Videos

New Audio: Jai Wolf Releases an Anthemic M83-Like Single

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Bangladesh-born, New York-based electro pop Sajeeb Saha. Best known for his solo recording Jai Wolf, Saha’s work is inspired by a diverse and eclectic array of music, including indie rock, punk rock, hip-hop, classic music and Bollywood. Thematically, much of his work draws from his own experiences growing up as a third culture kid. 

Saha’s full-length debut The Cure To Loneliness is slated for an April 5, 2019 release through Mom + Pop Music, and as Saha professes in press notes, “In my heart, this album is me,” professes. From the sounds to the lyrics, it’s everything that I’ve always wanted to do.” Now, as you may recall, The Cure To Loneliness’ M83-like “Your Way,” was a collaboration with Day Wave that’s centered around jangling guitars, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, soaring hooks, thumping beats and plaintive vocals — and interestingly, the song was a bitter lament from a narrator, who’s lonely and profoundly disconnected from everything and everyone, including himself. The Cure To Loneliness’ latest single is the anthemic instrumental composition “This Song Reminds Me Of You.” Owing a major sonic debt to M83, the track is centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, warm blasts of guitars and a motorik groove — and interestingly, as a result, the track possesses a swooning urgency. 

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New Video: Hush Pop Returns with Ethereal Visuals for Shimmering EP Single “Oasis”

Earlier this year, I wrote about Hush Pup, an experimental pop/synth pop act, which splits their time between Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Featuring core duo Ida Maidstone (vocals, Yamaha synths, Casio synths, Beat Finder) and Fizzy (bass, EFX, Beat Finder II) with contributions from Torrie Seager (guitar), the Canadian act describes their music as sounding “a lot like driving at night through the board game Candyland — soft cotton candy trees brush up against windows of your glass car, as you ride towards a friend’s cabin nearby the molasses swamp.”

The band’s latest efforts the Flower Power EP and Panacea, a romantic film-inspired album will be released next week through Lone Hand Records, and as you may recall the Beach House, Anemone and 4AD Records-like “The Hours” was centered around a shimmering and looping guitar line, propulsive beats, Maidstone’s ethereal vocals, a soaring hook and equally ethereal synths. Continuing in a similar, ethereal vein, the act’s latest single “Oasis” is centered around shimmering and undulating synths, propulsive beats, a looping and shimmering guitar line paired with Maidstone’s vocals ethereally floating over a fever dream-like soundscape. 

Filmed, edited, and conceptualized by Mike Perreira, the recently released video for “Oasis” features some experimental footage of water and other particles overlaid with old footage of the band from a music video that never came to fruition. The editing was kept fairly loose in order to let the natural light and movement come together organically, so that the video resembled a dream, further emphasizing the ethereal nature of the song. 

New Video: Acclaimed Indie Supergroup Mini Mansions Release a Glittering Disco-Tinged Visual for “GummyBear”

Comprised of Michael Shuman, Zach Dawes and Tyler Parkford, the Los Angeles-based indie rock supergroup Mini Mansions features a collection of highly acclaimed musicians, as the side project features members of Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys and The Last Shadow Puppets. Tracing their origins to when Queens of the Stone Age went on a hiatus in 2009, the trio of Shuman, Dawes and Parkford have released three EPs and two full-length albums —  2009’s self-titled and self-released EP,  2010’s self-titled full-length, 2012’s . . . Besides . . ., 2015’s The Great Pretenders and 2018’s Works Every Time EP all of which have established them for a sound that has been compared favorably by critics and fans to the likes of The Beatles, Elliot Smith, and Fountains of Wayne among others. 

Slated for a July 26, 2019 release through Fiction Records, the Shuman and Cian Riordan co-produced third album, Guy Walks Into A Bar finds Shuman relinquishing his drummer role to fully focus on vocals and lyrics with his Queens of the Stone Age bandmate Jon Theodore taking up drumming duties for the album. Interestingly, the album reportedly features some of Shuman’s most self-reflective and honest work he’s written, as the album’s lyrics are informed by a whirlwind relationship that he began with his ex-fiancee, who he met during a night out at a bar — with the album detailing aeach stage of the relationship from the beginning in which you’ve connected with someone and think they’re attractive and interested to falling in love to dramatically falling out of love. And the material may also arguably be he most pop leaning and sleekest material they’ve written to date. 

