Tag: Russian Baths

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the rapidly rising New York-based experimental act Activity. The act — Grooms‘ Travis Johnson (vocals, sampler) and Steve Levine (drums), Field Mouse‘s Zoe Browne (bass) and Russian Baths‘ Jess Rees — have begun to receive attention across the blogosphere for a eerily minimalist sound centered around the use of modern production, electronic instrumentation and organic instruction.

The rapidly rising act’s Jeff Berner-produced full-length debut Unmask Whoever is slated for a March 27, 2020 release through Western Vinyl, and the album’s material reportedly sees its creators forming a menacing and uneasy framework with which they pair lyrical themes of paranoia, exposed character flaws and the broader human capacity for growth when an uneasy truth is laid bare. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s releases ingles — the atmospheric and uneasy, Geoff Barrow-like “Calls Your Name” and the slow-burning and achingly painful “Earth Angel.” “Nude Prince,” Unmask Whoever continues a run of minimalist singles — but may be the most krautrock-like as the song is centered around shimmering and atmospheric synths, thumping house music-inspired drum patterns, blasts of squiggling and angular guitars. Interestingly, the song is a psychologically precise narrative about a rich, powerful man, whose misdeeds are publicized, leaving his family to wonder what their own futures hold after is ruinous exposure. And as a result, the song is tense and uneasy, as it evokes a fatalistic sense of doom.

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about the rapidly rising New York-based avant garde/experimental act Activity. Now, as you may recall, the act which features Grooms‘ Travis Johnson (vocals, sampler) and Steve Levine (drums), Field Mouse‘s Zoe Browne (bass) and Russian Baths‘ Jess Rees have received attention across the blogosphere for a natural, minimal and intelligent use of modern production paired with organic instrumentation.

Their Jeff Berner-produced full-length debut Unmask Whoever is slated for a March 27, 2020 release through Western Vinyl, and the album’s material reportedly sees its creators ability gel with one another to reach new levels of interplay and cooperation to form a menacing and uneasy framework — with which they pair lyrical themes of paranoia, exposed character flaws and the broader human capacity for growth when an ugly truth is laid bare. “Calls Your Name” was centered around an atmospheric, uneasy and menacing Geoff Barrow-like production featuring woozy and shimmering synth arpeggios, and a relentless stuttering beat paired with half-song half-spoken lyrics inspired by C.S. Lewis’ 1945 novel The Great Divorce.

“Earth Angel,” Unmask Whoever‘s latest single is slow-burning, minimal “Earth Angel.” Centered around twinkling synth arpeggios, blasts of feedback and distortion-effected pedals, the track features what may arguably be one of the most painful sounding vocals I’ve heard in some time, as vocalist Travis Johnson’s voice stars off as a whisper before turning into a vocal cord tearing shout.

It’s a song about the freedom of a lifelong love” vocalist Travis Johnson explains. “I think we were going for a very Talk Talk Laughing Stock vibe in general. The vocals at the end physically hurt to perform… I could taste blood.”

Activity has a handful of live dates, including two NYC area dates: February 27, 2020 at Union Pool and an April 2, 2020 release party show at Baby’s All Right. Check out the tour dates below.

Live Dates:
 
02/27: Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool
04/02: Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right (Release Party)
04/16: Washington, DC – Rhizome
04/17: Richmond, VA – Fuzzy Cactus
04/18: Philadelphia, PA – Ortlieb’s

New Video: New York Indie All-Star Act Releases an Uneasy and Menacing Visual for Geoff Barrow-like “Calls Your Name”

Formed last year, Activity is a New York-based avant/experimental act featuring Grooms’ Travis Johnson (vocals, sampler) and Steve Levine (drums), Field Mouse’s Zoe Browne (bass) and Russian Baths’ Jess Rees that discard the more weary connotations of indie rock through a natural, minimalist and intelligent use of modern implements paired with organic instrumentation. 

Their Jeff Berner-produced full-length debut Unmask Whoever is slated for a March 27, 2020 release through Western Vinyl. The forthcoming album’s material reportedly sees its creators’ abilities gel with one another to reach new levels of interplay and fruitful cooperation while sonically forming a menacing and uneasy framework to touch upon lyrical themes of paranoia, exposed character flaws and the broader human capacity for growth when an ugly truth is laid bare. The album’s first single “Calls Your Name” is centered around an atmospheric, uneasy and menacing Geoff Barrow-like production featuring woozy and shimmering synth arpeggios, and a relentless stuttering beat paired with half-song half-spoken lyrics inspired by C.S. Lewis’ 1945 novel The Great Divorce. In the novel, characters stuck in a grey, joyless conception of hell repeatedly deny opportunities to be taken into heaven, instead making excuses as to why they should remain in their embittered purgatory states. 

The recently released video captures this seemingly unending sensation of unease as it captures the band members in what seems to be their own personal purgatory. 

Over the better part of the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based post-punk JOVM mainstays Russian Baths. And as you may recall, with the release of their debut EP Penance, the band — Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner — quickly established a reputation for crafting a brooding 120 Minutes-era alt rock-like sound.

Building upon a growing profile, Russian Baths will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut Deepfake through Good Eye Records next week.  Reportedly, the album finds the members of the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays pushing a sound long rooted in juxtapositions to its extreme:  feedback and dissonance seem to swallow softly whispered harmonies, arpeggiated synths and booming 808 like drumming are paired with angular and shrieking guitars, propulsive drumming and motorik-like grooves.

Often centered around surgical imagery, the album’s material touches upon themes of personal regret, cultural guilt, reflection on systems in collapse — and while evoking the zeitgeist of the moment, the material alternates between voices seemingly so close that they seem in the room right beside you and at other times, from an impossible distance. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previous singles. The album’s first single was the aggressively abrasive “Tracks,” which to my ears was one part post-punk, one part noise-rock and one part shoegaze that evoked the uneasy, claustrophobic air of paranoia and distrust of someone, who has frequently been forced to ask difficult questions of themselves and their relationships with others. The album’s second single “Responder” found the band crafting an atmospheric track with elements of shoegaze, post-punk, brooding 120 Minutes-era alt rock and Western Gothic in a way that brought Shadow on Everything-era Bambara to mind.

Interestingly, Deepfake‘s third and latest single “Wrong”  may arguably be the most grunge rock-like song rebased from the album to date, as it’s centered around alternating quiet-loud-quiet sections, featuring fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals. Sonically, the song manages to evoke a slow-burning and seemingly unending sense of dread and unease of a world going impossibly mad before your eyes.

 

With the release of their debut EP Penance, the Brooklyn-based indie rock act and JOVM mainstays Russian Baths — Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner — quickly established a reputation for crafting a brooding 120 Minutes-era alt rock-like sound. The Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays highly-anticipated full-length debut Deepfake is slated for a November 8, 2019 release through Good Eye Records,  and the album reportedly finds the members of Russian Baths pushing a sound centered around juxtapositions to its extreme: feedback and dissonance seem to swallow softly whispered harmonies, arpeggiated synths and boom 808s are paired with angular and shrieking guitars, propulsive drumming and motorik-like grooves.

Centered around surgical imagery, the album reportedly touches upon themes of personal regret, cultural guilt, reflections on systems in collapse — and while evoking our current zeitgeist, the album’s material is sung by voices that are seemingly so close that they’re in the room right beside you and other times, from a seemingly impossible distance. Now, as you may recall earlier this year, I wrote about album single “Tracks,” an aggressively abrasive song that in many ways was one part shoegaze, one part post-punk, one part noise rock and one part grunge, as the band paired fuzzy and distorted power chords with thunderous drumming and plaintive falsetto vocals. But at its core, the song evokes the uneasy, claustrophobic air of paranoia and distrust of someone, who is forced to ask difficult questions of themselves and of their relationships.

Deepfake‘s latest single “Responder” finds the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays meshing elements of shoegaze, noise rock, atmospheric post punk, brooding 120 Minutes alt rock and Western gothic centered by Jess Ress’ plaintive and ethereal vocals, dramatic drumming and shimmering bursts of guitar. And while sonically bearing a bit of resemblance to Shadow on Everything-era Bambara, the track evokes a profound and confusing sense of regret and loss.

 

 

 

 

I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays Russian Baths over the past couple of years, and as you may recall the act — Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner — received attention both locally and elsewhere for a sound that has been described by the band and by some critics as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk. Although with the release of their debut EP Penance, an effort that featured singes like “What’s In Your Basement,” “Slenderman” and “Poolhouse,” the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays — to my ears, at least —  established a reputation for crafting a brooding 120 Minutes-era alt rock-like sound.

Slated for release later this year, Russian Baths’ forthcoming debut finds them pushing their sound — a sound centered around juxtapositions to its most extreme, as feedback and dissonance manage to swallow softly whispered harmonies; arpeggiated synths and booming 808s are paired with angular, shrieking guitars and propulsive drumming. Thematically the material touches upon personal regret, cultural guilt, reflections and observations on systems on the verge of collapse and a growing sense of unease and anxiety. The album’s first single “Parasite” was a decidedly muscular and grunge-like single that brought Nirvana, The Breeders and others to mind — but while evoking someone on the verge of destroying themselves.

“Tracks,” the forthcoming album’s latest single is an an aggressively abrasive song that’s one part shoegaze, one part post-punk, one part noise rock and one part grunge, as fuzzy and distorted power chords are paired with thunderous drumming and plaintive, falsetto vocals. And while being one of the most feral and mosh pit friendly songs they’ve released in their growing catalog, the song finds the band asking some important questions. “If a friend takes something very personal, very private from you, do you forgive them? If you see someone’s worst self, how do you react? Would you choose yourself to be yourself? Is self respect something you feel because you’re good or does self-respect make you good?” The band says in press notes. As a result, the song possesses the uneasy, claustrophobic air of paranoia and distrust.

