While Nashville stands as the capital of country music, there are countless artists who prove it’s sacred ground for all genres. The Foxies are one example, with their self-described “goth disco” and “glitter punk” infusion establishing them as a noteworthy player in Nashville’s underground music scene.
Frontwoman Julia Bullock rose to fame with her audition on season two of the U.S. version of The X Factor in 2012. She formed the Nashville-based band The Foxies in 2014 after joining forces with guitarist Jake Ohlbaum, Rob Bodley on drums and former bassist Kyle Talbot. The trio pulls from a dynamic blend of alt-rock, funk-pop and disco to create infectious melodies and tongue-in-cheek lyrics that demonstrate how Nashville’s artistry expands far beyond the horizon of country music. As Bullock boasts a look that draws to mind Paramore’s Hayley Williams, matched with a voice like that of Gwen Stefani, the group has crafted a sound with a lighter, more playful attitude.
The trio is set to release a new six-song EP, Growing Up is Dead, on May 29th. Bullock declares herself as a proud “Anti Socialite” on the EP’s opening track, inviting her friends to the party in her head while “sipping on Capri Sun” to get a hit of ’90s nostalgia. Meanwhile, “Call Me When Your Phone Dies,” described as an “ode to the fuck boys,” sticks it to a disappointing lover before the screaming “Neon Thoughts” dishes out a healthy dose of electronic disco. The projects ends on a groove with “Deep Sea Diver,” Bullock’s mystifying vocals layered over a pop-rock beat.
The Foxies have released a pair of EPs, 2016’s Oblivion and Battery in 2019, along with singles like the thumping, reggae-like “Be Afraid Boy” that appeared in an episode of the CW’s 2018 reboot of Charmed. They’ve also graced a range of stages from LGBTQ-friendly The Lipstick Lounge in East Nashville to Bonnaroo Festival and South by Southwest. The intoxicating air of The Foxies’ dreamy synth pop melodies sound like they were plucked out of L.A. and transported to Music City. Mixing this ethereal sound with a rock edge and a punk attitude, The Foxies breathe new life into Nashville’s underrated pop scene. They support this diverse mix with equally vibrant imagery of neon colors and quirky music videos reminiscent of the ’80s, but with a modern twist.
Comparing rock music to that of a slumbering bear, Bullock declares that The Foxies hope to awaken the beast with their new project – and we have no doubt they’re up to the task.
Follow The Foxies on Facebook for ongoing updates.
“I remember having a conversation with a guy once, trying to explain that my band members are essentially session musicians and I teach them all the parts… and he couldn’t comprehend that I wrote the instrumentation,” the Australian musician says. And while she sometimes wonders how she would fare in a more collaborative band environment, this is what works for her now. “I do like having 100% creative control with this project because I feel like my idea doesn’t get watered down at all. I don’t have to compromise the potency of it.”
Potent is certainly a good way to explain the killer singles Day has been dropping since 2018. While none of them are explicitly part of some greater project, every bit, from the instrumentation to the vocals, is delivered with a deftness that makes them feel more substantial than your standard LP appetizer. This is especially apparent with the songs released after her first single, “Waiting,” a sweet and somewhat melancholy singer-songwriter tune that was borne of a strangely practical revelation of Day’s.
“I never really was able to be in a band because I didn’t really have a lot of people around me that were into music,” she explains. “When I heard “Pool Party” [by Julia Jacklin], I was like, ‘Oh, this is music from a genre that I don’t usually listen to that I really like still.’ And then I was like, ‘Well, if I can’t do alt rock, I can try writing a folky sort of song because all I really need is myself to do it.”
The experiment worked, and some version of Jess Day was born, albeit one that was hiding the harder-edged Jess Day behind her like a kid trying to shove the contraband away before the teacher walks by. Not that there was any grand plan — she wanted to write, so she found the best way for a former country-kid transplant with a limited musical network to do it.
Despite its folk outfitting, Day’s second single “Why is She So Beautiful,” has the earworm power of a pop song with layers of expert production. “Oh, she’s funny like me, but makes your friends laugh harder/I hope you finish her like a dog with a bone,” Day laments during the second verse. Her voice is easily recognizable, with a storytelling-like cadence that gives off the impression that she is simply speaking the words directly to you in some secret treehouse fort, ones and zeroes between her and the listener be damned.
