Tag: The Smiths

New Audio: Two From Acclaimed Swedish Indie Act Makthaverskan

Comprised of Maja Milner (vocals), Hugo Randulv (bass, guitar), Irma Pussila Krook (bass, guitar), Gusta Data Andersson (guitar) and Andreas Palle Wettmark (drums), the Gothenburg, Sweden-based indie rock quintet Makthaverskan according to the band’s Maja Milner has no real meaning — although the band name came from one of Hugo Randulv’s friends, who made it up. “The meaning is really hard to describe in English, but it’s the female form of someone with a lot of power. ‘Makthavare’ is the male version of ‘makthaverskan’ is the female version,” Milner explained. “We didn’t have any background thoughts about meaning but I think it describes Irma and me pretty well, since we both take charge and are powerful.” 

Interestingly, the acclaimed Swedish indie rock act can trace their origins back to 2008 when they released a mini CD with a collection of demos and their self-titled full-length debut through Luxury Records. Building upon a growing profile, they released “Antabus” in 2011. Since then the band has released the “Something More” 7 inch and their sophomore full-length album Makthaverskan II in 2013 and the “Witness” 7 inch in 2015. After several years away, the acclaimed band returned with the “Demands”/”Onkel” single, which was recently released through Run For Cover Records across North America. The A-side “Demands” features layers of jangling guitars, propulsive drumming and a soaring, rousingly anthemic hook — and while sonically nodding at The Smiths, the song reveals their most focused and ambitious writing in their growing catalog, underpinned by an earnestness of both feeling and purpose. “Onkel,” the faster paced B-single is centered by jangling guitars, a propulsive rhythm section and another soaring and rousing hook and manages to sound as though it were released during 4AD Records heyday. Both tracks lyrically are kind of bleak yet paired with ironically energetic and intense music that broods but also reveals a bit of hope, suggesting that things can and do get better — or at the very least, that you gain a bit of wisdom from the darker days. 

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New Video: Acclaimed Drummer and Songwriter Kyle Crane and The Shins’ James Mercer Team Up on a Shimmering and Nostalgic Single

Kyle Crane is an acclaimed drummer and prolific songwriter, who has been a part of the touring bands for the likes of Neko Case, M. Ward and others. Additionally, he was the drum double for the Oscar Award-winning film Whiplash.  Crane recently announced a solo album of his own, Crane Like The Bird, which is slated for a January 18, 2019 release, and the album is reportedly steeped in Crane’s autobiography: Crane’s father was a Coast Guard lieutenant and pilot, whose helicopter went down in a search-and-rescue mission in 1997. The album tells the story of the time leading up to his father’s death and the effects on them; in fact, the album cover photo is a picture of his mother at the crash site, throwing a rose out to sea, and the album art includes his father’s old pilot logs and maps. 

As a result, the album’s material touches on love, loss and memory but also ski lifts and Nintendo, perhaps as a reminder that along with love, a healthy dose of nostalgia is part of the universal experience. Interestingly, the album finds Crane collaborating with a who’s who of indie music including Conor Oberst, Daniel Lanois, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Luke Steele, Peter Bjorn and John‘s Peter Moren, Sabina Scuibba, Brad Mehldau and The Shins’ James Mercer — and each collaborator allows the material on the album to be sonically diverse, as the material nods at points to jazz, New Wave, country and others. The album’s latest single is the jangling, Smiths-like “Wishing Cap,” an achingly nostalgic track that wishes for simpler and easier times, perhaps with loved ones who aren’t with us now. 

Animated by Tim Lierman, the recently released video is a larger metaphor for being transported back in time. After putting the wishing cap on, the video’s hero is transported with the task of healing a world that has fallen apart. That world represents Crane’s broken heart, after his father’s death. As Crane explains, “When I would visit my Grandparents i would stay in my father’s old room that he grew up in. One time I was rummaging through the closet and I found an old shoe box with letters and an old green baseball cap in the closet. I thought ‘what if I put this hat on and it gives me special powers and I can climb through that old photo on the wall and be transported to the past’”

New Audio: Tame Impala and Theophilus London Team Up on Two Synth Funk Bangers

Led by singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind Kevin Parker, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych pop act Tame Impala received international attention with the release of their first two albums, 2011’s Innerspeaker and 2012’s Lonerism. Interestingly, 2015’s Currents was centered around some of the most emotionally direct material he had written to date while expanding upon the sound that first caught attention with the material sonically drawing from synth pop, prog rock, R&B and psych pop to create a nuanced, textured and difficult to pigeonhole sound. 

