Tag: Uncut

New Audio: Australia’s Mildlife Releases a Shimmering Club Friendly Jam

With the release of 2017’s full-length debut Phase, the Aussie quartet Midlife — multi-instrumentalists Jim Rindfleish, Adam Halliwell, Kevin McDowell and Tom Shanahan — exploded into the national and international scene. Phase was released to critical acclaim from Resident AdvisorResident Advisor, Uncut, The Guardian and airplay from BBC Radio 6 — and the album helped the band garner several award nominations including Best Album at the 2018 Worldwide FM Awards,  Best Independent Jazz Album at the 2018 AIR Awards and Best Electronic Award nomination and win at the The Age Music Victoria Awards. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Midlife have opened for the likes of Stereolab, JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Harvey Sutherland. Their first national headlining tour was sold out, and the immediately followed up with a ten-date UK and European tour, which was culminated with a homecoming set at Meredith Music Festival. 

The rising Aussie act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Automatic is slated for a September 18, 2020 release through Heavenly Recordings and the album reportedly is step-change from their debut with the material being much more disciplined, directional and more danceable but while continuing their unerring knack to let a track luxuriate and stretch out without ever being self-indulgent. “The recorded songs kind of become the new reference point for playing the songs live,” Midlife’s Kevin McDowell says. ““They both have different outcomes and we make our decisions for each based on that, but they’re symbiotic and they both influence each other. It’s usually a fairly natural flow from live to recorded back to live.”

“Vapour,” Automatic’s second and latest single is centered around a shimmering, cosmic groove featuring glistening synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, a fluttering and expressive flute solo, shuffling four-on-the-floor, a euphoria-inducing hook and McDowell’s plaintive falsetto.  While sonically the song brings Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club and DBFC to mind, it conjures memories of carefree dance floors of pre-COVID quarantines, lockdowns and isolation. “Vapour is a dance mantra with enough weight to blow the cobwebs off your tired mind and snap you out of your endless feed scrolling rituals,” the members of Midlife say of the song. 

Currently comprised of founding members  and primary songwriters Chuck Cleaver (vocals, guitar), known for being a member of Ass Ponys  and Lisa Walker (vocals, guitar), along with Mark Messerly (bass, keys), John Erhardt (pedal steel, guitar), and Joe Klug (drums), the Cincinnati, OH-based shoegaze quintet Wussy can trace their origins back to 2001 when its founding duo began playing together as a dare during a brief run of solo Cleaver shows. The first show they played together while being largely unplanned went without incident, so they agreed that they should continue as a fully fleshed band. Cleaver and Walker recruited Dawn Burman (drums) and Messerly in 2002 And as a quartet, Wussy released three full-length albums and a critically applauded EP that received praise from a number of major media outlets including Rolling StoneSPINVillage VoiceNPRThe Washington PostUncut and the legendary Robert Christgau, who placed the Cincinnati act’s first two efforts Funeral Dress and Left for Dead on his best of the decade list, and their third, self-titled release on his best of 2009 list.

After receiving critical success, the band went through a series of lineup changes, as Burman left the band and was replaced with Cincinnati music scene vet Joe Klug, who joined the band for Attica! and Forever Sounds. The band’s newest member John Erhardt has helped evolve the band’s sound, adding a twangy psychedelic vibe as they’ve expanded their profile with recorded sessions for BBC 6 Music and KEXP, appearances at SXSW and CMJ, touring with the likes of The Afghan Whigs, and have shared stages with Yo La TengoThe BreedersBest CoastMudhoneyOkkervil RiverThe MekonsCOMEWreckless Eric and Jeffrey Lewis.

The Cincinnati-based indie rock act’s seventh studio album What Heaven Is Like is slated for release later this month through Damnably Records in Europe and Shake It! Records in the States, and as you may recall, earlier this year, I wrote about “Gloria,” a song that was reportedly inspired by the protagonist of Fargo‘s Season 3, Gloria Burgle, played by Carrie Coon — but in a much larger sense, the song is meant to paint a portrait of an inscrutable everywoman, who dares to stand up to an omnipresent, almost supernatural, villain. The album’s latest single “Cake,” while continuing in a similar, cinematic yet 90s inspired vein of its predecessor is arguably one of the album’s bleaker songs, evoking the sort of existential dread and anxiety that feels inescapable and pervasive. Shit has gone bad and quickly, and it’s time to start hunkering down because it’s about to get much worse.

 

 

Currently comprised of founding members  and primary songwriters Chuck Cleaver (vocals, guitar), known for being a member of Ass Ponys  and Lisa Walker (vocals, guitar), along with Mark Messerly (bass, keys), John Erhardt (pedal steel, guitar), and Joe Klug (drums), the Cincinnati, OH-based shoegaze quintet Wussy can trace their origins back to 2001 when its founding duo began playing together as a dare during a brief run of solo Cleaver shows. The first show they played together while being largely unplanned went without incident, so they agreed that they should continue as a fully fleshed band. Cleaver and Walker recruited Dawn Burman (drums) and Messerly in 2002 And as a quartet, Wussy released three full-length albums and a critically applauded EP that received praise from a number of major media outlets including Rolling StoneSPINVillage Voice, NPRThe Washington PostUncut and the legendary Robert Christgau, who placed the Cincinnati act’s first two efforts Funeral Dress and Left for Dead on his best of the decade list and their third, self-titled release on his best of 2009 list.

After receiving critical success, the band went through a series of lineup changes, as Burman left the band and was replaced with Cincinnati music scene Joe Klug joined the band for Attica! and Forever Sounds. The band’s newest member John Erhardt has helped evolve the band’s sound, adding a twangy psychedelic vibe as they’ve expanded their profile with recorded sessions for BBC 6 Music and KEXP, appearances at SXSW and CMJ, touring with the likes of The Afghan Whigs, and have shared stages with Yo La Tengo, The Breeders, Best Coast, Mudhoney, Okkervil River, The Mekons, COME, Wreckless Eric and Jeffrey Lewis.

Wussy’s forthcoming seventh studio What Heaven Is Like is slated for  May 18, 2018 release through Damnably Records in Europe and Shake It! Records in the States, and the album’s latest single “Gloria” is reportedly inspired by the protagonist of Fargo‘s Season 3, Gloria Burgle, played by Carrie Coon — but in a much larger sense, the song is meant to paint a portrait of an inscrutable everywoman, who dares to stand up to an omnipresent, almost supernatural, villain. As the band’s Lisa Walker explains in press notes, “This season of Fargo was so bleak and unrelenting. The V.M. Varga character seemed like an undefeatable entity, something between a robber baron and whoever’s secretly watching you from the other side of your screen in real-time. Gloria’s purity of heart made her this bright shining light.. the only person actually impervious to the enemy. But even beyond that, I was very inspired this year by several women who dared to put everything on the line, even their own lives, to stand up for what is right. I tried to show my respect for this great courage in the re-telling of Gloria’s story.” Interestingly, the band pairs this narrative story within a song that manages to be cinematic yet intimate while nodding at Americana and early 90s Pearl Jam — i.e., “Tremor Christ,” off Vitalogy and so on.

 

Currently comprised of founding members Willy Vlautin (vocals, acoustic guitar and electric guitar) and Dave Harding (bass, backing vocals), along with Sean Oldham (drums, percussion, vibes and backing vocals), Dan Eccles (guitar) and Paul Brainard (pedal steel, piano, acoustic guitar, trumpet, backing vocals), the Portland, OR-based alt country quintet Richmond Fontaine can trace its origins back to 1994 when the band’s founding duo met at  Portland Meadows Racetrack, where they bonded over betting on the ponies and their mutual love of Husker Du, Willie Nelson, X, The Blasters and The Replacements, and they quickly decided to collaborate together. After a lineup change with the band expanding to a quintet, they developed  reputation for a sounda that frequently meshed elements of rock, country, punk, folk and Americana paired with Vlautin’s narrative-like songwriting, which resulted in praise from the likes of nationally and internationally recognized media outlets including UncutQ MagazineMojoThe IndependentThe Sun and others.

Interestingly, over the past decade, the band’s Vlautin has developed a reputation as a critically applauded and commercially successful novelist with his debut novel The Motel Life winning a Silver Pen Award from the State of Nevada and landed on the The Washington Post’s Top 25 Books of 2007 — and later, the book was adapted into the critically acclaimed motion picture, The Motel Life which starred Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson.  Vlautin’s 2008 sophomore novel, Northline was a San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Bestseller. 2010’s Lean on Pete won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and was named Hot Press’ book of the year. 2014’s The Free continued an incredible run of prolificacy which included the band’s 9 preceding full-length albums, an instrumental soundtrack for Northline, two live albums and an EP.

