Tag Archives: video

February 25, 2018 — “Klonopin” by Drowse


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Klonopin” by Drowse (2018, from the forthcoming album Cold Air

Drowse is an ambient shoegaze/experimental recording project fronted by Portland, Oregon’s Kyle Bates. He has frequently collaborated with the Oakland doomgaze band Miserable, but his own music is more akin to stuff like Grouper and Mount Eerie. He’s been making music under the Drowse moniker since 2013, and has released one album and a few EPs. He has a new album Cold Air coming out in two weeks, and there’s a dark backstory to it. Bates suffered a mental breakdown many years ago and needed some antipsychotic medications to ease his pain. He went several years without any problems, but his problems resurfaced, and he drank a lot and took a lot of Klonopin to deal with it. During this time of heavy medication, he also experienced the death of a close friend, some family health problems, and some other unpleasant stuff. He channeled this dark stuff to write the songs that would become the Cold Air album. It’s an album about being filled with emotional pain, and being filled with drugs to kill the pain. And yes, it’s an album with some death imagery. Today’s song is obviously a reference to his medication.

Bates recently talked very candidly about it in an NPR interview

In the song I wake up from drug-induced sleep and imagine myself as the empty part of a shape imprinted in mud: a strange vision of shame. With this image in mind, I ruminate on how I’m ashamed of the way I force a wall between myself and others — on the inside I’m passionate, but I keep a cold, calculated distance from those I love. This fixation makes me anxiously waste my day, stumbling wistfully through my waking life until night comes and I can take Klonopin to forget myself again

Like the newest Mount Eerie record, this album is full of some dark and heavy imagery. It’s counterbalanced by the beautiful music and Bates’ honey-throated vocals. Bates is the only official member of the band, but his creative partner Maya Stoner provides backing vocals on a bunch of the songs, including today’s song. This is that song:

“Klonopin” by Drowse

I am reminded a bit of Mount Eerie, but more than that, I’m reminded of what Damon and Naomi might sound like if Krukowski and Yang were better singers.

I like this song a lot, and I like the other song from the album that I’ve heard. I think the entire album should do well at my house.

The video for the song is also definitely worth watching. Check it out here:

Cold Air will be out on March 9 via The Flenser. You can pre-order it via Bandcamp here.

February 1, 2018 — “Never Coming Back” by A Place to Bury Strangers

A Place to Bury Strangers

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Never Coming Back” by A Place to Bury Strangers (2018, from the forthcoming album Pinned)
A Place to Bury Strangers is a noise-rock trio from Brooklyn. Often hailed as “the loudest band in New York”, the band has been exhilarating and deafening audiences since 2003. They’ve only released four albums(with another on the way) but they’ve toured extensively and taken their time with each album. When they tour, by the way, they bring way more gear than other bands who play in clubs. The only time I’ve seen them, they brought their own PA and light rigs. And it was amazing.

I called Worship my #12 album of 2012 and Transfixiation my #10 album of 2015. Every time that I’ve been given a chance, I’ve mentioned to anyone who will listen that the one time I saw them live was sort of a mind-blowing experience. Even with some high-quality ear plugs, it was a little bit painful. In a good way. They don’t play loudly for the sake of playing loudly. It’s like the simultaneous chaos and control of Psychocandy. The noise is carefully constructed and manipulated, and at extraordinarily high volume, the sound gets better. Every bit of fuzz and feedback is painstakingly engineered in the same way that Donald Fagen and Walter Becker annoyingly strove for perfection in the Steely Dan recording studios.

Since Transfixiation, the band has gotten a new drummer in Lia Simone Braswell. She’s been around for a while playing in bands in Los Angeles, and filling in for touring bands. She moved to New York a few years ago and was spotted by APTBS bassist Dion Lunadon. He asked her to join the band, and that’s where they stand now. She brings more than drumming to the mix, though; she sings on a couple of the songs including tonight’s song. This band has always been about blunt force, and her voice adds a little bit of softness to the equation. Make no mistake, though; this is noisy as hell, especially in the second half of the song. I love it.