Theophilus London is a Trinidad and Tobago-born, Brooklyn-based emcee, singer/songwriter and producer, who first emerged into the national and international scene with his 2011 debut EP Lovers Holiday, which found the Brooklyn-based emcee/singer/songwriter and producer collaborating with TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, Tegan and Sara’s Sara Quin, Glasser and Solange Knowles and his full-length debut 2011’s Timez are Weird These Days. Both of those early efforts quickly established London’s crowd-pleasing, genre-mashing sound and approach, which draws from soul, pop, post-punk, electro-pop, electro R&B, hip-hop and R&B — and that shouldn’t be surprising as London has publicly cited Michael Jackson, Prince, Kraftwerk and The Smiths as influences on his work.  2013’s sophomore effort VIBES found London collaborating with Jesse Boykins III and Kanye West, who was the album’s executive producer — and from album single “Tribe,” the album’s material further cemented London’s reputation for club-banging, synth pop-influenced hip-hop. 

So in some way, it shouldn’t be surprising that both genre-defying artists have collaborated together in a project informally dubbed Theo Impala, which has already released two singles — the first single, the swaggering “Whiplash” is a thorough and seamless amalgamation of their sound and approach, as it features London spitting fiery bars over layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Parker’s ethereal backing vocals singing a sugary pop-meets-soul melody. In some way, the song recalls 80s hip-hop, 80s synth soul, Crime Cutz-era Holy Ghost! and Dam-Funk among others. The second track is a cover Steve Monite’s Nigerian boogie hit “Only You” and while their cover is somewhat straightforward, it manages to possess a contemporary production sheen that gives the song a retro-futuristic thump. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming El Paso Band Sleepspent Releases 120 Minutes-Inspired Visuals for “Come Smile With Me”

Currently comprised of founding member Austin North (vocals, guitar) with Cecilia Otero (bass) and Josh Mendoza (drums), the El Paso, TX-based indie rock/dream pop trio Sleepspent can trace their origins back to when it founding member returned from school in San Diego and started the band with friend and co-writer Aaron Quintalla. Although they’ve gone through a lineup change that has the band as a trio, since their formation, the members of Sleepspent have quickly become one of El Paso’s best, up-and-coming bands; in fact, locally they’ve become one of the area’s go-to bands, opening for a variety of nationally recognized touring bands. And from “Come Smile With Me,” off the El Paso-based band’s Chris Common-produced debut EP It’s Better If You Don’t Speak Or Think, released earlier this year through Slow Start Records, the young band specializes in a sound that draws from shoegaze, dream pop and indie rock. “That can be heard in the alternate tunings used throughout our music as well as the melodic chord progressions and melodies,” the band’s Austin North says in press notes.
Although sonically speaking some of my colleagues may describe the band’s sound as being reminiscent of The Cure and The Smiths, the band’s sound bit reminds me of Forever So and Ruckers Hill-era Husky as the young Texans walk a difficult tightrope between technical craft and earnest emotionality.

The recently released video stars the band’s Austin North returning home to a house party and kicking everyone out of the house — and in some way, the video recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV. As North explains in press notes, “The video involves me kicking people out of a party. It kind of replicates the contrast that the song has. Sonically, it makes sense to soundtrack a house party, but lyrically it is much more introspective and contemplative than a stereotypical party track. The lyrics involve sleep and silence, and so it feels appropriate to showcase the song with the end of a party, when one is exhausted and just wants to rest.”
 

Comprised of Tony Davia, Lou Connor and Lauren Potts, the Long Beach, CA-based indie pop trio Younger Hunger can trace their origins to night of playing Nintendo 64 and drinking milkshakes — and unsurprisingly, the trio’s sound is influenced quite a bit by old video games to further emphasize their material’s themes of nostalgia, young adulthood and its seemingly prerequisite anxiety. Additionally, the band’s sound and approach is influenced by The Teenagers, The Smiths, and MGMT among others.

The Long Beach, CA-based pop trio’s Adam Castilla-produced debut EP is slated for a December 7, 2018 release and the EP’s latest single, the strutting “Dead Inside” is centered around a slinky and sultry hook featuring cowbell, a propulsive bass line, twinkling keys and boom bap-like beats — and while there may be some video game influence, the song to my ears sounds as though it were influenced by The Killers, The Rapture and others, as it’s a radio friendly banger that could rock a club; but underneath the song’s sleekness, the song’s narrator expresses anxiety about love, selling out and not quite knowing what he wants from his life — things that actually are concerns throughout most of our lives. As the band’s Tony Davia explains in press notes, We were all at this party and I was having a bad night. So we all left to go hang out at our studio and play some N64. We ended up jamming and that’s when we wrote the hook over an old cowbell loop. We wanted all of the synth tones to sound like Street Fighter II style arcade sounds to commemorate the night. The whole thing came together really quickly, and it does a good job of representing our EP.”

 

With the release of 2016’s debut effort Language, the Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Hypoluxo, comprised of Samuel Jacob Cogen (vocals, guitar), Cameron Riordan (guitar), Eric Jaso (bass) and Marco Hector Ocampo (drums), have  received attention for a sound and songwriting approach that possesses elements of shoegaze, indie rock and dream pop — but with rapidly changing time signatures. Their sophomore album Running on a Fence is slated for a September 21, 2018 release through Broken Circles Records, and the album reportedly reveals a band that has expanded upon their sound while retaining the infectious hooks and shimmering yet anachronistic quality that has won them attention — and as you may recall, the album’s first single was The Smiths and The Psychedelic Furs like “Kentucky Smooth,” which possessed a wistful sense of regret at its core.

The album’s second and latest single “Huckleberry” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as its centered around shimmering guitar chords and propulsive drumming; however, the band’s latest single manages to draw from classic 80s New Wave, complete with pop-leaning hooks — but while avoiding soulless mimicry; in fact, emotionally speaking, the song expresses frustration, uncertainty and regret simultaneously.

 

New Video: Introducing the 120 Minute era MTV Sounds and Visuals of Cardiff Wales’ Silent Forum

Comprised of Richard Wiggins (vocals), Darlo Ordi (guitar), Oli Richards (bass), and Eliot Samphier (drums), the Cardiff, Wales-based quartet Silent Forum have developed a reputation for crafting accessible yet moody post punk, moving “from cold and brooding to nervy and almost overbold,” as Destroy//Exist says. Building upon a growing profile, the band has released a series of singles with a number of indie labels, including Libertino Records, who will be releasing the Welsh band’s latest single “How I Faked the Moon Landing,” as the part of of their Ghost Disco single club. 

As the members of the band explain in press notes, the song, which derives its name from their original name under a different lineup, finds the band moving into a more euphoric space — and as a result, the single finds the band meshing the shimmering guitar chords of classic 80s period Smiths (in particular, I think of “Panic”) with swaggering and anthemic Brit Pop; in fact, the song reveals a band that can craft a rousing, arena friendly hook but within an expansive 6 minute song, complete with some dexterous guitar pyrotechnics. Recorded and produced by Jaydon Martin, the recently released music video goofing around in their hometown as the band’s frontman Wiggins sings the song — it’s fittingly 120 Minutes-like. 

New Video: Introducing the Anthemic Guitar Pop of Castlecomer

Featuring Bede (pronounced BEEd) (vocals), Tommy (guitar), Neely (keys), Joe (bass) and Patch (drums), the Sydney, Australia-born, Stateside-based members of up-and-coming indie rock quintet Castlecomer are composed of four cousins and a close childhood friend, who began playing live shows when they were teens. And as the story goes, they derived their band name from a plaque mounted outside their grandfather’s house, which they later found out also referenced the Irish village that their grandfather’s family had emigrated from.  Interestingly, the quintet quickly exploded into the national and international scene with the release of their smash hit single “Fire Alarm,” an anthemic single that amassed over six million streams while drawing comparisons to The Strokes and Daft Punk and receiving praise from Rolling Stone Australia. With a rapidly growing profile, that included highly praised SXSW appearance last year, Concord Records signed the band — and taking a massive leap of faith, the Australian-born members of the band relocated to the States to make a name for themselves. 

