Today, we’re excited to premiere the newest music video from indie rock/dream pop band Sundae Girl: “Faces”.
Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sundae Girl are primed to release their EP Just For Fun tomorrow (premiered Tuesday by Canadian Beats), but today, we’re sharing the video for single “Faces”. Described by frontwoman Laura Kempton as “…about coming to terms with the personal demons that we all fight with in our minds, and a constant striving to be kind to yourself”, the track’s full sound and soaring choruses wrapped up in a nostalgic, retro sheen will likely bring to mind fellow Canadians Alvvays, though its coating more glossy than fuzzy and the blood pumping through its veins more anxious than twee, owing to shimmering keys and a groovy, but tense, rhythm section. The guitar still possesses plenty of crunch, however, and Kempton’s vocals contain just a tinge of a country croon, elements that blend well in working to colorize the strongly written pop tune.
The video, directed by Jeff Miller, is referred to as a “beautiful visual nightmare”, though it might take a bit of context initially to come to that conclusion. On the surface, much of the video consists of Kempton trying out different outfits alone in her mirror, some of which could easily be called ‘fun’ or ‘quirky’. When taken paired with the song, however, there’s an existentialism attached to it, a struggle with which outfit is ‘her’. Later on, the themes become more readily apparent, with the lyric “I tore up every poster” represented quite literally as starkly written strips of paper pop in on bright pink walls with words such as “doubt”, “shame”, “loathing”, and “outcast”, cutting through the lighter surface tone.
You can watch the video for Sundae Girl’s “Faces” below:
Today, we’re honored to share Cardinality, the debut LP from the newly formed duo of RVA artist Ty Sorrell and singer AG Himself.
Spirituality, soul, and connection are at the forefront of Cardinality’s first outing, which will likely stand as little surprise to those familiar with the past work of Ty Sorrell, whether it be last year’s At God’s House or other Tribe Ninety Five-affiliated projects. A strong rapper, Sorrell’s biggest asset is still their signature production, which often sees them tweak a blend of soul, gospel, trap, and trip hop that seeks to merge the earthly and ethereal planes. Partnering with fellow Tribe Ninety Five member AG Himself leads Sorrell to shift even further into the realms of trip hop on Cardinality‘s sound in effort to support and accentuate AG’s classic, sultry vocals on what amounts to an impressive introduction.
Lead single “At the Dinner Table” retains an element of the album’s overall dreaminess, but aside from perhaps the aggressive pitch climbing southern rap of “Back N’ Forth” is the most urgent of the tracks found on Cardinality. Anxious may be the best way to describe it: the clattering beat moves forward at a stutter step, supplementing the song’s primary mantra “All these people love me / I don’t feel it always / How am I alone / When I’ve been with you all day”, speaking to those who feel the most alone when surrounded with the people they ‘should’ be able to form meaningful connections with. The harmonies of Sorrell and Himself are just ever so slightly out of step with each other here, symbolic of the emotional solitude experienced in these disconnected relationships. As the pitch shifts down leading into the fade, it’s as if the duo are drowning in a pool of downers, trying to reaching each out to each other but just grazing fingertips as they sink lower: a beautiful tragedy.
While Sorrell seems to be plotting the course on Cardinality, it’s very much informed by the abilities of AG Himself, with the vast majority of the beats seemingly designed to fit his vocal stylings like a glove while Sorrell reasonably understands they can ride them well enough (a true producer’s mindset).
The aforementioned “Back N’ Forth” is the sole instance in which Sorrell seems to prioritize their ability to ride the beat. The first half of the track allows them to flex their rapping ability in a more direct fashion than much of Cardinality, but while AG Himself does get the second half to himself, there seems to be just a bit of a struggle to truly establish himself within its tense, escalating rhythm. Conversely, the following track “Party of One” may be the most perfect meeting point for both of them to shine alongside “At the Dinner Table”, with a looseness that allows Sorrell to play around with the dynamics of their flow while still being reigned in enough so that Himself can dig his heels in and deliver a stunning vocal. “Eden” closes the album on a note on gatekeeping within the realms of spirituality, rejecting the notion that the path to paradise is dictated by the warped interpretations of the weak, fearful, and intolerant.
