Tag: San Francisco CA

New Video: Acclaimed French Act La Femme Release a Lysergic Romp

La Femme — currently, founding members Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée, along with Sam Lefévre, Noé Delmas, Cleémence Quélennec, Clara Luiciani, Jane Peynot, Marilou Chollet and Lucas Nunez Ritter — was founded back in 2010, and the-then unknown band managed to hoodwink the French music industry by lining up a DY Stateside tour with only $3,000 euros and an EP.

After playing 20 gigs across the States, the members of the La Femme returned back to their native France with immense interest from the Parisian music scene. “The industry was like, ‘What the fuck? They have an EP out and they are touring in the US and we don’t know them?” Marlon Magnée told The Guardian. “So the buzz began to start. When we came back to France, it was red carpet. Fucking DIY.”

2013’s full-length debut Psycho Tropical Berlin was a critical and and commercial success, which won a Victoires de la Musique Award. Building upon a rapidly growing internationally recognized profile. La Femme’s sophomore album, 2016’s Mystére was released to praise by Sound Opinions, The Line of Best Fit, The Guardian, AllMusic, BrooklynVegan and a lengthy list of others.

Earlier this year, the band released their first bit of new material in four years, the critically acclaimed “Paradigme.” Continuing upon that momentum, the applauded Parisian act recently released the cinematic “Cool Colorado,” the follow-up to “Paradigme” and the second single from the band’s forthcoming third album which will be released through the band’s Disque Pointu and distributed through IDOL. “This album does not correspond to one specific period of our lives,” the band explains. “We have always composed songs all along the journey of the band. Therefore, this album is composed with temporality, it has to be seen as a big piece of a puzzle we create. It is an ongoing process, but all this stays in the range of a concept and remains uncertain.”

Featuring a bombastic horn sample, shimmering guitars, blown out beats, insouciantly sung lyrics in French and English and an infectious hook, “Cool Colorado” sounds indebted to Scott Walker and Ennio Morricone soundtracks.“‘Cool Colorado’ alludes to freedom, the insouciance of a journey,” the band explains. “We were somewhere between the states of Utah and Wyoming, during our last American tour, when this ode to the San Francisco of the 70s, which is so rare and precious to us even if we never lived in this period, came to us.” The band adds, “Colorado is the first American state which legalized cannabis, this is where the line ‘And I smoke in the streets without stress’ comes from/ This song is also related to the Beatnik spirit, to the literature of Kerouac. Do you remember the Magic Bus? It was going from Europe to Kathmandu on a now-mythical hippie trail.”

Co-directed by the members of La Femme and Aymeric Bergada du Cadet, the recently released video for “Cool Colorado” is a psychedelic romp that brings American Bandstand, T.A.M.I. Show, Top of the Pops and the Playboy mansion to mind. “This is a sort of psychedelic mass parodying the cliché of the ‘teen idol’ in the way of Brian Jones or Swan from Phantoms of the Paradise. Like a pastiche of a past period of time,” the members of La Femme explain.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Kills Cover Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You”

Throughout the course of this site’s 10+ year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of ink covering the critically applauded and commercially successful duo The Kills. And with the release of albums like 2003’s Keep on Your Mean Side, 2005’s No Wow, 2008’s Midnight Boom, 2011’s Blood Pressures and 2016’s Ash & Ice, the duo — Alison Mosshart (vocals) and Jamie Hince (guitar, production) — have cemented a reputation for crafting a scuzzy and swaggering power chord-based blues and garage rock sound and approach.

Some time has passed since I’ve come across new material from the JOVM mainstays. Individually, the members of The Kills have been busy with their own creative projects — Mosshart published a book of poetry and photography and released solo material while Hince has been busy with production work. But interestingly enough, earlier this month the acclaimed duo announced that they would be releasing a career-spanning B-side and rarity compilation titled Little Bastards.

Slated for a December 11, 2020 release through Domino Recording Company, Little Bastards consists of material that date back from the band’s first batches of 7 inch singles released in 2002 up until 2009. The material has been newly remastered for release on CD, digitally and on LP — and it makes the first ever vinyl pressings for some of the tracks. A great deal of the compilation features covers — including the album’s second and latest single, a somewhat straightforward cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ oft-covered Halloween classic “I Put A Spell On You” that bristles with a feral sensuality.

Edited by the band’s Mosshart, the recently released video for “I Put A Spell On You” features live footage from shows in Portland, OR; Pomona, CA; and San Francisco. While capturing the duo’s live energy, the video makes me miss live music so very much. Sigh.


Rising Lincoln, NE-based soul and funk act Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal — Josh Hoyer (vocals, keys), Blake DeForest (trumpet), Mike Keeling (bass), Benjamin Kushner (guitar) Harrison El Dorado (drums) — formed back in 2012, and since their formation, the act, which features some of the Lincoln area’s most acclaimed musicians, has received attention nationally and internationally for a boundary crossing sound inspired by the sounds of Stax RecordsMotown RecordsMuscle ShoalsNew OrleansPhiladelphia and San Francisco.

Over the past eight years, the members of the Lincoln-based act have been one of the Midwest’s hardest working bands, releasing four, critically applauded albums, including last year’s Do It Now, which they’ve supported through several tours across the Continental US and two European tours. Adding to a growing profile, the act has opened for the likes of George Clinton, Charles BradleyBooker T. Jones, Muscle Shoals Soul Revue and an impressive list of others.

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal’s Eddie Roberts-produced fifth album Natural Born Hustler is slated for release later this year through Color Red Records, and the album further establishes the act’s sound — music written for grown-ass folks by written-by grown-ass folks rooted in earnest and honest songwriting while sonically drawing from 70s funk and blues, doo-wop and psych soul with a modern twist.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Hustler,” Natural Born Hustler‘s third single was a strutting and defiantly upbeat bit of soul that seemed indebted to The Payback-era James Brown, 70s Motown, Muscle Shoals, Daptone and Memphis soul in a seamless yet period specific synthesis. The end result was a track is one-part, much-needed proverbial kick in the ass and one-part, much-needed rallying cry for our uncertain times.

“Sunday Lies,” Natural Born Hustler‘s fourth and latest single continues a run of coolly strutting, bluesy soul centered around twinkling organ, Hoyer’s Tom Jones-like crooning, wah wah pedaled guitar, twinkling organ, a looping and propulsive groove and a cinematic yet powerhouse horn line. But underneath the expansive song structure and cool strutting vibes is a simmering anger, as the song calls out the widening chasm between word and action when those in power corrupt their message. In fact, the song’s narrator makes the observation that for voters, the voter dynamic is often swayed when politicians co-opt their platforms with religious messages — and the willful blinders that sometimes inhibit the faithful from accepting the truth and reality: that they’re being cynically played by wanton hypocrites.

New Video: Killer Whale Performs “Plenty of Time” at Downman Sounds Studios

New Orleans-based indie rock ‘n’ soul act Killer Whale is led by its frontman Thomas Johnson, who spent several years living and gigging in San Francisco before returning to Louisiana — and as a result, his work manages to infuse surf rock with the swamp, among other influences. The New Orleans-based act’s forthcoming album Tastes Like Yesterday is slated for a September 18, 2020 release though Devil In The Woods Records — and the album’s latest single “Plenty of Time” is a slow-burning track that’s one part old-school Muscle Shoals soul, one part breezy surf rock that’s centered around Johnson’s soulful crooning, an infectious hook, some jangling guitar work, some congo and simple backbeat. But at its core, the song manages to balance a wistful ache with a sobering realism: the song is about taking your time when you’re making the decision to stay with a lover or  move on. It ain’t an easy decision; it has a life altering implications for you and for the other person — and as a result, the song carries a profoundly heavy weight. 

Directed by Scott Lebell, the recently released video follows Killer Whale’s frontman as he travels to the studio to record “Plenty of Time” at Downman Sounds Studios. 

Starlight Girls · Teenage Crime

Brooklyn-based indie rock act Starlight Girls can trace their origins back to 2011, when Christina Bernard (vocals), an Ohio-born megachurch chorister turned rocker and Shaw Walters (guitar), a San Francisco-born, guitar savant and tech wizard met and decided to start a band. Bernard and Walters found their bandmates — Sara Mundy (keys) and Isabel Alvarez (backing vocals), two Long Island-born theater junkies, Tysen Arveson (bass), a Seattle-born, Hawaii-raised art freak and Josh Davis (drums), a University of Michigan educated jazz drummer through Craigslist.

The band initially emerged into the public eye through a wildly successful April Fool’s prank: they recorded an impression of acclaimed artist Joanna Newsom covering one of their songs and a handful of blogs took the bait, covering the song with rapturous praise. Unsurprisingly, as a result, Starlight Girls quickly became a buzz worthy band, eventually releasing an EP that they supported with a handful of national tours — including an opening slot for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Building upon a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based at played one of Europe’s biggest festivals, and they followed that up with their noisy and attention-grabbing Jamie Stewart-produced 7 x 3 EP.

2016 saw the release of their enigmatic and cinematic, full-length debut Fantasm, which they supported through tours with an eclectic array of artists including Kate Nash, St. Lucia, Tilly and the Wall, Nick Waterhouse, Total Slacker, Crystal Fighters and Lucius. Since then, the members of the band have ventured outside of music and outside of Brooklyn in a variety of different creative projects: Christina Bernard has delved into film and directing, directing a self-penned short film shot in California, which will be released later this year. Shaw Walters has become a rising star in the tech world, traveling around the world creating holographic augmented reality projects for performers and artists, including a mixed-reality collaboration with acclaimed artist Marina AbramovićThe Life, which has become a lightning rod for alt-right conspiracy theorists. The rest of the band has continued to solider on as musicians, during what may be the most difficult time for artists and creatives in recent memory.

Interestingly the band’s Christina Bernard-produced EP Entitled was recorded at Upstate New York-based Marcata Recording— and the material is a dark yet upbeat come-on to an unknowable future while evoking a sexy freak-out from the edge of oblivion. That sounds and feels familiar, doesn’t it? Last month, I wrote about Entitled‘s expansive first single “Get Right,” a kaleidoscopic and cinematic track that possesses elements of shoegaze, art rock, goth rock, psych rock and 70s AM rock — all while being one of the sexiest songs they’ve released to date.

“Teenage Crime,” Entitled‘s second and latest single is a slow-burning and atmospheric single centered around reverb and pedal effected guitars, twinkling keys and a soaring hook — and while reminding me a bit of Slow Air-era Still Corners and Stevie Nicks, the track’s lyrical themes, as the band’s Christina Bernard explains touches upon spiritual exploration, hope for the future and reconciling the past.

“As far as songwriting goes, most of the music came together spontaneously during rehearsals,” Bernard says of the EP’s creative process. “There was a lot of change happening for us around the time we wrote it—a lot of times when we played we didn’t know when our next time playing together might be. So the energy was insane every time we played.

“We’d gotten really in sync as a band through playing live so much, so someone would pull a riff out of the air in rehearsal and we’d just run with it full speed for four minutes and that would be the song. I’d always record rehearsals in case magic happened, and it did a lot. Then I would write lyrics (if I hadn’t already written them on the spot) and later we’d recreate what we’d played.

The only song that didn’t happen that way was Teenage Crime, which I wrote one night in my room. The guys in the band hated it at first because it’s like the slowest thing we do. But when we played it live all the ladies started swaying and I think that’s when everyone changed their minds.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our influences are hard to pin down. We all listen to really different music and I can’t remember what we were each into while recording. I personally was out dancing a lot to some pretty out there international drum circles. I was getting into the idea of music as a ceremonial thing—repetitive and rhythmic and visceral—so I was influenced by that, and how those ideas would translate to rock.

 

The Mighty Orchid King · Swirling

Throughout its history, the St. Albans, UK-based psych rock collective The Mighty Orchid King — currently, Jonny Bennett (vocals, drums), co-found er Martin van Herdeer (12 string guitar), Matt Snowden (guitar), Marcelo Cervone (bass, sax) and Will Stephen, a.k.a June Logue (synths and production) — have been in a constant flux since its founding, with 20 members rotating in and out of its sphere at nay given time. And as a result, the project has simultaneously been a 60s psych rock jam inspired collective and a bedroom project focused on polyrhythmic exploration.

The band’s forthcoming full-length debut The Doctrine of Infinite Kindness was recorded at June Logue’s home studio, DIY bedroom vocal booths and Tom Hill’s London-based Bookhouse Studio — and the album reportedly finds the act weaving the various aspects of the band’s complex history together: the album’s more jam inspired material drift and sharpe into more meticulously developed solo work. Thematically, the album thematically concerns itself with eco-anxiety with the album’s lyrics at points being like Kerouac-inspired spontaneous prose with direct protest songs about the destruction of Earth. While sonically, the album sees the band drawing from 60s psych rock, samba, jazz and house music with arrangements that feature fuzzy guitars and synths.

