Tag: The Cure

New Video: Canadian Duo FORCES Releases a Bombastic Yet Intimate New Single

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the rising synth-based act FORCES. Although it’s a relatively new project, it’s centered round the 20+ year collaborative and romantic relationship between its creative masterminds — Jess and Dave — who may be best known in their native Canada for their previous project, The Golden Dogs. And with Golden Dogs, FORCES’ creative duo wound up working with a virtual who’s who of contemporary, Canadian indie rock including the then-future members of Zeus, Wax Atlantic and Brave Shores, along with Taylor Knox and Stew Heyduk — while opening for Sloan, Feist, Bloc Party, The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs, Thurston Moore and Roky Erickson.

In 2017, Jess and Dave went into the studio and began working on what they thought would be the next Golden Dogs album — although in some way, deep down they both realized that they kind of knew that it wasn’t. What they started working on was a decided and radical sonic departure from the driving rock sound they’ve long specialized in and were known for. At the time, they found that they were increasingly drawn to a number of a different production styles including The Dead Pets, Liquid Liquid, New Order, The Cure‘s Close to Me and Timbaland. Interestingly, as a result, the duo, which currently splits its time between Montreal and Toronto began to openly experiment with synths, beatmaking and funky rhythms.

As they began changing their sound and approach, Jess boldly stepped up into the role of frontperson, taking on a sultry vocal approach paired with layered, punchy female-led harmonies while Dave began to focus on guitar textures and melodies. The material that they started to write during this new phase was centered around metronomic loops and electronics rather than the drum-bass guitar arrangements they had long relied on. Now. as you may recall, I’ve written about the projects first two singles: the glittering, club banging “Stay On Me,” and the early 80s Madonna-like “Step In A Sway.”  Building upon a buzzworthy profile, the Canadian duo’s latest single is the bombastic, grunge rock-influenced “Say It Now.” Starting with dissonant chords, boom bap-like drumming, the track is centered around a quiet-loud-quiet grunge rock song structure featuring a rousingly anthemic chorus and achingly intimate lyrics. And while sonically the song will bring Beck and Dirty Ghosts to mind, the track is an urgent call to the listener that seems rather fitting considering the state of our world right now — simply put, if you have feelings for someone, it’s best if you say it not and shoot your shot, because you may not have a chance later.

Directed by the band, the recently released video for “Say It Now” was shot on an iPhone and features the duo (mostly headless) performing the song in their video — with playful and mischievous nods, including subtitles in different languages, and footage superimposed on their amps. 

“What do you do when in you’re in coronavirus isolation?” the band asks. “Make a video! May this track to bust out of your speakers, and then pull you in nice n close. We hope it can be a reminder – to us and others – that in any loving relationship, growth and change are inevitable. Keeping the lines of communication open – don’t hold anything in. But, be kind, be honest and speak without ego.” 

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New Video: Birmingham AL’s Wray Releases a Brooding Visual for Shimmering and Cinematic “Jogging/Neon Forming”

Wray is a critically applauded Birmingham, AL-based indie trio — David Bown (bass, vocals), David Swatzell (guitar, vocals) and Blake Wimberly (drums)  — that can trace its origins to its members’ shared decade-plus history in Birmingham’s indie and underground scenes. Interestingly, with the act’s first two albums — 2014’s self-titled debut and 2016’s Lynn Bridges and Wray co-produced sophomore album Hypatia, the Birmingham-based trio received praise from the likes of The New York Times and Mojo for their adventurous, genre-defying sound and approach. Adding to a growing profile, they’ve also made appearances on MTVu and Daytrotter. 

Slated for a June 5, 2020 release through their longtime label home Communicating Vessels Records, the band’s long-awaited, self-produced dual record Stream of Youth/Blank World thematically is an exploration of personal dichotomies: hope and pessimism, wildness and composure, joy and pain. Recorded at Communicating Vessels Birmingham area studio, the band experimented, wrote, revised and recorded the material at their own pace. Sonically, the material further establishes the band’s reputation for crafting a shimmering New Wave-like take on shoegaze that seems indebted to NEU!, Faust, Can, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, and even The Cure. 

