Author: Reflektor

Psych-prog magicians ORB return with new LP ‘T…

Psych-prog magicians ORB return with new LP ‘The Space Between’

Maxwell Denari

September 17, 2018

Australia has had a relatively seasoned history with producing worldwide Rock and Roll acts and in this current decade that remains very much the same. In the last 10 years, we have been witness to some of the biggest and most prolific bands to come out of Australia… in addition to a plethora of bands that have made a name for themselves by putting out a quality record after quality record. Bands like ‘Pond’, ‘Total Control’, ‘Tame Impala’ and ‘King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’ all come to mind when you think of Australian musical relevance in the 2010’s.

ORB are a band who are contributing to this culture, massively. Signed to Flightless Records, the brainchild of ‘King Gizzard’ drummer Eric Moore, they share a platform that houses some of the best Australian talent of the current moment. With their third and latest record, The Space Between, ORB have set the bar higher than ever before.

This new record in comparison to their previous two, Birth (2016) and Naturality (2017), incorporates more synth-laden production. Tying together heavy, deep bass lines with springing, bouncing synth work. Resulting in acid-washed Funk along with Prog infused Psychedelia and Heavy Metal. The Space Between is the most fundamentally ORB album yet, as the three-piece have truly come into the most original nature of their work thus far. Everything about this seven-track album is well-implemented, well-produced and is a pure showcase of how this group have grown sonically over the last handful of years. This group has done nothing but expand themselves throughout the entirety of their discography and their experimentation and musicianship have resulted in a fantastic new record.

Photo Gallery: Ave Luna at Kings in Raleigh, N…

Photo Gallery: Ave Luna at Kings in Raleigh, NC

Madelyn Matthews

September 16, 2018

Desert Daze: attend for a day or stay the week…

Desert Daze: attend for a day or stay the weekend

Thomas Macias

September 4, 2018

In 2012 Southern California’s Desert Daze festival was born. Over the years this music festival has brought out some of the biggest acts. Last years edition included artists such as Iggy Pop, Tinariwen, Primus, Washed Out, Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile, and so many others. Now 6 years later the festival will be celebrating its 7th edition at Moreno Beach in Lake Perris and it’s about to get hotter than ever. With less than 5 weeks until the festival begins, we get, yet again, another list of amazing artists added to the lineup. This is the biggest the festival has ever been and it is truly amazing to see how much it has grown over the years. The festival has just announced Phase Four of the lineup. The new bands added to the lineup are:

SLOWDIVE, WOODEN SHJIPS, IDLES, COSMONAUTS, L.A. WITCH, DEATH VALLEY GIRLS, VINYL WILLIAMS, STONEFIELD, SUGAR CANDY MOUNTAIN, GOON, THE MAD WALLS

For the past couple of years, Desert Daze has become a prominent festival in California because of the various genres of music it showcases. Desert Daze blessed us with this final lineup announcement and we now have over 70 artists to vibe with for the weekend. Tame Impala, My Bloody Valentine, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Warpaint, Death Grips, and Jarvis Cocker performing Deserter’s Songs are just a few of the bands that will be spending their weekend at the lake.

In addition to three full days of art installations, films, talks, projections, and workshops; Desert Daze 2018 includes camping at the beautiful Lake Perris: a state park with facilities like bathrooms and showers, power and water hookups for RVs, swimming, and boat rides.

This is a festival you do not want to miss. Let’s all join together and take part in Desert Daze 2018: a festival that will go down in the books. Purchase your tickets here. 

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Photo Gallery: Father John Misty at La Trastie…

Photo Gallery: Father John Misty at La Trastienda in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Carla Huysmans

August 30, 2018

Father John Misty aka Josh Tillman or otherwise referred to locally as “el padre del indie rock” made his Argentine debut on Wednesday night at La Trastienda in Buenos Aires. The club-sized venue in San Telmo was packed and a perfect location for his very anticipated first performance in the country. Tillman is currently on tour in support of his 4th studio album ‘God’s Favorite Customer’ that was released in June and has been touring extensively around the world since its release. The curtains opened at around half past nine and Misty greeted the audience with his song ‘Nancy From Now On’, proceeding to play a few new tracks such as ‘Mr. Tillman’, ‘The Palace’, ‘Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All’, and more. The setlist was mixed though giving the new audience tastes from his previous 3 records. 

The Growlers display their powerfully unique a…

The Growlers display their powerfully unique and authentic style on ‘Casual Acquaintances’

Dylan Harkin

For more than a decade now, The Growlers have been the best-kept secret in indie rock. Despite the act’s diligent, unrelenting approach to both touring and recording, which has resulted in their current boasting of a dedicated cult audience, many members of which enthusiastically gather at the group’s D.I.Y. music festival Beach Goth yearly, commercial success has proved elusive for the California-based act. As the not-so-gradual evolution in approach to the production choices and overall aesthetics of The Growlers’ last few albums reveals, this has certainly not been for lack of trying. Their unique style, which the moniker for their festival is borrowed from, is simultaneously anachronistic and forward-thinking, sounding something like The Doors backing a lead vocalist reminiscent of a fuller and much more ravaged voiced Bob Dylan with lyrics written by Johnny Cash if he had developed a penchant for consuming a variety of psychedelics.

