Tag: The Sonics

New Video: JOVM Mainstays L.A. Witch Return with a Badass Biker Movie Influenced Visual

With the release of 2017’s self-titled debut, the Los Angeles-based garage rock trio and JOVM mainstays L.A. Witch — Sade Sanchez (lead vocals, guitar), Irita Pai (bass, backing vocals) and Ellie English (drums) — quickly established their sound and aesthetic: jangling, reverb-drenched guitar rock seemingly influenced by including late 50s-early 60s rock, The Pleasure Seekers, The Sonics, The Black Angels, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and others, that simultaneously drew comparisons to fellow JOVM mainstays The Coathangers, Sharkmuffin and Death Valley Girls.

The members of L.A. Witch have readily admitted that the writing and recording sessions for their self-titled album was a casual affair — with the album’s material coming together over the course of several years. The natural and seemingly effortless creative flow hit a snag when the band’s profile and popularity grew and they began touring regularly. So when the trio got together to write and record last year’s sophomore album Play With Fire, they felt that they needed a new strategy.

Between their touring schedule, studio availability and the timeline for releasing an album last year, the members of L.A. Witch only had two months to write Play With Fire. The trio holed up during January and February — right before March’s mandatory COVID-19 related lockdowns put the entire world on pause. “As far the creative process goes, this record is a result of sheer willingness to write,” L.A. Witch’s Sade Sanchez said in press notes. “When you sit down and make things happen, they will happen, rather than waiting to be inspired.” The time constraints and tightly focused writing sessions forced the band into new territories. “I’ve definitely learned that having restrictions forces you to think outside the box,” the band’s Irita Pai says. “That structure really brings about creativity in an unexpected and abundant way.”

Play With Fire finds the band pushing their sound forward with a muscular insistence but while not being a complete reinvention either. And thematically, the album may arguably be their most sobering work of their catalog to date. “Play With Fire is a suggestion to make things happen,” L.A. Witch’s Sanchez explains. “Don’t fear mistakes or the future. Take a chance. Say and do what you really feel, even if nobody agrees with your ideas. These are feelings that have stopped me in the past. I want to inspire others to be freethinkers even if it causes a little burn.”

Last year, I wound up writing about two of Play With Fire’s singles:

“Gen-Z,”a scuzzy and expansive, beer add whiskey field rockabilly blues that seethes with dissatisfaction and frustration.
“True Believers,” a deceptive return to from with a subtle post-punk leaning that brings JOVM mainstays Ganser to mind; but much like its predecessor, “True Believers” it’s centered around a seething disgust over a morally bankrupt world — and a paradigm that needs too die.

Play With Fire’s latest single “Motorcycle Boy” is one part Phil Spector Wall of Sound production, one part Dum Dum Girls and one part scuzzy power chord-driven psych rock delivered with a sultry and badass air. “The song is inspired by Moto Boys like Mickey Rourke, Marlon Brando, and Steve McQueen, so of course we took a lot of inspiration from our favorite biker movies like The Wild One, Rumble Fish, On Any Sunday, Easy Rider, Hells Angels ’69 and The Girl on a Motorcycle,” L.A. Witch’s Sadie Sanchez explains,. ” I had worked with (director) Ambar Navarro and Max on another project and loved their other work, so we wanted to work with them on this. They definitely did their homework and came up with a cool story line. I got to feature my bike that I’d been rebuilding during the pandemic. It was nice to shoot a video where you get to do two of your favorite things, riding motorcycles and play guitar.”

Over the past handful of years, I’ve managed to write quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based garage rock trio and JOVM mainstays L.A. Witch — Sade Sanchez (lead vocals, guitar), Irita Pai (bass, backing vocals) and Ellie English (drums) — and as you may recall, with the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s self-titled effort, the band quickly established a jangling reverb-drenched guitar rock sound that drew from a number of sources, including late 50s-early 60s rock,  The Pleasure SeekersThe SonicsThe Black AngelsThe Brian Jonestown Massacre and others —but while bearing a resemblance to JOVM mainstay artists like  The CoathangersSharkmuffin and Death Valley Girls.

