Jon Howland (vocals), Jay Buettner (guitar/backing vocals), Joe Howland (bass) and Carl Birkholz (drums) are Video Dead. The band recently released EP ONE which is their first release and a complete DIY effort.
The band plays into a dark post-punk sound close to Joy Division and other gothic acts. These recordings are very lo-fi and have the classic signs of a DIY recording.
The band attempts to create a gloomy and ominous atmosphere. It’s a slow burn for sure. I couldn’t make out some of the words because of how lo-fi the quality was. On that note It starts with a low spoken rumble and has more clarity as it progresses. I liked the mood of this song although by the end I was hoping for more energy.
I felt the band was reading my mind because “Muck and Mire” has that energy I was hoping to hear. The song sounds like a Joy Division B-side from the bass line to the synths but with the band's unique spin. That being said the vocalist seems to be more inspired by Jim Morrison or maybe Danzig. It’s a good mix of influence and definitely the most energized and maybe even fun sounding song on the EP.
The band sounds their most original on “Prom Night” which is also the most catchy. It’s dark and does have a bit of ’50s pop quality to it. The vocal harmonies on this song were the best moments on this EP. I also really liked some of the melodies on the last song “Empty Love.” It moves slowly but the guitar and creative aspects make it work.
I really like this band's sound but as an engineer myself I feel it would be a disservice to the band if I didn’t mention a couple things about the engineering. The band's first priority moving forward when it comes to making an album/EP in my opinion is learning more about engineering or working with someone who knows a couple things about engineering. There are different sonic imprints on every song which made the experience of listening to all the songs in a sequence incongruent. For example on “Muck and Mire” the vocals are startling and piercing when he screams. This sort of thing is avoidable with a tool like a compressor and a low pass filter. On “Empty Love,” the lack of frequencies between 100hz and 500hz made the instruments like the bass and kick drum less pronounced but those lower frequencies are there on “Muck and Mire.” Despite these common issues I hear all the time in DIY projects I think the most important thing is the songs and the vision, both of which I was impressed by.
I’m a big fan of post-punk and am old enough to remember when it first became popular. Video Dead is doing all the right things for a young band trying to keep the flame alive. I’m looking forward to hearing more from them as they evolve. Keep you ears on them.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook