Tag: Swans

New Video: Dublin’s Submotile Releases a Lysergic “120 Minutes”-like Visual for “Eastern Sky Sundown”

Comprised of Irish-born, Dublin-based Michael Farren (guitar) and Italian-born, Dublin-based Daniela Angione (vocals), the Dublin-based indie act Submotile initially began as an experimental, ambient project. The project’s sound evolved considerably when Angione began to add vocals to Farren’s guitar experiments, which eventually resulted in their first proper collaborative track “Signs of My Melody.”

The duo’s debut EP We’re Losing The Light was released to significant interest in shoegazer circles. Farren and Angione were encouraged to pursue their long-held dream — writing and recording a proper full-length album. Released digitally a few weeks ago, the duo’s full-length debut Ghosts Fade on Skylines finds the duo blurring the lines between shoegaze, noise rock, ambient, post-rock and pop — all while drawing from Slowdive, Warpaint, Smashing Pumpkins, Swans, Spiritualized, Nirvana and others. “We wanted an album that ebbed and flowed, with nine diverse songs that complimented each other without being too different from each other. The idea behind the music is to express the dualism of warmth over hostility, passion over frustration, all these dynamics projected onto a sense of hope and renaissance. I’m not sure if we succeeded, but hopefully it works,” Daniela Angione says in press notes.

“Having quit music in 2009 due to the frustration of never having been able to translate the sounds in my head to tape, Ghosts Fade on Skylines was recorded during a wonderful period of rebirth and rejuvenation, a period where I was discovering all the great new music that was out there, whilst simultaneously finding out just how far music production technology had evolved,” Michael Farren explains in press notes. “This evolution allowed us to come that bit closer to the sound in our heads, enabling us to labor over songs, adding hundreds of tracks and experimenting with samples, guitar pedals and tones – many a happy hour was whiled away tracking this music. If someone out there enjoys listening to it a fraction as much as we enjoyed making it, then to me it’ll be a success.”

Interestingly, the album’s latest single, the immersive and enveloping “Eastern Sky Sundown” is centered by layers upon layers of buzzing and reverb-drenched guitars, four-on-four-like drumming, a rousingly anthemic hook and Angione’s ethereal vocals floating over the lysergic and oceanic mix — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to The Jesus and Mary Chain and Smashing Pumpkins, the track bristles with the newfound self-assured of a band that found their sound. Unsurprisingly, the recently released video for “Eastern Sky Sundown” features appropriately psychedelic imagery while recalling 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock.

Look for a limited edition run of Ghosts Fade on Skyline through Midsummer Madness Records this summer.

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New Video: Marfa, Texas’ Wilderman Releases Trippy, Random Generated Visuals for Polyrhythmic, Hook Driven New Single

Marfa, Texas is a small and extremely remote Western Texas town, a short distance from the American-Mexican border, and unsurprisingly the town is about as far as one can get  — both metaphorically and literally — from the costal tech capitals. Singer/songwriter Rob Gugnor and his partner Simone Rubi relocated to Marfa in 2013, where the y started a decidedly lo-fi cafe Do Your Thing, where the patient customer will reportedly be rewarded with some of the finest coffee in the Southwest; but perhaps more important to this site, Gugnor is known as the creative mastermind of the Marfa-based recording project Wilderman. 

Ironically, despite Gugnor’s  geographical and physical remove from the major tech capitals, his recently released Wilderman album Artifice deals with the increasing and confusing rift between lived experience and its digital approximation. As Gugnor explains at length in press notes:

“I started this record 5 years ago, seeking to explore the impact of technology on our psyche and the new human experience. Since beginning this process, I’ve found more value in the time away from screens, but I’m starting to view it as a luxury. Screen time is unavoidable now. Social media numbers are important. We can’t opt out of the game. In this time span, we’ve seen how information can be manipulated for our feeds. Digital perception has relativized everything to the point of insanity. Empathy is nearly impossible. K*vanaugh, Tr*mp, Milo Whatever His Name Was, digital bullying, flat-earthers. Life is now lived in the digital space. Identity and truth are shapeshifting and amorphous.