“Jogging/Neon Forming,” Stream of Youth/Blank World’s brooding and cinematic latest single is a perfect example of the sound that has won them acclaim: centered around a motorik groove, shimmering synth arpeggios, plaintive vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook, the song feels like an ethereal yet lingering fever dream. At its core is an achingly wistful nostalgia for a past that we simply can’t get back — and considering the current state of the world, the song’s overall feel and vibe feels powerfully relevant. 

Created by Barbara Baron, the recently released video for “Jogging/Neon Forming” was hot on a grainy VHS-like tape and features a lonely woman in a laundromat and briefly in a park — and throughout there’s a sense of loss. 

 

New Video: FORCES Returns with Another Dance Floor Friendly Bop

FORCES is a rising synth-based act, comprised of romantic couple and collaborative duo Jess and Dave. Although their latest project is a relatively new project, it’s centered around the 20+ year relationship and collaboration between its creative masterminds, who may be best known in their native Canada for their previous project, The Golden Dogs. With Golden Dogs, Jess and Dave wound up working with a virtual who’s who of contemporary, Canadian indie rock. including including the then-future members of Zeus, Wax Atlantic and Brave Shores, along with Taylor Knox and Stew Heyduk — while opening for Sloan, Feist, Bloc Party, The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs, Thurston Moore and Roky Erickson.

Back in 2017, Jess and Dave went into the studio and began working on what they thought would be the next Golden Dogs album — although in some way, deep down they both realized that they kind of knew that it wasn’t. What they started working on was a decided and radical sonic departure from the driving rock sound they’ve long specialized in and were known for. In fact, they were increasingly drawn to the a number of different production styles — in particular, The Dead Pets, Liquid Liquid, New Order, The Cure‘s Close to Me and Timbaland. And as a result, the duo. which currently splits its time between Montreal and Toronto began to experiment with synths, beatmaking and funky rhythms.

At the same time Jess stepped up into the role of frontperson, taking on a sultry vocal approach paired with layered, punchy female-led harmonies. Simultaneously, Dave began to focus on guitar textures and melodies. Along with that, the material they started to write was primarily based around metronomic loop and electronics — instead of the drums-bass-guitar arrangements they had long relied on. Now, if you were frequenting this site late last year, you may recall I wrote about the FORCES’ debut single, the glittering dance floor friendly bop, “Stay On Me,” which was centered around a funky Nile Rodgers-inspired guitar riff, layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, a propulsive club-rocking groove and Jess’ sultry vocals that builds up to a cathartic sense of release.

The Canadian duo’s second single “Step In A Sway” is ironically enough the first they recorded as FORCES, and the single finds them openly embracing straightforward pop. Much like its predecessor, “Step In A Sway” features a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like guitar work, twinkling synths and fluttering electronics but it manages to sound as though it were indebted to early 80s Madonna  — in particular “Everybody.”  “The song is an ode to all of those who are first on the dance floor giving the rest of us wallflowers the courage and inspiration to do the same,” the Canadian duo say. 

“The song was inspired by a simple drum lesson we gave to a good friend,” the member of FORCES explain. “As she struggled to stay in the groove, the goal was to get her out of her head and into a rhythm where her body danced with the music. Later, as we were writing  it, we realized her journey through that lesson — the struggle to get from panic to flow (or ‘sway’ as we call it here) — is a universal one, and it became an exploration of that them in both words and music.” 

The recently released video follows FORCES’ Jess playing out the song’s central theme, as we see her walking through the city with her headphones — literally being in her head — and finding that “sway” in the forest scenes, where she finds her inhibitions dissolving, moving along with the thumping beat. 

Born to an English father and Italian mother, the emerging Paris-born and-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and electronic music artist, Frank Woodbridge grew up in a passionate, musical household: at an early age, the Woodbridge family spent their evening listening to their vinyl record collection in front of their huge stereo. “My father loved The Kinks, The Beatles, The Bee Gees and Al Jarreau. My mother introduced me to Stan Getz, Carole King and the romantic refrains of the crooners that reminded her of her childhood,” Woodbridge recalls fondly in press notes. “From the age of ten, I was already deep into The Cure, Depeche Mode, U2. My teenage neighbor had decided to perfect my musical education. And then, Bernard Lenoir on Inter, the many weekends in London . . . I was an indie kid, that was my life.”

After spending many years in rock and electro pop groups as a singer/songwriter and self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Woodbridge has spent the past few years focusing on composing and composition for films, the web, TV games, sound design for events and stage music for theater. Currently, the French composer, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and electronic music producer works with Andre Manoukian on his daily chronicle for the Daphne Burki-hosted TV show,. Je T’aime, ETC — and he wrote a comic book Inversion, which follows its composer protagonist.

Centered around layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, Woodbridge’s latest single, the cinematic “Lola dans le bus” recalls JOVM  mainstays Uppermost and M83— but with a dreamy yet melancholy air. Woodbridge explains that the track is an electronic track he composed to drive or daydream along with. He adds that the song is  about running into an ex-girlfriend he lost contact with: he saw her on a bus and waved at her but she didn’t see him. So as a result the song has the sensibility of a missed connection that you’ll never get back — and of unfinished business.

Natasha Khan is a Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed solo recording project Bat For Lashes — and for being the vocalist for Sexwitch, a collaboration with the members of British psych rock act TOY and producer Dan Carey. Born to an English mother, Josie and Pakistani squash player Rehmat Khan, Natasha Khan traces some of the influences of her musical career to attending her father’s and her uncle’s Jahangir’s squash matches, which she felt inspired her creativity: “The roar of the crowd is intense; it is ceremonial, ritualistic. I feel like the banner got passed to me but I carried it on in a creative way. It is a similar thing, the need to thrive on heightened communal experience.” Her father left when she was 11, and she taught herself to play the piano, which quickly became an important channel to express things, to get them out.

Khan’s debut single “The Wizard” was released digitally through Drowned in Sound Records and on seven-inch vinyl through her own imprint, She Bear Records. By 2006, she caught the attention of Echo Label, a record label owned by Chrysalis Records that acted as an incubator for emerging artists and assisting their careers while moving them to major labels. Echo released her debut, 2006’s Fur and Gold. The following year, Khan and Echo signed an international licensing deal with Parlophone Records, who re-released Fur and Gold that year. The album reached #48 on the UK Albums Charts and since its release, it’s been certified gold. Building upon a growing profile, the British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer played at Glastonbury Festival and toured across the States. The album was shortlisted for that year’s Mercury Prize, losing to Klaxons’ Myths of the Near Future, despite being critically applauded and named a heavy favorite to win. She won ASCAP’s Vanguard Award, which resulted in her performing at their “ASCAP Presents . .  .” SXSW showcase.

2008 continued an incredible run by the British singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist as she was notated for two Brit Awards — British Breakthrough Act and British Female Solo Artist. She opened handful of dates for Radiohead, and she released a cover of The Cure’s “A Forest,” which appeared on the Perfect as Cats charity album.

Khan’s sophomore album, 2009’s David Kosten and Khan-co-produced Two Suns was inspired by a trip she took to Joshua Tree, CA. The album focuses on her desert-born alter ego Pearl, whose personality she adopted while living in New York. Sonically, the material was inspired by the Brooklyn bands that had started to receive attention nationally and internationally at the time — in particular, TV on the Radio, MGMT, Gang Gang Dance and others. Interestingly, the album also found her collaborating with the members of Yeasayer, who contributed bass and beat programming. The album debuted at #5 on the UK Albums Chart and has since been certified gold as a result of “Daniel,” which peaked at #36 on the UK Singles Chart. “Daniel” later won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song and was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year. Additionally, Khan received her second Mercury Prize nomination and a second BRIT Award nomination for British Female Solo Artist.

Summer 2009 saw her play at Glastonbury Festival, Somerset House and the iTunes Festival, which was followed by a special edition of Two Suns, which was released ahead of her October UK tour an included a cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.”

