Violens’ “Spectator & Pupil” music video directed by Alia Raza

Paul Lester in The Guardian:

There are bad New Bands, there are promising ones, there are even a few great ones. And then there are those who you just know are going to dominate the scene for the next few months at least. Many of the agenda-setting new bands we've praised in this column over the last year have been American – Fleet Foxes, MGMT, Black Kids, Boy Crisis, Hockey, Amazing Baby, Chairlift – which somewhat makes a mockery of, or renders redundant, the notion of British-only music awards like the Brits and the Mercury Prize. How can geography be a criterion when you're measuring musical worth?

Violens, to be geographically precise, belong in the pantheon of Great New New York Bands. They only formed last winter, but already they're responsible for some highly accomplished and beautifully realised music, with the emphasis on the “beautiful”. We say that because we assumed from their name (pronounced vy-lenz) that they were going to be some sort of sub-Sonic Youth art-drone collective, when actually their breezy psychedelia recalls the late-60s sunshine-pop heyday of The Zombies, The Left Banke and their ilk, only with a shiny 80s production. Some of it really is rather lovely, but then if you see their name as a conflation of “violence” and “violins” it makes sense, and suits these lushly orchestrated songs about nightmares, the passage of time, speculations on spiritual messages and accounts of drug-induced hallucinations.

More here.