New York-based art rock collective Heroes of Toolik – comprised of Arad Evans (guitar), Jennifer Coates (violin), Moppa Elliott (bass), John Speck (trombone), and Michael Evans (percussion) – has chosen to take the band in a different direction from their previous two album releases. Not only did they add Elliott and Evans to the lineup, but they’ve also added a noticeably more experimental layer to their work that both captivates and encourages the listener. They’ve really brought that to light with a short film they recently released of a studio performance as the official video for their track “Quincunx”.
The word “quincunx” translates to “an arrangement of five things,” so they take that meaning in the most literal sense just being a band together. The band and the word are simple, yet intrinsically complex. The video itself mirrors this concept, as it is a relatively simple live performance but is built of its own instrumental complexities. Bathed in warm light in the heart of summer – June 22nd, 2017, to be exact – Heroes of Toolik find their groove together in a way that just insists on provoking an ambiance. And it’s absolutely beautiful.
Los Angeles-based duo Swimsuit Issue – comprised of Miles Garber and David Gagliardi – may have based their name from the fact that Garber’s initial introduction into the entertainment industry was as a relatively prominent model in the fashion world, but that’s not the initial takeaway from their art. In fact, as good looking as both guys are, their career has the ability to stand on its own based purely on their talent. It’s obvious to see why if you just listen to their debut single, a mid-tempo indie pop/rock track whose guitars give it edge while the vocals reside in more of a Kurt Cobain-meets-Sting ethereal sphere, replete with reverb.
Los Angeles-based rock quintet We’re No Gentlemen – comprised of Amanda Gabel (vocals), Rikki Juarez (rhythm guitarist), Daniele Boneddu (bass), Vince Gudino (drums), and Dan Schiz (lead guitar) – debuted the official music video for their track “Night” just today. This song wraps you up in intricate guitars while Gabel’s vocals claim a Kelly Clarkson-meets-Amy Lee sound to them, dragging us into this rock ballad with its ferocity and beauty.
The video is no different, directed by Henry Arres and shot with a dim and intense feel to the visuals, as we follow each member of the band through times of stress and turmoil. Between visually stunning shots of each individual’s distraught facial expressions, we get a look into the band’s live performance chops as frames of them playing the song together in a dark room almost hold each story together like a thread of escape from this twisted world and the issues we face.
We’re No Gentlemen is out now. Keep up with We’re No Gentlemen here.
On the hunt for a feisty, upbeat track to really keep you going while you’re at your desk today? We can’t think of anything better than electro pop artist Madison‘s relatively new – and infinitely inspiring – single “Hustle”. Starting with a bass line that really brings a raw strength to a largely pop-infused electronic track, we’re met with the feeling that there is much more to this song than one spin will lead you to believe. Let yourself get carried away in the trance-like sounds of “Hustle”. It’s fierce, enigmatic, and intense.
Garage rock/power pop collective The Hell Yeah Babies – comprised of Mike Pfeiffer, Julian Ames, Dylan Roth, and Sam Paxton – might call Astoria, New York home, but we’re thinking that just might change if they continue in the direction they’ve been going. Their first release was just last year, and they’ve already developed
We always talk about how songs make us feel like we’re a part of New York City nightlife, but “Grenadine Nosebleeds” was actually written about New York City nightlife. While the band croons “I don’t wanna go home,” we get lost in surf-like guitar riffs that somehow – mysteriously – make us feel like we’re dancing around the city in the summertime. Which is quite a departure from the cold, winter vibes we’ve been tripping all over as of late. It’s got this anthemic feel to it, and by the end of it you feel like you’re claiming your own dance territory in the face of opposition.
Aggressive, beautiful, fun.
“Grenadine Nosebleeds” is out now. Keep up with The Hell Yeah Babies here.
Portland-based experimental musicians Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile have found somewhat of a theatrical and entertaining sound together with their project Visible Cloaks. The duo utilizes “software-based composition rooted in randomization, MIDI-translation and chance operations” to achieve their sound, which takes you on a journey traversing delicate, primal yet futuristic, intense soundscapes in their new release Lex, which officially drops December 8th.
Beginning with “Wheel”, you slowly find that the gentle instrumentals make you feel like you’re almost spinning, with the tempo and way the weight shifts from emphasizing one note to the next. “Frame” is percussion-led, providing that primal, lush sound we often associate with far off countries. And “Transient” is the literal translation and embodiment of its title, which beautifully expresses itself at just over two minutes.
“Keys” is the first track to include any type of vocalization, though it is actually comprised of a made up language. Admits Doran, “The idea – building on ‘fourth world’ or ‘global village’ type concepts – was to create a projected language that was a fusion of many. The result was a very disorienting form of non-language that amplifies the lapses in meaning that occur with the inaccuracy of auto-translation software.” But we’re completely distracted by the beautiful wind chime-like feeling to the instrumentals. The title track – in direct contrast to its predecessors – is composed using piano-like sounds, which strangely adds a feeling of nostalgia to it. The duo expertly rounds it all out with “World”, an aptly titled track that really seems to nail it, including sound effects that resemble sounds you’d expect to hear from different cultures across the world mixed in with effects that sound more earthy and primal as well. (Can’t you hear the ocean in there?) It really puts the listener in a worldly mindset, to correctly transition into their day.
Suggestion: Meditation music.
Lex is out December 8th and is available for preorder now. Keep up with Visible Cloaks here.