In a week that presented us some great new hopes for summer, the buzz news cycles found us giving some heart while scratching our heads in aggravation and ambivalence. We send our best to Abraham Orellana, aka AraabMuzik, who is recovering after getting shot as a victim of an attempted robbery, continue to mourn the loss of Slayer's founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman and Kriss Kross's Chris Kelly, and roll our eyes at another bloated exercise of bottom-of-the-barrel branding polemics with Tyler, the Creator's Mountain Dew goat-ad controversy. Make of all this what you will, but keep the faith, light some candles, and get ready for some of the week's greatest sounds from some of our favorite artists in no particular order.
Stockpiling a party of hedonism and meloncholy that ain't stopping anytime soon, checkout Sweden's Andreas, aka AfterParty's single “Jungle Dreams”. In jungle of Andreas's own design, listen as he plays off almost every coastal dance trick you can think of leaving you with the chorus mantra memorabilia of “watch yourself go insane (repeat)”. With a sound that spans the character of electro-attributes from Sweden to San Francisco, we had the opportunity to reach across the waters to talk to Andreas about his Euro-jungle that builds from the Balearic cues to the newest synth styles.
“I guess in my music I can flee away whenever I want, sit with an umbrella drink at a tropical beach looking at exotic animals, feeling free. But I know I'm not. It is a romanticized and nostalgic dream and through the kitschy sound echoes my sorrows and deep spirit. At the happiest moments there is always a presence of sadness”.
So break free from your 9-5 routine and enter AfterParty's “Jungle Dreams” that gives shout outs to lions, and zebras and various other animal jungle 'favoritas'.
Watch the William Sarradet video of travelling panoramas for glittering piano keys on Lady Lazarus's visuals for “Gleam” off her recently released second album, All My Love In Half Light. A project of light and love from Melissa Ann Sweat, her traditional acoustic instrumentation stirs new reverberations through heart bound echoes of the sacred and ineffable. The Sarradet video paces the the rolling scroll of landscape images to match the twinkling motion of the keys as if working to uncover an answer to Sweat's sung longings of, “all my love, where have you gone?” Melissa Ann discussed with us the song and video's composition, the letting go of love, and the lasting piano-lined resonances of offering love.
“I was so pleased with the video that William made with its stark opening showing a cemetery covered in snow with some headstones and plastic flowers peeking out; it worked so well with the first lines of the song. That image was very apt in that 'Gleam' for me almost seems like a final incantation (it also being the last song on the album) to let go of negative experiences in past relationships. Letting go of love that has caused me pain. To then switch that image to these minimalist, up-close shots of water both being let out of and pouring into a container is a very simple, smart, and even unexpected visual shift–again so appropriate after the feeling of relief that breaks free in the last part of the song. When writing it, I also thought of letting my love go as an artistic offering, so there's a duality there between letting go of negative love and a much more positive kind–of art, healing, expression, communication etc. That's the thread and the final offering of the album. My love.”
Our viewing of Lady Lazarus's June Zandona directed video for “Lapsarian” turned our discussion to the transcendental quality of traditional instruments, especially when grounded in feelings of the familiar and close to the heart.
“There's a rawness and a simplicity in my music that works well with traditional instruments”, Melissa explained, “and yet the structure, lyrics, intention, and emotion of the songs strive for the transcendental. That's how I feel both in music and in life, really. Earthy and yet quite spirited.”
From thoughts on spirited, earthy rawness in sound, we explored director June Zandona's visual mix of the surreal/sentimental with vintage glamor, amid the emotional and ruminous lyrics laced with the accordion drone.
“I had a hand in suggesting the “vintage glamour” and painting myself as an odd sort of hyper-feminine recluse a la Kenneth's Anger's Puce Moment, a favorite short film of mine, but June completely ran with the surreal and surprising imagery in the video, and the unexpected turn it takes. One of the opening up-close shots was inspired by the Man Ray photograph, Tears, and June's imagination led her to want to answer the question: why is this woman crying?”
