Tag: The Men

New Audio: Acclaimed JOVM Mainstay Amber Arcades Releases a Mournful 70s AM Rock Inspired Single

Over the past couple of years of this site’s history, I’ve managed to write quite a bit about Utrecht, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graff and her solo recording project Amber Arcades. And with the release of her full-length debut, Fading Light, de Graaf quickly received attention for pairing crafted guitar pop with erudite thematic concerns — in particular, time and the relativistic experience of it, magic, jet leg and her own dreams, which have managed to influence a great deal of her personal and creative life. In fact, as the story goes, De Graaf used her life savings for a flight to New York and studio time with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The Men, Beach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt’s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate’s Jackson Pollis (drums) — both of whom she had specifically hand picked because she had dreamt of working with them.

de Graaf’s critically applauded Cannonball EP, an effort that landed at #1 on this site’s Best of List last year — with the gorgeous “Wouldn’t Even Know,” landing at #4 on the Best Singles list. Slated for a September 28, 2018 release through Heavenly Recordings,de Graaf’s forthcoming album European Heartbreak was recorded and co-produced in Los Angeles with Deerhoof’s Chris Cohen and in Richmond, Virginia with Trey Pollard, who oversaw horn and string overdubs from the Spacebomb Records crew. And the album sonically and thematically are reportedly a major step forward for the Dutch- born and-based singer/songwriter and musician — thematically, the album is about the nature of memory and the human tendency to over-romanticize the events of our lives. And while naturally focusing on the passage of time, there’s a disillusionment that’s been concealed just under the romanticized surface. Nothing in this life is what it really seems — and ultimately, everything can be a bit disappointing, alienating and downright strange. As Annelotte de Graaf says of the album, “If it were called ‘American Heartbreak,’ you wouldn’t bat an eye. Somehow calling it ‘European Heartbreak’ feels far less comfortable, almost like a statement in itself. I’m Dutch, hence European. The focus of the record is Europe. As for Heartbreak, for me a heartbreak symbolises any kind of falling apart of one of these concepts or stories we invent for ourselves, like romantic love, a sense of identity, nationality, an economic system. It’s kind of a universal thing in my mind.”

Sonically speaking, the material, as you’d hear on the album’s first single “Goodnight Europe” managed to be both sophisticated yet anachronistic as it finds her sound nodding at classic, late 60s and early 70s rock — in particular, Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Sgt. Pepper and Let It Be-era Beatles, as the song features some impressive and bluesy guitar work paired with a gorgeous string arrangement; but interestingly, the song is both a meditation on the current state of the European Union and of a dysfunctional and confusing romantic relationship, meshing the personal and the political in a way that expresses a concern over what it all means in the first place.

European Heartbreak’s latest single “Alpine Town” is a decidedly 70s AM rock-like song centered around shimmering guitar, twinkling piano, a sinuous bass line, a mournful horn and string arrangement and de Graaf’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix. The song evokes a deeper  disappointment — that an illusion that the song’s narrator once held as true has now been proven to be false. And as a result, the song is a world weary sigh while being someplace away from home. As de Graaf says of the song “I wrote this song exactly a year ago while on holiday in Guillestre, a small town in the French Alps. I was kind of in a sad place and my boyfriend had dragged me along to get away from all that, but I guess it doesn’t really work like that, ha. It just made me reflect on the sad part of the tourist condition as a metaphor for life, man.”

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve written quite about the Utrecht, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graff and her solo recording project Amber Arcades, and as you may recall with the release of her full-length debut Fading Light, de Graaf received international attention for an album that thematically focused on the and the relativistic experience of it, magic, jet lag and her own dreams, which have managed to influence much of her personal and creative life; in fact, as the story goes, De Graaf used her life savings for a flight to New York and studio time to record her debut with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The Men, Beach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt’s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate’s Jackson Pollis (drums) — both of whom she had specifically hand picked because she had dreamt of working with them. Along with that, De Graaf had a long-held dream of working for the UN, and she eventually worked as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals and n human rights and immigration law, assisting Syrian refugees.

Last year, saw the release of the critically applauded Cannonball EP, which was among my favorite releases last year — in particular, the gorgeously shot video for “Wouldn’t Even Know,” which featured a guest spot from British singer/songwriter, composer, producer and guitarist  Bill Ryder-Jones brought back memories of riding trains through the Dutch countryside from Amsterdam to Dordrecht, passing through and by towns like Abcoude, The Hague, Breukelen and others. Along with that, EP singles like “It Changes” and her cover of Nick Drake’s “Which Will,” revealed a singer/songwriter with an self-assured yet uncanny knack for a catchy hook within jangling guitar pop.

