With the release of their first two albums, 2016’s full-length debut Living Alone and 2018’s sophomore album Pop Therapy, the New Orleans-based act Video Age — founding members Ross Farbe and Ray Micarelli, along with Nick Corson and Duncan Troast — received attention for crafting hook-driven material with a decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired sound.
Following the release of Pop Therapy, the band’s songwriting partners and co-founders Farbe and Micarelli were eager to write new material and continue upon the momentum they had just started to build up. The quartet convened at Farbe’s home studio to begin to work on their highly-anticipated third full-length album, which will be released through Winspear, who recently signed the band.
Video Age’s first single of 2020, “Shadow On The Wall” further establishes the band’s 80s synth pop-inspired sound as its centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, a sinuous bass line, vintage drum machine, some cowbell and an infectious hook. Sonically, the song reminds me of Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads and early Madonna with a subtle hint at 70s AM rock — and while dance floor friendly, the song manages to hint at something much darker under the surface.
With the release of their critically acclaimed EP, 2018’s Distance is a Mirror, the New York-based New Wave/post-punk quartet Public Practice — founding duo Sam York (vocals), Vince McClelland (guitar) with Drew Citron (bass, vocals, synths) and Scott Rosenthal (drums, production) — received attention nationally and across the blogosphere for a reviving the spirit and vibe of the late 70s New York scenes with a sound that draws from No Wave and disco centered around punk, avant-garde flourishes, pop song structures, slinky rhythms and groove-driven hooks.
York and McClelland have been creative partners for several years before the formation of Public Practice and through their long collaboration, they’ve developed an anarchic perspective that challenges the traditional notion of what a traditional song should do and what it could be. Citron and Rosenthal have a decidedly pop leaning sensibility. But instead of the contrasting styles and approaches clashing, they’ve found a way to challenge and complement each other — and the end result, the New York-based act’s highly-anticipated, full-length debut Gentle Grip is built around spiraling tensions.
Slated for a May 15, 2020 digital relate and a June 26, 2020 physical release through Wharf Cat Records, Gentle Grip thematically explores ideas about navigating through the acts of creation, relationships and capitalism. And as we all know, in our daily lives, each of those things are at uncomfortable conflict, but at the end of the day, we have to figure out a way to be true to ourselves. Interestingly, the album’s third and latest single, the slinky, disco banger “My Head.” Centered around a sinuous bass line, a soaring string arrangement, four-on-the floor drumming and an infectious hook the song manages to recall Blondie, Talking Heads and Donna Summer — and because the world at the moment is so bleak, it’s an even more of an escapist fantasy of strobe light and dancing fear and pain away.
Directed by the band’s Sam York, the recently released video features a collection of dancers, who are isolated in their own little world, dancing to the song’s sultry, dance floor friendly grooves. “The video shoot for ‘My Head’ was Public Practice’s last social activity before we went into quarantine here in NYC — the final dance!” the band’s Sam York recalls in press notes. “Josie and Jon, who edited the video, were the last two people I saw, passing off the hard rive with the footage and walking home, listening to the news, not knowing that I would be spending the next month and then some inside my apartment in social isolation. With lyrics ‘I don’t want to waste my time / I don’t want to fade away’ combined with the visual of the dancers, each isolated in their own little world, the song and video feel strikingly relevant for these strange times. This video was created on the eve of isolation, edited entirely in isolation and is now coming to you while many of us are still stuck at home, but hopefully now we’re all dancing. ”
The Lounge Society — Cameron Davey (vocals, bass), Archie Dewis (drums), Herbie May (guitar) and Hani Paskin-Hussain (guitar) — are a young, rapidly rising band from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK. In a relatively short time, the band whose members are roughly around the ages of 16-17 have quickly developed a reputation for making music that kicks the listener in the teeth with the band taking a fresh approach to an eclectic arrange of influences that include The Fall,Talking Heads, The Velvet Underground and Fat White Family among others. And from all accounts, the young quartet may be the next act hailing from Northern England that will be the next emerging band from Northern England to dominate the blogosphere, adding their names to the lies of Working Men’s Club, JOVM mainstays The Orielles and WH Lung.
