Tag Archive: grunge


The Darts (US) are an all-girl rock supergroup bringing together Nicole Laurenne (The Love Me Nots, Motobunny, Zero Zero), Rikki Styxx (The Two Tens, The Dollyrots, Thee Outta Sites), Christina Nunez (The Love Me Nots, Casual Encounters, The Madcaps), and Michelle Balderrama (Brainspoon). The band formed in early 2016 when, after watching each other’s bands from the sidelines for years, Nicole and Michelle realized there was no good reason why they shouldn’t just start writing songs together already. With six songs ready, Rikki and Michelle recorded their tracks in Los Angeles and then Nicole and Christina tracked their parts in Phoenix. Producer and audio wizard Bob Hoag shaped the sonic mix giving birth to two smoking 10” vinyl EPs.

Following their October 2016 release, the singles “Running Through Your Lies” and “Revolution” enjoyed instant radio airplay and “Take What I Need” was selected by Sirius/XM’s Underground Garage channel as “The Coolest Song In The World.” The band is signed to London’s Dirty Water Records.

HVUM: Hey, Christina! It’s great to get together and find out more about The Darts. We know that you came together as a band some ten years ago. How did you meet up and what made you decide to become The Darts?

C: Nicole and I where in a band together for many years. We all knew each other through various different bands we’ve all played in. Played shows together and all of that. Nicole and I have talked about wanting to do a “girl” band forever… just a bunch of bad ass girls who can rock without any boys involved. So eventually Michelle and Nicole hooked up and got together some of their song ideas. It started off as let’s just put some songs together and see how it goes for fun. 1 year later and we have 2 EPs and a new full length album on the way and plans to tour all over the world.

HVUM: When we listen to The Darts we think punk and grunge. Is that how you identify the band or are there other influences?

C: Well I guess everyone has their own idea of what the band sounds like or what it should but when all of our ideas come together it just turns into the Darts. We all like similar and very different things. And we all bring our own influences to the table for sure. I love Nick Cave, The Cramps, Billy Childish, The Trashwomen, various stoner rock bands as well. Nicole is super into Death Valley Girls, the Black Belles, Thee Tsunamis. Rikki loves Bleached and Wavves and generally more pop punk. And Michelle is more into rock n roll… The Stooges, Jimi Hendricks.

HVUM: Many HorizonVU Music followers are self-taught. Collectively, are you formally trained in music or are you more learn-as-you-go?

C: Well let’s see… individually we have all had very different musical backgrounds. Nicole is formally trained in classical piano. She played flute in marching bands. But learned to play the rock music through her experiences in bands. Rikki is self taught but went to summer camps for many years to learn more about drumming. I have been playing violin all the way through school so I learned a lot about how music works but self taught when it comes to bass. Michelle is self taught learned from listening to records and figuring out the notes.

HVUM: Let’s have a look and listen to your January 2017 release “My Heart Is A Graveyard”!

HVUM: Like great female punk bands like the Slits, it seems fair to talk about The Darts using adjectives like shambolic, inchoate, anarchic, and irreverent. Does that fit your band image? Do you have to work at an image or does the image just come about naturally?

C: Hmmm well know I guess I’ll have to bust out the dictionary to look up all those fancy words… 🙂 I don’t think we are specifically working towards an image. After so many years of being in bands trying to have a certain sound or image. This one is meant to be fun above all. Whatever comes out of that is what our image becomes. We play the songs we like. We don’t try to hard to make them sound like any specific genres we all have fun together and get along so onstage and on our records it really makes for just a cool fun rad vibe. Our image is us loving what we do.

HVUM: Sorry about the words…too many summer days hanging out playing Scrabble! You’ve just come off a European tour. Highlights? Lowlights?

C: Touring overseas is pretty amazing. Waking up every day in a new city in a new country is pretty rad! It’s hard to sleep in the van because we don’t want to miss anything amazing while we drive… the rule is “wake me up if you see a castle”. So highlights… well we played our first Dirty Water Club in London for or label Dirty Water Records. It was an amazing show where we got to meet some of our London label mates… Suicide Generation so good! The Priscilla’s and the CaveMen. The CosmicTrip Festival in Bourges, France also very big highlight… it is the funniest show ever. I think the bands have more fun playing around than the audience and the guys who run this festival are all so amazingly cool! One other highlight was playing on the beach at Midnight in Italy… the entire audience dancing in the sand. Then as soon as we where done running off stage down to the ocean and jumping straight in with only moonlight and the stars! The whole tour was pretty unforgettable though. Amazing crowds very fun venues. Can’t wait to go back!

