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-The Process Records Team
Written By: Rina Rosen
BAND: Drop Tank (Listen if you like The Donnas of The Runaways)
There’s a strong Riot Grrl and hard rock vibe in Drop Tank’s EP, Domina. With heavy metal riffs, Zebidy has a scowling punk/blues voice that are a nice compliment to the album’s strong and bassy drums. The songs are epic and full of pop punk vigor! Drop Tank’s Domina EP’s “gain-heavy” sound has an impressive heavy rock style that will leave you with a sound-hangover! This band should be played VERY LOUDLY in order to enjoy the breadth of the experience that is Drop Tank.
By: Jordannah Elizabeth
Aufheben is a very French-pop inspired album despite the opening tracks Panic in Babylon and Viholliseni Maalla, which display deep aesthetical realms of Middle Eastern guerrilla warfare.
The album is probably one of the most romantic and optimistic albums Newcombe has ever written. The melodies of the songs are mainly bright, cheerful, and doused with electronic keyboard riffs that repeat major note progressions over and over again, but the songs are whimsical and multi dimensional enough to avoid being overly simplified.
Aufheben is not a post-apocalyptic album; it is futuristic. Blue Order New Monday sounds like a 2095 burning man track where you would find thousands of blue and green teenagers dancing around their burning idol, all singing “You’re gonnah seeeeee!”
The most pleasing thing about this record is that it is coherent, professionally mixed, and full of imaginative sounds and interesting messages. There is nothing complicated about Aufheben. The songs may have several layers, especially Seven Kinds of Wonderful, but Newcombe seemed to have decided to make simple, happy futuristic pop songs in 4/4 (maybe a couple are in 3 /4 but this is not music school), and they came out great. The entire project is refreshing.
It is no secret that indie rock musicologists recognize “My Bloody Underground” as the “Post BJM Age”, where Newcombe seemed to have slipped and hit his head, and moved to Iceland, got really high, and never really recovered from his mental and spiritual shake up before releasing the album. It become clearer that we almost lost the romantic revivalist for good once Who Killed Sgt. Pepper came out, displaying a fragmented album that seemed to show that he got lost in every continent of the planet.
But with this album, Aufheben, we seem to be able to sigh with relief, because the best parts of Anton as a musician are beginning to emerge again…accept the shoegazy psyche folk songs are a lot more European…and that’s ok.
I don’t review albums much (unless I’m paid to do it), but once I was finally able to hear this record in it’s entirety, I was very endeared and took the time to review it at 1 am on a Tuesday morning.
This is a loving, tasteful, and giving album. I would even say it is a forgiving album, therefore, we should forgive Anton for going off to space for a while, because ironically, this album is about Aliens, but it’s probably the most human BJM record ever written.
Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth
Edited By: Chris Parsons
FOUR AMAZINGLY HEAVY AMERICAN PSYCHE BANDS
This article came to me in the middle of the night, and it’s been simmering in my soul for about four days, and I had to get it out. These bands are the bands that I chose in my mind that night, and these are the bands that I’m stickin’ with; no apologies, baby.
Here is a list of exceptionally HEAVY psyche rock bands. They make super loud, weird, and invasive psychedelic-based music; more specifically the thing that they all have in common is that there are elements of metal present in their music. So, I guess I would define heavy psyche rock as psychedelia that melds metal rock into their sound. It’s just my opinion, it ain’t gospel.
Oh, and I also chose ONE track that really embodies the personality and heaviness of each of these bands.
MEMBERS: Jami Duggan and Den Campbell
LOCATION: Iowa City, IA
WHERE TO LISTEN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2AJvBNkjdo
BESTE’s Naked is one of those tracks that pulled me in by my hair. I usually discover my favorite new music in the wee hours of the morning, when musicians timidly share their more obscure tracks on Facebook. And that is how I discovered this top music choice.
Naked sounds like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Danzig, and Mazzy Star having a threesome. I loved it. I am always very pleased when I find a female musician holding her own over the top of heavy, dirty rock and roll riffs, and Ms. Duggan really embodies the strength and frailty that a female psyche musician must have to be able to create a well-balanced psyche rock track and/or album.
Naked is a bit of an odd track for this particular rock duo, and that’s really why I like it. It’s a bit heavier than most of their other work, and I’m into anything that bends the rules, and sits outside of the general norm.