The emerging band had already caught the attention of Speedy Wunderground co-founders Pierre Hall, Dan Carey, and Alexis Smith, so when the band’s manager contacted the label by email, Hall and Carey quickly recognized that they were in a now-or-never moment. Because of the band’s youth, they needed together permission to miss their music exams in order to come down to Speedy Wunderground’s Streatham headquarters and studio — and they had to have an adult guardian to check them into the nearby hotel they booked for the sessions.
The members of The Lounge Society made quite an impression on the folks at Speedy Wunderkind: “They are great. Really fun to work with — and a fucking amazing band,” Dan Carey enthuses. The day that the band entered the studio, things happened quickly: after messing around a bit with the members of the band trying out different amps and guitars. As soon as they were ready, Carey set the mood of the sessions by turning the lights off and turning on the smoke machine and lasers. And as they started to play, the building’s smoke alarm went off, which according to the band and the label was the first time that had ever happened.
The end result is the band’s expansive and breakneck debut single “Generation Game.” Clocking in at 5:30 the track is essentially comprised of a handful of different stylistic and sonic movements — with elements of shoegaze, psych rock, psych punk and Brit Pop — that are barely held together by a propulsive rhythm section; at points the band is a furious, runaway train of youthful rambunctiousness and abandon, piss and vinegar, and distortion pedaled power chords. Much like their Northern English counterparts, the members of The Lounge Society specialize in a difficult to pigeonhole sound — and they do so with a self-assuredness that belies their youth.
“We went through the track and there was a real energy in the room, it was like being at a gig which is exactly what this track needed,” the rising Northern English band says in press notes. “‘Generation Game’ means a lot to all of us, and we feel it’s an ideal introduction to us as a band. To us the lyrics reflect what we’re all about – shedding light on topics and events we feel are criminally ignored – and for it to be our very first offering to the world (especially through Speedy) really helps get that across. Once we’d finished the take we all stopped dead and looked at each other (and Dan) and he just said ‘that’s it, that’s the one’. I think we were all a bit shocked but the energy was there on the recording and we completely trusted him!”
The band adds “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet that we’re releasing a single with Speedy. It’s always been a dream for all of us to record with Dan Carey and release with Speedy. We love their ethos and all the music they’ve put out in the past, it’s a great scene.
I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the rapidly rising and acclaimed Halifax, UK-based act The Orielles over the past couple of years. Founded by siblings Sidonie B. Hand-Halford (drums), Esmé Dee Hand-Halford (vocals, bass) and their best friend Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar, vocals), the JOVM mainstays built up a great deal of buzz, when Heavenly Recordings‘ head Jeff Barrett signed the band after catching them open for labelmates The Parrots in late 2016.
2017’s critically applauded, full-length debut Silver Dollar Moment found the band establishing a genre-defying sound that meshed elements of psych rock, pop and disco centered around surrealistic observations of everyday life. After the release of Silver Dollar Moment, the band’s founding trio recruited Alex Stephens (keys) as a full-time member of the band, expanding the band into a quartet. And with their newest member, they went into the studio to record material that included “Bobbi’s Second World” and a cover/rework of Peggy Gou’s “It Makes You Forget (itgehane).” Those two singles saw the band’s sound increasingly (and playfully) leaning towards Speaking in Tongues-era Talking Heads, ESG and the like, while featuring rock-based instrumentation.
Released earlier this year, The Orielles’ sophomore album Disco Volador continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with producer Marta Salogni – and the album’s material finds the newly constituted quartet pushing their sound towards its outer limits. The end result is that the rapidly rising Halifax-based JOVM mainstays have sonically become astral travelers of sorts, creating mind-bending, trippy and progressive material that features elements of samba, ‘70s disco, boogie funk, 80s New Wave, dance floor grooves and ‘90s acid house. The material also draws from the work of Italian film score composers Sandro Brugnolini and Piero Umiliami, as well as contemporary acts like Khruangbin and Altin Gun. “All the influences we had when writing this record were present when we recorded it, so we completely understood what we wanted this album to feel like and could bring that to fruition,” the band’s Sidonie B. Hand-Halford says in press notes.
Deriving its name from a literal interpretation from Spanish that means flying disc, the band’s Esme Dee Halford says, “ . . . everyone experiences things differently. Disco Volador could be a frisbee, a UFO, an alien nightclub or how you feel when you fly; what happens when to your body physically or that euphoric buzz from a great party. But it’s an album of escape; if I went to space, I might not come back.”
The album also manages to capture the British indie quartet riding high off the success of their critically applauded debut, which included a lengthy and successful summer tour with festival stops Green Man and bluedot. Two official singles have been released off the album so far: the expansive, hook-driven and genre-defying “Come Down On Jupiter,” which features a slow-burning and brooding intro, before quickly morphing into a bit of breakneck guitar pop before ending with a psychedelic freakout – and “Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme),” a shimmering dance floor friendly boogie woogie with an lysergic air. And interestingly enough, the album’s first two singles are perfect examples of how versatile and dexterous the JOVM mainstays are – they’re pulling from a wild and eclectic array of sources, like a bunch of mad, crate-digging audiophiles and meshing them into something familiar yet completely novel.
The members of The Orielles are about to embark on their first North American tour. And as you may recall, the tour will include a handful of sets at the second annual New Colossus Festival. Unfortunately, SXSW has been cancelled because of COVID 19 – but as of this writing, the band’s West Coast dates are still happening. You can check out those tour dates below.
For JOVM’s latest Q&A, I contacted the members of the British JOVM mainstay act. We discuss Halifax’s local sites of note, their impressive and expansive sophomore album, their cover/rework of Peggy Gou’s “It Makes You Forget (itgehane),” the gorgeous and cinematic video for “Come Down on Jupiter,” their upcoming Stateside debut and New Festival Colossus Festival sets and more. Check it out, below.
3/11/2020-3/15/2020 – New York, NY – New Colossus Festival
3/24/2020 – Los Angeles CA – Moroccan Lounge
3/25/2020 – San Francisco CA – Popscene at Rickshaw Stop
3/27/2020– Boise ID – Treefort Music Festival
3/28/2020 – Portland OR – Bunk Bar
3/29/2020 – Seattle WA – Vera Project
WRH: If I’m traveling to Halifax and Northern England in general, what should I see and do that would give me a taste of local life? Why?
The Orielles: We have all grown up listening to music and trawling through our parents record collections definitely helped influence our love and passion for music. We started playing music pretty much by chance. When we met each other, only Henry could actually play an instrument, but we decided to meet up and jam together the following day regardless. After that we realised our passion for playing music together was huge and we didn’t want to do anything else.
WRH: How would you describe your sound to someone completely unfamiliar to you?
The Orielles: We like to describe our sound as post-punk funk.
WRH: Before you went into the studio to your latest album Disco Volador, the band added keyboardist Alex Stephens. Has the addition of Stephens changed your creative process at all? And if so, how?
The Orielles: He helped to develop our sound and his expanded knowledge on chords and harmony really worked well with our vision of what we wanted this record to be. The creative process stayed the same, we all still write together, and the recording process has always been very collective and shared. We never like it to be rigid in terms of what we play.
WRH: Sadly, it doesn’t appear on the new album, but I love your cover/rework of Peggy Gou’s “It Makes You Forget (itgehane).” How did that come about?
The Orielles: Thanks! We wanted to cover a song for a B-side and thought it’d be fun to rework something that wasn’t the genre of music that we make already.
We also love that song and listen to a lot of dance and electronic music so had the idea to try add our own personality to the cover.
WRH: Two of my favorite songs on the album are album opener “Come Down on Jupiter” and album closer “Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme).” Can you tell me a bit about what they’re about and what influenced them?
The Orielles: “Jupiter” is about the idea of fate and being controlled by a potential higher force from outer space. “Space Samba” is a similar idea but more about boogie and having a disco in space!
WRH: I love Rose Hendry’s cinematic and hallucinogenic video treatment for “Come Down on Jupiter.” How did that collaboration come about? Can you talk a bit about how the treatment came about?
The Orielles: We met Rose through a recommendation and as soon as we read her treatment we were in love with her creativity and her ability to be able to understand the lyrics and the ideas of the song on a deeper level.
We think she’s done a really great job of it and are very proud.
WRH: With the release of your debut, 2017’s Silver Dollar Moment, the band went from being one of the most exciting, emerging bands in Northern England to becoming an international blogosphere sensation, playing some of the biggest festivals of the UK touring circuit. How does it feel to be in the middle of that whirlwind of attention and activity?
The Orielles: It’s really surreal! We definitely didn’t expect for our music to be so well received and for that we’re eternally grateful.
WRH: From what I understand, as you were touring to support Silver Dollar Moment, the members of the band wound up absorbing a wider and more eclectic array of music and sounds – in particular the film scores of Sandro Brugnolini and Piero Umilani, as well as the work of Khruangbin and Altin Gun (who I really dig, by the way). And sonically, the album does manage to reflect getting into a wider variety of things, throwing them into a big old pot and mixing them into something that’s sort of recognizable and sort of alien. So as a result, the material on Disco Volador seems like a bold and self-assured expansion of your sound. Was this intentional? And how much did Altin Gun influence the overall sound and aesthetic?
The Orielles: I guess it was sorta intentional. We don’t really listen to a lot of western music and prefer exploring other styles and eras. I think just expanding our musical palette meant that this progression came naturally.
We have been listening to Altin Gun for a while now after first seeing them play in Utrecht. We love the way that they can make traditional Turkish folk songs very danceable and fun and wanted to replicate that idea with guitar music.
WRH: There are brief hints at 80s New Wave – there’s a brief 30 second or so sequence on “Rapid I” that reminds me of Stop Making Sense-era Talking Heads before closing out with a house music-influenced freakout coda. How much did house music and New Wave influence the material?
The Orielles: Those genres inspire us a lot. We feel that they are often a lot more interesting than straight up guitar indie etc. We also really wanted to have a go at creating guitar music that people can have a boogie to.
WRH: Disco Volador finds the band returning to the same studio you recorded Silver Dollar Moment and continuing an ongoing collaboration with Marta Salogni. How has it been to work with her?
The Orielles: Working with Marta is incredible! She’s such a great energy and has a really special and inspiring knowledge of musical production. She’s also a great storyteller and really hilarious!
WRH: You’re about to embark on a handful of sets at this year’s New Colossus Festival here in NYC, before heading down to Austin for SXSW. If I’m not mistaken, these sets will be your first Stateside shows. Are you excited? Nervous? What should Stateside audiences expect from your live show?
The Orielles: That’s right! It’ll be our first time playing there. We’re very excited! We are hugely inspired by the NYC late 70s/80s art and music scene and so playing out there will feel special to us.
WRH: Is there anything you’re looking forward to on your first Stateside tour?
The Orielles: We’re looking forward to living up to our collective nickname and being proper ‘thrift shop cowboys’. Also excited for hopefully a bit of Vitamin D in California lol.
WRH: Provided that you’ll have the chance to do so: Is there anyone you’re looking forward to catching at New Colossus?
I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the rapidly rising Halifax, UK-based act The Orielles over the past couple of years. Founded by siblings Sidonie B. Hand-Halford (drums), Esmé Dee Hand-Halford (vocals, bass) and their best friend Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar, vocals), the JOVM mainstays built up a great deal of buzz, when Heavenly Recordings‘ head Jeff Barrett signed the band after catching them open for labelmates The Parrots in late 2016.
2017’s critically applauded, full-length debut Silver Dollar Moment found the band establishing a genre-defying sound that meshed elements of psych rock, pop and disco centered around surrealistic observations of every day life. Interestingly, after Silver Dollar Moment, the band’s founding trio recruited Alex Stephens (keys) as a full-time member of the band, expanding the band into a quartet. And with their newest member, they went into the studio to record material that included “Bobbi’s Second World” and a cover/rework of Peggy Gou’s “It Makes You Forget (itgehane).” Those two singles saw the band’s sound increasingly (and playfully) leaning towards Speaking in Tongues-era Talking Heads, ESG and the like, while featuring rock-based instrumentation.
Last year, the JOVM mainstays were busy working on their highly-anticipated sophomore album Disco Volador. “Its literal interpretation from Spanish means flying disc but everyone experiences things differently. Disco Volador could be a frisbee, a UFO, an alien nightclub or how you feel when you fly; what happens to your body physically or that euphoric buzz from a great party,” the band’s Esme Dee Halford suggests in press notes. “But it is an album of escape; if I went to space, I might not come back.”
Slated for a February 28, 2020 release, Disco Volador continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with producer Marta Salogni while reportedly finding the newly constituted quartet pushing their sound towards its outer limits with the band being astral travelers, creating progressive and trippy material that draws from samba, 70s disco, boogie funk, dance floor grooves and 90s acid house. And they do so while expanding their influences further to include the work of Italian film score composers Sandro Brugnolini and Piero Umiliami, as well as contemporary acts like Khruangbin and Altin Gun. “All the influences we had when writing this record were present when we recorded it, so we completely understood what we wanted this album to feel like and could bring that to fruition,” the band’s Sidonie B. Hand-Halford says in press notes.
Disco Volador also manages to capture the rapidly rising British indie act riding high off the success of their debut, which included a lengthy and successful summer tour with festival stops Green Man and bluedot. Late last year, I wrote about “Come Down On Jupiter,” Disco Volador’s first single further cemented the band’s genre-defying sound, as it was centered around an expansive song structure: starting with a slow-burning and brooding into, the song quickly morphed into a breakneck guitar pop with a psychedelic-tinged freak out. While retaining the razor sharp, infectious hooks that helped the British indie act win attention nationally and internationally, “Come Down On Jupiter” also managed to be an example of how versatile the British JOVM mainstays can be. “Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme),” the album’s latest single is a shimmering disco-tinged track, featuring propulsive polyrhythm led by four-on-the-floor drumming, layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering guitar, a sinuous bass line, Esmé Dee Hand-Halford’s ethereal vocals, arguably making it one of the most dance floor friendly and trippier songs they’ve released to date.
The Los Angeles-based post-punk act Dancing Tongues, featuring core duo Alex Lavayen and Kevin Modry, can trace its origins to the breakup of the duo’s previous band. In the aftermath, the pair relocated to Los Angeles, where they began writing material inspired by the post punk of the late 1970s and 1980s — i.e., The Gun Club, The Cure and Talking Heads.
In 2016, Lavayen and Modry formally started the band, and bay the end of the year, they released their debt EP Positions late that year. Over the next two years, the band played shows in and around San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County while slowing building a community of fans and fellow artists. During that same period, the duo who had long held legitimate day jobs in music and art decided that it was time to channel all of their creative energy into the band. And as a result, they furiously wrote the material that would comprise their Jonny Bell-produced full-length debut Hypnotic Tales of Sex and Distress. Reportedly, the album thematically addresses the dissatisfaction, confusion and distractions we all experience as we desperately attempt to navigate through an overabundance of information. Each individual track on the album is meant to mark a chapter in a hypnotic journey that specifically deals with a different story — from the inherent anxieties of creative pursuits, commitment, identity, responsibility, love and romance, and escapement.
The album’s latest single “Body Language” will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting hook-driven material that’s deeply indebted to Joy Division and the like; but the slick production, stubbly pushes the song’s sound into the New Wave direction, making the song subtly nod at Billy Idol. In some way, the new song finds the band at their most ambitious — but without steering too far from what’s won them attention so far. As the band explain in press notes, the song is about the odd (and yet inherent) push and pull sensation of almost every romantic relationship in which there are periods in which you feel so deeply connected to that person, that it’s like nothing can pull you apart, and the moments in which you somehow feel disconnected and incomplete. And in those moments, you try your best to maneuver something that’s confusing and complicated — with all the bullshit and baggage of your own life.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the rapidly rising Halifax, UK-based act The Orielles. And as you may recall, theca which was founded by Sidonie B. Hand-Halford (drums) her younger sister, Esmé Dee Hand-Halford and their best friend Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar, vocals) built up a great deal of buzz surrounding them, when Heavenly Recordings‘ head Jeff Barrett signed the band after catching them open for labelmates The Parrots in late 2016.
2017’s full-length debut Silver Dollar Moment found the band further establishing a genre-defying sound that meshed elements of psych rock, pop and disco centered around surrealistic observations of every day life. After the release of their critically applauded full-length debut, the band expanded into a quartet when they recruited Alex Stephens (keys) — and with their newest member, they went into the studio to record “Bobbi’s Second World” and a cover/rework of Peggy Gou’s “It Makes You Forget (itgehane)” that found the band’s sound playfully (and increasingly) leaning in the direction of early 80s Talking Heads, ESG and others while still being centered around rock-based instrumentation.
A year has passed since I’ve last written about the JOVM mainstays and as it turns out they were busy working on their highly-anticipated, forthcoming sophomore album Disco Volador. “Its literal interpretation from Spanish means flying disc but everyone experiences things differently. Disco Volador could be a frisbee, a UFO, an alien nightclub or how you feel when you fly; what happens to your body physically or that euphoric buzz from a great party,” the band’s Esme Dee Halford suggests in press notes. “But it is an album of escape; if I went to space, I might not come back.” Slated for a February 28, 2019 release, Disco Volador continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with producer Marta Salogni while reportedly finding the quartet pushing their sonic horizon to its outer limits, as astral travelers of sort, crating progressive and trippy tunes that sonically draws from and meshes cinematic samba, 70s disco, boogie funk, dance floor grooves and 90s acid house — and expanding the influences further to including the work of Italian film score composers Sandro Brugnolini and Piero Umiliami, as well as contemporary acts like Khruangbin and Altin Gun. “All the influences we had when writing this record were present when we recorded it, so we completely understood what we wanted this album to feel like and could bring that to fruition,” the band’s Sidonie B. Hand-Halford explains in press notes.
The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album also manages to capture the rapidly rising act in the moment of their post debut album success, which included a lengthy and successful summer tour that included festival stops at Green Man and bluedot. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Come Down On Jupiter” will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting seamless and expansive, genre-defying songs — in this case, you have a slow-burning and brooding intro that quickly morphs into breakneck guitar pop with a psychedelic disco freak out. And while retaining the razor sharp and infectious hooks that won the band attention nationally and internationally, the song is a further example of an insanely versatile band with incredibly dexterous musicianship.
Directed by Rose Hendry, the recently and incredibly cinematic and hallucinogenic video for “Come Down On Jupiter” was filmed — yes, that’s right it was shot on Kodak film — at Arments Pie and Mash shop in Kensington, London. “When I first heard the track I was immediately transported into some sort of mystery melodrama from another era, with a strong dose of something psychedelic,” Rose Hendry says of the video. “This was my starting point, alongside an image by photographer, Ralph Gibson, of a cup of tea sitting on a beige table, bathed in warm sunlight with a plastic spoon resting against the lip. I enjoyed the idea of centering the video around an incident with a cup of tea — that felt dramatic to me — something “mundane” becoming something dramatic. I wanted to encapsulate the playful psychedelia in a psychological and structural way as opposed to the ‘pastiched to death’ VW campervan kind of way. Add to that toast and the rest developed from there.”