Tag: Sub Pop Records

Interview: A Q&A with Corridor’s Dominic Berthiaume

Corridor
Photo Credit: Dominic Berthiaume

Over the better part of the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the rapidly rising Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor. The French Canadian act, currently featuring longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar), Julien Bakvis (drums) and the band’s newest member Samuel Gougoux received attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere with 2017’s sophomore album Supermercado, which glowing received praise from NPR and Vice, who referred to the album as “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 .  . . ”

The members of Corridor spent the following year touring across Europe with stops at London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festivaland the States with appearances at SXSW and Northside Festival. They followed that up by touring with Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour.

Building upon a growing profile, the band signed to Sub Pop Records, who released their third album, last year’s Junior, making the band the first Francophone act ever on the world renowned label. While continuing their ongoing and highly successful collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Ethier, the album found the band jettisoning the languorous creative process of its predecessors — out of inspired necessity.  Although the members of the band had only just signed to their new label home at the time, they had firmly committed themselves to releasing a new album worth of material every two years. And the band fully intended on fulfilling their long-held commitment. Naturally, when the folks at Sub Pop were informed of this, they gently warned the band that if they wanted to release new material that fall, they needed to send the label a completed album by early early May.

With the ink barely dried on the finalized record contract, the band rushed into the studio and recorded Junior in an inspired and breakneck blitz, finishing the album in mid-April: Six of the album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend — with the album closer “Bang” being written the night before they were to start recording sessions. Reportedly, Corridor’s Jonathan Robert wrote that song’s lyrics while panicking over the possibility of not being able to properly finished what they started.

Interestingly, because of the quickened nature of the Junior sessions, the album’s material features fewer expansive jams and less reliance on overdubs. Even the album’s artwork managed to come about in the nick of time. In spite of other more meticulous and gorgeous artwork they received as potential album art, Robert’s “shitty last minute” collage of an egg saying hello was the one his bandmates wound up approving.  “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” the band’s Berthiaume says of the Junior recording sessions.

Corridor_Junior_CoverOnly

Album tracks like Topographe,” “Pow,” album title track “Junior” “Goldie” and Domino” manage to reveal a wide range of influences: a bit of post-punk here, a little bit of XTC over there, a little bit of The Beatles, a dash of The Beach Boys here and so on. And with some deft craftsmanship and musicianship, they manage to whimsically and mischievously create something novel out of the familiar.

Last year, I caught was luckily to catch the band live twice — a Union Pool set shortly after the release of Junior and a headlining M for Montreal set at Montreal’s Le National that was in my opinion one of the best live sets I caught that year. I recently caught up Corridor’s Dominic Berthiaume, as the band gears up for a headlining, Stateside tour that begins with a March 4, 2020 at Rough Trade, includes appearances at this year’s SXSW and their first ever shows in Florida. Adding to the growing buzz surrounding the band since the release of Junior, this tour finds the band playing at some larger venues.

In the meantime, with this Q&A with Corridor’s Berthiaume, we speak a bit about Montreal’s food and music scenes, the aforementioned Union Pool and M for Montreal sets, their influences, the upcoming tour and more. The interview is below the jump, as they say. I’ve personally been in some of the spots Berthiaume has mentioned — and they give you a unique taste of Montreal and its people. And some of them I’ll have to check out on a return trip.

For my fellow New Yorkers, if you’re interested in the upcoming Rough Trade Show, ticket information is here: https://www.roughtradenyc.com/shows/detail/389053-corridor.  The rest of the tour dates are below.

Tour Dates

Mar. 04 – Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade NYC *
Mar. 07 – Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub *
Mar. 08 – Tampa, FL – Hooch and Hive *
Mar. 09 – Miami, FL – Shirley’s at Gramps *
Mar. 13 – San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger *
Mar. 14 – Houston, TX – Satellite Bar *
Mar. 16 – Austin, TX – SXSW
Mar. 17 – Austin, TX – SXSW
Mar. 18 – Austin, TX – SXSW
Mar. 19 – Austin, TX – SXSW
Mar. 20 – Dallas, TX – Nasher Sculpture
Mar. 21 – Austin, TX – SXSW
Mar. 22 – Hot Springs, AR – VOV Festival *
Mar. 23 – Nashville, TN – DRKMTTR *
Mar. 24 – Atlanta, GA – 529 *
Mar. 26 – Richmond, VA – Poor Boys *
*w/ Deeper

______________

WRH: I understand that this is a hotly debated question around Montreal, but who has the best poutine and why? 

