Tag: The Church

New Video: Paris’ Nothing Else Releases a Trippy and Nostalgic Visual for Atmospheric “Sky Dive”

Nothing Else is an emerging Paris-based indie rock quartet — Geo (guitar, machines), Alexis (drums), Pedro (vocals, guitar) and JG (bass) — that describes themselves as being “from everywhere to anywhere” and their sound as being like “dark streets in forgotten cities, deep woods and business enters, fancy suit on infinite highways. Lost people on everyday wheels, confused clock needles — one more song and go . . .

The Parisian quartet’s latest single “Sky Dive” is a brooding and atmospheric track centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive drumming and Pedro’s plaintive vocals. The end result is a track that sonically — to my ears, at least — brings The Unforgettable Fire-era U2 and Starfish-era The Church to mind.

The recently released video features a collage of stock footage of the space age, 60s psych rock concerts, people and families on holiday and so on that feels nostalgic yet trippy.

New Video: DG SolarIs’ Heartbreaking Cover of Marty Willson-Piper’s “I Don’t Think So”

Danny Green is a London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known for being the frontman of acclaimed British folk pop act Laish. And with Laish, Green was behind four critically applauded albums released through French indie label Tailres, which he and his bandmates supported with extensive touring across the UK, the European Union and the States.

Green went through major life changes in 2019: That March, he met his soon-to-be wife Leanna “LG” Green. And by December, the couple had married. For their honeymoon, the newlywed couple decided to spent six months across South America with a simple recording set up that they carried with them in a backpack. The duo wound up creating the demos that would help start their collaborative project together,  DG Solaris.  “In between swimming with sea-lions, exploring sacred plant medicines and climbing mountains, we had been searching for beautiful spaces to set up our backpack studio,” the Greens explained in press notes. “All of our recordings feature the sounds of birds, cicadas and crickets.”

Returning home to London after their honeymoon, Danny and Leanna recruited Tom Chadd, Matt Canty and Matt Hardy to help flesh out the material they demoed during their honeymoon. The end result was the act’s full-length debut, last year’s Spirit Glow, which drew from and meshed elements of 70s psych pop, synth pop, krautrock and prog rock in a unique and playful fashion — with the album’s material written as a textural journey through emotional realms. “We wanted to explore the idea of two voices, two spirits, two creative minds and see where this dynamic could take us,” DG Solaris’ Leanna Green says in press notes. Danny Green adds, “It has been an incredibly inspiring trip. We came back with over forty songs and it has been a challenge to chose our favourites for this first album.”

DG Solaris’ first single of 2021 is a fairly straightforward cover of Marty Willson-Piper’s “I Don’t Think So” that retains the original’s gorgeous melody but adds brief and subtle bursts of shimmering strings and steel pedal to the mix. Green’s sonorous baritone adds an even deeper sense of resignation and defeat to the proceedings. To me, the heart of the song are tacit acknowledgements that you play a role in your own misery and defeats — and that there are countless crushing defeats that you can’t maneuver around and are forced to accept. Along with that there’s a sense of shared past you long for that you can’t ever get back.

Green met Willson-Piper, a former member of the acclaimed Aussie rock act The Church when Green joined Wilson-Piper and Salim Nourallah for a week-long tour of Texas in October 2018. “I listened to Marty sing it every night and I fell in love with the melody and lyrical defeat,” Green says. “After the tour, Salim invited me for a day in his studio and it was still going around my head, so we sang it together.”

The recently released video is split between footage of Green singing and playing the song in his home, and singing the song’s chorus with his wife and a drunk reveler, who has gone a bit too far with the fun, fucking up to the point of having serious repercussions.

