Album Stream – The Orwells’ ‘Disgraceland’

The Orwells

The Orwells

Album Stream – The Orwells’ ‘Disgraceland’

Chicago’s newest garage rock rebels The Orwells may only just be leaving their teens behind, but they’re already gearing up to release their second LP – with the brilliantly tongue-in-cheek title of ‘Disgraceland’ – on June 2.

Famed for their raucous live shows invoking the chaotic hedonism of Atlanta’s favourite tearaways Black Lips, and singer Mario Cuomo’s outlandish stage behaviour and outspoken tongue (the band’s recent comments about Arctic Monkeys’ stage patter being predictable landed them in hot water), the band are leading the charge of punk-spirited young bands putting fun at the fore.

A giant step on from the DIY ethos of 2012 debut ‘Remember When’, ‘Disgraceland’ ups the production values to form something that’s still full of carefree youth, but could also sit happily on the radio. You’ll probably have heard filthy first single ‘Dirty Sheets’ – a squalling mass of prowling riffs and 60s garage strut – while other recent cuts ‘The Righteous One’ and ‘Blood Bubbles’ are, in turn, full of brilliantly snotty swagger and surprisingly epic tendencies. Elsewhere on the record, the quintet up the pop factor on ‘Bathroom Tile Blues’, while old favourite ‘Who Needs You’ is still as much of a middle finger to the man as ever.

‘Disgraceland’ is due for release on Canvasback/ Atlantic next Monday, but for now you can stream the whole thing exclusively below. Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Band To Watch: Bleeding Rainbow

Bleeding Rainbow band members

Bleeding Rainbow band members

Eyes down for Philadelphia neo-shoegaze quartet, as approved by Grohl and Novoselic.

Philadelphia-based Bleeding Rainbow started life as his-and-hers duo Reading Rainbow until the partnership of Sarah Everton and Rob Garcia revised their moniker and expanded to a four-piece on their 2013 LP, Yeah Right. (The story that Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein prompted the name change with a single withering remark may or may not be apocryphal…)

So You Know, a taster from their forthcoming album, Interrupt (out on Kanine Records on February 24), employs their expanded instrumental mass to propel a gauzy three minutes of woozily atmospheric guitar rock that fits the Ride-MBV paradigm snugly, but sidesteps the scuzzier connotations of ’80s UK indie by foregrounding Sarah Everton’s coolly beguiling voice: a cleaner, more modern take on the shoegaze allure of Bilinda Butcher or Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell.

Famous fans of the band include both Dave Grohl and Kris Novoselic, apparently. See if you agree with the Nirvana legends, listen to So You Know here:

 

 

 

Band to Watch: Lucius

Rising Brooklyn quintet Lucius follows up its recent and much buzzed about appearance at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival with this twangy, emotive keeper, “Go Home.” Boasting bow ties, big blue eyes and the intertwining vocals of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, the track (and its accompanying video) anchor the band’s debut album Wildewoman, out October 15th.

In advance of their first album, Lucius has had the distinction of playing Bonnaroo, amassing coverage from the likes of NPR and The New York Times, and singing covers of The Kinks, Abba and The Band classics with Jeff Tweedy. The group is currently in the midst of a North American tour that touches down at Bar in New Haven, Connecticut on August 7th and counts a homecoming show at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on August 14th.

There’s no mistaking Lucius for anyone else onstage: Led by singers Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe, the five-piece Brooklyn group wear matching stylized outfits and perform in lock-step unison. There’s more to Lucius than looks, though: Laessig and Wolfe harmonize so tightly it’s tough to tell whose voice is whose. They play keyboards on catchy, distinctive indie-pop tunes while Danny Molad, Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri flesh out the sound with guitars and drums. After releasing a self-titled EP last year, they’ll be back this fall with a full-length release.

New Band: Divus (Switzerland)

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Divus is a new instrumental band that released their debut album “Aureola” this year.  Divus bandmembers are very interested in getting feedback from you readers.  They would like to know  “what is going through your mind when you’re listening to their music?,  what bands have a similar sound?, and your opinion about the quality of their sound?  Please, feel free to leave  comments about what you truly think about this band.  They would love to hear from you.