The band’s forthcoming Adrian Breakspear and Jean-Paul Fung co-produced, self-titled, full-length debut is slated for an October 5, 2018 release and the album reportedly finds the band pairing old school rock ‘n’ roll abandon with meticulous pop craftsmanship; in fact, the album’s upbeat lead single “All of the Noise” is centered around enormous and rousingly anthemic hooks, shimmering guitar chords and earnest, larger than life emotionality — and in some way, the single recalls The Smiths, The Strokes and others. 

The recently released, cinematically shot video features the members of Castlecomer performing the song in a sunlit, abandoned, graffiti covered church, and as they’re performing, two adorable little black kids, who have a sibling-like closeness run around, roughhouse and just have a genuine childlike joy play outside the church, and discover the band playing the song. 

 

With the release of their first two singles “Desensitised” and “Twenty Six,” the London-based quintet Margot, comprised of Alex Hannaway (vocals), Ben Andrewes (drums), Albi Leghorn (guitar), Rob Fenner (guitar, keys) and Michael Webb (bass) quickly received attention across their hometown for crafting shimmering dream pop centered around laments on the repetitious nature of modern-day city life, and how to navigate it — and for a steadfast DIY writing and recording process, in which the band records their material over the course of a long weekend at Ben Andrewes’ home; however, the band’s third and latest single “Tired” finds the band expanding upon their sound with the addition of synths and a gorgeous and soaring string arrangement, along with the traditional dream pop arrangement of shimmering guitar chords, sinuous bass lines and propulsive drumming — over, which Hannaway sings wistful and observational lyrics. Obviously, the band’s sound and songwriting will get compared to the likes of The Smiths  and to JOVM mainstays Husky as the song is ethereal yet moody, upbeat yet bittersweet and rooted to an everyday realism.

Interestingly, as the band’s Hannaway says, the song was inspired by a late night commute on the tube. “I was being nosy, prying on a conversation between two men. One was expressing how difficult it was becoming with his teenage daughter, how hard it was to get any kind of conversation, how they used to be so close. He was struggling to come to terms with change.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently comprised of founding member Austin North (vocals, guitar) with Cecilia Otero (bass) and Josh Mendoza (drums), the El Paso, TX-based indie rock/dream pop trio Sleepspent can trace their origins back to when it founding member returned from school in San Diego and started the band with friend and co-writer Aaron Quintalla. Although they’ve gone through a lineup change that has the band as a trio, since their formation, the members of Sleepspent have quickly become one of El Paso’s best, up-and-coming bands; in fact, locally they’ve become one of the area’s go-to bands, opening for a variety of nationally recognized touring bands. And from “Come Smile With Me,” off the El Paso-based band’s Chris Common-produced debut EP It’s Better If You Don’t Speak Or Think, released earlier this year through Slow Start Records, the young band specializes in a sound that draws from shoegaze, dream pop and indie rock. “That can be heard in the alternate tunings used throughout our music as well as the melodic chord progressions and melodies,” the band’s Austin North says in press notes.
Although sonically speaking some of my colleagues may describe the band’s sound as being reminiscent of The Cure and The Smiths, the band’s sound bit reminds me of Forever So and Ruckers Hill-era Husky as the young Texans walk a difficult tightrope between technical craft and earnest emotionality.
The band is currently in the middle of their first tour. Check out the remaining tour dates below.
Tour Dates 
07/09/2018:  Austin, TX @ Cheer Up Charlie’s
07/12/2018: Memphis, TN @ Sounds Good Memphis
07/13/2018: Nashville, TN @ Drifters BBQ
07/14/2018: Cincinnati, OH @ The Comet
07/16/2018: Minneapolis, MN @ Char Bar
07/17/2018: Omaha, NE @ B Bar
07/18/2018: Tulsa, OK @ Soundpony
07/19/2018: Wichita, KS @ Kirby’s Beer Store
07/21/2018: Norman, OK @ Red Brick Bar
07/22/2018: Albuquerque, NM @ Moonlight Lounge