Tag: The War on Drugs

New Video: ISLAND’s Gorgeous and Broodingly Cinematic Visual for Atmospheric “Young Days”

Initially formed in Oxford and currently based in London, the acclaimed indie rock act ISLAND — founding member Rollo Doherty (vocals) with Jack Reader (guitar), James Wolfe (bass) and Toby Richards (drums) — can trace their origins back to when Doherty started the band as a solo, acoustic, bedroom project that became a full-fledged band when Doherty recruited Reader, Wolfe and Richards to flesh out the project’s sound. And with the release of their first two EPs and 2018’s full-length debut Feels Like Air, which featured singles like “Try,” “The Day I Die,” and “Ride” and “Horizon,” the British quartet established and cemented aa sound that paired arena rock friendly hooks, earnest songwriting and brooding atmospherics inspired by Fleetwood Mac, Kings of Leon, The War On Drugs, Grizzly Bear and others.

SLAND’S highly-anticipated sophomore album Yesterday Park is slated for a June 25, 2021 release through Frenchkiss Records. Recorded during pandemic-related lockdowns in London last summer with Mikko Gordon, Yesterday Park marks the first time that the acclaimed British indie rock quartet has worked with an outside producer. Reportedly, the end result is material that finds the act experimenting with more complex production while intruding new textures and recording techniques to further hone the sound that has won them acclaim worldwide.

Yesterday Park’s latest single, the slow-burning “Young Days” is centered around Doherty’s plaintive vocals, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, broodingly atmospheric synths, jazz syncopated-inspired drumming and a rousing, arena rock sing-a-long friendly hook. Interestingly, much like the album’s previously released singles, “Young Days” is an wistful look at the past, written from the perspective of someone who has suddenly began to recognize that they’re getting old — and the time has somehow rushed by while they’ve been living it. As someone, who’s fully in his 40s, the song feels achingly familiar.

not being able to look into the eyes of the generations who will suffer the worst of the consequences makes it not even seem real,” ISLAND’s Rollo Doherty says of their latest single. “‘Young Days’ considers those ideas, but it was also written when I felt like I had reached a point where I needed to look at aspects of my own life, and change to better my future. The song is lost somewhere between those two thoughts.” The entire band adds “Nostalgia is a feeling that has become more relevant for everyone in the last year, with more time and space to reflect on past experiences.” 

Directed by ISLAND’s Rollo Doherty, the cinematically shot black and white video follows a group of skateboarders fully in their youth — but these young people realize that the world that they will soon inhabit will be fucked up and broken unless the adults do the work to get it right on their behalf. Will we be successful? I don’t know. And that’s frightening.

New Video: Los Angeles’ Sleep Still Releases an Enchanting Visual for Slow-burning “The Panoramic”

Los Angeles based dream pop act Sleep Still, led by Mariam McCarthy (vocals, keys) and Scotty Whelan (vocals, guitar) and featuring Kelly Ehrenberg (bass), Chris Kellogg (guitar) and Jeff Darcy (drums, production) can trace their origins to the two separate paths its leaders began before they met:

McCarthy led Detroit-based Silent Violet, an act that shared bills with Yo La Tengo and Bittersweet, contributed three songs to the Rosie O’Donnell-produced film America. received praise from NPR and landed a spot on the West LA Digital Mixtape.
Whelan was a member of alternative rock act Haste The Day, an act that toured nationally along some of the genre’s top artists while working a day job as a music therapist.

McCarthy and Whelan met in 2017, bonding over a mutual love of Explosions in the Sky, Slowdive, The Cure, The War on Drugs and other acts. The duo started writing and recording material under Sleep Still. “With the fast-paced nature of modern culture, we rarely have a moment to breathe, reflect or recharge,'” Sleep Still’s Mariam McCarthy explains. “With Scotty being a music therapist, I was fascinated by this concept. So rest became a central theme for us.”

McCarthy recruited the Detroit’s Kelly Ehrenberg to join while Whelan recruited Chris Kellogg and Jeff Darcy to complete the band’s lineup. Playing around Los Angeles, the members of Sleep Still quickly developed a natural chemistry.

The Los Angeles-based dream pop quintet’s latest single “The Panoramic” originally played over the end credits off Amazon Prime’s The Protestants, a film for which McCarthy was interviewed on-screen. “The Panoramic” is a slow-burning and cinematic track centered around a lush arrangement of shimmering synths, reverb washed guitars, dramatic drumming that sounds as though it were inspired by Slowdive, paired with McCarthy’s vocals, which are imbued with an aching vulnerability and strength. But at its core, the song is a contented sigh of a narrator, who has achieved a brief but necessary moment of stillness and connectedness.

“I took a short trip to Palm Springs [CA] and stayed at a hotel where the view was so panoramic, I felt swallowed by it,” McCarthy recalls. “I was holding my baby daughter on my hip, and I felt so at rest. All of my muscles relaxed. I wrote the song and brought it to Scotty. It’s about feeling honest and at ease. It’s also about understanding what we can handle and what we can’t handle, being okay with it, and knowing you need someone beside you in those moments.” McCarthy adds, “It’s ok to take time to drop everything. It’s ok to not need validation on social media. It’s ok to not feel like you have to accomplish some ambitious goal. You can take a minute to rest and be okay with whatever’s happening in the present.”

Directed by JWH, the recently released visual, features dancer and choreographer Xin Ying, who came up with enchanting and expressionistic moves to accompany the song. And much like the song, Ying’s movements are fluid, delicate, graceful and haunting.

New Video: Up-and-Coming British Act ISLAND Release Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for Soaring Album Single “Horizon”

ISLAND, an up-and-coming London-based act can trace their origins to when vocalist Rollo Doherty’s solo, acoustic, bedroom project expanded to a fully fleshed out band with the addition of Jack Raeder (guitar), James Wolfe (bass) and Toby Richards (drums)  — and with the release of two critically applauded EPs, the band have quickly developed a reputation for crafting atmospheric yet anthemic, arena rock friendly material largely inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Kings of Leon, The War On Drugs, Grizzly Bear and others, and for must-see live see that they’ve honed through some relentless touring of the UK and European Union over the course of 2017.

Building upon their growing profile, the London-based quartet’s highly-anticipated self-produced, full-length debut Feels Like Air reportedly continues their long-held DIY approach to the creative process while further cementing their reputation for crafting incredibly self-assured earnest and anthemic songs; in fact, album singles “Try,” “The Day I Die,” and “Ride” have amassed a total of over 2.6 million Spotify steams — with the band earning nearly half-a-million monthly listeners.  Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Horizon” is a slow-burning, atmospheric track with enormous, arena friendly hooks reminiscent of Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree-era U2 and while self-assured, it reveals a band that’s managing the difficult balance of an ambitious desire to rock everyone’s pants off with a thoughtful and deliberate attention to mood and craft.

Directed by Claes Nordwall, the recently released, and incredibly cinematic video for “Horizon” follows the members of the band driving through the snowy Swedish countryside, with each individual member broodingly lost in their thoughts. And as the members of the band explain in press notes, the video “captures a key theme of the album as a whole — the idea of a passenger drifting through different dreams on a journey. We wanted the video to reflect the open soundscape, we feel the song creates, so we jumped at the chance to shoot in the vast Swedish countryside. Claes took us back to his snowy hometown for the video, which had an amazing dreamlike feel that really suited the ideas we wanted to convey.

Sam Valdez is a Nevada-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, and classically trained violinist, who after spending time performing in a number of bands, discovered her own unique sound and decided that it was time to step out in front as a solo artist, writing her own original material influenced by the vastness of the desert and its sky, as well as Sufjan Stevens, The War on Drugs and the work of Sylvia Plath.  Interestingly, with the release of Hours, Valdez received attention from the likes of BlackBook.  Building upon a growing profile, Valdez’s latest single “It’s Alright” pairs incredibly forthright lyrics that thematically focus on coping with the disillusion that comes from relationships with a sound that manages to mesh anthemic shoegazer rock and twangy alt country/Americana in a way will remind some listeners of a brash and swaggering Mazzy Star, complete with rousing power chord-led hooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Surreal and Psychedelic Sounds and Visuals of Hollow Everdaze’s “Cartoons”

Founded by Daniel Baulch (vocals, guitar) and Jackson Kay (bass), along with Myles Anderson (violin), James Turner (drums) and Dylan Young (keys), the Ballarat, Australia-based psych rock act have developed a reputation in their homeland for a lush sound that at times clearly draws from Rubber Soul-era Beatles and bubblegum pop; however, with the contributions from Anderson and Young, the band’s sound manages to be both lush and mind-bendingly lysergic as you’ll hear on “Cartoons,” the latest single off the band’s John Lee-produced debut effort Cartoons, which is slated for release through Deaf Ambitions later this month.  But interestingly, the song subtly reveals some ambitious songwriting, thanks in part to an expansive, Summer of Love-like vibe and rousingly anthemic hooks. 

Interestingly, the band’s debut comes about as the band’s profile is steadily growing nationally in their homeland, as they’ve opened for the likes of The War on Drugs, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Wavves and American Football among others. 

Directed by Alex McLaren, best known for his work with ORB, Pipe-Eye and Hierophants, the recently released video for “Cartoons” employs the use of stop-motion animation, based around surreal imagery taken and assembled from old, second-hand books.

Preview: SummerStage 2017

Back in 1986, the City Parks Foundation created SummerStage in the spirt of Central Park’s original purpose — to serve as a free, public resource to help culturally enrich the lives of New Yorkers through live concerts, dance performances, and other cultural events.  And the festival’s first few years revealed relatively humble beginnings as its first few years of live programming were at Central Park’s Naumberg Bandshell; however, with artists such as Sun Ra Arkestra and legendary South African vocal act Ladysmith Black Mambazo and an impressive list of others playing those first few years, Summerstage, SummerStage quickly developed a reputation for presenting one of the most diverse array of artists across a variety of cultures, genres and styles — and they’ve continued to do so throughout its 30 plus year history. Over the past handful of years, SummerStage’s organizers have expanded the festival beyond Manhattan with shows hosted in parks, bandshells and and makeshift stages across the city’s other five boroughs, and from covering the festival throughout most of the history of site, it’s a wonderful afternoon or evening with your friends and neighbors; plus, there’s nothing like catching acts that keep you in touch with your inner child.

2017’s SummerStage season will begin in earnest on June 3rd with the legendary and imitable Mavis Staples, a national fucking treasure if you ask me, with contemporary blues artist Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely Good Music to round out a night of soul, gospel and blues at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield. And the rest of the lineup for his year continues an incredible run of must-see acts. Some other highlights will include:

And of course, there are a handful of benefit shows presented by The Bowery Presents at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield to help support City Parks Foundation’s continuing efforts to present free arts programming to New Yorkers and that lineup is equally impressive.

SummerStage will also be expanding its family-friendly pre-show workshop offerings this year to include dance classes, beatboxing lessons and introductions to DJing and Latin percussion. These interactive workshops will take place prior to elect SummerStage shows throughout the summer and all ages are encouraged to come out to your local park to participate. This year, the pre-show workshops will being with a DJ lesson from Scratch DJ Academy and a beatboxing tutorial with beatboxer Exacto before Digable Planets’ Coffey Park show — and other workshops will include salsa dance lessons in St. Mary’s Park and a poetry class in Marcus Garvey Park.

For more information and schedules check out SummerStage here: http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage/

Live Footage: Caveman Performs “Never Going Back” on CBS This Morning’s Saturday Sessions

With the release of their debut album Coco Beware and their sophomore self-titled album, New York-based quintet Caveman — comprised of Matthew Iwanusa (vocals, guitar), James Carbonetti (guitar), Jeff Berrall (bass), Sam Hopkins (keys) and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Prescott-Clark — have developed a profile locally and nationally for a moody and gorgeous guitar and synth-based sound that at times owed a sonic debt to Peter Gabriel, U2 and others. And as a result the quintet has toured with the world, playing shows with the likes of The War On Drugs, Weezer and Jeff Tweedy, and they’ve received praise not just from this site, where they’ve become mainstays but from a number of major media outlets.

The band’s highly-anticipated third full-length effort Otero War was released earlier this year, and the album’s first single “Never Going Back” is arguably the most upbeat and anthemic song the band has released to date, while sonically sounding as though it drew from Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” — but with Carbonetti’s gorgeous guitar work, Iwanusa’s plaintive vocals and soaring synths. And much like Springsteen’s work, “Never Going Back” deals with themes that Springsteen would still tackle today — maneuvering the complications of love, desperately seeking an escape of the humdrum and blandness of small town life, and the recognition that at a certain point, your decisions and their impact on your life loom larger any our life.

The members of the renowned New York-based act made their nationally televised debut on CBS This Morning’s Saturday Session where they performed “Never Going Back.” Check it out as I think it’ll give you a good sense of the band’s live sound.