Tourdates

19. September @ Café Carina, Wien, Austria

23. November @ Kulturwerk118, Sursee, Switzerland

More Dates coming soon.

The Tragic End For Iranian Rockers Seeking Musical Freedom In The U.S.

The Yellow Dogs, from left, Arash and Soroush Farazmand, killed on Monday, and Siavash Karampour and Koory Mirz.

The Yellow Dogs, from left, Arash and Soroush Farazmand, killed on Monday, and Siavash Karampour and Koory Mirz.  Photo: AP

The Yellow Dogs is an Iranian rock band, formed in 2006. Members include Siavash Karampour (vocals) and Koory Mirzeai (bass), as well as brothers Soroush Farazmand (guitar) and Arash Farazmand (drums) until the two were murdered on November 11, 2013.

The Yellow Dogs were from Tehran, Iran. They sang in English and played Western instruments, citing Joy Division, Talking Heads and The Rapture as an influence. Their music was not approved by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and was therefore illegal.  They performed in Bahman Ghobadi’s Cannes Un Certain Regard award-winning film, No One Knows About Persian Cats  and were interviewed by Reza Sayah for CNN before leaving Iran.

On 8-9 December, 2009, the band was interviewed by the U.S. government at the U.S. embassy in Istanbul, Turkey and their comments about the Iranian Green Movement Protesters, Iranian counter-culture, freedom of expression, trends in drug usage and music in the authoritarian state were reported in an unclassified U.S. State Department document later released by Wikileaks titled, “Iran/culture: So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star.”   The U.S. government officer interviewing the band members described them as “astute, well-informed, and resourceful.”

The Yellow Dogs played their first aboveground (legal) concert at the Peyote club, in Istanbul, Turkey January 2010.   Two days later, they flew to New York City.  Their second aboveground concert was at the Cameo Gallery, in Brooklyn, New York.  Since then, they played Santos Party House (Gojira’s first gig in NYC) and the Delancey  in New York. And they played the Wave in Austin, TX as part of the SXSW festival.  They played the 92nd St. Y Tribeca in New York in an afterparty for the U.S. opening of No One Knows About Persian Cats. Also on the bill for this concert were the band, Hypernova, who are also from Tehran. Koory and Looloosh were part of the original line-up of Hypernova. But they did not leave Iran when other Hypernova members departed for the United States.

April 13, 2010 Milan Records released the No One Knows About Persian Cats motion picture soundtrack.  The Yellow Dogs track “New Century” is included in the motion picture soundtrack, and bassist Koory appears on the CD cover and on the movie poster. IFC Films released the movie on demand on April 14, 2010 and in theaters on April 16, 2010.

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Ali Eskandarian, a performer who was not part of the band, was among those killed. Photo: AP

On November 11, 2013, a shooting took place in Brooklyn that involved Yellow Dogs band members.  According to band manager Ali Salehezadeh, guitarist Soroush Farazmand and drummer Arash Farazmand, along with Ali Eskandarian, a musician friend who was not part of the band, were killed by another musician named Raefe Akhbar. Originally, media reports described Akhbar as a former band member who had been thrown out of the band three days before. In later reports, however, it was stated that he was not a member of the Yellow Dogs, but had been kicked out of a different band (Free Keys) the previous year.

The Free Keys, which Mr. Rafie had joined as a bassist, left Iran to join their friends in the Yellow Dogs in 2011, the New York Times reported.

“At 318 Maujer Street, the Yellow Dogs occupied the lower apartment, and a rotating group of Iranian friends and acquaintances, including Mr. Eskandarian, lived in the upstairs apartment. The residents saw themselves as an artists’ collective, holding house parties with of-the-moment music and cheap beer for musician friends and hosting exhibitions of friends’ artwork. Mr. Sadeghpourosko’s artwork covered the walls of the living room, which the Yellow Dogs used as a practice space.”

They were a familiar sight on their quiet street, where small apartment buildings abut warehouses, often skateboarding or biking around with a dog. Neighbors noted their long hair and tight jeans, the young people of mixed ethnicities streaming into the building for parties, and the music that poured out.