New Video: Blackout Transmission Releases a Trippy Video for Road Trip Friendly “Since She Guided You Away”

Singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer Christopher Goett may be best known for his work in Washington, D.C.-based act Silo Halo. After a decade in the District, Goett returned to Los Angeles and quickly amassed a growing collection of songs that were different than his work in Silo Halo. Goett credits his longtime friend, Sleepmask’s and Dreamland’s Adam D’Zurilla with encouraging him to further explore and expand upon those early song ideas. And interestingly enough, the end result turned out to be Goett’s latest project, the post punk/shoegaze act Blackout Transmission. 

The project’s sound and arrangements were fleshed out with the addition of Kevin Cluppert (bass) and Teenage’s Wrist’s Anthony Salazar (drums). Late 2019 saw the band playing their first shows together, which helped to develop and harness their chemistry, as well as cement the song’s arrangements. They then went to Long Beach-based Dream Machine Studio to record most of their Scott Holmes co-produced, eight song, full-length debut, Sparse Illumination. “Scott pushed me in the best way to reimagine elements of my approach” says Goett, “as such we captured the vibe and feel that I was seeking with these songs.”

As a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, Goett was forced to finalize his overdubs at his home studio, Twin Dragon West, where he wound up writing and recording two of the album’s eight songs. Despite where the material was written and recorded, the end result is an album that finds the band crafting material that’s a seamless lysergic journey that sonically seems influenced by Echo and the Bunnymen, The Verve, The Church and others. 

So far, I’ve managed to write about two of Sparse Illumination‘s released singles:

Sparse Illumination’s third and latest single “Since She Guided You Away” brings obvious comparisons to Echo and the Bunnymen to mind — but much like “Heavy Circles,” I hear quite a bit of Starfish-era The Church: the track is centered around Goett’s expressive crooning, shimmering, reverb drenched guitars, thunderous drumming, dusty and brooding atmospherics and aching regret.

Edited by Super Cut Cut, the recently released video for “Since She Guided You Away” is a carefully edited and trippy collage of cult classic movie scenes that feels incredibly meta.

Singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer Christopher Goett may be best known for his work in Washington, D.C.-based act Silo Halo. After a decade in the District, Goett returned to Los Angeles and quickly amassed a growing collection of songs that were different than his work in Silo Halo. Goett credits his longtime friend, Sleepmask’s and Dreamland’s Adam D’Zurilla with encouraging him to further explore and expand upon those early song ideas. And interestingly enough, the end result turned out to be Goett’s latest project, the post punk/shoegaze act Blackout Transmission

The project’s sound and arrangements were fleshed out with the addition of Kevin Cluppert (bass) and Teenage’s Wrist’s Anthony Salazar (drums). Late 2019 saw the band playing their first shows together, which helped to develop and harness their chemistry, as well as cement the song’s arrangements. They then went to Long Beach-based Dream Machine Studio to record most of their Scott Holmes co-produced, eight song, full-length debut, Sparse Illumination. “Scott pushed me in the best way to reimagine elements of my approach” says Goett, “as such we captured the vibe and feel that I was seeking with these songs.”

As a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, Goett was forced to finalize his overdubs at his home studio, Twin Dragon West, where he wound up writing and recording two of the album’s eight songs. Despite where the material was written and recorded, the end result is an album that finds the band crafting material that’s a seamless lysergic journey that sonically seems influenced by Echo and the BunnymenThe Verve, The Church and others.

So far, I’ve managed to write about two of Sparse Illumination‘s released singles:

  • Portals,” a track that possessed the painterly and lysergic sonic textures of The Verve’s A Storm in Heaven.
  • Heavy Circles,” a track, which featured brooding and shimmering atmospherics paired with a dusty, desert road quality that brought Starfish and Gold Afternoon Fix-era The Church to mind.

Sparse Illumination’s third and latest single “Since She Guided You Away” has brought comparisons to the aforementioned Echo and the Bunnymen — but much like “Heavy Circles,” I hear quite a bit of The Church’s Starfish in the mix with the track is centered around Goett’s expressive crooning, shimmering and reverb drenched guitars, thunderous drumming and brooding atmospherics. All three tracks so far, make me think that this record would be perfect for lengthy road trips — but the sort full of lonely contemplation of who you are, what you’ve done and what you hope to be once you get to your destination.