“The turn June devised is so completely brilliant in that on one end it's a very sly joke, and yet it also suggests (along with the lyrics and emotional tone of the song) that although these are difficult feelings, requiring a bit of wailing over an equally sonorous accordion, that I, or the character in the video is still quite in control over these emotions. It reaches a boiling point, a spilling over, a shedding, and yet, she returns to her composure. It's menses… it's catharsis.” And with the octopus tentacles boiling over the stove top cauldron, the emotional catharsis and tears are met with the slicing of red onions.
“June was a very mean director also, no just kidding, she was lovely, but she wanted me to cry real tears, so I had to do a bit of summoning up of some not pleasant thoughts–which was challenging and awkward and a little painful, but it created something quite authentic in the end. I don't know how Laurel Nakadate did it”.
Watch the video for “Lapsarian” here, while her album All My Love in Half Light is available now.
LA duo OOFJ Jenno Bjørnkjær and Katherine Mills Rymer direct and start in their music video for “Pinstripe Suit”. In an alluring but strange film universe of their own, Los Angeles is transformed into what could be a European villa anywhere where the nature of settings and instincts move together like the parallel lines of the implied, “Pinstripe Suit”. Where every shot is a picture, every moment a scene and a twisted development; Katherine plays a woman connecting to her surroundings and being held in a pyschological captive of attractions and dependencies by the faceless character performed by Jenno.
“We wanted to make a music video that had no slowmotion in it”, Katherine told us.” Even though that is very beautiful, we wanted to make the video feel like a moment from a longer film. We kind of look on the video as a lush-technicolor inspired story of erotic violence”, hence the the contrasts of synth scored sunny days and milk-money shot play. “We thought the two characters in it should be ambigous, that is why the man's face is never shown and why the girl is ambivalent, emotional and turned on at times in sometimes a confusing way. It's like the two characters are stuck in this frightening and gorgeous world where the possibilities between two people are endless and futile”.
We just got the chance to catch up with Placerville's Pregnant's Daniel Trudeau to talk about his donation song series “Your Song“. The way this works is the band writes songs for folks willing to donate $5 toward the general funding of tour essentials pertaining to merch, gas, travel, and so forth. Having just released their new album Pottery Mill from Mush Records, Daniel took the time to chat with us about recording the home-Fi cuts for Ellie, Tiffany, Jeanine, Liz (and her rad blog) and the fresh process of writing songs for others.
“I feel like these are the best songs I've ever written. I think its due to the fact that they were written for each person individually that donated, and whether I knew these people or not and to what degree I knew them was completely ignored in the song writing. I knew I wanted to write super personal songs for folks (stuff they could really feel good about paying for) and songs that had a nice little message for them when they listen to them years down the road. The song for my friend Shauna's daughter Ellie was going to be semi-light hearted and then it turned into this time capsule song and now it's this really intense message to a little girl. Hahaahha! I know Jeannie really well and that was actually the hardest song for me to write because i felt that it had to fit her vibe. So the process of writing that one was harder (almost like painting a life like image of someone) Then Liz Pavlovic's song came out pretty easy cause I just turned it into the pseudo e-mail from a fan of her blog. So the whole process just feels fresh. I feel like I need to make more free songs too. I have always been scared of just giving my music away for free but I think its extremely legit!”
So sit back and lose yourself in the foothills with the following “Your Song” tracks, “Dwight”, “Liz”, “Jeannie”, “Tiffany”, and “Ellie” that move in ways from experimental organ electronic assemblages to the new Sierra Nevada folk-spun-strums. And remember that for a $5 donation or more, your name could be put to song too.
Phillie's PremRock dropped an album ode to Tom Waits with Mark's Wild Years late last year that features appearances from Billy Woods, Jeanette Berry and production from the likes of Adam Selene, Steel Tipped Dove, Spills, Talpas, Mr. Simmonds, Taj, Willie Green, Yuri Beats, and Zilla Rocca. Having already discussed with us the Waits style applied to the hip-hop tableau, Prem is proud to present the kicked up video for the song “Singapore” directed by Crosby where Tom's old world original bounce gets tricked out in an underground speakeasy of whiskey river debauched antics. In our exchanges the other day, PremRock described the collaborative process of stirring ideas from rhyme into video.