The members of L.A. Witch have readily admitted that the writing and recording sessions for their self-titled album was a casual affair — with the album’s material coming together over the course of several years. The natural and seemingly effortless creative flow hit a snag when the band’s profile and popularity grew and they began touring regularly. So when the trio got together to write and record their forthcoming sophomore album Play With Fire, they felt that they needed a new strategy.

Between their touring schedule, studio availability and the timeline for releasing an album this year, the members of the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays found themselves with only two months to do the bulk of the writing for Play With Fire‘s material. The trio holed up during January and February for the writing process — before March’s mandatory COVID-19 related shutdowns across the world. “As far the creative process goes, this record is a result of sheer willingness to write,” L.A. Witch’s Sade Sanchez says in press notes. “When you sit down and make things happen, they will happen, rather than waiting to be inspired.” The time constraints and tightly focused writing sessions forced the band into new territories. “I’ve definitely learned that having restrictions forces you to think outside the box,” the band’s Irita Pai says. “That structure really brings about creativity in an unexpected and abundant way.”

Play With Fire finds the band pushing their sound forward with a muscular insistence but while not being a complete reinvention of their sound. Thematically, the album may arguably be their most sobering, serious work of their catalog to date. “Play With Fire is a suggestion to make things happen,” L.A. Witch’s Sanchez explains. “Don’t fear mistakes or the future. Take a chance. Say and do what you really feel, even if nobody agrees with your ideas. These are feelings that have stopped me in the past. I want to inspire others to be freethinkers even if it causes a little burn.”

Last month, I wrote about “Gen-Z,” a scuzzy and expansive, beer and whiskey fueled rockabilly blues that seethes with the sort of dissatisfaction and frustration that feels like our contemporary zeitgeist. “True Believers,” Play With Fire‘s latest single is a deceptive return to form. Sounding as though it could have been a single off their full-length debut, the track possesses an urgent post funk feel that subtly nods at JOVM mainstay Ganser — while possessing a seething disgust over everything. It evokes the recognition that we live in a morally bankrupt world; a world and paradigm that needs to die.

“‘True Believers’ is about being overwhelmed with the constant stream of news and information we see everyday,” L.A. Witch’s Sanchez explains in press notes. “It’s about feeling anger and frustration with the state of the world. In a way, the track mocks the All Lives Matter culture that has come to fruition in the U.S.

“At times when you’re traveling around and meeting new people, you get into conversations about social matters and different political standpoints. A lot of people don’t believe they have any power over the matters concerning them, and that can be frustrating. It can be difficult for people to see themselves having an actual impact with what we’re all facing in the world today, all you can really do is take it day by day, lead by example, and know that any and all change starts with you. It’s important to always believe in who you are, even through all the chaos.”

 

I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based garage rock trio and JOVM mainstays L.A. Witch — Sade Sanchez (lead vocals, guitar), Irita Pai (bass, backing vocals) and Ellie English (drums) — and with the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s self-titled effort, the band quickly established a jangling reverb-drenched guitar rock sound that drew from a number of sources, including late 50s-early 60s rock,  The Pleasure SeekersThe SonicsThe Black AngelsThe Brian Jonestown Massacre and others —while bearing a resemblance to JOVM mainstay artists like  The CoathangersSharkmuffin and Death Valley Girls.

The members of L.A. Witch have readily admitted that the writing and recording sessions for their self-titled album was a casual affair — with the album’s material coming together over the course of several years. The natural and seemingly effortless creative flow hit a snag when the band’s profile and popularity grew and they began touring regularly. So when the trio got together to write and record their forthcoming sophomore album Play With Fire, they needed a new strategy.

Between their touring schedule, studio availability and the timeline for releasing an album this year, the members of the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays found themselves with only two months to do the bulk of the writing for Play With Fire‘s material. The trio holed up during January and February for the writing process — before March’s mandatory COVID-19 related shutdowns across the world. “As far the creative process goes, this record is a result of sheer willingness to write,” L.A. Witch’s Sade Sanchez says in press notes. “When you sit down and make things happen, they will happen, rather than waiting to be inspired. ”The time constraints and tightly focused writing sessions forced the band into new territories. “I’ve definitely learned that having restrictions forces you to think outside the box,” the band’s Irita Pai says,. ““That structure really brings about creativity in an unexpected and abundant way.”

Essentially Play With Fire finds the band pushing their sound forward with a muscular insistence — and while thematically, it may be some of their more sobering, serious work, the album isn’t a complete reinvention of their sound either. “Play With Fire is a suggestion to make things happen,” L.A. Witch’s Sanchez explains. “Don’t fear mistakes or the future. Take a chance. Say and do what you really feel, even if nobody agrees with your ideas. These are feelings that have stopped me in the past. I want to inspire others to be freethinkers even if it causes a little burn.”

Play With Fire‘s latest single “Gen-Z” is a scuzzy, expansive, beer and whiskey fueled bit of garage psych rock centered around reverb-drenched jangle, thunderous drumming, Sanchez’s sneering vocals and some enormous hooks. And while being one of the most ambitious songs the JOVM mainstays have crafted, it seethes

“Gen Z,” Play With Fire‘s latest single is a whiskey fueled rockabilly-like blues, centered around reverb-drenched jangle, thunderous drumming, enormous hooks and Sanchez’s smoky and snarling delivery — but unlike their previously released material “Gen-Z” finds the JOVM mainstays seething with dissatisfaction and frustration that just feels like it perfectly encapsulates our contemporary zeitgeist.

“‘GEN-Z’ is inspired by a series of articles mentioning the high rates of suicide amongst the Gen-Z due to the pressures of social media,” Sade Sanchez explains. “At the same time I read about several music companies not doing well due to lack of interest in people to learn to play instruments. When I was a kid, music and guitar was my escape. Music was how I fought through my depressions. What will the future do to get through it? With constant pressure to be perfect and information/advertisements and brainwashing constantly being shoved in your face, you become a product of your environment. ‘GEN-Z’ is about being a slave to technology, specifically to our phones.” 

 

 

 

New Video: Watch Acclaimed Indie Rock Act Night Beats Take on The Sonics

Deriving its name from Sam Cooke’s Night Beat album, the Seattle, WA-based psych rock/garage rock act Night Beats was formed by its Dallas, TX-born, Seattle, WA-based founding member and creative mastermind Danny “Lee Blackwell” Rajan Billingsley back in 2009 when Billingsley relocated to Seattle to study comparative religion at the University of Washington. That same year, Billingsley self-recorded the Night Beats debut EP, Street (Atomic), which was released through Holy Twist Records. 

After trying out a couple of different lineups, Billingsley recruited his high school friend and former B.B. Mercy drummer James Traeger to join the band. Traeger relocated from Austin, TX, where he was studying at the time to join Billingsley. The band played for a while as a duo before recruiting Tacoma, WA-born Tarek Wegner (bass), who once played with The Drug Purse and Paris Spleen to join the band. Early in their history, the band toured across North America extensively — and within weeks of releasing the H-Bomb EP the band was signed by Chicago-based label Trouble in Mind Records, who re-released the album in the fall of 2010. The re-released EP wound up topping several college radio while helping the band develop a reputation for a sound that incorporates elements of early R&B, psych rock, blues rock, funk and soul. (Unsurprisingly, the band has toured with the likes of The Black Angels, Roky Erickson, The Zombies, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Strange Boys, Black Lips, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Growlers.) 

The following year, the band released a split EP with The UFO Club through Austin-based label The Reverberation Appreciation Society, which they followed up with their self-titled debut album. They also released a 2012 split single with TRMRS, which was released through Volcom Vinyl Club. 2013 saw the release of their sophomore album Sonic Bloom through The Reverberation Appreciation Society. The band supported the album with touring across North America, Europe, Israel, South Africa and Australia. 

2014 saw the band go through the first of a series of lineup changes. Tarek Wegner left the band and eventually released an EP What Colors Last, as well as a full-length effort Soul Fuckers, which was supported by a West Coast tour with Tomorrow’s Tulips. Meanwhile, Night Beats signed to London-based label Heavenly Recordings, who released the band’s acclaimed Robert Levon Been co-produced third album Who Sold My Generation in 2016. The album also featured Been, who’s best known for his work with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club contributing bass. Jakob Bowden was recruited to tour in support of the album. 

The last half of 2016 saw the band go on an UK and European Union tour without James Traeger. Throughout 2017, Evan Synder toured with the band. During a 2018 US tour opening for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Jonah Swilley sat in on drums with the band. Last May saw the band touring Spain with Evan Synder playing drums. Bowden wasn’t with the band either. 

This year has been a rather busy year for Billingsley. Night Beats’ Dan Auerbach-produced Myth Of A Man was released in January — and the album found the band’s founder playing with a backing band of session musicians, who had worked with the likes of Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. Perhaps as a way of explaining Traeger’s and Bowden’s absence from the album, the official press release simply said that the album was “written during a particularly destructive period of the band.” Additionally, Billingsley along with an all-star backing cast featuring The Mystery Lights’ Mike Brandon, Black Lips’ Cole Alexander and Warbly Jets’ Julien O’neil recorded and released a Record Store Day album, Night Beats Perform The Sonics’ Boom, an exact track-by-track over of The Sonics classic (and beloved) 1966 album Boom. 

Night Beats Perform The Sonics’ Boom finds Billingsley and an indie rock All-Star backing band treading a line between faithful cover meant to keep the legacy of The Sonics’ classic album alive for contemporary listeners while imbuing the material with a fuzzy  and soulful take. Album single “Let The Good Times Roll” manages to sound almost like it were released sometime between 1966-1968 but with a gritty, mod rock vibe reminiscent of The Who Sings My Generation-era The Who. 

Directed, shot, and edited by James Oswald on what looks like grainy Super 8mm film, the recently released video follows Billingsley and his backing band on tour, split between the yellow and white lines of endless blacktop, the band playing sweaty and passionate  shows in front of rapturous fans, and intimate backstage footage featuring the band getting themselves together before playing. As someone, who has covered and seen thousands of shows, the video captures the spirit and soul of a show in a way that feels warmly familiar. 

   

New Video: The Mischievous Silent Film-Inspired Visuals for Barrence Whitfield and The Savages’ “Let’s Go to Mars”

Formed by founding members Barrance Whitfield, Peter Greenberg, who has also played with Lyres and DMZ and Phil Lenker in the mid 80s, the Boston-based blues and soul act Barrence Whitfield and The Savages quickly developed a reputation for crafting primal and soulful blues, centered around Whitfield’s full-throttle soul screaming (in the spirit of Little Richard, Solomon Burke, and others), and for sweaty, dance party-like live shows. With their original lineup, the band released several attention grabbing records through Rounder Records, and as a result they toured with Bo Diddley, Tina Turner and George Thorogood, were a favorite of BBC DJ Andy Kershaw and won seven Boston Music Awards. The band reunited in 2011 with a new lineup that features Whitfield, along with Andy Jody (drums) and Tom Quartulli (sax), which has released three albums Savage Kings, Dig Thy Savage Soul and Under the Savage Sky and building upon their long held reputation, the band has toured with The Sonics, played at SXSW and have played on the BBC’s Later . . . with Jools Holland. 

Released earlier this year, Soul Flowers of Titan is Barrence Whitfield and The Savages fourth full-length album since reforming after a 25 year hiatus, and the album, which derives its name from the largest moon of Saturn, a planet which astrologically symbolizes pain and struggle was recorded in Ultrasuede Studio in Cincinnati, a town that was home to a number of classic and somewhat unknown independent labels, including King Records and Federal Records that were best known for a fostering a frayed and raucous sound during the 50s and 60s. Of course, knowing that history, the band couldn’t resist the urge to celebrate and expand on that legacy — with the album finding the band sonically meshing blues, punk, rock, garage rock and soul while thematically, the album’s material focuses on people shooting guns, separating, coming home (someday), falling in love, running around, leaving earth in search of someplace better, going crazy, drinking way too much coffee and thinking about the legendary Sun Ra. As a result, the material features a much heavier sound, B3 and Rheem organ playing from the band’s newest member Brian Olive and a live-in-the-studio urgency. 

Soul Flowers of Titan’s latest single “Let’s Go To Mars” is centered around a boozy, and shuffling power chord riff that brings Howlin’ Wolf and George Thorogood to mind but paired with lyrics inspired by an early 70s documentary on Sun Ra that its songwriters Peter Greenberg and Phil Lenker saw multiple times, and as a result there’s a mischievous yet plaintive ache to go off someplace that may be better than Earth — or least someplace, where you can live freely and not be bothered by the cruelty and viciousness of humanity. Directed by Eric Baconstrip, the recently released, animated video further emphasizes the song’s mischievous vibes while nodding at classic, silent films. 

New Video: The Cinematic, B Movie Inspired Visuals for L.A. Witch’s “Drive Your Car”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock/garage rock trio L.A. Witch, comprised of Sade Sanchez (lead vocals, guitar), Irita Pai (bass, backing vocals) and Ellie English (drums). And as you may recall, the trio have developed a reputation for crafting a grungy, garage rock sound that draws from late 50s-early 60s rock,  The Pleasure Seekers, The Sonics, The Black Angels, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and others — all while bearing a resemblance to JOVM mainstay artists The Coathangers, Sharkmuffin and Death Valley Girls.
The band’s self-titled, full-length debut was released last year through Suicide Squeeze Records, the label home of The Coathangers and others, and the album’s first single “Drive Your Car,” (which was also released as a 7 inch single back in 2016), is a grungy and gritty track featuring a propulsive rhythm section, chugging power chords fed through reverb and delay pedal paired with Sanchez’s sneering vocals — and while clearly resembling The Coathangers, the song manages to possess a malicious and murderous intent, along with some roaring hooks.

Directed and edited by Allie Lane, the incredibly cinematic video features a collection of badass ladies, including the members of L.A. Witch driving sweet cars through the desert, cut with footage of the band playing the song. Certainly, if you’re a photographer, you envy how rich the blues, browns and blacks came out under seemingly endless skies.

New Video: Surreal and Cinematic Visuals for The Horrors “Something to Remember Me By” Feature Hilarious Commentary on Fame and Consumerism

Over the past five or six years of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the London, UK-based indie rock quintet and JOVM mainstays The Horrors. And as you may recall, the British blogosphere darlings comprised of of Faris Badwan (vocals), Joshua Hayward (guitar), Tom Cowan (aka Tom Furse) (keys and synths), Rhys Webb (bass) and Joe Spurgeon (drums, percussion), can trace their origins back to the early 00s, and to a shared interest in obscure vinyl collecting, DJ’ing, and a mutual love of 60s garage rock, and 70s and 80s New Wave and post-punk — in particular, The Birthday Party and Bauhaus. In fact, as the story goes, the band’s founding trio met during repeated trips back and forth between their hometown from their hometown Southend-on-Sea and London.

By 2005, the British indie rock band’s founding trio recruited Haywood and Spurgeon to complete the band’s lineup and began rehearsing, and reportedly their first rehearsal together featured two covers — The Sonics’ “The Witch” and Screaming Lord Sutch’s “Jack the Ripper,” interpreted in the tradition of previous garage rock covers such as those by The Fuzztones, The Gruesomes and others. Unsurprisingly, their 2007 debut, Strange House featured their garage rock take on “Jack the Ripper” as its opening track; however, it was the album’s first two official singles “Sheena Is a Parasite” and “Death at the Chapel” that caught the attention of music journalists, music critics and fans. And since then, each of the band’s albums — their aforementioned 2007 debut, 2009’s Primary Colours, 2011’s Skying and 2014’s Luminous — have garnered both critical praise and commercial success, as they have all charted within the UK Top 40. Along with that, Skying and Luminous received international attention, including attention from this site.

