Audio

New Video: Amsterdam’s Cubicolor Releases a Mediative Visual for “Rituals”

Amsterdam-based act Cubicolor is an internationally acclaimed electronic trio that features a lineup of accomplished musicians and producers:

Ariann Olierook, a member of production duo 16BL and Cubicolor, who acts as the public face of both acts. Olierook has been writing and recording music professional over the past 20 years — and has toured globally for the past 15 years. Described as a “student of music” by his Cubicolor bandmate Tim Digby-Bell, Olierook has developed reputation both within the project and without as constantly learning, honing techniques, restlessly experimenting and trying new ideas and building his own instruments. including custom modular synths, mixing decks and speakers that trio uses for their recording sessions.
Tim Digby-Bell, a London-born singer/songwriter, poet and playwright, who began to learn the guitar when he turned seven.  Growing up, he was heavily influenced by Nick Drake and others. Before he joined the Amsterdam-based electronic act, the British singer/songwriter was best known for being in London-based indie quintet Duologue. 
Through their earliest releases, Duologue quickly became a buzzworthy act, and they wound up signing to a major label. Sadly, while on their first Stateside tour – a momentum and career building tour, at that – one of Digby-Bell’s bandmates was diagnosed with leukemia. With an uncertain future looming in front of them, the band spilt up. Since the band’s breakup, that now-former bandmate has recovered from his illness.

Roughly two years after Duologue split up, Digby-Bell was introduced to Olierook and Peter Kriek — and after collaborating with the duo on “Falling,” became a permanent member of Cubicolor in 2016.
Kriek is the most mysterious and enigmatic member of the act. He grew up outside of Amsterdam, attended university and started a successful IT company while co-founding 16BL and Cubicolor with Olierook. Roughly 15 years ago, Kriek decided to withdraw from much of normal life, leaving his company and living a monastic-like and solitary life on a houseboat, which doubled as recording studio.
Reportedly, Kriek doesn’t listen to much modern music and is generally unreceptive to new ideas – and although his living situation and habits are challenging to deal with, his 16BL and Cubicolor bandmates will openly admit that he has an non-Western ear for melody and is one of the most talented musicians and producers they’ve ever met or worked with.
Since Cubicolor’s formation in 2014, the act has released three EPs and a handful of singles through Anjunadeep Records that found the act’s sound moving from progressive house to experimental electronica. The act’s breakthrough,  full-length debut Brainsugar was heavily supported by Spotify‘s Austin Kramer, Pete Tong, Joris Voorn and Kölsch, received airplay throughout the UK and KCRW and received critical praise from Mixmag, RA, Thump, Consequence of Sound and DJ Mag, which gave the album a 9/10 review. Brainsugar album tracks were remixed by Patrice Baumel, Lindstrom and Prins Thomas— and those tracks received support and play in clubs throughout the world. And adding to a growing profile, the album has amassed over 40 million streams globally.

Back in 2018, the band had written, recorded, and finished what was supposed to be their sophomore full-length album Trick of Light. The album was delivered to their label and to the digital streaming platforms. A full press campaign for the album was planned and then shortly before the official announcement of the album, the band decided to cancel the release and scrap the album. Three album singles were released off the canceled album — “No Dancers,” “Counterpart,” and “Boxed Out.” “Counterpart” received airplay on the BBC Radio 1 programs of Annie Mac, Pete Tong, Phil Taggart and Kölsh. Adam Port’s remix of “No Dancers” was a club hit. “We got home and listened to it, then got on the phone with each other and decided to drop the whole thing,” the band’s Tim Digby-Bell recalls in press notes. “The next week, we went back into the studio and started again. We didn’t keep anything, we shut ourselves on the boat in Amsterdam where we work and didn’t stop until we made the record we wanted to make.

“There were a lot of moments when we weren’t sure we’d ever find what it was we were looking for,” Digby-Bell continues. “On the way, we lost friends, lost loves, battled health issues, lost an album, lost each other and came back together again. Looking back now, it was pretty crazy, but the world keeps spinning and I guess we just don’t want to put out anything that wasn’t true to ourselves as a band, and the very best we can do as musicians, no matter how long it took.”

