New York City’s influence on music is a historic one. From the rise of punk and new wave in the US to the birth of hip-hop, the city’s soul is seen in bands and artists across genres and time. For New York new wave/rock act The Ritualists, their influence not only comes from the city’s music, but from the city itself- most notably the Lower East Side’s colorful cultural and societal history.
On the cusp of releasing their debut album Painted People, we talk to frontman, vocalist, and songwriter Christian Dryden about the band’s new music video for the single “Ice Flower”. Produced by Brother Brother, the video sees the visual representation of what Dryden calls “a personal decision to break away from a (perceived) toxic pattern, while also realizing that this “toxicity” can also be inspirational, beneficial and in some ways, therapeutic” atop the song’s captivating post-punk/new wave sound.
The video packs quite the punch- where did the idea of the video come from?
Brother Brother actually came with a skeleton of the concept and we sort of fleshed it out during the process.
The aesthetic fits the tone of the song- there’s a brutalness to it isn’t there?
I think the tone is correct. However, I’m not sure I would say brutality is entirely accurate. The song is about making a personal decision to break away from a (perceived) toxic pattern, while also realizing that this “toxicity” can also be inspirational, beneficial and in some ways, therapeutic. Any time you are wrestling (no pun intended) with these thoughts and feelings, there is an internal struggle, some might even say, violence.
You worked with Brother Brother on the video; what was it about this concept for the video that appealed to you the most? Were there concepts that featured the band that you decided not to pursue?
I think the concept of a façade or farcical behaviors is especially relevant today, in our world of social media. People, in general, are living more lonely, isolated lives, and yet they have these incredibly glamorous social media profiles, that indicate all kinds of happiness, travel & success stories. This isn’t so different from the corporate dance, which also encourages a great level of face-to-face decorum and formal tradition, while many are rotting on the inside. I think our wrestlers engaging in a somewhat different type of farcical dance, effectively illustrates this issue.
There were concepts featuring the band, performing and acting. Our next video will likely include lots of band action.
There’s a LES in the 80s influence to the music- what is it about Manhattan, LES in particular, of the 1980s, that appeals to you?
I definitely love a lot of 80’s post punk and New Wave. The more modern LES is a huge influence on us, in the sense that it is all about being fearless in your creativity. This city allows you, even encourages, originality. Growing up, the idea of creating music that had this sort of vibe, was not always well-received. However, once we were embraced by the LES rock scene, we realized our influences as a badge of honor and a benefit.
And the song, there’s a darkness to the tone, the sound— what is the song about?
Correct, definitely a dark tone. I kind of referenced the meaning above. But it is kind of about making a personal pact never to write about this particular subject matter again, but acknowledging that this very subject makes me who I am and fuels my creativity.
What are some of thematic undercurrents that listeners can expect on Painted People?
Love, war, mythology, poetry, people (famous and infamous) and hope.
The Ritualists’ debut album, Painted People, is out Friday, August 2nd on Out Of Line Music.
Hangtime share “Can I Take You Out” video
There’s no escaping the 90s sound
Not too long ago we had a short chat with Canadian pop-punk band Hangtime about their new EP and the video for the track “One Nine Nine Five”. The aptly titled song is a throwback to a pop punk thought long gone but as this Toronto band will attest, is by no means dead. Now the band have debuted their new music video for the track “Can I Take You Out”; a sweetly romantic, melodic pop punk ode.
The track is a cut from their 2019 EP Invasion, which you can pick up via Bandcamp. Hangtime have a couple of upcoming Canadian shows on the horizon; with all the details available on their Facebook page.
When we spoke to the band and where their sound comes from, guitarist/vocalist Warren Gregson explained their influences;
“There’s no escaping the 90s sound I’m afraid, that’s just who we are. Actually, our biggest influences go back further than that. Most of us were first listening to bands like ALL, Misfits, Dag Nasty, Big Drill Car, Bad Religion, Doughboys, Nils… etc, back in the 80’s. I suppose that’s where the 90s sound for many other bands originated as well.”
Check out the new video and let’s reminisce about some good old school pop punk.
Longwave return with “If We Ever Live Forever”
Longwave still know how to make an impression
New York indie rockers Longwave are returning with their first album in a decade. Titled If We Ever Live Forever, the album is the follow-up to 2008’s Secrets Are Sinister. The band have recently been releasing new music over the last year, with the single “Stay With Me” hitting airwaves in October of last year. Longwave have now revealed the music video for the new song “If We Ever Live Forever”, which you can view above.
If We Ever Live Forever is due for release October 25th via Bodan Kuma Recordings and will be followed by a short run of dates through the eastern side of North America. You can pre-order the new Longwave album from the band’s webstore.
Longwave first burst on to the scene with 2000’s Endsongs, but really started making waves with their 2003 release The Strangest Things (which included the hit single “Tidal Wave”). The latter was the band’s major label debut for RCA Records. We last covered Longwave in 2005, reviewing their terrific album There’s A Fire.