“Swirling,” the first single off The Doctrine of Infinite Kindness‘ first single is an an expansive and decidedly 60s psych rock inspired track centered around fuzzy power chords and enormous harmony driven hooks. Sonically, the song brings San Francisco‘s  Cool Ghouls to mind — while bristling with an infectious energy of a bunch of friends jamming and creating something cool. But at its core is a desire to escape one’s current circumstances and the world itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Starlight Girls Release a Woozy and Trippy Visual for “Get Right”

Brooklyn-based indie rock act Starlight Girls can trace their origins back to 2011, when Christina Bernard (vocals), an Ohio-born megachurch chorister turned rocker; Shaw Walters (guitar), a San Francisco-born, guitar savant and tech wizard met and decided to start a band. They find their bandmates Sara Mundy (keys) and Isabel Alvarez (backing vocals), two Long Island-born theater junkies, Tysen Arveson (bass), a Seattle-born, Hawaii-raised art freak and Josh Davis (drums), a University of Michigan educated jazz drummer through Craigslist. 

The band initially emerged into the public eye through a wildly successful April Fool’s prank: they record an impression of acclaimed artist Joanna Newsom covering one of their songs and a handful of blogs take the bait, covering the song with rapturous praise. As a result, they quickly became a buzz worthy band, eventually releasing an EP that they support with a handful of national tours — even opening for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Building upon a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based at played one of Europe’s biggest festivals, which they followed up with their noisy and attention-grabbing Jamie Stewart-produced 7 x 3 EP. 

2016 saw the release of their enigmatic and cinematic, full-length debut Fantasm, which they supported through tours with an eclectic array of artists including Kate Nash, St. Lucia, Tilly and the Wall, Nick Waterhouse, Total Slacker, Crystal Fighters and Lucius. Since then, the members of the band have ventured outside of music and outside of Brooklyn in a variety of different creative projects: Christina Bernard has delved into film and directing, directing a self-penned short film shot in California, which will be released later this year. Shaw Walters has become a rising star in the tech world, traveling around the world creating holographic augmented reality projects for performers and artists, including a mixed-reality collaboration with acclaimed artist Marina Abramović, The Life, which has become a lightning rod for alt-right conspiracy theorists. The rest of the band has continued to solider on as musicians, during what may be the most difficult time for artists and creatives in recent memory. 

Interestingly the band’s Christina Bernard-produced EP Entitled was recorded at Upstate New York-based Marcata Recording– and the material reportedly is a dark yet upbeat come-on to an unknowable future while evoking a sexy freak-out from the edge of oblivion. That sounds and feels familiar, doesn’t it?  Hinting at Ennio Morricone film scores, shoegaze, art rock, goth rock, psych rock and Fleetwood Mac, the EP’s expansive first single “Get Right” further establishes the band’s cinematic and kaleidoscopic sound — but while arguably being the sexiest song they’ve released to date. 

Directed by the band’s Christina Bernard, the recently released video for “Get Right” was shot on a commune in rural North Carolina and is a feverishly surreal and psychedelic spoof on 90s karaoke videos that seems — to me, at least — to nod at Dario Argento films, as it’s part lysergic freak out, and part sensual slow dance into the dark recesses of the psyche. 

The rising Lincoln, NE-based soul and funk act Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal — Josh Hoyer (vocals, keys), Blake DeForest (trumpet), Mike Keeling (bass), Benjamin Kushner (guitar) Harrison El Dorado (drums) — formed back in 2012, and since their formation, the act, which features some of the Lincoln area’s most acclaimed musicians, has received attention nationally and internationally for a boundary crossing sound inspired by the sounds of Stax Records, Motown Records, Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

The Lincoln-based quintet have developed a reputation for being of the area’s hardest working bands: releasing four, critically applauded albums, including last year’s Do It Now, the members of the rising soul act have played hundreds of shows and have made several tours across the Continental United States and two European tours, opening for the George Clinton,Charles Bradley, Booker T. Jones, and Muscle Shoals Soul Revue and others.