Humble and eager to learn, they arrived early to gigs in their van and stayed late, mixing with fans. And though they sometimes spoke Farsi to one another and a few of their songs had politically potent lyrics, on stage they were like any indie band. “When you close your eyes, you just listen to the music, they sound very much like a regular band,” except for Mr. Karampour’s “exotic” vocals, said Jify Shah, the owner of Cameo Gallery, where the band often played.

At first, it seemed that the Free Keys would slip into Brooklyn’s music scene as easily as the Yellow Dogs had; they shared a rehearsal space and a manager, Ali Salehezadeh, who hoped the Free Keys’ story of music under political duress would resonate as the Yellow Dogs’ had. But it soon became clear that the band needed work, a friend of the band said, and that the Free Keys liked to party hard. They lacked the Yellow Dogs’ entrepreneurial spirit and ambition, the friend said.

Those in the know believed the Yellow Dogs were ascendant, ready for a national tour or even a record deal. “Everyone knows it’s only a matter of time and the Yellow Dogs are going to be huge,” said Ishmael Osekre, a Ghanaian musician who had booked the band for several shows. “That is why my heart is so broken — the idea that you left friends and family and love, and then for it to end in the way that it has, is just so unfair.”

eMusic Profile: The Yellow Dogs (YouTube)

Yellow Dogs, Iranian Band, Earned Fans Through Intensity and Promise

By The New York Times

For most aspiring young rock stars, the night two years ago when a music critic walked into a music club in Brooklyn and laid eyes and ears on the intense, dark-haired foursome on the stage might have been their first significant break.

The critic, J. Edward Keyes, said the band he first encountered at Glasslands Gallery that evening, the Yellow Dogs, immediately caught his fancy because “they projected such incredible intensity.” Right away, he said, he knew that they should be the next new band featured by eMusic, the Manhattan company where Mr. Keyes is editor in chief.

But even though the Yellow Dogs — a self-described “post-punk/dance punk” band — had not signed a contract with a record company, they were far from undiscovered. They carried a rare and intriguing label: rock band from Iran. And they had already appeared in an award-winning film and been profiled by CNN and Rolling Stone.

So there was outsize reaction on Monday when word spread that two members of the band were among three Iranian musicians shot to death in a townhouse in East Williamsburg before dawn. The killer was another musician who had come to New York from Iran more recently, the police said.

The early morning rampage shattered the image of the group as easygoing expatriates who supported one another’s dreams of becoming rock stars. It also left the band without one of its founding members, Soroush Farazmand, 27, a guitarist who was known as Looloosh.

Mr. Farazmand and his brother Arash, a 28-year-old drummer, were among four people shot in the house, which was the band’s home base. Two other members of the band, the bassist Koory Mirz and Siavash Karampour, a singer known as Obash, were not there when the shooting started.

The trio of Koory, Looloosh and Obash was “really the core of the band,” Mr. Keyes said. “They were always adding and dropping a fourth member.”

The core, though, had held together since their days dodging the police in Tehran, where merely inciting young people to dance could have landed them in jail. Their travails were portrayed in “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” a 2009 film by the Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi.

After the film won a special jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival and was screened at festivals around the world, the musicians became objects of global fascination.

“The government suddenly got very interested,” Mr. Karampour said in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2011. “They made a TV series about musicians and said all these people are Satanists and we have to execute all of them and they don’t believe in God. So after we saw that stuff and after the film we thought, man, we have to get out of the country.”

The bandmates sought visas in late 2009 to go on tour in the United States. According to notes from a State Department cable that was released by WikiLeaks, they told the consul staff in Istanbul about their encounters with Iranian officials.

They recounted several occasions when the police raided their closed-door concerts in soundproofed basements or isolated warehouses. “One raid led to the detention of one band member under official charges of ‘Satan worship,’ ” the cable said. It took a combination of bribes and parental pleading to get him released after two weeks, it said.

Even after settling in Brooklyn, the band avoided being as political as some Iranian-Americans wanted, said Mr. Karampour.

“We try not to say Iran, Iran, Iran; because the essence of the band is not only that we’re from Iran,” he told Rolling Stone. He added that their songs were “surrealistic, symbolic” stories. “You can relate them to Iran or to America, whatever. We don’t want to be a political band only.”

