Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, best known for his solo electro pop recording TR/ST. Alfons has released two […]
With the release of last year’s debut EP Playing Dead, the somewhat mysterious Bristol, UK-based quartet The Desert quickly received attention for a sound that some have described as being a mix between Little Dragon and Portishead. Building upon a growing profile, the act’s highly-anticipated sophomore EP is slated for release sometime early next year, and from the EP’s first single “Gone,” the act has revealed a decided evolution of their sound and approach — while possessing a cinematic quality, the track is centered around a urgent and desperate air, with a hint of uneasy hope at the end ; in fact, as the band explains, “’Gone’ is about losing something or someone abruptly and how that can make you go a bit crazy. Gina’s voice is quite hoarse in the recording, which helps convey the desperation& frustration. There’s also a kind of excitement in that ‘fuck it’ feeling. The track is overall more positive than negative with each chorus ending ‘but I’ll find somewhere to put it.'”
Currently comprised of founding duo Justin Maranga (guitar, vocals) and Nick Long (bass, vocals) along with Jason Watkins (organ, piano, electric piano, mellotron, vocals), Matt Barks (modular synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, guitar, vocals) and Daniel Pouliot (drums), the Los Angeles-based metal/doom metal/psych rock/stoner rock quintet Ancestors can trace their origins back to 2006 when Maranga, Long, and Brandon Pierce began the band as a trio; Englishman Chico Foley, who had met Pierce shortly after relocating to Los Angeles joined the band. Jason Watkins joined to complete the band’s initial line up. Their full-length debut was released in 2008 through North Atlantic Sound Records in Europe and Tee Pee Records in the States — and the album featured artwork by Arik Roper, who has done artwork of the likes of Sleep, High on Fire, and Earth. Their 2009 sophomore Of Sound Mind was produced by the band and Pete Lyman and featured collaborations with Melvins’, Unwound and Slug’s David Scott Stone, Black Math Horseman’s Sera Timms and cellist Ramiro Zapata.
2010 saw the first of several lineup changes as Chico Foley left the band and was replaced by Matt Barks and with a new lineup, they went into the studio to write and record the Kenny Woods-produced Invisible White EP. And despite, a series of lineup changes, the band’s sound generally draws from prog rock, psych rock, stoner rock and doom metal — but they’ve also at points increasingly incorporated elements of experimental rock and musique concrete among others. The Los Angeles-based rock quintet’s forthcoming album Suspended In Reflections is slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Pelagic Records, and from the album’s latest single “Gone,” the new single and the album itself reportedly reflects a different take on their sound and approach as the single is a slow-burning dirge that manages to bridge shoegaze and doom metal as it features enormous power chords, played through tons of effects pedals, soaring and ethereal synths within an expansive yet moody song structure that nods a bit at prog rock.
Samuel Joseph Kim is a Canadian-born, San Francisco, CA-based singer/songwriter producer and multi-instrumentliast, arguably best known as a member of San Francisco-based band Museums and for a solo recording experimental side project, Mount Vermont. He also works as a freelance soundtrack composer, who has clients like Canon, Deloitte, TED, and others. Kim also recently released material under his own birth name — and that music as he describes on his website “is an evolving blend of organic guitars and electronic experimentation. Whatever the instrumentation or approach, it retains its melodic and emotive nature: haunting, intimate and sincere.”
“Gone” the EP opening single off Kim’s 2016 effort Lost/Found EP is a hazy post-punk-inspired song featuring a sinuous bass line, lush, swirling layers of shimmering synths and precise drum programming paired with Kim’s crooning vocals. Sonically speaking, the song nods at The Harrow, the 4AD Records sound, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and others and while possessing a similar swooning and urgent Romanticism — and much like its (presumed) influences, the song focuses on visceral and profound heartache and confusion that has enveloped its narrator.