I would like to say that I found some hope in digging deep into the digital, but I’ve actually become complacent, and I think we all have. I was hoping to be a whistleblower, but it will mostly fall on deaf ears. We are in a stadium full of people, screaming to be heard. And yet everyone has headphones on and screens up, filtering through the noise to only consume the content they curate for themselves. Art is content. Tragedy is content.

But I still dream that we can remember ourselves, empathy, the human touch – it’s in the songs.

I hope that this album will somehow lead the listener back to a version of themselves that’s in the here and now, without comparison to others, without self-judgment.

It’s a mirror that can also be a gateway to another reality, the one we used to live in.”

Gungor and a backing band featuring some of Marfa’s best musicians — Wye Oak’s Andy Stack, The Brilliance’s John Arndt, Gungor’s Grammy-nominated brother Michael, Midlake’s McKenzie Smith Jeremy Harris, and Andrew McGuire, along with engineer Hugo Nicholson, who has worked with Radiohead, Father John Misty and Primal Scream decamped to Sonic Ranch, a studio in the Chihuahuan Desert, just outside the border town of Tornillo, to start the jam sessions that would eventually turn into the material on Artifice. Chosen in part, because important records by Animal Collective, Beach House, The Mountain Goats, Swans and others were recorded on their premises, the album sonically is influenced by the work of David Byrne and Talking Heads, Brian Eno, Paul Simon’s Graceland and Donald Judd’s permanently installed works. Unsurprisingly, Remain in Light and Graceland were used as a blueprint with live improvised material being recorded with the idea that Gugnor would later recombine and rearrange these sounds into fleshed out songs. It’s a decided and radical change in sound and songwriting approach from his 2013 Wilderman debut Learn to Feel, which was recorded completely in an analog fashion.  

The album’s latest single “Cog” is a funky, polyrhythmic, sinuous hook-driven jam centered around a looped, shimmering guitar line, a buoyant bass line, shimmering and sharply arpeggiated synths — and while recalling Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel 3, Security and So-era Peter Gabriel, the song is rooted in the current sociopolitical moment, suggesting that technology has caused us to lose our humanity to the point that we’re cogs in a larger, economically driven machine that will destroy us all. But throughout the song’s narrator is demanding that we resist it, that we remember and honor the individual moving to the beat of their own drum.

The accompanying visuals are the result of a new training methodology for generative adversarial networks — in this case, a random number generator came up with imaginary celebrities that look like real ones. What’s real and what’s digitally generated? Is it your memory or a distortion? It’s trippy and disconcerting. 

Throughout this site’s eight-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based act Dead Waves. The band has gone through a series of lineup changes and in that same period — but one thing has been consistent, the band’s primary songwriting and founding duo, brothers Teddy and Nick Panopoulos. Interestingly, the band’s sixth, full-length album, the Martin Bisi-produced God of the Wild finds the duo making a decided change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, moving away from the power chord-based garage rock/grunge rock of their early releases — including, the Steve Albini-produced “Oracles of the Grave”/”Promise” 7″ — towards a more experimental, minimalist  and free-flowing approach with the material focusing on bare-boned arrangements of guitar, synths, vocals without any percussion; in fact, God of the Wild‘s dark yet hauntingly lush and minimalist first single “Astrapi” is centered around towering layers of looping and droning guitar chords, burst of feedback and howled vocals.

While still retaining an element of the heaviness that first captured the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere, the new material finds the New York-based duo’s sound seemingly drawing from Directions to See a Ghost-era Black Angels, Sonic Youth and Swans — but with a patient, painterly vibe, as each layer is carefully and deliberated placed atop another. As the band’s Teddy Panopolous explained to CVLT Nation, For this album we really wanted to go clean slate. Not listening to anything while creating, just delving into our feelings and blanking everything out. Feelings of loneliness, happiness, sadness. How this concept of time, in what we perceive as reality, goes by so quick. Loved ones passing away, ourselves getting older. Just trying to enjoy the now, the feeling of just being and trying to enjoy, but all the while with that certain lingering sadness.”

