Tag: San Francisco CA

New Video: Perth Australia’s The Money War Release an Intimate, Behind the Scenes, Life on the Road-like Video for “Hey Now”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Perth, Australia-based dream pop/indie pop/indie rock duo The Money War, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Rainy Day Women’s Dylan Ollivierre and  Warning Birds’ Carmen Pepper can trace its origins to a road trip that the pair took across the US in late 2015. Inspired by the trip, they recorded a ton of iPhone demos. And as the story goes, after a chance meeting with producers Thom Monahan and Arne Frager in a San Francisco dive bar, the duo were convinced of the value of their demos together, and began working on an album.

Last year saw the release of their debut EP and to support the effort, they spent the better part of that year touring with Holy Holy and Meg Mac, and then went on a headlining national tour during December. EP single “Recall,” was the fifth most played song on Triple J Radio, and as result they had received a growing national profile in their homeland; but interestingly enough, they also received attention Stateside with airplay on SiriusXM, KEXP, CJAM FM, KXRN, WLKK and college radio. The duo’s highly-anticipated full-length debut is slated for release early next year, and the album’s first single was the Still Corners-like “Hollywood,” was a moody and cinematic track inspired by a difficult year the duo had in which someone close to each individual had died. “There’s a hospital in Perth called Hollywood, and I was pondered its ironic name,” Olliviere says in press notes. “We were in LA when I got the news that a family member was passing away, and the lyrics started forming from there. We wanted the song to sound like a moving and we took production cues from that idea.”

“Hey Now,” the second and latest single off the up-and-coming Australian duo’s debut album is a breezy and cinematic track that recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock — but with an infectiously anthemic hook that makes the song sound as though it would be the perfect addition to anyone’s road trip playlist. And while further cementing their reputation for crafting breezy, hook driven indie rock, the song has an underlying bittersweet quality.  As the band’s Dylan Olliviere explains “is about making a commitment to someone and being ecstatic about it but also realising that you’re in a very different position to where you thought you’d be when you reached that milestone. Life usually takes a different course than you anticipated and doesn’t always match the set of ideals you once held. I like how the line ‘time is coming for us baby’ can be interpreted in different ways depending on how you look at it. It’s kind of a romantic yet bittersweet sentiment.” 

Shot and edited by the members of The Money War, the recently released video for “Hey Now” is an an intimate “life on the road of a touring band” styled video that’s split between the band playing in front of audiences in Los Angeles, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, goofing off and traveling around the world with stops that include a bridge crossing at Tasmania’s Cataract Gorge, beach huts in Fremantle, Australian Rules Football on a Perth beach, and riding in a van, crossing the American West. 

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Best known for being a member of the San Francisco-based indie rock acts Fine Points and Sleepy Sun, guitarist Evan Myall will be releasing his debut solo EP Basic Gardening on November 16, 2018 — and the EP’s latest single, the breezy and infectious “Frances” manages to draw a bit from Myall’s previous work while being a subtle yet mischievous departure from it, as the track is centered by big, buzzing power chord chords, a simple yet propulsive backbeat, Myall’s easygoing crooning and a buoyant hook featuring some harmonized ooohs and ahhs. In some way, the song manages to recall 70s AM rock, Mark Lanegan‘s solo work and 90s guitar pop simultaneously. And while sounding as though it’d be perfect in as part of the soundtrack of Wes Anderson movie, it’s a friendly, joyful tune and a much-needed respite in a vicious and cynical world on the verge of collapse.

As Myall says in press notes, “My friend, Bobby Renz, and I hunkered down at Different Fur Studios in the Mission district of San Francisco to make these recordings. Working on the jams with Bobby was really fun. This type of  studio merrymaking occurs when everyone is working hard and not taking themselves too seriously. Sprinkle in some coffee, tacos, and a couple talented musician cronies on slide guitar/ooohs n’ ahhhs – you’ve got yourself a tune!” 

 

 

New Video: San Francisco’s Balms Release a Brooding Visual for “Plane”

Although they met about a decade before while attending high school in San Jose, CA, the members of San Francisco-based indie rock trio Balms (Jared, Michael and John) officially formed the band in 2013. Initially playing extremely loud pop rock sets in John’s basement, the band’s sound began to evolve towards a dream pop leaning sound with an uneasy undertone as they spent increasing time in San Francisco record stores and venues. Interestingly, some coined the term “dreamare pop” to describe their sound, which is centered around fuzzy and distorted guitars, melodic bass, dynamic vocals and plaintive vocals.

