earned its name in the early 1800s. thanks to a reputation for the rowdy taverns frequented by the neighborhood’s factory workers and immigrants. And while being an ode to the band’s neighborhood and its buried past, the album reportedly is a sonic return to form with the band employing a grittier sound along the lines of their 2014 debut. Adding upon the overall homecoming theme, the band returns to their original lineup. As the band’s Laura Dolan says in press notes, “In many ways this album is a realignment to the first,” Laura says. “We experimented a lot on the second album, some of which we learned we didn’t like.”
“Hide It In The Night,” Helltown‘s first single is centered around Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chords, thundering drumming, arena rock friendly hooks and Laura Dolan’s rock star belter vocals — and while heavily indebted to its influences, the track will further cement the Cincinnati-based band’s reputation for tough, gritty, power chord rippers with an anthemic, larger-than-life feel. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “New Earth” is centered around a blistering, bluesy power chord riff, thundering drumming, arena rock-friendly hooks, and Dolan belting her lungs out. Arguably, the song is one of the most straightforward, riff-centered Black Sabbath-like singles they’ve released in some time time. It’s a certifiable headbanger that’s perfect for drinking way too much in your local bar or while catching them live.