Nuxx Vomica plays "coldwave" live set in middle of frozen lake for Strict Tempo

If you live anywhere in this country’s northeastern regions you probably got walloped with a foot or two of snow last week and more since. With more of the white stuff and also frigid temps forecast all week it’s perfect weather for staying in--not that we weren’t doing that already, but hey added incentive--and watching live sets of electronic music performed by a wide array of live acts and DJs on the screen of your own choosing. 

Or if you’re NYC-based electronic musicmaker and painter/multimedia artist Nuxx Vomica, who recently released her debut EP A Different Place, it’s perfect weather for traveling a few hours upstate and performing a live set in the middle of a frozen lake to an audience of confused yet grateful freshwater fish. And lucky for us, said performance was filmed and broadcast (and now archived) as part of last Thursday’s installment of Strict Tempo—a weekly livestream originating out of Seattle featuring a world-spanning Whitman’s Sampler of live DJs and live acts in the veins of EBM/industrial, acid/electro/techno, minimal wave/darkwave, Italo-disco/hi-NRG and other equally cool sounding slashed and hyphenated genres. Hit play below for the evidence and get ready to dance feverishly along St. Vitus style.

After watching this performance one thing I’d like to know is where one finds an extension cord long enough to reach all the way out to the middle of a frozen lake. Then again sometimes it’s best for the stagecraft to remain mysterious and what stagecraft it is—a latex body-suited figure crawls across the snowy landscape to open the set and there’s some neat-o Chroma key & chemtrails effects added to the visual mix—and also what a perfectly suited setting for Ms. Vomica’s raw thrumming beats, burbling coldwave oscillations, and icy ethereal vocal interjections. Plus SHE’S PERFORMING IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKIN’ FROZEN LAKE. At times I kept flashing back to that one scene in Omen II which thank goodness that didn’t happen. More than just being a stunt tho' the setting ramps up the otherworldly urgency of the music even more.

And as if this wasn't enough for one show this installment of Strict Tempo had/has lots going for it, which granted is pretty typical but this one went extra hard with additional sets by Asymptote from Arizona who creates haunted experimental industrial soundscapes, Crimental from Colombia who specializes in driving dystopic electro EBM (his latest full length The Human Plague is indeed pretty sick) and Hands of Providence--a project “rooted in dark psyche of the human mind” especially those of various politicians and televangelists and other undesirables--all kicked off by a DJ set from our host Vox Sinistra.

As reigning queen of dark & danceable and occasionally not so danceable beats, Ms. Sinistra introduces each show with a charmingly low-key, unassuming and always informative description of the acts about to perform while backed by green-screened backdrops of infinitely scrolling bondage chains or dancing skeletons or nightclub footage or surreal film clips with occasional cameos by her tuxedoed cat—the production values on the show are consistently aces with each DJ/EDM artist bringing their own distinct look and vibe and setting. 

And there's more from where that came from so if you enjoyed these sounds and visions you’re in luck because there’s 43 previous episodes of Strict Tempo in existence as of this writing to be explored in part or in full on Vox’s Twitch channel and Youtube channel and Mixcloud and probably other portals I'm unaware of even existing. (Jason Lee)

photo creditAllyson Pinon


Mevius gets "Washed Out"

Released exactly one minute before midnight on December 31, 2020, the opening moments of the opening track “Washed Out” on Meviu§’s latest EP, Washed Out, is the perfect soundtrack for the way I remember feeling at that precise time--sitting at home by myself with “hands tied behind my back / and face down on the floor.” Well, figuratively *ahem*. It’s been a strange couple of months or couple of years. Wait, what day is it? Oh yeah it’s Bandcamp Friday Day™ which means that it’ll not only cost you a mere pittance to buy the Meviu§ EP, but also that the entire pittance will go straight into the hot pockets of Meviu§ which'll help him be able to buy an actual Hot Pocket™ and avoid starvation for another day. As of the time of writing you've got about five-and-a-half hours left so go buy it now!

OK back to those opening moments of “Washed Out” and the slowly-unfurling echoey guitar arpeggio whose notes fold back in on themselves and suck you, the listener, into a swirling sonic vortex that serves as the perfect launching pad for the rest of the song with its somehow both driving and turgid guitar work & rhythm section in the instrumental parts and stripped down verses and catchy melodic choruses. It’s a Cure-worthy opening, and song overall, especially if you’re into Disintegration and Wish era Cure back when the mascara-smudged Camus-quoting Friday-loving gothsters managed to have a couple bonafide pop-chart hits here in the US which is pretty crazy when you think about it now. And on this note it bears pointing out how Meviu§ has a similar grasp of combining catchy tunes with serious “in your feels” feels.

But, hey you, I wonder why Robert Smith & Friends loved Friday so much? I thought these boys were supposed to be sad. Well duh because it's Bandcamp Friday™ in case you already forgot! I mean sure Bandcamp wasn’t even close to existing yet in 1992 but obviously The Cure had a premonition, which is pretty impressive considering how just about every GeoCities-induced psychedelic headtrip of a web site during those years looked as if the entire cast of Saved By The Bell had just projectile vomited on your monitor screen (RIP Dustin Diamond) creating a big mess of neon backdrops and spinning icons and animated-and-sometimes-flaming text. and how in this world could you ever order something so pragmatic as vinyl records, or these new things called em-pee-threes, on these strange primitive machines but I digress.

Anyway I didn’t mean to imply that the entire Meviu§ EP sounds like the Cure because it doesn’t. In fact it’s got a pretty wide stylistic range for just four songs. Track number two “Find You” features Edith Pop on co-vocals and it’s a nice downbeat acoustic ballad that’ll have you weeping in your kombucha with its aching harmonies and doleful sentiments. Up next is “Ghost of Memory (Ghost Stories Remix)” which at times reminds me of Moon Safari era Air but just when you think Kelly Better Keep Watching Those Stars there’s suddenly an Aphex Twin-y breakdown so hey you never know. And then on track number four the EP wraps up with “Maybe Next Year (featuring Searmanas)” but specifically in the form of the “Jeremy Bastard Remix” although I hear that really he’s just misunderstood. This closer features an immersive darkwave groove and some more female-to-male harmonizing from the aforementioned Searmanas and it's truly an apropos song title and musical vibe to go out on. But maybe just maybe if we’re all lucky next year will come before next year. (Jason Lee)


The Planes reveal "The Oracle of Marcy"

The good folk over at Bands Do BK premiered the The Oracle of Marcy EP exactly a week ago and far be it for me to try and steal their thunder not that I could anyway. But hey it’s Bandcamp Friday Day™ and I wanted to give this fine EP by the Planes a little extra shine and encourage you to download it within the next six-and-a-half hours so that Stephen, Matt, and Carlo will have enough money to go and buy two slices of pizza between them and then try to figure out how the hell to split two slices of pizza between three bandmates. (note: most bands have been in this situation before at some point)

So if you wanna get the full skinny on The Planes' latest check out the aforementioned BDBK post with Sam Sumpter interviewing frontman Stephen Perry who breaks down the EP’s four songs one-by-one and tells how the band wrote and recorded the album in a single week flat. One thing I’ll add is that while the band definitely have their own thing and their own sound--witness for instance Perry’s uniquely and endearingly unguarded sotto voce vocal style and his willingness to color outside the lines with it--when it comes to the music itself The Planes are all about the music itself, proudly making good meat ‘n’ potatoes indie rock for the indie rock meat lover. And at Tad’s Steaks prices.

Or as they state it on their very own Bandcamp page™ The Planes “stand up for the things that are, refreshingly, always cool and relevant and fun. Three-minute pop songs. Analog recording equipment. The unmistakable sound, and the visceral pleasures, of banging on a Fender guitar hooked up to a tube amp.” And sure enough none of the songs on Oracle stray far from the three-minute mark but that’s not to say you don’t get some pleasing musical variety between or even within individual tracks like on the opener “The Oracle” which veers between Chronic Town-ish chiming guitar work and reticent vocals and other parts that feature delicious Daydream Nation dissonance with alternate guitar tuning in full effect. 

