Tag: Sub Pop Records

New Audio: Montreal’s Corridor Releases a Breezy Genre-Defying Jam

With the release of 2015’s Le Voyage Éternel and 2017’s Supermercado, the Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor — longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar) and Julien Bakvis (drums) — quickly won attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere, as they received glowing praise from the likes of 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.

This year, the band opened for Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour, and they’ve already made appearances at the London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival. Adding to an already busy year, the band’s third full-length album Junior is slated for an October 18, 2019 release through Sub Pop Records, making them the first Francophone band that the renowned indie label has ever signed.  Junior, which continues their ongoing collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Either finds 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. Sub Pop gently warned the band that if they wanted to release new material this fall that they needed material 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.

Last month, I wrote about Junior’s first single “Topographe,” a crafted, breakneck gallop centered around jittering and jangling guitars, propulsive drumming and reverb-drenched call and response vocals creating a muscular swoon that seems to evoke the fluttering pangs of love. “Domino,” Junior’s second and latest single is a breezy and infectious track that’s one part New Zealand-styled jangle pop and one part explosive, motorik groove-driven jam, with a tight hook. And while revealing a band with a remarkable ability to craft an infectious tune, the band manages to balance deliberation and order with a wild, unadulterated frenzy.

“People are often glorifying what being an artist or a musician can mean. Art doesn’t necessarily make you a better person,” the band’s Jonathan Robert says in press notes. “There can be angst, stress and so on. It can have a negative, direct impact on the people closest to you. ‘Domino’ is about navigating just that. It is the first song out of Junior that we’ve composed and we’ve played it live quite a few times already.”

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Lyric Video: Clipping.’s Menacing “La Mala Ordina”

Over the past few years of this site’s nine-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based industrial hip hop/experimental hip hop trio Clipping. The act, which is comprised of production duo Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson and emcee Daveed Diggs never expected to achieve anything near critical or commercial success: their earliest releases were centered 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-drigven flow, full of surrealistic, brutally violent imagery and swaggering braggadocio. 

Their full-length debut, 2013’s Midcity caught the attention of Sub Pop Records, who over the past decade have developed a reputation for releasing the work of a diverse array of artists including Debo Band, Shabazz Palaces, GOAT, Daughn Gibson. Sub Pop signed the Los Angeles-based trio and released 2014’s clipping. 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 fourth album (and third through Sub Pop), 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 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.

Last month, I wrote about the menacing and cinematic “Nothing Is Safe.” Centered around plinking, anxiety-inducing keys and arpeggiated synths, the eerie, horror movie-like production allows enough space for Diggs’ complex, multi-syllabic and dense flow to comfortably unfurl and narrate a tense, paranoiac dread-filled tale about a trap house under siege by a rival gang. Diggs’ narrative is so descriptive and hyper realistic that you can fear the horror of the narrator as he sees his homey get gunned down, feel the bullets whiz past you and hear the chandelier smash into the floor. In this universe, death is a constant, inescapable and malevolent force. And while lovingly employing the tropes of gangsta rap and horror films, complete with doomed and fatalistic characters and scenarios, the track finds the trio expanding upon their sound in a way that nods at Geto Boys’ hallucinogenic “My Mind Playing Tricks On Me.” “La Mala Ordina,” There Existed an Addiction to Blood’s latest single features Diggs, The Rita, Benny The Butcher and Elcamino spitting rhymes full of mayhem, copious gore, street gangsta shit and hustling over a sparse and menacing production featuring twinkling and arpeggiated keys, buzzing bass synths and tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats. Sonically and lyrically, the track is part Mobb Deep (at the moment, I’m reminded of “Get It Twisted”) part DMX (uh, everything he’s ever really done). part horror film and it may arguably be the most menacing, mayhem and viciousness-filled hip hop song I’ve come across all year. 

New Video: Montreal’s Corridor Releases a Hallucinogenic and Whimsical Visual for “Topographe”

With the release of 2015’s Le Voyage Éternel and 2017’s Supermercado, the Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor — longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar) and Julien Bakvis (drums) — quickly won attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere, as they received glowing praise from the likes of 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. 

This year, the band opened for Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour, and they’ve already made appearances at the London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival. Adding to an already busy year, the band’s third full-length album Junior is slated for an October 18, 2019 release through Sub Pop Records, making them the first Francophone band that the renowned indie label has ever signed.  Junior, which continues their ongoing collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Either finds 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. Sub Pop gently warned the band that if they wanted to release new material this fall that they needed material 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. 

Frequently, the songs that manage to be difficult to describe on on hand, yet remarkably accessible catch a hold on my ears and attention. Junior’s first single, “Topographe” is a breakneck gallop centered around jittering and jangling guitars, propulsive drumming,  and reverb-drenched call and response vocals. It’s a muscular swoon that seems to evoke the fluttering pangs of first love. And while being a remarkably urgent track, the song possesses a timeless quality because it’s a deliberately crafted bit of material that also liberally borrows from several decades of rock — particularly, jangle pop, shoegaze, psych rock and so on. 

Directed by the band’s Jonathan Robert, the recently released animated video for “Topographe” features the members band in a Wes Anderson meets Monty Python-like world that’s full of hallucinogenic and surreal whimsy. “While I’ve explored and mixed many different techniques in my past music videos, it’s the first time that I took the process this far, blending all of them together in one place,” Robert explains. “It’s a melting pot of stop motion, green screen, illustration, animation, collage, and live video. It’s the visual equivalent of the progression of the song, a simple idea that takes amplitude through repetition.”

New Video: METZ Releases an Explosive Take on a Gary Numan Classic

I’ve written quite a bit about the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ over the years and if you’ve been frequenting this during that same period, you may recall that their third album, 2017’s Strange Peace found the band pushing their songwriting in new directions with their most personal and politically charged work to date — and while retaining the furious and blistering energy of their live sets, the material managed to capture the anxiety, uncertainty, fear and outrage that many of have felt over the past couple of years. 

Earlier this year, Sub Pop Records released Automat, a collection of METZ’s non-album singles, B-sides and rarities dating back to 2009 on vinyl for the first time — including, the band’s long out-of-print (pre-Sub Pop) recordings. Essentially, the album is designed as a chronological trip through the acclaimed Canadian JOVM mainstays lesser-known material. Interestingly, the vinyl version of Automat included a bonus 7′ single of the band covering three very diverse songs, which will offer fans and listeners a glimpse into their wide-ranging tastes — a cover of Sparklehorse’s “Pig” off a very limited 2012 Record Store Day split single, originally released by Toronto-based record store, Sonic Boom; a cover of The Urinals’ “I’m a Bug” originally released on YouTube in 2014′; and lastly, a previously unreleased cover of Gary Numan’s “M.E.” Today, the three bonus tracks were made available to all digital services. So with that in mind, check out METZ’s explosive, feedback-driven take on Gary Numan’s classic “M.E.” 

Featuring a three-headed Pleasure Principle hydra illustrated by Kirin Booth and animation by Martin MacPherson, the recently released video for “M.E.” is a mesmerizing and hallucinogenic romp.

Lyric Video: Clipping’s Eerie New Single “Nothing Is Safe”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed Los Angeles-based industrial hip hop/experimental hip hop trio Clipping. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of production duo Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson, along with emcee Daveed Diggs never expected to achieve anything near commercial success — their earliest releases were centered round Snipes’ and Hutson’s sparse, abrasive productions featuring industrial clang, clink and clatter and samples of field recordings paired with Diggs dexterous rapid fire, narrative-driven flow, full of surrealistic, brutally violent imagery and swaggering braggadocio. And with the release of their full-length debut Midcity, the album caught the attention of renowned indie label Sub Pop Records, who over the past decade have developed a reputation for releasing the work of a diverse array of artists including Debo Band, Shabazz Palaces, GOAT, Daughn Gibson and others, as well as the Los Angeles-based hip-hop trio’s 2014 sophomore effort clppng, an effort that received attention across the blogosphere, including this site.

When Diggs went on to star in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical Hamilton, winning a Tony 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 both futuristic and yet describes our increasingly frightening and bizarre present. 

Clipping’s fourth album (and third through Sub Pop), 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 finds the acclaimed act interpreting another rap splinter sect through their own singular lens — in this case, horror core, 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. 

There Existed an Addiction to Blood’s latest single is the menacing and cinematic, “Nothing Is Safe.” Centered around plinking and anxiety-inducing keys and arpeggiated synths, the sparse and eerie horror movie-like production is spacious enough for Daveed Diggs complex, multi-syllabic and dense flow to comfortably unfurl and narrate a tense, paranoiac dread-filled story about a trap house being shot at by a rival gang. Diggs’ narrative is so descriptive and hyper realistic that you can fear the horror of the narrator as he sees his homey get gunned down, feel the bullets whiz past you and hear the chandelier smash into the floor. In this universe, death is a constant, inescapable and malevolent force. And while lovingly employing the tropes of gangsta rap and horror films, complete with doomed and fatalistic characters and scenarios, the track finds the trio expanding upon their sound in a way that nods at Geto Boys’ hallucinogenic “My Mind Playing Tricks On Me.” 

Lyric Video: Minor Poet’s Breezy “Tropic of Cancer”

Andrew Carter is a Richmond, VA-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has spent the past few years writing and recording music by himself in various bedrooms and basements with his solo recording project Minor Poet. His full-length debut, 2017’s And How combined Carter’s love of carefully crafted pop with a loose, fun, off-the-cuff production that eventually received press from American Songwriter, Magnet, The Wild Honey Pie, Impose and others, while helping Carter develop a small but devoted fanbase. Naturally, this has allowed Minor Poet to grow from a labor of love into a nationally touring band.

Carter’s sophomore Minor Poet album The Good News is slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Sub Pop Records, and the album, which was recorded over the course of four days at Montrose Recording, reportedly finds Carter expanding the boundaries of the project’s sound over the course of six songs. While previous Minor Poet releases featured Carter playing all the instruments and handling production duties, the material on The Good News was written with the understanding that the Richmond, VA-born and -based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist had to reach outside himself to do justice to the songs. “I couldn’t capture the sounds I heard in my head,” Carter explains. “I wanted something that was vast and expansive but that at the same time could hit you immediately in the gut.”

Paying homage to the classic “wall of sound: techniques made famous by Brian Wilson and Phil Spector, Carter and co-producer, Adrian Olsen overdubbed layer after layer of Carter playing an array of guitars, pianos, organs, synths, and percussion, as well as Carter singing harmonies. The members of the touring band were brought in to perform the core rhythm section parts with handpicked local musicians stopping by to add crucial flourishes to the material. Interestingly, at the center of the album’s material is Carter’s vocals, singing lyrics that mix allusions to religion, mythology, art and philosophy, as each song’s narrator questions himself, his place in the world around him, what he owes to his relationships, and in turn, what he needs to ask others to stay healthy.

“Tropic of Cancer,” The Good News‘ infectious latest single is centered by layers of shimmering and tropicalia-inspired arpeggiated synth lines, shuffling guitar lines, a soaring hook and a lysergic-tinged guitar solo. And while the deliberate crafted track bears a subtle resemblance to Elvis Costello‘s early work, the song manages to be deceptively breezy as the song’s narrator describes a constant and repetitive struggle with depression, delivered with an unvarnished emotional honesty and a tongue-in-cheek awareness.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Beach House Releases an Anthemic and Mesmerizing Shoegazer-like Single

Over the course of the site’s eight-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Baltimore-based JOVM mainstays  Beach House, and as you may recall, the dream pop act comprised of core duo Victoria Legrand (organ, vocals) and Alex Scally (guitar, vocals) have released a number of critically and commercially successful albums, including 2015’s Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, which were written and recorded within a two-and-a-half year period between 2012-2014. 7, the Baltimore-based indie rock’s seventh full-length album continued a run of critically applauded and commercially successful albums with its release earlier this year through Sub Pop Records in North America, Bella Union Records in Europe and Mistletone Records in Australia and New Zealand. 

The recording sessions for 7 found the band working with Spacemen 3‘s Sonic Boom (a.k.a. Peter Kember) as a producer — but not in the traditional sense, as he helped the band in their attempts to start anew by shedding conventions and ensuring that the album’s material would be fresh, alive and protected from the tendency of overproduction and perfectionism. “Throughout the process of recording 7, our goal was rebirth and rejuvenation. We wanted to rethink old methods and shed some self-imposed limitations. In the past, we often limited our writing to parts that we could perform live,” Legrand and Scally explain. “On 7, we decided to follow whatever came naturally. As a result, there are some songs with no guitar, and some without keyboard. There are songs with layers and production that we could never recreate live, and that is exciting to us. Basically, we let our creative moods, instead of instrumentation, dictate the album’s feel.

“In the past, the economics of recording have dictated that we write for a year, go to the studio, and record the entire record as quickly as possible. We have always hated this because by the time the recording happens, a certain excitement about older songs has often been lost. This time, we built a ‘home’ studio, and began all of the songs there.  Whenever we had a group of 3-4 songs that we were excited about, we would go to a ‘proper’ recording studio and finish recording them there. This way, the amount of time between the original idea and the finished song was pretty short.”

As the act admits, the societal sense of instability, uncertainty and chaos was deeply influential on the album’s material. “Looking back, there is quite a bit of chaos happening in these songs, and a pervasive dark field that we had little control over. The discussions surrounding women’s issues were a constant source of inspiration and questioning. The energy, lyrics and moods of much of this record grew from ruminations on the roles, pressures and conditions that our society places on women, past and present.” They go on to say that in a general sense, “we are interested by the human mind’s (and nature’s) tendency to create forces equal and opposite to those present. Thematically, this record often deals with the beauty that arises in dealing with darkness; the empathy and love that grows from collective trauma; the place one reaches when they accept rather than deny.”

I’ve written about a handful of singles off 7 — “Lemon Glow,” a jangling and atmospheric track centered around Legrand’s ethereal vocals; the shoegazer-like “Dive,” one of the most expansive and ambitious tracks they’ve released; “Dark Spring,” which continued in a similar vein as its predecessor, as it was a shoegazer-like single featuring woozy power chords, twinkling keys and a soaring hook;  “Black Car,” a synth-based track that found the duo pushing their sound away from their known and wining formula; and “Drunk in LA,”  a slow-burning and meditative track centered around arpeggiated synths and Legrand’s ethereal crooning. Interestingly enough, the band’s latest single the Sonic Boom, Jason Quever and Beach House-produced “Alien,” is an outtake from the 7 recording sessions and was originally released a B-side for a limited-edition tour-only 7 inch — and the track manages to bear a semblance to the previously released “Dive,” as it’s an anthemic bit of shoegaze centered around buzzing power chords, twinkling and arpeggiated synths and a rousing hook. While arguably being one of their most arena rock friendly tracks, it manages to possess a subtly mesmerizing quality.