HVUM: Great! We can’t wait to get you back and if you want a cool place to gig in Paris…you’ve got our email! You’ve released two EPs and a full-length self-titled album The Darts, 2016. You’ve got a new release in the pipeline, “Me Ow”. Tell us about the new album and how you see it relative to the first album.

C: “Me Ow” is maybe the best one so far if I do say so myself. It’s kind of similar to our other records since they’ve all been written very close together and put out so quickly. It’s not like we’ve had time to switch eras or anything. But I think we are closer as a band and as friends after a year so we play off of each other so much easier. And our producer Bob Hoag who has done all of our records so far knows exactly what we want/need and makes it happen. So it’s good. We like it a lot and hopefully you do too.

HVUM: Going a bit further, thinking about your work as a creation, what are you working to create? If “Me.Ow.” was to be captured in a painting, what would that look like? Do you have topical aspirations?

C: Me Ow is maybe the best one so far if I do say so myself. It’s kind of similar to our other records since they’ve all been written very close together and put out so quickly. It’s not like we’ve had time to switch eras or anything. But I think we are closer as a band and as friends after a year so we play off of each other so much easier. And our producer Bob Hoag who has done all of our records so far knows exactly what we want/need and makes it happen. So it’s good. We like it a lot and hopefully you do too.

Hmmm that’s a lot of questions in 1… We want to create an environment where people are rocking out, having fun, dancing, making out to songs about our crappy exes, our current loves, our tour dinners, or our messy situations. We aspire to tour all the time… our favorite thing… ever! Play songs and tour!!! In a nutshell Nicole says we are looking to create a soundtrack for new millennial sex kittens to dance to… that’s a way easier answer! Me Ow in a painting would look like Ann Margaret circa 1965 in a black slip snuggling a beat up vintage guitar. On the floor of a London dive bar wading in a plastic crappy kiddy pool filled with champagne.

HVUM: Okay! We’ll watch for the release on The Darts band site and on The Darts Facebook page. We want to pre-order right now…two signed pink vinyls!

HVUM: Seems as though the U.S., or the world as a matter of fact, is into dizzying political hyper overdrive. Your views? Do you identify with issues or causes?

C: The world is crazy. Do what you can to take your own stand for what you believe in. And if you do nothing then don’t complain… stand up for yourself! And people who can’t stand up for themselves. Our motto is put us in a box and we will still find something fun to do…

HVUM: HorizonVU Music thanks you for taking time out to join us. We know you and the band are going to continue to enjoy success going forward. Let’s Stay in touch!

Visit The Darts (US) at the band’s website and on Facebook!

Marika Hackman
I’m Not Your Man
Sub Pop

Visit Marika Hackman at Facebook and iTunes

English artist Marika Hackman releases her second album, “I’m Not Your Man”. She began recording her first full-length album, “We Slept At Last” in 2014. The latest effort is far more aggressive than the first in the sense that it packs a much bigger or louder punch owing to the inclusion of a full band, London-based Big Moon. The result is a grungier sound, which works for Hackman. In addition to the grunge, the listener will hear obscurations of sound as in shoegaze or neo-psychedelia. Her vocals remain true to earlier recordings, light and sugar-coated. Overall, there’s plenty of energy, temperament, and sexuality to make “I’m Not Your Man” a pick of the week!


Tarah G. Carpenter Reveals Her Uncompromising Confrontation with Real Life and Music

Interview with Phil Cartwright, CEO, HorizonVU Music

Tarah G. Carpenter Photo Credit: Anais Brebion

Tarah G. Carpenter Photo Credit: Anais Brebion


The mind, soul, rock’n roll heart beat and operator behind ‘Tarah Who?’ is French / American Singer and Multi-Instrumentalist (drummer, guitarist & bassist) Tarah G. Carpenter. Born in Paris, France, Tarah got her first drum set at age 14. After a short stint of coming to the US to be a high school exchange student in Murray, Kentucky, she was unable to play drums & out of boredom she picked up the guitar & started writing songs as an outlet.

After playing in-and-out of bands around Paris on drums & bass for few years, Tarah got the desire to travel to Los Angeles to explore the music scene. With her bandmates back in Paris and on a last minute whim, Tarah answered an ad on Craigslist “looking for an artist to perform original songs at a warehouse Party Downtown”. When she, for the first time performed singing and playing guitar the audience response was so good that she decided she wanted to do her own music and started playing under the moniker ‘Tarah Who?’ immediately.

With true 90’s spirit, anthemic sing-a-long choruses, a punk edged energetic live show and a load of heart to back it up. Tarah’s song live and recorded jump out and grab at you to listen. The fact that she can rock the drums just hard as the guitar is enough to make any audience member or listener pay attention. Tarah’s been compared to everything from the female Pearl Jam to Sonic Youth, but regardless, Tarah G. Carpenter stands on her own and is someone you don’t want to miss.

Tarah’s song ‘In My Mind’ received an honorable mention for the world song contest by Billboard Magazine and ‘Worst to Come’ has had regular spins on WRCR Rockford, IL College Radio, as well as play on 89.4 FM Radio Libertaire. She has also been featured on numerous blogs including Ustream.tv, Revolutionthreesixty.com (‘PEOPLE THAT MATTER’) and Thehangoutgroup.com

Tarah Who? has just released their new EP, “Federal Circle of Shame” available at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/federal-circle-of-shame-ep/id1083959696

HVUM: You are well-known amongst your peers for having a hard-edged DIY approach to your music career. Tell us what’s behind that.

Federal Circle of ShameTGC: I never really thought of it this way, really…

I started playing when I was 14 and I just kept on going. My approach to music or my career is more of a feeling. Does it feel right to follow this path? Or is it fair?

Things don’t always go as planned but you learn and keep going. You know better.

I have my own definition of DIY. I understand and use it more as Do it… Independently from the big labels that do everything for you. What I believe as an independent artist that may be called do it yourself is that you are not famous, but you still want to do and share your music. Why not? Just do it yourself. Don’t wait for the contract, you may not even want any of it after reading it. In that sense you are doing it yourself.

But it is really interesting when you meet other DIY artists. You become friends, and help each other out, tour together, exchange gear, or dates, musicians, studios, ideas and tips etc… It’s this sort of circle of friends, and family that you start building, with artists that are just like you, trying to break through.

017The hard part for a DIY is to stay true to yourself and what you believe in. If you are a DIY musician you are most likely broke or not very wealthy. It is important to not fall into the scams of pay to play gigs for instance. Talking to other bands or musicians is very important to get the best advice to meet your needs. (i.e., you may not have the cash for a recording studio, but need to record: ask around about the equipment you need for a home studio and learn how to do it yourself. Or maybe someone loves your project and would like to help out. The idea is: NOTHING gets in your way)

HVUM: You’ve been working a lot with bassist Ash Orphan. You two come from slightly different musical paths. What led you to work together and how does the collaboration show up in your music?

Ash Orphan

Ash Orphan

TGC: I have known Ash for five years now. We were playing in a project called LED. I was the drummer he was the bass player. I really enjoyed his approach to bass and it really inspired me in playing drums.

We started a side project together to explore the ideas that we had during the smoke breaks our bandmates had. Those ideas became the project we have today called Jane Gray Black Orphan.

At the time Ash was part of another band as well that was getting pretty popular and he didn’t want to start a new project. I really believed there was something to his touch and approach of the guitar now and I really liked his voice. Even though he said he didn’t want a band I kept asking for him to come over “to jam” but of course it all became more serious and before he knew it we were a new band! Now JGBO is a very serious project and we are both really proud of it!

Ash comes from a different musical background. He listens to the dark depressing songs that I usually change after 30 seconds of hearing. I think it’s called post-rock? Not my thing. We tried many times. I just can’t do it! Maybe in a few years!

I am more punk rock, grunge, rock… not pop rock… ROCK! So I enjoy playing with Ash because he writes melodies that inspire me to play grooves he doesn’t expect. It’s the combination of our two musical worlds, I think, that makes Jane Gray Black Orphan.

HVUM: You’re doing a combination of electric and acoustic shows these days. Do you like mixing it up?

TGC: I started Tarah Who? as a solo acoustic performer only because I didn’t have a band! I like playing the electric show better because I get to be loud, I have a lot of fun with the guys and I love the vibrations of the drums and bass and I get to scream as loud as I want!

IMG_1468It is interesting to play solo (or just with Ash but the idea is to play an acoustic set) because I have a different audience and people’s that can’t handle the electric show can appreciate the acoustic!

I hear it all: people that LOVE the electric show, others that are very surprised with the acoustic and could not imagine it but really enjoy it, others that prefer the acoustic etc..

The acoustic is more intimate but still very entertaining and both are a lot of fun. I feed of the audience’s energy so whether it’s an electric or acoustic event, if you’re into it, I’ll give you my best!

HVUM: What you do think each (electric and acoustic) presents you as a songwriter and guitarist?

TGC: I write ALL of my songs with an acoustic guitar. I think that the acoustic emphasizes the rhythmic parts I play.

My songwriting is very “drum” oriented. It doesn’t really follow any songwriting “rules” people may learn. I usually think of the drums first and whatever is fun to play I stick to.

The acoustic show is interesting because there are no drums and I have heard many times from the people that have only seen us electric, they can’t imagine an acoustic show. As of today no one has been disappointed!

So the acoustic definitely shows the rhythm of the songs and you can actually hear my vocals too!

For the electric shows…I think speed… Everything is played faster. Faster than the acoustic show and faster than the album. I think that’s why we started getting this punk label. I never intended to be in the punk scene. I just write what I want really and can’t define it. I have certain emotions while recording that requires a specific tempo. But once it’s out there, available to the world, the live show is something else! We want to have fun, and we want people to jump around and go crazy, so we intentionally play faster, and sometimes as fast as we can!

HVUM: Tell us about your gear setup for Tarah Who? And your acoustic performances.

TGC: Tarah Who? is meant to be a four piece band with a second guitar player, but until I find the “dude” we are a three piece. (booking@tarahwho.com if you are interested.)

Tarah Who?

Tarah Who?


We have the drums, very simple set up: Kick Snare, 2 toms and Floor Tom. 3 crashes, 1 ride, 1 china (essential!!) and HH. Soultone cymbals.

Bass: G&L 5 string bass, Big Muff- Electro Harmonix , EBSMulti Drive. Gallien Kruger Head , Form Factor CAB.

GTR: I have three different guitars and a spare because of my different tunings. On ALL of my guitars though, i have the Ernie Ball Not so slinky set of strings. A friend of mine introduced me to those strings a few years ago, i haven’t stopped buying them since.

Ampeg amp.

Acoustic GTR: my dream guitar is still at the store…I just haven’t had gathered the cash for it yet!

So I still use my old acoustic guitar, with Ernie Ball’s acoustic set. (Medium)
New Album: Barytone and Ernie Ball’s Barytone set. EBS Chorus and Distortion.
Vocals; Shure Beta 58 A.

HVUM: Apart from your own music, what artists are in the top three positions on your playlist these days?

TGC: I actually don’t listen to much music.

I spend my days rehearsing for Tarah Who? or Jane Gray Black Orphan. I also have another punk project with the bass and Barytone that I would like to work on more, so really, when I am done practicing the last thing I want to do is listen to anything.

I actually enjoy silence a lot, and if anything is playing, the people I am with, are usually playing it.

I have more apps on my phone than music, and the music I have is for work, demos: with a very loud metronome!

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Nikolitsa Boutieros

Nikolitsa Boutieros

Nikolitsa & The Comrades deliver on a promise of high voltage alternative, grunge, post-punk, and industrial rock. If the description, a blending sub-genres, doesn’t catch on at this point, we can only suggest taking time to listen for yourself.

The group’s leader, Nikolitsa Boutieros, is a multi-media artist from New York City. She’s an acclaimed photographer (who’s work has appeared in Spin , TimeOut and various galleries). Nikolitsa has risen above her early life challenges to divert raw experiences towards the passion in her music, and the mysticism of her application to the arts. She has blossomed into one of New York’s major rising talents!

Her music reflects her artistry in offering up an opportunity to indulge one’s senses giving rise to the feeling of being caught in a pleasure ridden undertow. The music can be harsh, but smooth at the same time, and fortunately, unlike some other bands cutting across the genres – the lyrics are not lost.

“Under The Moon” the album by Nikolitsa Boutieros was released Oct 9, 2012 on the CD Baby label. On the album, Nikolitsa is joined by Brett Hestla. The album was recorded at Brett Hestla Productions. It took over three years to craft her recording, “Under the Moon.” Creating the record was both a welcomed personal struggle to continue growing as an artist, and a joy to see through to it’s completion.

During the the time that the album was being produced, Nikolitsa found like-minded spirits with etymological hearts and they began playing live shows around New York calling themselves the Comrades. The Comrades are: 17 year-old guitarist Tori Knops who weaves the beautiful melodic stories together, rock-wizardbassist David Schwab who creates a soulful driving groove and Tony Nugent on drums who keeps the trio positioned on the track.

In Nikolitsa’s own words, “”My main focus is to capture the truest essence of my material with
honesty, integrity and heart.” We spent most of our time submerging ourselves in Nikolista & The Commrades on YouTube and we recommend “In My Head”.

Visit Nikolitsa & The Comrades at http://www.nikolitsa.com/ and on Facebook.


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