Tag: Slowdive

New Audio: Introducing the Gorgeously Cinematic Sounds of The Soft Calvary

Formed by husband and wife duo Steve Clarke and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, The Soft Calvary is a new project, and their self-titled full-length debuts slated for a July 5, 2019 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records. For Clarke, the album is equal parts labor of love and long-held dream finally realized — and perhaps more important, the first album that he has masterminded from start to finish with the assistance of his wife and his brother Michael, who produced the album.

Reportedly, the album’s material radiates both midlife crisis and elation — the sigh of finally finding real contentment and peace after living a messy life, full of heartache and confusion. And as Clarke emphasizes in press notes, an album that he “needed” to make, as it can also be seen as a way of rewriting his own narrative: Divorced in 2011, Clarke admittedly spent the next three years in a haze. He had played bass and sung backing vocals in bands as a session musician and as a touring member since the late 90s, while also working as a tour manager.

At one point, he began working as a tour manager for the reunited Slowdive. “I was hungover in the back of my van trying to work out how I was going to fit all the band’s gear into this confined space whilst I still had all of mine from the show that I’d played in London the night before,” Clarke recalls in press notes. “The second of two sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo with David Brent!” Coincidentally, that same day Clarke was introduced to Goswell. A year later, they were living together in Devon, before marrying last year. Rachel not only turned his world “upside-down,” as he recalls, she also unwittingly produced “the catalyst” for the new project. “I’d always had ideas but never felt that anything I had to say was worthy of anyone’s attention, let alone my own,” he says in press notes. “I wish that I could have done this fifteen years ago but, in reality, I simply couldn’t have. But I’m not one to overly wallow. I’d rather plough the various levels of confusion into songs.”

The album in many ways is an exercise in creative and personal therapy. The first songs Clarke wrote specifically for the album are Goswell-inspired paeans to fate, love, new beginnings and hope. But as he began to open up, the past found a way to seep in — the years of frustration, confusion, anxiety, heartache. If there’s a theme to the material, reckons Steve, “it’s recovery versus new doubt. I’m there, in the middle. The word that kept coming back to me was ‘resilience.’ With the right mentality and people around you, especially family, we get through and find a level of hope.”

Interestingly, the writing sessions were in some way an extended conversation between the couple. Clarke, as Goswell says “is always writing, his head always full of lyrics.” Goswell, as Clarke says “reins me in when I get obsessed. She’s a good editor. She says my songs can still work without sections of words, that leaving spaces is OK.” As Clarke began to assemble songs, he invited a handful of dear friends including Mercury Rev‘s and Midlake‘s Jesse Chandler (keys), Tom Livermore (guitar) to assist with the album’s overall sound and tone. “I’d grown up with guitar bands and I didn’t want it to be overly guitar-y,” Clarke says. “We evolved things by trying out ideas. We’d be build things up, and then stripe them back and build them again.”

Interestingly, as the album progresses Goswell formed Minor Victories with members of Mogwai and Editors while all of those bands had gaps in their schedules, eventually writing and recording an album, which Goswell and Clarke contributed vocals and lyrics for. “It got the cogs turning on a writing and lyrical level, and gave me a certain amount of self-belief,” Clarke recalls.

After completing their album together, Clarke found a name for the band and the album, seemingly out of thin air — The Soft Calvary. “I can’t explain its literal meaning,” he says. “It just made sense.” Might Rachel be the calvary? “Maybe! it would be subconscious, but that makes sense too, strangely.”

The album’s first single is the cinematic yet ethereal “Dive.” Centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive backbeat, Clarke and Goswell’s gorgeous harmonies, the track is one part contented sigh, one part romantic swoon; but underneath that there’s a creeping sense that it’s all a fleeting dream.

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New Video: Teen Body’s Dreamy 80s Sitcom Inspired Visual for “Dreamo”

With the release of 2016’s full-length debut Get Home Safe, the Brooklyn-based indie rock act Teen Body, comprised of Shannon Lee (guitar, vocals), Xela French (bass, vocals), Alex Bush (guitar) and Marcus McDonald (drums) quickly developed a reputation for a sound that has been compared to the likes of Yo La Tengo, Slowdive, Galaxie 500 and others.