If the primary goal was to make Himself’s performances pop, consider Cardinality a rousing success: the relaxed, lush soundscapes of Sorrell allow Himself to milk every word for what its worth in a heavenly combo that persists for the vast majority of the record. There’s an uplifting glow that radiates from Cardinality, through its tones and messages, and it’s one we’re more than happy to bask in.
You can stream Cardinality below:
Favorite tracks: “At the Dinner Table”, “Patterns”, “Party of One”
‘Cardinality’ is out now on digital, lathe cut vinyl, and cassette and is available to purchase here via Grimalkin Records. Digital proceeds go to the artists, cassette proceeds go to the label, and lathe proceeds go to the Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project (RRFP). The Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project (RRFP) seeks to further Reproductive Justice by providing practical and financial support for abortion services in Virginia and surrounding communities. RRFP strives to be a resource to the community by engaging in grassroots advocacy for the full spectrum of reproductive rights. Be sure to follow Cardinality on Twitter and Instagram to keep up-to-date with their work.
Today, we’re thrilled to premiere “The Death Cult”, the new video from Baltimore-based power electronics artist Axebreaker.
Perhaps best known for his work as part of both Locrian and The Holy Circle, Terence Hannum records solo as Axebreaker: an explicitly anti-fascist power electronics project whose message grows more potent and relevant by the day in 2020’s America. His album Vigilance released just a little over four months ago and captured an already tense moment, but as the tensions have risen over these past months, the upcoming Eliminationism finds itself even more chaotic, unsettling, and foreboding.
Eliminationism is a single piece made up of six movements: “The Invisible War”, “Patriot Front”, “Fascist Graves”, “Expiation of Grievances”, “The Death Cult”, and “The Battlefront Is Everywhere”. Initially introduced with the flashing red images of American imperialism backed the aggressive “Patriot Front” (inferred as a critique of individuals who adopt love of country as excuse for reprehensible and callous behavior), Hannum now shares “The Death Cult”, or part five. When contrasted against “Patriot Front”, this movement perhaps possesses less outright fury and is more concerned with expressing the terrifying existence of the aforementioned death cult that has grown louder and larger over the past years. More subdued and ominous, “The Death Cult” is largely characterized by an ever present spacious hum. The composition is a bit more sparse and those extra spaces leave cracks for dread to creep in as the video shows brainwashed legions of neo-Nazis praise and salute the floating head of Trump in an eerie and surreal black-and-white picture. It’s easy and understandable to be disgusted by the words and actions of these puppets, but what “The Death Cult” instead pinpoints is the true horror of mass, blind groupthink that has emerged. These beliefs have always existed, but are now empowered by a popular figurehead: one with enough influence to perpetuate the idea that humanities worst qualities are not only acceptable but encouraged, that death, racism, exploitation, abuse, poverty are all good things. This organization and acceptance, this cult and the knowledge that so many can become so warped so easily may be the true terror.
You can watch the video for “The Death Cult” below:
You can also watch the video for Eliminationism‘s second part, “Patriot Front”:
Axebreaker’s ‘Eliminationism’ releases July 24th on CD and digital via Deathbomb Arc and is available to pre-order now. Be sure to follow Axebreaker on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with his work.
Today, we’re excited to share “Leave Me in the Tide”, the newest music video from Californian power pop artist R.E. Seraphin’s recent EP, A Room Forever.
After releasing his debut solo album Tiny Shapes to critical acclaim this past March, ex-Talkies frontman R.E. Seraphin has quickly followed up that effort with A Room Forever, a set of six more songs that see Seraphin further explore the juxtaposition of punchy power pop form and dream-like atmospheres. Single “Leave Me in the Tide” is a quick blast of late 70’s-early 80’s pop perfection, immediately infectious with a tight, bass-led rhythm before the guitar cracks open the song at the chorus as bright disorienting leads pierce through the haze in a move reminiscent of Hitchcock’s Soft Boys. While watching the Louis Crisitello-directed Perpetual Doom production and its frequent use of coastal imagery, waves, and grain film, we couldn’t help but draw comparison to Underwater Moonlight and the odd yet familiar world it crafts with its deceptively complex tapestry of tone. “Leave Me in the Tide” isn’t nearly as abstract or crude in regards to lyricism or vocals however, instead seeing Seraphin use his soft-edged charm to enforce a feeling of sweet and simple nostalgia.
You can watch the video for “Leave Me in the Tide” below:
You can stream A Room Forever below:
R.E. Seraphin’s ‘A Room Forever’ is out now digitally via Paisley Shirt Records and is set for cassette release next month. All proceeds go to People’s Breakfast Oakland, who are posting bail for Oakland protestors and providing food and aid to Bay Area homeless. Be sure to follow Seraphin on Instagram to keep up with his work.
Today, we’re thrilled to share the latest single and music video from Canadian experimental R&B songwriter and producer Quinton Barnes, “How I Feel”.
Despite the year’s circumstances, 2020, at least artistically, has been quite the year for Grimalkin collective member Quinton Barnes. Between the critically acclaimed AARUPA (which we premiered earlier this year and was included as a Bandcamp ‘Album of the Day’ shortly after release) and a full remix version of that same album which saw it re-imagined in equally potent form, the Ontario artist has managed to keep busy in meaningful ways and shows no signs of slowing down, as indicated by his latest single, “How I Feel”.
“How I Feel” comes from Barnes’ upcoming album As a Motherfucker, due later this year, and stands as another immaculately produced and forward-thinking take on R&B that similarly pays homage to and updates the past. We’ve compared Barnes to Prince before and it continues to apply when listening to “How I Feel”‘s sexually-charged lyrics and its throbbing syncopated rhythms, initially pulsing underneath an otherwise airy soundscape before eventually growing busier, more enthralled, a little over a minute in as layered vocal tracks frenzy over each other amidst the organized chaos of a glitched tapestry, conveying the perfect mess that is the feelings between two people. The video, recorded on a cellphone, largely consists of a passionate interpretive dance, effectively marrying the DIY ethos of Barnes with his flair for the elegant.
You can listen to and watch the video for “How I Feel” below:
Quinton Barnes’ “How I Feel” is out now on digital through Grimalkin Records here. Be sure to follow Barnes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with his work.
Today, we’re thrilled to share the music video for “Blank Tape on the Radio”, the Banders single from COUNTERZINE favorites The Lice.
Long Beach “shitgazers” The Lice quickly followed up their April 1st album Hoarder House UFO (check our premiere of single “Serial Killer”) with another new track in “Blank Tape on the Radio”, a feature song on our very own Banders compilation. “Blank Tape on the Radio” is characteristically moody and minimalist with its dark bassline and cold percussive rhythms, but these rhythms are more immediate than ever. “Blank Tape” is about as ‘pop’ as The Lice get, which is far from a knock on the track: as compelling as their more odd material is, it’s nice to hear them flex the purity of their songwriting. The song seems to allude to a failing relationship of one sort or another, with lyrics such as “The chemistry’s all gone / Same old song / Bang your head against the wall / Knock it down” referring to the struggle to push back against communication issues, the following hook “At least I hear your voice / Blank tape on the radio” insinuating that the band may hear perfectly fine: the other party simply isn’t saying anything.
The video, like the one for “Serial Killer”, is made up of low-quality black-and-white footage. Rather than skating, however, it consists of slightly unsettling footage of a few men developing photos which reveal themselves to be of what we imagine as ancient man.