The trio’s latest album, the long-awaited, Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night is partially inspired by the seemingly endless cycles of space and time and is centered around an unwavering dedication to earnestness of emotion and purpose. Thematically, the album at points touches on much more personal topics than others: the Digby-Bell penned single “Points Beyond” is a loving tribute to a dear friend of his, who died last year. Other album tracks are meant to evoke the uncertainty and fear that the band felt during the writing and recording process. Overall, the album’s material paints an intimate and provocative picture of the trio’s evolution as artists and as people.

“Rituals,” Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night‘s latest single is centered around looping and twinkling piano, thumping beats, Digby-Bell’s plaintive vocals, shimmering synth arpeggios blasts and a soaring hook. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to Floating Points and Bonobo, the track manages to be cinematic and remarkably intimate, delving deep into the psyche and souls of its creators. 

Directed by Callum Bain, the recently released, intimately shot video for “Rituals” stars Misfits and Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy actor Robert Sheehan, who gives a raw and primal performance, as we see him moving through both time and space. “We all have rituals, from habitual daily activities, to practices in meditation, worship, dance,” the video’s director says in press notes. “Movements based on fortune and luck, or just superstition. Do they hinder or help our daily needs? Does it matter? Is the act of doing them reward enough?

“This video explores ritualistic movements, both extreme and delicate. It visualizes the micro-movements and slight variations found in repeated rituals, it observes the forward and backward motion of time.

“At its heart is Robert Sheehan’s performance, primal, instinctive, totally captivating and depicting a state of pure consciousness.

Is he anguished by carrying out these rituals or are the rituals providing an element of comfort or nourishment to an anguished soul? Must we break the cycle of bad habits that have become ritualistic . . . ”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Oh Sees Release Nightmarish and Hallucinogenic Visuals for “Enrique El Cobrador” off “Smote Reverser”

Throughout this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Bay Area-based  Oh Sees (a.k.a. Thee Oh Sees, OCS, The Oh Sees, The Orange County Sound, Orinoka Crash Suite and other variations) — and as you may recall, the band which is led by its ridiculously prolific creative mastermind John Dwyer has long-held reputation for a wide-ranging experimentalism that has seen the band dabble and bounce between lysergic-tinged folk, furious and sweaty garage rippers, sci-fi driven krautrock and more. And with each successive album generally being completely different from its predecessors, it makes the band difficult to pigeonhole.

Last year’s Orc was a muscular and darkly inventive turn for the current lineup which features Tim Hellman (bass), Dan Rincon (drums) and Paul Quattrone (drums), as the material balanced a trippy, cosmic vibe with some of their most hard-hitting and punishing tendencies. Reaffirming their reputation for being unpredictable, the members of the band quickly followed that up with Memory of a Cut Off Head, an album that found the band revisiting the sound and approach of their early years, best known as their “quiet” period; in fact, returning to one of the band’s earlier names — OCS — was meant to herald a return to –the lower end of the decibel meter. 

Last year, Dwyer and company did two shows with their quieter and lush incarnation at The Chapel in San Francisco and those live shows eventually produced a handmade, mail-order only live album OCS Live in San Francisco that was released through Rock Is Hell Records. Interestingly, the album will be re-issued and made available in a condensed 2 LP set and to support that effort, the OCS will play a limited performance run of mellow OCS tunes at The Murmrr Theatre in Brooklyn, as an octet featuring members of the early lineup, including Brigid Dawson (vocals), Tim Hellman (bass), Paul Quattrone (drums), Tom Dolas (keys), Eric Clark (violin), Heather Lockie (viola) and Emily Elkin (cello). (You can check those dates below.)

Also, Castle Face Records will be re-issuing a string of Oh Sees out-of-print Oh Sees albums from the quiet era beginning with The Cool Death of Island Raiders in February 2019. In the meantime, the band has released live footage of them performing the trippy and epic burner “Block of Ice,” that features some wild and unhinged guitar playing centered around a propulsive and steady groove. Quieter? I’m not so sure, as this one as a buzzing, garage psych quality; but either way I’m looking forward to catching Dwyer and company live. 