The band self-released their first batch of singles and they began to receive praise from the indie and underground shoegaze scene, and as a result they spent the next year self-recording, mixing and then releasing their self-titled debut, which they followed up with some extensive West Coast touring. (Of course, such extensive touring helped the band develop a reputation for a energetic yet vulnerable live show.)

Over the past few years, the individual members of the band have wrestled with the unfolding questions and realties of their lives and with each other, and that wound up influencing the material that would comprise their full-length debut Mirror, which is slated for a February 2019 release. Naturally, the album is a deeply introspective record with arguably some of the band’s darkest and heaviest thematic material to date. As the members of the band explain in a lengthy and detailed statement on the album:

“Mirror is our debut as well as double-sided concept album.  The album’s narrative is a journey-of-self; an exploration confronting the shadow-aspect of the soul.  That being said, the only two characters in this story are the Self and the Shadow.  With this comes the introverted drama and solitude of the ego.  And while this was a source of contention for us in terms of perception, it is our genuine hope that this album can exist as a place of reconciliation, revitalization, and growth.  It is a place that has been built for you because we had to make it and to make it the best we can.

The story begins at the bottom – the relative place that some of us are lucky enough or damned enough to reach.  And with that place comes a choice:  Do I rely on someone else to pull me out?  Do I retreat to someone else’s arms?  Do I make a choice to dive into myself and deal with the darkness?   That moment can become you for the rest of your life, or become the beginning.  What choice do you make?  Who do you choose to be?  And after, to realize that this is a choice you must continue to make for the rest of your life. The shadow inside will always continue to tempt you; it never leaves.  The dark, the dove, the shadow is you.

To write this record, we spent a considerable amount of time working out the parts and structures through repetitive jamming followed by conversation over the course of about a year.  On a personal level, the lyrics and story are journalistic, confessional, healing, confrontational, and accepting.  As a band, we dealt with these questions and realities through the songs and through our relationships with each other.  As we began to mix and finalize the album, and it began to take shape, it was challenging to grasp exactly which part of the album was most important, or if there should be a message communicated directly through its release.  We finally came to the conclusion that the most important thing is for this record — MIRROR —  to be a healing and nurturing place for you.  It certainly is for us.”

The album’s latest single, the moody “Plane” is centered around shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, equally propulsive drumming and plaintive vocals — and while nodding at 4AD Records post-punk, the song is moody meditation on our unseen, interior lives and how we carefully and deliberately balance our interior selves with our exterior selves. The accompanying video aims up — if not heavenward, at least skyward — as the video focuses on a collection of clouds moving across the sky. further emphasizing the brooding nature of the song. 

Although they met about a decade before while attending high school in San Jose, CA, the members of San Francisco-based indie rock trio Balms (Jared, Michael and John) officially formed the band in 2013. Initially playing extremely loud pop rock sets in John’s basement, the band’s sound began to evolve towards a dream pop leaning sound with an uneasy undertone as they spent increasing time in San Francisco record stores and venues. Interestingly, some coined the term “dreamare pop” to describe their sound, which is centered around fuzzy and distorted guitars, melodic bass, dynamic vocals and plaintive vocals.

The band self-released their first batch of singles and they began to receive praise from the indie and underground shoegaze scene, and as a result they spent the next year self-recording, mixing and then releasing their self-titled debut, which they followed up with some extensive West Coast touring. (Of course, such extensive touring helped the band develop a reputation for a energetic yet vulnerable live show.)

Over the past few years, the individual members of the band have wrestled with the unfolding questions and realties of their lives and with each other, and that wound up influencing the material that would comprise their full-length debut Mirror, which is slated for a February 2019 release. Naturally, the album is a deeply introspective record with arguably some of the band’s darkest and heaviest thematic material to date. As the members of the band explain in a lengthy statement on the album:

Mirror is our debut as well as double-sided concept album.  The album’s narrative is a journey-of-self; an exploration confronting the shadow-aspect of the soul.  That being said, the only two characters in this story are the Self and the Shadow.  With this comes the introverted drama and solitude of the ego.  And while this was a source of contention for us in terms of perception, it is our genuine hope that this album can exist as a place of reconciliation, revitalization, and growth.  It is a place that has been built for you because we had to make it and to make it the best we can.

