This week on Pump Up The Jam: IO Echo, Zola Jesus, Annie Hart, Frankie Rose, Talullah Ruff, Dead Heavens, Beliefs, and Greys.
It’s been way too long since we’ve heard from IO Echo, the darkwave project of Ioanna Gika and Leopold Ross. 2013’s Ministry of Love was one of my fave records of that year and while the band released a free mixtape in 2014 (with the fantastic title I’ve Been Vaping Your Tears, including a great cover of Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker”), their presence, in the form of a full-length release and a tour, has been sorely missed.
The good news is they have recently signed to Sargent House Records and have released a new single and video called “Harm.”
It has that eerie, lo-fi aesthetic of late ‘70s music videos without the self-consciousness of someone trying to recapture that feeling. I see the influence of J-Horror, Let’s Scare Jessica To Death, and Maya Deren. The song is wonderful, and a good indication that IO Echo has only gotten better with age.
Even better news! Today, in solidarity with Bandcamp’s inititative, Sargent House is going to donate all proceeds from the sales of the “Harm” on Bandcamp to support Transgender Rights, with all monies going to the Transgender Law Center. Here are more details from the Bandcamp site.
Another artist from whom we’ve been waiting for a new release is Zola Jesus. The first single from her upcoming album Okovi, “Exhumed,” was released back in June, and now there’s an official video. Coincidentally, it also looks like it was heavily influenced by J-Horror, specifically The Ring series.
Record label Sacred Bones has also announced two special Zola Jesus releases that will come out on September 8, the same day Okovi is releases.
A new “Ice” colored vinyl edition of Stridulum collects her classic Stridulum and Valusia EPs together on a single volume for the first time, and a new “Smoke” colored vinyl variant of the long out-of-print debut LP, The Spoils. If you haven’t preordered Okovi yet, the limited edition LP on “Rust” colored vinyl with art zine by Jesse Draxler is still available.
Stereogum also premiered a video of a live performance of an as-yet-unheard song, “Siphon” along with a track from Okovi called “Soak.”
If you’ve been watching Twin Peaks, you’ve seen that performance from female trio Au Revoir Simone, whose cool synths and even cooler harmonies were on full and dazzling display. Annie Hart, one third of the band, has a new album out from Instant Records on September 15 called Impossible Accomplice. She’s also premiered two tracks from the album, “Hard To Be Still” (which has a video) and “I Don’t Want Your Love.” Both are upbeat and sad at the same time.
If you’ve heard bands like Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls and Beverly, you’ve heard Frankie Rose. Her fourth album is due on August 11 called Cage Tropical (from Slumberland Records and Grey Market). The single, “Red Museum,” is unbelievably captivating. It feels like a super poppy Cocteau Twins or a creepier iteration of The Sundays. I absolutely love it. And the video’s look fits with the IO Echo and Zola Jesus videos posted above.
I’d never heard of Talullah Ruff until a few days ago, but her song, “I Am Not,” is something quite special. She has a wonderfully flexible voice and it goes well with the melancholy piano melody of the song. It’s hard to believe she’s only 20 years old. I expect more great things from this young woman. Her self-produced EP What Is Honest will be out on August 25. You can read more about Ms. Ruff and her music at Atwood Magazine.
In my recent review of Dead Heavens’ Whatever Witch You Are I called the band, “less macho than stoner rock, but more elegant than garage punk.” I think the band’s new video for “Away From The Speed” will prove my point!
Hand Drawn Dracula is a Toronto, Ontario-based label that consistently releases intriguing music (Bad Tits, Doomsquad, Vallens, etc.). The label’s latest release, a split 7-inch between shoegazey noise band Beliefs and post-punk/hardcore outfit Greys is no exception. Having seen both of these bands live, I can attest that these two new tracks are excellent examples of the sound of both bands.
You can order the 7-inch on Bandcamp.
This weeks’ #FlashbackFriday should come as no surprise. It’s IO Echo’s beautifully spooky “When The Lilies Die.”