Brandon Williams, the man behind the curtain that is Whitby, Ontario band Chastity, has been hitting it hard in the last couple years. Chastity covers all bases with their sound. “Die From My Mind,” the b-side of 2017’s Peroxide 7”, is a melodic anthem that grows to a booming wash of guitars, yet the maniacal guitar stylings on “Chains,” the title track from their 2017 EP, are reminiscent of the heyday of Seattle grunge. Somehow, in this torrent of creativity, Williams has still found the time to run barn shows in rural Ashburn, ON.
Chastity is now gearing up to release its debut full-length release, Death Lust—and AdHoc was fortunate enough to get the chance to premiere their video for “Heaven Hell Anywhere Else,” a melodic anthem about tempting fate and living to tell about it. Over calmly distorted guitar chords, we follow a dangerous trio. A cowboyed up version of Williams slinks through the countryside with two western-styled women. The chorus hits with a classically inspired yet fuzzed-up melody. One of the crew puts a bag over her head as the others glide their fingers over glass and lighter flames. Flowers are lain on an empty street before the bodies of cops are dragged into a church and set aflame. After these acts, the trio heads to a fair to get their minds away from what they have just done as the chorus repeats, eventually falling into the sea of distortion.
"'Heaven Hell Anywhere Else' is the most death-dreaming song on the record,” Williams told AdHoc over email. “I’ve been reading about how chemical our pleasure and happiness is. The feeling of pleasure just being dopamine, happiness serotonin. ‘Who laced my days with pain?’ I’m talking about imbalance of these things and feeling caught on the other side as though a God, someone or something, may be culpable. But, maybe it’s just these chemicals that hold that massive power over us: ‘Serotonin don’t let me go.’
Deal Casino is a band from Ashbury Park featuring John Rodney on bass, Chris Donofrio on drums, and two guitar players named Joe— Joe P. and Joe C. — who also sing and play keys, respectively. Their new single, “Dirty T-Shirt,” is an indie pop ode to falling out of love, marked by weaving guitars and sparse percussion. The video for the track, which we’re debuting here, pairs its downtempo simplicity with footage of floating jellyfish.
First, the band found a video of jellyfish recorded by [director] Tony Yebra, which they decided to watch while they listened to “Dirty T-Shirt.” Later, Yebra couldn’t find the footage, so the band decided to drive to the Baltimore Aquarium and re-shoot it.
Sourcing footage for the video was surprisingly easy for the band. “On the day of the shoot, I had to break into Tony's house and wake him up before we finally got on the road,” says frontman Joe P. “We started bugging out as we carried a tripod, camera bags, and gear past security, but there weren't any issues. With the jellyfish footage finished, we set up a black backdrop in DC HQ [back in Asbury Park] and started filming the B-roll band shots, which were so relaxed —probably the most relaxed shoot we've done.”
Brooklyn-based Shybaby made their debut last year with the hilariously titled PBR Tallbetch. The four-song EP married lyrics about skipping school and botched Tinder dates with the band’s carefree, pop-punk sound. Today, we're excited to debut Shybaby's pop-punk inspired cover of Mandy Moore’s 1999 pop hit, “Candy.” We also talked with singer and guitarist Grace Eire about the music scene in Brooklyn, the group's upcoming debut album, and finding inspiration in Maggie Nelson and Third Eye Blind. You can catch them live at Baby’s All Right on May 9.
AdHoc: Your lyrics take a lot of inspiration from your experiences as a young person in your early twenties. Is it difficult to write from a personal lens?
Grace Eire: Well, I’m leaning more towards 30 than 20, but I appreciate the mix-up. It’s never been difficult for me to write from a personal lens, because what can I possibly know better than my own self? I’ve also always been pretty introspective/introverted, so I spend a lot of time tossing over events and interactions with people. In fact, in school, my thesis was a 70-page first-person body narrative. What’s interesting to me about the switch to songwriting is that I’m more used to going on and on with long, painstakingly over-thought sentences. These songs, on the other hand, come to me quickly, and I tend to go with my first instinct rather than editing them incessantly. I like to think that keeps them honest and fun.
Amor Amezcua and Estrella Sanchez grew up across the border from San Diego, in a small beach community in Tijuana. When they met in high school, they immediately bonded over a shared fondness for British and American indie rock music, although they didn’t have easy access to it.
When Amezcua began work on a solo project, she asked Sanchez to contribute keyboards to a track. Shortly after, the two decided to form Mint Field, creating an echoing shoegaze-inspired sound with reverb-heavy guitar and airy vocals. In the roughly three years since, they’ve released Mint Field’s 2015 debut EP, Primeras Salidas, and released their first album, Pasar De Las Luces, via Innovative Leisure on February 23. Before the start of their US and UK tour, we talked with the band about their influences, growing sonically, and the departure from their self-taught, DIY background into their first professional recordings and a lengthy US tour.
AdHoc: How did you all meet?
Amor Amezcua: We met about three years ago, when we were in high school. We lived in a really small town by the beach, where pretty much everybody knows each other. We realized that we had very similar music tastes, and we started talking a lot after that. I was working on a project, and I asked Estrella, “Maybe you should do keyboards in this song.” It didn’t really work out, but she wanted to make a band, with more instruments and stuff. I had a drum set in my house and she was playing guitar. Ever since then, we’ve [played music together]. Now, almost every day, we rehearse and write songs.
What kind of music did you initially bond over?
Amor: At that time, we listened to garage rock, indie, and alternative music. And where we live, there’s not [a lot of] people that listen to that type of music. It was special to us. It’s hard to think of specific bands, but we bonded over music.
Growing up, Anna McClellan says she believed the only path to happiness was through external validation and a highly idealized version of romantic love. After a particularly difficult break up, McClellan drove from her hometown of Omaha to Los Angeles, hoping to gain some perspective. From Los Angeles, she drove to the Southeast, and then decided to move to New York City, where she lives now. After spending hours alone on the road, McClellan realized that in order to truly find contentedness, she needed to discover self-acceptance.
McClellan’s recently released second record, Yes and No, is a product of that journey. The album's booming vocals, laid-back guitar riffs, and winding piano melodies reflect the artist's growth and autonomy. On "Flailing Orbits," McClellan triumpantly sings, "For the first time in a while, I'm not dying to see your smile/ I don't mind if our stars twinkling never intermingle again." Speaking with AdHoc over the phone, she describes the record as a “circle,” a representation of the closure she discovered while recording. Although her journey to New York is over and the record is out, McClellan’s not stopping anytime soon. To McClellan, a circle is endless. “It also never stops; it keeps going,” she says.
AdHoc: How do New York and Omaha compare to one another?
Anna McClellan: I moved once [before], back in 2015. That was the first time I moved to New York. And that time, it was a lot harder [to move]. I think the hardest part [about New York] for me is the physical way that it affected my body to be in the two different places. New York is really exhausting in that way—just trying to get around everywhere. In Omaha, you drive and it takes five minutes to get anywhere that you need to go. But [in New York], there is just so much time spent commuting. I found that really hard to adjust to. It added a lot of tension in my body.
Chuck Johnson is a Bay Area-based guitarist who has built up an impressive body of solo work over the last decade, moving from one quality label to the next: Three Lobed, Scissor Tail, Trouble In Mind. Refining and re-defining his approach to the guitar with each subsequent release culminated in last year’s Basalms. Showcasing Johnson’s mastery of the pedal steel, the record is a sustained work of soothing deep listening.
Will Taylor and Charlie Martin met through mutual friends in the Austin music scene in 2014. They clicked automatically, sharing a fondness for the lo-fi sonics of home recordings and a common background in percussion. Soon after, they began recording no-frills, dreamy bedroom-pop on their iPhones, and released their first EP and cassette, ep, in December 2014.
Though they both grew up in Dallas, the band cites Austin—with its slow pace, expansive living spaces, and supportive community—as an inspiration. The hushed, fuzzy sounds on Cranberry, their second album, emit a feeling of intimate familiarity, the feeling of being at home.
Cranberry is out February 9 via Double Double Whammy. Ahead of their sold out album release show at Baby’s All Right tonight February 16, we talked with the band about recording on iPhones, taking up new instruments, and wanting to become a “shredder.”
AdHoc: How did Hovvdy begin?
Will Taylor: We met through mutual friends playing music in Austin. We hadn’t met until midway through 2014, and when we did, we decided that we’d meet up and hang out, and pretty quickly we shared songs that we had been working on at that time. We aligned stylistically and recorded some songs together. From there, continuing it felt like the right thing to do. It’s fun still.
San Francisco's The Family Crest is not your run-of-the-mill indie rock band. With seven core musicians, and several hundred "Extended Family" members who have contributed to their music, the group likes to take the unconventional route in their music-making. Take, for example, their new video for “Never Gonna Stop,” a track from their forthcoming The War: Act I. Stitching together over ten comedic sketches, which range from a parody of The Joy of Painting to a reenactment of Godzilla, it encapsulates the ridiculousness of daytime television.
Liam McCormck, founder, as well as vocals and lead guitar, of The Family Crest, told via email AdHoc that making the video was a "very DIY process," with the band collectively creating "about 25 different individual stations." "It took a lot of production creativity, from figuring out convertible rentals to digging through our closets for costumes," he wrote. "We had a lot of fun with it. It put many of us out of our comfort zones, which is always a good thing in the end." McCormick says that his overall goal for the video was to convey feeling "of someone flipping through channels on TV, seemingly endlessly, with all of us playing out various tableaux."
"It all started in on a 1AM phone call, as things usually do, where Liam told me that Laura had an amazing idea of putting John in a leotard and having him teach a workout class, '80s style," the video's director, Keith Lancaster, told AdHoc. "John is basically the designated cartoon character of the bunch. We thought it would be even better to make something as if you’re flipping through channels on the TV, and he is the main character in everything that pops up. But then we got the rest of the band involved, and it became something way more collaborative and fun. I’m still kind of surprised that we pulled it off in such a short amount of time and it [came] out nearly identical to how it was in my head. It’s really fun to see the personalities of everybody shine through."
Philly natives (and Eagles fans) Dark Blue are gearing up for their next seven-inch release, out February 23rd on 12XU. The A-side, “Fight to Love," feels like a dark cloud after a drought, a much-needed cleansing. Over a steady beat and melodic fuzz, Singer and guitarist John Sharkey narrates a tricky love/hate relationship with a gentrifying Philadelphia. Toward the end, the underlying wash of guitars gives way to a beautiful acoustic rendition of the tune, picking back up and reiterating the song's central message: “You shouldn’t have come here.”
“Philadelphia is a great city but it’s being overrun by developers with tax abatements and snobs from the outer suburbs," Sharkey told AdHoc via email. "This song is a direct response to all the muppets who move from what might as well be Iowa and complain when we have a parade for the city’s most beloved sports team because their kids (I mean dogs) won’t be able to get to get to yoga. GO BIRDS!” This reflection on their hometown's current state is an apropos look at the way the things we love change as they grow and morph. Even as our homes begin to change and our old haunts disappear, we still have a love for where we came from.