Tag: SXSW

Live Footage: The Black Angels Performs “Manipulation” at LEVITATION Festival with Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dihr

Levitation Festival (formerly known as Austin Psych Fest) can trace its beginnings to a simple idea devised by the members of The Black Angels in the back of a tour van in 2007 — let’s invite all of our favorite bands and all of our friends for our version of a music festival.

The inaugural Austin Psych Fest was in March 2008 and by popular demand, the festival expanded to a three day event the following year. The festival quickly became an international destination for psych rock fans with lineups featuring up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from The Black Angels. Renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, the festival has sparked an new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of several similar events across the globe, including Levitation Festival events in Chicago, Vancouver, France and a SXSW showcase, as well as other special events in Europe and Latin America.

Late last year, Levitation Festival’s record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society announced the launch of a new live album series, Live at LEVITATION. Comprised of material played and recorded throughout the festival’s decade-plus history, the live album series specifically captures and documents key artists in the contemporary psych rock scene. Of course, many of these moments were also important moments of Austin’s live music scene.

The live series’ first album Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION featured two different Kikagaku Moyo sets — their 2014 Levitation Festival set, which was one of the Japanese psych rock act’s first Stateside shows and their return to Levitation back in 2019, during a sold-out Stateside tour. Live at LEVITATION’s second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION features the festival’s founders The Black Angels. Comprised of material recorded at Austin Psych Fest 2010, 2011 and 2012, the album captures a rare glimpse of the festival’s early days — and for Black Angels fans, like myself, it also features six songs from their first two albums, Passover and Directions to See a Ghost.

The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION is slated for a March 26, 2021 digital and vinyl release through The Reverberation Society, and as The Black Angels’ Christian Bland explains in press notes, “Since the beginning The Black Angels were meant to be heard live. This record captures the rumble of the drums and amps, and the very essence of the way it should sound. Now future generations and new listeners can now hear how these songs were meant to be heard.”

The album’s first single is hypnotic and menacing live version of Passover single “Manipulation” that features a mesmerizing guest spot from Elephant Stone’s bassist, sitarist and frontman Rishi Dihr. The accompanying live footage was filmed at Austin’s Seaholm Power Plant.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Corridor Release a Trippy, Technicolor Visual for “Domino”

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink covering the Montreal-based JOVM mainstay act Corridor. The Montreal-based JOVM mainstays — 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 growing praise from NPR and from Vice, who wrote that 2017’s sophomore album Supermercado was “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 . . . ” Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Corridor spent the following year touring across Europe with stops at London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival, before making their Stateside debut with stops at SXSW and Northside Festival. They capped off a busy year or so, with a sold-out Stateside tour with Crumb.

The French Canadian JOVM mainstays caught the attention of Sub Pop Records, who signed the band, making them the first Francophone act on the label. The band’s third album, last year’s Junior continues their ongoing and successful collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Ethier while finding the Montreal-based quintet jettisoning the languorous creative process of its predecessors — out of an inspired necessity.

Although Corridor had just signed to their new label home, they had developed firm commitment to release a new album every two years — and they intended on fulfilling their commitment. When Sub Pop was informed of the band’s intentions, they gently informed the band that if they wanted to release new material that fall, they had to send the label a completed album in early May. With the ink barely dried on the finalized contract, the members of the band rushed into the studio and record Junior in an inspired and breakneck blitz, finishing the album by mid-April of that year.

Six of he album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend, with the album closer “Bang” written the night before they were going to start recording. Because of the quick nature of the Junior sessions, the album features fewer expansive jams and less reliance on overdubs. “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.

Album single “Domino” is trippy motork groove-driven guitar anthem that finds the Montreal-based JOVM mainstays drawing from New Zealand jangle pop, early 80s New Wave and krautrock. The song finds the band carefully balancing a deliberate attention to craft with an explosive yet free-flowing jam between friends.

Directed, produced and edited by the band’s Jonathan Robert, and featuring footage from Phillippe Beauséjour, the recently released video for “Domino” is a technicolor fever dream with a retro-futuristic bent that reminds me of DEVO, Kraftwerk, and 3,2,1 Contact for some odd reason. “‘Domino’ illustrates a link between one’s work & mental health as well as its negative impact, in turn, on the people surrounding us,” Jonathan Robert says of the song and the accompanying video. “It, therefore, made sense to film ourselves breaking stuff for this video. I then spent some time with the footage to experiment with the treatment and the editing.”

