Tag: The Smiths

Currently comprised of founding trio Brian J. Cohen (vocals, rhythm guitar), Eric Neujahr (guitar) and Jon Engelhard (bass), along with newest member Garret Ray (drums), the Los Angeles-based indie rock quintet Line & Circle can trace their origins to when the founding trio, with original members Brian Egan (keyboards) and Nick Cisik (drums) met and formed the band in Ohio, before relocating to Southern California. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d know that with the release of a batch of singles and their debut — all of which were released to critical praise — the band quickly exploded into the national scene.

Building upon their growing buzz and national profile, the members of the then-quintet wrote and recorded their 2015 Lewis Pesacov-produced, full-length debut Split Figure, an album that sonically found the band drawing from 1980s college rock and alt rock — album single Like A Statue,”  managed to remind early R.E.M. songs like “The One I Love,” “Talk About The Passion” and “So. Central Rain,” The Smiths‘ “This Charming Man” while thematically the single, as well as the rest of the album’s material explored “the elusive and daunting task of pursuing self-knowledge in a world, where ironically staring into screens and photographing ourselves incessantly has failed to make the process any easier.”  As the band’s Cohen added at the time.  “We are all split down the middle. There is an inner self that reflects what we think are, and an outer self that is how others really perceive us. True self-knowledge is when you become aware of each, and begin to reconcile both into one.”

After the release of their full-length debut, the band went through a lineup change before writing and recording their forthcoming EP Vicious Folly. Interestingly enough, the EP, which was essentially recorded and tracked live to tape during a single day session at Los Angeles’ Box Studios with some additional sessions in warehouses, bedrooms and home studios in the Echo Park neighborhood reportedly explores an old belief popularly held by the Romans: homo homini lupus — man is a wolf to man.  And as you may recall, EP single “Man Uncouth,” while further cementing their reputation for crafting jangling and earnest guitar pop that sounds as though it were released in 1983, managed to focus on the inner turmoil of someone desperately in love but battling their insecurities and fears, essentially becoming the portrait of a man, slowly tearing himself apart. The EP’s latest single, EP title track “Vicious Folly”  continues in a similar vein — with the song being the most R.E.M.-inspired song they’ve released in some time but whereas as the conflict in the preceding single was internal, the conflict at the heart of their latest single is much larger, with ideological differences tearing social norms and boundaries apart. Certainly, while describing our current political climate in which significant portions of the electorate can’t agree on commonly held facts and assertions, and we’re increasing split along lines of race, gender, class, etc., the song manages to point out that this is historical after all — or as an old song says “things fall apart, it’s scientific.”

 

 

A few years ago, I had written quite a bit about Los Angeles-based indie rock quintet Line & Circle. Currently comprised of founding trio Brian J. Cohen (vocals, rhythm guitar), Eric Neujahr (guitar), Jon Engelhard and newest member Garret Ray (drums), the band can trace their origins to when they all met in Ohio — before relocating to Southern California. And with the release of a batch of singles and their debut EP — all of which were released to critical praise, the band quickly exploded into the national scene.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the then-quintet recorded their Lewis Pesacov-produced, debut full-length effort Split Figure, an album that thematically explored “the elusive and daunting task of pursuing self-knowledge in a world, where ironically staring into screens and photographing ourselves incessantly has failed to make the process any easier” while sonically pairing those themes with a music that the band has described as “instantaneous and propulsive.” As the band’s frontman Brian J. Cohen explained in press notes at the time, “We are all split down the middle. There is an inner self that reflects what we think are, and an outer self that is how others really perceive us. True self-knowledge is when you become aware of each, and begin to reconcile both into one.”  Now, as you may recall album single “Like A Statue,”  managed to remind me of  120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock —  early R.E.M. songs like “The One I Love,” “Talk About The Passion” and “So. Central Rain,” The Smiths‘ “This Charming Man” and the  4AD Records sound immediately come to mind.