MEMBERS: Dandy Lee Strickland, Ryan Pitchford, Kyle Jones, Nick Bable, Dan Strickland, Gilly Sena
LOCATION: Atlanta, GA
WHERE TO LISTEN: https://www.facebook.com/SomeHighSun
Reverends’ Somehighsun is one of those tracks that makes you feel like you’re completely tripping your face off in the middle of the desert while trying to find your way home…but you’re so wasted that you tend to forget you’re also hot, lost, and dying every time you twitch your eye in any direction.
Somehighsun is magnificent because it is unapologetic and portrays a reflection of the Portland revivalist sound that seems to have gone overlooked for the past 10 years or so. Somehighsun is intense, almost discomforting, but well composed, driven, and tastefully conceptualized.
NAME: Dax Riggs
MEMBERS: Dax Riggs and other various dead boys and girls
TRACK: Say Goodnight to the World
LOCATION: Austin, TX
WHERE TO LISTEN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JMe5QWbBAU (great version of the track!)
Some people know of Dax Riggs from his previous bands Acid Bath and Deadboy and the Elephantmen, but in 2007 Dax embarked on a solo career by releasing the album “We Only Sing of Blood of Love” which was a fabulous record, and is still one of my favorites.
Nonetheless, Say Goodnight to the World is a song that I can listen to at least once a day, every day. There is a particular live studio performance (see link) of the track that is entrancing, flawless, and incredibly impressive. Dax’s music is an amazing mesh of folk, metal, and psyche rock, which gives his work an almost religious but very heavy musical aesthetic that is so different and pleasing that it’s hard to deny Dax’s pure talent.
Say Goodnight to the World is a musical feat, and a great work of art.
NAME: Dead Meadow
MEMBERS: Jason Simon, Steve Kille, Mark Laughlin
TRACK: I’m Gone
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
WHERE TO LISTEN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XolG7a5ciCA
I’m Gone is one of my favorite songs of all time. Dead Meadow is my The Monkees. They are a top selection of my favorite bands, and I listen to them often. Every time I’ve seen them live, they’ve never disappointed.
I’m Gone is not one of Dead Meadow’s heaviest tracks but since it is common knowledge that this band is a very metal-driven psychedelic band, I feel it is ok to highlight one of their best composed and coherent songs. The song is a great introduction ballad for Dead Meadow newbies, while catering to undertones of romance and nostalgia for those musicians and listeners who love heavy psyche rock.
I think all of us know what it’s like to meet someone while they’re on tour only to have them leave a few hours later, probably never to see them again, or sleep with them again in the very least. I’m not saying this is what the song is actually about, but I think this realistic, heavy-psyche anti-love approach to songwriting is brilliant.
And of course I’m Gone doesn’t cease to melt your face off without showcasing one of Jason Simon’s overachieving guitar solos in the middle of it.
By: Rina Rosen
The title of the album “Sweet Heart Sweet Light” is a reflection of Spiritualized’s music; it cries of positivity and lightness, and even melancholy lyrics are carried with cheerful tunes. His songs are a cross between Pulp’s style of “speaking through singing” and British 60’s psychedelic rock riffs, with Beatles-influenced guitar solo screaming through the bridges. “Sweet Heart, Sweet Light” is a reminiscent celebration of classic British rock especially with the layered vocal tracks that sound more like a blues folk chorus. It is enjoyable in its complexity while not being entirely experimental. While listening to the album, Spiritualized paints a paisley atmospheric and sonically powerful experience.
Definitely not of the ‘ordinary,’ Spiritualized really put a lot of effort into their new album. It sounds like it was recorded “off the floor,” which always provides a more personal experience for the listener. It’s not easy to create such sound effects that recall popular psychedelic albums of The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, but Jason Pierce and his latest collaborators are in the right vein. There is a conviction in Pierce’s voice and lyrics that are anything but phoney. It’s rare to find a singer supported by a band where all the sounds blend so well together. This album is highly recommended.
By: Jordannah Elizabeth
The Dandy Warhols are a veteran band who have given their fans almost 18 years of great music. I frankly reached a bit out of my realm to learn from and about Peter, but I wanted to help The Dandy Warhols celebrate the release of their new album, and give everyone a chance to learn from the thoughts of a man who helped indie rock and our beautiful neo psyche generation become what it is today.
Things get more amazing for The Process Records everyday. No matter what happens in life there is something about this blog and the artists we interact with that is magical.
Thanks to Peter for being kind and open. I’m very honored.
What is the secret to maintaining longevity as a band and as a successful musician?
If you could do anything besides be a musician, what would you do?
I’d be an artist of some sort. I was planning on being a painter. I always thought music was out of my reach, but 18 years later it seems like painting is out of reach.