Dreamo, the Brooklyn-based quartet’s long-awaited sophomore album is slated for an April 12, 2019 release, and the album derives its name from a term coined by the band’s close friend, Casey Halter, who after a show, wryly said to the band “Your music is like dream pop and emo . . . dreamo music.” Interestingly, the forthcoming album reportedly features what arguably may be the most vulnerable, sincere and hopeful material of their growing catalog. Now, as you may recall, album single “Validation” retains the gorgeous and shimmering 4AD Records-like sound that has won them attention across the blogosphere while managing to be wistful yet comfortable, evoking a lover or dear friend gently squeezing your hand when you’re at your most desperate and uncertain.  The album’s latest track, album title track “Dreamo,” is a slow-burning and achingly beautiful song that further cements their reputation for crafting a classic shoegaze-like sound. Centered around boy-girl harmonizing, the song manages to possess the wistfulness of a relationship that’s ended, with the weighty recognition that what was once current is now part of your past. And yet, the song has the air of hope because once you’ve known love, you’ll see love come back — it’ll always be different, but it’s love all the same.

Directed by Shannon Lee, the recently released video for “Dreamo” features a ghostly figure, who haunts the vaguely Amish farmers, who reside where the video is set. (Of course, those vaguely Amish farmers are the three of the band members — and they seem to be kind of terrible at it; for the most part they seem prone to daydreaming. Shot much like an 80s sitcom, the video ends with the videos characters playing the song with homemade instruments — because of course. 

With the release of 2016’s full-length debut Get Home Safe, the Brooklyn-based indie rock act Teen Body, comprised of Shannon Lee (guitar, vocals), Xela French (bass, vocals), Alex Bush (guitar) and Marcus McDonald (drums) quickly developed a reputation for a sound that has been compared to the likes of Yo La Tengo, Slowdive, Galaxie 500 and others.

Dreamo, the Brooklyn-based quartet’s long-awaited sophomore album is slated for an April 12, 2019 release, and the album derives its name from a term coined by the band’s close friend, Casey Halter, who after a show, wryly said to the band “Your music is like dream pop and emo . . . dreamo music.” Interestingly, the forthcoming album reportedly features what arguably may be the most vulnerable, sincere and hopeful material of their growing catalog. Now, as you may recall, album single “Validation” retains the gorgeous and shimmering 4AD Records-like sound that has won them attention across the blogosphere while managing to be wistful yet comfortable, evoking a lover or dear friend gently squeezing your hand when you’re at your most desperate and uncertain.  The album’s latest track, album title track “Dreamo,” is a slow-burning and achingly beautiful song that further cements their reputation for crafting a classic shoegaze-like sound. Centered around boy-girl harmonizing, the song manages to possess the wistfulness of a relationship that’s ended, with the weighty recognition that what was once current is now part of your past. And yet, the song has the air of hope because once you’ve known love, you’ll see love come back — it’ll always be different, but it’s love all the same.

 

 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers Perform “Punch Back” for Fuzz Club Live Sessions

I’ve written quite a bit about Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers over the course of this site’s nearly nine year history and as you may recall, the band, which is currently comprised of founding member Oliver Ackermann (vocals, guitar), Dion Lunadon (bass, guitar) and newest member Lia Simone Braswell (vocals, drums) have a long-held reputation for an unwavering and uncompromising commitment to an unpredictable live show: they’re known for never writing an actual set list, sometimes spontaneously writing new songs during the middle of sets — and for being arguably one of the loudest bands on the planet.

The Brooklyn-based shoegazers/noise rockers spent the bulk of last year touring to support Pinned and Re-Pinned, a remix album that featured re-imagined and re-worked A Place to Bury Strangers tracks from Slowdive, Trentemøller, No Age, METZ, Eric Copeland, Roly Porter, Davy Drones, and TBO — and while in London, during the tail end of a touring across Europe, the members of the band spent the day at Lovebuzz Studios to record a Fuzz Club Session. Slated for a February 15, 2019 release as a vinyl exclusive, and recorded in live in one take, the live album reportedly captures the band’s ethos and the intensity of their live some committed to wax like never before. Additionally, there were accompanying videos from the sessions, which will be released online.

