Monday, 20 June 2016

Genre Wander: Vallens - Shaun Black - Graveyard Lovers

Vallens - Devour.

Background - Vallens debut album Consent (out June 24 via HDD). The songs on Consent are quite dark and discuss important issues to songwriter Robyn Phillips, such as the title track of the album "Consent." The song is about various issues around consent, consent to have a stranger talk to you, no means no, why women have to do something triply better than a man to just be considered, and the ever underlying sense that women only do things for the attention of men.

Robyn Phillips created Vallens in late 2014 to serve as her performance alter ego, secretly constructing her own world of music alone while playing guitar and gigging in various Toronto projects. The Vallens moniker allowed Robyn to introduce her own sound within the scene under the influence of namesake, David Lynch’s Dorothy Vallens.

Conjuring the likes of Rowland S. Howard, Wire, Angelo Badalamenti and Portishead; Vallens has been living deep in the construction of her first record, Consent (Due June 24th, 2016 on Hand Drawn Dracula). The album was recorded and produced by Josh Korody (Beliefs, Nailbiter) at Candle Recording in Toronto, as well as with Jeff Berner (Psychic TV) at Galumium Foil in Brooklyn, NY.  The themes on Consent evoke the tension and stratosphere of Robyn’s early years and what it means to be female in our society.

In the past year Vallens has expanded to a full band (Colin Morgan - drums, Marta Cikojevic - synth & keyboards and Devon Henderson - bass) who have shaped and influenced Robyn’s further writing. The project debuted live in 2015 and quickly captured the attention of music critics, promoters, and the local music scene. Vallens has since been invited to perform at NXNE, Pop Montreal, M for Montreal, and CMJ, as well they've shared the stage with Frankie Cosmos, Freak Heat Waves, Porches, Mourn, Ringo Deathstarr, U.S Girls, A Place to Bury Strangers, Speedy Ortiz, Dilly Dally and La Luz.

'Devour ' is one of ten tracks on the debut album 'Consent'. It's a varied album with sometimes bleak and distant shoegaze music. The featured song sits somewhere in the middle of overall band sound, full of dreamy and haunting sounds, I guess it's pretty representative. Overall this is a good album that breathes some new ideas into the shoegaze genre, Vallens appear to have quite alot to offer.


Shaun Black - Time.

Background - Hailing from the Yarra Valley in Melbourne, Shaun Black’s influences include Paul Kelly, INXS, Counting Crows and Matchbox 20. His debut album Refraction is a collection of Aussie Acoustic-Rock taking you through a very real, down to earth journey. This eclectic album has tracks ranging from Rock, Roots, Reggae, Country, Pop and Blues-Rock. The first single “Time” is a Blues-Rock ballad with a mesmerising vibe.

“Time” was recorded at Oakland studio in Upwey, a town that sits in the hills surrounding Mt Dandenong, east of Melbourne. It was co-produced by Phil Smith and Shaun Black and features Mike Maguire on lead guitar and Emma Hales with her resonating backing vocals.

“This song is about something we all seem to not have enough of. In today’s world full of smartphones and deadlines I think we all feel at some point in time that we need to get back in touch with ourselves and our own lives,” says Shaun on the creation of the song.

The first single from the album 'Time' is a really well put together bluesy song, with that timeless feel this type of music so often has, when performed well. A great introduction and the promo words above are spot on, I look forward to to hearing more.


Graveyard Lovers - Storm.

Background - Indie garage rock band, Graveyard Lovers, announce the release of their album, Past The Forest of the Fruitless Thoughts, just out, June 17th. The band signed a publishing deal with Roundhill Music and their music can be heard in movies, TV shows and commercials, namely on the Season 6 finale of Shameless on Showtime. Graveyard Lovers recorded their two-part album, Past The Forest of the Fruitless Thoughts, in rural Connecticut at The Radar Studio with Will Benoit (Bad Rabbits, Ellie Goulding, Caspian). Part 1 will be released this June, and part 2 is due out later this year. CraveOnline declares, “It's as if the best parts of the Saddle Creek family spent a Summer with the Pixies and burned their White Stripes records in a distancing ritual that only deepened the connection to some of the most viscerally passionate sounds of our time.”

Graveyard Lovers, founded by core members Zach Reynolds (vocals, guitar) and Tricia Purvis-Reynolds (drums), produce "big, loud primal rock and roll...throwback, non-pretentious music.” (Huffington Post) Hailing from New Orleans, Zach Reynolds moved to New York in 2009 to pursue a solo music career.  After meeting drummer Tricia Purvis, the pair found they had both a musical and romantic chemistry. In 2010, they began to co-write songs together in a home studio. The band released their highly acclaimed, debut album, Dreamers, in 2013 and soon after,  recruited Zach’s brother, Joel (Junius, Prosthetic Records, Driftoff), to play bass. Now, the band welcomes their sophomore, two-part album, Past the Forest of the Fruitless Thoughts, this year. 

'Storm' gives you a clear idea of what's in store on the bands new album. Blistering no nonsense indie and garage rock songs demand your attention, along with some less energised but still very hook laden music. Five songs on part one set standards high, however somehow I think the band will maintain this with ease.


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