After a three year hiatus from recording, the  members of Richmond Fontaine returned to the studio with their long-time producer and collaborator John Askew to write and record, 2016’s You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, which was released by one of my favorite labels, Fluff and Gravy Records across North America and Decor Records across Europe. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that I wrote about album single “Wake Up Ray,” a jangling bit of old school country-influenced alt country with Vlautin’s novelistic attention to detail, which managed to created a very real, lived in world in which the song’s characters wake up every single day to a lonely life and an even lonelier house that they’ve learned to hate — and yet they’re aware that because of the choices they made, that their position (if not, their very fate) is largely inescapable. But underneath the surface, is a wistful and mournful recognition of life and love’s impermanence.

Following the release of You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, the members of the band formally announced that it would be their final traditional album and tour; however, as the band’s Vlautin was putting the finishing touches on his fifth novel, Don’t Skip Out on Me which is slated for a February 13, 2018 release through HarperCollins, he was able to round up the band to record an instrumental, companion soundtrack, and while a digital download of the soundtrack will be bundled with the book, Richmond Fontaine’s long-time label home felt that it deserved it’s own release — February 16, 2018 with an extremely limited vinyl release both in the States and in Europe, through Decor Records.

Soundtrack single “Horace And The Trophy” while clearly nodding to classic, 60s and 70s Renegade Country, 70s AM rock possesses an obvious cinematic quality, as though it should be part of the soundtrack of a deliberate, thoughtful road trip movies, featuring rugged, heartbroken and rootless loners crisscrossing the continent, fleeing a troubled past or an uncertain future.

 

 

Comprised of Chuck Cleaver (vocals, guitar), Lisa Walker (vocals, guitar), Mark Messerly (bass, keys), John Erhardt (pedal steel, guitar), and Joe Klug (drums), Cincinnati, OH-based shoegaze quintet Wussy can trace their origins to when the band’s founding members and primary songwriters Chuck Cleaver, formerly of Ass Ponys and Lisa Walker began to perform together on what was supposed to be a brief run of solo shows for Cleaver back in 2001. The first show Cleaver and Walker played together was largely unplanned and went without incident, so they agreed to continue and expand the band. The band’s first drummer Dawn Burman and Meserly were recruited and joined the band in 2002 and the quartet released three full-length efforts and an EP that received praise from a number of media outlets including Rolling StoneSPINVillage Voice, NPRThe Washington PostUncut and the legendary Robert Christgau, who placed the Cincinnati quintet’s first two efforts Funeral Dress and Left for Dead on his best of the decade list and their third, self-titled release on his best of 2009 list.

After quickly achieving critical success, the band went through a lineup change as Burman left and was replaced with Cincinnati music scene vet, Joe Klug with whom the recorded Attica! and their sixth and most recent effort, Forever Sounds, which was released last month through Shake It/Damnably Records. The quintet recently released subtly shoegazey cover of Joy Division/New Order‘s “Ceremony” which retains the spirit of the original while adding layers upon layers of reverb drenched guitars with the boy/girl harmonies of Cleaver and Walker throughout. Interestingly, Cleaver and Walker’s harmonies bring the swooning Romantic urgency of the song out into the forefront. But perhaps more important, it’s a reminder of how a timeless song can reverberate a generation or two after its initial release.

Check out how the Wussy cover compares to the Joy Division original below.

Last year, the renowned director, screenwriter, producer and composer John Carpenter released his first album of non-soundtrack-based music, Lost Themes to critical praise from an impressive array of major media outlets including The GuardianThe New York TimesThe TimesUncutThe WireThe Los Angeles TimesNPRPitchforkVanity FairNewsweekBillboardEntertainment WeeklyArtforumThe Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone and others. And as a result, the album was one of the most commercially successful albums released in Sacred Bones Records history, as the album debuted on the  Top 100 Charts in both the UK and US. Unsurprisingly, the album, which was recorded with Carpenter’s son Cody Carpenter and his godson Daniel Davies strongly confirms what cinephiles, sci-fi fans and Carpenter files have asserted for countless years — that the director’s work was not only years ahead of its time but that his work has managed to continually influence contemporary electronic music. In fact, artists like Red Traces and Umberto have released works that frequently seem indebted to Carpenter and his film scores.

Building on the buzz and success that Carpenter and Sacred Bones Records received after the release of Lost Themes, the director and the indie record label released Lost Themes Remixed, an album that featured remixes from the likes of  Zola JesusSilent ServantFoetus‘ JG Thirwell, Skinny Puppy‘s ohGr, PAN Records‘ Bill Kouligas, and Uniform. (In fact, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you might recall that I wrote about Uniform’s dance-floor ready remix of Carpenter’s “Vortex” and Zola Jesus and Dean Hurley’s techno-leaning rework of “Night.” But interestingly enough, Carpenter has been incredibly prolific, as Sacred Bones and Carpenter will be releasing a sequel to Lost Themes Lost Themes II on April 15.

The material on Lost Themes II is inspired and informed by a change in the creative process with Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies and the acclaimed producer writing, working revising and recording in the same studio — and with all three collaborators working together, the result was a more focused effort, completed on a compressed schedule, in a similar fashion to Carpenter’s earliest films. Additionally, the material is much more nuanced and lush, as the trio of collaborators added acoustic and electric guitar to flesh out the material, as well as add texture. Last month, I wrote about Lost Themes II‘s first single,  “Distant Dream” pairs John Carpenter’s unmistakable minimalist synths with live drums, bursts of angular guitar and bass chords, and swirling electronics in a moody and tense composition that sounds as though it could be part of a taut, psychological thriller set in a dystopian future. Lost Themes II‘s second and latest single “Angel’s Asylum” pairs layers of dramatic and twinkling and undulating synths and ambient electronics with buzzing power chords and four-on-the-floor drumming in a composition that has the trio quickly building upon a theme but with subtle variations until a gently strummed acoustic guitar section paired with ambient electronics and synths and a gentle layer of twinkling synths form the composition’s coda. In many ways the song goes from an extremely dark and rock-like intensity to an ethereal beauty that arches heavenward at the end.

 

John Carpenter is a director, screenwriter, producer, editor and composer most commonly known for working in some of the most beloved and influential, horror and science fiction films of the 70s and 80s, including Dark Star (1974), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Halloween (1978),The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981)The Thing (1982), Christine (1983), Starman (1984), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987), and They Live (1988) — with the Halloween theme being one of the most recognizable themes in movie history.

Last year, Carpenter released his first album of non-soundtrack based music, Lost Themes to critical praise from an impressive array of major media outlets including The GuardianThe New York TimesThe TimesUncutThe WireThe Los Angeles TimesNPRPitchforkVanity FairNewsweekBillboardEntertainment WeeklyArtforumThe Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone and others. Additionally, the album was one of the most commercially successful albums released in Sacred Bones Records history, as the album debuted on the Top 100 Charts in both the UK and US.

Unsurprisingly, the album, which was recorded with his son Cody Carpenter and the fameddirector, producer and composer’s godson Daniel Davies, the album confirms the fact that John Carpenter’s sound and aesthetic was not only ahead of its time but manages to be timeless and powerfully influential — with the work of artists like Red Traces, Umberto and others being deeply indebted to John Carpenter and his film scores. Now interestingly enough Carpenter closed out the last half of 2015 with the release of Lost Themes Remixed, an album that featured remixes from the likes of Zola JesusSilent ServantFoetus‘ JG Thirwell, Skinny Puppy‘s ohGr, PAN Records‘ Bill Kouligas, and Uniform.

The incredibly prolific Carpenter will be releasing a sequel to Lost Themes Lost Themes II which is slated for an April 15 release through Sacred Bones Records. The material on Lost Themes II is inspired by a change in the creative process with Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies and the acclaimed producer writing, working revising and recording in the same studio — and with all three collaborators working together, the result was a more focused effort, completed on a compressed schedule, in a similar fashion to Carpenter’s early films. Additionally, the material is much more nuanced and lush, as the trio of collaborators added acoustic and electric guitar to flesh out the material, as well as add texture.

Lost Themes II‘s first single “Distant Dream” pairs John Carpenter’s unmistakable minimalist synths with live drums, bursts of angular guitar and bass chords, and swirling electronics in a moody and tense composition that sounds as though it could be part of a taut, psychological thriller set in a dystopian future.