Tag: Still Corners Slow Air

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstays Still Corners Release a Hauntingly Gorgeous and Brooding New Single

London-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Still Corners — vocalist and keyboardist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes — have managed to bounce between chilly and atmospheric pop and shimmering guitar-driven, desert noir through the release of four albums: 2012’s Creature of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures, 2016’s Dead Blue and 2018’s Slow Air.

The London-based JOVM mainstays’ fifth album The Last Exit is slated for release next Friday through the duo’s Wrecking Light Records. Sonically, the album reportedly continues where its predecessor Slow Air left off — 11 songs centered around shimmering and carefully crafted arrangements of organic instrumentation paired with Tessa Murray’s smoky crooning. Thematically, the album takes the listener of a hypnotic and mesmerizing journey filled with dilapidated and long-abandoned towns, mysterious shapes on the horizon and long trips that blur the lines between what’s there and not there. “We found something out there in the desert – something in the vast landscapes that went on forever,” Greg Hughes says in press notes.

Unsurprisingly, the album’s material was brought into further focus as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns and quarantines. “There’s always something at the end of the road and for us it was this album. Our plans were put on hold – an album set for release, tours, video shoots, travel,” Tessa Murray explains. “We’d been touring nonstop for years, but we were forced to pause everything. We thought the album was finished but with the crisis found new inspiration and started writing again.” Three of the album’s songs — “Crying,” “Static,” and “‘Till We Meet Again” were written during this period and they reflect upon the profound impact of isolation and the human need for social contact and intimacy.

Last year, I wrote about two of the album’s previously released singles:

“The Last Exit,” a cinematic track that sounds like it could have been part of the Slow Air sessions while nodding at Ennio Morricone soundtracks as it evokes large and indifferent skies and dusty, two-lane blacktop baking in the sun.
“Crying,” which was written during pandemic-related shutdowns and quarantines and captures the uncertainty, boredom, loneliness, heartache and regrets of not having much to do or anyplace to go — and obsessively neurotic self-examination inspired by those endless, lonely hours. And while continuing in the vein of Slow Air, the track also nods at Strange Pleasures.

“White Sands,” The Last Exit’s third and latest single is a classic, ghost story of a phantom who roams the dunes and desert highways for eternity, frightening travelers and drifters, who pass her. The track is a fittingly cinematic track centered around glistening atmospherics, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, a rapid-fire beat paired with Murray’s wistful and achingly melancholy crooning. Much like the material on Slow Air, “White Sands” is a brooding yet breathtakingly gorgeous song that evokes long and silent drives through nothing much but your own thoughts and regrets.

The JOVM mainstays released a gorgeous and cinematic lyric video for “White Sands” shot in the desert, with Murray superimposed as a spectral vision just over the horizon. The visual also feature the song’s lyrics in English and translated in Spanish.

New Video: Austin’s Sun June Releases a Gorgeous Visual for Atmospheric New Single

Austin, TX-based indie rock act Sun June — founding members Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury with Michael Bain (guitar), Sarah Schultz (drums) and Justin Harris (bass) — can trace their origins to when its founding members started the band while they working long hours in director Terrence Malick’s editing rooms, and they would practice whenever Malick was out of town.

Sometime in 2017, they worked with Cross Record’s and Loma’s Dan Duszynski and fellow Malick album and Sleep Good’s Will Paterson on their first set of demos before eventually settling on their current lineup. While working on their Evan Kaspar-produced full-length debut, 2018’s Years at Estuary Recording Facility, the members of the band caught the attention of Keeled Scales Records‘ label head Tony Presley, who lived above the studio and signed the band.

Recorded live to tape without overdubs or any other processing, Years as the band explained in press notes was a “we’ve-been-a-broken-up-a-long-time” album with the material exploring how loss — of friends, family members and even partners — evolves over time, and how one deals with it, but while not being too heavy or serious.

Sun June’s sophomore album Somewhere reportedly showcases a gentle but pronounced maturation of the band’s sound, while featuring 11 songs that bristle with love and longing. The album’s third and latest single, “Bad Girl” is slow-burning and cinematic bit of dream pop centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths and Colwell’s tender vocals. While sonically bringing Slow Air-era Still Corners and others to mind, the song longingly looks back on the freedom and carefree nature of youth with a simultaneous sepia-tinged nostalgia and the perspective gained from getting older.

“Bad Girl is about a deep manic drive to regress into the person I used to be — back when being bad was cool and being cool was everything,” Sun June’s Laura Colwell explains. “I was given a lot of freedom as a teenager and always took advantage of it. After I lost a good friend in high school, my fear of death was overwhelming. The song reflects on how that fear combined with my own thrill-seeking affected my decisions since. It cycles through self-destructive choices I’ve made in relationships to avoid responsibility, and how my fear of loss has lead me down some dumb paths. The tone is sad and resigned, but also self-righteous somehow.

“There’s something pushing and pulling between the lyrics and the beat, so we thought a dance video might draw out some internal tension,” adds Colwell, about the recently released video. “We filmed around Lockhart, TX, where we recorded the album, because there are so many farms and fields out there that are unchanged despite the area’s growth. We took some inspiration from films like Blood Simple and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which were also shot in rural towns just outside of Austin. Basically, we tried to channel Frances McDormand, Willie Nelson, and Haim (if Haim were an only child).

Somewhere is slated for a February 5, 2021 through Run For Cover and Keeled Scales.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Still Corners Release Eerie and Cinematic Visual for Shimmering “The Last Exit”

Through the release of 2012’s Creature of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures, 2016’s Dead Blue and 2018’s Slow Air, the London-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Still Corners — vocalist and keyboardist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes — have sonically bounced between chilly and atmospheric synth pop and shimmering guitar-driven desert noir.

Slated for a January 22, 2021 release through Wrecking Ball Records, the London-based JOVM mainstays’ fifth album The Last Exit sonically continues where its predecessor Slow Air left off — 11 songs centered around shimmering and carefully crafted arrangements of organic instrumentation and Tessa Murray’s smoky crooning. Thematically, The Last Exit takes the listener on a hypnotic journey filled with dilapidated and abandoned towns, mysterious shapes on the horizon and long trips that blur the line between what’s there and not there. “We found something out there in the desert – something in the vast landscapes that went on forever,” Greg Hughes says in press notes.

Interestingly, the album was brought into further focus as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns and quarantines. “There’s always something at the end of the road and for us it was this album. Our plans were put on hold – an album set for release, tours, video shoots, travel,” Tessa Murray explains. “We’d been touring nonstop for years, but we were forced to pause everything. We thought the album was finished but with the crisis found new inspiration and started writing again.” Three of the album’s songs — “Crying,” “Static,” and “‘Till We Meet Again” were written during this period and they reflect upon the profound impact of isolation and the human need for social contact and intimacy.

The Last Exit’s first single, album title track “The Last Exit” is centered around a cinematic arrangement that evokes large, indifferent skies, dusty two-laned blacktop — twinkling keys, subtle blasts of shimmering steel pedal and harmonica, jangling guitar and a galloping beat paired with Murray’s gorgeous vocals and a soaring hook. And while sounding as though it could have been part of the Slow Air sessions, “The Last Exit,” manages to find the duo subtly pushing their sound towards the direction of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack.

Thematically, the song makes a subtle nod to classic Delta Blues, as its exhausted narrator inexplicably feels compelled to inexplicably get in her car and hit the road — without any particular destination in mind. And while written as a sort of love letter to the lover, she’s left behind, the song can also be read as a slow-burning, journey into purgatory.

Directed by the band’s Greg Hughes. the recently released video for “The Last Exit” is the last portion of the duo’s Road Trilogy, following the videos for “The Trip” and “The Message.” Inspired by the 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock, the video begins with Murray abandoning her stalled car and being pulled into the mysterious rocks of Joshua Tree. “In a world where everyone thinks all the corners of the map are filled in we like to suggest there’s something beyond that, something eternal in the landscape and in our psyche,” Tessa Murray explains. “Maybe you don’t see it every day but it’s there and that’s what we are trying to connect to.”

Sam Valdez · Clean

Sam Valdez is a rising,  Nevada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who specializes in an immersive and cinematic sound that draws from elements of shoegaze, Americana, indie rock and pop that’s largely informed by her childhood growing up in the Nevada desert and her formative musical experiences as a child violinist: her work is generally centered around atmospheric and dreamy textures, abstract yet deeply emotive lyrics and classical-inspired arrangements.

So far Valdez’s work has received praise from the likes of Clash Magazine, Consequence of Sound and Earmilk— and she has received regular rotation from KCRW. Adding to a growing profile,  Valdez has opened for Stella Donnelly, Cayucas and Giant Rocks among others.

“Clean,” Valdez’s latest single is a slow-burning, brooding and atmospheric track centered around reverb-drenched guitar, gently padded guitars, a soaring hook and Valdez’s achingly plaintive vocals. And while bearing a resemblance to Slow Air-era Still Corners, the track is a subtle twist on the prototypical love song. “‘Clean is a love song in a way but it’s more about being drawn to self-destruction,” Valdez says. “It’s about finding comfort in uncertainty and appreciating the darker qualities in someone as well as the good.”

 

 

Sunbather is an emerging Brisbane, Australia-based dream pop duo featuring OKBADLANDS‘ Sally Latter (vocals, bass) and Mike Todman (guitar) that can trace its origins to when its core duo — and housemates — started sharing small ideas in the converted basement studio of their windowless, mostly soundproofed apartment. Experiments with guitar layers for melodic texture and vocal harmonies were initially meant to encourage each other in different roles from the previous work, and eventually led to the material which would comprise their Aidan Hogg-produced five song debut EP, Brown Bread slated for release later this year.

“Softly Spoken,” the duo’s woozy debut single and the EP’s first single features Good Boy‘s and Future Haunts‘ Stu McKenzie (drums). Centered around shimmering layers of guitar, Latter’s plaintive vocals, a sinuous bass line, propulsive and upbeat drumming, and a soaring hook, “Softly Spoken” is a lush, shoegazey take on dream pop with a cinematic quality that reminds me a bit of Still CornersSlow Air and Soft Calvary’s full-length debut.

“The lyrics to the song explore the small details that make up a life shared and are a reflection on the need to be gentle with one another,” the band’s Sally Latter explains in press notes.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Still Corners Returns with Two from Abbey Road Studios Live Sessions

With the release of their 2012’s Creatures of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures and 2016’s Dead Blue the London-based dream pop act Still Corners — vocalist and keyboardist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes — have developed a shimmering and atmospheric take on dream pop, centered around Murray’s smoky vocals. 

Last year, the London-based JOVM mainstays released their fourth album, the critically applauded Slow Air. Deriving its name from the sultry Texas summer days and nights that they spent writing and recording the album in Austin, TX, the album found the band making a return to early form, with the band leaning heavily towards arrangements centered around electric and acoustic guitar, live drumming and a minimal use of synthesizers. Some of this may have been inspired by the studio Hughes designed and built for the recording sessions — and by a minimalist approach in which they consciously ensured that they didn’t overthink, while using a variety of old and new microphones. 

While in the past there may have been countless takes and overdubs in an attempt to make things absolutely perfect, Murray and Hughes kept the inevitable mistakes to remind the listener of the material’s emotionality — and also to remind the lister that living, breathing, feeling humans made it. 

Additionally, the band recorded and mixed the album in three months, the fastest they’ve ever done, and as a result, the material possesses a previously unheard urgency while retaining the shimmering and moody atmospherics that they’ve long been known for — especially on album single “Black Lagoon.” After completing what may arguably be the biggest world tour, including a memorable stop at Elsewhere, as well as across North America, Europe and Asia, the duo wanted to document their live sound with a live stood recording. As the band’s Tessa Murray says in press notes. “Abbey Road was the first studio we thought of when deciding where to record. It’s a beautiful and iconic place that we’ve always dreamed of. The sound and experimentation that happened there makes up much of the fabric of recording history.””Vintage consoles lined the corridors as we made our way to the Studio 3. We Could feel the weight of walking into the same studio where Pink Floyd recorded Dark Side of the Moon,” Greg Hughes adds. “We used microphones used on many Beatles’ recordings.” 

During their Abbey Road session, the band recorded a live version of one of my favorite tracks off the album, Black Lagoon — and while being a slightly stripped down rendition, the Abbey Road rendition retains the song’s gorgeous melody and shimmering atmospherics, while possessing a road-tested looseness. “We played this for a session at KUTX in Austin and a lot of people mentioned they would like an official audio recording, so we decided to that as well,” Murray says in press notes. 

The other track the JOVM mainstays recorded found the duo tackling Richard and Linda Thompson’s “The Calvary Cross.” As the band’s Greg Hughes explains in press notes, Richard and Linda Thompson’s I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight is a personal favorite of the duo — and they covered “The Calvary Cross” during their last tour. And while the original was more of a mid-tempo stomper reminiscent of Neil Young, the Still Corners version is a slow-burning and gorgeously atmospheric take, centered around shimmering country-like guitars and Murray’s smoky vocals.  

Founded back in 2014 by Jessica Louise Dye (vocals, guitar) and Jono Bernstein (drums), the New York-based JOVM mainstays High Waisted have received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that draws from surf rock, garage rock, dream pop, Riot Grrl punk and punk rock among others and for their long-running and very popular DIY concert showcase/booze cruise High Waisted at Sea.

The band’s Bryan Pugh-produced full-length debut On Ludlow further cemented their reputation for scuzzy, party ’til you drop rock — but just under the surface, the material revealed vulnerability and ache.  Since the release of On Ludlow, the the band contributed “Firebomb,” a scuzzy, ass-kicking, power chord-driven Lita Ford and Motley Crue-like single to a split single with The Coax, toured with the likes of Hundred Hounds, Beechwood, played a handful of live shows across town and been periodically working on a bunch of new material. And they’ve done all of that while going through a series of lineup changes but one thing has remained: they’re a non-stop party machine.

Throughout their history, the JOVM mainstays have released an ongoing, psychedelic mixtape series, Acid Tapes and like the preceding three other editions, the fourth edition, which will drop on Friday finds the New York-based act covering an eclectic variety of beloved songs. Naturally, the covers reveal the band’s impressive and wide ranging tastes   with the fourth edition featuring the band’s unique take on songs by the likes of The Zombies, 10cc, Kacey Musgraves, The Troggs and others. As the band explains in press notes, the covers allow them to  “dissect songs we love, throw everything we know about them away and rebuild something entirely new.” The band’s frontwoman Jessica Louise Dye adds “It changes the gravitational pull in my creative mind, often spawning a big writing period of new High Waisted material as well.” Along with covers, there are a handful of rare, previously unreleased originals.

The fourth installment of Acid Tapes may arguably find the JOVM mainstays at their best sounding. The guitars shimmer and glisten while the band’s Jessica Louise Dye sounds at her very best, beginning with a gorgeous and Patsy Cline-like take of The Zombies,” “The Way I Feel Inside,” a Pretenders-like original, “Modern Love,” a stunningly accurate 60s and dexterous take on The Lively Ones  instrumental composition “Surf Rock,” a dream pop-like take of Kacey Musgraves’ “High Horse” that nods at Still Corners‘ gorgeous Slow Air, the slow-burning, Quiet Storm-like original “Dream Sea,” and a slow-burning, straightforward take on 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love” closes out the tape’s A Side. The tape’s B side features the anthemic and alt rock meets alt country ballad “Eyes Crying,” which manages to recall Pearl Jam‘s “Dissident” to my ears, a Cars meets Phil Spector Wall of Sound-like take on Wreckless Eric‘s “Whole Wide World” before ending with a heartbreakingly gorgeous cover of Julie London‘s “Cry Me a River.” It’s a wildly eclectic grouping of songs but the mixtape reveals the JOVM mainstays’ ridiculous versatility paired with a deep emotional connection to the material.

“Our recording process has come a long way from the first cassette. Acid Tape, Vol. 1 was recorded while were on acid, all in one go, in a haunted house in Nashville. A buddy of ours threw a room mic over the chandelier and ran it through the tape deck and away we went.  Now the recording process is more deliberate, articulated and better executed.” the band explains in press notes. Vol 4 was recorded entirely in our new studio which Jono Bernstien and Stephen Nielsen built in Bed Stuy. We’re mixing digital and analog gear with vintage instruments and a little magic.”

The band is celebrating the release of  Acid Tape, Vol. 4 with a release show at Mercury Lounge with Yella Belly and Songs for Sabotage. You can check out ticket info and purchase here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/high-waisted-acid-tapes-vol-4-release-party-tickets-69052520949?aff=efbeventtix&fbclid=IwAR1c18aYR2lwka706043Xe4Wu5DGHXUerQf3xwlTVR9BVzl4Asu6z36VUC0

You can purchase the pre-release of the limited edition mixtape here: https://www.highwaisted.party/merch/acid-tape-vol-4

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Still Corners Return with Film Noir-Influenced Visuals for Moody Album Single “The Message”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written about the  London-based duo and JOVM mainstays Still Corners, and as you may recall, the British duo comprised of vocalist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes have developed a reputation for crafting incredibly atmospheric and moody dream pop/synth pop centered around Murray’s smoky vocals and shimmering atmospherics.

The band’s fourth album Slow Air is slated for release later this week through the duo’s Wrecking Light label, and the album derives its name from the sultry summer days and nights they experienced during their time in Austin, TX, where they had written the album. Reportedly, Slow Air is a bit of a return to early form for Murray and Hughes, as the material learn towards arrangements that emphasize electric and acoustic guitars, live drumming and a minimal use of synthesizers.

Recorded in a new studio designed by Hughes, the recorded sessions inspired a minimalist and fluid approach in which they used a variety of old and new microphones while making sure that they didn’t overthink the entire process as is the tendency of modern recording; in fact, they managed to keep the mistakes they recorded on the album, so as to remind the listener of the fact that living, breathing, feeling and imperfect humans made it,  while also ensuring that the important thing was the material’s emotionality.

Murray and Hughes recorded and mixed the album in three months, the fastest they’ve ever done so far, and from albums single “Black Lagoon,” and “The Photograph,” the duo managed to retain the shimmering and moody atmospherics they’ve long been known for but paired with a previously unheard urgency. As Tessa Murray says of the album in press notes, “we wanted to hear beautiful guitar and drums and an otherworldliness, something about indefinable, along with a classic songwriting vibe. We’re always trying to get the sound we hear inside of ourselves, so we moved fast to avoid our brains getting in the way too much. The name Slow Air evokes the feel of the album to me, steady, eerie and beautiful.”

The album’s latest single “The Message” possess a film noir-ish vibe while drawing a bit from classic Sun Records recordings and 50s and 60s country as the song is centered around Murray’s ethereal vocals, a simple but propulsive backbeat and clean, shimmering guitars — and while meant to evoke late night, lonely highways the song as the duo explains is about “leaving someone and telling them on voicemail.”

Filmed and directed by the duo, the recently released video for “The Message” continues a run of incredibly cinematic visuals off the new album — with the visuals focusing on the lonely image of clouds drifting over a mountain range. At one point, there’s a brief superimposing of Murray’s hand calling the love interest at the center of the song and telling them that she’s leaving them, and as a result the visuals while being fittingly moody also evoke an underlying sense of liberation.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Still Corners Release Brooding Visuals for Slow-Burning Torch Song “The Photograph”

Last month, I wrote about the  London-based duo and JOVM mainstays Still Corners, and as you may recall, with the release of their first three albums, Creatures of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures and 2016’s Dead Blue, the British duo comprised of vocalist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes, have developed a reputation for crafting incredibly atmospheric and moody dream pop/synth pop centered around Murray’s smoky vocals and shimmering atmospherics.

Slated for an August 17, 2018 release through the duo’s own Wrecking Light label, their fourth album Slow Air derives its name from the sultry summer days and nights they experienced during their time in Austin, TX, where they had written the album. Reportedly, the forthcoming Slow Air is a bit of a return to early form for Murray and Hughes, as the material learn towards arrangements that emphasize electric and acoustic guitars, live drumming and a minimal use of synthesizers. Recorded in a new studio designed by Hughes, the recorded sessions inspired a minimalist and fluid approach in which they used a variety of old and new microphones while making sure that they didn’t overthink the entire process as is the tendency of modern recording; in fact, they managed to keep the mistakes they recorded on the album, so as to remind the listener of the fact that living, breathing, feeling and imperfect humans made it,  while also making sure that the important thing was the material’s emotionality.

Murray and Hughes recorded and mixed the album in three months, the fastest they’ve ever done so far, and from album single “Black Lagoon,” the London-based duo managed to retain the shimmering and moody atmospherics they’ve long been known for but paired with an previously unheard urgency. As Tessa Murray says of the album in press notes, “we wanted to hear beautiful guitar and drums and an otherworldliness, something about indefinable, along with a classic songwriting vibe. We’re always trying to get the sound we hear inside of ourselves, so we moved fast to avoid our brains getting in the way too much. The name Slow Air evokes the feel of the album to me, steady, eerie and beautiful.”

The album’s latest single “The Photograph,” is the slow-burning, atmospheric, synth-based torch song that to my ears immediately brings Prince to mind — his “Nothing Compares 2 U” in particular, as the song is about a long lost lover, who’s only left an old, slowly fading photograph behind as a reminder of what the song’s narrator once had. The video, which was directed by the duo continues a run of gorgeous and evocative visuals — in this case, black and white video which features Murray’s lone figure walking down a desolate highway eternally searching for something beyond the frame. The visuals manage to evoke the song’s spectral and yearning quality — with the understanding that most things in our lives are rendered as memories, but with a bit of fuzziness and distortion around the edges.