She describes her lyrics as functioning as “an open letter” to their subjects, but more importantly, as a hand extended to anyone else who may be headed for the same pain. “I’m like, ‘I feel like shit’…But I hope that by the time [other people] feel like that, maybe my song will be out as comfort.”
The core truth of ourselves always finds a way to out, and with each new release, Day sheds another piece of that indie-folk label, letting it flutter away into the wind with a fond but necessary farewell. “I went through a really awful breakup with someone who was pretty emotionally abusive,” she says. “After that, I had a lot of anger and resentment and I feel like the music that could express that was rockier music. I couldn’t see my words in an indie folk song. It just didn’t give me the release that I needed.”
And so came “Rabbit Hole,” a searing dress-down of an ex (and my favorite single of 2019). “I’ve got things on my mind to say to you/and they’re not very nice but they’re all very true,” Day sings with a purposefully detached air, like she doesn’t want anyone to know the true depth of her disturbance. “My whole point of writing songs is to articulate, I guess, like, our shadow self – the parts of us that we might not want to look at,” Day explains. “But I know everyone’s feeling [it]. We’re just not talking about it as much because it makes us feel vulnerable.”
It’s this “shadow self” element that is one of the major parts of Day’s appeal. Frequently, we try to distill our distress into something pithy and simple, citing bad exes, toxic friends, or unrequited feelings. But what do you do when your ex gets a new girlfriend who you wish you could hate… but just can’t? What do you do when you simply want to admit defeat, as Day does in “Rabbit Hole” when she sings “misery loves company/you took all the best in me”? And what do you do when you’re watching from the outside in as you drag yourself down by your own ankles?
In “Affection,” released in late 2019, Day stares down at the already smoldering refuse of a failing relationship, but just can’t stop herself from asking for what no one should have to ask for in the first place: “I can’t have you come around once a month/I need some attention/I need some affection,” she sings, letting the last word repeat itself almost too many times, pulling back just before you start to feel as hair-tearingly frustrated as she must have been when she wrote it.
On her most recent single, “Signals,” Day attempts to come to terms with her current reality, summing it up in one single line: “Everybody says that time heals all wounds/but they’re so wrong.” How refreshing, if anything, to dispel the notion that false platitudes and declarations of newfound independence will heal a broken heart or a bad decision. Music is always an exercise in structured voyeurism — why else are people so obsessed with deciphering Taylor Swift’s catalog? — but what has me itching for more of Day’s music is the lack of a overly-sympathetic editorial hand that looks to hide away any “ugly” feelings. Fact of the matter is, there isn’t much fundamentally “ugly” about anything Day admits to wanting in her songs: to hate someone she is jealous of; to desire affection; to stop fighting to stave off the hurt from falls deemed irreparable. These are pretty simple, fallible human wants, albeit ones we have been taught to be ashamed of. That’s why her songs have such staying power.
Interestingly, for Day, it seems like this project is a lot less about the performance aspect than it is about trying to achieve the kind of songwriting prowess that places certain works in the lexicon of collective cultural memory. “Max Martin is definitely my favorite songwriter,” she says. “He did Kelly Clarkson, anything that was kind of pop but had chunky, heavy guitars in it… it’s just amazing. He’s probably the best songwriter in the world.” Day’s awe for Martin is palpable, and makes it clear that her goal is, fundamentally, to be the person behind the curtain, the one who places all the cogs just right, the hooks just so. And if people like Day are the ones gearing up to direct pop and rock into a new decade, I’m looking forward to her next move, whether it be from behind the curtain or in front of it.
Self-deprecation is easy. When at a loss for things to write about, I can merely plumb the depths of my humiliating infatuations – never having to dive all that deep (more of a snorkel than a scuba, really). There are so many incriminating things floating atop that black and expansive pool; black, due to its enormity, but also because of its propensity for blackmail.
