Tag: Summerstage

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Release a Strutting and Shimmering Retro-Futuristic Boogie Blues

Over the course of 2017, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, comprised of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, and flute), Ambrose Kenny Smith (synths, harmonica), Cook Craig (guitar), Joey Walker (guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass), Eric Moore (drums) and Michael Cavanagh (drums) released five albums — with each album consisting of material in a wildly different genre and style from the other, further cementing the band’s reputation for being restlessly prolific. Flying Microtonal Banana and The Murder of the Universe, two albums released within that incredibly prolific run found the acclaimed Australian act pushing their thematic concerns and sound in new, and darkly trippy directions. 

For a band that has been as productive as the Melbourne-based JOVM mainstays, not having much in the way of new music last year seems extremely odd but they were busy with several other things — including: a relentless tour schedule that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. Additionally, the band re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever, and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic.

The band’s fourteenth album, Fishing for Fishies is slated for an April 26, 2019 release through their own Flightless Records, and the album reportedly finds the band creating a sonic world in which the organic meets the automated; where the rustic meets the robotic; where the past and future collide in the beautiful present, as the material is essentially boogie blues that struts, shimmies and stomps through several different moods and terrains. “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”

“I didn’t really know who I was by the end of 2017,” Mackenzie continues in press notes, about the band’s incredibly prolific 2017. “It was a good kind of spent feeling though, as I like being busy. For most of the holiday period I was in the studio doing the last of the recording and mixing on Gumboot Soup. And as soon as it clicked over to 2018 I stopped worrying about recording for a while and started living instead.” 

Written primarily on piano, the material on Fishing for Fishies is reportedly centered around recurring musical motifs — piano, mellotron and synth flourishes, paired with vocals drenched in vocoder, and a plethora of creative U-turns. Now, as you may recall, the album’s first single, “Cyboogie” found the band pushing their sound in a completely new direction, with five of its seven members playing synths in a funky and strutting disco boogie with heavily vocoder’ed vocals that brought From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder, The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and DEVO to mind while actually being about a dancing cyborg from the future.  Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Boogieman Sam” is a retro-futuristic take on boogie blues that’s one part Marc Bolan and T. Rex, one part John Lee Hooker, one part prog rock freakout that struts and shimmies. 

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Live Footage: Sunflower Bean Perform “Memoria” for Audiotree’s Far Out

Now, over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based psych rock/indie rock trio  Sunflower Bean, and as you can recall, the band comprised of founding members Nick Kivlen (guitar, vocals) and Jacob Faber (drums), along with Julia Cumming (bass, vocals) can trace their origins to when Kivlen and Faber were both members of Turnip King. At the time Kivlen and Faber had been spending a great deal of time away from their then-primary project jamming together, before deciding that that they should start their own project. Kivlen, who knew Cumming through mutual friends was recruited to join the band — although Cumming was a member of Supercute! with Rachel Trachtenberg.

The band quickly became a buzz-worthy act with a run of attention grabbing, critically applauded sets during 2014’s CMJ Festival, which they promptly followed up that year’s Rock & Roll Heathen EP AND 2015’s Show Me Your Seven Secrets EP —  and thanks to the success of singles like “Tame Impala” and “2013,” the band quickly rose to national and international prominence. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the trio toured across the US and the UK as a headliner, and as an opener for Wolf Alice, Best Coast and The Vaccines, before 2016’s Matthew Molnar-produced, full-length debut Human Ceremony. After spending the better part of that year with a roughly 200 date world tour, the members of the band initially planned to take a well-earned, extended break; however, by December, the trio wound up in Faber’s Long Island basement with song ideas that eventually became their Jacob Portrait and Matt Molnar co-produecd sophomore album Twentytwo in Blue, which was released earlier this year through Mom + Pop Records. Since its release, the album has been a commercial and critical success — the album debut in the Top 40 in the UK, hit #5 on Billboard’s Top New Artists chart, and earned praise from Paste, NME and others.

Coincidentally, the album’s release was 22 months after the release of their full-length debut, while marking when each of the members turn 22. The album’s first single “I Was A Fool,” revealed a radical change in sonic direction with the band leaning heavily towards 70s AM rock — in particular, Fleetwood Mac. The album’s first official single and second overall, the stomping and anthemic “Crisis Fest,” was arguably the most politically charged single the band has ever written and recorded, as it focuses on the uncertain and politically volatile period it was written, with the song being an urgent call to action to young people to get out there, get involved and make the world right once and for all. And goddamn it, it’s necessary.  “Twentytwo,” the album’s third single was a breezy feminist anthem, focused on fighting against society’s expectations and demands upon women as well as the abuses of powerful men.

Since their sophomore album’s release, the members of Sunflower Bean have been busy extensively touring and playing sold out dates both internationally and nationally, along with a run of appearances across the national festival circuit that will include stops at Voodoo Festival, Pickathon, SummerStage, XPoNential, before returning to the EU, the UK and Asia. The fall will see Sunflower Bean the band opening for Interpol; but in the meantime, the folks at Audiotree invited the members of Sunflower Bean to to perform the mesmerizing, Heart-like “Memoria,” a track that finds the band balancing a swaggering, self-assuredness with a wistful ache.

New Video: King Artur, One-Third of Finnish, Electro Pop Act Beverly Girl Releases Atmospheric, Solo, Single

King Artur is a singer/songwriter and steel guitarist, who splits time between his Helsinki, Finland and New York, and is best known as being a member of renowned Finnish electro pop/electro funk act Beverly Girl — although he has collaborated with the likes of Bill Laswell, James Chance, Defunkt’s Joseph Bowie and The Campbell Brothers and others, as well as played at SummerStage, Flow Festival and Pride Helsinki; however, as a solo artist, King Artur’s work finds him pairing his steel guitar with unorthodox synth and electronica-leaning soundscapes as you’ll hear on his atmospheric, solo debut “Talk My Shadow,” a single, which interestingly enough reminds me of Beacon’s For Now EP and The Ways We Separate as swirling synths are paired with finger snaps, thumping beats and King Arthur’s breathy cooing to create a song that’s darkly seductive. 

Directed by renowned Finnish director Jarno Marjamäki, the slick, hyper modern video features King Arthur and Finnish dancer Sanna Hoang in a series of artsy yet surreal scenarios.