Khan’s third Bat for Lashes album, 2012’s The Haunted Man debuted at #6 on the UK Albums Chart, her second consecutive Top 10 album, an effort that has since been certified silver. Khan was nominated for her third Best British Solo Female BRIT Award and was nominated for two Ivor Novello Awards — Best Song Musically and Best Song Lyrically for album single “Laura.” That year saw her play at Coachella Festival. She also opened for Blur and Depeche Mode.

During a surprise 2015 Green Man Festival set in Wales, Khan debuted her collaboration with Dan Carey and TOY — Sexwitch. That September, the project released its self-titled debut through Echo and BMG, which featured six covers of 1970s psych and folk from different parts of the world.

2016 saw the release of her fourth full-length album The Bride, an album that was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

Khan’s fifth album Lost Girls was released last fall through AWAL Recordings, and the album continues a run of concept albums: in this case, the material was centered around an off-kilter coming of age film, in which bands of marauding female biker gangs roam the streets — and teenagers make out on car hoods. The female characters throughout are parallel to the protagonists of her previously released albums — most notably, the street tough, darkness-driven Pearl from Two Suns. The album’s main character Nikki Pink, was one of the album’s central Lost Girls. And at its core, the album thematically is a loving and romantic homage to all things Los Angeles, being a child of the 80s and the films that influenced Khan. Sonically, the album found Khan mixing sounds she’s long loved — heavy bass lines, synth arpeggios, Iranian pop beats and cascading chorus which help evoke an achingly wistful air.

Khan recently released a four song live EP recorded at London-based venue EartH that features a stripped down versions of “Daniel,” “Desert Man” and “The Hunger” off Lost Girls featuring Khan accompanying herself on piano and organ. The EP’s first official single is a slow-burning,  stripped down, atmospheric cover of Don Henley‘s “The Boys of Summer” centered around twinkling keys and Khan’s expressive vocals.  Khan’s Bat for Lashes cover retains the song’s awareness of the passing of time, the end of youthful innocence — of a darker, more uncertain adult world just over the horizon.

Interestingly, the EP comes just before Khan embarks on a Winter North American tour — and it serves as a taste of what fans should expect: intimate renditions of the material off Lost Girls, as well as never performed songs and some surprises.

 

Led by songwriter/producer and founder of Ice Queen Records and founding member Joseph Lekkas, the Nashville-based indie rock act Palm Ghosts can trace its origins back
to when Lekkas lived in Philadelphia. After spending a number of years playing in local bands like Grammar Debate! and Hilliard, Lekkas took a lengthy hiatus from writing and performing music to book shows and festivals in and around the Philadelphia area. When he started Palm Ghosts, the project initially began as a solo recording project and creative way for Lekkas to deal with a rather incapacitating blunt of depression and anxiety. Lekkas then spend a long Philadelphia/Northeastern winter recording a batch of introspective songs that he dubbed “sun-damaged American music” that would eventually become the Palm Ghost debut album.
After a short tour in 2013 to support the Palm Ghost debut album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Nashville, enticed by the city’s growing indie rock scene. Once he settled in to his new hometown, Lekkas set up a small home studio in the guest bedroom of a rental house on Greenland Avenue in East Nashville, where he eventually wrote and recorded the sophomore Palm Ghosts album, 2017’s Greenland, an album that
featured elements of electro pop, folk and indie rock, influenced by his adopted hometown’s long-held “song-is-king” culture. 2018’s Architecture found Lekkas further influenced by the sounds of the 80s — in particular, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, New Order and The Cure among others — although the album’s first single “Turn the Knife” to my ears, managed to bring New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen to mind but with male/female harmonies.
Palm Ghosts’ latest single “Wide Awake and Waiting” continues a run of material that’s deeply inspired by and indebted to 80s post-punk: this time, the new single brings Joy Division and New Order’s “Ceremony” to mind. And at its core, the song is centered around a similar aching longing, shimmering synth arpeggios and an angular and propulsive bass line.

 

 

Matthew Messore is an Orlando, FL-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. best known as the creative mastermind behind the rapidly rising bedroom recording project Cathedral Bells. Now, as you may recall since the release of last year’s breakthrough self-titled EP, an effort which received support from David Dean Burkhart and praise from The Line of Best Fit, Messore has released a handful of singles from his highly-anticipated Cathedral Bells full-length debut, Velvet Spirit, which will be released through Good Eye Records on March 6, 2020.

The album’s third and latest single “Ephemeral” continues a run of material centered around ethereal vocals., shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive drum machine, a motorik-like groove and an infectious radio-friendly hook. And while clearly indebted to 4AD Records glorious heyday, The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, Chain of Flowers and others, the song is a swooning and urgent fever dream.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Small Planets is a Los Angeles-based post punk act, comprised of founding trio Jeff Love (guitars), Josh Spincic (bass) and Phil Drazic (drums) with Jessica Hernandez (vocals) and Ryan Silo (guitar) that can trace its origins to when its founding trio caught Slowdive play a show at The Ace Theater back in 2015. After an exhaustive two year search, the band added Jessica Hernandez and Ryan Silo to complete their lineup — and with their lineup finalized, they developed a sound that has been described as Interpol meets Joy Division and The Cure.

Last year, the band went into the studio with Joshua Mazzachi to record their recently released self-titled full-length debut, an album that finds the band writing a love letter to the classic and beloved post-punk sound. “Tonight,” their self-titled debut’s single is a perfect example of the band’s sound: centered around shimmering and atmospheric synths, an angular, a propulsive bass line, dramatic drumming, Hernandez’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals. And while indebted to 4AD Records, the aforementioned The Cure and Joy Division and others, the track is imbued with a subtly modern and loving touch.

 

 

New Video: Introducing the Dance Floor Friendly Sounds and Trippy Visuals of FORCES

FORCES is a new synth-based act, comprised of romantic couple and collaborative duo Jess and Dave. And although the project is a relatively new project, it’s centered around the 20+ year relationship and collaboration between its creative masterminds, who may be best known in their native Canada for their previous, long-term band Golden Dogs. Throughout The Golden Dogs’ run, Jess and Dave wound up collaborating with a virtual who’s who  of contemporary, Canadian indie rock, including the then-future members of Zeus, Wax Atlantic and Brave Shores, along with Taylor Knox and Stew Heyduk — while opening for the Sloan, Feist, Bloc Party, The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs, Thurston Moore and Roky Erickson. 

In 2017, Jess and Dave went into the studio and began working on what they thought would be the next Golden Dogs album, although deep down they both admit that they kind of knew that it wasn’t. What they started working on was a decided and radical sonic departure from the driving rock sound they’ve long specialized in and were known for. In fact, they were increasingly drawn to the a number of different production styles — in particular, The Dead Pets, Liquid Liquid, New Order, The Cure’s Close to Me and Timbaland. As a result, the duo, which splits its time between Montreal and Toronto began to experiment with synths, beatmaking and funky rhythms. 

Along with that Jess increasingly stepped up as a frontperson, taking on a sultry vocal approach paired with layered, punchy female harmonies. Simultaneously, Dave began to primarily focus on guitar textures and melodies. And of course, the material was primarily based around metronomic loops and electronics instead of the drums-bass-guitar they had long relied on. The end result is their debut single as FORCES, “Stay On Me.” The self-recorded, Graham Walsh and Jose Contreras-mixed track is centered around a funky Nile Rodgers-inspired guitar riff, layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, a propulsive club-rocking groove and Jess’ sultry vocals that builds up to a cathartic sense of release. 

“The key lyric in ‘Stay On Me’ — ‘everything we all focus on, we become’ — reminds us to turn away from mind games in favor of focusing on what matters most in our lives, whatever that means,” the duo says about their glittering, disco bop.

Featuring FORCES’ Jess in over-sized movie star-like sunglasses, the recently released video is full of vibrant, neon-like colors and glitchy footage timed to the propulsive beats of the song to create a visual that’s trippy and mesmerizing. Look for more from the Canadian duo as they plan to release a new single every few months with an accompanying video.