Yes, I have written about musical guilty pleasures before, but on a more theoretical level. There are always more blood-and-guts specifics to dig into. This mining urge surfaces today, as a bittersweet email drifts into my inbox like a wedding invitation from an ex:
“The Wallflowers – Just Announced”
My organs churn with schoolgirl anticipation. At long last, my decade-old fantasy of singing along to the entirety of “Laughing Out Loud” and the fairly sexist “God Don’t Make Lonely Girls” will become a reality. It will be a belated teen pilgrimage. I shall go alone, wearing white and bearing floral garlands. To prepare for such a momentous occasion, it seems high time I revisit my rapturous and embarrassing affair with The Wallflowers, don’t you think? Me too. (For those of you allergic to the mention of Jakob Dylan’s glittering eyes, stop reading now.)
My initiation to the band’s discography, if I am being honest, was not entirely in order. Like many, I was introduced to The Wallflowers with their 1996 breakout hit, “One Headlight,” the video for which was a big part of my sexual awakening.
Whether it plagued or graced your TV set, was it possible to deny the beauty of that music video? From a cinematic perspective, it was pretty gorgeous with its deep blacks and sharp highlights…almost as gorgeous as Jakob Dylan’s cerulean eyes, you might say. Dylan’s charisma was undeniable from the start; he was in a meager league of men who could pull off wearing a beaver fedora and sporting a goatee. A man who knew all too well the power of his looks, he spent most of the video sulking around like he didn’t want to be there…and it worked.
My exploration of The Wallflowers in 1996 started and stopped with that song, but it made a lasting impression nonetheless. Somehow the lyrics, “But me and Cinderella/We put it all together” suggested ripe sexual innuendo, causing my older sister to air hump while singing along with them. I naturally followed suit. It was one of the forbidden things we did while our parents were in the other room, like curse and make our Barbies have sex.
Jakob Dylan and his Wallflowers didn’t reenter my life until I was sixteen, and had long since forgotten them. One day, while cleaning out the CD drawer at my mom’s house in 2005, a copy of Bringing Down The Horse appeared in a pile of jewel cases. That black square stared up at me, spangled with goldenrod stars. It was so instantly familiar – I couldn’t remember exactly what it was, but it emitted a fondness…a weighty and warm nostalgia. The thought that I would enjoy this record at that point in my life was pretty improbable – I’d barely welcomed pop music into my ears after five years of a strict punk diet.
And yet, the opening notes of “One Headlight” gave me chills while that Hammond B3 organ flooded my room, enrobing me in ‘90s alt-rock warmth – a description I’m not proud of. Each track seemed better than the last. “Bleeders” bowled me over particularly with its comparable minimalism. Within days I knew the entire record by heart. Within weeks, I had purchased their entire discography, which at that point was five albums deep.
1992’s self-titled, 1996’s Bringing Down The Horse, 2000’s Breach, 2002’s Red Letter Days, and 2005’s Rebel, Sweetheart. I poured through them all, perched on my bed across from my Sony boom box, reading the lyrics along to each track. This was my trusty method for memorizing songs in one sitting. I listened to them each day on the bus, loading up my Discman with a different record Monday through Friday, cycling through their five-CD catalog (in chronological order) during the five day school week.
Of course I had my favorites. The self-titled debut was a little too rough-around-the-edges for me – and not in a punk way. The lyrics were weaker, the song structure less complex, and Dylan’s voice far squeakier. I still love it, but am well aware of its cringe-worthy moments, like “Somebody Else’s Money,” which depicts two lovers stealing their way through life. A loaded topic for the son of Bob Dylan. For me, the artistic pinnacle of The Wallflowers can be found in their third LP, Breach, which was a commercial flop in comparison to Bringing Down The Horse, but was loved by critics (go figure).
The record’s lead single, “Sleepwalker” is a biting critique of Dylan’s own spot in the limelight, depicting him as self-aware of his “pretty boy” status. Where “One Headlight” played into his brooding, glittery-eyed good looks, “Sleepwalker” pokes fun at that posturing.
It’s been a few years since I’ve had a Wallflowers binge session, and I can’t think of a better time to revisit them than now, in preparation for their concert. I’ll start from the beginning. At this café. I will discreetly embarrass myself, praying that no one can hear the sounds of Jakob Dylan’s smoky vocals drifting from my headphones.