What’s your favorite Dandy Warhol’s song?
Mohammed. At least it’s my favorite to play.
Do you enjoy your bond with the other members of the Dandy’s?
Yes, when we get on stage, I know what will and won’t happen.
What do you think about the digital takeover of the music industry?
I don’t particularly like it. I don’t have a choice though do I? It was easier before it happened, I think. You knew what you were supposed to do. It may not have worked any better than the new model, but there was an obvious path.
Have you adapted to it?
Sort of. I certainly like how easy it is to find new music. But that takes the fun out of the hunt.
Has the new music industry changed the way you interact with fans?
Yes. I have direct contact, which works well when I want to announce upcoming shows or release dates for my side projects. But not so well when as soon as we announce tour dates I’m flooded with requests for guest list spots or people wanting their band to open for us.
Do you consider your music and band an artistic pursuit, or a career path?
The music will always be an artistic pursuit. But the band has to approach things as a career at this point. I don’t know how to do anything else at this point, and I don’t want it to ever end.
Tell us a bit about your new album The Machine and your upcoming tour?
We decided to make the record sparser, less layering of sounds. That means that each part has to be perfect, it won’t be hiding behind 17 other parts. Because of this sounds are therefore bigger sounding. We also stayed out of Tchad Blake’s hair when he mixed the record.
Do you have any advice for young musicians just starting out? Please share!
All my advice is well out of date, probably wouldn’t help. Accept “practice a lot”
“Well, I personally consider these bands to be POST MODERN SHOEGAZE/PSYCHE bands that derived from post punk, 60’s and 70’s psychedelia, and folk music and emerged between 1989-2010 (or to the present). That’s how I see it.” - j.e.
I’ve been corrected a couple of times for my use of the genre and term, Shoegaze. I have been informed that BJM, The Dandys, and Spiritualized are NOT shoegaze.
So, let’s deal with this right now:
The Process Records supports, covers and promotes shoegaze, psyche, experimental, and alternative bands mainly from North America, Australia and Eastern and Western Europe. So the bands that I wrote about in my last post (which of whom I rarely cover…this is the first time I’ve posted anything about the Dandys or Spiritualized) really birthed a broad generation of musicians and listeners that could sit under several different genres.
I generally thought it was interesting that BJM, the Dandys, and Spiritualized were touring and releasing albums at the same time…so, if anyone was going to trip on a post, this was a very simple one to attack. Let’s talk about experimental/deep house/ anti folk from Estonia, if you want to play “musical wits”
Why did I call BJM, The Dandys, and Spiritualized shoegaze bands? I didn’t. I wrote that I was going to write a series about shoegaze and its happenings and that the reemergence of these bands proved that the genre is not dead.
Why do I associate these bands with the genre at all?
“Well, I personally consider these bands to be POST MODERN SHOEGAZE/PSYCHE bands that derived from post punk, 60’s and 70’s psychedelia, and folk music music and emerged between 1989-2010 (or to the present). That’s how I see it.”
I work hard, and I study hard, and have given a big chunk of my life learning from many of the bands I write about.
If you actually talk to the bands that are branded as shoegaze/psyche, they don’t take the time to combat what genre they are under. Shoegaze is an understandable brand at this point for younger readers, and non elitists.
I write to share and educate. But we all interpret the story differently.
Look out for articles from The Process Records about The Paisley Underground, and Ride, and Slowdive. I am not ignorant. I’m just writing to a broad generation of readers who associate bands with certain genres that may not be completely or aesthetically correct…but their associations should not exclude them from being knowledgeable about music.
I am just trying to communicate with a larger audience than just music snobs who have nothing better to do than correct music bloggers who eat, sleep, and breath this stuff.
There is a whole world around us. Let’s try to agree on something so we can communicate and share without freaking out over semantics. This is what I do, baby. Anyone who knows better, please write a blog, or write for us, or shoot me a message and share. I’m open and willing to listen and learn, as we all should be.
Since everyone and their mom is releasing a new album and going on tour this year, I’ve made the decision to write a series of articles, interviews, reviews, and editorials about the shoegaze happenings of 2012. There series is called:
2012: The Year of Shoegaze
OPINION - EDITORIAL - April 12, 2012
“Three Albums and Tours That Prove Shoegaze is Far From Dead”
By: Jordannah Elizabeth
BAND: Brian Jonestown Massacre
TOUR: World Tour
BAND: Dandy Warhols
ALBUM: The Machine
TOUR: Europe/North American Tour
ALBUM: Sweet Heart, Sweet Light
TOUR: Europe/ North American Tour
If you would have told my 20 year old self who was simply reeling after hearing “Cold to the Touch” and “Bad Baby” that I would become professional music journalist who’s specific niche would be covering and chronicling the historical and international benevolence of post modern shoegaze and psychedelia, I would not have believed you.