“This is myself and Crosby's third video working together so we have developed a rapport and certainly now how to work with each other at this stage in the process. I never write a treatment. I just have a basic idea in my head, send Cros the track and we meet up and talk in length about what we what to accomplish. He lives a block away so these meetings are usually very easy to make happen. It's definitely a team effort and I respect his opinions enough to let him be the guiding hand, which is saying something because I'm pretty protective of the way things get done in my career.”
We also discussed the song's adaptation in conjunction with the video's creative developments that create the feeling of being down and out in the land of nod. “We wanted to maintain the integrity of the original and cater to the sounds in a way that would make the old man smile (If ever he saw it.) The theme of the song basically draws on madness and drunken debauchery. At least that's what I took from it. I wanted to take the viewer on hell of a bender and question the stability and sanity of the lead character. The bar was meant to be far from ordinary and the extras (all artists and friends of mine) did a great job being total weirdos.”
With news of Standish/Carlyon playing their first NYC show May 30 at Glasslands, we got the open-secret-undecoded message of “Subliminally”. Percussion effects, samples and synths fly by at pre-agreed upon paces, flashing by dark dances on the balcony and croons of, “subliminally, it turns me on”. Bassist and vocalist Conrad Standish sent us his thoughts on their new single of synth-bathed pop number of desire-lusts through obsessive instincts.
“Subliminally' is maybe the most immediate cut on Deleted Scenes. Conceptually it revolves around illness, both mental, physical and sexual as well as themes of high society and tropical pleasures.”
In a track that moves with like the heatwave visual mirage distortions of the tropics, Conrad and Tom direct a musical feast for the movie-goer's mind and senses. With settings that feel like cold bourgeois mansions paired with warm synth undulations, the duo throws out film still images of Polaroids floating in the pool, venomous spiders crawling on palm trees within the content of their poème électronique.
On May 14, Standish/Carlyon will release their debut album, Deleted Scenes on felte.
Braids return with a preview listen to their B-sider “Amends” off their upcoming 12″ In Kind // Amends available June 11 from Arbutus, Flemish Eye in Canada as well as Full Time Hobby in Europe. Listen as the sound of making amends reverbs like hallucinated beats and vocals that move like the wind strewn breeze.
The Cool Kids' Chuck Inglish is out here letting the beats and good times drop on the turned-up with the top down, “Drops,” from his upcoming Droptops tape. Dropping some peace for the dawgs, Inglish also plans to drop his album Convertibles later this Summer from Sounds Like Fun Records.
When Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon isn't rolling with Gaungs, Poliça, or laying on the Iver smooth treatment; you can find him with The Shouting Matches, rolling on the rocker “Avery Hill” off Grownass Man out now from Middle West.
“Dance Until Three” with Hey Anna, playing the angular angles in a dance rock track to break your curfew. The sisters Erin, Katie and Anna Rauch-Sesseen combine their keyboard and bass hooks with lead guitar from Andrew Smolin and Matthew Langner on drums dedicated to letting the good times roll. Expect more jubilance and guitar music for the dancefloor on May 8 from Hey Anna's upcoming Pompette EP.
San Francisco's A-1 gives a little dose of sobering reality for the fun-in-the-sun season with “Summertime Sadness” produced by none other than Ryan Hemsworth fuggin' with LDR's original. Mixed by Woostar, Adam Traore spits to restore balance in the community while presenting a barage of cause and effect situations that occur during the extended holiday-daze in the heat. Check out A's tour date's here.
Caged Animals dropped their new single “Cindy + Me” to be released June 17 on Lucky Number. New Jersey's Vincent Cacchione wants to know “if you're in or out” while living it up on top of the world in the best valentine in May you will hear all month.
(photo by Angel Ceballos)
Seattle's Jesse Lortz has sent word that a new Case Studies album titled This Is Another Life will be released June 11 from Sacred Bones. To comemorate the announcement, enjoy a beautiful, hand animated 15-second trailer to bring what looks and sounds like a beautiful, peaceful, totally, another life.
Jesse Brickel of Young Yeller takes on the new romantics with the slow-dancer, “Cut Me Open”. Turning the vulnerable soul sides into the most epic of invitation of masochistic attachments. But Brickel keeps out of the early 80s pigeonholing with a passion for album rock harmonies with smart, subtle and tight guitar touches in the right places. The Young Yeller LP is slated for release this Summer.
Enjoy the trailer for Hey Anna's forthcoming Pompette EP.