V, The Horrors’ aptly titled fifth studio album was released last week through Wolftone Records/Caroline Records and while being the band’s first batch of material in three years, the Paul Epworth-produced album finds the band experimenting and expanding with the sound that’s won them national and international attention over the past two albums; in fact, the album’s first official single “Machine” seems to have the British indie rockers incorporating elements of the Manchester sound — in particular, Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, the abrasive, industrial electronica of Nine Inch Nails and Earthling-era David Bowie while retaining the band’s rousing and anthemic hooks; but by far, the song may be among the most swaggering and assertive songs of their growing catalog.

“Something to Remember Me By,” V’s second and is a propulsive, dance floor-friendly track that features a sinuous bass line paired with shimmering and cascading layers of synths, four-on-the floor drumming and a soaring hook — and to my ears, the track seems to have the band drawing influence from late period New Order — i.e., Get Ready and Music Complete — with an underlying, swooning Romanticism, making it arguably their most instantly memorable song they’ve released to date.

Directed by Max Weiland, the recently released video for V’s second single is a cinematic and weird video that directly comments society’s obsession with celebrity and the music industry’s attempt to take advantage of that, as Weiland explains in press notes. In the video, a strange and menacing mega-conglomerate uses the bandmembers’ desire for fame to harder their blood, sweat, tears, semen and more to make ridiculous consumer products for mass consumption — with the most hilarious one being The Horrors brand dildo. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays The Horrors Return With Their Most Dance Floor-Friendly and Trance-Inducing Song to Date

Over the past five or six years of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the London, UK-based indie rock quintet and JOVM mainstays The Horrors. And as you may recall, the British blogosphere darlings comprised of of Faris Badwan (vocals), Joshua Hayward (guitar), Tom Cowan (aka Tom Furse) (keys and synths), Rhys Webb (bass) and Joe Spurgeon (drums, percussion), can trace their origins back to the early 00s, and to a shared interest in obscure vinyl collecting, DJ’ing, and a mutual love of 60s garage rock, and 70s and 80s New Wave and post-punk — in particular, The Birthday Party and Bauhaus. In fact, as the story goes, the band’s founding trio met during repeated trips back and forth between their hometown from their hometown Southend-on-Sea and London.

By 2005, the British indie rock band’s founding trio recruited Haywood and Spurgeon to complete the band’s lineup and began rehearsing, and reportedly their first rehearsal together featured two covers — The Sonics’ “The Witch” and Screaming Lord Sutch’s “Jack the Ripper,” interpreted in the tradition of previous garage rock covers such as those by The Fuzztones, The Gruesomes and others. Unsurprisingly, their 2007 debut, Strange House featured their garage rock take on “Jack the Ripper” as its opening track; however, it was the album’s first two official singles “Sheena Is a Parasite” and “Death at the Chapel” that caught the attention of music journalists, music critics and fans. And since then, each of the band’s albums — their aforementioned 2007 debut, 2009’s Primary Colours, 2011’s Skying and 2014’s Luminous — have garnered both critical praise and commercial success, as they have all charted within the UK Top 40. Along with that, Skying and Luminous received international attention, including attention from this site. 

V, The Horrors’ aptly titled fifth studio album is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through  Wolftone Records/Caroline Records and while being the band’s first batch of material in three years, the Paul Epworth-produced album finds the band experimenting and expanding with the sound that’s won them national and international attention over the past two albums; in fact, the album’s first official single “Machine” seems to have the British indie rockers incorporating elements of the Manchester sound — in particular, Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, the abrasive, industrial electronica of Nine Inch Nails and Earthling-era David Bowie while retaining the band’s rousing and anthemic hooks; but by far, the song may be among the most swaggering and assertive songs of their growing catalog. 

“Something to Remember Me By,” V’s second and latest single is a propulsive  and trance-inducing, dance floor-friendly track that features a sinuous bass line paired with shimmering and cascading layers of synths, four-on-the floor drumming and a soaring hook — and to my ears, the latest track seems to have the band drawing influence from late period New Order — i.e., Get Ready and Music Complete — with an underlying, swooning Romanticism, making it arguably their most instantly memorable song they’ve released to date.