Brooklyn, NY, 11211
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Catalonian quartet MOURN stormed onto the scene in 2014 with their self-titled debut - a work of angular indie rock and pointed lyricism delivered with confidence well beyond their teenage years. Two years later, they returned with the equally superb Ha, Ha, He. and proved themselves worthy of the early praise, squashing any remaining questions of fleeting hype. But with seemingly endless opportunities in front of them, MOURN found themselves caught in a legal dispute with their former Spanish label, rendering them unable to tour or effectively support their sophomore effort.
Facing the sort of obstacles that might, understandably, derail a fledgling band’s career, MOURN instead forged ahead, and in typical fashion managed to harness their swirling anger, frustration, and passion from the past 2 years into new music. Now, only just recently freed from their legal binds, MOURN is back in full force to share their 3rd full-length album, Sorpresa Familia.
In a collective statement, the band said:
“Everything you live builds you as a person, and we think it builds your art as well. We use songs as a way to express ourselves, to organize our ideas, and understand our own thoughts in order to grow emotionally. This album sums up everything we’ve lived during the past two years. It wasn’t easy to open up, but we did it anyway, without fear. Every frustration, disappointment, delusion…we got everything out. We liberated ourselves, and now we’re ready for anything that comes up. The lyrics are all very literal; they are our raw experiences, without makeup. Our animalistic side, reduced to our most intense and visceral emotions. Of all our recent experiences, we keep what was learned, all the mistakes and successes. Now we know that life is SORPRESA (a surprise), but above all, it is FAMILIA (family).”
Ironically, the obstacles and injustice MOURN have faced in recent years has provided a fertile foundation for new songs that display a palpable maturity and evolution, while retaining every bit of the fiery angst and attitude that has shaped their sound from the start.
The album opens with “Barcelona City Tour”, a call to action against the “darker side” of Barcelona’s underground music scene. “This song is the result of a lot of things we’ve endured from people who prefer to remain quiet and live exploited, in exchange for being part of something they consider exclusive.” The guitars burst out with abrupt aggression to the driving chant of “They may shut up / But I’ll stand up / They may shut up / But I’ll stand out” which could easily act as a mission statement both for the album and this moment in their now limitless careers.
Confronting troubles with their now ex-label in Spain, album highlight “Fun at the Geysers” tells a story of “waste and hypocrisy” while in Reykjavik to play a show two and a half years ago. “It was one of our last shows before we had to stop playing due to legal circumstances. We were left in the city without money or food, while the person who should have been watching out for us took a taxi to see the geysers and enjoy a day of tourism.”
Chock full of tension and pent up frustration, Sorpresa Familia feels tonally right at home within MOURN’s catalog. But it also feels distinctly separate - more refined, more intentional. Railing against greedy businesses, exploitation, fake friends, dishonest figures of authority, and ever complicated global politics, it’s an album of decidedly higher stakes than their past outputs, delivered with the newfound poetic grace of a band rising up out of the ashes of those who stood in their way.
Chastity is a world of its own from the mind of Brandon Williams. Reflecting the working class background of Whitby, Ontario, Chastity's songs are charged with the ethos of archetypal youth on the fringe. A project more aptly characterized by its intentions than specific medium, Chastity stands to confront the struggles of those existing in the unseen, often silenced periphery. It is an artifact of youth culture constantly working to form community, bridging isolation with collectivity.
Visuals play a meaningful role in this world with Williams using his penchant for crafting consistently sharp, challenging imagery to personalize the narratives running throughout all of Chastity's work - most discernibly, a call for disruption.
It was clear from the release of Chastity's first demos that this was not "another punk band that can operate at only one speed." Always concerned with the trending lack of accessibility and inclusivity in public spaces for the arts, the first Chastity show was held in Williams' own bedroom where, packed wall-to-wall, the police were quickly called. But after the project's second show supporting DC punk band Priests, Chastity was off to the races, sharing stages with the likes of with Metz, Chelsea Wolfe and Fucked Up. All without a full length recording out.
Since signing with Brooklyn label Captured Tracks, Chastity has re-released those initial demos, along with 2 new singles and an EP, stoking the anticipation of Chastity's debut full length record, Death Lust.
Releasing Friday the 13th of July, 2018, Death Lust follows the plot of suffering to survival. The album begins on a tortured note with 'Come' and builds toward the plummeting finale of 'Chains', evolving from start to finish in a crescendo of severity. Chastity explains, "Death Lust is about growing up death obsessed. It's about the pain that it takes but the capacity that we have to overcome."
The influence that Brooklyn has on the music we listen to is undeniable. As I take a step away from the hustle and bustle of a work trip I feel compelled to cover what is going on here tonight. As I scour the NYC scene a band with the name Haybaby grabs my attention. As I sit in my hotel introducing Haybaby to you I sense a certain emerging buzz. Spreading like a kindergarten classroom illness, from this blog to many, Haybaby has the genes to bust on the scene.
Haybaby is a garage rock trio that rides on heavy overtones and the vocals of Leslie Hong. Track, "Wash You" is the pick me up off the floor and slap me in the face wake-up call that we all love to be reminded of. This song is a genuine plea for change with the comforting support of rock n roll. Keep it on repeat.