Tag: The Smiths

New Video: Surf Curse Releases a Brooding and Cinematic New Visual for “Hour of the Wolf”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Los Angeles-based indie rock act Surf Curse, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Reno, NV-born, Los Angeles-based duo Nick Rattigan (vocals, drums) and Jacob Rubeck (guitar) can trace their origins back to when they formed in 2013 back in Reno. And since relocated to Los Angeles, the band emerged from their adopted hometown’s local DIY, all-ages, punk scene, developing a reputation as one of the region’s best contemporary live acts, amassing a fervent, die-hard following — at first locally and now internationally.

Slated for a September 13, 2019 release through Danger Collective Records, the duo’s forthcoming Jarvis Tavaneire-produced third full-length album Heaven Surrounds You is reportedly a coming-of-age epic, inspired by the cult films the duo cherished growing up — and sonically, the album finds the band making a bold and decided step forward. Earlier this year, I wrote about two of Heaven Surrounds You’s singles — the swooning, The Smiths-like “Disco” and the shimmering, hook-driven “Midnight Cowboy.” Interestingly, the album’s latest single is the brooding and melancholy “Hour of the Wolf.” Centered around shimmering guitars and Rattigan’s plaintive vocals, the song evokes an aching longing that brings The Church’s “Under the Milky Way” to mind. The band offer a cryptic note behind the story of the song, saying in press notes, “Look close. There is filth. Rotten gold. What good is blood if not to be swallowed. Whole and clean.”

Shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white, the recently released video for “Hour of the Wolf” is full of inconsolable loss, regret, loneliness and lots of gore, as it follows a Bryon-esque like protagonist, as he and the world surrounding him go completely mad. 

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Last month, I wrote about the up-and-coming Sydney, Australia-based dream pop/garage rock act Sunscreen. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Sarah Sykes, Alexander McDonald, Hugo Levingston and Oliver Ellis quickly developed a national profile with the release of their attention-grabbing debut EP 2017’s Just A Drop. As a result of the buzz surrounding the band, they opened for the likes of DMAs, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Jen Cloher and Ali Barter and played sets at Farmer & The Owl and Grampians Music Festival.

Slated for an August 23, 2019 release, the Sydney-based dream pop/garage rock quartet’s Simon “Berkfinger” Berkelman-produced sophomore EP High Over Love reportedly finds the band crafting material that reflects the psyche of a romantically confused young person, desperately trying to survive in the big city. Written over the course of the past couple of years, the EP explores and touches upon romantic idealization, heartache and self-possession with a frank and earnest vulnerability. “High Over Love,” the EP’s first single and title track was a shimmering and hook-driven bit of guitar pop that’s one nods heavily at The Pretenders and Chrissie Hynde — but while focusing on a narrator, who’s reeling from a confusing and uncertain love. Interestingly, “Think About You” is a swooning and propulsive track that continues a run of hook-driven and earnest guitar pop singles — and while bearing a resemblance to The Smiths and The Pretenders, the song as the band’s Sarah Sykes explains is “Sunscreen’s love song. It’s about thinking about someone all day. This song is reminiscent of all things new, bright, and exciting — the feeling when you just can’t get close enough to someone.”

 

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New Audio: Aussie JOVM Mainstays Geowulf Release a Warmly Atmospheric and Deceptive Pop Confection

I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Geowulf over the past couple of years, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Noosa, Australia-born friends and collaborators, Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin have known each other since they were both teenagers. However, their musical collaboration began when Kendrick, who grew up in a rather musical home started to seriously pursue music a few years ago. Kendrick enlisted the help of her old friend to help flesh out some of her early demos.

After a string of successful, critically applauded singles that included “Saltwater,” which received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s Top Ten and landed at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts; the Mazzy Star meets  Fleetwood Mac-like “Don’t Talk About You;” the  Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much;”  the jangling, 60s girls group pop-inspired single “Hideaway,;” and The Smiths-like “Sunday,” the JOVM mainstays released their Duncan Mills-produced, full-length debut, Great Big Blue last year.

Building on the growing profile, the duo’s highly anticipated sophomore album My Resignation is slated for an October 25, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings, and the album finds the Aussie JOVM mainstays collaborating with acclaimed songwriter and producer Justin Parker on a number of tracks.Reportedly, the album finds Kendrick writing what may arguably be the most brutally honest to date with the album touching about loneliness — in particularly, learning to accept it and to love the space it provides; but viewed through the lens of a 20 something trying to maneuver the weight of the expectations put upon by others and upon themselves. The album also touches upon heartbreak, growth and self-actualization. In fact, in some way, the material finds the duo maturing and trying to maneuver the difficulties and complexities of adulthood.

“I See Red,” My Resignation‘s first single was a subtle expansion of the sound that first caught the attention of this site and elsewhere across the blogosphere. While employing the use of shimmering synths, the track is primarily centered around jangling guitar lines, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring hook and Kendrick’s crooning — and while sounding incredibly self-assured, the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in place. “‘I See Red’ was written after an argument with my sister,” the duo’s Star Kendrick explains in press notes. “The song was a realization that you are only ever your most raw, horrible self when you’re with the people you love to death and who love you.

I have been very proactive over many years in going to therapy, talking openly about mental health and have constantly taken steps to control emotions, moods and even my temper – having a family history of mental illness, this is something my siblings and I have had a lot of awareness about.This song is about that process and what I’ve learnt. The ebbs and flows of trying to be the best version of yourself.”

My Resignation’s latest single “Round and Round” continues a run of sugary  pop confections, centered around warmly atmospheric synths, shimmering acoustic guitar, Kendrick’s imitable crooning and a soaring hook — and while bearing a resemblance to the material off their debut with a subtle nod to Slow Air-era Still Corners, the track was actually written in an extremely negative headspace and environment as it seethes with frustration over the narrator’s repetitive patterns. “I was frustrated with maybe a lack of self-control and an inability to break patterns in my life… In a few areas,” Geowulf’s Star Kendrick explains in press notes. “This song is my way to poking holes in how I handled that. The rest of the album follows a similar, emotional narrative, and is all about exploring those old things & how I’ve tried to leave them behind.”

New Video: Surf Curse Releases a Cinematic “Midnight Cowboy” Inspired Visual for Their Latest Single

Comprised of Reno, NV-born, Los Angeles-based duo Nick Rattigan (vocals, drums) and Jacob Rubeck (guitar) the Los Angeles-based indie rock act Surf Curse formed back in 2013 when its core duo started the band in Reno. Since relocating to Los Angeles the band emerged from their adopted hometown’s local DIY, all-ages, punk scene, developing a reputation as one of the region’s best contemporary live acts, amassing a fervent, die-hard following — at first locally and now internationally.

The duo’s forthcoming Jarvis Tavaneire-produced third full-length album Heaven Surrounds You is slated for a September 13, 2019 release through Danger Collective Records and the album is a coming of age epic, inspired by the cult films the duo cherished while growing up in Reno. Sonically, the album reportedly is a bold and decided step forward for the band.  Last month, I wrote about the album’s first single, the swooning and lush “Disco” — and while nodding at The Smiths and others, the song is an urgent love song, evoking the throes and passions of first love with an uncanny accuracy.  

The album’s latest single “Midnight Cowboy” continues on a similar vein as its predecessor: shimmering, hook-driven Smiths-like guitar pop, centered around the narrator’s unfulfilled longing for a different life than the one he currently has — a life of hustling and grifting out of desperate necessity. Written and directed by the band’s Jacob Rubeck, the recently released video for “Midnight Cowboy” was shot by the band’s Nick Rattigan, Julien Kelly and Melissa Ramirez and stars Rubeck and Jamie Simone. Influenced by the 1969 movie of the same name, Rubeck moves to the big city and becomes a prostitute. We follow Rubeck’s character as he meets his various johns — and rationalizes what he does; but we also see him full of regret and self-loathing throughout. 

Still is an emerging Los Angeles-based post punk/dream pop act — comprised of Daniel McDonough, Adrian Johnson and Julian Johnson — whose sound some have said possesses elements of Wild Nothing and The Smiths. Interestingly, “Divinity,” the first single off the trio’s forthcoming EP is a shimmering bit of dream pop that — to my ears, at least — recalls early The Cure and 4AD Records, as the song is centered around plaintive vocals, four-on-the-floor drumming, an enormous hook and jangling guitar chords.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Geowulf Expands Upon Their Blogosphere Winning Sound in New Single

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Geowulf, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Noosa, Australia-born friends and collaborators, Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin. As the story goes, although the duo have known each other since they were both teenagers, their musical collaboration began when Kendrick, who grew up in a musical home started to seriously pursue music a few years ago — and Kendrick enlisted the help of her old friend to flesh out some of her early demos. 

After a string of successful, critically applauded singles including “Saltwater,” which received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s top ten before landing at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts; the Mazzy Star meets  Fleetwood Mac-like   “Don’t Talk About You;” the  Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much,” and the jangling, 60s girls group pop-inspired single “Hideaway,” and The Smiths-like “Sunday,” the JOVM mainstays released their Duncan Mills-produced, full-length debut, Great Big Blue last year. 

Slated for an October release, the duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore full-length album My Resignation finds the Aussie JOVM mainstays collaborating with songwriter and producer Justin Parker, who has worked with the likes of Lana Del Rey, Bat For Lashes and Cloves on a number of tracks. Reportedly, the album finds Kendrick writing what may arguably be the most brutally honest to date with the album touching about loneliness — in particularly, learning to accept it and to love the space it provides; but viewed through the lens of a 20 something trying to maneuver the weight of the expectations put upon by others and upon themselves. Naturally, the album also touches upon heartbreak, growth and self-actualization. Or in other words, the material finds the duo maturing and trying to figure out the difficulties of adulthood — although to be honest, at 40, I’m not entirely convinced that I’ve tackled that myself. 

“I See Red,” My Resignation’s first single is a subtle expansion of the sound that first caught the attention of this site and elsewhere across the blogosphere. While employing the use of shimmering synths, the track is primarily centered around jangling guitar lines, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring hook and Kendrick’s crooning — and while sounding incredibly self-assured, the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in place. “‘I See Red’ was written after an argument with my sister,” the duo’s Star Kendrick explains in press notes. “The song was a realization that you are only ever your most raw, horrible self when you’re with the people you love to death and who love you.

I have been very proactive over many years in going to therapy, talking openly about mental health and have constantly taken steps to control emotions, moods and even my temper – having a family history of mental illness, this is something my siblings and I have had a lot of awareness about.This song is about that process and what I’ve learnt. The ebbs and flows of trying to be the best version of yourself.”

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. 

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.