Tag: SXSW

New Video: Clear Soul Forces Return with an Swaggering and Self-Assured New Single Paired with Slick Visuals

The Detroit, MI-based hip-hop quartet Clear Soul Forces, comprised of E-Fav, L.A.Z., Noveliss, and producer/emcee Ilajide, quickly developed a rotation for lyrically and sonically drawing from 70s street poets and boom-bap era hip-hop, adding their name to a list to exceptionally dope artists from the Motor City.  The quartet can trace their origins to a 2009 all-nighter at a Detroit recording studio. The four emcees scraped up the money to record material individually. Coincidentally, Royce Da 5’9″ was finishing work on his album Street Hop in the room next door, and the four emcees jumped at the chance to spit a few rhymes for him. As the story goes, the four young emcees then spent the next nine hours in an epic cypher in which each individual emcee traded bars while an impressed Royce Da 5’9″ intensely listened. Once they finished, the renowned, elder Detroit-based emcee suggested that the young quartet should become a group. 

By the following year, the members of Clear Soul Forces began making a name for themselves in Detroit’s underground hip-hop scene with the release of their debut mixtape Clear Soul Radio. The ended 2010 with the completion of their home studio The Complex, where they recorded The Departure EP. Adding to a growing national profile, the act played sets at A3C Festival, the 35 Denton Festival and SXSW, where they played the the Rappers I Know Showcase with Tanya Morgan, H.I.S.D., Just Blaze, The Alchemist, Talib Kweli and Freeway, and followed it up with videos for “The Greatest” and “Strangers In The Night.”

2012 saw the release of the Detroit-based quartet’s full-length debut Detroit Revolution(s), which was reportedly influenced by a large mural on the side of a local apartment building — and by the end of the year, they were selected by Red Bull as a featured artist in the beverage company’s Sound Select program. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve personally written about the act, but if you’re a true hip-hop head, you’d know that the members spent some time working on individual creative pursuits; in fact, you may recall that I wrote about a single off L.A.Z’s solo effort No Paperwork, “Celestial Vibes.” But interestingly enough, the act announced two things — their return and that they’d be releasing a new album, Still slated for a February 22, 2019 release. “They Shootin,'” the first single manages to be a bit of a return to form for the act as its centered around a warm 90s inspired hip hop production featuring a smooth and jazzy organ line and thumping beats that’s roomy enough for each individual emcee to trade bars. And while each emcee has a different flow and vocal range, they all manage to self-assuredly display incredibly dexterous wordplay and rhyme schemes. 

Directed by Xerox Vision, the recently released video for “They Shootin'” serves as a visual re-introduction to the group while effortlessly blending real-life violence with actual consequences with video game mayhem. As the act’s Ilajide explains in press notes, “The inspiration came from the stigma that when it gets hot the murder rate goes up,” he says. “Couple that with the fact that they always shootin’ in Detroit, it was perfect to spin it like a respawn in an online match on multiplayer video games.” His ba ndmates share the sentiment while noting that for all of them, it was natural reference video games and gaming. As children of the 90s, they all owned various consoles, played a ton of games — and were aware of the fact that crime was high and rampant, making the video and track an organic result of their shared experiences. 

New Video: Introducing the Classic Rock Inspired Sounds of Hungary’s Ivan and the Parazol

Currently comprised of Vitáris Iván (vocals), Balla Máté (guitar), Beke István (keys) and Simon Bálint (drums), the Budapest, Hungary-based indie rock quartet Ivan and the Parazol can trace their origins to when its founding members, along with Tarnai János (bass) met at a private music school back in 2010. And since their formation, the Hungarian indie rock act has released three full-length albums, opened for Deep Purple, played SXSW twice, played Reeperbahn Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag, on the Sziget Festival main stage and hundreds of shows internationally. Adding to a growing national and international profile the act was nominated for an MTV Hungary Brand New Award in 2010, won an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Hungarian act in 2014 and their single “Together” was named the Sziget Festival anthem in the same year. 