You can watch the video for “Blank Tape on the Radio” below:
You can also check out the band’s recent LP Hoarder House UFO:
You can stream and purchase The Lice’s “Blank Tape on the Radio” and the rest of ‘Banders’ here, stream and purchase ‘Hoarder House UFO’ here, and be sure to keep up with The Lice by following them on Instagram and Bandcamp.
Today, we’re thrilled to premiere a new remix album courtesy of COUNTERZINE regular Thor Maillet aka Petridisch, a re-imagining of Barbara Morgenstern’s 2018 album Unschuld und Verwüstung: Innocence and Desolation (The Petridisch Rework).
One of three Fish Prints releases queued for March 7th’s MiniDisc Day along with an expanded reissue of German electropop duo Quarks’ 1997 debut Zuhause entitled Zuhause Plus (detailed by our friends at Yeah I Know It Sucks) and Kansas noise rock project Twin Towers’ 2019 EP Tennis Academy on a Hill, Innocence and Desolation (The Petridisch Rework) is an expansion of the idea begun on the remix bonus tracks attached to the original album, which saw Petridisch take considerable liberties with Morgenstern’s piano-led pop on “Angel’s Whisper” and “Live Fast, Die Young!” and morph them into hazy psychedelic reflections that place the work in entirely new context. Maillet’s hand now extends to the other nine tracks on Unschuld und Verwüstung, while remixes courtesy of Spartan Jet-Plex, Petridisch’s brother Cryostastium (also Dystopiate, whose recent demo tape we reviewed), The Kendal Mintcake, and キラヨシ return alongside a new version of “Angel’s Whisper” from Thies Mynther and a remix of closer “Poose” from TAXXESS. The release precedes an upcoming April 2nd show in Berlin featuring both Morgenstern and Petridisch. Petridisch is currently fundraising for a new laptop, to ensure the show goes smoothly, which you can donate to here.
You can stream Innocence and Desolation (The Petridisch Rework) in its entirety below:
You can also watch the visual album for Innocence and Desolation (The Petridisch Rework):
‘Innocence and Desolation (The Petridisch Rework)’ releases March 7 on minidisc and digitial via Fish Prints, alongside Quarks’ ‘Zuhause Plus’ and Twin Towers ‘Tennis Academy on a Hill’. Minidisc copies of each are limited to 20 each, with three of each bundled with a custom soy candle unique to each release. You can check the full list of MiniDisc Day releases here. You can follow Barbara Morgenstern on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as follow Petridisch on all of their social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Today, we’re excited to premiere the new music video from English yacht pop/soft music singer-songwriter Medium Soft, “I’m Fine, I Lied”.
Living in the slums, Medium Soft’s music is all about escapism, drifting away to a more comfortable, peaceful, almost luxurious place using the modest means of a toy nylon string guitar, some light percussion, a tape machine, and his imagination. “I’m Fine, I Lied”‘s relaxed disposition and budget bedroom jangle aesthetic might lead some to draw comparison between Medium Soft and Makeout Videotape/early Mac DeMarco, but the similarities are surface level: whereas DeMarco might use a piece of cheap equipment to wring an odd tone out of it, Medium Soft does so out of necessity and thus his messaging rings more true. “I’m Fine, I Lied” is a worn, weary tune desperate to not be so, conjuring up bright and sunny tropical chords as Medium Soft sings “My skin’s white / As a sheet / Haven’t seen / Sunlight in weeks”. The production is thin and shaky, but it’s far from a negative here, capturing perfectly the image of a man looking to, if just for a moment, daydream his way out of squalor.
The music video was created in Grand Theft Auto V, where Medium Soft used modding to play as Jesus (“the only character which looks like how [he] look[s] in real life”) and live out his ideal day: hanging out at the beach and on a yacht, playing guitar and bongos, doing yoga, and enjoying the scenery. He then drives into the city for a gig, strikes out with the ladies, gets high, and lies on the floor, grounding it with a looming sense of reality. As with the song itself, it’s a perfect representation of Medium Soft’s situation, as well as the situation of many shut-ins who might turn to video games to escape their less-than-ideal circumstances, forget their troubles and and their loneliness, and live a vacation out of their reach.
You can watch the video for Medium Soft’s “I’m Fine, I Lied” below:
You can also listen to Medium Soft’s preceding singles:
“I’m Fine, I Lied” is out now and available to purchase here. Be sure to follow Medium Soft on Twitter and Bandcamp to keep up-to-date with his music.
Gabriel Bernini is an LA-based singer-songwriter/power pop musician and Under the Counter alumni who’s received coverage from Ghettoblaster, If It’s Too Loud, The Music Mermaid, and B-Sides and Badlands. We asked Gabe about his upcoming album ‘Sweeties’ on Dadstache Records, his favorite artists, his musical history, his background in comedy, and more. We’re also fortunate to be able to share the latest music video and single from ‘Sweeties’: “Science Rat”:
COUNTERZINE: How ya doin’ today, Gabe?
Gabriel Bernini: Doing great! Just made a great bowl of rice and beans. Getting very excited and hopeful about Bernie Sanders’ campaign!
CZ: To those we’ve failed to properly promote you to in the past, tell the readers a little bit about Gabriel Bernini.
GB: I’m a songwriter from Northampton, Massachusetts currently living in LA. I started my solo project under my own name two years ago. I make all of my music on my own. I consider myself a very happy person and I think the reason is because I make this music. It’s a great pleasure of my life and I love to talk about it with people.
CZ: Our now bleeding out label branch actually released your albums Gabe’s Album and Record for Bailey on cassette last year, but your new album Sweeties will be out on Dadstache Records next month. How’s working with JT been?
GB: Working with JT has been fantastic! I would say it’s been very similar to Under the Counter in that it’s been stress free and rewarding!
CZ: In our minds, Gabe’s Album was Cute Gabe and Record for Bailey was Sultry Gabe. What Gabe can listeners expect to hear on Sweeties?
GB: I would maybe categorize Sweetiesas the most sultry of all three records. If I had to categorize each one from my perspective I’d say Gabe’s Album was angry Gabe, Record for Bailey was somber Gabe, and Sweeties is moving on Gabe, excited for the future Gabe.
CZ: Sweeties releases on Valentine’s Day. Was this so you could give your cassette to a lucky lover in lieu of chocolate or an oversized stuffed bear?
GB: Sweeties comes out on Valentine’s for all the lucky lovers out there. Not one in particular but the general population of lovers and sweeties. I wish them all that energetic honeymoon phase feeling that inspired most of the songs on the record.
CZ: Normally we ask artists about who their influences are, but in this Northampton Open Media interview, you mention that you have no influences, saying “let me do my own thing, Lou Reed, he’s gonna keep on rockin’”. Could you elaborate on what you meant, and explain to us how freeing it is to be a truly pure, untarnished artist?
GB: I’m truly inspired by so many musicians. I’m attracted most to musicians who seem absolutely born to do what they’re doing. That’s the kind of music that makes you cry. You listen and you just know the artist was right where they were supposed to be, being themselves, being badass! Sometimes I’ll go months without hearing music like this and then one day find something and it’ll blow my mind all over again. Music is very powerful in that way. The latest music to give me that feeling are some Etta James recordings. What a badass.
CZ: We’re fortunate enough to be able to share your brand new music video for your latest Sweeties single, “Science Rat”. Could you tell us a little about this song?
GB: The song is from the perspective of a friend telling a friend what’s going to happen if they continue to see a person who’s playing with their heart. I love these kinds of advice songs, the greatest of all being The Beatles, “She Loves You”. “Science Rat” was an incredibly fun song to record. It was probably the hardest drum track on the record so I got to lots of takes, which was a great time. It ended up being hard to hear in the mix but the drums in the chorus have a bizarre kick pattern that took me forever to get right. I think there are also eight guitar tracks on there.
CZ: You also have quite a bit of work in comedy as part of Fools Be Known, a big part of which is this public access show, which is something of a contemporary of The Eric Andre Show.
GB: Fools Be Known was always a great way to meet and work with lots of different talented and funny people in my hometown. I was very lucky to have free access to the Northampton Community TV station and their many resources.
CZ: You were formerly a member of LuxDeluxe, as well as a touring keyboardist for Deer Tick. What were those experiences like?
GB: I played keyboards with LuxDeluxe and Deer Tick before starting my solo project. I’ve always enjoyed playing Clavinet in rock bands but I find it difficult to perform live from behind a keyboard. It’s much more fun to sing and play guitar. In general though, it’s always a pleasure to play with other great musicians with similar influences. We all love NRBQ.
CZ: Across all your shows, with your own band or otherwise, who were some of your favorite acts you played with?
GB: NRBQ, Sun Parade, Carinae, Sour Widows, King Radio.
CZ: Any crazy road stories?
GB: A close friend and an amazing songwriter, Elliot Hartmann Russell, made me a personalized record for my drive from MA to LA. It’s called Goodbye Gabe by Sweat Enzo and it’s one of the best records made last year. He left a cassette of it on my car on the morning I left after writing and recording it the day and night before. I listened to it at least twice a day for my whole trip. He’s a very inspiring musician and individual, I hope that someday he gets the artistic recognition he deserves.
CZ: Any plans to tour in the near future?
GB: Working on it as we speak!
CZ: When you are famous, will you still remember us?
GB: I have a great memory but I’m bad with names. So yes and no.
CZ: If there was just one thing you wanted everyone to know about Gabriel Bernini that hasn’t been covered, what would it be?
GB: I hope you get a chance to listen to my music. I’d love it to make its way into a period of your life. I hope it’s fun to drive to, or cook to, or maybe just close your eyes and listen to. If you like it, I’ll be excited to share more with you soon!
Gabriel Bernini’s ‘Sweeties’ releases on Dadstache cassette February 14, Valentine’s Day and is available to pre-order here. Be sure to follow Bernini on Instagram, Bandcamp, YouTube, and Spotify to keep up-to-date with the album and check out his past work.
Tonight, we’re excited to premiere the visual album for Delphinium Event, the latest ambient EP from experimental artist and COUNTERZINE regular Petridisch.
The third in a series of ‘events’, following Blue Eventon Infinite Sync Studios, later reissued on Petridisch’s own label Fish Prints (which Petridisch kindly broke down for us last year), and Malaise Eventon Houdini Mansions, Delphinium Event similarly invokes an experience with the aquatic, though its approach is decidedly different. If Blue Event was a wonder-filled descent towards the bottom of the sea, invigorated by a sense of discovery, and Malaise Event was the terror felt once you reached the bottom and realized just what lurks in the dark depths, Delphinium Event would be described as “a pool of open water”. The textures and shifts are more subtle and more calming, more refreshing. There are still moments of unease, but the source is less external and more internal: rather than the fear of being swallowed by a mutant anglerfish monster, you feel the anxiety of stillness, of being left alone with nothing but your thoughts, growing bleaker and more twisted as it progresses.
Shot and edited by Petridisch on a Canon PowerShot A560, the visual album is a hazy, lo-fi collage of city shots, largely behind a blue filter: skylines, homes, parking lots. Highly indebted to the VHS, home video, vaporwave aesthetic, it however drops the filter for stark blacks in its latter fourth, succumbing to dread.
You can watch the visual album for Delphinium Event below:
You can also watch visual albums for Blue Event and Malaise Event in order to experience the full series:
‘Delphinium Event’ officially releases February 3 through Spectrographic Recordings, digital and MiniDisc. MiniDisc copies will be limited to 8: 5 standard copies, and 3 copies included with a custom votive candle in a deluxe bundle. The front cover artwork is a composite image of Petridisch’s partner and their cat Spots: the back cover artwork is a city skyline, in reference to the visual album.