Comprised of The Black Angels‘ Alex Mass (vocals, samples, loops), The Horrors‘ Tom Furse (keys, programming), Elephant Stone‘s Rishi Dhir (bass, sitar, keys) and The Earlies‘ John-Mark Lapham (keys, samples, programming), the indie All-Star supergroup and side project MIEN can trace its origins to roughly 2004, when Rishi Dhir, who was playing sitar and bass with a previous band on a SXSW bill with The Brian Jonestown Massacre had a chance encounter with The Black Angels’ Alex Mass. Dihr also had a chance encounter with The Earlies, who he would similarly collaborate and share a stage with. Interestingly, Mass, Dihr and Lapham bonded over a mutual love and appreciation of The Association‘s “Wantin’ Ain’t Gettin;” in fact, upon learning that Lapham had a deep desire to cover it, they all began the slow process of putting together the version they’d always dreamt of. Unfortunately, while that never came to fruition, it created the collaborative and creative sparks that would become MIEN.
In 2012, Dihr was playing bass with The Black Angels, and at the time they were sharing bills with The Horrors, whose Skying was on heavy rotation for him. Dihr made the acquaintance of Tom Furse, and they made a pact to work together on something in the future. As a quartet, the members of MIEN made another pass at covering The Association but coincidentally around the same time, there was a Lapham demo, based around a Beastie Boys sample that eventually became the murky and hallucinatory “Black Habit,” the first single off the band’s self-titled debut.
The album’s second and latest single “Earth Moon” continues on a similar ambient and kaleidoscopic vibe; however, the song finds the act pairing propulsive yet atmospheric electronics with shimmering sitar — and while being as menacing as its predecessor, it’s oddly enough the most Black Angels-like song they’ve released to date.
Coming from a rather musical family — with one of his grandfathers playing drums for the Royal Marines, his father, a violinist and his mom, a clarinetist, who both played and met in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Davey Newington is a Cardiff, Wales, UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrument, who’s known as the creative mastermind of indie rock/psych rock act Boy Azooga, a solo recording project that derives its name from the 1994 major motion picture, The Little Rascals. Interestingly, Newington, who took up drums when he had turned 6 and played in a number of Welsh orchestral and jazz bands as a teenager.
As the story goes, Newington had an art teacher, who sent the then-aspiring musician off to town to buy Can’s Ege Bamyasi but along with that, Newington cites the like of Sly & The Family Stone, Caribou, Black Sabbath, Outkast, Van McCoy and The Beastie Boys among others as influences on him and his own work. For live shows, Newington recruited friends Daf Davies, Dylan Morgan and Sam Barnes, and as a quartet the band can reportedly shift from psych rock, krautrock, and shoegaze within a turn of a phrase. In fact, their latest single “Face Behind Her Cigarette” to my ears manages to nod at the dance floor friendly, psych pop of In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and the motorik grooves of Can but with a breezy, hook laden, almost dance floor friendly air; however, as Newington notes, the song nods to Hot Butter’s 1972 smash, synth pop album Popcorn and Nigerian funk legend William Onyeabor. “This song is basically just a celebration (rip off) of the late great William Onyeabor,” Newington explains. “I wanted the percussion to be purposefully a bit too loud, maybe by the usual standard. Loads of Onyeabor’s percussion is blaring in the mix, but it makes it sound so live and feely. I wanted to create that feeling of being in the room where the music is being played.”
The recently released music video features the band playing over some superimposed psychedelic and retro-futuristic imagery and effects — and in some way it possesses a delightfully cheesy DIY vibe.
Over the past year or so, the Portland, OR-based doom metal quartet, R.I.P has added themselves to a lengthy and eclectic list of mainstay artists I’ve written about throughout the history of this site. And as you may recall, the Portland-based doom metal quartet have long operated off the belief that heavy metal crawled up out of the gutter, where it writhed to life in the grit and grime of the streets — and unsurprisingly, the band dubbed their scuzzy and grimy approach to doom metal as “street doom;” however, interestingly enough if you heard Black Leather” and “Tremble,” off their full-length debut In The Wind, the band’s sound seemed to be indebted to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind and Soundgarden.
Street Reaper, R.I.P.’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort is slated for an October 13, 2017 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album is reportedly inspired by Rick Rubin‘s legendary and influential 80s productions — think The Beastie Boys, Run DMC and LL Cool J among others — and Murder Dog Magazine, and as a result, the members of the band have crafted material with a streamlined and punishingly, raw ferocity, meant to evoke the days when metal and hip-hop were reviled by the mainstream the work of thugs intent on destroying the very fabric of America and its youth. And unlike their debut, Street Reaper reveals a subtly expanded songwriting approach, rooted in their belief that doom metal shouldn’t be pigeonholed into a particular tuning or time signature but rather, a particular mood that inspires doom — in this case, terror, uncertainty, chaos, war, etc.
Unsurprisingly, the material on Street Reaper is influenced not by doom metal’s typical sci-fi, fantasy or mysticism but within an inescapable, horrible and fearful present, full of what seems to be the impending collapse of democracy as we know it in the US, of economic failure, dwindling resources, increasing inequity and inequality, nuclear war, civil war, and a primal fight for survival; in fact, album single “The Other Side” may have arguably been the the Portland-based band’s most blistering and impassionaied playing — and while it may be a desperate howl into a growing void, there’s a feral urgency within the material that sets them apart from their contemporaries.
“Unmarked Grave,” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it features blistering, impassioned, face-melting power chords, a motorik groove, forceful drumming, an arena friendly hook and howled vocals, and while being equally urgent, the material manages to sound as though it were indebted to Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, Queens of the Stone Age and Ozzy Osbourne, complete with a sweaty, whiskey and hallucinogen-fueled frenzy.
If you were frequenting this site over the course of last year, you have come across a couple of posts featuring the the Portland, OR-based doom metal quartet, R.I.P. And as you may recall, the Portland-based quartet has long operated off the belief that heavy metal crawled up out of the proverbial gutter, where it writhed to life in the grit and grime of the streets — and unsurprisingly, the band dubbed their scuzzy and grimy approach to heavy metal and doom metal as “street doom.” But interestingly enough, the first two singles off their RidingEasy Records released debut In The Wind, “Black Leather” and “Tremble,” the Portland-based metal quartet’s sound seemed to be indebted to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind and Badmotorfinger, Superunknown and Down on the Upside-era Soundgarden.
Street Reaper, R.I.P.’s sophomore effort is reportedly inspired by Rick Rubin’s legendary and influential 80s productions — think The Beastie Boys, Run DMC and LL Cool J among others — and Murder Dog Magazine, revealing a streamlined and punishingly, raw ferocity meant to evoke the days when metal and hip-hop were reviled by the mainstream the work of thugs intent on destroying the very fabric of America and its youth. Interestingly, unlike the preceding album, the band’s songwriting approach subtly expanded, based on their belief that doom metal shouldn’t be tried into a particular tuning or a time signature but on a particular mood — in this case, terror and dread. Unsurprisingly, the material on Street Reaper is influenced by and evokes the sensibility of our extremely fucked up times instead of focusing on sci-fi or fantasy or mysticism, and as you’ll hear on Street Reaper’s latest single, “The Other Side,” the doomy vibes are rooted in an inescapable and fearful present, full of the possibility of the impending collapse of democracy here in the US, of economic failure, nuclear war, dwindling resources, and a downright primal fight for survival.
Naturally, the song finds the band playing at their most blistering and impassioned — it may be a desperate howl into the void, but there’s an uncommon urgency that will set the Portland-based quartet apart from their contemporaries.
Formed in 1964 by five American GIs station in Gelnhausen, Germany — Gary Burger, Larry Clark, Eddie Shaw, Dave Day and Roger Johnston — as The Torquays, before a name change to The Monks, the garage rock/avant garde rock quintet had quickly become bored of the already cemented, traditional rock format, and as a result, they were inspired to create what was considered a highly experimental sound and aesthetic comprised of hypnotic and driving rhythms, which minimalized the role of melody, innovative sound manipulation, copious feedback, shrill vocals and guitarist David Day’s frequent use of the six string banjo. They were also well known for their shocking appearance as they would frequently dress up like Catholic monks, complete with black habits, cinctures tied around their waists and their hair worn in partial tonsures. And although they horrified and baffled audiences of their day, in the 50 years since their last known release, the members of the American-born, German-based quintet are now largely considered pioneers both of the avant garde movement and of punk rock, as their socially charged material — material, which had the band voicing objections to the Vietnam War and criticizing what they viewed as the increasing dehumanization of modern society and modern life.
As The Monks, the American-born, German-based quintet released a handful of singles during 1966-1967 — most notably “Complication,” which coincided with the release of their only full-length album Black Monk Time. Though the material released during that period achieved limited commercial success or attention, over the past few years, the band has become a cult-favorite act, thanks to a newfound interest in Black Monk Time by collectors and music obsessives looking for art rock and psych rock of the 60s and 70s, and appearances on several compilation albums, including Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 — and along with that bands like The Dead Kennedys and The Beastie Boys have publicly cited The Monks as an influence on them.
With the release of 1999’s Five UpstartsAmericans, a collection of rarities, B-sides and demo’d tracks from the Black Monk Time sessions, the members of the band reunited for a reunion show and a series of sporadic tours throughout the 2000s. For the better part of five decades, it was assumed that The Monks quietly split up after a handful of releases; however in a strange bit of a serendipity, the folks at Third Man Records were sent a treasure trove of unreleased and barely released, original photos of the band, newspaper clippings, business cards, letterhead, contracts, postcards and analog tapes, which contained unreleased material recorded sometime in early 1967, sometime around the time of the recording sessions of their final single “Love Can Tame the Wild”/”He Went Down to the Sea,” and after hours in the Top Ten Club, just before the band’s breakup.
From what the folks at Third Man Records could determine, the Hamburg Recordings 1967 EP, the EP’s first single “I’m Watching You” would have most likely been recorded on February 28, 1967 during the same sessions in which they recorded their final single — and while sounding completely of it era, nodding at the blue-eyed soul of The Righteous Brothers, the mod rock of The Who and The Kinks, as well as The Beach Boys and The Doors, the song possesses a swooning urgency that feels wild and unhinged, evoking the thoughts of someone who’s madly, desperate in love; but just under the surface, there’s an obsessive menace, as though the narrator may stalking his object of affection.
While Beatty’s vocals remind me a bit of a more soulful Joni Mitchell, the song possesses a quiet, self-assured swagger, while portraying its subject with a profound understanding and empathy; in some way, the Bandit Queen at the core of the song is seen as a post-modern hero. As Beatty explained about the song “There are all kinds of mythologies telling people who they are and who they aren’t. With this song, I wanted to invite the dark parts into the storyline and inspire listeners to be their whole, real, bodacious, outlawed selves” — or perhaps to be embrace their inner “Nasty Woman.” And in many ways, it’s a subtly punk leaning version of contemporary folk. In this incredibly fraught and uncertain political environment such a message seems particular fitting.
Perry turned 80 in March, and remarkably the man has managed to remain youthful, vital, challenging, forward-thinking, innovative, eccentric and imitable as ever as over the past decade or so he’s collaborated with the likes of The Beastie Boys, The Orb, Felix Da Housecat and several others while keeping a fairly busy touring schedule.
The reggae legend returns for the annual Dub Champions Festival at Brooklyn Bowl and this year’s appearance continues Perry’s continued tour with Subatomic Sound System to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Super Ape — and to celebrate the legend’s 80th birthday. Of course, in honor of that occasion check out some live footage of the great and incredibly eccentric Mr. Perry.
Matte Projects is a creative production company that focuses on the conception, production and promotion of music-related events, perhaps more famously known here in New York for creating the Full Moon Festival six years ago, a carefully curated festival and dance party, largely inspired by Thailand’s world-renowned full moon parties. And although it’s been a couple of years since JOVM has covered the Full Moon Festival, its sixth year marks a return to Governor’s Island for two days of partying, art installations, and dancing from early afternoon to late in the night with one of the most enviably gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty around – and under this month’s blue moon, no less.
Although I’m a music blogger and journalist first and foremost, I fucking love food – I mean, who doesn’t right? – and when I covered the festival back in 2014, one of the best food highlights was The Brooklyn Star’s fried chicken waffle cone. Picture a waffle cone stuffed with popcorn fried chicken on top, mashed potatoes and coleslaw and topped with your choice of honey sriracha sauce (which was frankly the best thing I’ve ever had) or a ranch-based sauce.
Two years later and I’m still talking about it; that’s how fucking good it was – and I might kill someone to have another one.
(Photo Caption: Brooklyn’s fried chicken waffle cone may be the reason the terrorists hate us. And the person who came up with it is a genius.)