This year has been an eventful year for the Hungarian indie rock band: Celebrating their eighth year as a band, the band has cemented a reputation for being at the forefront of their homeland’s growing, contemporary rock and indie rock scenes. Their forthcoming Wil Anspach-produced fourth, full-length album Exotic Post Traumatic is slated for release sometime next year, and the album which was recorded at EastWest Studios finds the band ambitiously expanding upon the sound and songwriting approach that has won them attention in the homeland — with the intention of winning ears and audiences across the rest of the European Union and the States. The album’s first single “Nr. 1003,” finds the band meshing glam rock, psych rock and arena rock in a way that feels both warmly familiar yet new. Beginning with a sample of an on-flight welcome to LAX and Los Angeles, the track is centered around a rousingly anthemic hook, classic rock power chords, arpeggiated synths and a soaring backing vocal. Sonically, the track sounds as though it draws from The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Tame Impala — but with a subtle bit of sunniness.  

As the members of the band say in press notes, “A music career is like a plane or spaceship that travels for decades to get to a seemingly unreachable destination. NR. 1003 is about this journey for Ivan & The Parazol, and a tough one at that. ‘Cause what do you do if a member of your band falls ill and needs to be left behind to make these dreams come true?

“NR. 1003 goes out to our bass player Jani. After spending years on the road together, him not being present leaves a massive hole in our team. We hope to have you back on tour with us soon.”

Directed by Miki357, the recently released video is an incredibly symbolic one, shot on the streets of Budapest and throughout the video, there’s a palpable sense of inconsolable loss and resolve. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this year, you’d probably recall that earlier this year, I caught the Montreal-indie pop/dream pop act Anemone open for the acclaimed indie pop act HAERTS at Baby’s All Right. Led by Chloe Soldevila (keys, vocals) and featuring Miles Dupire-Gagnon (drums), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), Samuel Gemme (bass) and Zachary Irving (guitar), the Canadian quartet specializes in a breezy take on dream pop that hints at both psych pop and to In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Painted Palms.

The Canadian act released their attention-grabbing debut EP earlier this year, which they’ve supported with a series of critically applauded SXSW shows, and some relentless touring across North America. And although they’ve been rather busy, over the past couple of months, they also announced that their highly-anticipated full-length debut Beat My Distance will be released early next year through Luminelle Records. Album single “Sunshine (Back To The Start)” is a breezy and sunny track built around jangling and chiming guitar lines, a propulsive, disco-influenced bass line, a steady backbeat and Soldevilla’s plaintive, ethereal vocals — and while sunny, the song is centered on the hope of a brighter day after experiencing something shitty and painful. “She’s The One” continues in a similar vein as the track is a shimmering and ethereal track centered around Sodevilla’s ethereal crooning and an upbeat, almost Afro pop-like sense of percussion — and much like its predecessor, it possesses a subtly bittersweet undertone. As Soldevilla explains in press notes, “She’s The One’ is about two paradoxical tendencies/patterns in relationships and how they work against each other. The first one is where you become infatuated and idealize someone, thinking they are ”the one” until you really get to know them; the other tendency is to protect yourself and stay independent. Closing yourself off from getting to know someone and potentially missing out on a great connection. ‘She’s The One’ is the prequel to ‘Bout de toi’ although it’s being released after. The mood of it, the percussions; ‘She’s The One’ came together very quickly in the studio, as we had a strong desire for an upbeat, dancy [sic] song. It brought a new energy to our set which has really shaped our live show.”

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays WINDHAND Release a Roger Corman-Influenced Video for Pummeling Dirge “Red Cloud”

Throughout the past few years of the site’s eight-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND, and as you may recall, the band which is currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums) can trace their origins back to 2009. Within a year of their formation, they released a two-track self-recorded CD that quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath. Building upon a growing profile, their 2012 self-titled debut became an underground hit and sold out multiple vinyl pressings within a few months. 