 

 

Currently comprised of founding trio Jack Lantern (vocals), James Burgess (guitar), and Tom Pitts (guitar) with new additions Victor Jakeman (bass), Tom Pitt (drums) and Sev Black (keys), the London-based punk act Claw Marks can trace their origins to when its founding trio were in Austin, TX for SXSW with different bands back in 2013 — Lantern and Pitts were members of Human Hair, while Burgess was a member of Boneyards. As the story goes, Lantern, Burgess and Pitts got lost waling down a highway in the Texan desert when they came to the realization that they wanted to make something much more aggressive, that would channel the likes of Swans and The Birthday Party, but while maintaining the pop sensibility that won Human Hair attention. Ultimately, they felt the need to prove that you can make records that could sound like The Jesus Lizard or The Pop Group — without taking yourself too seriously.

For several years, the band primarily existed as a live outfit, playing raucous, riotous shows across their native London — including a memorable 3am first gig at an abandoned pub. “It was my birthday, and intoxicants may have been involved,” the band’s Jack Lantern recalls. “The show cemented us as a band, because we were playing in the confines of a place that was so similar to the spine of what we were trying to put across. The place was dilapidated, the walls were falling down, and when we started playing, the ceiling started shaking, and dust was raining down on us. And then somebody let off a fire extinguisher halfway through the set, and we were covered in dust and foam.”

With the addition of Jakeman, Pitt and Black, the band continued to develop their overall aesthetic, balancing a chaotic live, stage presence with very specific ideas about lyrical imagery and content. “It’s abotu putting weird images to song,” Lantern, who is also a poet says in press notes. “Usually, they’re a bit disgusting – an armpit full of lice, for example. Or a crab covering your arsehole and stopping anybody from trying to climb in there. We’ve got one song about evil, silent cops staring us down while rubbing their truncheons in their mouths. You know, that kind of thing.”

However, their debut album together has taken five years to write and record — with some of the songs dating back to when the band first started. The members of the band kept returning to East London’s Sound Savers Studio, where they were afforded time and space by co-owner Henry Withers, who was a former bandmate of Lantern’s, to continually refine the material, and eventually their overall sound. In fact, every time they returned, the songs evolved in a rather unpredictable fashion. “I’ve been telling people that the album aged like a fine wine, because it took so long to come together,” Lantern says. “But actually, I’d liken it more now to a slab of rotten meat. We allowed it to fester, and every time we came back to it, there’d be more flies buzzing around it, and this new form of bacteria growing on the chords.”

Ultimately, Claw Marks long-anticipated full-length album Hee Hee reportedly is an unapologetically and nasty collection of punk rock songs that thematically speaking range from the absurd to the political — but much like Tom Waits, the songs having a fucked up, off-kilter, whiskey-fueled vibe. “Swallow U,” Hee Hee‘s latest single is noisy and furious punk rock centered around distortion bathed guitar chords, forceful drumming and howled lyrics and while sonically, the song brings to mind Rollins Band‘s Weight and Get Some Go Again but with an absurdist bent, as the song according to the band is literally about a man who walks down the street, eating everything in his path. What makes the track intriguing to me is the fact that it effortlessly meshes art rock with furious, mosh pit friendly punk.

 

Co-founded in 1979 by the legendary Brian Eno, Bill Laswell and New York-based producer, engineer and producer Martin Bisi, the Brooklyn-based BC Studio has played a pivotal role in New York’s musical history as landmark albums by Sonic Youth, Swans, Unsane, Afrika Bambaataa, Herbie Hancock, John Zorn and others were personally recorded by BC Studio’s Martin Bisi. BC35 is a special compilation that chronicles a weekend of live performances celebrating the studio’s 35th anniversary in January 2016, recorded by Bisi at the studio featuring improvised and written pieces by current and former members of Sonic Youth, Swans, White Hills, Foetus, Cop Shoot Cop, Live Skull, Pop 1280, Violent Femmes, The Dresden Dolls, Alice Donut, Lubricated Goat and others.

