Posts Tagged ‘Ian Sweet’

bnb-iansweet

With the addition of drummer Tim Cheney and bassist Damien Scalise, Jilian Medford’s solo project Ian has evolved into the full band now called Ian Sweet. But it’s still Medford’s bruised, beating heart that lies at the center of Shapshifter with twitchy tangles of guitar-rock, and it’s her voice we hear cracking into a strained yelp time again and again. Shapeshifter is a brutal listen of an album, an album about anxiety and self-destruction and giving yourself up for someone who only makes you feel more alone. But it’s also a hopeful album about going through the wringer and coming out on the other side with a smile

http://

“Slime Time Live” is the lead off single from IAN SWEET’s Shapeshifter, out now on CD, LP, digital, and cassette from Hardly Art records.

Image of Ultimate Painting - Dusk

Dusk is the third album from London-based duo Ultimate Painting, a ten song set that expands the group’s sound from their self-titled debut and their critically acclaimed sophomore effort Green Lanes, about whose tunes Pitchfork raved their “deceptively simple interplay slowly worms into your synapses…” Dusk heads along the same path, albeit in a slightly different direction, forging to new territory by heading inward. Most groups would kill to have one talented songwriter in their ranks, but Ultimate Painting are lucky enough to be comprised of two singular voices in Jack Cooper and James Hoare.

The pair’s distinctive songwriting styles began to blur a bit with Green Lanes, but on Dusk it ’s hard to tell where Cooper ends & Hoare begins. Their tunes weave in & out of each other like the duo’s respective six-strings, spiralling around each other in a laconic dance. Album opener ‘Bills’ dives head-first into a crystalline pool of jangle, furthering the duo’s rep as purveyors of the Verlaine/Lloyd legacy, but despite the evident influence of American guitar pop both past & present, the group’s recorded an album that feels decidedly English. Cooper’s abstract poeticism balanced perfectly alongside Hoare’s alluring & universal pop leanings. The group’s discovered a simple lushness in Dusk’s arrangements, sometimes only with subtle additions like Hoare’s recently acquired Wurlitzer piano that drives tunes like ‘Lead The Way’ or washes underneath others like ‘Monday Morning, Somewhere Central’. They’ve tapped into the subtle grace that infects the mood and emotions experienced at times like sunrise & dusk. Hopefullness. Resignation. Ennui. A breathing in. A breathing out.

Dusk was once again recorded to tape by guitarist James Hoare in his London flat. The casual setting allowed the sessions & songs to unfold naturally, with the two of them accompanied by recent live drummer Melissa Rigby, who drums on the entirety of Dusk. Her skills lend a rhythmic elasticity to songs like ‘A Portrait of Jason’ and ‘I Can’t Run Anymore’, with jazzy undertones that break from the band’s previously unadorned 4/4 leanings. Dusk feels different and cements the group’s presence in the modern world guitar pop, finding voice in the allure of quietude.

Image of Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch (Bonus Disc Edition)

Norwegian artist Jenny Hval announces the release of her new album, Blood Bitch via Sacred Bones. Co-produced with acumen noise producer Lasse Marhaug, Blood Bitch is in many respects a complete 180° from her last album, Apocalypse, Girl, in subject matter, execution and production. It is Hval’s most focused album, but the lens is filtered through a gaze which the viewer least expects.

In the words of Jenny Hval: “Blood Bitch is an investigation of blood. Blood that is shed naturally. The purest and most powerful, yet most trivial, and most terrifying blood: Menstruation. The white and red toilet roll chain which ties together the virgins, the whores, the mothers, the witches, the dreamers, and the lovers. Blood Bitch is also a fictitious story, fed by characters and images from horror and exploitation films of the ’70s. With that language, rather than smart, modern social commentary, I found I could tell a different story about myself and my own time: a poetic diary of modern transience and transcendence. There is a character in this story that is a vampire Orlando, traveling through time and space. But there is also a story here of a 35-year old artist stuck in a touring loop, and wearing a black wig. She is always up at night, jet lagged, playing late night shows – and by day she is quietly resting over an Arp Odyssey synthesizer while a black van drives her around Europe and America. So this is my most fictional and most personal album. It’s also the first album where I’ve started reconnecting with the goth and metal scene I started out playing in many years ago, by remembering the drony qualities of Norwegian Black Metal. It’s an album of vampires, lunar cycles, sticky choruses, and the smell of warm leaves and winter.”

Jenny Hval has developed her distinct take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. For her last two solo albums, 2013’s Innocence Is Kinky and 2015’s Apocalypse, girl, Hval has received thoughtful and widespread international acclaim for her fascinating voice, singular delivery and markedly non-traditional arrangements which incorporate elements of poetry, prose writing,
performance art, and film. She eloquently brings to light issues of both male and female gaze.

