Welcome to your Week in Pop, as we begin with everything you need to know for this weekend, and the weeks to come. First off, not content to let Daft Punk hog the big electronica-comeback spotlight; Boards of Canada are offering the world a live album transmission of their new album, Tomorrow's Harvest via their website at 4pm EST this Monday June 3. And if you too are all fired up by the audacity of Zosia Mamet's Cabin Sisters-Kickstarter, we got 7 better things you can do with that $32,000 to entertain your inner 'alt philanthropist.' And look out Rotten Tomatoes, as papa bear-Pitchfork has unveiled plans to start a film site of their own called, The Dissolve that goes live later this summer. But right now, everyone keep calm and carry on as James Murphy thinks that the new Arcade Fire album is going to be a “really great record.” Make what you will as usual of all this, but listen in here as this week's illuminous collection of artists share their music and thoughts with us in no particular order.
New Zealand duo Calum Robb and Julia Catherine are Black City Lights who gave us some dark casted but encouraging words of perseverance and a 'never give up' message, with the track “Give It Up”. The restless walk alone wandering is punctuated by spondees of bass keys where Julia exudes the “I'll burn it down” resolve, always walking forward into warm spots of the coldest night and never looking back. Black City Lights' album Another Life comes out August 6 from Stars & Letters. Calum and Julia discussed the making of their forthcoming full-length and a synergy built from a love of heavy, thick synths, warm harmonies, lots of reverb and more.
“While writing this album we were lucky to have a sweet studio space which we shared with some very talented and inspiring musicians. Working in creative environments and energetic spaces bring out the best in us – we were composing new tracks almost weekly.”
“Our process is fairly straightforward, in terms of writing and producing. Calum will start with a bed of noise, either being a field recording, a synth line or both. This establishes the atmosphere for the song – a crash of thunder for example is dark and foreboding. Lyrics will begin to form naturally whilst Julia experiments with vowel sounds and vocal processing. She loves the idea of how words sound against different tones and chord changes and thinks it almost as important as their meaning lyrically. We share a love of thick, heavy synths and warm harmonies over minor keys, big, luscious swells, and lots of reverb.”
“Our mindset from day one has been to make music we like regardless of how others might respond to it. It's important to us to be able to listen to and enjoy the finished product, removing ourselves from having played part in the creative process. In truth, we haven't yet found ourselves in a situation where we might be compromised artistically. There have been times where we've started to drift and work on a song that didn't inspire or motivate us, but we'd always pick up on it and tell ourselves, 'it wont work, it's not us, we hate it' and then scrap it or work it into something that works for us.”
Coloured Clocks, the project of Melbourne's James Wallace stops the clocks to encapsulate those endless moments caught in sun loops (that we wish would never end) as heard on the track “All The Time” off Nectarine. The inclusive, 'be-in' feeling runs freely as Wallace leaves the guitars to strum about hazily under the Australian sun. James wrote to us this week about the process of recording the album Nectarine and the creation of the dream-droning, 'all together' kind of vibe you hear on “All The Time” (and want to hear everywhere else always).
“I actually wrote an initial version of the song 'All The Time' when I was in early high school. When I first wrote it, it was an instrumental track, it didn't have any words and I was probably too shy to sing anyway. I was just playing it on my guitar one day in the past couple of years and some lyrics just kinda came out. They pretty much stuck, I then had the job of trying to make the song sound the way it was in my head…”
Ferns released both a musical, visual and textual statement where singer Kelly Jackson proclaims, “we don't take orders from you all”. Embracing the whimsical DIY spirit expressed with lyrics like, “we walk on, we walk tall, we walk into town”, canoodling tales of reckless abandon, fun with fountains, acting on instincts and more abound in the minimalist-Phil Maves directed, home made video for “Impulsive”. Found on Ferns' Whatever We Plan EP available now, the Brooklyn quartet combines their fleeting romanticism in the rhymed lines of, “what were we thinking”/ “what were we drinking”, grounded in the busted reality of, “is that your daddy's Lincoln?” Before you enjoy the video for “Impulsive”, read the following exclusive creative manifesto the band sent us, where the 4 describe their ethic in terms of “the dismantling of the whole art-hipster post-college myopia” and so many more words.
Kevin Dedes (guitar): “Anyone can write music with computers, and electronics can make some wonderful music, but coming from a live performance background, I personally wanted to make music with some real blood, sweat, and tears. When Kelly and I started we just used a computer and voice; then Brandon joined and all of a sudden there was a real band and things started to get exciting. We wrote the first EP, and then started working on what was the basic outline of Whatever We Plan. Then Phil joined, the sound kind of exploded, and it was, I think for the four of us, love at first beat.”
Brandon Starniri (drums): “For 'Impulsive,' I had wanted to do a late 80s/early 90s alternative hip-hop beat influenced by De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets. As we were migrating the song from a jazzier original arrangement, it seemed to make sense. I also remember that we used to refer to this as 'the Portishead-y one' early on.”
Phil Maves (bass, video director): “The video for 'Impulsive' is meant to be a homemade, square-one introduction to Ferns as a group. Kelly’s lyric is very late-night, playful and intimate, which in my mind called for tight close-ups on each of us, in a darkened moonlit room. Kelly is a natural performer, which made filming the video a breeze. She didn’t really need much direction at all; she does her thing and I recorded it, basically. The male members of the band (Kevin, Brandon, myself) having our hair pulled and tousled was Kelly’s late addition to the shoot, and it added some nice comic relief.”
Kelly Jackson (vocals): “I think we are a band with balls. Big ones. We talk about sexism, the bullshit economy, people's dumb value systems that make no sense (de facto destructive) and thus must be mocked ruthlessly, as well as perspectives that embrace pleasure and magic of life. Also our songwriting process is in direct opposition to the recycled, tired out, formulaic/twee nonsense that crops up a lot. In other words, we convert actual life that we actually bother to engage with and observe, into our musical output.”
Kevin: “How long can we all pretend we're Oscar Wilde? We felt like it was time to break away from that. Our music is the dismantling of the whole art-hipster post-college myopia, and replacing it with 'real talk,' as they say in the comedy world.”
Friend Roulette's I'm Sorry You Hit Your Head album came out earlier this week from Goodnight Records, and we have both a preview listen and exclusive details. Built as bandmate Matthew Meade recovered from being struck by an automobile; his friends Julia Tepper, John Stanesco, Tlacael Esparza, Kyle Olson, and Nate Allen all weave lush ethereal sounds with voices, bass clarinet, violins, percussion (with occasional electronic enhancements). “On Her Own Tonight” initiates the album's sweeping night out, as the group's orchestrals enter like the rising sun on “Golden”, the title track's multi-faceted tense arrangement underscores personal trauma, as the heady triumphs of “Hi, Hello” drops you into the song couplet of, “Lie (Part 1 & 2)” where the band gets super electric in their rhythmic progressions. Observe the planetary cycles for what they are in the spellbound adventures of “Earthrise”, before saying auf wiedersehen in, “Oh, Berlin”, that brings everything back home to Brooklyn (by way of Deutschland) and to a close.
Friend Roulette are performing at the sold-out McCarren Park show on June 15 with The Walkmen and Phosphorescent with upcoming shows in the works. After the album's release this past week, we tracked down Matthew Meade to get deep into the group's friendly dynamics.
Give us a few words on the album.
I'm Sorry You Hit Your Head was quite a process. In the end it took 3 years to make. I wouldn't say its so much of a challenge for us to make it, but it was a challenge dealing with everything else around it, such as mixing mastering & then the Music industries standards in terms of when to release an album. It isn't much of a challenge for us to make ethereal music with traditional instrumentation. Most of us went to music conservatory for traditional instruments, so that comes much more natural to us than, for instance, making a synth pop album. Generally, I, Matt, write the core songs, Julia tweaks the lyrics to her liking, and then the rest of the band orchestrates as they like. There is a high level of trust amongst the band & everyone usually comes up with their own parts after the song is written.
Often times, while recording this album, we would track the core song in about half an hour then spend the rest of our time layering bass clarinet, violin & percussion parts. This is what gives the album the ethereal and lush vibe. I would say that all the songs on the album carry with them a notion of the dark sides of love. Not in the same way that a “break up album” does, but more highlighting the notion of 'love sick debauchery, i.e. what you do to yourself to cope with trauma.
How did the name Friend Roulette come about?
We came up with this name haphazardly. Julia and I we're previously in a band that had been trying to change their name before they broke up . . . When we started Friend Roulette, we were trying to think of a name and in a sense realized band names were a load of BS . . . Julia said, 'can't we call it Matt & Julia are Friends?' I replied, 'no 'cause there's some band called Matt & Kim . . . I don't want this to turn into another band name roulette battle' . . . HENCE Friend Roulette was born.
Tell us how Friend Roulette is better than Chatroulette?
No one in Friend Roulette is going to whip out their dick on screen!
Also catch Friend Roulette's video for album opener, “On Her Own Tonight” directed by Jordan Doig and Stephanie Gould with visual collisions of the intimate and natural.
Get a listen to The Post Nobles. The Long Island band of brothers, Denis and Kieran O'Leary, and their buddies Andrew Knox and Ricky Berotti make cheerful, brain twisting songs for all seasons on the recently debuted self-titled EP. Trying on different styles, the creed and band sound ethos revolves around making each day sound like it should be it's own holiday. Mixing up titular 'tunes' for 'toons'; the Nobles summon the summertime SPF 15 glow with “Summer Toons” where you will have the catchy and eternal chorus of, “I like the moon and the tune in the spring and the skies when they're blue, I like the moon and the tune in the spring…” stuck forever in your head. “Voices in the Night” shows off their balladeering side, while the “everybody clap your hands and be happy” mantra of “Happy Song” gives electrified reasons to rally against bummer vibes. “Nickel and Dime” features more clap along bravado with “crash and burn, baby” invitations. Keeping their eyes fixed on the sky, “March of the Mutants (Sunlights in the Sky)” shows a little more of what these young dudes are capable of on the EP's longest cut. Keeping you waiting for the follow up full-length, the closer “Outro” delves into The Post Nobles' greater electro nobilities. Denis took the time to respond to our inquiries into the group's development and passion for fun-loving, upbeat music.
“As for writing the songs, we've never really had a specific style or method I suppose, the tracks from the EP came from our initial creations as we were beginning to bring everything together…I guess it's been a solid three years now that our ideas for The Post Nobles started to come about. They've gone through several phases since those days, and they'll probably go through several more to be honest. A lot of our earlier stuff (earlier to us, most of it is still unreleased at this point) grew out of the twisted brainchildren of myself (Denis) and my brother (Kieran), but now that we're all together we're making a lot more more full band, jam-oriented stuff headed by Andrew and Ricky. Both ideas of songwriting are equally awesome and challenging, but we don't plan on limiting ourselves to any one method in the future. That's the basic gist of it I suppose, we're just trying to get a fun-loving, positive message to as many people as we can. Anyway, we have sooo much music to release and we're putting together as many summer dates as we can, so stay tooned for more info and updates! You can find us on Facebook, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp.”
San Francisco's Whirr enters with a storm on their new single “Swoon”, to leave you seesawing in the Bay-gaze Telecaster strum. Kristina Esfandiari and Loren River along with the entire sextet reel in a real mind-into-space drifter where the you can hear a tall sedimentary layering of dreampop's past built meticulously on top of each other. Their upcoming Around EP will be available July 9 from Graveface Records and now listen to their song that mimics the act of swooning in slow motion like a crossed-armed trust fall where you descend endlessly.
From their album HARK, The Doppelgangaz duo of Matter ov Fact and EP share some visual “Sun Shine”. The Black Cloak gang may take a break to kick it, shoot some pool and get enjoy some arcade games, while lettin' the peeps know that they're not playing games. Check out their #SkinYarmulke Contest, where the fans can submit bald heads, bald spots, ending June 17.
Be one of the first to hear the new Jacuzzi Boys single, “Double Vision” as they prepare to jetset on a tour with Man or Astro Man? throughout June. This single drops July 9 from Hardly Art, but those expecting something akin to the dad classic of Foreigner's “Double Vision” will be gleefully mistaken. Listen as the Miami group takes their sun saturations to a sedated state as you are instructed to “t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-take it apart”.
We have the Martha Naranjo Sandoval video for Ablebody's “Sally Hot Jazz”, matching a haunting layering of analogue, video tape visual superpositions on top of the song's haunting layers of cassette tape resolutions of audio. Ablebody's All My Everybody EP is available now on Bandcamp, and we have some exclusive behind the scenes perspectives courtesy of frontman, Christoph Hochheim.
“All the projections were compiled from hours of old family videos that I stitched together, mainly the odd moments between shots when the camera would focus on something other than the subject at hand. We shot it virtually for free, relying heavily on the generosity of friends to acquire equipment, locations, etc. Martha Sandoval is a filmmaker from Mexico City who expressed interest in doing a video for Sally and after checking out her rad work she came up for a hectic yet fruitful weekend of shooting. We're definitely happy with the results considering the constraints!”
Giving us two new anthemic jams that you can fist pump along to even after the barbecue coals have cooled; Young Yeller's Jesse Brickel's sent the following Memorial Day message that includes two new tracks to ring in the occasion. The rising charisma of this track will stir about feelings of new courageousness as Jesse's music builds relentless keyboard awe-inspiring pop unbound with YY that is unmatched by few.
“To celebrate this memorial day with a dual release as Young Yeller, “War” and “1st Love”. Both tracks are available for free stream/download on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Both tracks will be included on the self-titled Young Yeller LP due out this summer. they are the fourth and fifth self-released tracks from the LP, after “Cut Me Open“, “Drive Me Wild” and “I Walked”.
BRAIDS gives more of their kind electro pulse readings with the new single “In Kind” off the upcoming, Flourish // Perish album out August 20 on Arbutus stateside, Full Time Hobby in the UK and Flemish Eye in Canada.
DJ Ayers and DJ Eleven are The Rub, and have been rocking NYC parties now for over a decade and are about to drop their self-titled EP June 11 on T&A Records. Grab a listen, reach out and touch the evening time vibes of, “Feel You (featuring Misun)” where M advises you to, “let your body take control”, and draws the night time shade with a seductive piano-lead delivery.
Wise Blood drops the video for “Rat” made by frontman/evil genius/electro-humanoid-mastermind Chris Laufman with director Michael Lawrence. The new album id and Glasslands release party in Brooklyn both drop on June 25, courtesy of Dovecote Records.
Take about 5 minutes out of your day and spend some times with Emily Wells as she performs “Darlin” from the album Mama Acoustic Recordings available June 11 from Partisan Records. Directed by Ruben Woodin Dechamps for Bat On Ball Creations, Wells strums her acoustic folk ballad where the black and white film finds Emily in her element in what appears to be a practice room. As a bonus, listen to the end as you get 2 songs in 1 as Wells drops into her own rendition of “Oh My Darling, Clementine”. Also be sure to check out her Dan the Automator: Music for Mixtapes Selector.
Tireme dropped their debut release with the Virgin Island EP on Feel So Real and featured a listen to title track remix from Groundislava. The story with this mysterious duo goes that they exist as elders of the old world following ancient tractates about an island that lies above the ocean. Their music is a tribute to this nautical, cloud tropic land mass made for the inhabitants who call this little humble stretch of stratosphere home. Listen to Tireme's title track, “Virgin Island” here.
Now check out Groundislava's remix of “Virgin Island”. That sky-waving breeze of chill gets chased away with these quick firing drum and high hat hits that turn your cloud nap into an all out, underground/overground juke dance party.
And lastly, a sea-parting minimix from Tireme called, “Journey To Virgin Island”.
Get ready to roll over into some Fresnco, CA real as you peep the Jake Handegard video for “Faces On The Dollar” off Gensu Dean and Planet Asia's collaborative album Abrasions available through Mello Music. Get yourself familiar with the local scenery and listen as Planet spits you some insights into life's pyramid schemes and myriad moneyball games as you get acquainted with the local hometown hospitality.
We got the Midnight Magic electro-dubbed out remix of Touché's “Bad Dreams” as the dreamers prepare to play a few dates with Twin Shadow June 28 in Pomona, CA at the Glass House and June 29 in LA at the Henry Fonda Theatre.
Off the Pro Era mixtape PEEP: The aPROcalypse that dropped last year, Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly and company toast their fallen friend Capital STEEZ on the visuals for “Like Water”. Joey explains their mode of memorialization:
“Capitalizing the name 'Capital STEEZ' is now as good as remembering any credible historic leader leading a militant army of troops. 'Like Water' is the visual stepping stone to what STEEZ lead for the listeners of revolutionary music.”
You can find the Beast Coast representers playing Brooklyn's 285 Kent on June 12 to ring in the release of Summer Knights. Look for Joey and the crew on tour worldwide through September 29.
Kitsuné's Soleil Mix 2 is dropping July 1 from Gildas Kitsuné & Jerry Bouthier featuring Two Door Cinema Club, Hot Chip, Alan Braxe, Is Tropical, Yelle, The Swiss, JBAG, Superpoze to name a few. But right now we got a minimix for you all to preview just some of the further beats to happen. The rhythmic sounds of Summer 2013 await.
Get a listen to the Kitsuné Soleil Mix 2 MiniMix from Jerry Bouthier here.
Joey Fatts has dropped the Chipper Jones Vol. 2 mixtape, fresh from his production appearances on A$AP Rocky's “Jodye”, A$ton Matthew's “Brick Flair”, and “Hit Em Up” for Funk Flex's track featuring ScHoolboy Q. While currently on a European tour with A$AP 'pretty flocko' Rocky, get a listen to the new school of Long Beach in a post-Nate Dogg (RIP) environment, repping the game with the graduated classes of Bronson, Brown, Gibbs, Staples, Alchemist's rich production and more on his Vol. 2 tape. Download it here, and listen now.
Caged Animals dropped the Carlos Lopez Estrada directed video for “Cindy + Me” ahead of the single's June 17 release from Lucky Number Music. Vincent Cacchione takes a sample from Raymond Scott's “Cindy Electronium” and spins it through 90s PC speakers, pentium II processors and modern sound-metropolises. Estrada's video gives a strange reversing of roles where the test monkeys are the doctors experimenting on Cacchione in a hospital environment.
Lukid remixes PVT's upcoming title track from the forthcoming Vertigo 12″ available June 3, with their full-length Homosapien available now from felte. Label operator of Werk Discs and Actress collaborator sends the Aussies' electro-dynamics through wind tunnels and new challenging machinery channels. You too can remix PVT via the Beatport remix competition where felte will possibly drop your reworking on their label, with awards and prizes from Audio Technica gear to Smithson Martin emulators.
Ashrae Fax will see her 2003 album Static Crashout get reissued June 25 through Mexican Summer, bringing back her electro experiments in controlled synthetic dissonance. Get into the digital chemicals here with the mind-altering video for “Pointbreak”.
Jackson Scott is slated to open for Unknown Mortal Orchestra on the Fall stretch of their tour, and in advance wants to give you his “Don't Worry Baby”, low cassette bias recorded classics of audio imagery. Scott's album Melbourne comes out July 23 from Fat Possum.
Lemuria are on an epic tour that runs through October and the trio dropped the energetic of “Chihuly”. Their album The Distance Is So Big will be available June 9 from Bridge Nine. Catch them via tour dates here with release shows listed above.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra drop the Rick Alverson visuals from their Beatle-pop-goes-lo-fi-on purpose opener, “From the Sun” off II from Jagjaguwar.
Denver's elusive Force Publique takes on Smashing Pumpkins' 90s classic “Today” with some darker tones, panning surveys of head stone sites and natural wintertime settings. With the those cathedral keys that command attention and or submission; listen as the the greatest days can get caught in a trap of vibrations sent from another realm. Catch the Force Publique to be reckoned with tonight, at Denver's Larimer Lounge and hear more on their Bandcamp.
Help Iamsu! and the HBK gang “Rep that Gang” on the first listen to the upcoming KILT 2 mixtape, dropping June 6 via LiveMixtapes. On “Rep”, P-Lo brings The Invasion's style of production where the keys be ghosting around all the attention grabbing percussion tricks to underline the mobbin' flows from Su!'s representation of only the finest.
Get all the sun-kissed blisters you can handle with this limited time stream of Splashh's upcoming album Comfort, available June 4 from Kanine Records.
With GRMLN's debut full-length Empire arriving next Tuesday, June 4 from Carpark Records, get a sneak listen into the world of Santa Cruz coastal dorm room dream projects turned into recreated 90's celebrations. From the spring board of “Teenage Rhythm” through “1993” and more; listen to dream journal sketches redrawn into styles fitted for California skate parks North to South of the coast.
Get a look at the Cassandra Hamilton beach bound and back again video for We Are Loud Whispers' “Glossolalia”, from their Suchness album available now from Hardly Art Records. The escapist video steals the keys to dad's slick jet black Jag and steals away through the city to the Western shore and then home again in time before any guardian figure becomes the wiser. The runaway boy's adventure is seen like an action-actualization of Sonya Westcott's frustrated but inspired battle against boredom with, “these days I can barely get by, do you think we can try?”
Teaching and turning the pages, Chi-town's Jahzel moves things to the next episode with “Chapters” off his project In God's Image. Read Jahzel's feelings and sentiments on the upcoming tape in our previous edition of Week in Pop, and listen to a dose of real life that college can't prepare you for.
Check out some of the tripped out album art from Bruno 9li as you stare with your third eye forward into the future on Lumerians' “Dogon Genesis”, and waft in the second hand smoke from, The High Frontier, available June 10 in Europe, August 6 in the States through Partisan Records.
In keeping up with Tokyo label flau, we introduce you to the mysterious duo IKEBANA who dropped their acoustic, soft lullabies whispers with “Kiss” and the video for “Alone”. Their album album When You Arrive There comes out July 8 from flau.
And here is IKEBANA's video for “Alone”, where the guitar strums and vocals illuminate the chill of night with only the glow of the moon in the sky for comfort.
Heliotropes press play on their latest offering with, “Quatto”, formerly known as “Joy Unfolds” from the Brooklyn quartet's A Constant Sea available June 18 on Manimal / Frenchkiss Label Group. Let their formidable guitar crunch joys unfold before your very ears now.
Denver's Ron Cole has coined his approach to production as “Atlantean Techno”, as the long wait for the Hollagramz self-titled full-length ends this Tuesday, June 4 courtesy of Small Plates Records. Enter the depths of Atlantis with Colorado's Cole, as “Corundum” presents a whole different type of electronic conundrum of digitally-overhauled dance.
Team Ghost raises the “Curtains” for a dark brooding performance with a showing of lights and silhouettes, courtesy of visuals of Floz from the French paranormalists' Rituals LP available now from Wsphere.
Nightlands are touring through June 6, and dropped the She Policeman video for “To The Moon” off the Oak Island album available now from Secretly Canadian. So “save your la la la la las” and journey to the mellow moons with the post-millennial moods of Nightlands.
Watch Megha Barnabas dance about NYC with a bouquet of flowers to TEEN's EP title track “Carolina”, available now from Carpark Records. Get down with the urban interpretive dance-athon and get heavy with the Lieberson sisters and friends with their heartier and more tripped up sounds from the new extended player.
If robot synth voices and equally dizzying keyboards are what you crave and need, then look no further than Tempe, Arizona's Vial of Sound with their dead-from-the-grave raiser, “Ghost Ditch”. Their EP Substance Organique Volatile is available now from President Gator.
Because Brooklyn's o.g. indie vanguards TMBG still hold a place of alt-nerd-wit-pop in our hearts; check them performing the Flood classic “Istanbul” on Fallon as they set out on a 35-date tour of the States with a “Celebrate Brooklyn” show in their home borough on August 10.
Glide along the acoustic strummed river stream with the new folk song flotation device from The Horse's Ha with “Dying Tree”. Find this on their upcoming album Waterdrawn available this August from Portland imprint, Fluff and Gravy Records.
Sonny & the Sunsets play an album release day gig at San Francisco's Eagle on June 11 along with the Bay's rising luminaries Burnt Ones and Cool Ghouls. While we have been getting galactic and mellow with their recent single “Green Blood“, we just got their video for “Palmreader”, directed by frontman Sonny Smith. Watch as meditation and music turns to fisticuffs and gory violence in b/w of what would be an otherwise idyllic day in the park. The latest Sonny & the Sunsets album Antenna to the Afterworld will be available June 11 from Polyvinyl Records, and don't miss their gig at the Eagle later that Tuesday evening.