Here we go. The commencing snare rhythm from “Shy Of The Moon” off of their first record rattles my memory and I’m squeamishly delighted to hear it. I am smiling and wincing at once, so terrified that the whole coffee shop knows what I am doing. Before the first song is even over, I pull my ear buds out, making double sure that the sweetly bended notes of Dylan’s Telecaster are flooding my ears alone, and not the entire café. I twist the headphone jack, ensuring that it’s securely fitted in my laptop, but still I feel exposed. I am beaming by the time I reach “6th Avenue Heartache” on Brining Down The Horse – beaming far too much for a Tuesday. To my horror, the guy at the next table turns around abruptly and looks at me – he KNOWS!
Admittedly, I am exhilarated by this conflict of emotion; this bliss and shame I feel simultaneously. It is in this moment of lovely ambivalence that I decide it is time to buy my $75 concert ticket – no price is too high for such a sacred affair. And then, realizing their show at Ridgefield Playhouse falls on June 29, I am devastated.
While Jakob Dylan and co. will regale their audience with alt-rock hits, I will be far, far away, sulking on an air mattress in London. My high school dreams dashed forever.
I Am The Polish Army is a Brooklyn-based three-piece led by Emma DeCorsey on vocals and guitar, joined by Eric Kuby on drums, and Turner Stough on the bass. The trio’s debut LP My Old Man comes out tomorrow, and is available to stream today via yours truly. Their sound directly references some of my favorite classic/alt-rock and grunge of yore – styles that are a dying breed in today’s era of high gloss electro and experimental pop, making for a totally refreshing yet ironically nostalgic experience (think if The Breeders and Hole were to join forces and make an album vis-a-vis modern production capabilities.) Emma’s sharp, drone-y vocals cut like a knife through loud, heavy-handed guitar melodies in opening track, “You Don’t Know”, captivating our attention for what they have in store for our ears. As the album unfurls, Charles Burst’s (Neko Case, Psychic Ills, Crystal Stilts) deft engineering behind each track becomes discernible (and is highly appreciated!!). In songs like “David Bowie” – an ode to/lament of erstwhile and dead musical icons – the mix is so perfectly balanced that I found myself easily lost in it, especially toward the end when Emma’s vocal harmonies come in.
Toward the middle of the album on tracks like “Throat” and “Dead Cat”, the band’s emotional energy and fervor reaches a new fever pitch, unexpectedly veering the sound towards a more metal vibe, with propulsive drums and brooding, screeching guitar lines, grafting Emma’s direct and confrontational vocals in seamlessly. “Set Up” surprisedme with another directional shift in genre, showcasing way more 70s style guitar melodies that harken back to Grateful Dead or The Who. Yet overall it still emphasizes angsty, derisive lyrics juxtaposed by lush, structured vocal harmonies. I was left feeling delightfully unsettled by this track (and have pretty much decided it’s my favorite on the album.)
“Woods” and “Gene” bring us full circle back to the band’s original musical conceit: solid, mid-tempo rock defined by blistering guitar solos and Emma’s insistent, unwavering voice and sassy lyrics. Title track “My Old Man” is way more stripped down in the opening measures, with a simple bass line and rhythm guitar. As the verse escalates into a more cacophonous chorus, it becomes clear that the story is about a Lower East Side sex predator, making the emotional intensity pack all the more punch, and compelling me to go back and listen more closely to each track to decipher the storytelling behind the album as a whole. This feat alone makes the project a success in my opinion.
I Am The Polish Army will be performing their album release show at the Gutter, tomorrow (3/31), joined by Tuff Sunshine and the Royal They, more info here. In the meantime dive into “My Old Man” below.
L.A – based alt-rock quartet, Astra Heights is releasing their video for “You Got Heart” today, giving us a much needed end of the week morale boost. The track is bluesy and anthemic, with strong nods to the late-90s U2 era – momentum-building verses that propel the listener into a larger than life, hooky chorus, in this case urging us to remember that we’ve got the heart, the soul, AND the mind. The video is a continuous 360 shot of the band having a rooftop party with their friends, many of whom bear animal masks (and those who don’t acquire them by the end of the video). The milieu culminates with an exuberant dance party, leaving us east-coasters yearning for summer nights. Peep the premiere of the video below!
There’s a new name in LA’s alt rock scene, and it’s a pretty one too. Mleo (muh-lee-oh) is made up of Audrey Reed ( vocals), Victor San Pedro (guitar), Nick De La O (bass), and Elias Vasquez (drums). Together they make progressive alt rock pop with crisp melodies and playful lyrics, all demonstrated on their new single “Ridiculous.” “When did I become so ridiculous?” Reed sings, and we all can relate. Reed sings of an inner turmoil, the “should I stay or should I go now” inner debate we’ve all had in a relationship. With a danceable rhythm and a melody that will be stuck in your heads for days, Mleo’s sound translates from the car radio to the bar perfect for starting dance parties. Three of their members (Reed, San Pedro, and De La) have been playing together since they went to high school in Sacramento.
Describing the band as alt rock pop was my first instinct, but fans with a taste for jazz and funk will dig their sound as well. They strive to mix diverse sounds to blend together to form the ultimate modern rock.
Learn more on their website, and listen to the single “Ridiculous” below. For even more Mleo, stream their previous album Sunken City here.
It’s Monday, and I don’t feel good. I’m cranky. My birthday was the weekend and I feel a year older and none the wiser. Riffing on my angsty vibes, yet pulling me out of my I-don’t-wanna-work lethargy, is Nashville’s The By Gods with their first single “On the Radio.” A trio made up of George Pauley (vocals, guitar), Natalie Pauley (bass), and Tye Hammonds (drums), the “no frills” rockers give it to you straight with a 90’s-alt attitude and just the right amount of ass kicking so you might actually accomplish something today.
Listen to “On the Radio” below and shake off your moody blues. Their upcoming album Get On Feelings will be out January 22nd.
Blank Realm possesses their own unique energy no matter what genre a song of theirs lands in. And on their new album, Illegals In Heaven, the Brisbane siblings go through a few right away: There’s the opener “No Views,” which captures the scrappy, organized chaos of punk, followed by the shinier, dancier “River of Longing.” Then comes the hazy slide guitar of “Cruel Night,” which borrows from Beggars Banquet-era Rolling Stones. “Gold” is a quieter, gentler track that still maintains an edge: “If you slow me down, I’ll break your heart.”
So, it’s not so obvious what makes Blank Realm’s sound unique to them, but it can be found somewhere in theheaviness of their guitars and rhythms, and a tight sound that must come either from constant rehearsal- their label’s website boasts that they’ve played over 200 live performances with bands like Kurt Vile, Wild Flag, and Zola Jesus – or maybe the fact that three out of four of the members are siblings and are naturally in tune with each other. Their songwriting isn’t derivative or sentimental but aggressively nostalgic. You can hear their influences, but they don’t glibly copy them on Illegals In Heaven. They take what they know and like, and apply it in a very straightforward, in-your-face way. Because, like they sing on “Flowers In Mind:” “When every move you’re gonna make has been made/When every trick you’re gonna play has been played,” what else can a band do?”
Key Tracks: “No Views,” “Cruel Night,” and “Gold.”
The music video for “Bees” by Smoke Season is as trippy as you can get. The figures of Jason Rosen (formerly of Honor Society) and vocalist Gabrielle Wortman (from TEMP3ST) stand in front of a wall of swirling light, their shadows bending and twisting, their bodies morphing and multiplying. It fits the psychedelic sound of the song, which features the rhythm of heartbeat-like guitar chords, echoing voices and heavy breathing. The bees in question are probably attracted to the honey-like quality of Wortman’s voice, which is sweet and light while she sings a descending melody during the verses, then erupts during the chorus with the slightest bit of twang: “I smell the bees, I smell the bees/you get the honey without the sting.”
Why bees? Well, they’re kind of a metaphor for a tumultuous romance, if you think about it. You may get something sweet from putting up with them, but most likely, you’re just going to get stung.
Palehound is Ellen Kempner, a former Sarah Lawrence student. Former meaning she dropped out, presumably because even if the school did have a 90s-inspired indie rock class, there wouldn’t have been much left for her to learn; the 21-year-old played everything but the drums on her new album, Dry Food.
