Benjamin Jaffe is a Massachusetts-born and currently New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for being one-half of renowned Americana duo honeyhoney however, years before he formed honeyhoney, with Suzanne Santo, Jaffe began his career as a solo artist, who received attention for crafting material that was honest and experimental — and with his forthcoming full-length, solo debut Oh, Wild Ocean of Love, Jaffe returns to his solo roots while revealing a broader array of influences than with his primary gig, as the material draws from jazz and Motown-era soul among others. Interestingly, Oh, Wild Ocean of Love’s latest single “Blooming” pairs rolling and propulsive drumming with shimmering and loping guitars with Jaffe’s aching and tender vocals and a soaring hook to evoke the swooning throes of passion, while sonically nodding at JOVM mainstay Nick Hakim but with a wild, sense of experimentalism.
Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so, you’ve likely come across a small handful of posts featuring the Utrecht, The Netherlands-based indie trio Stillwave. Currently comprised of founding members Michael van Putten and Marcel Jongejan, along with their friend and long-time roadie Joris Keizer, the Dutch indie rock trio have developed a reputation for uncompromisingly refusing to do what their fellow countrymen have done, instead making the trip to the UK to play some of their first shows in dingy, beer soaked clubs and music venues that their influences — namely, Radiohead, David Bowie and Slowdive — have played in before they made it. As a result of their dedication, hustle and moxie, the Dutch trio began to receive attention and praise from media outlets across the UK and the States, including Q Magazine, Speak Into My Good Eye and others.
Although the band had started to achieve some level of success, the founding members were rocked by the departure of founding member Adriaan Hogervost. As the band said to me through email, “When Adriaan quit, it felt as if we had lost a brother. We were risking our last savings for another tour in a cramped ’94 Civic, but we knew we had to continue. Stillwave had become more than just music, it became the bond that held us together. We asked our long-time roadie and childhood friend Joris [Keizer] to join us.” They go on to explain that the band’s newest member, had a deep understanding of their dedication and passion for music, knowing that the band was each individual member’s labor of love, “an almost physical place, which we can create, enter and share with those who listen to it.”
The band’s long-awaited full-length debut Sell Another Soul is slated for a November 3, 2017 release, and as the band says about the recording sessions, “When we decided to start recording our album, we had ceased to care about compromise, polish and overanalysed bullshit, which supposedly celebrates the idea of being young and carefree. We do care. For 3 sleep deprived weeks we toiled in a dilapidated structure that would soon after be swallowed by the attempt of gentrification around it. We did away with vocal comping and held onto the tracks where we fucked up. Every second was a battle, every minute a victory.” The album’s latest single “94 Civic” derives its title from the aforementioned 94 Civic that the band drove around for tours, and the song is a slow-burning and dreamy ballad featuring a gorgeous yet minimalist arrangement of strummed guitar and gently swirling electronics paired with yearning and contemplative vocals — and interestingly enough, the latest single finds the Dutch trio gently expanding their sound in a fashion that reminds me quite a bit of Damon Albarn’s solo work and his work with Gorillaz.
Directed and produced by former member Adriaan Hogervorst, the recently released music video stars Harold van de Kamp, as a lonely man sitting in the backseat of a car, lost in his own thoughts, further emphasizing the contemplative nature of the song.
Comprised of Katrina Mogensen (vocalist), the daughter of Birgir Mogensen, who played alongside Björk in one of her first bands, Alexandra Baldursdóttir (guitar), Arnar Pétursson (guitar), Ása Dýradóttir (bass) and Andri Barter Jakobson (drums), the Icelandic indie rock quintet Mammut formed when its members were just 14 — and they derive their name from from the Icelandic word for “mammoth,” which the band’s Mogensen reportedly “plucked out of the air” before their stage debut.
In their native Iceland, the band is — well, rather huge. They won Iceland’s national battle of the bands, Músíktilraunir and subsequently have been nominated for several Icelandic Music Awards; in fact, their third album 2014’s Komdu til Mín Svarta Systir won three of its eight nominations including Pop & Rock Album and Pop and Rock Song for “Salt.” However, the band’s recently release effort Kinder Versions may arguably be their most ambitious to date, as the album finds Mogensen writing and singing lyrics completely in English for the first time in the band’s history. And with album single “The Moon Will Never Turn On Me,” you’ll quickly get a sense of why the band is so big in their homeland — they specialize in a brooding, highly dramatic and populist-leaning indie rock, complete with rousingly anthemic hooks. And while there’s clearly a viscerally earnest yearning and heartache at the core of the song, there’s an underlying sense of resignation that says “welp, things are going to be turbulent and shitty for a while, hold on as tight as you can.” Unsurprisingly as the band explains in press notes, the song is ultimately about the moment when you realize that you have to sit back, let go and then embrace and accept every horrible thing that may come in front of you — because in the larger scheme of things, it will be temporary,. and the world will continue to spin regardless.
