Posts Tagged ‘PJ Harvey’

Commemorating the spookiest day of the year with a haunting official video ripe for the occasion, it sees the experimental pop duo team-up with esteemed video directors Philip Reinking & Tom Linton (who directed 2020 twisted fantasy ‘The Hat’).  Speaking about the video the directors say:

"A werewolf serial killer is stalking the streets of London. Inspired by Classic Hammer horrors and Jack the Ripper, ‘Hurt Like No Hurt’ was filmed at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich and comes with an added pinch of camp that will have you howling for more."

Eerie and atmospheric with pulsing electronics that pave the way for more urgent rock flourishes, the emotive new track is a runaway rollercoaster ride that embarks on a tumultuous journey through both genre and feeling. Described by the duo as “departing from a place where Giorgio Morodor meets John Barry, to a destination where The Stooges meet The Supremes”, the track was arranged by Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi).

A clamouring track where visceral and cathartic lyrics lead to a triumphant and transcendental climax, vocalist Jova Radevska explains of the track:

“’Hurt Like No Hurt’ is a song about relationship ghosting, the merry-go-round of breaking up and making up, and the inevitable finality of it all. An ultimate realisation that there comes a point where no matter what, there’s just no going back; when the only choice is the inevitable grief and acceptance of loss in order to emerge as a stronger person. Sometimes no further words need to be spoken, the sound of silence is enough.”

Filled with Yova’s trademark experimental magnetism, ‘Hurt Like No Hurt’ sees quietly oscillating electronica, bursts of cinematic mandolin and the clarion calls of distant trumpets slowly surrender to the raw power of thunderous Motown-style drums, growling bass and an ascending tsunami of massed guitars.

Arriving as the first glimpse of new music from Yova since the release of their debut album Nine Lives earlier this year, the track is taken from their new ‘Hurt Like No Hurt’ digital bundle. The full track-list will land on 18 November, and includes a live session rendition of the duo’s track ‘Rain’ previously remixed by Erasure’s Vince Clarke, alongside an instrumental version of ’Hurt Like No Hurt’.

Watch the video here:

YOVA are Jova Radevska and Mark Vernon. With Vernon a seasoned veteran of the alternative music scene — having managed and recorded with John Cale, and co-produced tracks on PJ Harvey’s debut album ‘Dry’ — a chance encounter with Macedonian vocalist and songwriter Jova would pave the way for their bewitching collaborative project.

Their debut album ‘Nine Lives’ was released earlier this year to praise from the likes of Louder Than War, Electronic Sound and MOJO, with the latter hailing the album as “a beguiling debut from a duo of sonic adventurers” in their 4/5 star review.

With their video for previous single “An Innocent Man” scooping the Best Animation Music Video at the New York Animation Awards, the band also played their debut live performance in London earlier this year. Yova are currently putting the finishing touches to their second album due for release Spring 2023.

Yova

18th December 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

If you’re drawing comparisons to PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi, Tori Amos, and Kate Bush, you’re probably doing something right, even if it may be through lazy journalism. Despite female artists and female-fronted bands having made massive headway in recent years – and seriously, not before time – and frankly, it shouldn’t erven be a talking point or even a subject of reference – the pool of major-league female artists who aren’t pop or r’n’b is quite limited. Consequently, comparisons are often drawn almost out of desperation due to the lack of choice. This is unfair on both sides, and incredibly reductive. But then, comparisons are problematic anyway, and are perhaps indicative of another issue in the music industry: labels, radio stations, media outlets, even fans – most of the time, they’re not really looking for the next big thing, but the new replica of the last big thing.

It’s far easier to market ‘the new PJ Harvey’ than ‘something like nothing you’ve ever heard before.’ Amazon and most streaming sites operate on ‘recommendations’: if you like x, you’ll probably like y’. It’s likely true, but this only leads to a narrowing: where is the encouragement of broadening horizons? Strong female voices are being pigeonholed – and I don’t mean just strong in vocal terms, although Kristina Stazaker is strong on both fronts when it comes to voice, with songs that are imbued with deep emotional resonance delivered with the kind of passion that comes from the very core.

On Follow Me, Stazaker showcases a selection of songs which are stripped back and direct. Primarily centred around acoustic guitar and vocals – often layered up with backing vocals and harmonies – the style is angry folk, but the voice uniquely Stazaker’s. Follow Me is simple but effective: that is to say, it’s imperious, free of fancy production, and is absolutely about the songs. It’s fitting for an album so lyrically concerned with nature, and the lyrical preoccupations are reflected in the honest, earthy instrumentation.

‘Don’t let those bastards beat you down’ Stazaker sings with a strong hint of venom on ‘Everyday’. It’s not an oblique reference to The Handmaid’s Tale, but it should be a feminist / working class anthem in the offing.

The album’s longest song, ‘Goddess’, is a multi-layered emotional dredger that functions on multiple levels. ‘Hail Hail Rain and Sail’ is a lively, even fiery folk tune with just vocals and energetically-strummed acoustic guitar. The format is simple, but the effect is powerful, and Follow Me succeeds because of its confidence: Stazaker demonstrates perfectly that less is more when done right, and with so many strong songs, Follow Me is all the force.

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1st March 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

Lusterlit are a duo comprising Charlie Nieland and Susan Hwang. The pair are part of Bushwick Book Club, in Brooklyn, a rotating group of songwriters and performers put who on regular shows featuring new music, art and snacks inspired by a chosen work of literature.

Concept and eclecticism are evidently very much core to their ethos: they promise ‘a mix of styles ranging from indie to soul to shades of shoegaze, reminiscent of PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, U2 and more,’ and, unusually, draw their lyrical inspiration entirely from the literary world. As someone who often bemoans the dumbing down of rock music, while running around shouting about how literature is the new rock ‘n’ roll because literature is the original rock ‘n’ roll and rock ‘n’ roll is dead, this appeals, at least if one perhaps overlooks the mention of U2.

List of Equipment somehow sounds like something Steve Albini would call an album or an EP, and it follow on from their previous releases, Hopeful Monsters and Everything is Sateen: Five Songs Inspired by Vonegut.

The first track, ‘Ceremony (Inspired by Blood Meridian)’ may not be a New Order cover, but does create a slow-building, claustrophobic atmosphere. But with some mournful guitars sliding beneath Hwang’s vocal, which in turn calls to mind the spirit and sound of Portishead’s Beth Gibbons, its haunting darkness is still infinitely more accessible than Cormac McCarthy’s text. The song builds to a swirling climax of breaking tension, the drums rumbling like thunder in the distance.

In keeping with the eclectic sourcing of material, the title track draws its inspiration from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. ‘We’re all gonna die,’ Hwang rasps against a nagging, insistent stomp. The gentle middle eight drops into a more baking-friendly zone before all hell breaks loose with frenzied pianos and percussive detonations that punches an angry hole in the coffee table fodder of a book listed on Amazon a ‘a statement, not of culinary intent, but of aspiration.’

The inspiration for the murky The Day of the Triffids – a work I first encountered as a child via the 1970s BBC adaptation – requires no explanation here, and with clattering, minimal beats and a woozy, squirming synth, Lusterlit convey the creeping fear of John Wyndham’s classic novel with disturbing adeptness.

The swing into funk-tinged soul for ‘Fight’, the first of a diptych of songs inspired by Johnathan Letham’s The Fortress of Solitude (a book I’ll admit that I haven’t read) marks a significant stylistic shift, and while it’s not my musical bag, it’s slickly executed, and demonstrates the wide-ranging versatility of Lusterlit’s musical skills, with Nieland’s dextrous picking having as natural a flow as Hwang’s soulful vocals. Its counterpart song, ‘Genius of Love’ lays down a late-night groove with a shuffling drum and over the course of its six minutes, channels a dreamy atmosphere, rounding off a set of songs that are intelligent, articulate and appealing, without any offputting airs of intellectual snobbery.

 

Lusterlit - List of Equiptment Cover