“It’s good to record at the very end of the tour,” the band’s founding member Oliver Ackermann reflects in press notes. “You’ve been playing these songs all tour and there’s a certain point when you kind of get tired of them, so you have to reinvent what they mean and what happens in them. I feel like that always pushes things to the next level. It’s exciting.” The live session include two tracks off  2018’s Pinned “Never Coming Back” and “Punch Back,” one off 2015’s Transfixiation “We’ve Come So Far,” one off 2012’s Onwards To The Wall, “Drill It Up,” one off their 2007 self-titled debut Ocean and a previously unreleased track “Chrome Shadow,” and while essentially spanning the band’s lengthy catalog, the live session’s material features the songs reconfigured and pushed to their limits. Now, as you may recall that the live album’s second single was the previously unreleased “Chrome Shadow.” A decided sonic departure for the trio, the slow-burning, dirge-like track was centered around a snarling and throbbing Lunadon bass line, undulating waves of industrial clang, clatter and distortion, a propulsive drum machine and Ackermann’s plaintive and wailing vocals fed through layers of distortion — with the song evoking a towering fog of unease and malevolence.

Although I’m writing about this out of order, the live album’s first single is a furious and breakneck version of “Punch Back” that puts Braswell’s feral and snarling vocals and forceful drumming taking center stage while the song is propelled forward by Lunadon’s throbbing bass and Ackerman’s towering peals of feedback-fed guitar. 

Armed with their arsenal of strobes, projectors and smoke machines to accurately replicate their live show, the live footage captures the band’s current lineup at their fiercest, capturing the band working as a collaborative unit, which each member feeding off of and pushing one another.

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers Perform a Previously Unreleased Single for Fuzz Club Sessions at Lovebuzz Studios

Over the course of this site’s nearly nine year history, I’ve written quite a bit about  Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers, and as you may recall the band, which is currently comprised of Oliver Ackermann (vocals, guitar), Dion Lunadon (bass, guitar) and its newest member Lia Simone Braswell (vocals, drums) have had a long-held reputation for having an unwavering and uncompromising commitment to unpredictable live shows: they’ve been known for never writing an actual set list, for  sometimes spontaneously writing new songs in the middle of the sets — and for arguably being one of the loudest bands on the planet. 

The Brooklyn-based shoegazers/noise rockers spent the bulk of last year touring to support Pinned and Re-Pinned, a remix album that featured re-imagined and re-worked A Place to Bury Strangers tracks from Slowdive, Trentemøller, No Age, METZ, Eric Copeland, Roly Porter, Davy Drones, and TBO — and while in London, during the tail end of a touring across Europe, the members of the band spent the day at Lovebuzz Studios to record a Fuzz Club Session. Slated for a February 15, 2019 release as a vinyl exclusive, and recorded in live in one take, the live album reportedly captures the band’s ethos and the intensity of their live some committed to wax like never before. Additionally, there were accompanying videos from the sessions, which will be released online. 

“It’s good to record at the very end of the tour,” the band’s founding member Oliver Ackermann reflects in press notes. “You’ve been playing these songs all tour and there’s a certain point when you kind of get tired of them, so you have to reinvent what they mean and what happens in them. I feel like that always pushes things to the next level. It’s exciting.” The live session include two tracks off  2018’s Pinned “Never Coming Back” and “Punch Back,” one off 2015’s Transfixiation “We’ve Come So Far,” one off 2012’s Onwards To The Wall, “Drill It Up,” one off their 2007 self-titled debut Ocean and a previously unreleased track “Chrome Shadow,” and while essentially spanning the band’s lengthy catalog, the live session’s material features the songs reconfigured and pushed to their limits. The live album’s second and latest  latest single is the previously unreleased “Chrome Shadow.” A decided sonic departure the trio, the slow-burning, dirge-like “Chrome Shadow” is centered around a snarling and throbbing bass line played by Lunadon, towering, undulating waves of industrial clang, clatter and distortion, a propulsive drum machine and Ackermann’s plaintive and wailing vocals fed through layers of distortion — with the end result being a towering fog of unease and malevolence. 

Armed with their arsenal of strobes, projectors and smoke machines to accurately replicate their live show, the live footage features the trio huddled around a drum machine and some other hardware that Ackermann uses to manipulate and distort his vocals and everything else. The live footage captures a band working as a collaborative unit, which each member feeding off of and pushing one another.  

With the release of 2016’s full-length debut Get Home Safe, the Brooklyn-based indie rock act Teen Body, comprised of Shannon Lee (guitar, vocals), Xela French (bass, vocals), Alex Bush (guitar) and Marcus McDonald (drums) quickly developed a reputation for a sound that brought the likes of Yo La Tengo, Slowdive, Galaxie 500 and others to mind.

Slated for an April 12, 2019 release through Broken Circles Records, the Brooklyn-based quartet’s long-awaited sophomore album Dreamo derives its name from a term coined by the band’s close friend Casey Halter, who after a show, wryly said to the band “Your music is like dream pop and emo . . . dreamo music.” Interestingly, the album which was written and recorded in Brooklyn reportedly features some of the most vulnerable, sentimental sincere and hopeful music of their growing catalog. And while the album’s latest single “Validation” manages to retain the gorgeous, shimmering 4AD Records and classic shoegaze inspired sound that first won them attention, the single is both wistful yet comforting, seemingly evoking a lover gently squeezing your hand when you’re at your most desperate and uncertain.

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers Release a Wild Lysergic-Tinged Visual for Album Single “Execution”

I’ve written quite a bit about long-time, Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers throughout its 8 year history, and over that same period of time, the band currently comprised of Oliver Ackermann (vocals, guitar), Dion Lunadon (bass, guitar) and its newest member Lia Simone Braswell have developed a reputation for an unwavering and uncompromising commitment to unpredictable live shows — and for being one of the loudest bands on the planet. They’re also known for never writing an actual set list, for writing new songs in the middle of their sets and for deliberately provoking and sabotaging sound engineers in a variety of cruel and innovative ways — and as a result, they’re arguably one of the most exciting contemporary live bands you will see.

Dead Oceans will be releasing Re-Pinned, a remixed record featuring re-imagined and re-worked A Place to Bury Strangers tracks from Slowdive, Trentemøller, No Age, METZ, Eric Copeland, Roly Porter, Davy Drones, and TBO. And to support the remix album and their latest effort, Pinned, the Brooklyn-based trio will be embarking on the second leg of their world tour with a NYC area date at the Doc Marten’s Union Square location — and you can check out the tour dates below; but before that, “Execution” is the latest single off Pinned and it finds the band adding subtle elements to their sound: scentered around noisy squalls of feedback,  a motorik groove, Ackermann’s pained, gritted teeth-like vocals and industrial clang and clatter, the song manages to feel much more tense and chillier while still remaining almost defiantly them.

Directed by Black Math’s Evan Fellers, the recently released video for the song is centered around jarring neon-tinged visuals thrown into an equally surreal  backgrounds and reality, creating a wildly lysergic visual mix. As Fellers explains “It was a blast to craft this dark nugget of visual energy for this edgy track by APTBS. Fueled by the contours of potential meaning found in ‘Execution’, a free-form fall into defining this world resulted in 70% confused trip, 26% weird brain juice on the run, 3% humor & 1% whatever the hell you want it to be.”

Earlier this month, I wrote about the up-and-coming  London-based, up-and-coming shoegaze quintet Cosmic Strip, and as you may recall, the band, which is fronted by  primary songwriter and creative mastermind, Camella Agabalyan, has described their work as “music to watch girls by, music to move the stars,” and with EP title track “Heavenly,” off the band’s recently released debut EP, the band seems to specialize in shimmering and soaring shoegaze that brought Wolf Alice and Lightfoils to my mind.  The EP’s latest single “Sugar Rush” is a decidedly 120 Minutes MTV-era bit of shoegaze, centered around squalling and towering feedback, shimmering guitar chords, ethereal vocals, soaring hooks and an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure that immediately brings Slowdive and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve to mind, complete with a lysergic haze.

“I wanted to write a song about the feeling of addiction whether it’s sugar, love, a drug, whatever your vice is”, Camella Agbalyan says in press notes about the new single. “I personally really connect to dreamy, druggy songs like Air, My Bloody Valentine, Beach Fossils, Slowdive, The Jesus & The Mary Chain, etc., so I wanted to inspire myself from that feeling but also show the darker side of addiction that you might not always get from those types of songs”.