Warehouse -

Atlanta’s Warehouse will release their sophomore album, Super Low, at the end of the month by way of the Brooklyn-based label Bayonet. This is welcome news, since we named Warehouse a Band To Watch last year based on the strength of their unconventionally catchy debut LP Tesseract. We’ve heard a few singles off of super LowReservoir and Simultaneous Contrasts and today we’re premiering the title track. While Warehouse was recording Super Low, Elaine Edenfield was coping with a personal loss, which affected her creative process tremendously. She describes feeling “Super Low” as follows:

Super Low is about near loss, loss, and fear of loss. The slowest song, leaning towards the album’s most heavy subconscious undertones, Super Low is the coming to a point of resolution, understanding, and maturation.

Though this song was born of trauma, it’s not an upsetting first listen. There’s so much life in “Super Low” that it’s hard to fathom this song is about death until you listen carefully to Edenfield’s lyrics. Still, her words are resilient: “I can’t destroy the things/ They keep me alive/ And I can’t destroy the things/ That lead to where you lie.”

Image of Public Access TV - Never Enough - Bonus Disc Edition

Having successfully nabbed the attention of NME early on, with the magazine singing their praises after uploading just one song to SoundCloud and declaring them “New York City’s hottest new band”, the group played their first live show at the legendary East Village bar Niagara, to a packed crowd before heading to England to hone their sound.
Touring under the fake band name “The iLL Herbs’ their run of UK shows was a huge success, culminating in their performance at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton.
The band have more recently played both the Bonnaroo and Governor’s Ball Festivals. In addition, both NME, and Entertainment Weekly declared the group one of the “buzziest” bands at SXSW this past year. The band also played a sold-out NME show at Birthdays in London this February, as well as a number of support slots for The Strokes, Hinds, FIDLAR and Palma Violets.

Image of Ian Sweet - Shapeshifter

IAN SWEET’s indie pop packs the personality that [Hardly Art] is known for, spinning conventional rock band setups into output that is unconventional.”

“They’ve relocated across the USA, gone on three tours, eaten a lot of donuts, climbed rocks and worn crocs.”

“The unmistakable voice of singer Jillian Medford is a force that stands all on its own.”

“I have a way of loving too many things to take on just one shape,” Jilian Medford sings over and over again on the title track of the Brooklyn-based band IAN SWEET’s debut album, Shapeshifter, repeating it like a mantra. This is Medford’s thesis statement, a narrator to carry us through Shapeshifter, which is above all else a meditation on loneliness and displacement. It’s about losing love and your sense of self in the process, about grabbing at the little things in life that bring joy when nothing else is going according to plan. It’s also an ode to the bandmates, and the friends, that see you through. Ian Sweet started in 2014 with a string of text messages. Medford was a few days away from embarking on her first tour when the driver and drummer she recruited cancelled. Medford sent Ian Sweet drummer Tim Cheney  whom she barely knew a series of desperate messages, asking if he knew how to drum and whether or not he would be willing to take two weeks off of life to go on tour. Cheney responded soon after with a simple: “Yes.” Accompanied by Cheney and bassist Damien Scalise’s playful instrumentation, Shapeshifter becomes a celebratory purging, an album that finds humor in self-deprecation and vice.

Ian Sweets debut interrogates capital-e Existence through a candy-coated lens, their mathy precision scaffolding the chaos of Medford’s personal neurosis and turning those anxieties into something hook-laden and relatable. And though the narrative of Shapeshifter clings to an ex-lover, the yearning felt on this album isn’t directed at a particular individual so much as it’s turned inward. “You know the feeling. When you really like someone, you forget to do anything for yourself, you forget all of the things that gave you your shape,” Medford says. “The things that form your absolute.”

Image of Various Artists - Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia Presents PZYK VOL.2: Further Adventures In The PZYK Diaspora

Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia are thrilled to announce the release of PZYK Vol.2 – a deluxe triple vinyl compilation celebrating the latest stars in the neo-psychedelic firmament.

The release comes one year on from the original, scene defining release PZYK Vol.1, which was named Piccadilly Records ‘Compilation Of The Year’. Featuring a mix of exclusive tracks, re-mixes, rarities and album cuts, the compilation spans and charts the global PZYK diaspora, with artists from around the world contributing to an international selection comprising 30 of the current movement’s key noisemakers.

Festival headliners SUPER FURRY ANIMALS are featured, as are The Horrors with a scintillating cut from TOM FURSE. The compilation again celebrates the internationalism of the neo-psych underground, with appearances from KIKAGAKU MOYO (Japan), DUNGEN (Sweden), PURE PHASE ENSEMBLE (Poland), ZOMBIE ZOMBIE (France), THE GANJAS (Chile) and 10,000 RUSSOS (Portugal), to name but a few.

All the artists featured on the release have performed at Liverpool Psych Fest.

Image of Bon Iver - 22, A Million

22, A Million is part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self- understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding. The album’s 10 poly-fi recordings are a collection of sacred moments, love’s torment and salvation, contexts of intense memories, signs that you can pin meaning onto or disregard as coincidence. If Bon Iver, Bon Iver built a habitat rooted in physical spaces, then 22, A Million is the letting go of that attachment to a place.

Image of Pixies - Head Carrier

Sophomore ‘post reunion’ album from the alt-rock four piece, their first new music since 2014’s Indie Cindy.

This 12 track record showcases the band’s unique mixture of surrealism, psychedelia, dissonance + surf rock.

Produced by Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Killing Joke) and recorded at London’s Rak Studios.

Paz Lenchantin, the band’s touring bassist since early 2014 (and previously a member of A Perfect Circle and Zwan amongst others) is now a permanent member of the band and her cool vocals can be heard on the album, most notably on ‘All I Think About Now’ on which she takes the lead.

Image of The Wytches - All Your Happy Life

The Wytches second album All Your Happy Life draws on a lifetime’s worth of new experiences shoehorned into two whirlwind years since their acclaimed debut album ‘Annabel Dream Reader’. There’s no difficult second album syndrome here. This black-hearted set is a combination of heavy comedown psychedelia and bilious and brilliant baroque ‘n’ roll. It’s portentous and scathing. Scabrous and bold. Utterly nihilistic.

Influences and inspiration is drawn from unexpected places – reading Tolstoy’s stories of dysfunctional relationships on the tour bus, digging the warm Hammond-and-acoustic tones of Elliot Smith, loads of underground metal band – but mainly it is informed by observing small town English life with new eyes, having traversed the planet on that first wave of success that followed their 2014 debut. It’s not so much the sound of the calm after the storm, but the howling vortex that follows in its wake.

All Your Happy Life marks a creative leap for The Wytches. Some might say it is the sound of a band finding their place in the world but really it is about world being allowed to enter the sphere of The Wytches – on their terms.

Image of Slaves - Take Control

Following on from the success of Slaves’ top 10 Mercury-nominated debut album ‘Are You Satisfied’, the duo mark their return with first single ‘Spit It Out’, an explosion of punk-rock fury that trails second album, ‘Take Control’. ‘Take Control’ was produced by one of the legends of early hip hop and New York punk, Mike D!!

CooleyImage of Drive-By Truckers - American Band

A statement from Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood: “We are beyond thrilled to announce the release date of our new album ‘American Band’.

“These are crazy times and we have made a record steeped in this moment of history that we’re all trying to live through. We’ve always considered ourselves a political band, even when that aspect seemed to be concealed by some type of narrative device i.e. dealing with issues of race by telling a story set in the time of George Wallace or class struggles by setting ‘Putting People On The Moon’ in the age of Reagan.

“This time out, there are no such diversions as these songs are mostly set front and center in the current political arena with songs dealing with our racial and cultural divisions, gun violence, mass shootings and political assholery. Once again, there is a nearly even split between the songs of  and myself, with both of us bringing in songs that seem to almost imply a conversation between us about our current place in time.

“‘American Band’ is a sort of rock and roll call to arms as well as a musical reset button for our band and the country we live in. Most of all, we look at it as the beginnings of some conversations that we, as a people very much need to begin having if we ever hope to break through the divisions that are threatening to tear us apart.

“Drive-By Truckers are celebrating our twentieth anniversary as a band in an election year where some people are trying to define what it is to be American. Definitions based on some outdated ideology of prejudice and fear. We are loudly proclaiming that those people don’t speak for us. America is and always has been a land of immigrants and ideals. Ideals that we have often fallen short of achieving, but it’s the striving that has given us whatever claims to greatness we have had. That’s what America means to us and “We’re an American Band”.”

Image of The Wands - Faces EP

Scandinavian psych-rock outfit The Wands pinned themselves at the forefront of the European psych stage long ago with their previous efforts but the new Faces EP is certain to keep them sitting there comfortably. Dining on an influence of Nuggets-era rock and roll and Eastern acid-rock this is psychedelic music as it should be, underpinned by a nostalgic yearning but wholly innovative and equally addictive. Their latest cut is a much more dynamic and vivid effort and it’s immediately evident that The Wands are back with a clearer vision than ever with their vibrant and infectious psych. Whilst the groovy fuzzed-out guitars, otherworldly solos and tremulous vocals still echo a tripped out ode to the 60s and 70s psychedelic forefathers, the cosmic swell of synths and organs propel it with a contemporary and ethereal vigour.

Band To Watch: IAN SWEET

“You don’t let someone you love feel afraid,” Jilian Medford sings on the opening track of IAN SWEET’s debut full-length,” Shapeshifter”. Falling in love is terrifying in and of itself; realizing you’ve lost too much of your individuality in the process is even worse. Shapeshifter is built around a singular flaw — the compulsion to make others feel at ease, often to the detriment of your own well-being — and examines it from all angles, pushing and prodding at that trait through expansive rock songs that grow and contract to meet Medford’s many different moods.

“I always give up parts of myself to other people,” Medford explains. “When you love someone, you want them to be comfortable. While I was writing the album, I was in a really unhealthy relationship, and I suppressed it so much that I became someone else. I was taking on these different personalities because I couldn’t focus on what was going on in my life. I wasn’t feeling secure or ready to sit down and process things in a healthy way, so I molded myself into all of these things that were not me.”

http://

IAN SWEET got its start as a solo project, and that deeply analytical singer-songwriter intimacy still drives many of their songs. Medford began the project as simply IAN — a childhood nickname given to her because she was a tomboy — while studying at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston, recording demos straight from her guitar into her laptop, hunched over the computer because the cord connecting the two wasn’t long enough. That constraint is reflected in the construction of her earlier songs tight, nervous, uncomfortable in its own skin.

The rest of the band came together serendipitously. Drummer Tim Cheney was brought into the fold after a last-minute dropout sent Medford scrambling to find someone to play with her on a two-week tour; Damien Scalise approached the band after a show and expressed interest in playing with them, and when they found themselves needing a bassist, he was first in line. They toured vigorously after solidifying as a trio, playing over 100 shows in their first year together. Their first output featuring all three members was their 2014 debut ep most of the tracks were rearranged and reimagined solo songs save for one (“Great Big Dog”), whose wild swells hint at the pivots they’d make on Shapeshifter.

Recording with a full band — especially one that has such an instinctual chemistry — opened up the band’s songs and allowed Medford’s writing to breathe. Cheney and Scalise’s approaches to music sometimes feel diametrically opposed — Scalise is classically trained like Medford; Cheney sounds more naturalistic, having grown up around music through his father, who builds drums for a living — but they ricochet off each other in tightly-controlled microbursts. Along with Medford, they create noisy, clamoring soundscapes that are intricately designed and occasionally imposing, but always know when to step back and let the narrative take hold.

That dynamic is essential because Medford is a gripping and vivid lyricist. Lead single “ Slime Time Live” uses the Nickelodeon game show as a metaphor for how depression can unexpectedly knock you on your ass; “2soft2chew” turns a stereotypical nightmare scenario into a meditation on anxiety and the inability to connect at the right times: “I get so nervous that I grit my teeth/ They get so loose and fall out/ Now I don’t have any/ When you finally want me, my mouth is too bloody.” On “Cactus Couch,” she sees the danger that’s right in front of her and opts for the pain anyway: “I keep having dreams about a cactus couch/ I sit right down.”

All of Medford’s words tie back to Shapeshifter’s central conceit. In fact, the album’s centerpiece and title track is a haunting whirlwind that Medford recorded alone after the rest of the album was already done. While mastering it in California, she realized there was a missing piece, and returned to the project’s solitary beginnings to record “Shapeshifter” in a single take. It’s arranged around a pointed thesis statement — “I have a way of loving too many things to take on just one shape” — that both ties the album together and serves as an unsettling mantra to her Achilles’ heel.

Shapeshifter is a deeply lonely album, crafted around the self-isolating tendency of appeasing someone who doesn’t even realize that they’re being catered to. “You never pay attention to the smaller things/ Like the marks on my body,” Medford sings. “The freckles on my skin don’t exist if no one’s looking.” Medford repeatedly writes off the imbalanced relationship that resulted in Shapeshifter as empty calories, all while still bearing the scars: “I’m always hungry but I never eat anything but candy,” she sings on one track. Another builds to a wailing conclusion: “You said there’s hardly any good food, but I still get real full/ I get too heavy, too full.”

http://

That last one’s called “#23″, and it’s named after Medford’s favorite basketball player, Michael Jordan. It alludes to Space Jam and that film’s opening track; Medford fantasizes about what it would be like to be in her idol’s shoes — “I feel like Jordan in my Jordan’s” — but twists that into a barbed-wire self-examination: “I stand in place and ignore him/ I’ll stand right here for another year.” The song’s about trying to quell the constant buzzing in your head with coping mechanisms — in this case, a “History Channel VHS about the mummies” that “keeps [her] company” — but it manages to sound fun, inviting, and comforting despite the depressing subject matter. That’s another essential component to the IAN SWEET puzzle: their ability to keep a sense of levity and humor in the face of overwhelming personal distress. They take carefully-orchestrated madness and turn it into music that acts as an abatement to self-destruction. Medford morphs her own anxieties — being someone else’s rock without that same reciprocated support — into something powerful and self-reliant.