“Never Coming Back” by A Place to Bury Strangers

It starts off just like any APTBS song. The signature bass leads the way until about 0:50, when the guitars slowly build to a roar. Every time you think it’s reached a boiling point, it hasn’t. There’s a bit at about 2:53, with the rapid-fire pummeling of the drums, the squalling guitar and the mountains of feedback. You think that has to be it. But it’s not. Then there’s a signature APTBS break, and then hell really breaks loose. At 3:33, there’s another big burst of controlled chaotic activity that doesn’t let up until the end.

It’s noisy as hell. You either love APTBS for their noise or you absolutely hate them for it. There is no middle ground. You already know where I stand.

The new album will be out on April 13 via Dead Oceans. You can pre-order here. You can also catch APTBS on tour. They’re playing a show in Montréal tomorrow night, then they’ll play a bunch of shows at SXSW, then an album release party in Brooklyn, then a big tour starting in April that takes them through Europe. They’ll have a few days off before the North American tour which ends in June.

There’s a very strange video for the song that was just released yesterday. Make what you will of it.

January 23, 2018 — “Greys” by Candace


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Greys” by Candace (2017, from the “Horizons” single).

Candace is a dream pop trio from Portland, Oregon. Sarah Rose (guitar/bass/vocals), Sarah Nienaber (guitar/bass/vocals), and Mara Appel DesLauriers (drums/vocals) formed a band called Is/Is in 2009, and released two albums —III (2012) and Is/Is2014– and a slew of singles before changing their name to Candace in 2016. Since then, they’ve released a few more singles and an album called New Future). They’re set to release a brand new album called New Ruins on March 2. It’s a smoking hot album, but today’s song isn’t from it.

Somehow, I had never heard of the band until their publicist sent me an advance copy of the new album yesterday. It hasn’t been debuted yet, and none of the new songs are shareable, but it really blew me away. It sounds like three parts Galaxie 500 mixed with two parts Beach House and just a tiny splash of Throwing Muses. That mixture makes me very happy. I suspect that this album will do very well in my year-end list.

Today’s song has less of a Galaxie 500 vibe, so you’ll have to trust me on that, but I love it just the same. Today’s song is the b-side on the “Horizons” single, which came out last November. Although there’s a connection between the artwork on the “Horizons” single and the artwork on the New Ruins album, neither “Horizons” nor “Greys” appears on the new album. This isn’t really about the new album, but I urge all of you to get it as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, they have lots of other stuff you can get from their Bandcamp page.

I really love this song right from the drop.

‘Greys” by Candace

I really love the layering/chorus/harmonizing on the vocal track, and the shimmering guitar with its delay. That’s what makes me think of Beach House. The bass and drum tracks remind of The Real Ramona-era Throwing Muses. As I said before, this reminds me a bit of Galaxie 500, but the new songs do so to an even greater extent. There’s also this really incredible bit right in the middle of the song with the shimmering guitar using a bit of what sounds like flange. There’s a lot of other things to like about this song, and I’ve liked it more each time I’ve listened. And to be clear, I’ve just listened to it about twelve times in a row. To be clear about something else –and I can’t stress this enough– I like the forthcoming album even more than this.

The previous album was released by Found Object Records, but I don’t know if the forthcoming record will be on that label. There’s no mention of it on the label’s website, and the band’s website doesn’t mention who’s putting it out. That’s the long way around of saying that I haven’t seen any pre-sale information, and the promo material didn’t mention it either.

I had never heard of Candace two days ago, but they instantly became my favourite “new to me” band and album of the year. They’re going on a mini-tour directly following the release of the new album, and I hope they’ll follow that with a proper tour of the US, including a stop near me.

There’s also a great video for “Greys” with lots of bedsheets, dolphins, wheat feilds, and double exposure.

January 16, 2018 — “Tea-Soaked Letter” by Anna Burch

Anna Burch

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Tea-Soaked Letter” by Anna Burch (2018, from the forthcoming album Quit the Curse).
Anna Burch is an indie pop singer-songwriter working out of Detroit. Years ago, she was the front of a band called Failed Flowers, and she had been in other bands, but she took some time away from music to go to grad school. After that, she moved to Detroit and started a solo career. She got a big break when she was spotted by fellow Michigander Fred Thomas, who was once a member of His Name is Alive, and was also the front of the indie pop band Saturday Looks Good to Me. Thomas has also put out a few solo records and contributed to dozens of albums across many genres. As the story goes, he sent her demo to Polyvinyl Records with a note that said “This is not a drill. You need to hear this”. They liked it, and they quickly signed her. Her debut album Quit the Curse will be out on February 2.
This has all happened very quickly. Thomas sent the demos in the summer of 2017. She had a bunch of songs written, and she had also caught the ear of Collin Dupuis, who has mixed records by Angel Olsen, Mynabirds, The Black Keys, Grant-Lee Phillips, and many others. He helped her fine-tune those songs, and the end result is Quit the Curse. Only six months passed from the time Thomas said “listen to this” to the time Polyvinyl said “We’re putting this record out”. They announced the signing in late October and started promoting the album in November. I’ve been getting emails about a couple of the songs, and with the release date just a couple of weeks away, it’s time.
Some say she sounds like the brilliant no-fucks-given mid-90s indie rock of Liz Phair. Some people say she’s like Courtney Barnett. I get that, but I hear other things like the precision, power and punk-lite beauty of That Dog combined with the gritty and angular but silky smoothness of Julie Doiron. Boil all of that down, add a dash of Mitski, and I get Anna Burch. I love all of her songs that I’ve heard, but I love this one the most:
“Tea-Soaked Letter” by Anna Burch

I love it. And I love that it’s just a song about raw emotion. It’s not about romance and all that stuff: it’s about sex. Or wanting someone really badly. There’s one bit about not playing the game of trying to be wooed

I forgot to fake
the way that I was feeling
I guess it’s too late
All my cards are showing

and then the other bit about again accidentally-on purpose putting the ball in her own court:

No you can’t come up
Who am I kidding.. I would drag you up

But then there’s the bit where the other person might not feel the same:

What was that you said
That I don’t exist inside your head


There’s also some line about making a fool of herself in the interest of getting with this person. It may be to no avail, but she takes it in stride:

So I made a scene
I can think of things more embarrassing

Of course she really lays it on the line at the end:

You’re all I wanted
You’re all I wanted

Everyone understands these kinds of emotions. Everyone –well, mostly everyone– has given their unrequited love before. It sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. See also: “Your Best American Girl”.

There’s also a video of the song, and the video is another thing that makes me think of Julie Doiron.

Quit the Curse will be out on February 2, and you can pre-order it via Polyvinyl here. There’s a cool “pink/white starburst” vinyl in a limited run of 300 as well as a green vinyl, cd, cassette, and digital versions.

January 9, 2018 — “Fool’s Gold” by S. Carey

Sean Carey

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Fool’s Gold” by S Carey (2018, from the forthcoming album Hundred Acre).
S. Carey is the stage name of Eau Claire, Wisconsin indie-folk rocker Sean Carey. Although he’s put out two solo albums and a couple of EPs, he’s probably most known for being a vocalist and one of two drummers in Bon Iver. The first two records —All We Grow (2010) and Range of Light (2014)– had “generally positive” reviews, and the forthcoming Hundred Acre is getting tons of advance praise.

The new record, which will be out on February 23 via Jagjaguwar Records has been called his most personal work yet, and like the first Bon Iver record, it’s “basic” and beautiful. It’s stripped down: guitar, strings, pedal steel, synths, drums, and Carey’s dulcet vocals. Carey is challenging the listener to join him “to strive for a near-utopian ideal of returning to a simpler way of life, and loving those around you, to heal personal wounds.” That’s from the press release back in November. I’ve just gotten around to listening to the new song, and I really can’t wait for the full album. This is that song:

“Fool’s Gold” by S. Carey

The slide guitar is brilliant. There’s a fine line between “enough” slide guitar and “way too much” slide guitar. They’ve found the right side of it. The balance of the acoustic guitar and the electric guitar is amazing. Carey’s vocals are perfect. Beautiful and heartbreaking. I absolutely love the sparseness of the whole thing. Best of all, though, the lyrics don’t get in the way of a beautiful song like they might with a Sun Kil Moon song. Oh no. This is the kind of song that Mark Kozelek wishes he could still write.