“What A Jerk,” the first single from the BC35 sessions is a jam from a new project, EXCOP, which features Algis Kizys, who had a stint in Swams in the 90s and is currently a member of Lydia Lunch‘s backing band; Phil Puleo, who splits time between Swans and Cop Shoot Cop; and Puelo’s Cop Shoot Cop bandmates, Jack Nantz and Jim Coleman, and unsurprisingly, the single is a murky, pummeling and noisy affair consisting of scorching guitar, sizzling feedback, down-tuned bass, thunderous drumming and random burst of spoken word that give the song an art school rock vibe.

EXCOP, along with Bisi’s newest band Nowhere Near, which features current and former members of Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore, Lydia Lunch’s band; New Old Skull, which features all of the original Live Skull members, White Hills and Tidal Channel will be playing at the album release show at Saint Vitus on 4/20/18. Bronson Recordings will be releasing BC on April 20, 2018 as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Intimate and Dreamy Visuals for Cold Specks’ “Wild Card”

With the release of her first two critically applauded and commercially successful albums I Predict A Graceful Expulsion! and Neuroplasticiy, the Canadian-Somali, Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein and her solo recording project Cold Specks received both national and international attention, and unsurprisingly her first two albums were nominated for the Polaris Music Prize with her her debut effort receiving  a Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. In between a busy period of writing, recording and tour, Hussein also managed to be a hotly-desired collaborator, working with the likes of Moby, Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, Swans and others.

After spending a portion of 2015 and 2016 touring to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned back to Toronto, where she began work on her recently released third, full-length effort Fool’s Paradise, an album in which Hussein exploring her identity as a Canadian-Somali woman, as a Black woman in a world brutal to Black people, as an artist and as the daughter of immigrants, who fled their homeland, and as someone surviving the best she can in difficult circumstances  — and the album’s first single “Wild Card” is largely inspired by the refugee experience. “There was a man in my family’s store, a new refugee, who had travelled from Somalia to Canada. By water and by foot he had travelled half way around the world to establish a better life for himself and his family who were still at home,” Hussein explains. “My mother had never met him before. He was a complete stranger from a familiar place. She took him to a local restaurant, fed him and found him somewhere to stay. I was astonished by her selflessness and kept humming ‘I’ll be there for you. Don’t know why’.”

Produced by Jim Anderson at Toronto’s Easy Life Studio, the single features Arcade Fire‘s Tim Kingsbury playing bass on a hauntingly sparse arrangement and melody. Certainly, the latest track will further cement Hussein’s reputation for being an fearlessly uncompromising and emotionally direct; in this case, the single possesses a subtle but palpably weary ache underlined with simple yet profound joys — the profound joy of being treated kindly when you are “a traveler, a man from far away,” as Paul Salopek once wrote. But along with that, there’s a deep connection that one has for a place whenever you’re far away, and I can recall in many instances when I’ve traveled abroad, finding myself inexplicably bonding with a fellow American with familiar places (even those I’ve never been before) holding a mythical weight to them. 

Created by Mac Boucher and Gnarly Bangs, the recently released video for “Wild Card” manages to nod at the videotapes her parents recorded that depict their lives with a country Hussein never knew and cheap homemade videos of people noodling around with a video recorder — and as a result, the visuals emphasize the song’s uncommon intimacy. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Cold Specks Returns with a Spectral and Heartbreaking New Track Off Forthcoming Third Album

With the release of her first two critically applauded and commercially successful albums,  2012’s I Predict A Graceful Expulsion! and 2015’s Neuroplasticiy, the Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein, best known as Cold Specks received national and international attention as both albums received Polaris Music Prize nominations and a Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, with the release of Graceful Expulsion! And in between writing, recording and touring, Hussein collaborated with Moby, Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, Swans and others.

After touring throughout 2015 and 2016 to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned back to Toronto, where she began working on her third full-length album, Fools Paradise, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through renowned Canadian indie label, Arts & Crafts Records. Now, as you may recall Fool’s Paradise’s first single “Wild Card,” was a slow-burning and atmospheric song, largely inspired by the refugee experience and an act of unusual kindness to a stranger from far away. As Hussein explained in press notes “There was a man in my family’s store, a new refugee, who had travelled from Somalia to Canada. By water and by foot he had travelled half way around the world to establish a better life for himself and his family who were still at home. My mother had never met him before. He was a complete stranger from a familiar place. She took him to a local restaurant, fed him and found him somewhere to stay. I was astonished by her selflessness and kept humming ‘I’ll be there for you. Don’t know why’.”

The album’s title track and second single may arguably be some of Hussein’s most deeply personal song, as the song — and of course, in turn, the album — finds the Somali-Canadian singer/songwriter focusing on and exploring her identity as the daughter of immigrants and as a black woman in a world that’s relentlessly hostile to black folk, while also focusing on finding the resilience to survive through difficult times. Interestingly, “Fool’s Paradise”  manages to further cement her reputation for crafting moody and slow-burning pop but while revealing an aching longing and vulnerability paired with  steely resolve.

“New Moon,” Fool’s Paradise’s third and latest single was produced and mixed by long-time collaboration Jim Anderson at Toronto’s Easy Life Studio and features a sample from Jim-E Stack.  Sonically speaking, Hussein’s imitable vocals, which convey heartache, longing and desperate desire for clarity are paired with a sparse and atmospheric production consisting of undulating synths, stuttering beats, swirling electronics and what sounds like a mournful horn sample. As Hussein explains press notes “The song is a document of a lost year. It was all very strange, beautiful and manic. I found myself developing these intense relationships with strangers and cities. I kept looking up at the moon for some sort of clarity. It would help me measure my lost time, fleeting desire, and frantically plan for the future. Each phase carried more weight. I guess it explores the aftermath of heartbreak. I had to learn to detach, self-care and whisper sweet nothings to myself over and over again.” And as a result, the song evokes that sense of struggling to find both stability and oneself when life has thrown you for a complete and devastating loop. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Cold Specks Returns with a Haunting and Vulnerable New Single

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall the with the release of her first two critically applauded and commercial successful albums, 2012’s I Predict A Graceful Expulsion! and 2015’s Neuroplasticiy, the Canadian-Somali, Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein and her recording project Cold Specks received national and international attention; in fact, both albums received Polaris Music Prize nominations and a Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, with the release of Graceful Expulsion! And in between writing, recording and touring, Hussein collaborated with Moby, Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, Swans and others.

Up until recently, two years had passed since I had last written about Hussein but as it turns out, the renowned singer/songwriter had been busy. After touring throughout 2015 and 2016 to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned back to home to Toronto, where she began working on her third full-length album, Fools Paradise, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through renowned Canadian indie label, Arts & Crafts Records. As you may recall earlier this summer, I wrote about Fools Paradise’s first single “Wild Card,” a slow-burning and hauntingly atmospheric song, largely inspired by the refugee experience. There was a man in my family’s store, a new refugee, who had travelled from Somalia to Canada. By water and by foot he had travelled half way around the world to establish a better life for himself and his family who were still at home,” Hussein explains. “My mother had never met him before. He was a complete stranger from a familiar place. She took him to a local restaurant, fed him and found him somewhere to stay. I was astonished by her selflessness and kept humming ‘I’ll be there for you. Don’t know why’.”

Fool’s Paradise’s second and latest single, album tittle track reveals that the new album consists of what may arguably be her most personal work to date, as the song — and in turn, the album — finds her exploring her identity as a Somali-Canadian and as a black woman, while simultaneously focusing on existing through difficult times. And while the new single further cements her reputation for crafting moody, slow-burning pop, it’s a subtle yet decided change in songwriting approach as the song’s narrator expresses an aching longing and vulnerability; but just under the surface is a steely resolve to survive and thrive. 

 

Featuring members of Swans, Dead Heavens, twelve am flowers and Valley Lodge, Twiggy Branches specializes in swaggering, sleazy and anthemic power chord-based glam rock that sounds indebted to T. Rex, Foo Fighters and others, as you’ll hear on the EPs first two tracks “Never Gonna Be Told” and “Miss Available” off their  latest EP Waste Not, Want More. As the band told me by email, the EP was tracked live in studio, recorded by Paul Kostabi, who has worked with White Zombie, mixed by Violens‘ and Ariel Pink‘s Jorge Elbrecht and mastered by Alan Douches — and as a result, both singles possess a forceful “you-were-there” sort of immediacy that’s rare for contemporary rock.