The Stepkids get jazzy in their Red Bull Studio video for their new song “The Art of Forgetting” from their upcoming second album Troubadour dropping this fall from Stones Throw. Get it into their interpretation of jazz trio vibes that doesn't forget the Stepkids' musical Stepfathers that gave them the styles and notes to work from. Catch them at the Brooklyn Bowl on May 22.
Get a listen to the new Spectrals track, with “A Heartbeat Behind” where Heckmondwike, Yorkshire's Louise and Will Jones give the best power chord fest you will hear anywhere. From the forthcoming Sob Story LP, the Jones Brothers kick out more indie power kicks June 18 from Slumberland Records.
Get a look at the Brass Bed video for their pop pleader, “Please Don't Go” from Makemade. In the same ways you were affected from the face morphing portion of Michael Jackson's “Black Or White” video, watching the Brass boys faces change through video projections of their super-positioned self-image sentiments in different time that only trips you up further.
Dangerous Boys Club just released their debut LP Pris on Dais Records and dropped the video for “Tranzilvania”. But beware, these dark brooding lost boy vampires got some real electric bite.
Get a listen to the deep dish dance groove of the Tomas Barfod remix of The Presets' “Fall”. The Presets Pacifica is out now, read our interview with the duo here, and catch them on their North American tour through the end of May.
Ceramic Dog, Marc Ribot's band with Shahzad Ismaily and Ches Smith with their psycho-somatic video for “Lies My Body Told Me”, off Your Turn that came out this week from Northern Spy.
Keep Shelly in Athens gets her single “Madmen Love” remixed by Mike Simonetti as her long awaited full-length debut is slated for release this Fall from Cascine. If KSIA's original “Madmen” didn't already have enough attitude and vanity, then listen as Simonetti takes this track down every new progressive house abode and welcoming home the tractor beam lazers can find.
Radiation City, along with fellow notables Aan have been putting Portland on the map more than any post-hoc fakesters or Portlandia parodiers. For their Northwest uranium enriched energy, we recommend “So Long” off their upcoming hot second album Animals In The Median, dropping May 21 from the Tender Loving Empire.
Peep the self-directed creative video for Quelle Chris's “Greene Eyes (feat. Tanya Morgan, Fresh Daily, Cavalier)”. Get more thoughtful insights, rhymes, and the chillest production around produced by Chris, Messiah Musik and Sifu on the project Niggas Is Men available now from Mello Music Group.
Peep the Patrick Ryan Morris video for Drop Electric's “Little Sister”, making funeral pyres out in the wild to wailing guitar emotions from the single off their forthcoming Every Day is Your Last coming later this year from Pusher Music.
Get a look at DJ Day's Erick Lee directed video for “VQ” off Day's PL70 released album Land of 1000 Chances that spans from a Palm Springs skatepark through the Coachella Valley.
Gathering runes with sunny acoustic adventures in a big foresty backyard is the bird blessings of Dana Falconberry's “Please Sparrow” video directed by Laura Belle for Tobacco Films. Dana and friends gather like nature's minstrels safely asking the sparrow for flight from old bonds, into the new freedoms and new days dawning. Dana Falconberry's Leelanau album is available now from Antenna Farm Records.
Bell X1 saw their single “Careful What You Wish For” remixed by Chad Valley. Hugo Manuel isolates the emotive fluorescent vocals while maintaining the serenity of the surrounding synthesizer sea that never let's the tide rise too high to the surface. Bell X1's Chop Chop LP comes out July 2 from Belly Up.
Get a look at Pick a Piper's “Cinder and Dust” video illustrated and animated by Kyle and Graeme Reed and written by the band's Brad Weber (formerly of Caribou) and Dan Roberts. For more bell battles between monks and multi-eyed monster ram-jams, check out their self-titled from Mint Records.
Get ready for the whole Hiero crew of Pep Love, Tajai, Casual, A Plus, and Del The Funky Homosapien on the new Hieroglyphics music video for “Gun Fever” directed by Casual's Wetfoot Filmworks. With the nation debating and examining the gun control issues, the Oakland crew presents some of their perspectives and collective earned wisdom on the matter with a ragga dancehall production piece from Gully Duckets.
Larry Gus is prepearing his full-length Years Not Living available June 25 from DFA Records, and you can tune into Larry's remix of Sinkane's “Warm Spell” that brings a heat wave amid congo drums, dance cuts and careful usage of phasers.
Wampire gives you their track “Trains” following up “The Hearse” and “Spirit Forest,” about love, affection and subsequent loss. According to Eric Phipps:
“Trains' was written during a time when I was young and overly idealistic about love. A lady was driving me wild with her strange affection and I was naively waiting for it to 'mean something' or whatever. When she finally skipped town, I was sitting on a train that was delayed for some reason or another and started humming the melody that later became 'Trains.' By the time I got home I had the lyrics and rough skeletal structure of the song. Girls are like trains – you're always waiting for a chance to be let on just so you can hop off at the next stop.”
Wampire's full-length Curiosity comes out May 14 from Polyvinyl with tour dates with STRFKR through June 13.
Listen to Sensual Harassment's disco remix of Dead Leaf Echo's “Kingmaker”. The Sensual duo trips up the Dead Leaf collective's cut into some of the most astounding, lazer guided electric pop that will keep you listening and pining for more. Brooklyn's Dead Leaf Echo releases their debut LP Thought and Language this spring and plays with The Ocean Blue at a sold out Mercury Lounge gig June 1.
Matias Aguayo dropped “El Sucu Tucu”, where Matias channels the pan-global Latin beat fusions that operate on psyched out minimalism that reflect not just the cool vibes from his District Union Berlin studio, but we're talking the sounds he heard while recording in Buenos Aires, Ciudad de México, Vitry-Sur-Seine, Rionegro Antioquia, Colombia, Sternhagen Gut, Germany, etc. Taking the global beat networker half a decade's time to gather and complete, Aguayo's new album The Visitor will be available June 24 from Cómeme through distro from Kompakt.
Catch the Ciarán Wood coastal blissed video for Vondelpark's title cut “Always Forever” off their upcoming June 23 album from the dance connoisseurs at R&S Records.
From the Miracle Music mixtape, NISSIM (formerly D.Black) dropped the the listen to “Chronicles” that reflects spiritual evolutions and growth while re-introducing himself with a confident swagger and some new sermons with old school learnings.
Kingdom, aka Fade To Mind label boss Ezra Rubin, drops his graveyard found sound smash, “Corpse”. A track that comes alive off the slab, and walks off into the night; Kingdom allows your mind to run wild while beats and anxious synths add to the track's intensity. Catch this off Kingdom's forthcoming Vertical XL EP from Fade To Mind (naturally), and catch Rubin and vocal fave Kelela at the Downtown Music Festival on May 10 at Tammany Hall in New York.
Enter the intimate room of reflections in Emma Louise's Jefferton James video for soft electronic pulsed underlined single “Mirrors” off her debut album, Vs Head Vs Heart from Frenchkiss Records.
Bitch, the project of Alligator's Billie Jo dropped her infectious ode to the power of self-belief with the bright synth delights of In Us We Trust, dropping July 16 on her imprint Short Story Records.
CREEP gives you a proper “Introduction” (feat. PLANNINGTOROCK) with a string song moods of languid vocals. Consisting of Romy Madley-Croft (of The xx), Sia, Tricky, and Andrew Wyatt (of Miike Snow), this super gloom groove group releases their from debut album echoes available August 13.
Check out the The Gaslamp Killer's video for “In The Dark” directed by HYPERBALLAD Dano Cerny and Marielle Tepper off his debut Breakthrough from Brainfeeder. Shot in winter around Prague; the gothic, dark spinning visuals of the occult and strange fit into the Killer's beats of the baroque variety.
Then hit the clubs with Little Boots, who dropped the video for “Broken Record”. Sure to get caught in your dome like the title's allusive reference, you can thank the production team of DFA Records' Tim Goldsworthy, Hercules and Love Affair's Andy Butler, and Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford. Boots' album Nocturnes comes out May 7 from On Repeat Records.
Keeping the dancefloors packed and the dancehall tunes fresh, check out GAUDI's “Why u wanna run (feat. Danny Ladwa)” featuring lots of “rhythm and bass”, off his forthcoming album in between times.
No longer to be referred to as TAB the Band, Duxbury, Massachusetts' Dead Boots throw every big stage trick in the book while emulating whoever the hell your favorite 90s frontman/egomaniac was. Dead Boots' album Verónica will be available July 16 from North Street Records.
Keep the big, unabashed pop stages ringing, get a listen to San Francisco's Koruscant Weekend, “Last Train Home”
Man Bites Dog Records' duo Illogic & Blockhead have dropped their solar bottling full-length Capture the Sun and give us the Erick Anello video for “Atlantis Depth”. Roaming NYC, the two excavate a familiar urban Atlantis with Ill spilling some posi-solutions to find the good in others with the closing line, “so recognize the genius in others in order for your genius to be recognized for the heights it will reach like”.
Night Moves' album Colored Emotions dropped from Domino the other month, and the Minneapolis 3 give some jangle-twang on the PBR session recorded at the Do317 Lounge for “Country Queen”.
The Doppelgangaz just ran a 12-date European tour in support of their new album, HARK and give us some live visuals of them on their last gig of the Euro tour with DJ Johnny Quest in Leipzig, Germany for your vicarious pleasure.
Chicago duo The-Drum have their own sci-fi program mix to sit in between their Sense Net EP and their upcoming album Contact available June 25 from Audraglint. Listen as both the sounds of asphalt and country collide like the liquid mud melding of water and earth.
In Drag City artists news, DC's vanity imprint God? has already given us Trin Tran's Dark Radar last year and this July 16 the offshoot label will give us a reissue of the White Fence self-titled debut on LP and present the new San Francisco band Scraper's self-titled 7″ on the same day. Bitchin Bajas will also return this Summer with their new album Bitchitronics, dropping July 16. Also AZITA's tour dates that begin tonight, May 3 in Providence, RI through July 20 in Madison, WI. For further dates and details, check out the Drag City tour page.
Burger Records are unstoppable, so get ready for the Burger Boogalo July 6-7 at Oakland, California's Mosswood Park with a lineup that will include talents like Redd Kross, Jonathan Richman, The Oblivions, Traditional Fools, Trashwomen, Guantanamo Baywatch, Audacity, Pangea, Jonathan Toubin's New York Night Train, and more. Got to the Boogalo website for more details and check out the old-testament slack rock of Mozes And The Firstborn's single “I Got Skills” off their self-titled cassette available now from Burger.
San Francisco's preservation of alternative music's past Superior Viaduct will be repressing Monitor's self-titled and MX-80 Sound's Hard Attack LP both on May 19. Sprung from LA's World Imitation Productions art collective, we turn the clocks back to 1980 to a sneak listen of Monitor's “In Terrae Interium” and “I Saw Dead Jim's Shade” that present the kind of sparse minimalism that today's freak waves adore to no end with minor chords of abandonment and synthesizer streaks that sing out to the nether-worlds.
Originally released on Island Records in 1977, MX-80 Sound unleashed their free-jazz-fury on their unsuspecting hometown of Bloomington, Indiana and a world that had no idea what hit them. “Fascination” proved that you could still be punk and shred, while “Summer 77” presents a summer of love capsule that predicts the coming of the 80s sound of bands that could have been your life to the early sound of 90s indie slackers breaking through the mainstream's glass ceiling.
Shimmer down with Tripwires' 90s sentimental affected ode, “Shimmer” from their Spacehopper album available June 18 from Frenchkiss Records.
From TEEN's upcoming Carpark EP Carolina, check out the Elizabeth Skadden video of the band captured in free-wheeling form at Union Pool.
Austra's Olympia comes out June 18 from Domino Records, and we got an early viewing of the “Home” video directed by That Go's Noel Paul & Stefan Moore. The view of the vanity mirror reflecting back at the group provides a minimalist approach while they kick it to their own dance licked kicks.
Shannon and the Clams bring back their sleep talking visions and stylistic creations with “Into a Dream” from the forthcoming Hardly Art album Dreams in the Rat House, available May 21. Shannon Shaw, Cody Blanchard, and Ian Amberson stir up classical rock-fantasias from the lands of sleep where the trio stand at the gates into the realms of bed knobs, broomsticks, and Little Nemo-like adventures from the the golden age of twentieth century slumbers.