This is also the kind of song that reminds us why we loved Bon Iver in the first place. To be honest, I didn’t care for the newest Bon Iver record, but I still hold For Emma, Forever Ago (2007) in the very highest regard. Certainly one of my favourite records of the first decade of the 2000s.

You can and should watch the below video of Carey’s band playing the song:

The album doesn’t come out until February 23, but you can pre-order it via Jagjaguwar in your choice of physical formats including “translucent green” vinyl and “blue haze” vinyl here. You can also order a digital copy via Bandcamp here.

Finally, you should also go catch S Carey on tour. Bon Iver will be at Austin City Limits later this month, then the UK this March. Right after that S Carey will tour the east coast and midwest US. See the tour dates here.

January 8, 2018 — “Petal” by Hovvdy


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Petal” by Hovvdy (2018, from the forthcoming album Cranberry).
Hovvdy is a slowcore/bedroom pop/”pillowcore” duo from Austin, Texas. Yes. Another band who uses a “double-v” in their band name in lieu of a “w”. Will Taylor and Charlie Martin, who are both drummers, met in 2014, and bonded over their love of downtempo pop music. They recorded some stuff in bedrooms and living rooms, and in 2016, they released their debut album Taster via Sports Day Records. That album was re-released by Double Double Whammy Records last year. Their sophomore album Cranberry is due out on February 9 via DDW. They’ll follow the record release with a mini-tour that features three shows in Texas, two in Mississippi, two in Tennessee, one in Louisiana, and one in Brooklyn.

I had never heard of the band before I got something in the mail bag about them. As everyone knows, I love DDW Records, and the email had a bunch of alluring press clippings. After giving a quick listen to a few songs, I really like what these guys are doing. There’s something really familiar about their style, and it took me a while, but I ultimately decided that they sound like Matt Pond doing early Built To Spill covers. Today’s song is my favorite of the three that I’ve heard, but they’re all great.

This is that song.
“Petal” by Hovvdy

Whichever one of the guys who does most of the singing has a nice falsetto that reminds me just a little of Doug Martsch out of Built to Spill. This guy sings better than Martsch, though. The song structure is a little like a lot of Built to Spill songs. Specifically, I’m thinking of “Car”. Except it’s slower-paced and much prettier. Like the way it might be if done by MPPA.

You can pre-order a digital copy of the album via Bandcamp here. You can also pre-order physical formats including a “cranberry red in milky clear” vinyl via the DDW web store here.

You can also see the beautifully shot video below. Bicycles. Pickup trucks. Dogs. Tree-lined streets. It’s got everything. Plus it’s got the band playing the song.

January 5, 2018 — “On a Sunday Morning” by Dead Vibrations

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “On a Sunday Morning” by Dead Vibrations (2018, from the forthcoming album Dead Vibrations)
Dead Vibrations is a noise pop/shoegaze/psych rock quartet from Stockholm. They’ve been around since 2015, but they just released their first EP Reflections last year, and they’re all set to put out their eponymous debut album on January 26 via Fuzz Club Records.

The band has already been getting a lot of good press, and this new album should push them to the front of the Scandinavian shoegaze scene. I had never heard the band before, but I got something in the mail bag suggesting a sound reminiscent of Jesus and Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, and the Seattle grunge scene of the 1990s. In today’s song, there’s a small bit that absolutely reminds me of “Nearly Lost You” by Screaming Trees. Painted with broader strokes, today’s song reminds me more of Swervedriver than of the Mary Chain. On other songs, there’s a more viscous texture, and I’m reminded of Sonic Youth. And these are all fantastic things to be reminded of.

“On a Sunday Morning” by Dead Vibrations

The part where the drums come in at 0:32 up until where the vocals come in at 1:20 is the bit that reminds me of that Screaming Trees song. Then it gets noisy and has me thinking about Mezcal Head. There’s a bridge that’s a little Sonic Youth-esque, then back to that drumbeat at around 3:40.

I like this a lot. And I love the rest of the album. The rest of the album is a little sludgier and packed a little tighter. They don’t breathe very much, but that’s okay. This is meant to be sweaty and beer-soaked.

Look for the album on January 26. You can pre-order the vinyl here. It might be kind of fun to play that record with the pitch adjusted down to make it even sludgier. Pre-order the digital version here.

You should also check out the video of the band doing this song on a rooftop:

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