Neighbors and other people who had encountered the bandmates in New York described them as friendly, fun-loving young men who could often be seen riding skateboards to and from the townhouse.

Rahill Jamalifard, a member of another Iranian band, Habibi, said the shootings shook the community. “It’s devastating because you see these kids — they were initially in this movie that Iranians are really proud of. And it’s like, ‘Oh look, we have an indie rock scene. I recognized them. I heard of them.’ ”

Yellow Dogs –  Awards and nominations. Its first official screening was at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize Ex-aequo in the Un Certain Regard section.

NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS  – CANNES Film Festival

Plot

The film follows two young musicians (Ashkan and Negar) as they form a band and prepare to leave Iran shortly after being released from prison. The pair befriends a man named Nader (Hamed Behdad), an underground music enthusiast and producer who helps them travel around Tehran and its surrounding areas in order to meet other underground musicians possibly interested in forming a band and later leaving the country.

Cast

  • Hamed Behdad
  • Ashkan Kooshanejad
  • Negar Shaghaghi

Bands and musicians

Bands To Check Out At SWN

1. Drenge – Beloved by both politicians and the indie fraternity, over the past year Eoin and Rory Loveless have become renowned for shows consisting of sludgy and supreme rock, along with some of the best stage banter in Eoin’s bursts of scathing dry wit. Pic: Jenn Five

Drenge

Drenge

2.  The Wytches The Hate Hate Hate-signed trio tackle the current psych trend and come up with something doomier, angrier and more terrifying. Let Halloween come early and shriek along with singer Kristian Bell.  Pic: Press

Wytches

Wytches

3.  Gulp Super Furries’ bassist Guto Price joins up with Scottish singer Lindsey Leven to indulge in some Celtic psychedelia that the pair themselves have described as “cosmic-pop”.   Pic: Press

Gulp

Gulp

4. Totem Getting in on the political endorsement game, Moshi Moshi signees Totem have been called “the best band in West London” by their local MP Andy Slaughter. Find out if he’s right as they play their jittery punk.  Pic: Press

Totem

Totem

5. Nadine Shah The north-eastern singer-songwriter has been compared to the likes of PJ Harvey and, on her debut album ‘Love Your Dum And Mad’, backed those claims up with a record of dramatic, haunting indie. Pic: Press

Nadine Shah

Nadine Shah

6.   Wolf Alice With the North London quartet hoping to record their debut album soon, their set should act as the perfect preview for what it could sound like. New tracks ‘Your Love’s Whore’ and ‘You’re A Germ’ are guaranteed highlights.    Pic: Press

Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice

7.  Babe A supergroup of sorts, Babe are fronted by Gerard Black of Francois & The Atlas Mountains and come with additional help from Aidan Moffat, members of Chvrches and more. Pic: Press

Babe

Babe

8.  Cheatahs Recalling early ‘90s grunge and slacker-rock, Wichita-signed Cheatahs have supported the likes of Milk Music and The Cribs in their short time and released one of the finest EPs of last year in ‘Cored’. Get to know them now.  Pic: Press

Cheatahs

Cheatahs

9.  Nai Harvest The Sheffield duo recall ‘90s emo like cult favourite Cap’n Jazz on their debut album ‘Whatever’. Expect intricate guitar hooks and big vocals. Pic: Press

Nai Harvest

Nai Harvest

10.  Pinkunoizu After stumbling across them at this year’s Glastonbury, the Danish punks have had their praises sung by The Horrors’ Tom Cowan. With his band known for their impeccable taste in music, endorsements don’t come much better than that.  Pic: Paul Heartfield/Press

Pinkunoizu

Pinkunoizu

11. Childhood The dream-pop quartet masterminded by Leo Dobsen and Ben Romans-Hopcraft produced one of the year’s best single so far in ‘Solemn Skies’. Hear it in all its swirling brilliance as they head to Cardiff. Pic: Jenn Five/NME

Childhood

Childhood

12.   Clipping Flying over from LA, this rap trio use glitchy, minimalist beats as the bed to their lyrics, forming something that sounds thrillingly experimental. They rarely visit the UK so see them while you can.  Pic: Press

Clipping

Clipping