Dominic Berthiaume: Well, I’m not a poutine expert, but the “Patatine” at Patati Patata is pretty bonkers. They just add few veggies and a single kalamata olive in it (lol). Close to my place there’s Le Nouveau Système restaurant that is a landmark, its poutine and hot dogs are really legit. The most famous would be La Banquise, a bit overrated, but it’s opened 24 hours. I know for fact that the best pho is at Pho Tay Ho and the best pizza at Pizza Bouquet.

 WRH A lot of my readers are based in the US – an overwhelming portion of them, are based in New York. What’s one spot that New Yorkers should go to get a real taste of Montreal? 

DB: It always depends of what you’re interested in. The Mile End used to have a lot of soul, like Williamsburg in Brooklyn, but recent gentrification/rent increases took most of it. Though, some places are still worth it. Fairmount or St. Viateur bagels, Kem CoBa (I’m not really into ice scream but everyone loves it), Lester’s smoked meat deli (actually better than Schwartz’s), Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore, Phonopolis Records, Casa del Popolo (bar & venue) and Snack’n Blues Bar.

 WRH: Where’s your favorite place in Montreal to catch live music? Why? 

DB: I guess my favorite would be Brasserie Beaubien. It’s literally a 1 min walk from my place. Great place to see up and coming bands. Service is great. Slot machines at the back. Cheap ATM fees. It’s “divey” and low key, I love it. Order a tall Laurentideand you should fit in.

WRH: Montreal has a very vibrant and interesting music scene. Is there an act from the city that should be getting more attention and love that isn’t at the moment?

DB: I think Cindy Lee are now based in Montreal. They move every 4 months lol, but their brand- new album What’s Tonight to Eternity is mind blowing. Our dear friends Chocolat released Jazz engagé last year, huge piece of rock. We just played a show with Reviews, they’re great too. You’ll hear about Population II pretty soon since they will release an album on an American label later this year, be sure to check them out. The list could go on and on.

WRH: For a band who sings and writes completely in French, Corridor has received quite a bit of attention in the States and elsewhere. How does that feel? Do you feel any pressure to start writing songs in English?

DB: It’s special to see that our band is getting this attention in the States, quite unusual I’d say. It’s cool though. If we ever write in English it will most probably suck, so we won’t go there.

WRH: A musician couple I know saw you in Philadelphia during your Stateside tour last year. They raved about that set, at one point saying that it was the best show they saw all year. I saw the and for the first time, the following night at Union Pool. After the show, I had a spirited conversation about the show, and it got into this argument about the influences we thought we heard in your sound. They mentioned Stereolab and Slowdive. I mentioned XTC and The Beatles. We went back and forth on it for a while. So, we need this debate settled: Who are your influences?

DB: All of the above and none of them at the same time. We started this band after listening to too much Sonic Youth and Women. Then we moved on finding our own sound. I think Supermercado and Junior sound like Corridor records. I personally didn’t know Stereolab, Slowdive and XTC back when we started to write songs, so none of you were right in the argument ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

WRH: Last November, I caught the band play what was the one of the best sets of M for Montreal, and one of the best sets I caught all year. The Le National set just had a much different energy than the Brooklyn one. Some of being that it was a hometown show in front of longtime fans, friends and family, which gave it this triumphant, local heroes have finally come home sort of feel to me.  Everyone in the audience knew every single song and they were desperate for more in a way that doesn’t seem to happen much in New York.  There’s something about the building, too; it has an important place in the city’s culture and historical and you can feel it everywhere. How did it feel to one of the headlining acts of M for Montreal? And how was it like to play at Le National in front of the hometown crowd?

DB: The Union Pool show was a little bit tricky. It was the second time we were actually playing the new Junior material live, so we were all focused on playing the right thing. It was less spontaneous than what it became by the time we played at Le National. Playing in that venue was kinda insane. I saw Deerhunter, Ariel Pink, Thee Oh Sees and so many other great acts perform there. It felt like we’ve accomplished something. I think that it was the fifth time we played M for Montreal, being one of the “headlining acts” felt good too. After all, we’re starting to become some kind of “veteran band” in our hometown, which I don’t know if it’s good or bad because old bands usually suck.

WRH: Your latest album Junior found the band adopting a completely different creative processor – out of necessity. According to press notes, you signed to Sub Pop and you had every intention of continuing your commitment of releasing a new album worth of material every two years. And in order to do so, your new label told that in order for you to continue that commitment, you needed to submit a completed album by May.  The ink’s barely dried on the contract and you run into the studio to furiously write and record material. Was there any point in which you felt like maybe you weren’t going to make your deadline – or where you maybe regretted being so firm in your commitment? 

 DB: I think our biggest regret is that we toured for two weeks in the U.S while we were in the middle of the recording/editing/mixing process. The tour was fun, but kinda exhausting and frustrating because all we had in mind was finishing that album. When we came back from this tour, we had a very short amount of time to actually finish it. Now I feel that we should’ve taken this “tour time” to work on the album instead. Still happy with what came out of it, but I don’t know. The first six months of 2019 were very intense. Being in a band is a constant “hit or miss” experience, gotta live with your good and bad decisions and move forward.

WRH: With the time crunch involved in the writing and recording of Junior, when did you know that you had finished material?  Would you return to such a creative process?

DB: By the time the Sub Pop contract was inked, we had four finished song and a lot of incomplete ideas. We took a month to write new songs, practice and fine tune them. Then we just played all of the finished and “almost” finished songs to our producer Emmanuel Ethier and he helped us select which ones we would record in the studio the next month. Not sure if we would return to such creative process. We like to try new things. I don’t know what we’ll do next, but I’m pretty sure we’ll take more time to write the fourth album and return with something fresh.

The band features longtime best friends Dominic Berthiaume (vocals, bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals, guitar, synths). To me Junior’s material and your live show seems to reflect that sort of deep and abiding closeness – that sort of unwritten and unspoken connection really shines between the duo and the rest of the band.  How is like to write, record and perform with your best friend?

DB: We’ve had punk and hardcore bands together. I think some of the live energy still come from there. Performing live is all about fun, I think the moment we won’t be enjoying ourselves on stage we’ll just stop playing shows. I personally never had a band without Jonathan, so writing, recording and performing music with my best friend is kinda all I know. It’s been great, I’d say we agree on most of the things, when we don’t, the other guys settle it. Corridor is democratic, the majority always wins.

WRH: Corridor is about to embark on a Stateside tour, that will include a March 4th stop at Rough Trade. You’re starting to play larger venues on this run, and it feels like there’s some serious momentum surrounding the band.  How does that feel? And what should we expect on this run?  

DB: Since last fall we’ve added new live member Samuel Gougoux, it’s been great to rework some of the older songs with him. Hopefully we will play a different set from what we played at Union Pool; I should keep track of what we play in the cities we tour lol. I guess playing in larger venues is cool, sound systems are usually better quality and it makes Miguel (our sound engineer) happy. I like when Miguel is happy. We’ll tour Florida for the first time, I’m always excited when we play places we’ve never been before. Escaping to the south from a winter month in Montreal is pretty awesome too.

 WRH: After you finish this run of tour dates, what’s next?

DB: Some rest in April. More runs of tour dates in May, June, July and August and maybe more in the fall. 2020 will be a touring year. Hopefully we’ll write some new stuff between tours. We’ll see how it goes.

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New Video: Moaning Releases a Psychedelic, ’80s Inspired, Valentine’s Day Themed, Animated Visual for “Fall In Love”

A couple of years ago, I managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Los Angeles-based indie rock/post punk trio Moaning.  The members of the band —  Sean Solomon (vocals, guitar), Pascal Stevenson (keys, bass) and Andrew MacKelvie (drums) — have been friends and collaborators in Los Angeles’ DIY scene for the better part of a decade through music and other creative pursuits in different media — Solomon is also a noted illustrator, art director and animator while Stevenson and MacKelvie have played in or produced and engineered acclaimed and rapidly rising acts like Cherry Glazerr, Sasami and Surf Curse.

Now, as you may recall, with the release of 2018’s self-titled, full-length debut, the members of Moaning received attention from a number of nationally and internationally known media outlets including  The Fader, The Guardian, DIY Magazine,Stereogum, and others for a moody and angular post-punk sound that seemed to recall Joy Division, Interpol and Preoccupations. Slated for a March 20, 2020 release through Sub Pop Records, the Los Angeles-based trio’s highly-anticipated Alex Newport-produced and engineered sophomore album Uneasy Laughter is a much more collaborative effort than its predecessor, an effort that finds the band actively brightening the claustrophobic and uneasy sound that won them attention by trading guitars for synths and beats. 

Thematically, the album focuses on the everyday anxieties of being a somewhat functioning human in the madness of our current century — with the material touching upon the personal and universal. “We’ve known each other forever and we’re really comfortable trying to express where we’re at. A lot of bands aren’t so close,” the band’s Andrew MacKelvie says in press notes. Sean Solomon, who celebrated a year of sobriety during the Uneasy Laughter sessions adds “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.”

Last month, I wrote about Uneasy Laughter’s first single, the brooding “Ego.” Centered around shimmering synth, a soaring hook and a blistering guitar solo, the song found the band’s sound boldly and confidently moving in the direction of early 80s New Order. Thematically speaking, the song’s narrator desperately takes stock of himself and his relationships to others with a brutally unflinching honesty. The album’s second and latest single “Fall In Love” is centered around propulsive and forceful drumming, shimmering synth arpeggios, Solomon’s ironically detached vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Flock of Seagulls, the aforementioned New Order and others, the track is a skeptical — if not overtly cynical — take on love and romantic relationships, while featuring a narrator, who has a distorted and self-loathing view of themselves. 

“People my age are skeptical of love because we see how many previous generations got divorced or went through painful experiences,” the band’s Sean Solomon says in press notes. “The song is about being afraid to fall in love because of expecting heartbreak. it’s about hating yourself too much to open yourself up to someone else. It’s a bummer of a song lyrically, but it’s pretty fun to dance to!”

Directed by the band’s Sean Solomon with additional animation by Sarah Schmidt, the recently released video is a psychedelic and fever dream-like depiction of a romance between two young people that seems doomed to fail. “I made the music video in my bedroom a couple of weeks ago,” Solomon recalls in press notes. “It’s a psychedelic depiction of an imaginary romance. It’s inspired by early experimental animations like Belladonna of Sadness and Heavy Metal. Both the song and the video are perfect for everyone feeling like shit this Valentine’s Day.” 

Atlanta-based indie rock act Arbor Labor Union features band members that have long been members of — and have been influenced by — the ideology and ethos of DIY punk and hardcore, with their work drawing from cosmic country and cosmic Americana, Whitman, an appreciation towards nature and the working-class sympathies of Woody Guthrie. Or in the band’s words “CCR meets The Minute Men.”
Their sophomore album, 2016’s I Hear You was released through Sub Pop Records and with a growing profile, the members of Arbor Labor Union toured with the likes of
Dinosaur, Jr.,Outer Spaces, Gnarwhal and The Gotobeds among others. Now, as you may recall late last year, I wrote about the shaggy and twangy “Flowerhead,” the first single off the band’s soon-to-be-released third full-length album New Petal Instants. Centered around a buoyant and propulsive CCR meets Sun Records country-like groove, the jam-like track is centered around a loose and expansive song structure paired with mind-melting meditations on nature and cosmos. But unlike their most of their previously released material, “Flowerhead” is arguably the most danceable/boppable they’ve ever released. 

New Petal Instants‘ latest single is the rootsy, CCR meets Neil Young and Crazy Horse-like jam “Give Us The Light.” Centered around a buoyant groove, the track twangy guitars and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook, the expansive song is a joyous and expansive meditation on nature and our connection to it. And while seemingly inspired by mind-expanding substances and whiskey, the song may be among the most accessible of their catalog.

 

New Video: Moaning Release’s a Surreal and Uneasy Visual for “Ego”

Back in 2018, I spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Los Angeles-based indie rock/post punk trio Moaning.  Comprised of Sean Solomon (vocals, guitar), Pascal Stevenson (keys, bass) and Andrew MacKelvie (drums), the members of Moaning have been friends and collaborators in Los Angeles’ DIY scene for the better part of a decade through music and other creative pursuits in different media — Solomon is also a noted illustrator, art director and animator while Stevenson and MacKelvie have played in or produced and engineered acclaimed and rapidly rising acts like Cherry Glazerr, Sasami and Surf Curse.