New Video: Los Angeles’ Lauren Lakis Releases a Brooding and Uneasy Examination of a Dysfunctional Childhood

Lauren Lakis is a Baltimore-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician, who specializes in a brooding and churning take on shoegaze paired with authentic and honest lyricism. So far her work has been praised by Earmilk, who said that her material are “a refreshing change from today’s polite rock . . .”

The Baltimore-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician and her backing band have toured the West Coast extensively, playing bills with Drowse, Coastland, Elizabeth Colour Wheel’s Emmet Palaima, Flor and Winnetka Bowling League. Lakis and her band have played in front of a sold-out Doug Fir Lounge and at Santa Cruz’s The Catalyst. Adding to a growing profile, Lakis has played two solo sets opening for Grammy Award-nominated rocker Tracy Bonham.

Much like countless other acts, Lakis and her backing band had plans for a momentum changing 2020: they were scheduled to play at this year’s cancelled SXSW and they had hopes of setting up further tour dates. However, they’ve remained busy, releasing new material, including their latest single “Sail Away.” Centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, dramatic drumming, a sinuous bass line, darkly Romantic vibes and Lakis’ plaintive yet ethereal vocals,” Sail Away” is a brooding track that reminds me — to my ears at least — of PJ Harvey, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Chelsea Wolfe.

Interestingly, the song is an uneasy and brooding examination of Lakis’ own dysfunctional and painful childhood and a desire to reconnect to a lost yet much-needed innocence. “Thematically, ‘Sail Away’ explores the idea of running away with my inner child, protecting and parenting her,” Lakis explains in press notes. “It’s me becoming my own mother, which was something I had to do at a young age.

“As the daughter of my mother, I had to learn how to take care of myself and grow up quickly. She struggled with addiction until I was almost 10 years old; I don’t have many memories of my childhood before that age. I’ve spent some years in Alanon, connecting to my inner child and learning how to ‘re-parent’ her as a way of healing those wounds,” Lakis continues. “The inner child is the part of us that is innocent, vulnerable, playful, full of wonder, freely trusting and loving. It hasn’t always been easy to connect with that side of myself.

“I didn’t feel like I had a voice as a kid, and I had no control over what was happening around me. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, I grew into an extremely strong, resilient, capable adult. This song explores my longing for having had an adult like me around, when I was a child…as well as the anger I’ve carried with me for having missed out. I’ve had to accept that no one can go back in time and fix that for me.”

The recently released video is a cinematic and equally brooding visual with a fever dream-like quality that finds Lakis is a lace full-body suit.

Live Footage: Laura Carbone Performs “Cellophane Skin” at Rockpalast

With the release of her first two albums — 2016’s Sirens and 2018’s Empty Sea — the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer Laura Carbone received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a sound and approach that frequently draws comparisons to PJ Harvey, Shana Falana, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent and others. Additionally,. Carbone published a limited-edition book of photography, also named The Empty Sea.

Carbone and her backing band have opened for The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, developing a reputation for a self-assured and explosive live show, which she further cemented with a headlining tour across Europe last year. The Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer then followed that up with a stop at SXSW Levitation Festival/Creem Magazine Showcase and a headlining North American tour with The Natvral that included a stop at Baby’s All Right.

Carbone and her backing band were slated to go into the studio in May to record her highly-anticipated third album — but as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, the rising Berlin-based artist’s plans were placed in an indefinite hiatus, much like countless other artists across the globe. Last year, the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and her backing band performed on the famed German, live concert series Rockpalast — and for Carbone, who grew up in a small town in Southwestern Germany watching the show, appearing on the show was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream: Rockpalast has recorded and broadcasted a who’s who list of influential and important artists, playing some of their most memorable performances, including Siouxsie and The Banshees, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Sinead O’Connor, David Bowie, R.E.M., Echo and the Bunnymen, Screaming Trees, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley and the Wailers and an amazing and very lengthy list of others.

As a result of pandemic-related shutdowns, an idea emerged with Carbone and her band: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Released yesterday, Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is just that. Taken from her Rockpalast set at Harmonie Bonn last October, the live album features a career-spanning set, centered around her first two albums, and an unexpected cover, Hewing as closely as possible to their live sound, the album was mixed in Los Angeles by The Jesus and Mary Chain‘s Scott Van Ryper and mastered by Philipp Welsing at Hamburg‘s Original Mastering with no overdubs.

Last month, I wrote about the live album’s first single, “Who’s Gonna Save You.” The live rendition accurately captures Carbone and her band’s forceful live sound and Carbone’s irresistible stage presence, While the song itself finds the band balancing menace, power and sultriness, it should also serve as an introduction to an artist, who in my book is adding her name to a list of powerful rock goddesses.

To celebrate the release of the album, Carbone released the live album’s second single, “Cellophane Skin.” Performed as the first song of their encore, the live rendition finds the band taking the tension of the original and informing it with a feral and ferocious power, informed by dozens of shows across Europe and North America — and by the occasion. And as a result, the song finds its narrator — and perhaps the artist herself — turning into a seductive and vengeful force of nature, much like the sirens of the ancient myths. At its down core, the song finds its narrator forcefully tearing down the bonds of poisonous social norms that have imprisoned her while demanding that we — particularly men — examine ourselves. Of course, much like its immediate predecessor, the song captures a woman with mighty and fearsome roar.

Directed by Olga Dyer, the recently released video for “Cellophane Skin” is split between gorgeous and seductive footage of Carbone in a black gown being touched by a series of seemingly disembodied hands and black and white footage captured on stage.
“The feminine point of view has always been much more difficult to articulate,” Olga Dyer says in press notes. “And once articulated, alas, quite often it becomes a point of vulnerability, seen through the prism of sexual objectification, helpless stereotypes and indecency. It’s literally stripped of its actual meaning or even possible interpretations. To me, this is what ‘Cellophane Skin’ is about. People jump to conclusions, so quick to assume that they can see through someone. Personally it doesn’t offend me, I only find it banal and boring. I love creating beautiful and dark sequences, inspired by noir surrealism.”

Live Footage: Laura Carbone Performs “Who’s Gonna Save You” at Rockpalast

With the release of her first two albums — 2016’s Sirens and 2018’s Empty Sea — the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer Laura Carbone received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a sound and approach that frequently draws comparisons to PJ Harvey, Shana Falana, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent and others. Carbone also published and released a limited-edition book of photography, also named The Empty Sea.

Carbone and her backing band were slated to go into the studio in May to record her highly-anticipated third album — but as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, the rising Berlin-based artist’s plans were placed in an indefinite hiatus, much like countless other artists across the globe. Last year, Carbone and her backing band performed on the famed German live concert series Rockpalast — and for the Berlin-based artist, who grew up in a small town in Southwestern Germany, appearing on the show was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream: Rockpalast has recorded and broadcasted a who’s who list of influential and important artists, playing some of their most memorable performances, including Siouxsie and The Banshees, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Sinead O’Connor, David Bowie, R.E.M., Echo and the Bunnymen, Screaming Trees, Lynard Skynard, Bob Marley and the Wailers and an amazing and very lengthy list of others. And as a music mad teenager, Carbone often spent late Saturday nights watching the show, watching many of those artists play on national TV.

Interestingly, as a result of those pandemic-related shutdowns, an idea emerged with Carbone and her backing band: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Slated for a December 4, 2020 release, Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is just that. Taken from her Rockpalast appearance, recorded at Harmonie Bonn last October, the live album features a career-spanning set featuring material off her first two albums with an unexpected cover. Hewing as closely as possible to their live sound, the album was mixed in Los Angeles by The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Scott Van Ryper and mastered by Philipp Welsing at Hamburg’s Original Mastering with no overdubs.

Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast’s first single “Who’s Gonna Save You” accurately captures the band’s dynamic live sound and Carbone’s sultry, self-assured presence — and in my book, the live rendition reveals that the Berlin-based artist is rock goddess you need right this very second. The live rendition finds Carbone and her band balancing menace with sultriness in a way that’s irresistible.