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Russian Baths Return with a Disturbing Visual for “Parasite”

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays, Russian Baths. And as you may recall, with the release of their debut single “Ambulance,” the act comprised of Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner quickly received attention locally and elsewhere for a sound that the band has described by some as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others. The Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays released their debut EP Penance last year through Good Eye Records and from EP singles “What’s In Your Basement,” “Slenderman” and “Poolhouse,” the band established a sound that recalled brooding, 120 Minutes-era alt rock. 

Russian Baths’ full-length debut is slated for release later this year, and the album’s first, official single”Parasite” may arguably be the one of the most muscular and grunge-like songs of the band’s growing catalog, as the song is centered around distortion pedal-drenched power chords, thundering drumming, a mosh pit friendly hook and male-female harmonizing within a tried-and-true, alt rock, alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure. And while bringing Nirvana, The Breeders and others mind, the song has a deeply unsettling and violent air, capturing someone on the verge of destroying themselves.

Interestingly, the recently released video for “Parasite” follows an incredibly dysfunctional and parasitical relationship between two women, one who has just left a hospital for some unknown treatment or procedure.  Throughout their day together, the healthier woman takes her friend’s medication, frequently teasing and mocking her friend, who by the end of the video collapses. “Have you ever had an insect burrow into your brain and force you to drown yourself? Cured a headache with a hand grenade?” Koz says in press notes about the single and the accompanying video. “This song is about these legitimate questions.”

Over the past 15-16 months or so, I’ve written about the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays, Russian Baths. And with the release of their debut single “Ambulance,” the act comprised of Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner quickly received attention locally and elsewhere for a sound that the band has described as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others. The band released their debut EP Penance last year through Good Eye Records and from EP singles “What’s In Your Basement,” “Slenderman” and “Poolhouse,” the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays established themselves for brooding 90s alt rock 120 Minutes-era MTV-like sound.

Building upon a growing profile, the band will be releasing their full-length debut later this year, and the album’s first, official single “Parasite” may arguably be the one of the most muscular and grunge-like songs of their growing catalog, as the song is centered around distortion pedal-drenched power chords, thundering drumming, a mosh pit friendly hook and male-female harmonizing within a tried-and-true, alt rock, alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure. And while bringing Nirvana and others to mind, the song has a deeply unsettling and violent air, capturing someone on the verge of destroying themselves.

“Have you ever had an insect burrow into your brain and force you to drown yourself? Cured a headache with a hand grenade?” queries Koz, aptly reconstructing the same violent energy converted to guitar-driven noise rock on the single. “This song is about these legitimate questions.”

New Video: Russian Baths Release a Trippy and Unsettling Video for Brooding “Slenderman”

Last year, I wrote a bit about the Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Russian Baths, and as you may recall with the release of their debut single “Ambulance,” the act comprised of Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner quickly received attention locally and elsewhere for a sound that the band has described as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others. 

The band released their debut EP Penance last year through Good Eye Records, and the EP’s first single “Slenderman” is a brooding track that strikes me as owing a sonic debt to 90s alt rock/120 Minutes-era MTV and classic shoegaze, thanks in part to an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure featuring layers of shimmering guitars, a throbbing bass line and propulsive, tribal-like drumming with a rousingly anthemic hook. 

Based on concept by Sarah Ver Hoeve and featuring her animation, the recently released video comes in advance of the band’s upcoming New Colossus Festival and SXSW showcases in March. And while being visually being reminiscent of Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” the new video features humanoid figures floating about in space along with enormous spiders. Interestingly, at point the video feels like being caught in the middle of a terrible and nightmarish trip without anyone to help you come down. 

New Video: Russian Baths Release an Uncomfortably Intimate Visual for “Poolhouse”

Over the past few months,  I’ve written a bit about the Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Russian Baths, and as you may recall, with the release of their  debut single “Ambulance,” the band comprised of  Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner, quickly received attention for a sound that the band has said nods at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others; however, “Slenderman,” the first single off Penance, which was released earlier this year, nodded at brooding, 120 Minutes-era MTV alternative rock, as the song featured the familiar alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure and rousingly anthemic hooks while “What’s In Your Basement”  was an mosh-pit worthy song that nodded at Bleach and In Utero-era Nirvana and Finelines-era My Vitriol.

Interestingly, “Poolhouse,” Penance‘s latest single is an expansive, shoegazer rock-like song that manages to bring Sonic Youth to mind, as the band employs the use of jangling dissonance to create a an eerily gorgeous song that feels immense and downright oceanic. As the members of the band explain, “‘Poolhouse’ is about an existential crisis. It’s about feeling so overwhelmed that you can’t see the way out. It’s about moments of clam and hope being submerged in waves of pressure. It’s about losing your breath because of fear.” 

 Shot in an uncomfortably intimate close up that features the band’s frontwoman Jess Ress as she’s doused in continuous steams of water, the recently released video for “Poolhouse” evokes of submersion that the song focuses in, with the video’s protagonist struggling to keep calm.