Tag: Sonic Youth

New Video: Saskatoon’s Slow Down Molasses Releases a Hilariously Absurd Visual for “120 Minutes”-like “Street Haunting”

Led by Tyson McShane, the Saskatoon-based indie rock act Slow Down Molasses have developed a reputation for a constantly evolving sound as a result of a series of lineup changes and for an anxious and frenetic live show, which they’ve taken around the world in support of 2016’s 100% Sunshine.

The band’s latest single “Street Haunting” is the first bit of new material from the band since the release of 100% Sunshine and the new single manages to further cement the band’s reputation for an ever-changing sound Featuring angular and propulsive rhythms, explosive power chords, tons of feedback and fuzz and a supple bass line, “Street Haunting” brings 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind — in particular, Pavement and Sonic Youth with some sprinklings of Gang of Four. And as a result, the song is underpinned by a throbbing anxious energy. “Musically, we were excited to capture some the anxious energy of our live show, while still keeping the song very focused,” the band’s Tyson McShane says. “It nicely rides a line between the concise garage pop that some of us love and the feedback drenched chaos that our live shows tend to dwell in.”

The song’s punchily delivered lyrics draw some inspiration from Virgnia Woolf’s essay of the same name. “Lyrically the song ruminates on the casual, but oft-underappreciated beauty of the urban environment and the predictability of a person’s daily tasks,” the band’s McShane explained. “Taking  some inspiration from Virginia Woolf’s essay of the same name and mixing that with the sense of isolated other-ness that comes from living in a city far from the world’s major cultural cities.  A place sometimes overflowing with creative energy, but where it often necessary to remind oneself of the casual brilliance of one’s peers and the places we typically tend to haunt.”

Directed by Aaron Scholz, the recently released video features the band’s members wearing raccoon masks while performing routine human activities, like going through their record collection and shaving and typical raccoon activities, like rooting through garbage, scratching at doors and exploring abandoned, suburban homes. They also manage to play music. The video makes the mundane seem absurd and ridiculous.

After stints in bands like Kite Flying Society, Saving Twilight, The Weak Ends and The Wonderers throughout the early 2000s, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Geannie Friedman initially founded Semihelix in Austin, back in 2012 as a solo recording project in which she used drum beats, keyboards for bass lines while accompanying her vocals with guitar. After several lineup changes, the band eventually settled on their current lineup: Friedman (vocals, guitar), Valdemar Barrrera (drums) and Kevin Martin (bass).

Influenced by My Bloody Valentine, The Kinks, Black Tambourine, Sebadoh, The Pixies and Sonic Youth, the Austin-based act have established and cemented a sound that’s one part dream pop, one part 90s psych fuzz and delay with melodic yet loud sounds. The trio’s latest single “New Destination” finds the band crafting a song that to my ears, sounds indebted to New Zealand jangle pop, Katy Goodman’s work with La Sera and acts like Seapony, complete with an infectious and rousingly anthemic hook. But just underneath the sunny vibes, the song tells a tale of a narrator discovering the resilience she’ll need for the slings and arrows of the rest of her life.

“The catalyst behind the idea for this song came from a place where I felt ostracized and bullied in my hometown,” Semihelix’s Geannie Friedman explains. “I wrote about how moving and starting new would help to heal from many experiences of feeling like an outsider.
 
“Also, having been in relationships with others that weren’t healthy, it was a time for me to learn how to be happy on my own without being dependent on a relationship for happiness. Although I wrote this song over a decade ago when I was in my 20s, it’s a song that I relate to for many stages in my life, where I’m leaving behind and shedding the old, and renewing into someone stronger and resilient.”

 

New Video: Chicago’s Koalra Releases a 120 Minutes-Inspired Single and Visual

Formed in 2019, the Chicago-based indie rock quartet Koalra have quickly established a sound and songwriting approach that’s heavily indebted to 120 Minutes-era alt rock — i.e. The Cure, Dinosaur Jr., Ween, Sonic Youth, Boyracer, and The Thermals, as well as contemporaries like No Age, and Waaves.

Since their formation, the members of the Chicago-based quartet have been remarkably prolific: they’ve released two albums — 2019’s self-titled debut, last year’s Surprise Lights EP and The Wakes. Adding to their growing reputation for being prolific, the act will be releasing their third full-length album Into the Waves this year.

Koalra begin 2021 with their latest single off Into the Waves, “Water’s Push.” Centered around layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive rhythm section centered around an angular bass line and rousingly anthemic hook, the breakneck “Water’s Push” finds the act firmly cementing the 120 Minutes-era sound that has begun to win them attention while expanding upon it with a subtle hazy, shoegazer quality.

Shot in hazy, security camera footage, the recently released video for “Water’s Push” follows a young boy as he drags a plastic skeleton around a variety of situations — and interestingly enough, the video is fittingly period specific.

Live Footage: Laura Carbone Performs “Cellophane Skin” at Rockpalast

With the release of her first two albums — 2016’s Sirens and 2018’s Empty Sea — the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer Laura Carbone received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a sound and approach that frequently draws comparisons to PJ Harvey, Shana Falana, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent and others. Additionally,. Carbone published a limited-edition book of photography, also named The Empty Sea.

Carbone and her backing band have opened for The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, developing a reputation for a self-assured and explosive live show, which she further cemented with a headlining tour across Europe last year. The Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer then followed that up with a stop at SXSW Levitation Festival/Creem Magazine Showcase and a headlining North American tour with The Natvral that included a stop at Baby’s All Right.

Carbone and her backing band were slated to go into the studio in May to record her highly-anticipated third album — but as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, the rising Berlin-based artist’s plans were placed in an indefinite hiatus, much like countless other artists across the globe. Last year, the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and her backing band performed on the famed German, live concert series Rockpalast — and for Carbone, who grew up in a small town in Southwestern Germany watching the show, appearing on the show was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream: Rockpalast has recorded and broadcasted a who’s who list of influential and important artists, playing some of their most memorable performances, including Siouxsie and The Banshees, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Sinead O’Connor, David Bowie, R.E.M., Echo and the Bunnymen, Screaming Trees, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley and the Wailers and an amazing and very lengthy list of others.

As a result of pandemic-related shutdowns, an idea emerged with Carbone and her band: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Released yesterday, Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is just that. Taken from her Rockpalast set at Harmonie Bonn last October, the live album features a career-spanning set, centered around her first two albums, and an unexpected cover, Hewing as closely as possible to their live sound, the album was mixed in Los Angeles by The Jesus and Mary Chain‘s Scott Van Ryper and mastered by Philipp Welsing at Hamburg‘s Original Mastering with no overdubs.

Last month, I wrote about the live album’s first single, “Who’s Gonna Save You.” The live rendition accurately captures Carbone and her band’s forceful live sound and Carbone’s irresistible stage presence, While the song itself finds the band balancing menace, power and sultriness, it should also serve as an introduction to an artist, who in my book is adding her name to a list of powerful rock goddesses.

To celebrate the release of the album, Carbone released the live album’s second single, “Cellophane Skin.” Performed as the first song of their encore, the live rendition finds the band taking the tension of the original and informing it with a feral and ferocious power, informed by dozens of shows across Europe and North America — and by the occasion. And as a result, the song finds its narrator — and perhaps the artist herself — turning into a seductive and vengeful force of nature, much like the sirens of the ancient myths. At its down core, the song finds its narrator forcefully tearing down the bonds of poisonous social norms that have imprisoned her while demanding that we — particularly men — examine ourselves. Of course, much like its immediate predecessor, the song captures a woman with mighty and fearsome roar.