This year will continue the festival’s reputation for culinary delight as Matcha Bar, Mile End, Best Pizza, Pokito, Pig and Khao, Clean Shave Ice and Chalk Point Kitchen will all host pop-up stands throughout the festival. I’m starting to salivate over the possibility of some pork belly Adobo, pastrami sandwiches, pizza – well, all the food, really. And whatever weight you put on, you can sweat it off dancing all night.
Full Moon Festival’s sixth edition may arguably have one of the most musically diverse lineups in its history and some of the must see sets will include the following:
Day 1, August 20, 2016
Led by its creative mastermind, producer and electronic music artist Aaron Jerome, SBTRKT(pronounced as “Subtract”) has developed an internationally renowned reputation for remixing the work of M.I.A., Radiohead, Modeselektor, Basement Jaxx, Mark Ronson and Underworld, and for releasing two critically applauded full-length albums, a few EPs and a number of singles – all of which have either received airplay or have been playlisted by BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6. Interestingly, throughout his recording and performing career Jerome has preferred to be as anonymous as humanly possible and during live shows he’s been known to perform wearing modern interpretations of native and indigenous society ceremonial masks designed by A Hidden Place, as well as performing with frequent collaborator Sampha.
Earlier this year, Jerome announced a new project that he described as a “non album,” a collection of songs specifically designed to be an ongoing listening experience, while bringing new music to fans in a faster fashion than the traditional album cycle.
Born Terrence Thornton, Norfolk, VA-based emcee Pusha Tis perhaps best known as one-half of critically applauded and commercially successful hip-hop duo Clipse, with his brother Gene “No Malice” Thornton. And with the help of their friend, Norfolk, VA-born producer, multi-instrumentalist and eventual mega-hit artist Pharrell Williams, the duo quickly exploded into the national scene with the release of their 1997 full-length debut Exclusive Audio Footage. And as a result, Pusha T has made a number of guest spots over the years including on Kelis’ “Good Stuff,” Nivea’s “Run Away (I Wanna Be With You),” all while recording three more albums as a member of Clipse, including the duo’s critically applauded and commercially successful third album Hell Hath No Fury. After the duo’s fourth album, they announced that Clipse would be on hiatus while each individual member would pursue solo projects and other creative endeavors.
In 2010 Pusha T was signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music and made guest appearances on a number of labelmates’ releases including “Runaway” off West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and West’s GOOD Fridays singles series and as a solo artist Thornton has collaborated with an increasingly lengthy list of artists and producers including Swizz Beatz’s Monster Mondays series, Lloyd Banks’ H.F.M. 2 (Hunger For More 2), Future, Tyler the Creator, Jay Z and others. Interestingly, over the last few years Thornton has been incredibly prolific, releasing a handful of mixtapes and his solo debut, My Name Is My Name. Adding to a growing profile, last year Kanye West personally appointed Pusha T to take over the reins at GOOD Music. And we should be expecting a full-length in the near future.
Born Nkosinathi Maphumulo, the internationally acclaimed, eThekwini, South Africa-born and Johannesburg, South Africa-based producer and DJ Black Coffee can trace the origins of his recording and performing career to when he majored in Jazz Studies at Technikon Natal. While as a student there, he worked as a backup singer for Madale Kunene before forming an Afro-pop act S.H.A.N.A (short for Simply Hot and Naturally African) with classmates Mnqobi Mdabe (Shota) and Thandukwazi Sikhosana (Demor). The somewhat short lived act was signed to Melt 2000; however, his DJ and production career explored when he was selected as one of two South African participants during 2003’s Red Bull Music Academy – and with an increased buzz around him, he released “Happiness,” which was featured on the DJs at Work compilation; in fact, by the release of his sophomore effort, Have Another One, Black Coffee had become a household name in South African electronic circles for a propulsive, forceful tribal sound and for putting on locally-based artists and producers, all of whom have started to receive attention across Africa, Europe and elsewhere.
Adding to a rapidly growing international profile, Black Coffee has played at some of the world’s biggest and most renowned clubs and stages including Southport Weekender, Panorama Bar, Circo Loco and Boiler Room and has made appearnaces at a number of music festivals including SummerStage, ADE and Red Bull Music Academy in his hometown of Johannesburg, Coachella, Ultra Music Fesitval and others. I’ve seen the brother do his thing live and he’s arguably one of the best electronic music arists, producers and DJs in the entire world. And as much as I want to see some of the other acts on the bill – i.e., Marcus Marr, Santigold and others – I think that Black Coffee may well be worth the price of admission.
Day 2, August 21, 2016
Largely influenced by James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Devo, reggae, Fela Kuti and a ton of Nigerian music, Philadelphia, PA-born singer/songwriter and producer Santi White is best known under the monikers Santogold (which she performed under between 2003-2009) and Santigold has throughout the course of three full-length albums Santogold, Master of My Make-Believe and her most recent effort, 99¢ has developed a reputation for a sound that has at times been compared favorably to the likes of M.I.A. as her work sonically manages to blur, mesh and completely destroy genre lines as you’ll hear elements of techno, house music, dub, reggae, alt rock and others while ironically commenting on our sociopolitical zeitgeist. Interesting, as the result of a growing national and international profile, White has collaborated with an equally impressive list of artists and producers including Diplo, Jonnie “Most” Davis, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O., Switch, Q-Tip, TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, has opened for the likes of Jay Z and Kanye West during their co-headlining tour, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the aforementioned M.I.A., Bjork and has a number of singles make prominent appearances in ad campaigns, including a 2013 campaign for Honda Civic among others.
Comprised of Matthew Correia (drums), Spencer Dunham (bass), Miles Michaud (vocals, guitar) and Pedrum Siadatian (guitar), Los Angeles-based indie rock sensations Allah-Lascan trace their origins to when three of the four band members worked at renowned record store Amoeba Music. Formed back in 2008, the Southern California-based have received both local and national attention for a sound that draws entirely from the 60s and includes elements of folk rock, psych rock, surfer rock and garage rock – while firmly establishing themselves as part of a burgeoning retro/garage rock scene that includes The Mystery Lights, The Black Angels, Raccoon Fighter and others.
London, UK-based producer, electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and DJ Dhas received international attention over the last few years for a number of critically acclaimed singles released through renowned dance pop/electro pop label; in fact, “Brown Sauce” was mentioned in Pitchfork’s Tracks while “The Music,” appeared in the major motion picture Pusher and landed at number 3 on Spin Magazine’s Best Dance singles in 2013. And if you were frequenting this site over the course of 2015 you might recall that Marr collaborated with internationally acclaimed indie pop artist Chet Faker on an EP that featured the slickly produced Daft Punk and Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson leaning track “The Trouble With Us.”
Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its six-year history, you’d know that the New York-based neo-disco/electronic dance music/funk collective ESCORThave been mainstay artists. And over that same period of time, the collective founded by producers Eugene Cho and Dan Balls featuring frontperson Adeline Michele as members of a core group of five that frequently expands to 17 for live shows has received local and national attention for an incredible live show of funky, danceable tunes, their two full-length albums and for their frontperson’s incredible stage presence, cementing their reputation as a must-see live act.
Tickets are still available — and for a two day festival out on gorgeous Governor’s Island, the tickets are pretty affordable. [Purchase Tickets]
JOVM will be there to cover the festival. Expect some live tweeting, a lot of Instagram and more. And if you weren’t following me, here are the socials:
Naturally, wanting to build upon the steadily growing buzz around the band, the members of the trio initially went into the studio with the intention of expanding upon the sound that had won them attention. But once they started writing material they realized that they all feeling an inordinate amount of pressure to come up with something new, and as the story goes they went on a hiatus with the hopes that some time off would help. As the band’s Anelise Kunz mentioned in press notes their first single in some time “Quake,” “came out as a sign of hope . . . there was no pressure, the vocal jam just happened, and soon we were all involved in getting this one ready to go!”
“Lips,” Plastique’s latest single is informed by a series of demos the band had recorded while working on their previous single “Quake,” and in many ways that spirit of experimentation informed the track. Sonically, the song pairs layers of scuzzy, heavy metal-like guitars, industrial clang and clatter, propulsive drum programming and anthemic hooks that you can imagine a crowded club of enthusiastic fans shouting along to paired with Kunz’s sneering, growling punk-leaning vocals. In some way, the song (to my ears, at least) reminds me of the punishing forcefulness of Ministry (in particular, “What About Us?” one of my favorite Ministry songs) with the attitude of Garbage (in particular, “Supervixen“). Throughout the song you can tell that the band does not fuck around; they’re going to take names and kick ass — but with an irresistible sultriness.