Sparse Illumination is slated for a February 19, 2021 through Etxe Records.

New Video: The Chills Release a Feverish 70s-Inspired Visual for Breakneck “Monolith”

Led by acclaimed singer/songwriter Martin Phillips, the acclaimed Dunedin, New Zealand-based indie act The Chills — currently, Phillips (guitar, vocals) Callum Hampton (bass, backing vocals), Todd Knudson (drums, backing vocals), Erica Sally (guitar, keys, violin, backing vocals) and Oli Wilson (keys, backing vocals) formed back in 1980 and since their formation, they’ve had a long-held reputation for being at the forefront of the Dunedin/jangle pop sound, beloved by many across the world.

The Chills’ forthcoming seventh album Scatterbrain is slated for a May 14, 2021 release through Fire Records. The album is a reportedly a self-examination of Phillips and his own songwriting that comes (somewhat hot) on the heels of their critically applauded and commercially successful sixth album, 2018’s Snow Bound and the critically applauded documentary 2019’s The Chills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Martin Phillips, which received its international premiere at SXSW — and was supported with the band’s first US tour since 1996. Thematically and lyrically, the album’s material finds Phillips, a man who has experienced his fair share of good times, bad times and struggles taking stock of everything.

Written through the perspective of a man, understanding and accepting his age and his own mortality, the album is a mature and sober look at the world centered around catchy melodies, an incisive turn of phrase, razor sharp hooks — and as always those glorious, jangling guitars. “There are hard but important truths in our history,” The Chills’ Martin Phillips says in press notes. “I know that it’s often said that you learn from those lessons or you’ll end up repeating the mistakes. So one should respect and consider the ancient ways. You belittle them at your peril.”

Scatterbrain’s first single “Monolith” sees the legendary Kiwi act retaining the familiar and beloved elements of their sound — the jangling guitars, infectious hooks, shimmering synth arpeggios and Phillips’ imitable vocals; but while possessing a brooding and muscular heft that reminds me a bit of The Church. And although the song clocks in at a breakneck 2:55, the song finds Phillips meditating on time, knowledge and mortality at a cosmic scale, suggesting that the ancients had an understanding of the world and reality that we could (and should) learn from — right now.

The recently released video for “Monolith” was created by Jonny Sanders and features some genuine articles and illustrations from old UFO magazines published the 1970s. “While browsing for Monolith images I came across old UFO magazines from the 1970s. This was a big craze back then and I instantly thought it had a great aesthetic and lent a humorous element to a fairly literal song about ancient stones,” Sanders explains. “The final video contains a mix of genuine articles and ones I’ve made up!”

Singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer Christopher Goett may be best known for his work in Silo Halo. And after a decade stint in Washington, D.C., Goett returned to Los Angeles — and he quickly amassed a growing collection of songs. Interestingly, Goett credits his longtime friend, Sleepmask’s and Dreamland’s Adam D’Zurilla with encouraging him to further explore and expand upon those early song ideas. The end result is Goett’s latest project, the post punk/shoegaze act Blackout Transmission

With the addition of Kevin Cluppert (bass) and Teenage’s Wrist’s Anthony Salazar (drums), the band’s lineup was solidified, and their sound and arrangements were fleshed out. Late last year, the members of Blackout Transmission started playing shows, developing and harnessing their live chemistry before they went to Long Beach-based Dream Machine Studio to record most of their Scott Holmes co-produced, eight song, full-length debut, Sparse Illumination. “Scott pushed me in the best way to reimagine elements of my approach” says Goett, “as such we captured the vibe and feel that I was seeking with these songs.”