After honing this ‘Beach Goth’ genre to blissfully bizarre perfection on their third official LP, 2013’s Hung at Heart, the group purposefully inflated and polished their aesthetic on the relatively streamlined Chinese Fountain (2014). This move toward something tauter and bolder was echoed on their (to-date) only release on The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records, City Club (2016), an album tinged with African, electronic, and 60s pop inflections which instantly proved divisive amongst Growlers fans due to its inherent nature as a departure from the original lo-fi and idiosyncratic sound of the group.

Having served as a co-producer of the album, Casablancas’ enthusiastic approach for injecting strange (and often compelling) throwbacks to 80s pop, more straightforward rock, and obscure harmonic elements is unmistakably apparent on City Club. This fact provides the basis for much of the derision for Casablancas by the album’s detractors; simply put, many view the blending of The Growlers and the larger, more streamlined and familiar sound as disappointing and destructive of the purity and specialness the group’s sound. Casual Acquaintances, consisting of tracks that were created without the involvement of Casablancas, and which ultimately went unused for City Club, offers an entrancing offering of a matured Growlers sound largely untouched by the production and songwriting choices incorporated in both Chinese Fountain and City Club to make the group’s work more likely to succeed with a larger, more mainstream audience. In other words, the release treats fans with the Art in a cleaner form, one unimpacted by the decisions necessitated by Commerce.

Opening with the tantalizingly-short, bouncy overture ‘Neveah,’ Casual Acquaintances is, both musically and lyrically, an addictive and comforting exploration of the struggles inevitably encountered with the passage of time, especially with regard to dedicating one’s life to ‘outsider’ endeavors such as artmaking. Lead singer Brooks Nielsen, a fine melodist and poet, expresses himself eloquently and interestingly lyrically, displaying a wearied, yet hopeful, approach to his toil, often celebrating the struggle itself as a triumph, warmly elucidating the small pleasures which accompany and define its endless nature:

‘Problems come in threes, then we beat ‘em down

It’s nothing when compared to the hangovers we’ve shared

But rent’s on time, we’ve got cigs and cheap red wine

Come on and share my table and pour your heart into mine.’

The inarguably authentic nature of Nielsen’s laconic words is crucial in a cultural landscape where the messages, and the way they are expressed, in the works of not only the major pop stars, but the alternative stars championed by outlets such as Pitchfork, seem far too contrived, too hollow, too inhuman. When was the last time a musician, especially one in their early thirties who has toiled on the road for a decade – most of his youth – sang with relief about something like the fact that the rent is not in arrears (the obvious implication being that he does not even own a house after all of his endeavors), let alone meant it? Nielsen refreshingly reminds us of sacrifice and struggle, singing only of what he knows, not what he knows sells. Vapidity and ego is erased and the genuine and grounded is all that remains. If that is not enough to inspire envy within lyricists everywhere, Nielsen also accomplishes this gracefully and entertainingly, using highly-inventive and colorful imagery to do so (‘I spread the shards of vanity causing me such agony’, ‘I am the dancing bear, this song’s my gypsy’, ‘Darley had her own views/Downloaded through hesitation’).  

The tight grooves and retro riffs, supplied by lead guitarist and co-chief songwriter Matt Taylor, are also highly impressive, often brilliant. As always with The Growlers’ music, one of the chiefs draws is the creativity and playfulness that shape the arrangements. Here, the basslines are as locked-in and melodic as they’ve always been, the drumming as appropriate and restrained, and the guitars as biting and lovely. Each element is so cleverly chosen and delightful that the work proves rewarding and pleasurable throughout more than multiple listens. There is a beauty, a complete ignorance of prevailing trends, especially on this new release, something gorgeous and unbelievably organic. Unusual touches like the synth countermelodies on ‘Drop Your Phone in the Sink’ that echo those played on the theremin on The Beach Boys’ ‘Good Vibrations’ are just the icing on the cake. When things get heavy as on ‘Thing for Trouble,’ or modal and odd with ‘The Pavement and the Boot,’ one’s appreciation for the group only increases as we recognize their skill manifested in musical diversity. Truly, it just becomes apparent that The Growlers are undoubtedly one of the most hardworking (‘I would never even think to blame this all on luck,’ Nielsen sings dryly at one point) and talented groups existing today.

The Growlers, as reflected by Nielsen’s lyrics, lust not after ultimately-worthless social status and commodities, instead demonstrating a valuable and inspiring dedication to their music, returning and clinging to everything that rock and roll, as an art form, promised to deliver in the first place – unabashed freedom and a right to defiantly express one’s beliefs, to relish in being an outsider – before it was corrupted by the larger forces at play, before everyone, including the music makers, lost sight of it. As succinctly conveyed in the lyrics of the dynamic ‘Thing for Trouble,’ which may be the best song on the album, conformity is stagnation and sticking to one’s guns is progression, the real growth: ‘I could never grow up but I don’t feel stuck.’ While the group have, perplexingly, been snobbishly dismissed, or at least largely ignored, by most of the major publications, organisations, and independent reviewers who possess the ability to get the word out about new music and to help to create visibility of acts, one hopes that the reach of the band somehow increases via their perseverance, that the ‘labour of their love,’ as Nielsen phrases it, soon rewards both the group and audiences, even if this requires more tweaking of the formula. In the meantime, purists have ten great new cuts to enjoy.

Casual Acquaintances is highly recommended. It is a fantastic album by a miracle of a band whose vocalist believes that he’s still ‘gonna miss the struggle if it all pans out.’ Let’s hope it does.

Bring Me The Horizon returns with ‘Mantra’

Bring Me The Horizon returns with ‘Mantra’

Bring Me The Horizon is back. There’s simply no other way to state that the UK quintet is back after their 2015 release That’s the Spirit. Unlike the more synthesized sound of their previous record, their new lead single off the upcoming amo, ‘Mantra,’ is a furious and energetic anthem. ‘Mantra’ opens with a thundering percussion and bass combination, before leading into the main introduction of the song. Oli Sykes, BMTH’s frontman, sounds like himself again on this song, with the band’s edge clearly restored on this song. He uses his voice quite masterfully, dodging between the lower end of his register to raising it to make his point. He even does a little bit of screaming in between the first chorus and second verse, even though it is mostly in the background. ‘Mantra’ is a call for people to wake up and get off the mundane, and Bring Me the Horizon makes that clear. It’s a song about being ones instead of following the culture, a fitting message that echoes a band that’s made music that deviates from the norm yet still stuns the masses. The track is a blend of raw energy, time-tested musicianship, and a little bit of electronic elements as well. Bring Me the Horizon’s return, much like other scene heavyweights Underoath, is on their own terms, and they choose what metaphors and symbolism are in their art in order to make it how they want it. It wouldn’t be surprising if ‘Mantra’ is part of a larger conceptual arc, but that’s up to the band to reveal in the time leading up to amo’s release.

Bring Me the Horizon’s ‘amo’ arrives January 11

Photo Gallery: Wolf Parade at Cat’s Cradle in …

Photo Gallery: Wolf Parade at Cat’s Cradle in Raleigh, NC

Madelyn Matthews

August 28, 2018

Photo Gallery: Calpurnia at the Paradise Rock …

Photo Gallery: Calpurnia at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA

Kian Early 

August 18, 2018

Photo Gallery: Ra Ra Riot at the Sinclair in C…

Photo Gallery: Ra Ra Riot at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA

Kian Early 

August 16, 2018

Photo Gallery: Bleachers at Karbach Brewing Co…

Photo Gallery: Bleachers at Karbach Brewing Company in Houston, TX

Sofie Milton

With the Texas weather sending everyone attending Bleachers’ sold-out show at Karbach Brewing Company in Houston last weekend on a rollercoaster of emotions, it was almost looking bleak there for a minute. Then, in seconds, the rain stopped and the show began. You could feel the crowd loosening up as they realized that the Bleachers show was actually happening this time (Bleachers’ initial show in Houston was scheduled for May 2018, but was canceled due to storms in Houston). 

Antonoff & Company were welcomed on stage with a huge relieved roar of excitement. Jack reached out into the crowd and held hands with longtime fans as they began their show in Houston with a song off of their Album, Gone Now, called “Goodmorning.”

“Well Houston, we promised we’d make it up to you, so here we are,” Antonoff said with a grin before he sang. “Thank you for having us, again.”

A sea of hands raised and smiling faces thanked them back and from then on an all-out hot and sweaty dance party ensued, with Jack Antonoff as the leader.

The show was packed with tunes from both of Bleachers’ studio albums, Gone Now and Strange Desire, as well as a couple FUN covers and a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Just, Can’t Get Enough.”

If you haven’t seen Bleachers live, you are seriously missing out. And if you don’t leave a Bleachers show covered in sweat and with a massive grin on your face, you probably aren’t doing Bleachers right, which explains how we all looked like we took a dive into a swimming pool, post-show. New Jersey’s finest killed it in Texas, yet again.

If you’re looking to catch Bleachers on tour, they’ve got a few dates left and you can purchase tickets here. Check out their latest release, Gone Now, here.