San Francisco/New York post-punk outfit Wild Decade like to get right to the point. The band writes songs that are rhythmically aggressive and spiked with a punk fervor, while also doling out off-kilter guitar riffs and oddly memorable melodies. Previously going under the moniker of Bad Bibles, songwriters Phil Maves and Dan Leech make music that draws from influences and inspirations as diverse as The Pixies and No Age, but these musical signposts aren’t merely creative placeholders. Wild Decade form their own distinctive pop/rock aesthetic and wade through its constantly shifting structure without breaking a sweat. On their debut LP, Conductor (out now), they run through eleven songs in 35 minutes, wielding brevity and lacerating guitarwork in equal measure.
For the video to single “The Statue Talks To Me,” the band blends clips of autumnal landscapes with the band’s frenetic live performance. Directed by band member Phil Maves and filtered through a Super 8 lens, the video was shot over a handful of days between upstate New York and San Francisco. Stacking sneering punk riffage against an elastic melody, the band embrace their pop-punk heritage and find room to expand the genre while still maintaining the slick facade that comes with the territory — though slick is relative, the music still feels jarring and unpredictable. There’s something to be said for understanding the mechanics of the genre within which you work, and Wild Decade have it down to an art.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the video for “The Statue Talks To Me,” taken from Wild Decade’s debut album, Conductor.
Formed in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn in 2011 but now calling Nashville home, blues rockers Clear Plastic Masks are as transparent as their name might suggest. Their music is a warped amalgamation of psych-infused blues, southern rock, and a hazy subsection of garage rock that pushes all these genres further in scope and sound than any artist working within those musical sets in recent memory. And while that description might make them sound anything but transparent, their songs never feel cluttered or overstuffed; they approach the music from a point of simplicity — though it rarely stays that way. Incorporating chiming guitars, wild yelps and howls from singer Andrew Katz, and a rhythm section that will shake your speakers, Clear Plastic Masks will have your attention within a few seconds, and you’ll be hard pressed to get the songs out of your head.
On their upcoming debut EP (due out November 26th), the band share a few songs which will ultimately be found on their forthcoming debut LP, which is scheduled to be released sometime in early 2014. It’s a way for them to give fans a bit of an album teaser before the album is completely finished. But even before the EP’s release, Clear Plastic Masks took some time to film a video for single, “Baby, Come On.” Documenting the events of one wild late night, the video blends these connected images of travelling, dancing, and spending time at the beach with the band’s modern and distinctly unique spin on the blues while covering everything in a gritty, emotional realism. But far from simply appropriating music that’s existed for a hundred years, they shift their influences and inspirations inward, twisting them until they’re only shadows of their former selves — all turned toward Clear Plastic Masks’ inimitable rock aesthetic.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the video for “Baby, Come On,” taken from Clear Plastic Masks’ upcoming self-titled debut EP.
Former Verbena bassist Duquette Johnston creates music that hails from the bucolic backroads and low-country of the south. Bringing together aspects of roots rock, singer-songwriter aesthetics, and an appreciation for the casual nature of the landscape, Johnston’s rustic musings touch on subjects ranging from love and loss to the fear and desperation of determined people. His rough-spun tales feel lived-in and warm – though there is an acidic bite that occasionally creeps into his music. On his past records, he has covered a lot of ground, from acoustic ruminations to thicker, more psych-influenced sounds, but he’s never strayed from the earnest and earned emotions that fill his songs. He veered closer toward a more muscular sound on his latest record, Rabbit Runs A Destiny (out now via Communicating Vessels).
For the video to single, “Dancing Song,” Duquette made a trip to his East Lake, Alabama neighborhood and had some local children, his pregnant wife, and artist Scotty Lee – not to mention a fairly large rabbit stowaway and a late 60’s Chevy – all make appearances. Juxtaposing the denser instrumentation against Johnston’s whiskey-etched voice, the song posits the singer in the role of storyteller, casting out his wide net of guitars, percussion, and pastoral flourishes against the reality of the world. Over the course of the video, he receives a fairly extensive hair cut (an interesting note: Duquette is a barber himself who cuts many of his friends’ hair), drinks some lemonade, and watches as some children play in their own cloistered world.
As a bonus for those people in the vicinity, Duquette will play a free show in Nashville at The Basement on the 25th of November. He’ll be playing with a band and full string section for this one show. The show starts at 7 PM, and space will probably disappear quickly.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the video for “Dancing Song” taken from Duquette Johnston’s latest album, Rabbit Runs A Destiny.
There’s something instantly familiar about Lucy Schwartz. You’ve heard her voice on the soundtracks to a few recent movies, such asThe Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Shrek Forever After, and The Women – not to mention TV shows like Arrested Development(for which her dad David Schwartz composed the soundtrack), House of Lies, and Grey’s Anatomy. But it’s more than simple mainstream saturation. Her gossamer pop aesthetic lends itself to the recollection of vague memories of comfortable evenings with friends, and her airy yet firm voice expresses heartache and independence in equal measure without succumbing to rote sentimentality. On her latest album,Timekeeper (out now via Fortunate Fool Records), Schwartz blends the pop exuberance of The Weepies with the heart-on-sleeve attitude of The Belle Brigade to form a series of songs that are immediately accessible but which reveal themselves to be far more richly detailed on repeated listens.
Recently, Schwartz and her backing band – including a brass section – took to No Vacancy (a Victorian house built in 1902 which was remodeled into a music venue) to record a video for her recent single, “Boomerang.” Taking place during a masquerade ball, the video focuses on the simplicity and emotional relevancy of the song, while still allowing it to expand as each rhythm is introduced. The song reaches a pop churn when the brass section dips in with calculated bellows and moans and creates a cushion for Schwartz’s voice. The effortless way in which she intertwines herself within the music is itself a marvel, as the music breathes in and out giving her access to the heart of the song during these rhythmic exhalations. The venue and event provides the perfect off-kilter atmosphere within which the song can flourish.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the live performance video of Lucy Schwartz’s “Boomerang.”
Boston area rockers Mod Gun create music that would have felt right at home among the slew of indie rock upstarts that came together in the early 90′s — bands which called Thrill Jockey and Merge Records their home. Their penchant for sharp melodic twists, hook-y harmonies, and sometimes jagged guitarwork keeps them from ever feeling like just another band with guitars, adrift in a sea of like-minded peers. The band thrives on a restless creativity, and this sense of constant movement is evident throughout their music. Close friends who’ve known each other for years, Mod Gun are able to take this casual familiarity and use it to fashion memorable songs that breathe with the history between each member. On their latest album, No Beaches (out now), they pen cathartic indie rock that will stimulate your head as well as your inner air-guitarist.
The band recently took some time to film a video for their song “Clover,” taken from No Beaches. Consisting of footage the band took while travelling the Massachusetts countryside, the clip finds each member finding their respective instrument just lying around for them in the woods. There are also multiple shots from the perspective of each band member as they get some personal time to film their surroundings — whether it’s driving on the road or simply walking through a bare expanse of trees and shrubs. The track’s churning guitar riffs and thudding percussion find an oddly inviting home among all these images of nature. It’s as if the natural world around them were offering the band this music as a gift.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the video for “Clover” taken from Mod Gun’s latest album, No Beaches.
Charleston indie rockers Elim Bolt aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. At least, you might get that idea from the title of their recently released EP, Dingy, Slimy, Scummy! (out now on Hearts & Plugs) — and in fact, you would be right. On their 2012 debut LP, Nude South, the band veered more toward a muscular pop sound, with traces of a heart-on-sleeve songwriter attitude creeping into the mix from time to time. But on their follow-up, they’ve gone a darker route, to a place where murky rhythms and distortion cover everything in a viscous slick of alternative-tinged inspiration. Turning their influences into concave shadows of their former selves, Elim Bolt create music that holds to certain aesthetic rules before fracturing into bits and pieces of a handful of genres and reforming into some completely new and unique.
On their latest single, the sludgy rocker “Dingy,” the band holds true to the track’s name and bathes the song in layers of distortion-soaked guitars and gritty, sweat-caked garage rock swagger. It’s easy to tell that the song — and the band — were brought up on a steady diet of The Sonics and The Standells. But “Dingy” isn’t merely the sum total of their influences and formative musical upbringing; it feels spontaneous and reveals a darker side to the band’s established thick pop sound. A thudding percussive blast courtesy of drummer Jessica Oliver wraps itself tightly around Matthews off-kilter vocals and rampaging guitar licks, stopping only occasionally to let the song take a few quick breaths before digging in its heels and taking off into some warped garage rock landscape.
The band has also been busy shooting the accompanying video for “Dingy,” an oddly surreal tale of two people on the run from a Roman soldier, a policeman, and a British cop — among others. Needless to say, with dog cages and a psychedelic place called Dreamworld entering into the story, things turn weird quickly. Giving off more than a slightly unhinged punk rock vibe, the video pairs the song’s unspooling waves of guitar and drums in a continually shifting Nuggets-style rock aesthetic. Ending on a brightly manic note (and in sharp contrast to what we’ve seen before), the video leaves us to question which images are from Dreamworld and which are from reality. But when the visuals are so joyously chaotic as they are here, I would say that the question is far less important than the time and effort it takes us to understand that there is a question which needs answering.