Posts Tagged ‘Dead Oceans Records’

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Bleached dropped the title track from their new EP ‘Can You Deal?’ (out on Dead Oceans Records) at the start of the month. Now to close out February, the LA garage-punk threesome share the second of the EP’s four tracks. The chugging riffs of the sunny ‘Flipside’ comes in typical Bleached three-minute form


“Flipside” off of ‘Can You Deal?’ by Bleached, out on Dead Oceans Records


Marlon Williams Album Cover1

The 24-year-old New Zealander already having fronted Christchurch outfit The Unfaithful Ways’ debut LP and co-helmed weird-country triptych Sad But True Vols I – III (with Delaney Davidson), Williams‘ solo debut was overdue. The former chorister delivered on every promise, summoning the vocal performance of the year with an antique penny thrown into a haunted mineshaft: see “When I Was a Young Girl”, Williams‘ desolate take on American folk standard “One Morning In May”. From Western TV-theme charge “Hello Miss Lonesome” to “Dark Child” – a flaying indie-rock elegy for a youth destroyed and birthright forfeited – to haunted house phantasy “Strange Things” (‘she left me alone in a seven-bedroom home built upon the bones of fallen soldiers’), Williams shrouds so much timeless country-folk brilliance in the same creeping, lingering sense of disquiet.


The question being asked is Can you really deal with women making music? Bleached follows up 2016′s acclaimed Welcome To The Worms. For whatever reason, I didn’t connect with that release when it came out. So when they announced this EP, it was met with very little fanfare on my part. Well, it is connecting now. The EP is outstanding and I’ve been making amends with “Welcome To The Worms”.

The LA based punk band rocks and to that point, the title track of EP deals with that. They were tired of being pigeon-holed or labeled due to them being fronted by females. As someone who spent a good chunk of the day watching the ladies rock at the She Shreds party at SXSW, I could’nt care less who’s fronting the band; as long as it’s good. And this is excellent.


“Can You Deal?” off of ‘Can You Deal?’ by Bleached, out March 3rd, 2017 on Dead Oceans Records

Marlon Williams - Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore

Marlon Williams recently released his new single “Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore” from the upcoming album Make Way For Love set to be released early this year. This single is a duet with fellow New Zealand singer/songwriter Aldous Harding and it feels a lot like we have dipped our ears into their conversation. The two voices blend seamlessly as the title becomes a mantra between them in the chorus. This guitar-driven ballad is timeless and melancholy as it muses over themes of defeat and surrender.

Marlon Williams“Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore” (with Aldous Harding) (Official Video) Album Make Way For Love available February 16th, 2018 on Dead Oceans

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Shame thrives on confrontation. Whether it be the seething intensity crackling throughout debut LP Songs of Praise or the adrenaline-pumping chaos that unfolds at Shame’s shows, it’s all fuelled by feeling.

Comprised of vocalist Charlie Steen, guitarists Sean Coyle-Smith and Eddie Green, bassist John Finerty, and drummer Charlie Forbes, the London-based five-piece began as school boys. From the outset, Shame built the band up from a foundation of DIY ethos while citing The Fall and Wire among its biggest musical influences. Utilizing both the grit and sincerity of that musical background, Shame carved out a niche in the South London music scene and then barreled fearlessly into the angular, thrashing post-punk that would go on to make up Songs of Praise, their Dead Oceans debut. From Gold Hole, a tongue-in-cheek takedown of rock narcissism, to lead single Concrete detailing the overwhelming moment of realizing a relationship is doomed, to the frustrated Tasteless taking aim at the monotony of people droning through their day-to- day.

The notion, however, that a scrappy post-punk band may have to deal with old-school rock stardom isn’t as far-fetched as it seems. They’re as ferocious as their acknowledged inspirations the Fall; even when the guitars aren’t turned up to a jet roar, Steen’s furious sneer gives them urgency (“My voice ain’t the best you’ve heard / And you can choose to hate my words / But do I give a fuck?” he asks on One Rizla). Best of all, though, they have huge, anthemic tunes to go with the anger.

I think the idea of the leather jacket-wearing, womanising, drug-fuelled rock star should be burned,” says Charlie Steen, the 20-year-old singer of Shame, who are 2018’s angriest, shoutiest young British guitar band.

“Destroyed for ever,” says the 21-year-old drummer, Charlie Forbes. “But at the same time,” adds Sheen, “with a lot of people I’ve grown up loving, like Bowie or Iggy Pop, there’s an attraction to someone who lives a lifestyle you’ll never be able to live, and you couldn’t live, because it’s so dysfunctional and damaging to you as a person. You can almost live your life through them.”

Steen thinks for a moment, then outlines the simple reason why Shame won’t become rock stars. “That lifestyle could only exist because of money. Bands can’t go out now and get a kilo of coke or drive to Las Vegas in a Ferrari. Now it’s get a gram of speed and sit in a Travelodge. That’s the reality of it.”.