Released in 2013 through Relapse Records, the Northern Virginia-based band’s critically applauded sophomore album Soma received praise from Stereogum, Spin, LA Weekly, Revolver, Invisible Oranges, MetalSucks, Metal Injection, Rolling Stone and NPR — with Pitchfork naming the album as one of the third best metal releases of the year. Adding to a breakthrough year, the band spend the bulk of 2013 and 2014 touring North American, the European Union and Australia supporting Soma with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak — and they made stops on the international festival circuit with sets at Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest. 
2015’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Infernal Flower managed to further cement their reputation for crafting sludgy, murky, punishing power chord-based dirges. Released earlier this month, WINDHAND’s fourth, full-length album Eternal Return finds the band continuing their collaboration with renowned producer Jack Endino — and the album thematically is centered around observations and reflections on life’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows, beginnings and ends. Between Grief’s Infernal Flower and their recently released album, the members of the band welcomed the births of children, experienced a number of lineup changes and mourned an unexpected and tragic death. And unsurprisingly, as a result, the album’s material and the sequential order of its song are the direct result of those experiences — while sonically, the band crafts material that balances heavy and brooding dirges with psychedelic and meditative passages.  Album single “Grey Gardens” was part of an early batch of album singles that were among the heaviest batches of material they recorded — and while being a thunderous and slow-burning dirge, the single finds the band’s sound and approach subtly moving towards Screaming Life/Foppand Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, complete with a lysergic bridge. “Red Cloud,” Eternal Return’s latest single continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it’s a heavy and psychedelic dirge, centered by some explosive guitar work, rumbling low end, thundering drumming, Dorthia Cottrell’s smoky vocals and an anthemic hook; but unlike it’s predecessor there’s a sense of foreboding doom at its core. 

Directed and animated by Zev Deans, the recently released video  features a seamless blend of live-action and animated scenery, as it follows a washed-up and hopelessly incompetent warlock and imbecilic and hunch-backed henchman as they try to kidnap The Scarlet Woman. Visually, the video is reportedly a homage to the horror films of the early 1960s, specifically Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe series — and naturally, it’s perfect for the Halloween season. 

New Video: Kings of Spade Release Semi-Autobiographical Visuals for “Strange Bird”

Comprised of founding members Kasi “KC” Nunes (vocals) Matt Kato (drums) and Jasio Savio (guitar) with Tim Corker (bass), Ken Lykes (keys) and DJ Packo, the Honolulu, HI-based sextet Kings Of Spade can trace their origins back to when Nunes,  a self-described “somber, closeted queer kid, who felt soul and blues music,” was bartending at Honolulu’s Anna Bananas and was pulled up on the stage to sing. “They started playing ‘Sweet Child O’Mine,” Nunes says in press notes.  “I started singing and was like ‘Hey, I sound pretty good.”

Interestingly, Jasio Savio frequently sat in with the bar’s house band. “He wasn’t old enough to drink,” Nunes recalls. “But he would start and rip these Johnny Cash tunes.” As the story goes, they were both impressed by each other. “You feel this energy when she sings,” Savio says. “My first thought was ‘Damn, she’s going to be famous.’” Nunes approached Savio and suggested they start a band. They recruited Matt Kato, a local punk rock drummer and played with a revolving door of bassists until they found Tim Corker. As a quartet that played power chord-based blues riff rock, they didn’t find their hometown to be very receptive to their sound — although Nunes took it upon herself to book club shows that featured the band alongside local DJs, artists and other bands. After amassing a decent local following, the band relocated to Southern California in 2006 to chase their dreams. But as Nunes and Kato quickly found out, the big city isn’t very welcoming; in fact, they were barely scraping by — and they were forced to sell their blood for cash. “Everyone at the clinic looked down-on-their-luck,” Nunes remembers. “I was hooked up to a plasma machine, reading the self-help books. This was the lowest point in my life.”

After three years of crushing let-downs and disappointment, Nunes, Savio and Kato quit their jobs and gave up their shared apartment in preparation for a lengthy tour that was just booked by their new manager; however, he disappeared once they figured out that there wasn’t an actual tour. They returned home to Hawaii, and ironically enough, upon their return, they finally began to have much better fortune. Several years later, the band played at SXSW, where former Headbanger’s Ball host and MTV VJ Riki Rachtman caught them — and after catching them, he booked them to play a show commemorating the 30th anniversary of his old metal club, The Cathouse, best known for giving rise to Guns N’ Roses. Around the same time, they met Sue Damon, the ex-wife of The Beach Boys‘ Mike Love. “She was a huge supporter of ours, bought us a new drum set. She was a total free spirit, who could party all of us under under the table. She ended up passing away. But all of us have her initials tattooed on us.”

The band’s self-titled Dave Cobb-produced full-length was recorded in Nashville over the course of two weeks.  “He produced a band I like, Rival Sons, which had this old-school sound with modern energy—like, analog-tape soul built into it,” Jesse says, admiringly. t Album single “Bottom’s Up,” was a swaggering and stomping bluesy ripper and party anthem inspired by their late friend and patron Sue Damon, and their own experiences partying ridiculously hard that sounds as though it were influenced by Highway to Hell-era AC/DC, Electric Blue Watermelon-era North Mississippi All Stars and The Black Keys — all while further cementing their reputation for boozy, power chord centered, riff-based rock. Released in time for National Coming Out Day, the album’s latest single “Strange Bird,” is a anthemic song centered around Led Zeppelin-like power chords and Nunes’ own experiences coming out, that proudly says “go out there and march to the beat of your own drum because life is short!” May this song be a call for arms for anyone, who’s struggling to find themselves in an unforgiving world. As Nunes says in press notes about the song, “‘Strange Bird’ is my big queer anthem – a song about being true to who your are no matter what it costs. It’s about self-love and growing into a person who is proud to be different. I always tell my coming out story before we play this song at a live show. It starts off so tragic I end up going back in the closet until way later in life. The beauty is coming around so far that I can tell the story on stage in front of a crowd of people cheering me on for it. After every show there is always people who share their own strange bird stories with me. That connection is everything. It’s why I play music and love being in a band.”

Directed by Vincent Ricafort, the recently released video draws from Nunes’ own experience as a young person,  feeling forced to hide who she really was, before finding the courage to defiantly and proudly be the person she needs to be, finding herself and making connections through music.  Additionally, the video suggests that music has always been a way for the strange and uncompromisingly individual to find comfort, as well. 

Rosie Carney is a Hampshire, UK-born, Donegal, Ireland-based singer/songwriter and guitarist. Inspired by the rugged and picturesque landscapes of her adopted home, Carney began writing music — and when she turned 15, she left school to showcase her work in New York and Los Angeles, and shortly thereafter was signed to a major label.  In 2013, the British-born, Irish-based singer/songwriter and guitarist added to a rapidly growing profile with a performance on Ireland’s leaning live music TV series Other Voices, as well as sets at Bushstock Festival, Latitude Festival, Electric Picnic Festival, Seven Layers Festival and SXSW. Additionally, Carney opened for Haux on a 28-date tour of 12 countries that included stops in the US and Canada.

While navigating a meteoric rise to national and international attention, Carney grappled with depression and an eating disorder, both a result of deep personal trauma. Simultaneously, she struggled to assert herself creatively in the major label system as she faced pressure to co-write and change her name — before leaving the major label system altogether. Carney’s highly-anticipated debut album Bare which features her collaboration with Lisa HanniganThousand,” is slated for a January 25, 2019 release through Akira Records is reportedly informed by the twists and turns of her professional an personal life, while further cementing her growing reputation for writing material that’s cathartic and empowering.

Bare‘s latest single is the  gorgeous “Orchid” which is centered around a soaring string arrangement, strummed acoustic guitar, Carney’s achingly tender vocals, a simple backbeat and some additional tremolo guitar that thematically seems to focus on a profound, inconsolable loss. As Carney mentions in press notes, As the song developed, I saw the opportunity to really expand beyond my usual production and it’s now the most layered song on the album, with strings, drums, tremolo guitar etc. I could just hear the strings while working on the demo and when it came time to actually track them, we used Radiohead’s “Nude” and some of Lana Del Rey’s dreamier tracks as a reference—two artists that are huge influences on me.”

