Uniform released a powerful and harrowing video for "The Killing Of America," the NYC duo's second single off Wake In Fright, out yesterday on Sacred Bones. Its timing could not be more poignant—the video, which gives a hauntingly straight-forward look at the realities of gun violence, arrives on the day of President Trump's inauguration and casts yet another eerie shadow on the nation.
The video's concept was influenced by Isao Hashimoto's piece on nuclear weapons titled "1945 - 1998"— a simple map of the United States with a relentless ticker that counts off the never ending series of mass shootings the country has experienced. "Our video intends to present basic figures surrounding a complicated subject," says Uniform in a press release. "We do not wish to moralize and we offer no answers. Instead, we ask the viewer to use this data as an aid towards formulating their own conclusions."
Set to release their eleventh studio album FORGET on February 25 on Polyvinyl, art-pop masters Xiu Xiu debuted the video for their latest single "Jenny GoGo." The animated video is equally adsurd and foreboding as crude animations dance across a television static background for an eerie viewing that nudges you just out of your comfort zone. Lyrically dark yet cheeky verses like, “Too dead to be this dumb/ Too dead to be this young” steadily grow from whispers over drone-like synths until they explode into pulsing shrieks for a visceral throwback to coldwave.
After practically touring non-stop for two years, New York duo Diet Cig finally announced their highly-anticipated debut album, Swear I'm Good At This, due April 7 on Frenchkiss Records. Following up 2015's Over Easy EP, Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman return with more earnest and unapologetic punk when we need it most. The first single "Tummy Ache" is unstoppable, utilizing Luciano's soft yet commanding vocals for a track that you can't help but sing along to. "Trying to find my voice," she reveals. "Surrounded by all boys." She doesn't need to yell—it's her vulnerability that speaks volumes.
The band will take their high-energy act across North America this spring, playing a handful of pre-release dates including at set at this year's Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco on February 22 and shows during SXSW before kicking off their tour on April 5. Diet Cig will head to NYC early in their cross-country trek, hitting up Baby's All Right for two back-to-back shows on April 7.
NYC-based industrial noise duo Uniform is following up their 2015 debut LP Perfect World later this month with the release of Wake In Fright via Sacred Bones. Lyricist and vocalist Michael Berdan and multi-instrumentalist Ben Greenberg give a taste of what's to come with "The Killing of America," the latest menancing and blazing single from their sophomore album.
Uniform will embark on a west coast tour this February but not before kicking off the month with their record release show at Brooklyn Bazaar on February 9 with Black Marble. The two will then fly to Seattle for a performance at Barboza on February 16 and make their way down the coastline and to the southwest for their closing show at Phoenix's Lunchbox on February 25.
Listen to "The Killing of America" below and catch Wake In Fright in full on January 20 on Sacred Bones.
This past fall, Caila Thompson-Hannant, the brains behind Montreal-based Mozart's Sister, teased two tracks off her upcoming LP, Field of Love. Both “Eternally Girl” and “Angel” feature her beguiling vocals as well as a gorgeous labyrinth of synths, making for a achingly stunning pop production. Thompson-Hannant will debut her material a day early as she kicks off her tour in New York on February 16 for a performance at Silent Barn with Teen Daze. After that she’ll, head back up to Canada for before hitting up Los Angeles on her way to SXSW.
Listen to “Angel” below. Field of Love will be released February 17 via Arbutus Records.
Kevin Abstract is gearing up for 2017 with the announcement of his upcoming Death of a Supermodel Tour in support of the recently released American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story. Running from February 22 through March 25, Kevin will to perform across fifteen North American cities, making his way to New York toward the tail-end of his month-long journey for a March 10 performance at The Studio at Webster Hall.
The tour announcement dropped one week after the rapper threw a free "prom" for his fans, performing for a packed house alongside The Neighbourhood and Jaden Smith. Relive prom night below and find tickets to the Death of a Supermodel Tour here.
Robbie Basho, pioneer of the American Raga and champion of the “Zen-Buddhist-Cowboysong,” is getting his penultimate album, Bouquet, reissued this year. Thanks to Grass-Tops Recording we can finally reexamine the late songs of the ambitious man who promoted the steel-stringed guitar as a concerto instrument. Basho (born Daniel Robinson) was a student of sarod master Ali Akbar Khan and the most elusive figure among the Takoma label trinity of acoustic guitar innovators. The exact details of his life remain shrouded in mist, although efforts have been made lately (see Liam Barker’s recent documentary) to decode the myth behind the man who managed to evoke the sublime vastness of the American landscape through unconventional tunings. His mesmerizing tracks are characterized by a wide assortment of hues and influences, which include everything from koto and classical, to Hindustani and bluegrass. Each song in Bouquet is a finger-picked hymn, an ode to love and its numerous manifestations. The original recordings, released in 1983, were awash with unwelcomed hiss, but the thorns have been clipped, revealing the stunning beauty of Basho’s voice. The reissue also includes four bonus tracks and a studio version of “Omar Khayyam Country."
Free jazz saxophonist Paul Flaherty has kept the homefires of The Hated Music burning in his home state of Connecticut for the past twenty years, collaborating with darn near every improviser of note in the process. He's also kept long counsel with younger players, the most recent of which (on record, anyway) is his New Haven encounter with Tiger Hatchery, Live In New Haven. Recorded in 2013 while the Chicago skronksters were touring the East Coast, it's an ecstatic meeting. On album opener "Morning Light," Flaherty plays a lyrical duet with reedsman Mike Forbes as Andrew Scott Young's bass strings skitter under his bow and Ben Billington massages his snare drum with a contact mic. After feeling out the space, the quartet spars with increasing ferocity, until all at last are slain in the spirit of fire music's Holy Ghost, Albert Ayler, turning "Morning Light" into a midsummer blaze.
The modern wave of NYC hardcore birthed in the mid-aughts by bands like Crazy Spirit, Dawn of Humans, and Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, though still in tact, started to shift a little over a year ago. In the time frame between the 2014 and 2015 iterations of New York’s Alright, the scene essentially drew and quartered itself, symbolically bookending a vital chapter in the contemporary scene on what would end up (supposedly) being the last year of the fest. Some found the light mangled at the altar of classic rock (Cheena), others soldiered on faithfully down the bung horrorshow short a six-string (Mommy), and, in the case of L.O.T.I.O.N., they time-warped just past the apocalypse only to find it chronologically much closer to the present than we could’ve thought.
Started by local illustrator/designer and SURVIVAL member Alexander Heir, L.O.T.I.O.N. has evolved into a full industrial band, some cyborg of human angst and mechanical spasm melding punk guitar playing and blown-out e-drum into full tech-horror. It’s an aesthetic that could be construed as “futuristic” in a kitschy way, but it’s strangely, and rather scarily, relevant to our current era, one where we’re always being looked at and don’t really know what to look forward to. The post-9/11 dread of a budding police nation that Hank Wood espoused as street-level wisdom on their debut record, though serious and felt, almost felt like a game of cops and robbers by comparison. In L.O.T.I.O.N.’s world, the chances are slimmer and the stakes are more dire, as we’ve grown outnumbered and outmatched. One of the final lyrics of “Vid The Pigs,” a track from their debut full-length Digital Control And Man's Obsolescence lays it out most plainly: “Technology / is a weapon / use it / or be abused by it."
Digital Control And Man's Obsolescence is out soon on Toxic State Records. L.O.T.I.O.N. will be having their record release show this Saturday July 18th at The Silent Barn in Brooklyn, alongside Sadist, Aspects of War, Murderer, and Mommy. Physical copies will be available at the show.
Cleveland post-punk group Pleasure Leftists will be releasing a new LP, The Woods of Heaven, in August on Deranged Records. The band (who share members with Homostupids, another band you should keep an eye out and ear for) released a collection of small releases for the likes of Katorga Works and Fan Death Records, but this will be their first proper full-length. Single “You You” plays out gracefully but covered in spikes— its propulsive groove has an immediate jolt, making the chorus-drenched guitar riffs and vocal lilt light up with a sort of delicate urgency. You can listen to it below via Deranged Records’ Soundcloud.