Directed by Olga Dyer, the recently released video for “Cellophane Skin” is split between gorgeous and seductive footage of Carbone in a black gown being touched by a series of seemingly disembodied hands and black and white footage captured on stage.
“The feminine point of view has always been much more difficult to articulate,” Olga Dyer says in press notes. “And once articulated, alas, quite often it becomes a point of vulnerability, seen through the prism of sexual objectification, helpless stereotypes and indecency. It’s literally stripped of its actual meaning or even possible interpretations. To me, this is what ‘Cellophane Skin’ is about. People jump to conclusions, so quick to assume that they can see through someone. Personally it doesn’t offend me, I only find it banal and boring. I love creating beautiful and dark sequences, inspired by noir surrealism.”

Live Footage: Laura Carbone Performs “Who’s Gonna Save You” at Rockpalast

With the release of her first two albums — 2016’s Sirens and 2018’s Empty Sea — the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer Laura Carbone received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a sound and approach that frequently draws comparisons to PJ Harvey, Shana Falana, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent and others. Carbone also published and released a limited-edition book of photography, also named The Empty Sea.

Carbone and her backing band were slated to go into the studio in May to record her highly-anticipated third album — but as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, the rising Berlin-based artist’s plans were placed in an indefinite hiatus, much like countless other artists across the globe. Last year, Carbone and her backing band performed on the famed German live concert series Rockpalast — and for the Berlin-based artist, who grew up in a small town in Southwestern Germany, appearing on the show was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream: Rockpalast has recorded and broadcasted a who’s who list of influential and important artists, playing some of their most memorable performances, including Siouxsie and The Banshees, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Sinead O’Connor, David Bowie, R.E.M., Echo and the Bunnymen, Screaming Trees, Lynard Skynard, Bob Marley and the Wailers and an amazing and very lengthy list of others. And as a music mad teenager, Carbone often spent late Saturday nights watching the show, watching many of those artists play on national TV.

Interestingly, as a result of those pandemic-related shutdowns, an idea emerged with Carbone and her backing band: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Slated for a December 4, 2020 release, Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is just that. Taken from her Rockpalast appearance, recorded at Harmonie Bonn last October, the live album features a career-spanning set featuring material off her first two albums with an unexpected cover. Hewing as closely as possible to their live sound, the album was mixed in Los Angeles by The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Scott Van Ryper and mastered by Philipp Welsing at Hamburg’s Original Mastering with no overdubs.

Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast’s first single “Who’s Gonna Save You” accurately captures the band’s dynamic live sound and Carbone’s sultry, self-assured presence — and in my book, the live rendition reveals that the Berlin-based artist is rock goddess you need right this very second. The live rendition finds Carbone and her band balancing menace with sultriness in a way that’s irresistible.

The recently released video for “Who’s Gonna Save You” is split between live footage shot in a gorgeous and broodingly cinematic black and white during last year’s Rockpalast and footage of the gorgeous Carbone in a equally gorgeous red dress wandering around Berlin’s Märchenbrunnen, or “Fairytale Fountain,” in Volkspark Friedrichshain shot by Underground Youth’s Olya Dyer. “To have this immaculate beauty yet melancholic aftertaste blended with the energy of the live performance is incredible. It’s a solitary present mixed with a crowded past.,” Dyer says of the footage he shot.

New Audio: Paris’ Café Bizarre Releases a 90s Alt Rock Sounding Anthem

Café Bizarre — Fabien (vocals), Giles (bass, guitar), Jean-Michel (drums, percussion), Granlu (guitar, bass) and Jean-Marc (guitar) — is a Paris-based indie rock act that can trace its origins back to the 1990s. And since their formation, the Parisian indie rock act have largely been a musician’s musician band, and arguably one of the bigger influences of the indie music scenes of early 90s New York, Hoboken and Chicago.

As the story goes, Mark Ibold, who played bass on a number of Pavement and Sonic Youth albums in the 00s met members of the band in a Lower East Side bar. This chance meeting wound up cementing a deeply rooted 25 year friendship between the Parisian band and the members of Pavement. According to Café Bizarre, Pavement’s “Shoot The Singer” discreetly pays homage to them — but interestingly enough, the band says that the song was originally written the year, as a tribute to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground.

The band’s first recorded output, 1995’s 13 song album Avenue A saw distribution through small shops and then disappeared from public consciousness — until a Télépopmusik fan came across the album on e-Bay. 1997’s four song EP Manipulate Men was originally distributed and sold through their local record store. Much like its predecessor, it disappeared until someone found some copies, 12 years later in a box in the store’s basement.

1998 saw the band’s lineup expanded into a quintet with the addition of a new member. And as the band joke, they continued their musical careers with personal funds and the logistical support of dear and steadfast friends.

1998 saw the band’s lineup expanded into a quintet with the addition fo a new member. And as the band joke, they continued their musical careers with personal funds and the logistical support of dear and steadfast friends. A few years later — 2001, to be precise — the Parisian band wrote and recorded a 3 song effort, aptly tired 3 that wasn’t distributed. By 2002, the band went on hiatus with its members spending time raising families and doing responsible, adult things.

In 2011, Café Bizarre released a CD-DVD boxed set of their Fallentfest Music Festival appearance at La Cigale. The following year, the band gave away the live album portion of the CD-DVD boxed sets to fans upon request.

After several attempts at self-production, the band recruited Mattéo Apher to produce the band’s first vinyl record, a 10 song effort released in 2017. The effort found the band blending 90s alt rock influences with loud, guitar-driven anthems. The album is available is also available digitally through Bandcamp.

Earlier this year,. the Parisian indie rock band released a 7 song EP Don’t Swim Tonight My Love , which boldly recalls 90s rock, complete with enormous hooks. The EP’s latest single, EP title track., “Don’t Swim Tonight My Love” is a shimmering rocker centered around Fabien’s plaintive vocals, a propulsive backbeat and a shout-along worthy hook that sonically brings Pablo Honey-era Radiohead and 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind.

New Video: Hifiklub Teams Up with Roddy Bottum on a Hypnotic and propulsive take on an 80s Smash Hit

Since their formation back in 2006, the Toulon, France-based experimental trio Hifiklub have developed and honed a creative approach centered around collaboration with a diverse and eclectic array of artists including Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, The Legendary Tigerman, Half-Japanese’s Jad Fair. Jean-Marc Montera, R. Stevie Moore, André Jaume, Mike Watt, Fatso Jetson, Jérôme Casalonga, Lula Pena, Scanner, Jean-Michel Bossini, Mike Cooper, Duke Garwood, Alain Johannes and FaIth No More’s and Imperial Teen’s Roddy Bottum and a growing list of others. And through these collaborations, the French act have explores the possibilities and boundaries of expressions, frequently combining sound, image and text in new ways.

The members of Hifiklub and Roddy Bottum have collaborated together on a new album Things That We Lost in the Fire. Slated for an October 16, 2020 release on cassette and CD in the United States on Dreamy Life Records and on vinyl and CD through the rest of the world through Toolong Records/Differ-Ant, Things That We Lost in the Fire is reportedly a trance-like, spoken word-driven album. Interestingly, the album’s latest single is a cover of Survivor’s smash-hit “Eye of the Tiger.” Centered around a sinuous and propulsive groove, glistening keys and blasts of reverb-drenched guitar and spoken word delivered lyrics, the Hifiklub and Roddy Bottom rendition turn the classic anthem into an atmospheric and brooding, disco-tinged art rock jam, reminiscent of Black Strobe’s “Boogie in Zero Gravity.”

Directed by Léna Durr., the recently released video for the Hifiklub and Roddy Bottum cover follows bodybuilder Benjamin Rostaert as he lifts weights and prepares himself for a major bodybuilding competition. Fittingly, much like Rocky III, we see the dedication and lonely routines and preparation lead to Rostaert’s success.

New Video: Aussie Indie Act Children Collide Release a Jittery and Anxious New Single

Critically applauded and commercially successful Melbourne, Australia-based indie act Children Collide — Johnny Mackay (guitar, vocals), Ryan Caeaser (drums) and Chelsea “Chela” Wheatley (bass) —  have released three albums, 2008’s The Long Now, 2010’s Theory Of Everything and 2012’s Monument, all of which feature some of the most beloved Aussie indie rock tracks of the past decade including, “Social Currency,” “Skeleton Dance,” “Chosen Dance,” “Loveless,” and Triple J Hottest 100 singles “Farewell Rocketship,” “Jellylegs” and “My Eagle.” And as a result, 2010’s Theory of Everything debuted at #5 on the ARIA Albums Chart and landed a Triple J album feature — and the band has received twoARIA Award nominations, including one for 2012’s Monument. 

Adding to a growing profile, the bad has played sets across the global festival circuit with sets at SXSW, The Great Escape, Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival and Big Day Out. They’ve played tons of headlining shows across Australia, as well as dates in London, Paris, Los Angeles, Tokyo and NYC. 

Recorded by Loren Humphrey at The Diamond Mine and Stockholm Syndrome, “Funeral for a Ghost” is the first bit of original material from the acclaimed Aussie indie act since Monument and the propulsive and anthemic single is full of the jittery and anxious energy that seems to define our current moment while sounding mischievously anachronistic, as though the song could have been released in 1991, 2001, 2011 or this week, As the song seems to say,  everything is infuriating, cruel and stupid — and nothing can be trusted. Be paranoid ya’ll.  “I wrote it on an old Roland loop pedal when I was living in a dungeon in North Melbourne an eon ago,” says frontman/guitarist Johnny Mackay of the track. “I had to open a trap door to get down to my room and you could see where a tunnel had been bricked up on my bedroom wall. I was listening to a lot of Sonic Youth at the time, constantly rotating between Murray St and Confusion is Sex. Listening to it now, the lyrics sound like I wrote them last week about covid conspiracy nuts. Time is a flat circle,” he muses. 

Beginning with a PBS-like into, the recently released, Lord Fascinator-directed visual for “Funeral for a Ghost” captures the band’s live energy in a variety of trippy scenarios. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ganser Take Us on a TED Talk from Hell in New Visual for “Projector”

Chicago-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Ganser can trace its origins back to when its founding members Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals) and Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals) met while attending art school. Bonding over a mutual love of The Residents, outsider communities and the work of John Waters and David Lynch, the duo developed a hands-on DIY craftsmanship that eventually carried over into the band. Each of the band’s members — Garofalo, Gaines, Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) — sharing writing duties and collaborating on every aspect of their creative work, including music videos, album art and the visuals, which often accompany their live shows. 

2018’s full-length debut Odd Talk received widespread praise nationally and across the blogosphere with some critics comparing their sound and approach to Sonic Youth and Magazine. Thematically, the album focused on communication breakdowns — namely, the difficulties of being understood, avoidance and intimacy

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut, Odd Talk, the Chicago-based post-punk outfit developed a national profile with the album receiving widespread praise for sound that some critics have compared favorable to Sonic Youth and Magazine paired with incisive lyrics critiquing larger social issues. Odd Talk thematically focused on communication breakdowns, the difficult of being understood, intimacy and avoidance. 

Now, as you may recall the Chicago-based JOVM mainstays’ highly-anticipated sophomore album Just Look at That Sky is slated for a Friday release through Felte Records. Thematically, their sophomore album finds the quartet probing the futility of striving for self-growth during chaos — while evoking an all too familiar manic worry and generalized sense of dread and doom. The album acknowledges that we’re online all the time and inundated with too much information about other people and situations. We’re all a tweet, a status update, an Instagram post or a text exchange away from truly knowing what our followers, friends and loved ones really think about us. And in a larger sense, the world as we know it is dying before our eyes. We can watch the replays every night at 8, 10, 11 — in slow motion. 

So far, I’ve written about two of Just Look at That Sky’s released singles — the tense and explosive album opener “Lucky.” and the atmospheric and brooding “Emergency Equipment and Exits.” The album’s latest single “Projector” is an uneasy song centered around propulsive drumming, angular blasts of guitar and bass paired with Garofalo delivering a psychological study of people desperately trying to hold on to anything when everything is so absolutely insane. 

“It’s what happens when someone becomes so far removed from general society that their thoughts become a Dunning-Kruger Effect echo chamber of pseudo-wisdom and self-affirmations. Connection and perspective gets lost, but that echo becomes louder and often public,” Ganser’s Garofalo says of the song, 

Directed by the members of the band, the recently released video for “Projector” stars the band’s Nadia Garofalo as a painfully awkward and intensely self-aware TED Talk-like speaker, giving a talk on “Pseudo Philosophies for Living in the Current Climate,” and the talk includes the prerequisite PowerPoint slides and video clips. But as the video pulls out at the end, we see that Garofalo’s TED talk speaker has been speaking in front of an empty room — the entire time. 

“We shot this the day after SXSW was cancelled,” the members of Ganser recall in press notes. “We didn’t know what was coming, but we knew it wasn’t going to be good.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ganser Returns with a Contemplative Visual for Brooding Single “Emergency Equipment and Exits”

I’ve managed to write quite a bit about the Chicago-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Ganser over the past couple of years — and as you may recall, the act can trace its origins back to when its founding members Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals) and Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals) met while attending art school. Bonding over a mutual love of The Residents, outsider communities and the work of John Waters and and David Lynch, t he duo developed a hands-on DIY craftsmanship that eventually carried over into their band — with the band’s members, which also features Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) sharing writing duties and closely collaborating one all of their music videos and album art, as well as crafting visuals to accompany their live show. 

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut, Odd Talk, the Chicago-based post-punk outfit developed a national profile with the album receiving widespread praise for sound that some critics have compared favorable to Sonic Youth and Magazine paired with incisive lyrics critiquing larger social issues. Odd Talk thematically focused on communication breakdowns, the difficult of being understood, intimacy and avoidance. 

Building upon a growing profile, Ganser’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Just Look at That Sky is slated for a July 31, 2020 release through Felte Records. Thematically, the album finds the band probing the futility of striving for self-growth during chaos. The  songs evoke an all too familiar maniac worry  and dread and a generalized and overwhelming sense of doom with a sardonic specificity. The world as we know it is breathing  its last gasps and we haven’t a clue as to what will be beyond this.  The songs also acknowledge that we’re online all the time and that any given moment we’re inundated with too much  information about other people and other situations. We’re all generally a tweet, a status update or an Instagram post away from truly knowing what our followers and others really think about us. Shrug and laugh — even if it’s completely mirthless. And then admit that you’re emotionally and mentally drained. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about Just Look at That Sky’s first single, the tense and explosive album opening track “Lucky.” One part, Midwest noise-rock, one part post punk and one part art rock centered around rumbling low end, discordant blasts of angular guitar, thunderous drumming and Garofalo’s desperate howling, “Lucky” may arguably be the most urgent and uneasy songs they’ve released to date.  Interestingly, “Emergency Equipment and Exits” may arguably be the most atmospheric and brooding song they’ve released, as its centered around incessant and breakneck, four-on-the-floor, atmospheric synths, explosive blasts of angular and distorted guitars, a gorgeously plaintive melody and an enormous hook. 

Directed by the band’s Alicia Gaines, the recently released video follows Gaines as she just gives up and walks as far away she could from it all. We see Gaines as she walks out of Chicago and to the country — with her thoughts as company.While the video explores the possibility of finding greater clarity beyond our immediate reality — it also asks the viewer: What if you gave into that urge to walk away? What would happen?  “Sometimes everything gets too close, even when things are good, and you get this screaming desire to run away,” the band’s Alicia Gaines. “The song and video are both about feeling estranged from reality and choosing nothing over too much– the floor drops out, and you only have yourself to deal with.”

“It was very strange to be focused on not only the video direction, but also safety precautions during this time.”