 

New Audio: Montreal’s Anemone Returns with a Deceptively Breezy and Sunny Take on Pop

Earlier this year, I caught the Montreal-indie pop/dream pop act Anemone open for the acclaimed indie pop act HAERTS at Baby’s All Right, and the act led by Chloe Soldevila (keys, vocals) and featuring Miles Dupire-Gagnon (drums), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), Samuel Gemme (bass) and Zachary Irving (guitar) specializes in a breezy and dreamy pop sound that hints at psych pop — and at points to In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Forever and Horizon-era Painted Palms. The Canadian act released their attention-grabbing debut EP earlier this year, which they’ve supported with a series of critically applauded SXSW shows, and some relentless touring across North America. Now, as you may recall, “Daffodils,” off the band’s debut EP was a breezy bit of synth-led dream pop centered around arpeggiated, analog synths, an ethereal melody, reverb drenched drums, shimmering guitar lines and a sinuous bass line within a gently unfolding, expansive song structure — and interestingly, the song recalls Pavo Pavo’s gorgeous, retro-futurstic dream Young Narrator on the Breakers. 

Recently, the Montreal-based band announced that their full-length debut Beat My Distance will be released early next year through Luminelle Records, and the album’s first single “Sunshine (Back To The Start)” is a breezy and sunshine-filled track built around a jangling and chiming guitar lines, a propulsive, disco-influenced bass line, a steady back beat and Soldevilla’s plaintive and ethereal vocals — but the song’s brightness is a bit deceptive as it focuses on the hope of a brighter day, after dealing with something shitty. As Soldevilla explains in press notes that the song is about “Overcoming the pattern of falling i love with someone who is unworthy, but that you still believed it could work. I called it ‘Sunshine’ because this song should resonate positively — it’s about focusing on the bright side and coming out stronger person; daydreaming of better, sunnier days.”  (I should note that sonically speaking, the song features one of the best guitar solos I’ve heard in about a good month or so.) 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d know that over the past couple of years of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Madrid, Spain-based indie rock trio The Parrots, and as you may recall, the band are one of the leading members of a collection of Spanish bands, who write lyrics almost exclusive in English; in fact, with the release of  “I Did Something Wrong”  off their Aden Arabie EP, the Spanish trio received both national and international attention for a boozy and riotous, garage rock/garage psych rock sound that has been compared favorably to Thee Oh Sees Black LipsRaccoon FighterHigh WaistedWhite Mystery and others.

Back in 2015, NME named the Madrid-based trio as one of  SXSW‘s “buzziest bands” and since then the members of The Parrots have been pretty busy: they followed up that year’s SXSW with the release of their critically applauded EP Weed for The Parrots, a critically applauded return to SXSW, which resulted in being signed by renowned indie label Heavenly Recordings, who released their full-length debut Los Ninos Sin Miedos, which featured the shambling and boozy Let’s Do It Again,” and the barn-burning, 60s garage rock-like  “A Thousand Ways.” Since then, the band has been working on their much-anticipated sophomore album but they’ve managed to release a one-off single, a shambling, ramshackle, garage rock cover of Latin trap artist Bad Bunny‘s smash hit “Soy Peor,” and as the band explains “We’ve always been big fans of urban music, trap and hip-hop. Not long ago, these styles started to be everywhere again in Spain, and with it we discovered many interesting new acts, both Spanish and Latin American. One of them was Bad Bunny, from Puerto Rico. The first song of his that we listened to was “Soy Peor” and we loved it. Since we started the band, we’ve always liked to cover songs that we like, usually it’s from bands that are more similar to our style — rock ‘n’ roll, punk . . . It’s the first time we picked a song in another style and tried to make it ours. The idea came up in a rehearsal, talking about choosing a new cover for a forthcoming show. People really dug it and a few weeks later we went to Paco Loco’s studio to record it.”

The Spanish band’s latest single “My Love Is Real” is the second official single from the band’s forthcoming sophomore album, and it’s a slow burning, old-timey rock ‘n’ roll ballad that sounds as though it should be played at a high school dance or a high school-era house party; but with a subtly sketchy late night vibe, that evokes the loneliness of of 3am-4am when most of the partiers have gone home, and you are by yourself drinking with your sorrows and regrets. Sonically and thematically, the song suggests the band growing up a bit but while still retaining the scuzz and grit that caught everyone’s attention. “With this in mind, we recorded the song at home and sent it to Tom Furse, he completely got the vibe and helped us create atmosphere we imagined.” Furse adds, “Joe Meek was my point of reference with ‘My Love Is Real’ – I used his guidance via Ouija board for a point of balance between lo-fi scuzz and the naive pop stylings of the song – which ended up with doing things like using the sounds of surf in the drums and doing crazy piano improvisations in the wrong key which I would speed up in the tape machine to get it in tune. My basic tenant was – ‘what would Joe do?”

Directed by Hector Herce, the recently released video for “My Love Is Real” continues an ongoing collaboration between the director and the band, with the video being something of a continuation from the preceding video for “Girl.” As Herce explains “My Love Is Real’ is set in imaginary 90’s. It is a brother video of ‘Girl’, previous single of The Parrots and follows the adventures of a loving trio. It is more metaphorical than narrative and more aesthetic than ethical. Codes that speak of romantic and human relations are hidden on its images.”

 

Theodore is a critically applauded, Athens, Greece-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and composer, whose schooling in piano and traditional Greek folk music eventually led to a professional music career in London, where he studied Music Composition in 2011. As a composer and singer/songwriter, Theodore meshes classical compositions and arrangements with subtle electronic production and rock instrumentation to create a sound that’s atmospheric, cinematic that nods at psych rock, prog rock and experimental rock — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist cites Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Manos Hadjidakis, Vangelis Papathanasiou, Nils Frahm, The National, Olafur Arnalds and Max Richter as being major influences on his work and sound. “I like a composer or a band because when I listen to the music or attend a concert I am just getting lost in the atmosphere,” Theodore explains in press notes. “I understand that orchestral music is something that I am really into and I will try to test my self in the future.”

Theodore has written compositions for Matina Megla’s Window, Vladan Nikolic’s film Bourek and he was commissioned to write a new, live score for Buster Keaton’s classic, 1928 silent comedy The Cameraman, which he and his band performed during  a screening at the Temple of Zeus. But interestingly enough, his sophomore album It Is But It’s Not, which was performed live at London’s Abbey Road Studio 2 has been his breakthrough effort as the accompanying performance video has amassed more than 2 million YouTube views — and as a result, the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has played sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Reeperhbahn Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag, Release Festival and SXSW. Adding to a growing profile, he has opened for Sigur Ros and DIIV, and has received praise from a number of major media outlets, including Clash Magazine, Music WeekTsugi, FGUK, Gaffa and Szene, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne. Oh, and I must add that “Towards (for what is to come)” is currently playlisted on NPR’s All Songs 24/7 and Germany’s Flux Passport Approved.

Theodore’s third, full-length album Inner Dynamics is slated for a November 2, 2018 release and the album finds him thematically looking inward to examine the dichotomies (and dualities) of his identity in order to seek new creative potential. “On It Is But It’s Not, I tried to explore how the opposite elements in the universe interact, how they fight and how without the one you can’t have the other.” Theodore says, adding, “For Inner Dynamics, I was trying to express my urge to connect the conscious and subconscious part of myself so I can be creative. It’s an understanding that humans are not just one thing, and they shouldn’t try to hide certain elements of their personality because society likes to put labels of who we are. It’s the different sides of my self that makes who I am.” Inner Dynamics‘ third and latest single “Disorientation” clocks in at a little over 6 minutes, and it finds Theodore’s sound nodding at dramatic film scores, Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead-like atmospherics, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Rush-like prog rock expansiveness, centered around Theodore’s yearning vocals and slick production.