But before that, the ridiculously prolific Dwyer and his Oh Sees/OCS released Smote Reverser earlier this year, and album single “Enrique El Cobrador” finds the band meshing classic psych rock and prog rock in a way that brings JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard but with a muscular and frightening sense of menace at its core, as the song is centered by a motorik-like groove, explosive blasts of guitar, arpeggiated keys and Dwyer delivering his vocals with a guttural snarl. Directed by Alexis Giroux and featuring animation from Giroux and Massimo Colarusso is a hallucinogenic nightmare of murder, bloodshed and bright colors and other wild imagery. 

TOUR DATES
12/15/2018 Murmrr Theatre – Brooklyn, New York
12/16/2018 Murmrr Theatre – Brooklyn, New York

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Monolord Return with a Subtly Psychedelic-Tinged New Single

Over the past 15-18 months, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based doom metal trio Monolord have added themselves to a growing list of JOVM mainstay artists, and as you may recall, the Swedish doom metal band will be releasing their third, full-length album Rust through RidingEasy Records on September 29, 2017. As the band’s Esben Willems explains of the band’s sound, “A heavy groove that contains both bombastic overkill and a lot of dynamics is what we always aim for in Monolord; in playing, in song writing and arranging, in recording.”

Album title track and first official single “Rust,” featured guest spots from Mondo Drag‘s John Gamino on keys and Beastmaker’s Trevor Church, who contributes an incredible guitar solo towards the end of the song — with the single further cementing the trio’s reputation for crafting slow-burning, sludgy, doom metal; but upon repeated listens, the single revealed a band that has subtly expanded upon their sound and songwriting. “Where Death Meets the Sea,” Rust’s second single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor but with an oceanic heft, as sludgy power chords and thundering drumming were placed within a slow burning yet expansive song structure. 

“Dear Lucifer,” Rust’s third and latest single while continuing along the veins of its two preceding singles, in the sense that the track is a slow-burning, sludgy dirge but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the song possesses a subtle nuance, as it reveals some incredibly dexterous guitar work and psychedelic-tinged guitar solo — all while evoking hot blasts of sulfur, before its hazy, feedback and distorted filled coda. And although the song may reveal a psych rock influence, it still retains a sense of impending doom. 

New Video: The Lysergic Sounds and Visuals of Beaches’ “Arrow”

Comprised of Antonia Sellbach (guitar, vocals), Alison Bolger (guitar, vocals), Ali McCann (guitar vocals), Gil Tucker (bass, vocals) and Karla Way (drums, vocals), the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock quintet Beaches formed in 2007, and since their formation the quintet have developed an international profile for their critically applauded 2008 self-titled debut and 2013’s sophomore effort She Beats both of which drew from psych rock, shoegaze, prog rock and krautrock — with both albums being shortlisted for their respective years’ Australian Music Prize. 

Second of Spring, the Aussie psych quintet’s third full-length album is slated for a September 8, 2017 release through Chapter Music — and interestingly enough, the album is the first double LP released by an individual artist/band in the label’s history. Recorded in their hometown of Melbourne with producer/engineer John Lee, who has worked with Totally Mild and Lost Animal, and mastered by David Walker, the Melbourne-based psych rockers third album reportedly finds the band expanding upon the sound that won them international praise and attention but with material that emphasizes a jam-like feel.  Now, if you had been frequenting this site earlier this summer, you may recall that I wrote about Second of Spring’s first single “Void,” which featured buzzing power chords with a motorik groove and anthemic hook. And interestingly enough, the track reminded me quite a bit of The Breeders “Last Splash,” Liz Phair‘s “Supernova” and others but with a swirling, lysergic feel; but as the band’s Ali McCann explained to Vice Noisey “‘Void’ is a conversation between two people, who discuss a prolonged absence, a temporary disappearance into a space of emptiness. We wrote ‘Void’ in our rehearsal space in Reservoir (Melbourne) during a prolific period of songwriting. It was produced by John Lee (Phaedra Studios), who also plays synthesiser on this track. Karla and I are on vocals. There is a restrained interaction between them, tempered by the motorik drive of the instrumentation.”