Directed by the band’s Katrína Mogensen, the recently released video is a fittingly moody one that features the members of the band struggling through a fitful and seemignly endless nightmare-fueled night of sleep — and interestingly enough, the video manages to further emphasize the sense of tumult at the core of the song.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Kiev, Ukraine-based indie rock/post punk band Indytronics. And as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of founding members Danil Bogadenko (guitar, vocals) and Vitaliy Koutsiuk (bass) with Ruslan Dobrov (drums) and Denys Rybchenko (guitar, backing vocals) can trace their origins to when its founding members were traveling across Europe, and while in Stockholm, Sweden, the duo came across a number of street musicians, who were playing music with an interesting and very melodic indie the rock. According to the members of the band, its founding duo were so impressed by Stockholm’s street musicians that decided that they needed to start their own band when they returned home.
Since the band’s formation in 2012, the band has released their 2013 debut EP Vision and their 2015 full-length debut Scintilla Wave and and as a result, they’ve developed a growing profile both nationally and internationally as they’ve made a number of live appearances on several Ukrainian TV shows and have received regular radio rotation on Ukrainian Radio Roks, Europa Plus, HotMix Radio, WCSF Radio German CTdasradio and others. Along with that, they’ve been written up in the British music magazine Huck and their music has been used for fashion shows aired on the international TV channel IDFashion throughout the US, Ukraine, Italy, Austria and France.
While “Savannah Only Temple” was slickly produced indie rock that may remind listeners of Narrow Stairs-era Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service’s Give Up and Snow Patrol, thanks in part to a rousingly arena friendly hook, its follow-up “Shark” found the band pushing their sound more towards electronic rock but with some of their most ambitious songwriting they’ve released to date. Their latest single “Alien Sun” finds the band at their most atmospheric while retaining their arena friendly hooks — and although the song will further cement their growing reputation for crafting crowd pleasing Death Cab for Cutie/The Postal Service/Snow Patrol-like indie rock, bolstered by an uncanny self-assuredness and earnestness of purpose.
As the band wrote to me, they have a dream of playing concerts across
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a series of posts featuring the California-born and-based singer/songwriter guitarist and JOVM mainstay artist Chelsea Wolfe. And as you may recall, with the release of her four previously released albums. 2010’s The Grime and the Glow, 2011’s Apokalypsis, 2013’s Pain Is Beauty and 2015’s Abyss, Wolfe received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for an imitable sound that draws from gothic rock, folk, neo-folk, electronica and metal with a moody and cinematic quality — while thematically focusing on burrowing beneath the world’s brutality, ugliness, messiness and hurt to get at a profound sense of beauty.
Wolfe’s recently released sixth full-length album Hiss Spun is reportedly inspired by a Henry Miller quote — “What I want is to open up. I want to know what’s inside me. I want everybody to open up. I’m like an imbecile with a can opener in his hand, wondering where to begin — to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it.” And unsurprisingly, the material finds the renowned California-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist adopting Miller’s quest to become truly empowered by embracing the complete, messy self and to control the tumult within one’s soul — in the hopes of reigning in the chaos of the surrounding world.
Ironically, as Wolfe explained in press notes, when she started working on the album, she had initially wanted to write escapist music with songs about being in your body and getting free; but “you’re just bombarded with constant bad news, people getting fucked over and killed for shitty reasons or no reason at all, and it seems like the world has been in tears for months, and then you remember that it’s been fucked for a long time; it’s been fucked since the beginning. It’s overwhelming and I have to write about it.” Of course, as you may recall, Hiss Spun was recorded by Kurt Ballou in Salem, MA earlier this year, during a brutally (and perhaps prototypical) New England winter, several major upheveals in Wolfe’s personal life, her coming to terms with years of conflicting feelings of vulnerability, anger and self-destruction, and a dark family history that has managed to weigh heavily in her life. And as a result, the material on Hiss Spun may arguably be the heaviest, darkest and most forceful material she has written to date. Additionally, long-time collaborator Ben Chisholm contributes swaths of sound collages recorded while Wolfe and her backing and were on tour — the rumble of street construction while they were on tour in Prague; the howl of a coyote outside Wolfe’s home; the scrape of machinery on a floor of a warehouse at a down-and-out friend’s workplace, as well as samples from the bomb blasts of the Enola Gay, the shrieks and mating calls of primates, the fluttering pages of a book of Walt Whitman’s poetry are all manipulated and seamlessly placed within the music.
With the release of the album’s first two singles — the brooding Tool and A Perfect Circle meets PJ Harvey-like cathartic, emotional purge of “16 Psyche” and the atmospheric and moody “Offering,” Wolfe has managed to reveal herself as a restlessly chameleon-like artist and songwriter, actively pushing her sound to new directions while crafting material that possesses a fearless, unvarnished honesty. And the album’s latest single “Spun” continues in the same vein as its predecessors as Wolfe and her backing band pair enormous power chords, some dexterous and blistering guitar work and pummeling drumming in a slow-burning, sludgy dirge — but Wolfe’s ethereal crooning and wailing brings an plaintive and urgent yearning to the song.
Directed by Wolfe and shot in Sacramento, CA, the video is a dark, sweaty, yet sensual fever dream that manages to have an empowering quality as its female leads — Wolfe and pole dancer, Felicia Drake possess an cool, self-assuredness, although Drake in many ways is a siren through a tense and fucked up journey through one’s own memories and dreams. And as a result, the video manages to have a lingering, almost sickening quality of life’s very real ghosts.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based indie rock quartet High Waisted. Comprised of Jessica Louie Dye (vocals, guitar), Jono Bernstein (drums), Richey Rose (bass) and Stephen Neilsen (guitar, vocals), the quartet quickly developed a reputation both locally and elsewhere for a sound that draws from surf rock, garage rock, psych rock and lo-fi rock — and for their DIY concerts/booze cruises (which are pretty fucking awesome, by the way), tiki-styled pig roasts and acid-fueled pizza parties. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over that same period, you’d know that with the release of their Bryan Pugh-produced full-length debut On Ludlow, the New York-based indie rock quarter further cemented their reputation for scuzzy, party ’til you drop rock, that managed to reveal subtle shades of vulnerability underneath the surface.
High Waisted’s forthcoming, Tad Kubler-produced, sophomore album is slated for a Spring 2018 release, but before that, the band released a split single with The Coax through Little Dickman Records earlier this fall and “Firebomb,” off the split single reveals that the New York-based quartet has moved towards a fuller, arena rock-friendly sound, complete with enormous, anthemic hooks and a scuzzy, ass-kicking, name-taking swagger reminiscent of Lita Ford, Motley Crue an others — all while being one of the most decidedly forceful yet sensual songs they’ve released to date. Building on the buzz they’ve received for their latest single, the recently released video manages to emphasize the feminist rock ‘n’ roll call to action nature of the song. As the band explained on Uproxx. “This video is about the struggle to find the confidence to be your boldest self. It’s sex-positive and celebrates female strength. We also tried to play homage to powerful frontwomen of the 90’s.”
Datenight is an up-and-coming, Nashville, TN-based teenage punk rock trio, comprised of Isaac Talbot (bass), Thomas Borelli (drums) and Grayton Green (guitar, vocals), that can trace origins back to 2015 when they members of the band started the band while in high school. And while the trio cites Jay Reatard, Oblivians and obscure 80s British and New Zealand punk rock, the band has developed a reputation for balancing fast, furious songs that clock in at around a minute with a straightforward sort of minimalism, and for effortlessly veering off into experimental and atmospheric sound. Naturally such minimalism means the members of the Nashville-based punk trio rely on short, straight to the point, punchy hooks and almost repetitive lyrics that generally focus on disappointing encounters with friends, relatives and others, and a growing sense of alienation and uncertainty.
Upon graduation, the trio decided to pursue music as a serious career, going on a constant and relentless bit of touring, frequently playing anywhere they can, and of course, writing new material, including “Too Good, their latest single.
“Too Good” will further cement the trio’s growing reputation for crafting jangling and anthemic punk that sounds as though it could have been released between 1977- 1983 or so, with a similar youthful, vibrant energy and an ironic sense of humor.
Directed by Jessie Manos, the recently released video was shot on grainy and old timey Super 8 camera and captures the members of the band hanging out and goofing off, split with segments featuring the band playing the song — and the video captures the band’s youthful goofiness.
Comprised of long-time friends and collaborators Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams, the indie rock act Ulrika Spacek can trace their origins to a night in Berlin, when the duo conceptualized the project based around their mutual passions and influences — namely, Television, Pavement, Sonic Youth and krautrock. And as the story goes, upon their return to Homerton, the duo began working on the material that would eventually comprise their full-length debut The Album Paranoia, an album which featured the 120 Minutes-era MTV-like single “She’s A Cult,” and the shoegazer-like Strawberry Glue.”
Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about them; however, the members of the project has been pretty busy writing and recording new material and touring — with their latest single “Everything, All The Time” managing to sound as though it nods at A Storm in Heaven and A Northern Soul-era The Verve and The Bends-era Radiohead, thanks in part to jangling and distorted power chords, a propulsive rhythm section and an anthemic hook. And while among the most 90s alt rock-inspired songs they’ve released to date, the song reveals a subtle yet decidedly contemporary production sheen, along with a blistering urgency.
While on a European Union tour, the members of the band stopped by Aarhus, Denmark-based Tapetown Studios to participate in the Live at Tapetown Series, in which Sound of Aarhus and the recording studio invite touring bands during their downtime to get a taste of the city beyond the routines of load-ins, sound checks, shows, tear downs and van rides — and it’ll include a live session in their studio.
KCPK is a French production and electronic music trio comprised of Alexandre Brovelli, Fabrice Brovelli and Christophe Caurret, best known as pioneers of the Rémoise electronic music scene with the likes of Yuksek, Brodinski and The Shoes; for creating PANIK, a club night known for hosting Groove Armada, Laurent Garnier and Amon Tobin; for collaborating with Woodkid, The Chemical Brothers and Two Door Cinema Club; and lastly for their work in advertising as creative directors of renowned firm BETC. And if you were frequenting this site last year, you’d recall that “Who Wants It,” their collaboration with Philadelphia, PA-based emcee STS managed to bridge enormous, festival friendly, tweeter and woofer rocking house music with swaggering, braggadocio-fueled trap-like hip-hop in a way that felt mischievous and fresh.
Along with that, the Nicolas Davenel-produced video was featured on The Creator’s Project, was nominated for Best International Urban Video at the UK Music Video Awards and was featured as the racing for Louis De Caunes’ video for Yves Saint Laurent’s Black Opium digital campaign.
The French trio’s latest single “The End” is a propulsive and dare I say, arguably the most sensual and dance floor friendly songs they’ve released to date as it features razor sharp arpeggiated synths, a rousingly anthemic hook and breathily cooed vocals — and interestingly enough, the song and its production sounds as though it owes a debt to Giorgio Moroder, The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and Daft Punk but with a hyper modern touch.
Directed by Luc Besson’s former Steadicam operator Andrieu and Director of Photography, Nicolas Loir, who has worked with Woodkid, Ghostpoet and Snoop Dogg, the recently released video for “The End” is a cinematically shot one, that focuses on the tumultuous psyche of a teenaged girl as she struggles with a dysfunctional relationship with her mother and an unreciprocated romantic obsession, capturing the uneasy yet profound transition towards adulthood. Interestingly, the video pays homage to several 90s coming of age movies through its use of props, fashion design and art direction — with live action footage meshed with visual effects by David Danesi. As the video’s director explains in press notes. “It’s a coming of age snapshot. At this stage, the rules get rewritten. Your eyes open to what lies beyond family and school. It is the first time you’re seeing yourself in the world, but emotional reactions overwhelm your ability to understand and cope. This is the end of innocence.”
Currently comprised of founding member Brazilian-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Samira Winter (vocals) along with Justine Brown, Chelsea Brown, and Summer Twins’ Anders LaSource, the indie rock quartet Winter can trace their origins to when the band’s founding member and primary songwriter along with co-founder Nolan Ely started the band while in Boston. And after the release of the band’s debut EP Daydreaming, the band’s frrontwoman relocated to Los Angeles and recruited an entirely different lineup to flesh out the project’s sound. With the band’s second lineup, Winter and company went into the studio to write and record the material, which wound up comprising their 2015 full-length debut Supreme Blue Dream — an album that featured material written and sung in both English and Brazilian Portuguese, while thematically meant to connect the listener back to their inner child. Sonically speaking, the album found the band establishing themselves for a sound that drew influence from 4AD Records’ heyday.
Now, if you were following this site last year, you may recall that last year, the band was working on what would be their sophomore effort Ethereality. And although album single “Dreaming” was originally written in 2013, the single further cemented the Los Angeles-based indie rock quartet’s growing reputation for crafting ethereal and shimmering, guitar-based dream pop.
Recently, the members of Winter finished a tour opening for Los Angeles-based indie rock and blogosphere darlings Cherry Glazerr, a standalone show with Colleen Green and a set at the Desert Daze Festival earlier this month — but adding to a rather busy period, Winter collaborated with Los Angeles-based surf rock band Trabants, featuring founding member, guitarist and primary songwriter Eric Penna and a rotating cast of musicians and collaborators, including the members of Man Man, Mean Creek, Creaturos, The Shills, World Inferno Friendship Society, Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion, Young Hunting, So Many Wizards, Breakestra!, The Dazies, Bury Me Standing, Jaggery, Cracktorch, Riptides and tomemitsu for a standalone single “Just Stay,” is a gorgeous and wistful track that manages to sound inspired by The Smiths, Que Sera and others.
Speaking of wistful nostalgia, the recently released Lorena Alvarado-produced video features Super 8-based home videos of a family on vacation in a lush and gorgeously verdant summer paradise, capturing a time and way of life that can’t possibly happen ever again.