Recorded and tracked live to tape during one day at Los Angeles’ Box Studios with additional sessions in various warehouses, bedrooms and home studios in the Echo Park section and mixed by the band’s frequent collaborator Jonathan Low, and the EP reportedly explores an old belief popularly held by the Romans: homo homini lupus — man is a wolf to man. Interestingly enough, the EP’s latest single “Man Uncouth” will further cement their growing reputation for crafting a familiar and beloved sound to anyone who listened to college radio/alternative rock back in the 80s able Rd 90s but while focusing on the inner turmoil of someone in love, battling their insecurities and fears — essentially it’s the portrait of a man, slowly tearing himself apart.

 

 

 

New Video: Los Angeles Indie Rock Acts Winter and Trabants Team Up on a Lush and Shimmering New Single

Currently comprised of founding member Brazilian-born,  Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Samira Winter (vocals) along with Justine Brown, Chelsea Brown, and Summer Twins’ Anders LaSource, the indie rock quartet Winter can trace their origins to when the band’s founding member and primary songwriter along with co-founder Nolan Ely started the band while in Boston. And after the release of the band’s debut EP Daydreaming, the band’s frrontwoman relocated to Los Angeles and recruited an entirely different lineup to flesh out the project’s sound. With the band’s second lineup, Winter and company went into the studio to write and record the material, which wound up comprising their 2015 full-length debut Supreme Blue Dream — an album that featured material written and sung in both English and Brazilian Portuguese, while thematically meant to connect the listener back to their inner child. Sonically speaking, the album found the band establishing themselves for a sound that drew influence from 4AD Records’ heyday. 

Now, if you were following this site last year, you may recall that last year, the band was working on what would be their sophomore effort Ethereality. And although album single “Dreaming” was originally written in 2013, the single further cemented the Los Angeles-based indie rock quartet’s growing reputation for crafting ethereal and shimmering, guitar-based dream pop. 

Recently, the members of Winter finished a tour opening for Los Angeles-based indie rock and blogosphere darlings Cherry Glazerr, a standalone show with Colleen Green and a set at the Desert Daze Festival earlier this month — but adding to a rather busy period, Winter collaborated with Los Angeles-based surf rock band Trabants, featuring founding member, guitarist and primary songwriter Eric Penna and a rotating cast of musicians and collaborators, including the members of Man Man, Mean Creek, Creaturos, The Shills, World Inferno Friendship Society, Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion, Young Hunting, So Many Wizards, Breakestra!, The Dazies, Bury Me Standing, Jaggery, Cracktorch, Riptides and tomemitsu for a standalone single “Just Stay,” is a gorgeous and wistful track that manages to sound inspired by The Smiths, Que Sera and others. 

Speaking of wistful nostalgia, the recently released Lorena Alvarado-produced video features Super 8-based home videos of a family on vacation in a lush and gorgeously verdant summer paradise, capturing a time and way of life that can’t possibly happen ever again. 

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based indie rock duo and JOVM mainstays  Surf Rock Is Dead. And as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of Chicago-born, New York based Kevin Pariso and Melbourne, Australia-born, New York-based Joel Wittenberg quickly won attention across the blogosphere for crafting shimmering and anthemic guitar pop with enormous and rousing hooks and a wistful vibe, and for a sound that at times, to my ears at least, channels The Smiths and several other New Wave acts.

The duo’s soon-to be released EP We Have No Friends? is slated for an October 6, 2017 release with a limited edition vinyl run, and interestingly enough, the album’s title is a bit of a running joke between Wittenburg and Pariso and a bitter half-truth. As Surf Rock Is Dead’s Pariso explains “when we formed the project, we would spend late weekend nights jamming and writing music, instead of spending it out with friends. Putting time into a creative project definitely can hamper your social life, but the idea is that the fruit it bears will be worth the sacrifices. ”

As If,” the EP’s second single, which I wrote about earlier this summer further cemented the duo’s reputation for crafting shimmering guitar pop but with some rather ambitious songwriting — while being decidedly hook-laden, the song found the band at what may arguably be their most anthemic. “White Salsa,” We Have No Friends?‘s latest single continues along a similar anthemic vein as its predecessor as the duo pair layers of shimmering guitar chords with propulsive drumming and an infectious hook; but underneath the pristine beauty of the instrumentation, the song bristles with a bitterness of a relationship in which the song’s narrator recognizes a confusing push and pull, and is resolved to walk away.

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may be familiar with the New York-based indie rock duo and JOVM mainstays Surf Rock Is Dead — and you may recall that with the release of their earliest singles, “Equinox,” “Late Risers”  “Zen A” “Anymore,”and “In Between,” the duo comprised of Chicago-born, New York based Kevin Pariso and Melbourne, Australia-born, New York-based Joel Wittenberg quickly won attention across the blogosphere for crafting shimmering and anthemic guitar pop with enormous and rousing hooks and a wistful vibe that channels The Clash‘s “Lost in the Supermarket” and The Smiths.

The duo’s forthcoming EP, We Have No Friends? is slated for a September 22, 2017 release with a limited edition vinyl run and the EP’s second and latest single “As If,” will further cement the duo’s reputation for shimmering guitar pop that manages to sound as though it could have been released in 1982 but with a modern production sheen and a swooning earnestness that manages to set it apart from mere mimicry; but interestingly enough, the song on a very subtle fashion manages to reveal some ambitious songwriting — with the band at their most decidedly anthemic.

 

 

 

New Video: Danish-born Los Angeles-Based Artist Dinner Releases Americana-Inspired Visuals for “Un-American Girl”

Anders Rhedin is a Danish-born, Los Angeles, CA-based producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who may be best known for a brief stint collaborating with Danish-born singer/songwriter and guitarist  Jannis Noya Makrigiannis in Copenhagen -based Choir of Young Believers, an act that had multiple chart topping hits in Denmark and was named “Best New Act” in 2009’s Danish Music Awards. Since relocating to Los Angeles several years ago, Rhedin started his own solo recording project Dinner, which received attention with the release of his debut EP collection and his full-length debut Psychic Lovers. 

With his sophomore effort New Work, which is slated for a September 8, 2017 release through renowned indie label Captured Tracks Records, Rhedin had a desire to do things differently.  “I just needed to get back to the approach I used when I was still self-release cassettes back in Copenhagen,” Rhedin explains in press notes. “I spent way too much time on the previous record. I was sitting in front of a computer screen alone for seven months working on it, obsessing over it. This time, I wanted to work very fast in order think less. I wanted to collaborate more. I hoped that other people’s presence would keep my perfectionism in check.” Rhedin enlisted Regal Degal’s and Ducktails’ Josh Da Costa to co-produce New Work, and the album features guest spots from Tonstartssbandht’s Andy White, and unlike the previous album, an array of American-born and-based musicians including Blouse’s Charlie Hilton, Infinite Bisous’ and Connan Mockasin’s Rori McCarthy, The Paranoyds’ Staz Lindes and Sean Nicholas Savage. The recording sessions found Rhedin, Da Costa and company working during the late night, off-hours at a  studio in an industrial section of downtown Los Angeles, with material being recorded on the spot — with little preparation time. “A lot of my favorite music is American. I thought it would be fun to go a little bit less Euro on this one,” Rhedin says in press notes. “I’m pretty Euro by myself, some might say. I wanted to add a different color.” 

In between sessions, Rhedin recoded and overdubbed material in his apartment with a 4 track recorder from the early 80s. We did very little editing, we just tried to record what was there. You’ll hear a lot of first-takes on the record,” Rhedin informs us in press notes. “The best part of the process was driving home early in the morning though the empty streets of LA, listening to the night’s recordings. Because it was such an immediate experience.”

Reportedly, New Work and its first single “Un-American Woman” was inspired a by William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell” and Rhedin’s own personal experiences. “‘Un-American Woman’ is a song I wrote just before I stopped going out, just before I stopped sleeping around with woman,” the Danish-born, Los Angeles-based producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist says in press notes. “The song seems to be about disillusionment and a fear of being stuck in a certain lifestyle. But it also also touches upon the potential transformational aspects of ‘bad things.’ Nothing’s black or white, good or bad. There is just life-force moving. A constant movement. ‘The road of excess leads to the place of wisdom’ in the words of Blake.” 

Sonically speaking, New Work’s first single manages to be a mischievously anachronistic and effortless meshing of Joy Division and The Smiths-like post-punk, 60s guitar pop and psych pop with Around the World in a Day-era Prince, as the song manages to possesses a similar moody Romanticism paired with an ability to craft a slick and infectious hook. 

Interestingly, the recently released visuals for the song were shot in and around Las Vegas and manages to evoke the song’s haunting loneliness and swooning Romanticism; but interestingly enough the video features Mac DeMarco’s brother Hank dancing with his ballet troupe, and a sequence featuring a bunch of young people roughhousing in a seedy motel room. It’s decidedly American but from an outsider’s point of view. 

Comprised of Daniel Longmore (vocals, guitar), Tom Barton (bass), Evan Martin (guitar) and Bradley Weston (drums), the Chesterfield, UK-based indie rock quartet TRASH have quickly developed a reputation for a shimmering dream pop sound that has been compared favorably to the likes of The Magic Gang, The Night Cafe, Yuck and others — although on a certain level, their sound also manages to nod at The Smiths and the classic, 4AD Records sound of the early 80s. Along with that, the Chesterfield-based quartet has developed a reputation for their live set, having already opened for Clean Cut Kid, RATBOY and Splassh, as well as recent appearances at Tramlines and Y Not Festival.

The up-and-coming British quartet’s self-titled EP is slated for release next month and the  EP’s second single “81” will further cement the act’s growing reputation for crafting shimmering and anthemic dream pop/guitar pop with a wistful yet summery vibe; however, as the band mentions in press notes, the song has a cautionary message.   “When you’re 81 and you’ve had no fun it’s gonna be too late,” the band explains. “Most of the songs on this EP are messages to myself. This message is simple: you’re not gonna be around forever so make every second count. Please fulfil life, take a risk, have experiences, laugh a lot and try to worry as little as possible.”

 

 

Currently comprised of founding duo Scott (lead guitar) and Loren (vocals and bass) along with newest members Niki (vocals, guitar) and Dan (percussion), the Chicago, IL-based indie rock/indie guitar pop quartet Star Tropics can trace their origins to an incredible chance meeting between the band’s founding duo. As the story goes, Loren was unemployed during Fall 2010 and as he was out for a walk on Logan Blvd., he was convinced that he heard a familiar melody in the distance. He followed the melody until he was led to a tall graystone that was glowing — and Loren realized that the music chiming from the attic was a song that was extremely familiar to him, “Back to the Old House,” an early Smiths b-side. After ringing the doorbell, Loren was introducing himself to Scott and they bounded over a mutual love of The Smiths and began writing material as a duo, with a drum machine. But by 2012 the band’s founding duo recruited Niki and Dan and with their two newest members, the band solidified their sound — and while clearly drawing on The Smiths, as you’ll hear on “Another Sunny Day,” off the band’s forthcoming full-length Lost World as the song features a driving beat, shimmering guitars with subtle fuzzy shadings and anthemic hooks, their sound also hints at renowned British guitar pop act Veronica Falls, bubblegum pop and Phil Spector, thanks in part to the ridiculously upbeat yet swooning and introspective vibe and the boy/girl vocals.

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Millie Duthie (vocals, guitar), Mitch Duce (guitar), Dan Hole (bass, vocals) and Danny Southwell, the Brighton, UK-based indie rock quartet Thyla had a big year last year, as they received quite a bit of praise from British tastemakers and opened for the Dream Wife and Luxury Death before spending the last few months of the year revising their sound and songwriting approach before writing new material, which included their first single of this year, “Ferris Wheel.” While thematically focusing on the fear of not being good enough in the eyes of those most important and those close to you, the band’s sound manages to nod at 80s post-punk acts like The Smiths and Sioxsie and the Banshees, thanks to shimmering guitar chords paired through distortion and reverb pedals, a driving rhythm, a rousingly anthemic hook, the song possesses the earnestness of (presumably) being inspired by a personal experience that’s fairly universal.