This is a season to recognize all that shoegaze has given us over the past 20 years. This is the year where the younger bands like The Vacant Lots, The Orange Revival, and The Blue Angel Lounge have gotten their feet wet enough to sign with labels and/or continue touring with more support and familiar fanbases, and this is also the year where bands like the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spiritualized, and the Dandy Warhols, continue on their long and potent musical journeys.
I for one am simply fascinated by what this entire year is going to bring.
Because this is an introduction to a series that will follow the exploits of as many shoegaze/psyche bands as I can stomach and track down (I mean that in the most respectful manner, because most of the musicians I have met have been nothing less than gentlemen), and I will also be offering some op-ed pieces in order to do my best to illustrate the true importance and cultural and international influence that this music and it’s bands has accomplished over time, I’ll keep this post simple.
Without further ado, here are three albums and tours that PROVE that shoegaze is far from dead.
Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth
Spice Mouse - Tallinn, Estonia (Listen if you like Bjork, Coco Rosie)
The experimental music that is being produced in Eastern Europe is second to none. Last year, I completely immersed myself in Eastern Europe’s experimental rock music while learning about and interacting with artists like Amazing Electronic Talking Cave (St. Petersburg, RU) and Rachael (Warsaw, Poland), I came across the music of Ms. Laura Vunk of Spice Mouse.
Spice Mouse is a talented and intriguing artist who has an amazing sensitivity to musical atmosphere. Listening to a Spice Mouse song is like walking into her world of fantasy that is accompanied by a psychedelic and trip hop soundtrack that’s graced with her milky vocals. She’ll also completely woo you with lyrics expressed in her native language. I really appreciate international artists who sing in their first language. Her production value is also something to be praised and recognized. Get into Spice Mouse. She is quite incredible.
The Seed Coat - Åre, Sweden (Listen if you like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club)
The Seed Coat is a surprisingly modern and bluesy band from Sweden. It is always lovely to open my inbox and find submissions from all over the world, but The Seed Coat exceeded my expectations by stepping away from the washed out psyche sounds that is dominating underground rock and roll right now, and really touching on melodies that derive from blues, classic rock, and R&B.
Their music is funky, sexy, and well produced. You won’t be able to help but move when you listen to their sounds. The Seed Coat is HIGHLY recommended.
Dead Horse One – Valance, France (Listen if you like Slowdive)
France seems to consistently produce great bands that truly understand their genres and represent the classic elements of their chosen genres well. Dead Horse One was submitted to me by a fan of the band’s on Facebook. Their classic shoegaze rock sound is solid, and their songs are well written. I really enjoy a tight (a band who stays on beat, and in key to maintain a professional sounding musical execution) band, and Dead Horse One sounds great on their recordings. Make sure you dig into their music. They’re an amazing band!
Stereowoolf – Marburg, Germany (Listen if you like Sleater Kinney)
Stereowoolf is one of my new obsessions, but I just got wind that the band just broken up. I don’t really have time to be heartbroken because I don’t want to accept that it is true!
Stereowoolf had a very unique sound, that mixed storytelling, a riotgrrrl punk attitude, and a minimal rock aesthetic without sounding overly bizarre. The beauty of the band was that they had a lot going for them, as riotgrrrl rock is returning quietly to underground music, and their song “When I Was a Baby Feminist” was listenable and exciting without being overwhelming. The song had humor and brought nostalgia of the 90’s and the amazing girlcentric rock scene that dominated during that time.
They were also getting acclaim from being featured on Riotgrrrl Berlin’s music compilation. They would have gone really far.
RIP Stereowoolf. We love you.
RIDE INTO THE SUN – Adelaide, Austraila (Listen if you like Brian Jonestown Massacre)
Ride Into the Sun is an energetic shoegaze/psyche band that injects a new level of quality into a style of music that that has been done so well, many times. Ride into the Sun is another professional sounding, and exciting band that incorporates aboriginal sounds and layers of fuzz, reverb, and sex appeal that makes their music very hard to ignore.
I’m very happy to have learned about their music because musicians need standards to reach for and Ride Into the Sun sets a very high standard for psyche bands to achieve. They’re an amazing band with great taste.