With the release of 2018’s self-titled full-length debut, the Los Angeles-based trio received attention from a number of nationally and internationally known media outlets including  The Fader, The Guardian, DIY Magazine,Stereogum, and others for a moody and angular post-punk sound that seemed to recall Joy Division, Interpol and Preoccupations. Building upon the success of their self-titled debut, the trio’s long-awaited sophomore album Uneasy Laughter is slated for a March 20. 2020 release through Sub Pop Records. Interestingly, Moaning’s Alex Newport-produced and engineered sophomore album is a more collaborative effort that finds the members of the band brightening the claustrophobic and uneasy sound that first won them attention — mainly through trading guitars for synths and beats. Thematically, the album focuses on the everyday anxieties of being a somewhat function human in the madness that’s this current century — with the material touching upon the personal and universal. “We’ve known each other forever and we’re really comfortable trying to express where we’re at. A lot of bands aren’t so close,” the band’s Andrew MacKelvie says in press notes. Sean Solomon, who celebrated a year of sobriety during the Uneasy Laughter sessions adds “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.” 

Uneasy Laughter’s first single, the brooding “Ego” will further cement the trio’s long-held reputation for crafting moody material — and while featuring guitars during a blistering solo, the song is primarily centered around shimmering synths and a soaring hook. Although “Ego” finds the band’s sound boldly moving in the direction of say, 80s New Order, the song thematically finds its narrator desperately taking stock of himself and his relationships to others with an unflinching honesty. Interestingly, the initial demo was slower and was written in what the band’s Stevenson calls “a strange time signature,” which at the time stymied Solomon’s attempt to write vocal melodies. Borrowing a MacKelvie drumbeat from a demo of a different song, Stevenson found that it fit his original song perfectly. The track was fleshed out further in practices and through passing demos back and forth, with the result “perfectly capturing every idea we wanted to play with,” says MacKelvie. “I don’t think we would have been able to approach writing a song that way before,” adds Stevenson. “We purposely avoided the impulse to add guitars to everything, letting the melodies of the synth and vocals be the focus. We wanted to embrace the songs ability to slip between genre lines.

“The lyrics are about letting go of your own bullshit to help other people. Wanting to love yourself to love others. The ego can make you feel like you’re the greatest person in the world or the worst.” stated vocalist Sean Solomon. It makes you think your problems are abnormally different which is isolating and rarely true. The song is a reminder that listening to other perspectives is important and beneficial to both parties involved.”

Directed by Ambar Navarro, the recently released video for “Ego” features the members of the band in a variety of different costumes — but at its core, the video’s protagonist takes stock of himself, his life and how he relates to others. 

New Video: Arbor Labor Union Releases a Hallucinogenic Animated Visual for “Flowerhead”

Atlanta-based indie rock act Arbor Labor Union, comprised of Bo Orr (vocals, guitar), Ben Salle (drums), Brain Atoms (guitar) and Ryan Evers (bass) features band members have long been members of — and have been influenced by — the ideology and ethos of DIY punk and hardcore, with their work drawing from cosmic country and cosmic Americana, Whitman, an appreciation towards nature and the working-class sympathies of Woody Guthrie. Or in the band’s words “CCR meets The Minute Men.”

Their sophomore album, 2016’s I Hear You was released through Sub Pop Records and building upon a growing profile, the Atlanta-based act toured with the likes of Dinosaur, Jr.,Outer Spaces, Gnarwhal and The Gotobeds among others. It’s been a while since I’ve personally heard from them or have written about them — but as it turns out, the band had been busy working on their highly-anticipated, third album New Petal Instants, which is slated for a February 7, 2019 through Arrowhawk Records. The forthcoming album’s first single is the shaggy and twangy “Flowerhead.” While featuring a buoyant and propulsive CCR meets Sun Records country-like groove, the jam-like track is centered around a loose and expansive song structure paired with mind-melting meditations on nature and cosmos. But unlike their most of their previously released material, “Flowerhead” is arguably the most danceable/boppable they’ve ever released. 

The recently released video for “Flowerhead” features stop motion-animation and collages by the band’s Bo Orr and edited stock footage — and while continuing the band’s long-held DIY ethos, the video is like the Grand Ole Opry on hallucinogens. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays clipping and Shabazz Palaces Team Up on a Trippy and Swaggering New Single

I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based hip-hop trio Clipping over the past few years of this site’s nine-plus year history. And as you may recall, the act — production duo Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson and frontperson Daveed Diggs — initially released material without the expectation of receiving commercial or critical success: their earliest releases were built around Snipes’ and Hutson’s sparse and abrasive productions featuring industrial clang, clink and clatter and samples of field recordings paired with Diggs’ rapid-fire narrative driven flow, which is full of surrealistically brutal and violent imagery and swaggering braggadocio.

Sub Pop Records signed the Los Angeles-based trio and released 2014’s clpping. an effort that received attention across the blogosphere, including here. When Diggs went on to star in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical Hamilton, winning a Tony Award for his dual roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette, the act was on an informal hiatus. But during that time, the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays reconvened to write and record 2016’s critically applauded effort Splendor & Misery, a Sci-Fi dystopian concept album that is futuristic and yet describes our increasingly frightening and bizarre present.

Clipping’s latest full-length, There Existed an Addiction to Blood was released last month, and the album which features guest spots from Ed Balloon, La Chat, Counterfeit Madison and Pedestrian Deposit and a list of others interpreting horrorcore, a purposefully absurdist and significant sub-genre of hip hop pioneered by Brotha Lynch Hung, Gravediggaz, which featured The RZA and featured seminal releases from Geto Boys, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and pretty much most of Memphis cassette tape rap during the mid 1990s. And while drawing from the horrorcore movement of the mid 90s, the album is also partially inspired by Ganja & Hess, the 1973 vampire cult classic, regarded as one of the highlights of the Blaxploitation era — the title is derived from the film and the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays sampled part of the score on the album.

Interestingly, back in 2017 clipping was commissioned to create a song for a This American Life episode about Afrofuturism. The end result was “The Deep,” a dark sci-fi tale about the underwater-dwelling descendants of African women thrown off slave ships, based on the mythology created by Detroit-based electronic group Drexciya. The song earned the JOVM mainstays a Hugo Award nomination last year — and they constructed a sound installation based on the single at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Sub Pop will be releasing “The Deep” on vinyl and as a digital download globally on November 29. Both the vinyl and digital versions include two previously unreleased tracks “Drownt” and “Aquacode Databreaks,” a collaboration with fellow JOVM mainstays Shabazz Palaces. Centered around an abrasive, industrial-leaning production featuring clang and clatter and glistening synth arpeggios, the track features two of hip-hop’s most dexterous and dense lyricists creating a fantastical world full of blinged out mermaids flossing. dancing — and most importantly being defiantly, boldly black as fuck. 

Interestingly, the 12″ single comes on the heels of the release of The Deep, a novella by two-time Astounding Award-nominated author Rivers Solomon with clipping credited as co-authors,. inspired by the title track and published by Saga Press. 

New Audio: Montreal’s Corridor Returns with an Explosive Post Punk-like New Single

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a little bit about the Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar) and Julien Bakvis (drums), received attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere with the release of 2015’s Le Voyage Éternel and 2017’s Supermercado. In fact, Supermercado received glowing praise from NPR and Vice, who referred to Supermercado as “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 .  . . ” 

Last year, building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Quebecois band toured across Europe and made their Stateside debut with appearances at SXSW and Northside Music Festival. Shortly after, they returned to the States, touring with British post-punk act Shame. And earlier this year. they opened for Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour, and have made appearances at London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival. Building upon the rapidly growing momentum surrounding the band, their third, full-length album Junior is slated for release next week through Sub Pop Records, making them the first Francophone band that the renowned indie label has ever signed.  

Junior manages to continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Ethier but unlike its predecessors, the album found the band jettisoning the languorous creative process of its predecessors — out of inspired necessity. Although the members of Corridor had just signed to their new label, the band firmly committed themselves to releasing a new album every two years. At the time, Sub Pop gently warned the members of the band that if they wanted to release new material this fall that they needed the completed album by May 10. 

So with the ink barely dried on the finalized deal, the members of Corridor went into the studio and recorded Junior in an inspired blitz, finishing the album in mid-April. Six of the album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend — with the lyrics to “Bang” written on the eve of the sessions, as the band’s Jonathan Robert began to panic. And as a result, the album’s material features fewer expansive jams, fewer overdubs. Even the album’s artwork came in the nick of time: in spite of other, meticulous and gorgeous artwork they received, Robert’s “shitty last minute collage” (of an egg saying hello) was the one his bandmates went for. “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” the band’s Berthiaume says of the Junior recording sessions.

Junior’s first single “Topographe,” was a crafted, breakneck gallop centered around jittering and jangling guitars, propulsive drumming and reverb-drenched call and response vocals — with the end result being a muscular swoon, evoking the fluttering pangs of love. “Domino,” the album’s second single is a breezy track that was one part New Zealand-styled jangle pop and one part explosive, motorik groove driven jam that revealed a unit that can craft an incredibly infectious track that balances deliberate craft with a wild, improvised frenzy. “Pow,” Junior’s mesmerizing, third single may arguably be the most recognizably post punk-like song of the album. Centered around angular guitar lines,  fluttering synths, ethereal vocals, an infectious yet driving hook, jittery hi-hat and explosive toms, which seem to give the song its explosive title. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Clipping. Return with an Eerie and Historically Inspired Visual for “Blood of the Fang”

I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based hip-hop trio Clipping over the past few years of this site’s nine-plays year history. And as you may recall, the act — production duo Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson and frontperson Daveed Diggs — never expected to achieve much in the way of critical or commercial success: their earliest releases were built around Snipes’ and Hutson’s sparse and abrasive productions featuring industrial clang, clink and clatter and samples of field recordings paired with Diggs’ rapid-fire narrative driven flow, which is full of surrealistically brutal and violent imagery and swaggering braggadocio.

Sub Pop Records signed the Los Angeles-based trio and released 2014’s clpping. an effort that received attention across the blogosphere, including here. When Diggs went on to star in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical Hamilton, winning a Tony Award for his dual roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette, the act was on an informal hiatus. But during that time, the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays reconvened to write and record 2016’s critically applauded effort Splendor & Misery, a Sci-Fi dystopian concept album that is futuristic and yet describes our increasingly frightening and bizarre present.

Clipping.’s  latest full-length effort, There Existed an Addiction to Blood is slated for an October 18, 2019 release, and the album, which features guest spots from Ed Balloon, La Chat, Counterfeit Madison and Pedestrian Deposit among a list of others, finds the acclaimed act interpreting another rap splinter sect through their own singular lens — in this case, horrorcore, a purposefully absurdist and significant sub-genre that flourished for a brief few moments in the mid 1990s. Some of its pioneers included Brotha Lynch Hung, Gravediggaz, which featured The RZA — and it included seminal releases from Geto Boys, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and pretty much most of Memphis cassette tape rap.

Interestingly, There Existed an Addiction to Blood is partially inspired by Ganja & Hess, the 1973 vampire cult classic, regarded as one of the highlights of the Blaxploitation era — the title is derived from the film and the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays sampled part of the score on the album. (More on that later.) Over the past month or so, I’ve written about two of the forthcoming album’s previously released singles: the menacing and cinematic “Nothing Is Safe,” a track that loving employs the tropes of gangsta rap and horror films in a way that recalls Geto Boys’ hallucinogenic “My Mind Playing Tricks On Me.” — and “La Mala Ordina,” a collaborative track featuring guest spots from The Rita, Benny The Butcher and Elcamino that’s full of mayhem, copious gore paired with boom bap-like beats that’s part Mobb Deep’s “Get It Twisted“ and part DMX.

There Existed an Addition to Blood’s third and latest single “Blood of the Fang”  is built around a chopped up sample from Sam Waymon’s score to the 1973 blaxploitation vampire film Ganja and Hess paired with a production featuring stuttering beats, wobbling low end and fluttering synths. Lyrically, Diggs conjures an alternate history of black political and social struggle in the 60s and 70s, name-dropping a who’s who of radical activists  — and then reimagining them as a sort of undead superhero team continuing the necessary fight against systems of oppression and racism.  Whereas the album’s two previously released singles were full of menace and mayhem, “Blood of the Fang” is full of fitting righteous (and necessary) fury.

Directed by multidisciplinary artist Lars Jan, the recently released video for “Blood of the Fang” is inspired by a famous of Huey Newtown — co-founder of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense — handcuffed to a hospital gurney while being treated for a gunshot wound in the stomach after a gun battle with Oakland police in October 1967. The video set in an eerie hospital operating room, features the members of Clipping. performing a series of bloody surgical procedures.