De Graaf’s latest single “Goodnight Europe” is the first taste of her forthcoming sophomore, full-length album slated for release later this year, and the single finds the renowned Dutch singer/songwriter’s sound leaning heavily towards Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Sgt. Pepper and Let It Be-era Beatles, as the song features some impressive and bluesy guitar work paired with a gorgeous string arrangement — and the song manages to further cement De Graaf’s ability to craft a razor sharp hook around some thoughtful songwriting; in fact, the song is a meditation on the current state of the European Union, written from the perspective of a dysfunctional and confusing romantic relationship that’s inescapably odd. As De Graaf explains in press notes, “I guess about half of it is me actually being worried about the current state of the Union. The other half is me kind of messing around with, and making fun of, this archetype of the tiresome existentialist academic in me.”

New Audio: The Men Release a Raw Punk Rock-Inspired Bruiser from Forthcoming Seventh Full-Length Album “Drift”

Although they have one of the more difficult to Google names I’ve come across in quite some time, the Brooklyn-based punk rock/post-hardcore/psych rock/post-punk act The Men, currently comprised of founding duo Mark Perro (vocals, guitar, keys) and Nick Chiericozzi (vocals, guitar), along with Rich Samis (drums) and Kevin Faulkner (bass, lap steel) formed back in 2008, and since their formation, they’ve released six, critically applauded albums — 2010’s Immaculada, 2011’s Leave Home,  2012’s Open Your Heart, 2013’s New Moon, 2014’s Tomorrow’s Hits and 2016’s Devil Music. Despite going through a few lineup changes during their ten year history, each successful album has found the band incorporating increasingly diverse elements and influences while expanding upon their sound — 2012’s Open Your Heart, which may be among the band’s more accessible albums found the band incorporating surf rock, country music and pop structures; 2013’s New Moon found the band incorporating classic rock and country rock influences, and was described by one critic as “akin to Dinosaur, Jr. on a serious Tom Petty kick;” Tomorrow’s Hits found the band employing punk rock and classic rock influences; and Devil Music was considered a necessary reset by the members of the band.

The band’s forthcoming, seventh, full-length album Drift marks their tenth year as a band and a proud return to their longtime label home Sacred Bones Records, and interestingly, Drift finds the New York-based quartet exploring the openness that its predecessor helped them find while continuing with an experimental bent — with most of the material not featuring a prominent appearance by an electric guitar; however, the album’s first single “Killed Someone” is a raw, rowdy, bruising mosh-pit worthy song, reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Ex-Cult and Nots.

Drift is slated for a March 2, 2018 release. The band will be e

 

Comprised of founding members Cory Feirman (bass, vocals) and Dan Wise (guitar, vocals) with Will Schmeichen (drums) the Brooklyn-based punk rock trio Honey can trace their origins to when its founding duo met at Academy Records — at the time Feirman worked as a buyer, while Wise was a regular customer. As the story goes, Wise stopped by Academy Records and mentioned that he was looking for The Gun Club‘s Death Party EP, which happened to be the next record in the stack of recent arrivals that Feirman was pricing. The coincidence ultimately led them to realize that they had had more in common than a love of punk rock and punk rock records, and they began playing together not long after that. Interestingly, at the time Wise was a member of JOVM mainstays Psychic Ills and shared an occasional bill with Schmeichen, who was a member of Amen Dunes. Wise and Freirman recruited Schmeichen, who was interested in joining a more straightforward rock-leaning project.
Since their formation, the band has shared stages with the likes of Dead Moon, J. Mascis, Sheer Mag, The Men, Destruction Unit and others, while quickly developing a reputation for being one of the area’s rawest punk bands; in fact, with the release of 2015’s Love Is Hard, the trio received praise for releasing, in the words of Bryon Coley, “a great hard-edged slice of rock noise.” and with the forthcoming release of their sophomore effort, New Moody Judy, the Brooklyn-based trio hope to further cement their burgeoning reputation for blistering noisey rock. And unsurprisingly, New Moody Judy‘s first single “Dream Come Now,” manages to sonically reminds me of JOVM mainstays Ex-Cult and NOTS in the sense that the Brooklyn trio is equally primal, forceful — and perhaps more important, mosh-pit friendly.

The band has a September 12, 2017 show at Union Pool with NOTS, and it may be one of the highlights of the musical year.

Lyric Video: Amber Arcade’s Psychedelic Leaning Visuals for “It Changes”

With the release of her 2016 debut, Fading Light, Dutch singer/songwriter and musician Annelotte de Graaf quickly received international attention for her solo recording project Amber Arcades, a project that thematically drew from a variety of esoteric and familiar subjects — time and the relativistic experience of it, jet leg and her own dreams; in fact, following her own dreams has informed much of the Dutch singer/songwriter’s personal and creative life. Because she had always dreamt of working for the UN, de Graaf worked her way into a position as a legal aide on a UN war crime tribunal and human rights law, assisting Syrian refugees. She also used her life savings for a flight to NYC and studio time to record her debut with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The Men, Beach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt’s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate’s Jackson Pollis (drums).

Building upon the buzz that she received for Fading Lines and a Fall 2016 tour with renowned indie rock act Nada Surf, de Graaf will be releasing her debut’s highly-anticipated follow up Cannonball on June 2, 2017 and the EP will include the propulsive “It Changes,” a single that reveals a decided change in sonic direction for the Dutch singer/songwriter, as the song manages to sound as though it draws from post-punk and garage rock, thanks in part to angular guitar chords played through effects pedals and an anthemic hook paired with de Graaf’s crooning. As de Graaf explains in press notes, the song is ultimately about life’s temporal nature. “Everything changes, all the time,” de Graaf says in press notes. “You think that when starting something new you can kinda tell which way it will go, but you never do. I always try to aim for constancy and stability but things always get messier than I foresaw. And hey, maybe that’s actually what makes it worthwhile.” As a result, while the song possesses a hopeful yet realistic take on life; suggesting that the recognition of messiness and uncertainty being a part of life and something you can learn from.

Created by Ben Clarkson, the recently released lyric video features psychedelic-leaning animation depicting the passage of time superimposed over neon-treated negatives of a variety of imagery including a woman playing at the beach, the icy North Atlantic Ocean, spinning tops, couples holding hands and so on, along with bursts of the song’s lyrics. It emphasizes the song’s central theme while being a little mischievous.

With the release of her 2016 debut, Fading Light, Dutch singer/songwriter and musician Annelotte de Graaf quickly received international attention for her solo recording project Amber Arcades, as thematically her material has largely drawn from both time and the relativistic experience of it, continuity, magic, jet lag and her own dreams; in fact, leading a life in which she’s followed her dreams, has informed much of the Dutch singer/songwriter and musician’s personal and creative life — because she had always dreamt of working for the UN, de Graaf eventually wound up working as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals, and then followed it up by working in human rights law, assisting Syrian refugees. She also used her life savings for a flight to NYC and studio time to record Fading Lines with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The MenBeach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt‘s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate‘s Jackson Pollis.

Building upon the buzz that she received for Fading Lines and a Fall tour with Nada Surf, de Graaf recently released her latest single “It Changes,” a propulsive single which interestingly enough reveals a decided change in sonic direction, as the song sounds as though it owes a debt to garage rock and post-punk, thanks in part to angular guitar chords played through effects pedals and an anthemic hook paired with de Graaf’s crooning. As de Graaf explains in press notes, the song is ultimately about life’s temporal nature. “Everything changes, all the time,” de Graaf says in press notes. “You think that when starting something new you can kinda tell which way it will go, but you never do. I always try to aim for constancy and stability but things always get messier than I foresaw. And hey, maybe that’s actually what makes it worthwhile.” As a result, while the song possesses a hopeful yet realistic take on life; suggesting that the recognition of messiness and uncertainty being a part of life and something you can learn from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of friends and collaborators Ben Greenberg (guitar, production), who has spent time as a member of The Men and  with his solo project Hubble, and is the producer and engineer, who has worked on most of the Sacred Bones Records catalog; and Michael Berdan (vocals), who has spent time as a member of Drunkdriver and York Factory Complaint, the New York-based duo of Uniform can trace their origins back to 2013 when the duo had reconnected and recognized that they were both in the same place musically. Desiring as intimate of a recorded and live experience as possible, the duo decided that they had to keep the project as a duo, eschewing a live rhythm section for drumming programming and low end synths paired with Greenberg’s guitar work and Berdan’s vocals. And the immediate result of Greenberg and Berdan’s collaboration was a 12 inch single, quickly followed by their full-length debut Perfect World.

The “Ghosthouse” 12 inch is the duo’s first proper release through Sacred Bones Records and while retaining the us of drum programming, low end synths paired with Greenberg’s guitar and Berdan’s vocals, the duo have expanded upon their sound to include the sounds of war and violent conflict including shots, explosions, implosions, things collapsing, along with industrial clang and clatter to create a murky and abrasively confrontational sound — the sound of the fearful, vicious and uncertain contemporary age we live in while being paired with lyrics that are influenced by Berdan’s own struggles with depression and insomnia.

The duo’s latest single is a Ministry and black metal-like cover of Black Sabbath‘s “Symptom of the Universe” that’s abrasive, punishing and fatalistically bleak — essentially turning the song into a love letter from the grave.

Look for the duo’s sophomore effort sometime in 2017.