The recently released video for “Who’s Gonna Save You” is split between live footage shot in a gorgeous and broodingly cinematic black and white during last year’s Rockpalast and footage of the gorgeous Carbone in a equally gorgeous red dress wandering around Berlin’s Märchenbrunnen, or “Fairytale Fountain,” in Volkspark Friedrichshain shot by Underground Youth’s Olya Dyer. “To have this immaculate beauty yet melancholic aftertaste blended with the energy of the live performance is incredible. It’s a solitary present mixed with a crowded past.,” Dyer says of the footage he shot.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Dream Wife Drops Blistering Single from Soon-to-Be Released Live Album

Deriving their name from a pointed criticism of society’s objectification of women, the London-based punk rock trio and JOVM mainstays Dream Wife — Icelandic-born, London-based Rakel Mjöll (vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals) and Bella Podapec (bass, vocals) — can trace their origins to when the trio met and started the band back in 2015 as an art project centered around a unique concept: a ban d born out of one girl’s memories of growing up in Canada in the 1990s.

Dream Wife’s 2018 self-titled debut was released to widespread critical acclaim — and the London-based JOVM mainstays supported the album by opening for Garbage, The Kills and Sleigh Bells and playing that year’s SXSW. Building upon a growing international profile, the members of Dream Wife also went on a series of headlining tours across the European Union and the States, which included a Rough Trade stop with New York-based genre-defying artist Sabri.

Released earlier this year through Lucky Number Music, the London-based trio’s Marta Salogni-produced So When You Gonna . . . finds the JOVM mainstays crafting what may arguably be their most urgent and direct material to date. Thematically touching upon abortion, miscarriage and gender equality, the album’s material if fueled by a “it’s now or never” immediacy, in which the listener is told that they need to get off their ass and start doing something to make the world a better place for all — right this very second. In the UK, So When You Gonna . . . has been a critical and commercial success: the album landed at #18 on the UK Albums Chart, making it the only album in the Top 20 to be produced by an all womxn/non-male production and engineering team — and the only non-major label release to chart that high.

To celebrate such a momentous achievement in their careers, Dream Wife will be releasing a live album, IRL (Live in London 2020). Recorded at a Peckham Audio show back in January, the live album, captures the band’s ferocious and feral live sound, which has made them a must-see live act. But it also captures something much larger and much more important what so many of us miss: the transcendent ecstasy of a fan seeing their favorite artist play their favorite song live; the camaraderie with newfound friends over your mutual love of that artist — or of traveling to see that artist and on and on and on.

IRL (Live in London 2020)’s first single is a previously unreleased song “Cheap Thrills.” Centered around slashing guitars, a propulsive bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming and Mjöll’s brash and bratty delivery, “Cheap Thrills” sonically is one part Gang of Four, one part Yeah Yeah Yeahs and one part Garbage with a youthful and defiant urgency.

New Video: Acclaimed British-born, Irish-based Singer-Songwriter Rosie Carney Tackles Radiohead

Acclaimed Hampshire, UK-born, Donegal, Ireland-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Rosie Carney began writing music inspired by the rugged and picturesque of her hometown. When she was 15, Carney left school to showcase her work in New York and Los Angeles, and shortly thereafter was signed to a major label. After performing on Ireland’s leading live music TV series Other Voices, the British-born, Irish-based artist experienced a rapidly growing profile, which led to 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.

Without the ability to tour and with her career plans stalled as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions, Carney much like countless other people across the globe found her mental health suffering as a result of forced isolation and boredom. Carney’s JMAC-co-produced The Bends finds the acclaimed singer/songwriter tackling Radiohead’s The Bends.

Slated for a December 11, 2020 release through Color Study, Carney’s forthcoming isn’t the first time that her own struggles with mental health have dovetailed with her love of Radiohead: Carney recalls seeing the band as a teenager and having an anxiety attack in the arena. She blacked out and woke up in the venue’s first aid room. And for the British-born, Irish-based artist, covering her favorite band has acted a much-needed form of therapy.

The Bends’ second single finds Carney releasing an atmospheric cover of “Black Star.” Centered around an arrangement of Carney’s achingly tender vocals, strummed acoustic guitar, brooding strings and gently padded drumming, Carney’s bare boned yet straightforward cover manages to pull out the bitter and uneasy heartache at the core of the song in a way that feels personal, lived-in and almost uncomfortable.

“One of my favourite things about this song is the non-sugar coated realness of it”, Carney explains in press notes. “It’s very bleak and sad when you start to realise a relationship is on its way out. I feel like everyone has been in that situation where you just kind of aimlessly fill your day with crap to distract yourself from thinking about someone (even though you are the whole time). Throughout the record I tried to keep as many songs in their original key as possible, but when I started learning Black Star, I wanted it to feel like I was almost talking in the verses, so I purposely lowered it to the point it was nearly uncomfortable for me to sing. The words are so direct and bleak and honest I didn’t want to risk them going unheard.”