As a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, Goett was forced to finalize his overdubs at his home studio, Twin Dragon West, where he wound up writing and recording two of the album’s eight songs. Despite where the material was written and recorded, the end result is an album that finds the band crafting material that’s a seamless lysergic journey seemingly influenced by Echo and the BunnymenThe Verve, and others. 

Late last year, I wrote about Sparse Illumination‘s first single, the brooding and expansive “Portals,” a track centered round a sinuous bass line, thunderous drumming, swirling reverb and delay pedaled guitar that possessed the painterly and lysergic textures of The Verve’s A Storm in Heaven. The album’s second single “Heavy Circles,” continues a bit in the vein of its immediate predecessor — brooding and shimmering atmospherics paired with dramatic and forceful drumming; but while having the sort of dusty, desert road quality that reminds me of Starfish and Gold Afternoon Fix-era The Church.

Sparse Illumination is slated for a February 19, 2021 through Etxe Records.

New Video: Scotland’s Close Lobsters Release a Meditative Visual for Jangling “Godless”

Formed back in the mid 80s, the Paisley, Scotland, UK-based alt rock/indie rock act Close Lobsters— Andrew Burnett, Bob Burnett, Tom Donnelly, and Stewart McFayden — first came to prominence with “Firestation Towers,” a track that appeared on NME‘s C86 compilation.

Shortly, after the release of that compilation, the Scottish alt rock quartet signed to Fire Records, who released their debut single “Going To Heaven To See If It Rains” in October 1986. Their second single “Never Seen Before” was released in April 1987 and the single managed to establish the act as one of the region’s leading emerging indie bands at that time. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on to release two albums: 1987’s Foxheads Stalk This Land, which was released to praise from Rolling Stone, who wrote that the album was “first-rate guitar pop from a top-shelf band. Close Lobsters could have been just another jangle group, but they have a lot more going for them than just chiming Rickenbackers” — and 1989’s Headache Rhetoric. 

By 1989, the band’s popularity on US college radio led to an appearance at that year’s New Music Seminar and an extensive Stateside tour. After successful tours across the UK, Germany, the States and Canada, the band went on an extended hiatus. Fire Records released the Forever, Until Victory! singles retrospective in October 2009. (Interestingly, the retrospective’s title is derived from the reputed last sign-off in a letter Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who wrote to Fidel Castro, “¡Hasta la victoria siempre!”)

After a 23-year hiatus, the members of the Scottish indie rock act reunited to play 2012’s Madrid Popfest, Glasgow Popfest and Popfest Berlin, which they followed up with 2013’s NYC Popfest.  May 2014 saw the band playing Copenhagen Popfest, and the release of the first batch of new recorded material from the band in 25 years, that year’s Kunstwerk in Spacetime EP, which featured the attention grabbing lead single “Now Time.” After releasing one more single in 2015, the band went back on hiatus.

Released earlier this year through Last Night From Glasgow and Shelflife Records in the States, Close Lobsters’ John Rivers-produced Post Neo Anti is the first full-length album from the Scottish indie rock band in 31 years.  Recorded between 2014 and 2019, the Roberts-produced album finds them collaborating with the producer of their 1986 debut — and in some way the long-awaited album is a sort of return to form. “Godless,” Post Neo  Anti’s second and latest single is a slow-burning and jangling bit of guitar pop that brings Starfish-era The Church to mind — in particular, Hotel Womb.”  Interestingly, the song manages to capture the desperate, exhausting, infuriating and uncertain air of our moment, but with the hopes that we’ll able to tour our morally bankrupt world into a better, fairer place. 

The recently released video is part lyric video, and part stylish and brooding mediation and part live performance footage with an eerie quality. Throughout there’s this sense of absence and longing. 

Lyric Video: Beat Hotel Returns with a Swooning and Heartfelt Power Pop Anthem

Split between Brighton, UK and Plymouth, UK,  Beat Hotel, which features current and former members of The June Brides, The Loft, The Weather Prophets, Distractions, Mudlow, Mojo Fins and Lolita Storm can trace its origins to when its founding members — The June Brides’, The Distractions’ and The Granite Shore‘s Arash Torabi and Paul Pascoe met after a 1988 The Jasmine Minks show.  (Interestingly, many years later, the first Beat Hotel single featured a guest vocal spot from The Jasmine Minks’ frontman Jim Shepherd.)

Developing a strong live presence in their local scene, the act managed to record a number of demos,  but they didn’t officially release anything until 2013 — the “Best of Our Years”/”The Fire,” double A-side 7 inch, which featured The Loft’s and The Weather Prophets’ Dave Morgan (drums), who then became a permanent member of the band.

Released earlier this year through Occultation Records, the band’s long-awaited self-titled EP was recorded at Hove, UK-based Church Road Studios by the band’s Paul Pascoe and features five originals written by Pascoe and a cover of The Wishing Stones‘ “Beat Girl.” The EP also features guest spots from The June Brides’ Frank Sweeney, who contributes strings and piano and former Mojo Fins member Stephen Brett (guitar), who releases material as a solo artist under the moniker SJ Brett. “Every now and again, we produce something that’s very special to us. These forays into the physical world are usually inspired by a collaboration,” Beat Hotel’s Paul Pascoe says in press notes about the band’s self-titled EP. “This time it was driven by an unexpected creative surge due to the sudden and shocking end of a relationship. I felt like I had to relearn everything about how to be in the world and look seriously at who I actually am. I found comfort in the music that had given me a sense of belonging the first time around. The Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Weather Prophets .  .  .these songs and songwriters, so familiar to my psyche, were there again to drag me to safety.”

“This collection of songs is about love and near-death and confronting the very worst aspects of ourselves, facing down those inner demons, the fears that haunt us and our deepest, darkest secrets,” Pascoe says of the EP’s material. “And… with one of the tracks beginning its recording journey in 1997 and getting its final guitar overdub and mix in 2019 (in all its 3 minutes 14 seconds of rock’n’roll glory), this record is also a tribute to the awesome power of getting shit done.”

Earlier this year,  wrote about “Bury It Deep,” an upbeat, hook-driven song that brings Starfish-era The Church, early-to-mid 80s Echo and the Bunnymen (i.e, Crocodiles, Heaven Up Here and Ocean Rain) and The Dream Syndicate to mind — and while possessing an uncanny period specificity, the song is more than a homage to a classic and beloved sound: at its core, the song is centered around a narrator desperately trying to maneuver a confusing and uncertain world, as well as their own demons. The EP’s latest single “Feel It” continues a run of hook-driven, 80s inspired material — but in this case, the track is a jangling power pop anthem that brings The Smithereens, The Sighs, and others to mind. But interestingly, the song is a heartfelt love song that evokes the swooning urgency of newfound love in a way that should remind you of your first love. 

Formed back in the mid 80s, the Paisley, Scotland, UK-based alt rock/indie rock act Close Lobsters — Andrew Burnett, Bob Burnett, Tom Donnelly, and Stewart McFayden — first came to prominence with “Firestation Towers,” a track that appeared on NME‘s C86 compilation.

Shortly, after the release of that compilation, the Scottish alt rock quartet signed to Fire Records, who released their debut single “Going To Heaven To See If It Rains” in October 1986. Their second single “Never Seen Before” was released in April 1987 and the single managed to further cement their reputation as one of the region’s leading emerging indie bands at that time. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on to release two albums: 1987’s Foxheads Stalk This Land, which was released to praise from Rolling Stone, who wrote that the album was “first-rate guitar pop from a top-shelf band. Close Lobsters could have been just another jangle group, but they have a lot more going for them than just chiming Rickenbackers” — and 1989’s Headache Rhetoric. 

By 1989, the band’s popularity on US college radio led to an appearance at that year’s New Music Seminar and an extensive Stateside tour. After successful tours across the UK, Germany, the States and Canada, the band went on an extended hiatus. Fire Records released the Forever, Until Victory! singles retrospective in October 2009. (Interestingly, the retrospective’s title is derived from the reputed last sign-off in a letter Ernesto “Che” Guevara wrote to Fidel Castro, “¡Hasta la victoria siempre!”)

After a 23-year hiatus, the members of the Scottish indie rock act reunited to play 2012’s Madrid Popfest, Glasgow Popfest and Popfest Berlin, which they followed up with 2013’s NYC Popfest.  May 2014 saw the band playing Copenhagen Popfest, and the release of the first batch of new recorded material from the band in 25 years, that year’s Kunstwerk in Spacetime EP. The EP’s lead single “Now Time” received quite a bit of attention. After releasing one more single in 2015, the band went back on hiatus.

Slated for a February 28, 2020 release through Last Night From Glasgow and Shelflife Records in the States, the john Rivers-produced Post Neo Anti is the first full-length album from the Scottish indie rock band in 31 years.  Recorded between 2014 and 2019, Close Lobsters’ forthcoming album finds the band collaborating with the producer of their 1986 debut — and in some way, the album reportedly is a long-awaited return to form. Now, as you may recall, last month I wrote about “All Compasses Go Wild,” Post Neo Anti‘s first single, an anthemic bit of jangle pop that brought Starfish-era The Church and The Smithereens to mind. Continuing in a similar vein, the album’s second and latest single, the slow-burning, jangle pop “Godless.” And while managing to recall The Church — I think of “Hotel Womb” off Starfish in particular — the song captures the desperate and uncertain times we currently live in, and the hopes that many of us have for a better, fairer place. (Will it happen? That I don’t have a ton of faith in. But there’s work to be done.)

New Audio: Balthazar Releases a Shimmering R&B Inspired Single

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a lot about Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Maarten Devoldere, best known for being the frontman of two critically applauded, internationally recognized JOVM mainstays Balthazar and Warhaus. Interestingly, Devoldere’s work with Warhaus managed to recall The Church, The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun era Sting, Edith Piaf, and Leonard Cohen.  

While Devoldere was busy with Warhaus, at one point writing much of the project’s sophomore album in a remote retreat in Kyrgyzstan, his longtime friend, songwriting partner and Balthazar bandmate Jinte Deprez remained in Ghent, focusing on his old school R&B inspired solo project J. Bernardt. During Balthazar’s hiatus, the band’s songwriting duo enjoyed the ability to indulge their individual whims and creative muses, crafting commercially successful and critically applauded work — and Deprez and Devoldere found it liberating. Interestingly enough, the duo found that the time apart created an undeniable urge to work together again, propelled by a much broader artistic horizon and an even greater mutual respect for each other’s individual work. 

When the members of Balthazar reconvened to work on last year’s Fever, they did so without any particular plan beyond just desiring to improve upon their previously released work and to further the band’s story. And as they were beginning to write material, Deprez and Devoldere mutually agreed that the album’s material should have a less serious, less melancholy feel — and while being looser and more playful at points, it retains the hook-driven quality and craftsmanship that has helped the band win national and international attention. 

Last year saw the band on a relentless touring schedule to support Fever that included — as you may recall — a stop at Baby’s All Right in May. During that tour, the band wrote their latest single “Halfway.” Possibly deriving its title because it falls between the release of Fever and its highly anticipated follow-up, the song finds the band continuing the flexible songwriting of its immediate predecessor: co-written by Devoldere and Deprez, the song features Deprez taking on vocal duties, which give the song a sultry, old-school R&B feel centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive percussion, some gorgeous harmonizing and an infectious hook. Interestingly, the track finds the band continuing in the vein of Fever while expanding upon it, revealing an adventurous and ambitious band pushing their sound and approach in a new direction with a pop-leaning accessibility.