The album’s second and latest single “Arrow” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it features buzzing power chords and a chugging, motorik groove and an anthemic hook under-pinned by a breezy, ethereal melody — and while clearly nodding at 90s alt rock, the song subtly nods at 60s psych rock. And fittingly, the recently released music video for the song features some incredibly trippy, psychedelic imagery — including an extended section in which shapes explode and change color and rearrange themselves in front of the viewer, in exact beat to the song, before briefly panning out to show one of the band members standing in front of projection screen or a hand manipulating things. 

New Video: The 120 Minutes-Inspired Sounds and Visuals of The Luxembourg Signal’s “Laura Palmer”

With the release of their first single and their 2014 debut effort, the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock act The Luxembourg Signal — initially comprised of founding members Beth Arzy (vocals), Betsy Moyer (vocals), Johnny Joyner (guitar) Brian Espinoza (drums) and Ginny Pitchford (keyboards) — quickly received attention from dream pop, indie pop and shoegazer aficionados, as well enthusiastic reviews for lush soundscapes paired with pop sensibilities and ethereal vocals. Over the past couple of years, the band expanded to a septet with the addition of Kelly Davis (guitar) and Daniel Kumiega (bass), and as a septet they released a split 7 inch single with Soft Science which featured a Robert Hampton (of Loop and Main fame) remix of “Dying Star.” 

Last year, the newly constituted septet went to the studio to complete their sophomore effort, Blue Field, which Shelflife and Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten will release this fall, and the album finds the band continuing their ongoing collaboration with engineer Mark Rains, who worked with them on their first album — and reportedly the material on the album finds the band with a bolder, more developed sound with a darker undertone. Along with that, the band collaborates with The Field Mice’s and Trembling Blue Stars’ Bobby Wratten on “Fall Feeling.” However, the album’s first single “Laura Palmer” sounds as though it owes a debt to the classic and beloved 4AD Records sound of the 80s as the arrangement features layers of shimmering guitar chords paired with four-on-the-floor drumming, a soaring hook, and ethereal and wistful vocals. 

The recently released visuals for “Laura Palmer” begin with a David Lynch-vibe as the viewer sees dust being blown in gorgeous patterns before turning into a lonely, late night stretch of blacktop while the rest of the video manages to be reminiscent of 120 Minutes-era MTV but with a lysergic vibe. 

New Video: The Sensual Sounds and Visuals of The Elle’s Latest Single “Halo”

“Halo” The Elle’s latest single pairs beatsinmybackpack’s soulful production consisting of shimmering and twinkling keys, boom bap drum programming with The Elle’s cooly self-assured and sultry vocals portraying a narrator, who’s urgently, stupidly, foolishly and proudly in love — of the sort, in which you see your object of desire and love as being the most perfect creature on earth. Sonically speaking, the song manages to channel golden era hip-hop, classic hip-hop soul and neo soul and J. Dilla simultaneously but with a gentle cosmic sheen — and while being incredibly sensual.

New Video: Watch Alison Mossheart Brave a Massive Storm in the Video for “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)”

http://cache.vevo.com/assets/html/embed.html?video=US3JJ1500922&autoplay=0 Comprised of Allison Mossheart of The Kills and Discount (vocals), Jack White formerly of The White Stripes and currently of The Raconteurs (drums, guitar and vocals), Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age (guitar, […]

New Audio: Up-and-Coming Australian pop artist YOKOTA Offers a Unique Spin on Contemporary Pop with Latest Single “Blindside”

YOKOTA is a somewhat mysterious, up-and-coming Sydney, Australia-based singer/songwriter and producer, who recently (and quietly) released her debut single “Blindside,” and the single, which posses elements of swing-period jazz, brass band jazz, hip-hop, early soul […]