Further cementing their reputation as one of the Plain States’ hardest working bands, the members of the Lincoln-based soul act will be releasing their Eddie Roberts-produced fifth later later this year through Color Red Records. “Hustler,” the album’s cinematic, third and latest single is a strutting bit of soul, prominently featuring Hoyer’s soulful, Tom Jones-like vocals, a commanding horn arrangement, a sinuous bass line, shimmering organ arpeggios and an enormous and rousingly anthemic hook. While seemingly possessing elements of The Payback-era James Brown, 70s Motown, Muscle Shoals, Daptone and Memphis soul in a seamless yet period specific synthesis, the upbeat track manages to be one-part much-needed proverbial kick in the ass and one part much-needed rallying cry for our unprecedented and uncertain moment, centered around the assuring yet forceful line “When the world wants you to sink or swim, I ain’t goin’ under.”

Things may be bleak right now but keep fighting y’all. There’s much hard and necessary work to be done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of last year’s full-length debut Grass Stains and Novocaine, the San Francisco-based shoegazers Seablite — currently featuring Lauren, Galine, Jen and Andy — quickly received national attention: the album placed highly on a number of that year’s Best-Of Lists, including landing at #36 on Good Morning America‘s Top 50 Albums of the Year list.

Building upon a growing profile, the band will be releasing Grass Stains and Novocaine‘s highly-anticipated follow-up, the 4 song 10 inch EP High Rise Mannequins. Recorded by Alicia Vanden Heuvel in San Francisco, the new batch of material slated for a February 21, 2020 release through Emotional Response Records reportedly captures the band growing as songwriters and musicians. 

“Pretend” the EP’s first single finds the Bay Area-based quartet’s sound drawing equally from fuzz pop, jangle pop, shoegaze and 60s bubblegum pop in a way that recalls The Smiths, La Sera and Phil Spector-era girl groups but with a bit of garage rock grit and grime, and a huge, anthemic hook.

‘”Pretend’ is one of our oldest songs from our first EP and we wanted to renew it with our current lineup,” the band says in an emailed statement. “We recorded it as part of a 4-song EP in July of 2019 with Alicia Vanden Heuvel at her very own Speakeasy Studios in San Francisco. Most folks are familiar with Alicia from her work in The Aislers Set and Poundsign, but she’s also been producing bands such as The Mantles, Personal and the Pizzas, and countless others in her studio for years. She uses a giant 2” tape machine that was originally used to record all of the sounds on the movie The Abyss, so there’s some vibes in that thing for sure.  Alicia has a very special ear and production style, it was amazing to collaborate with and bounce ideas off of her. Every time we finished a mix, we’d go out to Alicia’s car and blast the songs while sitting in her driveway, then run up into her house and crank the songs on her stereo and AB it. The EP recording experience felt natural, more like a hangout session where we happened to also be working on a record.”

The Los Angeles-based post-punk act Dancing Tongues, featuring core duo Alex Lavayen and Kevin Modry, can trace its origins to the breakup of the duo’s previous band. In the aftermath, the pair relocated to Los Angeles, where they began writing material inspired by the post punk of the late 1970s and 1980s — i.e., The Gun Club, The Cure and Talking Heads.

In 2016, Lavayen and Modry formally started the band, and bay the end of the year, they released their debt EP Positions late that year. Over the next two years, the band played shows in and around San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County while slowing building a community of fans and fellow artists. During that same period, the duo who had long held legitimate day jobs in music and art decided that it was time to channel all of their creative energy into the band. And as a result, they furiously wrote the material that would comprise their Jonny Bell-produced full-length debut Hypnotic Tales of Sex and Distress. Reportedly, the album thematically addresses the dissatisfaction, confusion and distractions we all experience as we desperately attempt to navigate through an overabundance of information. Each individual track on the album is meant to mark a chapter in a hypnotic journey that specifically deals with a different story — from the inherent anxieties of creative pursuits, commitment, identity, responsibility, love and romance, and escapement.

The album’s latest single “Body Language” will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting hook-driven material that’s deeply indebted to Joy Division and the like; but the slick production, stubbly pushes the song’s sound into the New Wave direction, making the song subtly nod at Billy Idol.  In some way, the new song finds the band at their most ambitious — but without steering too far from what’s won them attention so far. As the band explain in press notes, the song is about the odd (and yet inherent) push and pull sensation of almost every romantic relationship in which there are periods in which you feel so deeply connected to that person, that it’s like nothing can pull you apart,  and the moments in which you somehow feel disconnected and incomplete. And in those moments, you try your best to maneuver something that’s confusing and complicated — with all the bullshit and baggage of your own life.