The Oracle of Marcy (as well as The Planes' past work) is very likely to land solidly for fans of oh let’s say Sebadoh or for those who enjoy the gentler stylings of Dinosaur Jr. and J Mascis but not only. And finally, one other thing for when this becomes a thing again, I’ve seen The Planes perform live a few times now and they really bring it so you'd be smart to check them out too. Stephen’s stage wear often includes a Bruce Springsteen style bandana wrapped around his forehead and while I’ve yet to see the band play ten encores in a row, they do bring a Bruce-level energy level so keep an eye out for Courteney Cox dancing in the crowd next to you. (Jason Lee)


Beau appearing on Baby TV (NOT) tonight but on 2/26

LIVESTREAM RESCHEDULED BUT STILL HAPPENING! Spawned from the bohemian artist environs of Greenwich Village and the gypsys that remain, Heather Goldin and Emma Jenney’s first mutual encounter was a self-described opposites attract moment at their nonhierarchical arts-intensive public grade school in third grade which eventually led to them becoming complimentary songwriting partners and eventually an active musical concern known as Beau. Now, some years later, the latest single by this fully grown up duo called "Dance With Me" continues the dualistic dynamic with its high-gloss-yet-gritty-in-the-city sound.

It’s a dynamic that feels pretty right for two Joni Mitchell lovin' wild childs who ended up playing Paris Fashion Week (Paris the city, not Paris Hilton) when barely into their 20s and then signing to a French-Japanese fashion-label-cum-record-label. And it also feels pretty right that the song vibrates with the urgency and abandon and sense of pure joy you’d expect of two highly creative artists coming off from a five year recording hiatus (but not a songwriting hiatus) to work independently with a team of local collaborators. 

“Dance With Me” started with a piano line written in a dank NYC basement and came to fruition across multiple recording studios while preserving many elements of the original demo. It's a multilayered musical cake and let’s not forget the lyrics that portray dance as both carefree ecstatic communion and urgently needed escape from inner and outer demons, and the music video that opens on an image of the ladies smokin’ up on a treadmill. Now that's a health regimen we can get behind.

And here’s the kicker, you can watch a live show by Beau here in a few weeks on FRIDAY 2/26 in the comfort of your own homes while jogging on your NordicTrack and working your way through a pack of Marlboros or rolling up a big fattie or doing whatever you want we're not here to judge. Jump on over to Baby TV, a subsidiary of Baby’s All Right, to get your tix before the scalpers snap 'em all up and to read more about what Beau has in store for the future. O, sweet anticipation! (Jason Lee)


Palehound just wants to know "How Long"

Ellen Kempner and Palehound require no more than a minute and forty seconds to take the listener on a ride through languorous bliss and lingering despair on Palehound's new song out today called “How Long.” Opening with a salutary cough and a strummed guitar like a train rolling round the bend, the first stanza veers between reveries of a marble sky and “three months of cops and blacktops” and taking cover from a sudden hailstorm. Over its brief duration of plucky major-key banjo and toy keyboard stair-step melodies like “a watersnake slicing the skin of the lake” the song ends on an unsettled and unsettling note bent out of tune: “how long ‘til the sweetness melts / how long ‘til there rings a bell / how long ‘til there rings a bell / how long ‘til there rings a bell / that signals us returned from hell.” 

As guitarist and singer and bandleader of Palehound over the course of three albums and a clutch of singles--including the Elliott Smith cover above on last year's reissue of his 1995 eponymous album--Kempner has proved her mastery of fusing sweet and sour emotional hues to deeply-felt memorable effect--especially well suited to the current state of inertia for sure--whether addressing episodes of physical abuse, body image issues, buying dry pet food, lending support to a gender-transitioning friend, identifying with selfish girls named after drugs, or getting shitty tattoos. However serious or frivolous the subject Kempner infuses her words with a warmth-radiating humanity owing in no small part to the grain of her voice orbiting between near-collapse faltering and rock-steady empathy and resolve.

Plus she shreds on guitar. Witness the instructional lesson below for a song off Palehouse’s first album ably supported by feline companion. (Jason Lee)