Interestingly, Guy Walks Into A Bar’s latest single is the slinky, dance floor friendly synth pop jam “GummyBear,” a track that sounds indebted to 80s synth funk and Giorgio Moroder-era disco and LCD Soundsystem, as the track is centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line and some complex polyrhythm. The recently released Liam Lynch-directed video further emphasizes the dance floor vibes, as it features a shit ton of neon and glitter drenched visuals. As Shuman remarks on the video ” We made a video for new single ‘GummyBear’ with our friend and comedic legend, Liam Lynch. Inspired by Saturday Night Fever and the classic videos of the early 2000’s, we created some serious visual eye candy for a song that sonically tastes the same. Pun intended.”

Liam Lynch says in press notes, “I’ve known Mike Shuman for over ten years, through my work with Queens of the Stone Age. When he asked me if I’d do a video for Mini Mansions, I was happy to do so. To me, this song really straddles being sort of 70’s and 80’s at the same time. I kept coming back to this BeeGee’s feeling but it was more like a realm in between. This got me thinking about the gateway door on the album cover and maybe that was a doorway to this in-between realm. So this video is a collage and mish-mash of elements but they sort of come together in their bar, disco, neon, and city lights to support the vibe.”

New Audio: Zig Zags Release an Urgent Headbanger

Currently comprised of founding member Jed Maheu (guitar, vocals), Dane Andrews (drums) and longtime sound engineer, multi-instrumentalist Sean Hoffman (bass), the Los Angeles-based thrash punk/metal trio Zig Zags over the course of their eight year history have released seven singles, three albums and a number of lineup changes — and throughout that time he band has managed to continually evolve their sound, their songwriting approach and their overall aesthetic.  Interestingly, the band’s fourth full-length album They’ll Never Take Us Alive is slated for a May 10, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band upping the stakes while revealing their earliest influences — in particular, their love of Dead Moon and Wipers, while remaining decidedly heavy metal. 

They’ll Never Take Us Alive’s latest single, the Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica-like “Fallout” will further cement their long-held reputation for crafting headbanging, power chord-based riffs and rousingly anthemic “raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along-lustily” hooks but the song is centered by a blistering urgency that hasn’t been heard on their previously released material. 

New Audio: The Faint Returns with a Goth and Industrial-Inspired Banger

Late last year, I wrote about the Omaha, NE-based cyber-punk act The Faint. The act which is currently comprised of founding members Todd Fink (vocals) and Clark Baechle (drums), along with Graham Ulicny (keys) and Michael “Dapose” Dappen (bass) can trace their origins back to the mid 1990s when the band’s founding members Fink, Baechle and Joel Petersen bounded over their mutual love of skateboarding, which they did in their free time. When Fink developed knee problems, the band’s founding trio shifted their hobbies into music. 

The band initially formed under the name Norman Bailer and briefly included Conor Oberst, who left the band shortly after their formation. After changing their name, the trio of Fink, Baechle and Petersen signed to their longtime label home Saddle Creek Records. Interestingly, after releasing a handful of singles to very little commercial attention, the band added Matt Bowen, who was with the and for the writing and recording of their full-length debut Media. After the recording of Media, the Omaha-based cyber punk outfit went through a number of lineup changes.

In late 1998, Jacob Theile joined the band, Bowen left and was replaced with Ethan Jones. And with a lineup of Fink, Baechle, Theile and Jones, the band toured across the US, playing the material that would eventually comprised their acclaimed sophomore album Blank Wave Arcade, an album found the band moving towards an electronic dance music and techno influenced sound. Before recording the album, the band went through yet another lineup change with Jones leaving the band and being replaced by Joel Petersen, who played bass and guitar during the album’s recording sessions. 