Dry Food is the Massachusetts-based artist’s second release after her 2013 EP, Bent Nail. It gets off to an aggressive start with “Molly,” a track that shows off Kempner’s instrumental skills with two guitar lines: one is wiry and playful, and the other brash, a machine-gun explosion of aggression. This duality continues throughout the album: you’ll hear gentle strumming and fingerpicking, twisting guitar licks, heavy distortion, feedback and nose dives down the fretboard – sometimes all in the same song.
The contrast in her music also applies to her singing. Her lyrics get personal, and are deeply aware, but there’s not so much vulnerability in her voice as a deadpan, matter-of-factness that masks most of the emotion. This works well with her songs – though Kempner isn’t afraid to get loud with her guitar; this isn’t dramatic or overly emotive music. Perhaps this is why she’s developed such a serious knack for imagery when it comes to describing feelings. So, the unwanted makeout session on “Easy” becomes “I’m pushing back your tongue/ With my clenched-teeth home security system,” and the tip-toeing of snobby “healthier folk” is revealed through Kempner asking, “Why don’t they hold me? They just cradle me like a homesick child.”
Possibly her best line comes from the title track: “You made beauty a monster to me/So I’m kissing all the ugly things I see.” Another key track is “Cinnamon,” a song that scatters guitar parts wildly over a smooth, shuffling beat. Kempner’s voice is cloaked in a heavy layer of reverb. By the end of the song she’s practically drowning in it, perhaps a result of a few too many rounds of “mixing water with gin and chasing it with cinnamon.”
If you take Dry Food as it is, it’s a short, but solid album. If you consider that it’s Kempner’s first actual album, and she’s still in her (very) early 20’s, the 28 minutes of casual heartbreak become even more impressive.
Dry Food will be available via Exploding In Sound on August 14th. In the meantime, check out “Healthier Folk” below.
With a name inspired by a Kafka story, it makes sense The Harrow would be well-spoken. Yet even with the bar set high the mysterious Brooklyn coldwave/post-punk band impressed with their bewitchingly intelligent interview. The Harrow is Vanessa Irena (vocals, synth, programming), Frank Deserto (bass, synth, machines), Barrett Hiatt (synth, programming) and Greg Fasolino (guitar). They are currently working on an upcoming LP that we’re already gnawing to hear. I spoke with our Artist of the Month about gothic art, nerdy influences, and selectivity of gigs.
AudioFemme: How did you guys meet and form a band?
Barrett: We all seemed to have traveled in the same circles for some years, and it seemed like it was only a matter of time for this band to come to fruition. Frank and I became close friends during our previous band, and we had shared stages with Greg’s previous band as well. Vanessa and Frank met through their respective DJ gigs, and the timing just felt right. Frank had some demos kicking around, I jumped in and we started fleshing things out. We then invited Greg to add his signature sound, and Vanessa was the perfect last piece to the puzzle.
AF: Who do you look up to as musical inspirations?
Frank: As far as sound is concerned, bands like Cindytalk, And Also the Trees, Breathless, Cranes, For Against, and of course, The Cure and Cocteau Twins are hugely inspirational, as well as most of the players in the French coldwave and early 4AD movement. Belgian new beat and ’90s electronica have been influences that I’m not quite sure have fully manifested yet, but are definitely something I’d love to explore further in the coming years.
Greg: For me, the 4AD sonic universe is definitely a place we all intersect and Cocteau Twins are the ultimate touchstone. As a musician, I am particularly influenced by classic ’80s post-punk bands like The Chameleons, Comsat Angels, Banshees, Bunnymen, Sad Lovers & Giants, and The Sound, as well as ’90s genres like shoegaze (Slowdive, Pale Saints, MBV), trip-hop (Massive Attack, Portishead), and alt-rock (Smashing Pumpkins, Suede, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley). Lately I am very inspired by a lot of modern neo-shoegaze bands, who seem to be carrying the torch for dreamy, effects-heavy music now that much of the post-punk revival has dissipated, as well as more atmospheric metal stuff like Agalloch and Deftones/Crosses and creative, hard-to-categorize bands like HTRK and Braids.
B: I’m not sure if I can get through an interview without mentioning Trent Reznor, but he has always inspired me, through his recording methods as well as his choice of collaboration, and just his general attitude towards music. Of course: David Bowie, Chris Corner, Depeche Mode, Massive Attack, The Cure. I do have a tendency to lean on bands from the ’80s.
Vanessa: I’m a huge fan of Karin Dreijer Andersson (Fever Ray, The Knife) and Elizabeth Bernholz (Gazelle Twin). These days I’m mostly listening to techno and textural stuff (Ancient Methods, Klara Lewis, Vatican Shadow, Function, Profligate, OAKE, Adam X, Mondkopf, etc.).
AF: What about other artists: poets, painters, writers – who else has influenced your sound?
F: Literary influences are as important to me as musical influences. There’s the obvious surrealist and nightmarish nods to Kafka, but other authors such as Isak Dinesen, Robert Aickman, Albert Camus, Charles Baudelaire, and William Blake have inspired the lyrics I’ve written for the band, some more directly than others. As for art, the same applies; Francis Bacon seems almost too obvious to mention, but his work is incredibly moving. Francisco De Goya as well. I’m also drawn heavily to bleak, medieval religious art, usually depicting the crueler aspects of Christianity. Perhaps a bit cliché as far as gothic influences are concerned, but lots of imagery to draw upon.
B: David Lynch, John Carpenter, Jim Jarmusch, Anton Corbijn, just to name a few. These guys paint wonderful pictures through film, and I always find it very inspiring.
V: Frank and I have pretty similar tastes in art, so I definitely agree with him on the above, but I think it’s worth mentioning that we’re also all a bunch of huge fucking nerds. I’m not ashamed to admit that lyrical inspiration for me can come just as easily from The Wheel of Time or an episode of Star Trek: TNG as it does from Artaud.
AF: What do you credit to be your muse?
F: My bandmates.
V: My shitty life/Being a woman.
AF: Blogs love labels, but how would you describe your music?
F: I don’t ever attest to reinventing the wheel. We all draw from different influences and I mostly consider our sound to be a blend of shoegaze/dream pop, 4AD, and early ’80s post-punk vibes. We generally err on the dreamier side but have no qualms with getting aggressive if the mood calls for it. At this point in the game, creating a new sound is out of the question, but our varied tastes and interests have led to some cross-pollination of genres that hopefully proves to be interesting amidst dozens of modern bands operating in a similar medium.
B: I’m still trying to get a little saxophone in there.
AF: Will you speak to the darker element of your style?
F: Operating in this medium is less of a conscious choice for me than it is a catharsis. Therapy in a sense – a method of expressing otherwise unpleasant thoughts and feelings to make something creative, rather than letting my shadow side consume me.
B: Darkness is way more interesting. And real.
AF: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
F: At this point, the idea of collaborating with someone famous is an overwhelming thought. Sorry for the cop out, but I can say that we’re looking forward to some collaborations from some of our peers, both original and in remix form. More on this as it develops!
B: Sorry Frank, but I’m going with Pee-Wee Herman.
AF: Will you tell me about your current LP you’re working on?
F: We spent the majority of 2014 hunkering down and working on the record. We recorded Silhouettes in piecemeal form over the course of the year, layering synths and guitars and drums as they fell into place. The record is currently in the can and is being mixed as we speak by the uber-talented Xavier Paradis, and will hopefully see release this fall via aufnahme + wiedergabe.
AF: How does it differentiate from previous work?
F: The new record is incredibly diverse – there are ambient segues, the occasional industrial/hip-hop hybrids, and plenty of other eclectic sounds to go around. There are more complex rhythms that are the result of Vanessa and Barrett’s superior drum programming talents, for starters. We also took turns writing lyrics this time around, with Barrett, Vanessa, and I all contributing. It’s truly The Harrow as it’s meant to be – a band hitting their stride as a full working unit with equal love and collaboration driving us.
AF: Can we expect any live shows for you in the future?
B: While we enjoy playing live from time to time, it isn’t the primary focus of the band. We are at points in our lives where making the music is more important and rewarding in and of itself than performing it on stage. Our goal with the band leans much more toward the creative side. When we do play though, we want to make sure it is an event, and something to look forward to, not just the typical four random bands on a Tuesday night thing.
Watch The Harrow’s music video for “AXIS” below.
Each week Audiofemme gives away a set of tickets to our featured shows in NYC! Scroll down to enter for the following shindigs.