The story begins at the bottom – the relative place that some of us are lucky enough or damned enough to reach.  And with that place comes a choice:  Do I rely on someone else to pull me out?  Do I retreat to someone else’s arms?  Do I make a choice to dive into myself and deal with the darkness?   That moment can become you for the rest of your life, or become the beginning.  What choice do you make?  Who do you choose to be?  And after, to realize that this is a choice you must continue to make for the rest of your life. The shadow inside will always continue to tempt you; it never leaves.  The dark, the dove, the shadow is you.

To write this record, we spent a considerable amount of time working out the parts and structures through repetitive jamming followed by conversation over the course of about a year.  On a personal level, the lyrics and story are journalistic, confessional, healing, confrontational, and accepting.  As a band, we dealt with these questions and realities through the songs and through our relationships with each other.  As we began to mix and finalize the album, and it began to take shape, it was challenging to grasp exactly which part of the album was most important, or if there should be a message communicated directly through its release.  We finally came to the conclusion that the most important thing is for this record — MIRROR —  to be a healing and nurturing place for you.  It certainly is for us.”

The album’s latest single, the moody “Plane” is centered around shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, equally propulsive drumming and plaintive vocals — and while nodding at 4AD Records post-punk, the song is moody meditation on our unseen, interior lives and how we carefully and deliberately balance our interior selves with our exterior selves.

 

 

New Video: Introducing the Atmospheric Dream Pop of Perth Australia’s The Money War

The Money War is a Perth, Australia-based dream pop/indie pop/indie rock duo comprised of Dylan Ollivierre, a member of Rainy Day Women and Carmen Pepper, a member of Warning Birds, and the project can trace its origins to a road trip that the duo took across the US in late 2015. Inspired by the trip, they recorded a ton of iPhone demos — and as the story goes, after a chance meeting with producers Thom Monahan, who’s worked with Fruit Bats and Little Joy and Arne Frager, who’s worked with Prince and Paul McCartney in a San Francisco dive bar, the duo were convinced of the value of their demos together, and began working on an album. 

The Perth-based dream pop/indie pop/indie rock duo released their debut EP early last year, and they spent the year touring with Holy Holy and Meg Mac, before headlining a national time in December. Interestingly, “Recall,” off their debut EP was the 5th most played song on Triple J Radio last year — and as a result, they had seen a growing national and international profile, with the duo gaining attention Stateside as they’ve received airplay on SiriusXM, KEXP, CJAM FM, KXRN, WLKK and college radio. 

“Hollywood,” the duo’s latest single off their full-length debut is a moody and atmospheric track that immediately brings JOVM mainstays Still Corners, as the track is centered around Pepper’s ethereal vocals, twinkling synths, strummed acoustic guitar, piano and a sinuous hook — and while possessing a subtly cinematic vibe, the song as the duo’s Dylan Ollivierre explains was written and inspired by a difficult year the duo had in which people close to each individual member had died. “There’s a hospital in Perth called Hollywood, and I was pondered its ironic name,” Olliviere says in press notes. “We were in LA when I got the news that a family member was passing away, and the lyrics started forming from there. We wanted the song to sound like a moving and we took production cues from that idea.” 

The recently released video cuts between daily life footage of Hollywood that captures the bitter irony as its core — while some do manage to obtain massive success, a fair number of people wind up down and out; and footage of the two in the studio performing the song

Over the course of 2017, I wrote quite a bit about the  San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Cones, and as you may recall, the duo, which is comprised of Jonathan Rosen, an acclaimed, pop music influenced, hand-drawn animator, who has created music videos for the likes Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger and Delicate Steve,  and played Johnny Thunders on the HBO series Vinyl; and Micheal Rosen, a classically trained pianist, commercial and film composer and experimental sound artist, can trace the origins of the band to when they began playing together as members of New York-based indie rock band Icewater, an act that eventually became the session and touring band for Eleanor Friedberger’s New View. As the story goes, while touring with Friedberger, the Rosens began to conceptualize what their new project would sound like, ultimately deciding that their project would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard-based instrumentation.

After the New View tour ended, the Rosen Brothers along with a collection of friends, associates and collaborators wrote and recorded the material that would comprise their debut EP Whatever You’re Into, which featured the 70s AM radio-like “Echoes On,” and the breezy “Back In The Brain,” an ode to solitude. “Later,” was arguably one of their most dance floor friendly tracks but ironically, was about when someone has begun to find some semblance of peace after a breakup — but with some of the bitterness still hanging around. While “First Time,” found the band nodding towards breezy Pavo Pavo-like bubblegum pop.

Recently, the JOVM mainstays signed to Dangerbird Records and to celebrate that occasion and a Bootleg Theater residency, the sibling duo released their latest single, the shimmering, arpeggiated synth-led “Run the Risk,” a track that decidedly sounds as though it were inspired by Steely Dan and Billy Joel. In particular, “Movin’ Out,” which interestingly enough I mentioned in an earlier post, as well as “Peg” and “Ricky Don’t Lose That Number” come to mind. And while centered around slick production and thoughtful craft, the song continues a run of breezy and sincere material.

Check out their Bootleg Theater Residency dates below.

 

Live Dates

8/06: Bootleg Theater w/ Pavo Pavo, Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator
8/13: Bootleg Theater w/ Lily McQueen, Palm Springsteen
8/16: Taix in the Champagne Room – Echo Park Rising
8/20: Bootleg Theater w/ Malcolm Oliver Perkins, Lisa Sonoda

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New Video: United Ghosts’ Trippy Visuals for Their Shimmering 4AD Records-Inspired New Single

The Los Angeles-based dream pop duo United Ghosts, comprised of Sha Sabi, who came to Southern California after stints in New York and San Francisco; and German-born Axel Ray, who spent a 12 year stint in London before relocating to the States — although on some level, it’s a bit of a misnomer, as they’ve received attention for a classic 4AD Records-like sound centered around boy-girl harmonizing and draws from dream pop, psych rock, shoegaze and krautrock.

The duo’s 2013 full-length, self-titled debut and its follow up, Dear Electric Sun EP received airplay from BBC’s Steve Lamacq and Lauren Laverne, KCSN’s Nic Harcourt, KLOS’ Mark Sovel and XFM’s John Kennedy and a number of others. And after three successful UK and European Union tours, a number of Stateside dates that included CMJ and SXSW, followed by an L.A. residency, the duo of Ray and Sabi returned to the studio to work on their Mark Rains and Axel Ray co-produced sophomore album, Saturn Days, an album that thematically and lyrically explores modern life, love and disconnect in a world that’s equally dystopian and beautiful, in which hope is laced with paranoia and where dreaming your way out might be the only chance to survive.

Saturn Days’ latest single “Waves,” will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting material 4AD Records-era dream pop, the prerequisite shimmering guitar chords, motorik grooves, enormous power chord-based soloing and dreamy boy-girl harmonies — but with a subtly modern touch,.

The recently released video for “Saturn Days” is comprised of performance footage of the members of United Ghosts with their live band shot by Arian Soheili with superimposed drone footage by Steve Payne, underwater footage by Alex V. and images of Saturn courtesy of NASA and the Saturn Cassini mission.

New Video: Bells Atlas Releases Gorgeously Cinematic Yet Surreal Visuals for “Be Brave”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a bit about the Oakland, CA-based soul pop quintet Bells Atlas, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Derek Barber (guitar) Geneva Harrison (drums, percussion, keys) Sandra Lawson-Ndu (vocals, percussion, keys) and Doug Stuart (bass, vocals, keys) specializes in a forward-thinking, kaleidoscopic, lush and difficult to pigeonhole sound that frequently incorporates elements of indie rock, R&B, Afro pop, Afrofuturism, jazz, electro pop and experimental pop. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the Oakland-based act has opened for the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote, Badbadnotgood, Bilal, Meshell Ndegeocello, W. Kamau Bell, Angelique Kidjo and others, as well as Bermuda Triangle. the side project of Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard. Along with that, they spent 2016 as the touring band for NPR’s Snap Judgement.
“Be Brave” is the first bit of new material from the band in about a year, and  the track reveals a band that has further experimented and expanded upon their sound and songwriting. Centered around incredibly dexterous and percolating bass lines, driving percussion and Lawson-Ndu’s sultry cooing, the track shifts and morphs between time signatures and tone in a sinuous and fluid fashion. And yet the song is underpinned by a resilient, life affirming spirit that seems to say, “When the shit hits the fan, be like a shark. Keep on swimming.” As the band’s Lawson-Ndu explains in press notes, “This song, in a way, is a chant and reminder that we have our own set of super powers and a pool of instincts to lean on. I’ve had instances of loss or fear in my life that hold the kind of weight that, in those exact moments, have felt impossible to navigate out of. At times I’ve felt it’s luck that eventually pulls me out, and in other cases I’ve realized that I’m actually rarely helpless; that just by actively moving through life, I’ve collected survival tools along with a growing sense that I’m not alone. It’s often a wonder to have felt something so strongly, but to eventually make it to the other side and know that you’re ok.”

Directed by San Francisco-based filmmaker Dominic Mercurio, the recently released and cinematic visuals for “Be Brave” follows the band’s Sandra Lawson-Ndu alone in a desert landscape and out of water. After finally succumbing to extreme dehydration, she is abducted and revived by strange, fuzzy Jim Henson-like creatures that perform a ritual to revive her — with a major consequence. And while surreal and almost dreamlike, the video thematically focuses on empathy, sacrifice and communal exchange, reminding the viewer that while things seem incredibly bleak that its those deeply human traits that will win out in the end; they always do.

New Audio: Introducing the Angular Yet Melodic Post Punk of San Francisco’s Meant to Bend

Comprised of founding members Gaku Kelliher (bass, vocals) and Aamir Mauladad (guitar, vocals) and Nathan Driver (drums), the San Francisco indie rock trio Meant to Bend can trace its origins to when Kelliher spent several months recruiting Maluadad to start a band; of course, Kelliher was successful and the duo began writing riff-centric pop/rock tunes with shared vocal duties, inspired by Bowie, Pixies and Modest Mouse. The band’s founding duo recruited Driver, who they had both knew when all three were in San Diego. And as a trio, the band, as Kelliher says in press notes, “. . . is an attempt to make music that I wish existed. Aamir comes up with awesome riffs and I want to counter play off those ideas on bass. We want people to feel our music is catchy, but, at the same, time appreciate the musicality of it all.” The band’s Mauladad adds, “Our intention with this band is to deliver what our favorite music delivers – hook-laden pop tunes with underlying musicality and intricacy. I’m a huge fan of bands that have two distinct singers that trade off parts and are able to come back together and harmonize. Part of the fun of being in a three- piece is leveraging your limited resources to create dynamic interchanges and playing off two voices.” 

And as you’ll hear on “Closet Nihilist,” the latest single off the San Francisco-based trio’s recently released EP Minimum Frowny, the trio specializes in an angular hook-laden post-punk sound centered around an uncanny melodic sensibility, sneeringly delivered lyrics and some blistering guitar pyrotechnics.

 

Last month, I wrote about the Paris-based electronic music production and DJ duo, Polo & Pan, and as you may recall, the act is comprised of two DJs, who are equally acclaimed DJs and producers in their own right — Armand “Polocorp” Delille, and Alexandre “Peter Pan” Grynszpan. Interestingly, Grynszpan has developed a reputation for being an insatiable crate digger, who has been known to collect a wide and diverse array of records from musical gems of the early 20th century to contemporary electronica and electro pop to 70s Nepalese psych rock and so on. He’s also one of the founders of Radiooooo, an online encyclopedic radio station that was launched back in 2013. Delille is best known for his work with MAD Agency creating workspaces for artists in industrial warehouses but also as a renowned DJ; in fact, both Grynszpan and Delille were resident DJs at Le Baron, and when they met, they discovered a common musical interest — creating a genre- and time-defying sound that manages to be dance floor friendly. 

Polo & Pan’s first effort Rivolta found the duo meshing 30s Italian standards with 70s Giorgio Moroder-inspired disco and unsurprisingly,  their full-length debut Caravelle, which was released earlier will not only further cement their reputation for their crowd pleasing, genre-meshing and anachronistic sound as the album’s material draws from the sounds of South America, Tajikistan, China, Congo Africa and elsewhere; in fact, album single “Canopee” was a breezy and sultry song that drew from French chanteuse-styled pop, flamenco, thumping Italian disco and African percussion with an effortlessly seamless and slick yet soulful production.

Caravelle‘s latest single “Arc-en-ciel” is a summery and breezy blast centered around a calypso-inspired production featuring an infectious ear worm of a hook, thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a looped strummed guitar sample, ambient and ethereal electronics and arpeggiated synths paired with vocals sung in a sultry and beguiling French. It’s a sexy and effortlessly cool club banger that radiates with a bright, neon-colored joy.

The renowned French electronic duo will be embarking on their first Stateside tour ever, and as a result of the album already amassing more than 23 million streams, their June 12, 2018 Bowery Ballroom stop; their June 19, 2018 Los Angeles stop at the Echoplex; and their June 20, 2018 San Francisco stop at The Independent are already sold out. Check out the tour dates below.
Tour Dates: 
6/12 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
6/14 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
6/16 – Montreal, QC – MTELUS
6/17 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell
6/19 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex (SOLD OUT)
6/20 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent (SOLD OUT)