During the recording sessions for Danse Macabre, the band added Dappen, who was best known for being a member of LEAD. The band’s fifth album, 2008’s Fascination was released through the band’s own label blank.wav.  2012 saw the release of the deluxe and remastered edition of Danse Macabre, which featured bonus and unreleased tracks, a DVD of archival footage, live projections from that album’s tour and live footage. 

In 2016, the band went through another lineup change as Reptar’s Graham Ulicny replaced Thiele. Now, as you may recall, the band’s long-awaited full-length effort Egowerk is slated for release later this week, and the album, which marks a return to their longtime label home, thematically explores the Internet (specifically social media) and its impact on modern society and the ego. “Child Asleep,” the album’s first single was a thumping and twitchy, industrial house-inspired, club banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, rapid fire beats and vocals fed through copious amounts of vocoder. And while the song manages to recall Tour de France-era Kraftwerk and Atari Teenage Riot, the song is centered around a simple yet profound message — that “if I were wise, I would see that I’m a child still asleep.” “Quench The Flame,” the album’s latest single continues in a fairly similar vein as its predecessor — thumping, industrial and goth-inspired electro pop, centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, arpeggiated synths, and rousingly anthemic hooks but sonically the track manages to bear a resemblance to early 80s Depeche Mode and New Order — all while remaining dance floor friendly. 

New Video: Detroit’s Ritual Howls Release Creepy and Unsettling Visuals for “Alone Together”

Over the course of three full-length albums and a number of EPs, the Detroit, MI-based trio Ritual Howls, comprised of Paul Bancell (vocals, guitar), Chris Samuels (synths, samples, drum machine) and Ben Saginaw (bass) have developed a reputation for crafting a cinematic twangy and dance floor friendly industrial post-punk — although last year’s The Body EP found the trio employing the use of more expansive arrangements paired with a sculpted sound and production.

Interestingly, the trio’s forth, full-length album Rendered Armor is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through felte records continues in a similar vein as The Body; in fact, the upcoming album’s latest single “Alone Together” is centered around twangy guitar, ominous atmospherics, shimmering synths and a dance floor friendly thump — and while sonically bearing a bit of a resemblance to acclaimed post-punk duo VOWWS, the song is the tale of a classic love song, set in a doomed world, much like our own. But at its core is a longing that verges on an increasingly perverse obsession. Created by Kirill Slavin, the recently released video for “Alone Together” features some incredibly creepy and unsettling footage from the short film Witch Zombies & The Lightbox Rave that helps to emphasize the obsession at the heart of the song. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Release John Hughes-like Visuals for Swooning “In Camera”

Over the years, I’ve written quite a bit about the internationally renowned synth pop act, Yumi Zouma, and as you may recall the band which is comprised of Christchurch, New Zealand-born Christie Simpson, Sam Perry, Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess has been spread across New York, Paris and Christchurch in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake that devastated their hometown and the region at large. Primarily writing material by email, the band wasn’t initially meant to be a live act — and yet, they’ve received attention for crafting breezy yet bittersweet, 80s-inspired synth pop centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal crooning. After  Turntable Kitchen released their cover of f Oasis’ 1995 full-length effort, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the synth pop act busily wrote and recorded an EP trilogy — with the last edition of the trilogy been released last fall through their longtime label home Cascine Records.

Centered around reverb drenched arrangement that includes shimmering synths, angular guitar chords, a motorik-like groove, a soaring hook and Simpson’s ethereal vocals, the song sonically nods at A Flock of Seagulls‘ “I Ran (So Far Away).” And while accurately capturing the uncertainty, desperation and swooning urgency of new love, the song is underpinned by a deliberate attention to craft, with the members of the synth pop act revising and bouncing ideas off each other until it’s absolutely perfect.

Directed by Pavel Brenner and starring Charlie Patton, Shawn Denegre-Vaught, Emma Broz, Madisyn Maniff, Cinthia Bouhier, Joannie Ciociola, Alison Williams, Miriam Margolis, and Ainsleigh Douglas, the recently released video is a brilliantly spot-on take on John Hughes movies that’s centered around what seems to be an especially awkward first date that turns into a complex dance routine that includes synchronized swimmers, who miraculously appear out of nowhere. 

