Tag: U2

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Wax Idol Release an Anthemic Power Ballad

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Oakland, CA-based indie rock act Wax Idols, and as you may recall that after 2013’s critically applauded album Discipline + Desire, the band went on hiatus as the band’s founding member, primary songwriter and frontperson Hether Fortune joined the equally acclaimed punk rock band and JOVM mainstays  White Lung. That was followed by a heartbreaking and life-altering divorce, which informed much of the material on the band’s critically applauded, third album, 2016’s American Tragic.

Informed by the one of the saddest and most difficult experiences of Fortune’s life, as Fortune explained that American Tragic wasn’t “. . .a sad album.The whole spectrum of grief is represented here — shock, pain, anger, loneliness, and then finding a way to work through all of that, and not only survive, and thrive. That’s what I was going through. I was kind of trying to save myself.” Fortune wrote and recorded every note and every single chord on the album, and as a result, it gives the album a deeply personal vision and point of view in which the heartbreak and grief at the core of the album is visceral and haunting — especially if you’ve ever experienced the dissolution of a long-term romantic relationship, as it evokes the lingering ghosts and resentments, the push and pull of longing, confusion and hatred towards that person, who may well never be in your life again; but it’s all underpinned by the recognition that if you’ve known love, you may know it again and again and again, and that somehow you’ll pick up most of the pieces and move forward. And while thematically being among the most soberING and thoughtful material Fortune has written, the material sonically is reminiscent of Too True-era Dum Dum Girls, Concrete Blonde, Siouxsie and the Banshees and others.

Slated for a May 16, 2018 release through Etruscan Gold Records, Wax Idols long-anticipated forth Monte Vallier-produced album Happy Ending finds the band heading towards new thematic territory as the album finds the band exploring the abstraction and finality of death from philosophical, political and personal perspectives, continuing on the deeply personal tone and vibe of their critically applauded American Tragic. Additionally, the album finds the band continuing onward after a series of lineup changes with the band’s founding member and primary songwriter Fortune backed by Peter Lightning (guitar, bass, organ, piano), Rachel Travers (drums) and Marisa Prieto (bass, backing vocals) and The Mallard’s Greer McGettrick joining the band after the album was recorded. 

Now, as you may recall Happy Ending’s first single “Scream” was a rousingly anthemic, 80s-inspired post punk track with with a deeply personal, idiosyncratic vision, complete with some impressive guitar pyrotechnics that make the song seem as though the band drawing influence from Boy and October-era U2.  As Fortune told NPR, “Finding inspiration in one of my favorite poems, ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ by Dylan Thomas, I used this song as a vehicle to meditate on the concept of free will & how one could choose to exercise it even at the brink of death.” She adds, “The protagonist is someone who is young, madly in love AND desperately wants to live — though they know that they will not. They have chosen to use their final seconds, the only breath in their lungs, to scream out the name of the one that they love.” Interestingly, the album’s latest single  the mid tempo power ballad, “Crashing” continues on a similar vein as its predecessor as it’s a swooning and urgent ballad centered around twinkling piano, propulsive drumming and an anthemic hook with some gorgeous guitar work. Much like Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” and others, “Crashing” is the sort of song you can envision earnestly shouting along with a beer held aloft, with the knowledge of life’s fleeting nature.

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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.

Live Concert Photography: The Goodnight Darlings with herMajesty at Mercury Lounge 2/28/18

Featuring core members Kat Auster (vocals); Wilson (guitar), who has had lengthy stints touring with in the backing bands of The Fugees and Wyclef Jean; and Jaramillo (drums), the New York-based indie act The Goodnight Darlings have received both local and national attention for a sultry, dance floor friendly sound that draws from 80s pop, hip-hop, Combat Rock-era The Clash, New Wave, post-punk and shoegaze. The local indie rock stalwarts headlined an early show at Mercury Lounge that featured JOVM mainstays herMajesty as the night’s opener. Check out photos from the show below.

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Over the years, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based art rock/glam rock/indie rock act and JOVM herMajesty. And although the band has gone through a number of lineup changes, the band which is currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter  JP (vocals, samples, guitar), David (bass, lead guitar), Joan (bass) and Konrad (drums) has maintained a reputation for crafting lush, moody and contemplative material that’s heavily indebted to Roxy Music, David Bowie, U2 and others. Since the release of the My Body Your Mind EP and a series of standalone singles, which included gorgeous cover of Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot,” “One by One” and others, the band has developed a regional profile with the New York-based rock act opening for the likes of  The B52s, Tom Tom Club, Say Hi to Your Mom and The Boxer Rebellion — and have made frequent tour stops in Rochester, Providence, Philadelphia and Boston, as well as regular shows at Rockwood Music Hall and The Bowery Electric in the Lower East Side. Of course, their set included those singles and their latest single, the shimmering and disco-tinged “Weightless,” which you can check out below.

 
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For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmgRTPnz

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Wax Idols Return with an Anthemic Single from Forthcoming New Album Inspired by Dylan Thomas’ Famed Poem

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Oakland, CA-based indie rock act Wax Idols, and as you may recall that after 2013’s critically applauded album Discipline + Desire, the band went on hiatus as the band’s founding member, primary songwriter and frontperson Hether Fortune joined the equally acclaimed punk rock band and JOVM mainstays  White Lung. That was followed by a heartbreaking and life-altering divorce, which informed much of the material on the band’s critically applauded, third album, 2016’s American Tragic.

Informed by the one of the saddest and most difficult experiences of Fortune’s life, as Fortune explained that American Tragic wasn’t “. . .a sad album.The whole spectrum of grief is represented here — shock, pain, anger, loneliness, and then finding a way to work through all of that, and not only survive, and thrive. That’s what I was going through. I was kind of trying to save myself.” 

Fortune wrote and recorded every note and every single chord on the album, and as a result, it gives the album a deeply personal vision and point of view in which the heartbreak and grief at the core of the album is visceral and haunting — especially if you’ve ever experienced the dissolution of a long-term romantic relationship, as it evokes the lingering ghosts and resentments, the push and pull of longing, confusion and hatred towards that person, who may well never be in your life again; but it’s all underpinned by the recognition that if you’ve known love, you may know it again and again and again, and that somehow you’ll pick up most of the pieces and move forward. And while thematically being among the most sober and thoughtful material Fortune has written, the material sonically is reminiscent of Too True-era Dum Dum Girls, Concrete Blonde, Siouxsie and the Banshees and others.

Slated for a May 16, 2018 release through Etruscan Gold Records, Wax Idols long-anticipated forth Monte Vallier-produced album Happy Ending finds the band charting new territory thematically with band exploring the abstraction and finality of death from philosophical, political and personal perspectives, in some way, continuing on the deeply personal tone and vibe American Tragic. Along with that, the album finds the band continuing onward after a series of lineup changes with Fortune being backed by Peter Lightning (guitar, bass, organ, piano), Rachel Travers (drums) and Marisa Prieto (bass, backing vocals) — although Greer McGettrick, best known for being in The Mallard as the band’s newest member, joining the band after the material was finished. 

Despite the lineup changes, the Happy Ending’s first single “Scream” is an incredibly urgent track that will further the band’s reputation for crafting rousingly anthemic. 
80s-inspired post-punk  with a deeply personal, idiosyncratic vision, complete with some impressive guitar pyrotechnics that make the song seem as though the band were gently nodding at Boy and October-era U2.  As Fortune told NPR, “Finding inspiration in one of my favorite poems, ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ by Dylan Thomas, I used this song as a vehicle to meditate on the concept of free will & how one could choose to exercise it even at the brink of death.” She adds, “The protagonist is someone who is young, madly in love AND desperately wants to live — though they know that they will not. They have chosen to use their final seconds, the only breath in their lungs, to scream out the name of the one that they love.”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past month or so, you’ve likely come across a couple of posts featuring  Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles-based duo VOWWS. And with the release of 2015’s debut effort, The Great Sun, the Sydney-born, Los Angeles-based duo received attention for a sound that drew from a diverse array of influences including classic Western, electronica, surf rock, metal, post-punk and industrial rock. The duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort Under the World continues their ongoing collaboration with longtime friend, mentor, the renowned engineer and producer Kevin S. McMahon — and the album reportedly find the duo eschewing much of the familiar post-punk tropes of their previously released material, and focusing on razor sharp hooks, direct vocals and richer, more nuanced textures.

Forget Your Finery” was an 80s New Wave-inspired track that featured a deliberate attention to melodicism and to infectious, arena rock friendly hooks while “ESSSEFF” was an industrial-like track that nodded at Depeche Mode‘s “Policy of Truth” and U2′s “Mysterious Ways” — and much like its immediate predecessor, it found the duo continuing with a deliberate attention to razor sharp and rousingly anthemic hooks. “Structure of Love,” Under the World‘s latest single is a a decidedly gothic-leaning track with an industrial thump, angular bass chords and the continued emphasis on arena rock friendly hooks. Interestingly, the new track also manages to be among their cinematic and soundtrack worthy track off the forthcoming album.

VOWWS’ sophomore effort is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through the band’s own Anti-Language Records, and throughout the mid-March and early April, the Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles, CA-based duo will be embarking on a North American tour that will include a March 22, 2018 stop at Saint Vitus. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates 

3.19 – 529 – Atlanta, GA
3.20 – Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
3.22 – Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY
3.23 – Meatlocker – Montclair, NJ
3.24 – Geno’s – Portland, ME
3.25 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
3.26 – Cafe Nine – New Haven, CT
3.27 – O’Brien’s – Boston, MA
3.28 – Casa Del Popolo – Montreal
3.29 – Coalition – Toronto
3.30 – Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH *
3.31 – Deluxx Fluxx – Detroit, MI *
4.1 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL *
4.3 – Reverb Lounge – Omaha, NE *
4.4 – Hi Dive – Denver, CO *
4.5 – Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, UT *
4.6 – Neurolux – Boise, ID *
4.7 – Barboza – Seattle, WA *
4.8 – Tonic Lounge – Portland, OR *
4.10 – Old Nick’s – Eugene, OR *

* w/ Soft Kill and Choir Boy

With the release of 2015’s debut effort, The Great Sun, the post-punk duo VOWWS, comprised of Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles-based duo of Rizz and Matt quickly received attention for a sound that drew upon a diverse array of influences including classic Western, electronica, surf rock, metal, film soundtracks, post-punk and industrial rock. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site, you may recall that earlier that the duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort, Under the World continues their ongoing collaboration with longtime friend, mentor and renowned Kevin S. McMahon, and finds the Australian-born, Los Angeles, CA-based duo reportedly eschewing much of the familiar post-punk and industrial tropes of their previously recorded material to focus on a razor sharp hooks, direct vocals and richer, more nuanced textures.

Forget Your Finery” found the duo pairing angular guitar and bass chop Yrds played through layers of fuzz and other distortion pedals, thumping and propulsive drumming and while still sounding to me as though it were influenced by 80s New Wave, there’s a deliberate attention to melodicism and to infectious, arena rock friendly hooks. “ESSSEFF” their sophomore effort’s latest single sonically will remind some listeners of Depeche Mode‘s “Policy of Truth” and U2′s “Mysterious Ways” as it finds the duo pairing layers of buzzing industrial-like synths, stomping and propulsive drum machine, bluesy guitar chords  — but just like it’s predecessor the duo continue with a deliberate attention to melodic, razor sharp and rousingly anthemic hooks.

VOWWS’ sophomore effort is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through the band’s own Anti-Language Records, and throughout the mid-March and early April, the Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles, CA-based duo will be embarking on a North American tour that will include a March 22, 2018 stop at Saint Vitus. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates 

3.19 – 529 – Atlanta, GA
3.20 – Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
3.22 – Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY
3.23 – Meatlocker – Montclair, NJ
3.24 – Geno’s – Portland, ME
3.25 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
3.26 – Cafe Nine – New Haven, CT
3.27 – O’Brien’s – Boston, MA
3.28 – Casa Del Popolo – Montreal
3.29 – Coalition – Toronto
3.30 – Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH *
3.31 – Deluxx Fluxx – Detroit, MI *
4.1 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL *
4.3 – Reverb Lounge – Omaha, NE *
4.4 – Hi Dive – Denver, CO *
4.5 – Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, UT *
4.6 – Neurolux – Boise, ID *
4.7 – Barboza – Seattle, WA *
4.8 – Tonic Lounge – Portland, OR *
4.10 – Old Nick’s – Eugene, OR *

* w/ Soft Kill and Choir Boy

Over the past two years or so, you’ve likely come across a number of posts featuring the London-based JOVM mainstays Ten Fe. Initially comprised of singer/songwriter duo Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan, the duo won national and international attention for pairing their distinct writing styles and voices into a unique sound.

Now, as you may recall Moorhouse and Duncan had played in a number of London area bands in which they individually felt as though there was pressure to fit into a particular scene, whether through a one way of playing or a certain way of looking, and it was something they felt unnatural and unnecessarily labored — and it was something that they deeply reviled. Interestingly enough, as the story goes, Moorhouse and Duncan met at a party and became busking partners in the London Underground. In those very early days, they enjoyed the very simple pleasures of playing music they loved — mostly early rock, early Beatles and the like — and earning cash while doing so. Coming from a place of pure joy, they noticed a profound simpatico, and they began to play their own original material. “We had a very clear idea of what we wanted. For things to be simple, based around songs that are unashamed in their directness, and that we love: The CureU2Springsteen and The Stones. We’d spend years playing through these on the tube, realising you don’t need to break the mould. Its best to ignore all the voices telling you that you need to for the sake of it, and go for something deeper,” the duo explained in press notes.  And with Ten Fe, Moorhouse and Duncan wanted to focus primarily on the song with style serving the song — and while being anthemic and downright arena rock friendly, their sound is difficult to describe and even more so to pigeonhole, as it possesses elements of the Manchester sound, Brit Pop, Americana, electro pop and contemporary indie rock. They manage to do this while balancing careful, deliberate attention to craft with soulful earnestness and bombast.

Moorhouse and Duncan then spent the next two years, writing, revising and recording in each other’s bedrooms, which included prolonged writing sessions at Duncan’s dad’s house in Walsall, UK, relentless busking, hustling and saving, and an impossibly lengthy list of band members and producers before they signed a publishing deal and briefly relocated to Berlin, where they recorded their Ewan Pearson-produced full-length debut effort Hit the Lights. “Its no coincidence that the name of this band means ‘have faith’” says Leo Duncan.

After spending the past 18 months touring to support their full-length debut effort Hit the Light, which included an incredible set at Mercury Lounge earlier this year, the project officially expanded into a full-fledged band with the permanent additions of touring members Rob Shipley (bass) and Johnny Drain (keys), who are two of Duncan’s oldest friends from Walsall, and Alex Hammond (drums). Returning back to England, the newly constituted quintet began writing material for their highly-anticiapted sophomore effort, and the first bit of recorded output as a quintet “Single, No Return” may be a bit of a taste of what we should expect from the new album, as it manages to capture the band’s live sound and energy, complete with a swaggering and jaunty stride. Interestingly, the band has referred to the song as being a descendant of Hank Williams‘ “Ramblin’ Man,” a song which the band’s founding members used to play while busking in the London Underground, and although they claim that when it came to the song’s arrangement they thought of The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young but with a bit of swing to the mix, to my ears it sounds a bit more like the Psychic Ills, filtered through Brit Pop; but no matter — the song manages to evoke life on the road and its seductive pull on one’s soul while further establishing their ability to craft effortlessly slick, hook-driven material.