Shame formed when the five members were in their mid-teens and bumped along anonymously for a while, part of a nascent south London scene of bands drawn together through mutual friends that also included HMLTD, Goat Girl and Dead Pretties. Over the past year, all four bands transcended their free-party origins, getting signed, getting acclaimed and forming the nucleus of something that’s been missing in British music for some time: an exciting, youthful guitar scene whose participants are not grimly fixated on securing their slice of the post-Britpop lads-with-lagers crowd.

The scene, they say, was more the result of necessity than anything else: when few of their friends liked guitar bands, those who did would group together. “It was weird to meet people the same age as you who liked the same music,” Steen says. “Lots of people we knew at school were into popping pills and going to techno nights. But then we started meeting these people who were engaged with something we didn’t think existed.”

Shame formed around the Queen’s Head pub in Brixton, the former headquarters of the Fat White Family. Forbes’s dad was a friend of the landlord, who let the young band rehearse in an upstairs room (“Every day,” Forbes says. “Just hop on the bus to the after school club”). There they met assorted luminaries and recidivists of the south London music scene, but managed to avoid the worst excesses of the Fat Whites and their friends, largely through being too young to realise they were hanging around with committed hard drug users (“We were oblivious,” Forbes says).

They stumbled over lucky break after lucky break. Not just getting a free rehearsal space for 15 months, until the Queen’s Head was converted into a gastropub, but meeting people who then gave them studio space, and getting free advice from musicians who had been chewed up and spat out by major labels. What they learned was the importance of keeping as much control as possible over their decisions, which led them to sign to indie imprint Dead Oceans for their debut album, Songs of Praise. They also think the very grime of the Queen’s Head shaped them into being Shame: “I don’t think if we had started in a squeaky clean studio it would have been the same,” Forbes says.

‘We started meeting these people who were engaged with something we didn’t think existed’ ... Shame.

They are less interested in offering comfort than demanding resolve: “We like to confront those who have committed acts of injustice, by writing snippy songs about them,” Forbes says. Just before last year’s general election they released one such song about the prime minister, Visa Vulture. “With each day the vacuous Mrs May steers our country closer and closer into the darkness and confusion that is Brexit, no doubt securing the best deal for herself and her cronies in the Conservative party,” they wrote on YouTube. “We would like to take this opportunity to humiliate and debase her frankly evil political record even further with this, the world’s worst love song.”

But given they’re still so young – all five members are 20 or 21 – they sometimes haven’t worked out where their principles are taking them. So there’s a mild disagreement between Forbes and Steen over whether they would let their music be used in a TV advert by some particularly awful company.

“No chance,” Forbes says. “No chance.” Then Steen recalls the Fat Whites turning down £100,000 from easyJet. “They wanted to use Whitest Boy on the Beach. Lias [Saoudi, the Fat Whites’ singer] said the biggest mistake of his life was not taking the hundred grand. But until we have to make that decision …”

Forbes interrupts, surprised that Steen is deciding band policy on his own. “Oh no, there’s no way.”

The pair keep taking extreme positions, then realising they have to pull back from them, that their principles are racing away from practicality. When asked how they will respond when their crowd starts to include the beered-up geezers who tend to follow popular and boisterous guitar bands, Forbes says: “If I ever looked down from the stage and saw that, I would probably quit.”

Steen interrupts: “We wanna get rid and dissolve …” Forbes interrupts back: “Dissolve is too nice a word. Incinerate.”

And then Steen realises that suggesting pre-emptive incineration of their fans is, perhaps, a bit much. “We’re not going to discriminate against any person who comes to our show unless they do something unjust. But we don’t want to project any image of laddish behaviour. I’ve spoken to girls who feel that if they go into the pit they are going to get knocked about by older guys. And when that happens, you have to make a point to the crowd. We don’t want to stop anyone having fun, but we don’t want anyone to be hurt or harassed in any way.”

Their instinct for confrontation might make that a tightrope act. In one French TV appearance Steen, dressed in a T-shirt reading “Je suis Calais”, strutted across the presenters’ table and licked an audience member’s face – pick the wrong person for that, and he might well find himself called out on social media for the very things Forbes says the band want to avoid.

It’s oddly charming listening to a band working out what they think as they go along. For all the apparent certainties of Songs of Praise, for all their reputation for provocation – and the thrilling, tumbling rush of their music – they are very well aware of the limitations of being a rock band and of how damaging to mind and body it could be.

Last month, as Shame finished their year with a jaunt around Germany as a support slot, Steen had to call a stop to things. He was getting panic attacks; he wasn’t digesting his food; he was vomiting 15 times a day. “In that month we toured America, Canada, I did eight press days in Europe and London, played a show in Paris and then went on tour in Germany. Sitting in a van in the pitch black, and you’re in Hanover surrounded by snow and nothing else, and there’s only indistinguishable meat available … it can get you down.”

Over the next 12 months, Shame will take Songs of Praise around the world, to more and more people who will force them to confront their self-image as the band who are against things, whatever things happen to be on their minds. A band this exciting aren’t going to be allowed to sit still for long – in the weeks before they go to Australia at the end of January they are writing for their second album, because there will be no chance once the touring begins. They had better get used to the idea of more cans, more pitch black and even more indistinguishable meat, and not just in Hanover.

So might they become rock stars after all? Forbes suggests the very notion is “quite incredibly dated”, and Steen chips in. “Offensive as well, in a lot of ways. It will be a white male, skinny, perfect hair, who sleeps with women daily.”

That’s your principled position – but wouldn’t you really like to be rock stars, given the chance? “I’d just like a house with a pool table,” Steen says.

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Songs of Praise is released on Dead Oceans on 12th January.

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Alex Lahey is a 24 year old singer songwriter from Melbourne , Australia who has just signed to Dead Oceans Records. who have just re-released her EP and it is an excellent listen. Lahey tackles your traditional 20-something issues including relationships and life choices. Like her fellow Aussie, Courtney Barnett, Lahey has some wonderful lyrics; often at her own expense. For years, we’ve heard that rock ‘n’ roll is dying. Fun fact: It’s not true. Rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well in people like Melbourne, Australia for newcomer Alex Lahey, whose debut full-length I Love You Like a Brother is a bracing blast of big hooks, bigger guitars and biggest fun. Lahey has a tremendous talent for spotting the meaningful moments of day-to-day life, especially relationships, and then cleverly turning them into irresistible anthems. In a year that sometimes felt like drowning in bad news, I Love You Like a Brother is a rock ‘n’ roll lifeline.

She’s going to have some dates in the UK  including a stop Bodega. 20th March 2018, She’s firmly planted on my must-see list.

“Singing Saw”, was the solo album from Los Angeles singer-songwriter (and former Woods bassist) Kevin Morby, was one of the great “growers” of 2016. Dusky and unassuming, it revealed its considerable charms slowly but surely. Morby’s follow up, City Music, mines a similar aesthetic, though its songs in general seem to endear themselves more quickly. Where Singing Saw was inspired in part by Morby’s sleepy neighborhood in the hills northeast of L.A., City Music is about the metropolis: city life, city noise, city people, a city’s pace, and so on.

Morby has said Singing Saw was Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, while City Music is Lou Reed and Patti Smith, and the comparison is clear in Morby’s speak-sing deadpan and bulging crescendos from brooding guitar-folk to driving rock. (The barreling “1234” makes a beeline for the Ramones.) City Music doesn’t hustle and bustle. But it won’t let you miss it, either so cool.

Kevin Morby’s title track off his excellent record, “City Music” nearly hits the 7-minute mark and challenges what fans may have come to expect from him. The song builds like a slowly accelerating subway train, as does this deeply impressionistic video.

Kevin Morby “City Music,” from his album, ‘City Music’, out 6/16 on Dead Oceans Records

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Michelle Zauner, sole creator of the indie pop project Japanese Breakfast, made 2016’s Psychopomp amid the death of her mother from cancer, a catastrophic event that can easily send anyone down an unfamiliar path. For Zauner, it meant an ongoing search for solace in loss. Soft Sounds From Another Planet continues that journey. It’s a somber, starry lullaby that results in periods of fitful sleep marked by struggles with fading love and death’s vague mystery. But there’s something comforting about the record too, with its interlocking muted chords, muffled drums, and sudden shocks of electric guitar that add sharp slices of lightning. Soft Sounds is full of pretty interludes of ambient noise mixed with shoegaze and electropop touches.

The Body Is A Blade from the new album, “Soft Sounds From Another Planet” out now Dead Oceans Records.

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Shame is a five-piece post-punk band from England that are set to release their debut via the fine folks at Dead Oceans. Songs of Praise will see the light of day on January 12th. This tune rocks and I’m looking forward to catching a set while they’re at SXSW.

The track itself is the first song the band wrote together. “I think that’s reflected in the simplicity of it,” Steen states. A song about embracing insecurity as a strength, he continues, “It’s honest and raw, whilst attempting a stab at number one in the pop charts across the Eastern hemisphere.”

The London five piece have swiftly earned a reputation as one of the most visceral and exhilarating live bands in the UK, their combustible shows being honed through a heavy touring schedule in the UK – including an incredible sold out show at the Scala and a personal invite by Billy Bragg to play the Left Field stage at Glastonbury this year , and recently announced 2018 dates as well.

“One Rizla” from ’Songs Of Praise’ out January 12th, 2018 on Dead Oceans Records.

Alex Lahey was going to draw comparisons to Courtney Barnett. She’s a young singer-songwriter from Melbourne who, initially and somewhat incorrectly, comes across like a witty slacker-rocker similar to Barnett. Lahey’s recent debut I Love You Like A Brother boldly underscored the fact that she’s onto something very different. Songs like “Lotto In Reverse” and “I Haven’t Been Taking Care Of Myself” burst into huge, cathartic choruses more akin to ‘90s and ‘00s alt-rock than anything in today’s indie sphere. Lahey’s got a way of capturing the particular anxieties and frustrations of the listless years of post-college life. And while her songs convey all that, those giant hooks tell a different story: the triumphant and defiant part where you kick the door down to life’s next phase.


Alex Lahey – “Lotto In Reverse” from ‘I Love You Like A Brother’ out October 6th, 2017 on Dead Oceans.