New Video: An Intimate Look at Life on the Road in New Visuals for Daniel Norgren’s Latest Single “Let Love Run The Game”

Daniel Norgren is a Boras, Sweden-born blues/roots music singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist — and with the release of his full-length debut, 2007’s Kerosene Dream, which was mostly recorded on mostly homemade instruments and 2008’s Outskirt, the Boras, Sweden-born multi-instrumentalist amassed a growing profile across Europe; in fact, the success of his first two albums led to eventual touring across Europe. 2010’s acclaimed, full-length effort Horrifying Deatheating Bloodspider was nominated in the Singer/Songwriter Album of the Year category at the annual Manifestgalen. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Norgren followed his acclaimed Horrifying Deatheating Bloodspider with 2011’s Black Vultures EP, which featured “Going Home Finally,” a track featured on the BBC Radio show God’s Jukebox. 2013’s Buck was mostly recorded in Norgren’s home on a 4 channel cassette portages studio with studio recordings like “Whatever Turns You On,” a song that was tracked and filmed at Algorhythm Sound Studios and quickly became a viral hit on YouTube, as well as a live version of “Moonshine Got Me,” which was recorded during a Scandinavian tour. 

2015’s Alabursy was recorded in a similar fashion as its predecessor — at home on Norgren’s 4-channel cassette porta studio. The album was followed by another European tour. 

Slated for an April 19, 2019 release through his longtime label home Superpuma Records,  Norgren’s forthcoming album Wooh Dang will be the acclaimed Swedish singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s first album to see a worldwide release.  Self-produced by Norgren and engineered bu his longtime collaborator and Superpuma Records founder Pelle Nyhage, Wooh Dang was recorded last fall in a single room of a 19th-century textile farmhouse in the woods, near Norgren’s home. “The interior looked it hadn’t been touched for the past 80 years,” Norgren recalls in press notes. “I moved a lamp and it left a dark red ring on the pink tablecloth underneath…goldmine! The house was huge, full of good, inspiring mustiness, creaking wooden floors, scary old portrait paintings on the walls, and an old, black German piano which I used in all the songs.” Recorded live to tape on a 16 track analog rig, the album finds Norgren mixing live performance and rural field recordings — while capturing the simpatico and energy between him and his backing band, which features old friends and longtime collaborators Andres Grahn (bass), Erik Berntsson (drums) and Andreas Filipsson (guitar, banjo).

The album’s latest single, the defiantly hopeful “Let Love Run The Game,”  meshes twangy Americana, Southern fried rock, psychedelia and blues that to my ears reminds me of The Band (in particular, “Up on Cripple Creek”), Otis Redding and King Bee-era Muddy Waters. Interestingly, as a result of the song’s production, it manages to sound as though it could have been recorded in 1965 or so — while capturing the urgency of three like-minded musicians and longtime friends jamming over the course of an afternoon.  

Featuring footage shot by Petra Wester Norgren,  Daniel Norgren, Anders Engström, Ida Brogren, Pelle Nyhage,  Erik Berntsson, Jean Millet, Sandra Filipsson, Drew Hanson,  Nathan Von Brown, and Edward Hill, the recently released video for “Let Love Run The Game,” intimately captures life on the road, from playing large venues in front of thousands of fans, to playing smaller venues with maybe a hundred people, the endless stretches of blacktop and gorgeous scenery that one would never dreamt to see, the band and crew goofing off — or just exhausted and sleeping whenever and wherever they could. And yet all of it is treated like wonder and joy, with the tacit acknowledgement that you gotta take it all in stride. 