Directed by Carney, the recently released video features intimate footage shot in Donegal that manages to fit the song’s brooding and uneasy aesthetic.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Yola Releases an Uplifting Tune for Young Black Women

With the release of her critically applauded, Dan Auerbach-produced full-length debut, last year’s Walk Through Fire, the Bristol, UK-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Yola had a highlight-filled, breakthrough year. Some of those major highlights included:

playing a breakout performance at SXSW
making her New York debut at Rockwood Music Hall
playing a live session for YouTube at YouTube Space New York
opening for a list of acclaimed artists including Kacey Musgraves, Lake Street Dive and Andrew Bird on a select series of US tour dates that featured stops at Newport Folk Festival, Hollywood Bowl, Austin City Limits Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors
making her nationally televised debut on CBS This Morning: Saturday Sessions
receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Artist, along with fellow JOVM mainstays The Black Pumas.
making her late night national television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
releasing a soulful cover of Elton John‘s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” that’s not only a staple of her live sets — but caught the attention of Sir Elton John himself, who praised the rapidly rising artist and her cover.

The British-born JOVM mainstay had hopes to build upon the incredibly momentum of 2019 with a handful of opportunities that many artists across the world would probably kill someone for: Earlier this year, it was announced that she was preparing to play blues and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Baz Luhrmann’s musical drama Elvis alongside Austin Butler in the title role, Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Presley’s mother. Unfortunately, the film wound up being delayed as a result of pandemic-related shutdowns- and infamously, Tom Hanks contracting COVID-19 while filming in Australia.

The Bristol-born, Nashville-based JOVM mainstay finished her first Stateside headlining tour, which included a Music Hall of Williamsburg show in February, right before pandemic-related shutdowns put the entire known world on pause. In between filming, she was supposed to play a series of dates opening for country superstar Chris Stapleton and Grammy Award-winning acts The Black Keys and Brandi Carlile — with one of those shows being at Madison Square Garden. The best laid plans of mice and men, indeed.

In the meantime, Yola has made her rounds across the domestic, late night television show circuit: Earlier this year she performed, album bonus track “I Don’t Want to Lie” on The Late Late Show with James Corden — and recently, Yola was on Late Night with Seth Meyers with a soulful, gospel-tinged cover of Nina Simone‘s classic and beloved “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” filmed at The Ryman Auditorium.

Her latest single, the Dave Cobb-produced “Hold On” is the first bit of original material from the JOVM mainstay since the release of Walk Through Fire and the track features an All-Star cast backing her including The Highwomen bandmates Brandi Carlile (backing vocals) and Natalie Hemby (backing vocals), Sheryl Crow (piano) and Jason Isbell (guitar). The Yola penned song was recorded during The Highwomen self-titled debut sessions at RCA Studio A — and the track is an uplifting, gospel-tinged track with a warm yet spacious country soul arrangement and that incredibly soulful powerhouse vocal range. The sister can flat out sang, as they say. And along with the aforementioned cover of “To Be Young Gifted and Black,” “Hold On” comes from a rather personal, lived in place.

Inspired by many of the conversations and lessons Yola’s mother gave her about the racism, colorism and systemic unconscious bias she would later experience as a woman, the song finds its narrator imploring the listener — young, Black women, in particular — to be brash and bold, to stand up and take up place, and to to show the entire world that being young, gifted and black is where it’s at, as Nina once sang. Fuck yes, to all of this — and all the goddamn time, too.

“‘Hold On’ is a conversation between me and the next generation of young black girls,” Yola explains. “My mother’s advice would always stress caution, that all that glitters isn’t gold, and that my black female role models on TV are probably having a hard time. She warned me that I should rethink my calling to be a writer and a singer…. but to me that was all the more reason I should take up this space. ‘Hold On’ is asking the next gen to take up space, to be visible and to show what it looks to be young, gifted and black.”

A proportion of the profiles from sales of the track will be donated to MusicCares and National Bailout Collective. She also launched an accompanying line of merch with a proportion of proceeds from those sales also benefiting the same organizations. Check out the following:

https://www,iamyola.com/store