New Audio: The Budos Band Release a Funky and Cinematic New Single

I’ve written and photographed the acclaimed Staten Island-based instrumental act The Budos Band a number of times over the years, and as you may recall the which is comprised of Jared Tankel (baritone sax), Tom Brenneck (guitar), John Carbonella (congas, drums), Mike Deller (organ), Daniel Folder (bass), Andrew Greene (trumpet), Rob Lombardo (bongos, congas), Brian Profilio (drums) and Dame Rodriguez (percussion) initially developed a reputation for a sound that they described as “Afro Soul,” which draws from Ethiopian music with a soul undercurrent, and some sound of the sounds of the 60s; however, with the band’s most recent releases, they’ve moved towards what they’ve referred to as “70s Psychedelic Instrumental Music.” 

The acclaimed instrumental act’s fifth album, aptly titled V is slated for an April 12, 2019 release through their longtime label home Daptone Records, and as the band’s Tom Brenneck says in press notes, the band’s forthcoming album feels like the truest sonic representation of the band as the material possesses the rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal elements off of 2014’s Burnt Offering, as well as songs that could have easily been found on their first three albums.  The album’s latest single, the cinematic  “Arcane Rambler” is centered around a looping and whirring guitar line, boom bap-like percussion, an enormous horn line and a propulsive and incredibly tight groove — and interestingly enough, the composition, which nods at hip-hop, 70s funk and psych rock finds the members of the collective at arguably their loosest and trippiest.

Live Footage: Sam Fender Performs “Hypersonic Missiles” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

Newcastle, UK-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Fender has received attention both nationally and internationally over the past couple of years for crafting rousingly anthemic, arena rock-like material that broadly focuses on hard-hitting social issues and draws from his own experiences growing up in Northeastern England.

Last year was a big year for the Newcastle-based Fender, as she was featured on BBC Sound of 2018‘s shortlist, which he promptly followed up with a sold-out headlining UK tour. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Fender ended 2018 with the release of the Dead Boys EP, an effort that featured the attention-grabbing “That Sound,” a power chord-based arena rock friendly track that featured enormous raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worth hooks, soulful vocals and a bluesy vibe that brought  The Black Keys, Slaves, Royal Blood and others to mind — and “Play God,” a politically-charged song that openly talked about how special interests and the 1% really control the world as we know it, paired with an self-assured, ambitious bit of songwriting.

Interestingly, the rousing, Springsteen meets Modern English‘s “Melt With You“-like “Hypersonic Missiles” is the JOVM mainstay’s first bit of original music this year, and while centered around arena rock and classic rock-inspired hooks, reverb-drenched power chords, thunderous drumming and Fender’s urgent and impassioned vocals, the song is an unconventional love song about two star-crossed lovers making the best of whatever time they have left while the world burns down — and an incisive commentary on our apathy and confusion in the face of our self-destruction that cries to the listener “hey man, wake the fuck up and do something!”

“This song started out when I saw the term ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ in a newspaper. It’s a newly developed Russian missile that travels at something like nine times the speed of sound, which is essentially unstoppable,” Fender explains in press notes about the song’s inspiration. “America currently has no defence against such a weapon, they would be helpless in the wake of an attack, as you have roughly six minutes from the time it is launched to the time it strikes.

“In many ways, Hypersonic Missiles is an unorthodox love song. It’s main focus is on the world around the narrator, who is a complete tin foil hatter. They are convinced the world is on its last legs; they know that it is rife with injustice but feel completely helpless and lacking the necessary intelligence to change it while remaining hopelessly addicted to the fruits of consumerism.

“Amongst all the chaos is love and celebration, there is this glimmer of hope that runs through the song, a little notion that no matter what happens, these two people are gonna have a fucking good time regardless of the tyrants that run their world, and regardless of the imminent doom from these ‘Hypersonic Missiles.’”

2019 looks to be a breakthrough year for the Newcastle-based singer/songwriter and guitarist — he recently made his US network TV debut, performing “Hypersonic Missiles” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and he will be playing his first North American headline shows with stops in Toronto, Los Angeles — and a sold out Rough Trade show on March 20, 2019.  (You can check out tour dates below.) Fender will also be playing several sets at this year’s SXSW, which I’m sure will catch quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere.