Among the hype of festivals, parties, politics, new album and tour announcements; Impose’s Week in Pop attempts to bring you up to date with some of the latest and greatest movers and shakers around. But bringing you first a helping of the week’s big stories, Dr. Dre streams his anticipated new album Compton; FKA twigs dropped “Figure 8”; Lil B and Chance the Rapper dropped their collaborative Free (Based Freestyles Mixtape); the A$AP Rocky, Danny Brown, Tyler, The Creator, and Vince Staples tour is really happening; Arca announced the new album Mutant expected in late fall; Travi$ Scott arrested after his set at Lollapalooza; Lana Del Rey to release new single “High By the Beach”; Big Boi’s Phantogram album collaboration is allegedly complete; Run the Jewels talked to the BBC about Ferguson, and riots; Autre Ne Veut to release the new album Age of Transparency October 2 and gave us the Allie Avital video for “World War Pt. 2“; jj announced their forthcoming Death EP available August 12 and shared “Fuck It“; Faces to reunite September 5 for a benefit show; Vic Mensa calls the Gallagher brothers out as “dickheads”, alleges “racist” overtones; Sky Ferreira to make her film debut in Eli Roth’s upcoming film The Green Inferno; Lenny Kravitz’ wardrobe malfunction; Ryan Adam is allegedly recording a cover album rendering of Taylor Swift’s 1989; Sony issued a cease and desist order to Optimo over the Now That’s What I Call DIY! (Cult Classics From the Post-Punk Era 1978-82) compilation; the OVO Fest aferparty got out of hand; the Drake and Meek Mill back-and-forth disses continue; we said goodbye to Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and we mourn the passing of country music’s essential producer Billy Sherrill.
Carrying on, we bring you some top exclusives, interviews, and more from Dark Palms, Golden Void, Michael Stasis, Sabonis, We Roll Like Madmen All Walls, Arwen Lewis, Deletions, Future Museums, Girl Band, The Persian Leaps, Phylums, Warm Deltas, Ancient Warfare, Barleaux, Sarah P., Sighs, featuring guest selections by Boulevards, and more—in no particular order.
Michael Stasis’s residence in the Bay Area was a welcomed beacon of light and sonic adventurism. Exray’s frontman/ producer/writer/multi-disciplined artist Jon Bernson sung Stasis’s praises as one of the world’s lesser known creative beings of indescribable importance. The above feature photo was captured during an inspired Noise Pop performance from 2013, where Michael and I chatted afterwards about the versatile applications of emphases, stylistic elements, and studies in sonic alchemy. Flash forward to today, where the currently LA based artist has just released his album RIP III on the esteemed Arbutus Records imprint, presenting a compiled compendium of creative sketches fleshed out to fully imagined form. RIP III is an immersion into a world of outsider observation with insider smarts; new songs, old songs, familiar songs, strange songs and a blend where power pop pastorals meet the strange world of weirdness, characters, post-Tolkien hobbit rock that break grounds for realms realer than middle earth kingdoms.
The idyllic green gables roll by effortlessly on the opener “Venus Of Soap” that glistens with the prestige of vintage fantasy pop that glimmers with the charm of the nuclear age. The live favorite “Brown Cow” shoots above the sky with the rolling, side-winding whirr and whimper of a turbine engine of cosmic crop-duster taking visual inventory of livestock. Warbling captured audio stems set the analog-angled “Crushed” that finds Stasis defending the title in the canon of your favorite lo-fi loving cassette cradling heroes, to the multi directional devotions that take the crossroads less traveled on the triumphant “All The Ways”. Humor remains a staple in the song cycle survey of the absurd in the tongue-in-cheek cultural satire “Land Of The Goths”, right before embarking on break-neck wizardry on tour de force arrangements found on songs like “Little Devil”, tearjerker ballads from alternate dimensions like “The Necklace”, or the clap along widsom wielding “Surface Area” that hits the heart with the memorable lyric of “don’t let the fires of liars burn your hardware.” Wendy Carlos Moog modes inform the Korova Milk Bar magic land on the interlude “The Dairy Queen”, to “Greenskin” that finds Michael in his mode of making transformative songs, echoing the aches on the underground echo burrowing “Pain”, leaving you with the sparse electric story time strummer of campfire style smolders on the sad song “Smokey”. Right after the following listen, read our interview with Michael Stasis for a unique and deep look into the outlooks, and insights from a formerly obscure artist on the rise finally receiving proper recognition.
The geographical travels of Michael Stasis are remarkable, and infamous. I know I have heard from the Bay Area crew that your own creative visions have impacted a lot of like-minded talents like Bart Davenport, Jon Bernson, Mwahaha’s Ross Peacock, etc. How much do you find yourself influenced by environments, and others, and at what points can you identify it in your own work?
I have no idea if I’ve had an impact on the people you mentioned, but they certainly got me excited about living out a specific dream. All of those guys (Bernson, Davenport, Peacock, Jason Kick and others) are lifers and that’s the kind of energy I draw from. The takeaway from these guys is “keep going.” And not “keep going until you’re famous” but more like spiritual survival. You’ll die if you give up. Don’t betray yourself. I met some of them right around the time I sold my only guitar and these interactions at shows in San Francisco made me realize I didn’t have to “get serious about life” and pursue a different path from the one that truly resonated. So I got a better guitar. I saw Bart play a Christmas show and I was really into his groovy, almost perverted pop and it got me inspired that a relative unknown (at the time) had amassed such a huge catalog of really good songs and that he had been performing strong shows for years. He was alive!
That’s why I’ve moved a lot, because I never know when I’ll see the next thing that shocks me awake to new possibilities. I can pin-point the times I have gotten too comfortable and it always feels like death is right around the corner, so I have to move. In my own work, each place has expressed itself in terms of longing. I have never felt at home anywhere and I’ve always longed for community. Always felt like an observer and not a participant. I’m from a somewhat joyfully broken home. They knew it wasn’t working and we’re all better for it. So I was raised in two different towns growing up, one was kind of a traditional public school experience and the other was like walking around in a really rich guy’s spiritual dreamscape as a poor kid. I still don’t know what to make of my upbringing. Every time I crossed the bridge into this town, reality shifted and I had to experience this long dead guy’s stunning vision of (one) reality. I learned that an entire town can be conceived of based on esoteric spiritual principles but that I’m going back to school on Monday to see some fights and eat garbage processed food. Which town is better? Am I an out-of-touch spiritual butterfly or a justice-loving public school punk? A bit of both.
We talked last about how much you listen to your own music on iTunes, and I was wondering how do these exploratory self-obsessing/critiquing techniques work to find alternate musical passages, progressions, sections, sequences, etc?
In terms of finding new material through the use of self-obsession, it’s process of elimination. If I’ve done one thing too much, I just try not to do it again, or if I just can’t help myself I’ll figure out a way to give it a new wardrobe. The only way to know is to listen to yourself a lot. Sounds gross when a musician says it, but try telling a bridge builder to stop obsessing over quality control. Also, it ensures that if I get sick of something I’ve made easily, it probably means you will too.
How were you able to copy those mysterious moments of creative self-possession to comprise the cycle of RIP III?
RIP III is a comp, so it’s hard to sum it up in terms of one approach. Looking at the track list, it occurs to me that I wrote many of these songs in a state of panic or recovery from panic. I was drinking a lot in the Bay Area. Something bad happened, something challenged my sense of self, I read something in the news, the world is falling apart…better channel that and transmute it. That’s not all of the songs. On the lighter end, I just love to write and singing is a great way to remember that great Bill Hicks line that “It’s just a ride.”
LA always has something happening, but how do you find the world of Los Angeles fits into your own mood, perception, vision, etc?
I have only lived in LA for a year and a half, so it hasn’t really had a chance to influence the Michael Stasis material. It has inspired me to start a side-project based on the really dark side of life. But even that ends up being kind of maniacally happy sounding, though it’s very dirty. I basically made it for hyperactive thirteen year olds and it’s my dream to have a parent tell their kid to turn it down. It actually happened, I was playing it for my friends (who are parents) and they didn’t know what it was but they asked if we could turn it down! I have a soft spot for annoying music.
Is there an RIP IV in the works?
If there is a RIP IV in the works, it means my current album isn’t going well. I want all the new stuff to be dedicated to real albums now. But there’s certainly enough old stuff to make a decent RIP IV.
Key insights on how to create fully immersive music for aspiring musicians?
Key insights on how to create fully immersive music for aspiring musicians (I will add artists of any kind)? My number one tip is first to learn how to be alone. Then learn how to be creative, alone. Don’t be afraid to be a nerd about what you love. Cool people can make you really insecure about things you love. They’re not cool. Passion is cool. Lose yourself. Be aware of trends, don’t succumb. Maybe party less. Trent Reznor didn’t make “Closer” (possibly my favorite song) because he was out at parties hoping people liked him. Maybe it started that way, but eventually you have to bolt yourself down to the chair and make something.
Michael Stasis’s RIP III is available now from Arbutus Records.
Introducing Olympia, Washington’s Dark Palms who presents the world premiere of their self-made video for the single “Ghost Horse” available on 7” from Rock Therapy Records. The new band from Timothy Grisham formerly of Happy Noose finds him in the company of Fabulous Downey Brothers’ Kenrick Ward on drums, Roger Landberg III on bass duties, with The Shidt’s Laurence Goldenstar supplying additional vocals. Dark Palms cast a long northwest shadow of trees and other forces of nature governed by ghost animal instincts and thrashing dark cloaked chords that carry out distorted and deranged power chord hooks that serenade the surrounding rural splendor.
Filmed on location in Satsop, Washington on the property of Roger from the band’s family property that provides everything from valleys, forests, and a river that let’s the Dark Palms ballad of the haunted horseman gallop anywhere it pleases. The group presents their sound in a confetti speckled natural habitat in a sound that sits nestled at home with Timothy and company’s formal peers like Jen Grady from You Are Plural, Jon Hanna of Broken Water, Derek M. Johnson, Mars Lindgren, Romanteek’s Matt Buscher, Full Moon Radio’s Jessie Jackson, and more. The attitude and latitude of different existences, different feelings, and deviated planes of understanding dash away the corrosive connections while the high geared guitars gnash their metal strings against the angst and anger that exists in the gulf of misunderstandings. Not your every day performance video, the off-the-grid setting provides an unlikely and otherworldly setting for Dark Palms’ sound that shakes of the unnecessary attachments and lets out a brooding cathartic call to the wild world in an expansive surrounding. Read our interview with Timothy Grisham after the video premiere where we chronicle the closure of Happy Noose, to the new beginnings of Dark Palms, and more.
Tell us about the formation of Dark Palms, after the cessation of Happy Noose, and you linked up with the band’s Kenrick Ward from Fabulous Downey Brothers, Laurence Goldenstar from The Shidt, Roger Landberg III, to start anew.
With Happy Noose things began to get a bit tedious. It was a bit difficult to operate as a band. Ryan had moved to Portland, Ore. and we continued that way for over a year, but things were not getting done. We had worked on three new songs in about a year and a half and couldn’t finish those in the studio. We re-recorded two songs from our EPs to help spur creativity but everything felt like it was grinding down. There were some other logistical issues—like a cancelled Canadian tour, and other things, which just made it feel like it wasn’t working anymore. I had a lot of material I was sitting on that I wanted to work on—and perhaps they were not the best for Happy Noose. In the end I decided to call it a day. Ryan was really cool about it, in fact he has come out to see Dark Palms play.
John and I tried to regroup and move on but it just wasn’t working. So I had a fresh start. In real short order I got together the line up that is Dark Palms and we pulled up our sleeves and got to work. It has been really natural and fluid – quite the opposite of the latter part of my time doing Happy Noose. I am glad because a lot of the more historically rock oriented material works with this group, where it wouldn’t have hit the studio with Happy Noose. Happy Noose wouldn’t have released “Ghost Horse.”
Tell us about what recording your upcoming full-length has been like with local Olympia folks like Broken Water, You Are Plural.
Well part of living in a music rich small community is that you have the opportunity to collaborate with friends. Some songs began in my bedroom on garage band and ended up in the studio.
Jon (Broken Water) came in and laid down some guitar work for “Eye of the Storm” and a beautiful noise intro. Jen Grady (You Are Plural) and I are friends from middle school years – and she has such a beautiful voice. She sang a duet with Ryan on the last official Happy Noose recording “Keep Calm”. So we had her come in and sing on the chorus of “End Song,” which we did as Happy Noose. Our treatment is a lot more lush than the original. We had Derek M Johnson on it with cello, and the whole record really. He has been a constant collaborator and is great.
Another great recording blessing is to have my friend Mars Lindgren on trombone on one song. He is a stalwart up in Bellingham’s music scene playing with bands like Yogoman. He is one of the first friends I made when I first moved to Olympia in 1988. So really—the album that I hear will be much different than others, because I get the opportunity to hear some of my oldest friends and myself play music together—it is quite a happy accident in that way.
Describe the haunted horsemen fuzzed-out-fi of “Ghost Horse”.
Ghost Horse, in a way, is the genesis of what I thought would set Dark Palms off from Happy Noose. It is decidedly heavier—more driving and very fuzzed out and pulsing. Live it almost feels punishing. It is by far the simplest song structurally that we have—but do to that there is a real feeling of movement and urgency.
Describe what making the video for “Ghost Horse” was like. I like the rural forest-performance vibe that is created here.
With Happy Noose I never got the opportunity to make a performance based video. We did videos that were more esoteric—and were also part of our background projections for live performances. Happy Noose was decidedly devoid of any kind of cult of personality. With Dark Palms I really wanted to start off visually with a performance based video, but at the same time I didn’t want the first official video to be a live approximation. I wanted it to be a bit more ethereal and detached from the reality of band performance.
We shot the video for “Ghost Horse” on Roger’s family’s property in Satsop, Washington. The vibe is really what it is—rural, miles up river from the main road. It was funny because we are shooting this video with a drummer drumming to a song in his ear and no outward sound – and the locals swimming up river are looking like we are crazy. It was also very hot that day, so all black and long sleeves was very out of place. It was a very smooth shoot, no one there to bother us, we were going for something that was more decidedly “Washington” and wanted to use our natural resources—at least that was the intent.
How would you describe your own approaches to songwriting, like how do the concepts arrive, how do you develop a song from the mind, or journal sketches into a complete, and realized entity?
I really don’t journal much anymore for songs. I write lyrics in various books. I used to write down chord ideas, but now if I have a riff in my head I just record it. Half the time I never return to it. Frankly, I have a pretty clear method of working now. Some of that was developed in Happy Noose—with that band I did a lot more paper work and tapered off as it progressed. All previous bands were very written down. I’m a archivist in nature so it is funny to look at songbooks from punk bands I did almost twenty years ago.
Now, I usually write in song cycles around a theme. This could be either a theme in tone and lyrics, or a theme in riffs. So there are these triplets in a cycle where three songs will have a shared chord structure in a way. Then I cut the songs I don’t like for the first phase of writing. For the ten songs that will make up our debut LP, we recorded thirteen—and cut an additional three or four from the demo phase.
Even when starting with a lyrical idea—it is just a way to set parameters on the song. I usually write the music to the song first and then go back and rewrite all the lyrics to match the riffs ideas better. The main difference in song writing approach from Happy Noose to Dark Palms is that with Dark Palms I really have a very exact idea of how I want everything to fit together musically when I bring it to the rest of the band. Of course there are some tweaks here or there, but for the most part I have mulled over it time and time again. I also have done real demos of songs even with vocal ideas. I didn’t do that before. The most latitude is given to the vocal arrangement because although I write the vocals, and even demoed them, I don’t have to own them live—so that is a bit of a different process depending on the song. I guess it all just really depends on the song at the end of the day.
Other favorite Olympia, Washington acts you like, and want to recognize?
Hmm. Really that’s like picking favorites. But I have to say it was great working with Jen Grady (You Are Plural), Jon Hanna (Broken Water), Derek M Johnson, Mars Lindgren, our producer/engineer Matt Buscher (Romanteek) and Jessie Jackson (Full Moon Radio) who is putting the record out on her label. Really Olympia has too many good bands. It is an embarrassment of riches. Whether your are into great hardcore groups (GAG), raging punk (Vexx), garage (Morgan and the Organ Donors), or even countrified weirdness (Skrill Meadow) there is something for everyone done at an exceptional level.
Dark Palms’ Ghost Horse is available now on 7” from Rock Therapy Records.
Lemoyne by Harrisburg, Pennsylvania band Deletions released their album Hungers on FDH Records / P.Trash Records, and today we present the James Hollenbaugh video premiere of “Plastic Spines” that combines close ups of the band, their their gear, cables, pedals, keyboards, and singing mouths. The plstic world of plastic people is expressed in analog film abstracts that are brought together in the way that Deletions synths, guitars, and drums collide to create the raw sound of the radical energy from the Pennsylvania underground.
Filmed by James Hollenbaugh with on-screen lettering provided the band’s own Dave Kasparek; “Plastic Spines” finds Deletions talking about the superficial folks that live in their own delusional toyland. Like the lyric about “see those words disappear,” the on screen words that spell out “plastic,” “behind,” and so forth are seen as quick as they are fade or dissolve in between the visuals of a real time video collage where static images are mixed with the motion from the band, their instruments, and extreme closeups aplenty. The plastic world of digital artifices and petty indifference are met with a fuzzed-out sound of real analog metals meshing together and breaking down the human made syntheses of surface-ware sentiments that exist only skin deep as a snub to the shallow set that exist in their own contrived bubbles.
Deletions shared a preface blurb discussing the hunger that created their album Hungers, and the visual adaptation from Hollenbaugh for “Plastic Spines”:
About the filmmaker of our video, James Hollenbaugh; he’s done great videos for Pere Ubu and The Ravagers, but recently, his newest short super-8 doc was just shown at the Venice Bienale in Italy, and last weekend at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. where he presented it and did a Q & A, so it’s great to have such good things going on for the director of our video too!
Regarding the new video, filmmaker James Hollenbaugh commented:
“Plastic Spines” stood out to me as the song on DELETIONS new album HUNGERS that I thought could be visually interpreted into a disjointed, erratic, and often unstable blast of graphic intensity. Adding to the mysterious post punk antics of the band, filming closeups of body parts, instruments, cords, and collage elements from their artwork seemed to fit right in with their experimental approach to music. Shooting on black and white Super 8 and 16mm film stock accompanied with hand processing and post layering
helped to propel these images through your retinas, dig into your brain,
and explode out of the back of your head in one big decaying mess.
The Bay Area’s Golden Void announce that their forthcoming album Berkana will be available September 18 from Thrill Jockey, along with a release party September 19 at San Francisco’s The Chapel. Heralding the most triumphant return of Isaiah Mitchell (of Earthless), Aaron Morgan, Camilla Saufley-Mitchell, and Justin Pinkerton; we were able to gain a little insight into the latest and greatest from the quartet in a roundtable interview with Isaiah and Justin to glean everything we could about the group’s forthcoming album.
Describe for us the Golden Void dynamic that allows your songs to come together and contribute into a collective pool of expressed exhalations.
Isaiah: Aaron, Justin and myself went to grade school together and played in our first bands together. Camilla and I are married. I think those connections play a big part in the bands chemistry across the board.
Justin: It’s hard to nail us down in one place to really work on stuff, so at lot of the time we’re sort of cramming to get things done. I think if we didn’t have the connection we do, there’s a good chance we would just fizzle. But, the fact that I’ve known and played with both Aaron and Isaiah since at least junior high, and Camilla and Isaiah obviously have a connection beyond that which ultimately makes us mesh well together, helps us to just lock in once we’re all together.
Tell about what shifts were observed and felt here for your second album.
Isaiah: Berkana was put together kind of last minute so there’s an openness to it that the first record doesn’t have.
Justin: I think there was also a bit more collaboration on this one. Not just on people’s individual parts but on ideas as a whole. Only a few songs are even close to the original structure they were presented as initially. Plus we didn’t play any of these songs live before we recorded them.
How do you all feel Tim Green impacted the feel and sound of Berkana?
Isaiah: Tim was the guy I think we needed to help finalize a few of these songs and to help them blossom into what they are now. Again the album was put together pretty late in the game and we needed someone with a great knack for arrangements to help close the book on these songs. To me, Tim was the only choice.
In what ways has say the rain shadow of Earthless contributed to the sound of Golden Void?
Isaiah: Golden Void is a very different animal than Earthless but it’s me playing in both bands so I think it’s easy to hear similarities primarily in guitar tones and phrasing.
What sorts of ups, downs, and “Astral Plane” experiences informed the album?
Isaiah: I think there’s a spirit inside the “Astral Plane” song. It’s pissed off at me. That’s exciting.
Justin: To me the ups were when we were together working on stuff. The downs were trying to work around everyone’s schedules to make that happen. The “Astral Plane” experience was when we all were together at Tim Green’s Louder Studios putting these ideas on tape and seeing them turn into songs.
What are you all enjoying the most about the Bay Area right now?
Isaiah: I’m enjoying being home in the country surrounded by trees. Getting back into surfing is wonderful.
01 “Burbank’s Dream”
02 “Silent Season”
04 “Astral Plane”
05 “I’ve Been Down”
06 “The Beacon”
07 “Storm and Feather”
From LA’s Holy Folk collective, Keith Waggoner and Samson Crouppen are All Walls who give us a debut advance listen to their August 14 slated self-titled album. The duo and friends forge a mercurial alliance that keeps their sound shifting shapes, styles and forms for whatever the feeling or mood calls for at hand.
The opening “Pilgrimage” provides a trad instrumental moment for all listening in attendance to get themselves comfortable as the All Walls program begins. “New Vibration” reverberates with that clever Australia psych-tinged pop style, before “Once They’re Gone” featuring Jimmy Sweet finds the group bringing some heart and feeling to that Los Angeles suave swagger. “The Spider” feat. GRÉTA haunts the moment like an elusive lounge diamond that shines like the way the morning dew shines in reflective prisms as the sunlight greets the dam spider-web spindles at the dawn of a brand new morning. “A Morning Muse” switches gears that strums the slowly rising strings in an interlude that runs a little over one minute, keeping the mood sentimental at the road’s end wandering “The End Of A Long Walk”, taking their rustic sounds to the holistic collective nod-along/sing-along strumming “Comfy Soul”, that strolls through the all-niter pulling dry ice fog of “All Night Smoke Machine”. Keeping the hedonism organic, and the good time moods at their peak; “At My High” twangs out slide guitar and glass clanging percussion that chugs down the railroad tracks and runway tarmac roads of wise experience on the country rocking closer “Tracks”. Right after the following premiere listen to All Walls’ self-titled, read our interview session with both Keith Waggoner and Samson Crouppen
How did the community of folks from LA’s Holy Folk collective help set the stage for All Walls?
Keith: In a lot of ways, this is a continuation of what we were doing with Holy Folk. Many of the same players are involved in different capacities. Ryan George is playing guitar with us and wrote a song for the record. Charlene Huang has also become a staple. Josh Caldwell and JR Sage both helped out in the studio. Holy Folk was an experiment in terms of the band model and I think we follow the same approach with All Walls, largely because it’s something that works for everyone. Everything we do is subsequent to the recordings, so there isn’t a whole lot of commitment required to be involved on some level. At the same time, we aren’t tied to any specific voice or instrumentation and that gives us a lot of creative freedom with the project as a whole. It’s really just an excuse to hang out with friends and do what we love to do.
What did the two of you learn about your own songwriting and arrangement synergy after making a full length album together?
Keith: We learned that Samson has a great falsetto! And that we are both willing to trade sleep for art. There is a strong creative connection that is sort of an extension of our friendship. We have different skill sets and that allows us to cover a lot of ground in the studio. I handle most of the writing/production. Sam delivers a lot of the performance between drums and vocals.
Samson: Yes we learned I had a falsetto, but the truth is Keith poked and prodded me until I hit the notes he needed. He knows me by now. If he tells me I can’t do it, the next take I get it and then give him the finger directly after. The most exciting part of making this album was finding out that our voices together have a very unique sound.
What was it like collaborating with GRÉTA and Jimmy Sweet? Seems like everyone’s contributions all combined together in a very natural way.
Keith: It was like magic, really. I didn’t know either of them before we worked together. “The Spider” and “Once They’re Gone” both needed something very specific vocally and that’s never something that I like to force. I just happened to meet these two amazing vocalists at the right time and their performances gelled.
Samson: They both add so much to the dynamic of the project. They are like living characters.
GRÉTA plays the Spider/Vampire role so perfectly. I’m convinced that she drinks blood in her spare time. Jimmy is like a mix of James Dean and Elvis in his prime. It’s been a lot of fun working with them both.
There is a kind of Americana earthy twang that traverses throughout “Pilgrimage”, through the rail way lines of “Tracks”, combined with these wandering music poetics on “The End Of A Long Walk”, “Morning Muse” that all seek these comforts, a la “Comfy Soul”. How do you two bring together all these particulars in cohesion?
Keith: The songs come from different places, but they share a commonality in the nature of their production. For me, this album was an exercise in minimalism. In the past, it has always been the ‘bigger is better’ approach, where every song is stacked with layers. This time the goal was to see how much we could strip away and still make an engaging record. There was a lot experimentation with the individual arrangements and a fair amount of the performances that didn’t make the cut because they weren’t right for the album.
Samson: I think the art imitates life. It all comes together like human emotions do. Sometimes we feel carefree and sometimes we are more reminiscent. It’s a moody record for sure.
What are you two the most excited about happening in LA and everywhere?
Keith: Definitely Mega M & M’s. I’m not sure if they have these everywhere or if it’s just an LA thing, but they are literally like five times the size of regular M & M’s. Samson is going to say Din Tai Fung.
Samson: I’m going to go with Din Tai Fung. They finally opened up a location in Glendale, so now I don’t have to drive all the way to Arcadia for my dumplings.
All Walls self-titled will be available August 14 via iTunes.
We Roll Like Madmen
Clemson by Columbia, SC’s We Roll Like Madmen just dropped their single “Needy AF” from an upcoming album slated for release in 2016 from Post-Echo. The electro duo follows up their recent video for “Samsāra” from last year’s The Kids Must Die, the successor to Hermetic Vol. 1 that finds WRLM transferring the core base of needs, fixations, and obsessive wants into the urgency of now. The electro schools of daft and adept punks, and pop defectors find a home in the Ableton addled sheen that unites all on a universal dance floor of shared desires, and an unyielding yearning for something more out of life.
“Needy AF” embodies the spectrum of needs and wants that correlate to one another in an electric buzzing fashion. The synths wrap snazzy high definition notes around the steady rises, falls, and flights of the percussive sequence that take on the decisive essence of action and liftoff where the sky becomes the limit. Dipping into an EDM bag of tricks, We Roll Like Madmen roll on their own accord of danced up diligence where effects-laced vocals are chopped and edited with the other array of synths and sound effects that create the constant feel of an immediacy that cannot wait for another moment longer other than this very present instance in time.
Jordan Young of WRLM talked to us about the needs, wants, and urgency that informed the arrangement sequence and sentiments of “Needy AF”:
“Needy AF” is a soundtrack of obsession centered on the one thing
you’re after and will chase regardless of repercussion. Everyone has
experienced a consuming yearning for someone or something. You’re
likely to lose yourself in the maelstrom of fear and self-doubt. That
relentless incompleteness is what we are channeling in the song;
there’s a desperate momentum, fast, fun, but dangerous. We have both
lost before, but now we crave the self-subversion in the chase, a
thrill that incites reinvention.
Arwen Lewis, the daughter of Moby Grape’s Peter Lewis premieres the cover of her father’s classic “Sittin’ By The Window” with a warm, sunny arrangement that casts beams of light on Arwen’s voice. The games of life played out and on are expressed in a form that continues the 1967 San Francisco summer of love, expanded consciousness, and earthy folk-stemmed progressions where the lyrics and notes wander like the mind’s constant stream of thoughts and observances. From her album Arwen that combines covers from Moby Grape’s eponymous album from ’67, Wow/Grape Jam, and Moby Grape ’69; Lewis takes on the characters, subjects, and lyrics and provides a new perspective and modern female folk approach that introduces a modern holistic element to these 60s LP pop standards.
“Sittin’ By The Window” encapsulates the feel of a mellow day spent watching events and life unfold in a manner that entertains inner thought musings simultaneously. The arrangement echoes the experiences observed from sunrise to sunset, where Arwen evokes the narrative of an absent other whose presence (and/or lack thereof) is portrayed in an analogy like weather trends and rain cycles that keeps the imagination and heart reeling. Her cover creates a sense of time’s passage, coupling and counting the chronological distances, measurements, and similes that work as vehicles that simultaneous provide a sense of kindred comfort as well as the pangs of a pensive solitude all at the same time. Lewis vocals are untouched, providing a natural cadence that calls upon loves lost like weather gone past in a way that moves convection patterns recalled and acknowledge from the sill that looks out into the wide expanses of the world. Following the listen to the Moby Grape cover, read our interviews with both Arwen and Peter Lewis after the jump.
Describe for us the first time you heard the self-titled Moby Grape album.
Well, I’m not sure if I recall the first time I heard Moby Grape’s first album. Their music was something that was background music for me during my childhood and adolescence, something that was played occasionally at home or in the car on road trips, along with other music from artists like The Byrds or Bob Dylan. By chance, the only distinct memory I have of listening to Moby Grape then, is hearing the song “Changes” in the car, I was with my family driving down the 101 freeway.
However, I do recall when I really started listening to Moby Grape’s music. I was a teenager, and a friend of mine had actually been playing a CD of Moby Grape’s hits that my father had given him, and it was my friend who re-introduced their music to me. After that Moby Grape became another one of my favorite bands. I felt like the band and their music was a hidden gem, and I had never really listened to anything quite like it. I was fascinated by their orchestration of raw instruments, their eclectic group of songs, and the five unique band-members who each offered their own one-of-a-kind artistry.
Being so close in relation, when did you decide that you were going to cover the entire 1967 album?
Well, I didn’t exactly cover the entire first album. On my album Arwen, there are eight songs from the first Moby Grape album, two songs from the second album Wow, and two from their third album Moby Grape ’69.
The idea to do an album of classic Moby Grape songs came from the producer of this project, John DeNicola. My father and I had sent John some material that we had been recording, and included in that was a song by Skip Spence, “Indifference,” and Bob Mosley’s “It’s a Beautiful Day Today.” John, being a long-time Moby Grape fan, enjoyed what we had done with the songs, and suggested we make and album of Moby Grape classics, with my voice on lead vocals. He, my father, and I felt like it would be a unique and fresh approach to the music to have one female voice interpret a group of songs from Moby Grape’s eclectic group of five male songwriters.
What sorts of challenges and personal breakthroughs did you discover along the way?
Since I am a young woman interpreting a group of songs written by a group of men who lived in a different world than where I live now, in the beginning of this project, I thought a lot about how I would maintain the authenticity of the original material, while simultaneously portraying a modern and feminine perspective.
A little ways into the project, and after introducing myself to a new and eclectic group of performers and songwriters—like Tim Hardin, Billie Holiday, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles, Hank Williams etc—I noticed something that all of these artists have in common: they are all unique individuals who use music to tell stories. Weather they wrote their own material or interpreted someone else’s work, their performances stay true to the songs’ character while delivering the music with a unique sound.
After a fair amount of thought, I realized the best way to approach these songs was to stay true to the music and the characters in each song and to view myself as a muse for the music and stories. By approaching it this way, I feel that the authenticity to Moby Grape’s music has been maintained in my recordings, while expressing a modern female approach from allowing my voice to just deliver the songs.
What brought you to apply this understated rustic folk lens interpretation of these songs?
I like to think of using my voice as an instrument, something that does a dance with the guitars, bass, drums, background vocals, strings…the ‘understated rustic folk lens’ that my vocal offers on songs like “Sittin’ By The Window” or “It’s A Beautiful Day Today,” is something that we all felt worked with the music when we were recording.
What other recordings and adventures are next for Arwen Lewis?
At the moment my father and I have been recording original material that both he and I have written separately and together. Songs that feature my voice on lead vocals, and my father and I on guitars for now, but we are still in the beginning stages of another album. I’m envisioning playing some piano on my next album, and some bass guitar too, maybe even the blues harp. So far this next group of songs is a collection of Jazz, Blues, Classic Country, Folk, Psychedelic Rock, and Rock and Roll.
As far as live performances are concerned, I’m looking forward to performing my album Arwen live, as well my father and I continuing our acoustic shows, where he and I tell stories, and play and sing some of our favorite songs, originals and covers.
Arwen’s father Peter Lewis of the legendary band Moby Grape talked to us as well:
Thoughts on how Arwen’s interpretation of Moby Grape’s 1967 self-titled, and
how do you think her sentimental folk renderings transformed the album?
Emotionally speaking, Arwen got as close to the original recording as possible, being a female singer.
What have you been listening to lately that you enjoy?
Lately, I’ve been listening to Kenny Rankin and Miles Davis.
Thoughts on the enduring legacy of Moby Grape?
I don’t know exactly how to answer this, I am too subjective about it. Moby Grape is an identity for me, and I am still writing songs.
Cyrus Shahmir has been busying himself lately about Atlanta’s psych scene circuits working with folks from Nest Egg, Night Cleaner, and has been working on his upcoming EP Burning Paisley under his Warm Deltas moniker available in late August from Grabbing Clouds Records, and we are pleased to present you with an advance world premiere listen. These are the journeys from the Southern sectors lesser known to the minds of the pop culture consumers (exempting the good people, and great taste over at at Secret Decoder), where the the most simple and rustic means of instrumental implementation become sonic soundscape environs for the mind to play about within.
Cyrus summons the Burning Paisley EP event with the call of “Pareidolia” that begins the creation of stimuli pattern onsets initiated by strums of guitars that slowly expand to a larger, organ breathed audio mass. “Sumthin” sets the scene with a wall of guitar drone decay goes through sustained motions before unleashing conventional chord work right at the very end. Dovetailing over into the next chapter of “Paisley Witches”, the droning organ notes oscillate the sound of feelings set in a neutral lull zone, before the electric beams of audio shine forth from the console with Shahmir’s hushed vocals that existence in the ever murky ether somewhere beneath the surface of the mix on “Slow Rays Pt. 1”. Drum machines march ahead on the seesawing distortion chord graft of necessitated insistence on “All U Need”, before you are lead to Burning Paisley‘s funeral pyre set ceremony “Ashes At Dawn” where you feel like you are bearing witness to an esoteric clandestine ritual as an obscured, and hidden member of the audience that observes a service of mortal transcendence that leaves you with the field caught sounds of wind gusts, and early morning breezes that sting like icy air pine needles. Following the debut listen to the new WArm Deltas EP, stay tuned for our exclusive chat with Cyrus Shamir himself.
Describe for us what the ATL summer has been like for Warm Deltas.
It’s been good. Weather-wise, it’s very hot and humid–nothing new there. I’ve been busy recording albums for people.
Walk us through what the making of Burning Paisley was like for you.
I suppose it was almost unintentional. I write and record songs all the time, so I guess I started consciously writing songs for some type of collection months ago but everything that was intended for that didn’t end up on BP. Some of the songs started as demos that eventually got added to and fleshed-out. Like slow rays and all u need actually were recorded on the spot, everything completely off-the-cuff, then I added stuff and mixed them.”
From these fuzzy-fidelity exercises, tell us about how you pack the vibes of “Slow Rays Pt. 1”, “Pareidolia”, to the electro drum machine buzz of “All U Need”, etc.
I record a lot, so sometimes you just need to experiment with arrangement. So, that’s those songs. They all have a skeleton be it with guitar or keys and then you explore tape echoes and whatever else will get the sound to do what you want, or approximate what you think you want or what it needs to be. The whole reason for the project was to have the space to do quiet, chill, out there kind of music—basically no restrictions but mostly to be a little more chill.
What has become the creative-ethos mantra, or say message of Warm Deltas?
I can’t say there’s a ‘message’ that needs to be discerned. It could be inferred or understood implicitly, but there’s no real combination of words that would translate what I’m putting behind this. It’s the drone, like the deepest layer in there. Sometimes it gets covered up or you almost forget it’s there, but when everything stops, you still feel it and certainly feel it when it goes away.
What can we expect next up from Warm Deltas this fall/winter?
I’m in the process of moving to LA. So, that’s a big undertaking. I’m really excited. I have a new set of songs that will eventually turn into something–too hard to say what exactly yet, but I’m planning on doing most of it in better studios out there because, you know, they have the best ones.
What do you all have on heavy repeat over there music wise?
“Funny you ask because I found an old album I loved as a kid that I’m listening to a lot. I grew up in KY during the ’90’s so we had access to all that super-underground Louisville hardcore music that was going on at the time. The first show I ever saw was a group called Hedge. It had a big impact on me. Over the years, I kind of forgot about it then I found this tape of their only record, Every Blessing A Curse, and I was amazed at how great it still is. Maybe it’s bias but it’s damn good. For the rest of it, I do a lot of work for my friend’s bands and recording projects, so I typically listen to that for new music.”
Other ATL artists you want to give a shout out to?
Shout out to the homies, Jovontaes, Nest Egg, Sovus Radio and All the Saints.
Warm Deltas’ Burning Paisley will be available in late August from Grabbing Clouds Records.
The Persian Leaps
Land Ski Records boss Drew Forsberg along with friends Adam Brunner, and Michael McCloskey are The Persian Leaps who premiere the majestic power pop sparkling single, “Dottie, Queen of the West”. Taken from their forthcoming High & Vibrate EP available September 25 from Land Ski, the Saint Paul, MN trio delivers the goldest goodness of pure glimmering guitar based pop that follows up Drive Drive Delay, and Praise Elephants with a sound to fall in love with, and/or fall in love to.
Bringing the independent spirit of the Twin Cities with an unabashed love for the DIY denizens who made the 80s and 90s decades worth living in, “Dottie, Queen of the West” demonstrates the strength and potency of electrified jangle riffs that deliver a romanticism to dream upon for days, months, and years to come. The Persian Leaps demonstrate a thorough understanding of what made the rock and roll masters tick, from the arena architects of radio pop, to the underdogs who penned songs about their own embarrassing feelings for small-batch releases; “Dottie” is a song to include for all future mixtapes for that special someone where every song featured includes a heart that is neatly stitched cleverly on the sleeve of the respective artist. Join us after the debut listen for our intimate interview with Drew about being an archaeologist, the early days of The Persian Leaps, and more.
Walk us through the beginning days of The Persian Leaps, from recording Entropy to the forthcoming High & Vibrate EP.
The Persian Leaps was a band name that I doodled in the margins of my notebook in a college Greek Archaeology class. For years, I just wrote and recorded songs by myself on a 4-track (or later, on a computer). I’d share them under the Persian Leaps name with friends but that was as far as it went for years. I was too busy traveling and working as an archaeologist and then starting a family. Finally, I got together with our drummer, Michael McCloskey, and a few other people in 2011 and formed what eventually morphed into the Persian Leaps. We recorded “Entropy” in the basement of a high school math teacher friend. For our debut EP, Praise Elephants, we recorded in the dining room of Michael’s parents’ house in rural Minnesota, but we brought the results to Neil Weir at Old Blackberry Way in Minneapolis for mixing. We recorded our second EP, Drive Drive Delay, with Neil, as well as our new one. We’ve had some line-up changes along the way—as real life has intervened—but we’ve solidified around our current line-up as a power trio.
Describe the vibrations that guided you all while sketching and then recording at Old Blackberry Way with Neil Weir.
My goal as a songwriter is to write chiming, jangly melodic hooks and then add a healthy dose of overdrive on top. Guided By Voices, Teenage Fanclub, and the Smiths are all big influences. Because of the way we plan EPs, the songs aren’t necessarily all new. We limit ourselves to the absolute five best songs we have that work together and flow as a collection. For example, “Dottie, Queen of the West” is actually seven to eight years old, and we’ve been playing it live since the beginning of the full band, but we didn’t have the perfect spot for it until now.
As for the recording process, we always love working with Neil—he knows how to get the sounds we want. We usually go into Old Blackberry Way for a full day, once a month over the winter, and focus on one song per day. This was our first time recording since Adam Brunner joined on bass last year. He has some pretty awesome, prominent bass work on “Under the Lilacs”, which will be the 2nd single. We’ve got a video for that one coming, too.
What sort of westward leanings and inspirations lent to the birth of “Dottie, Queen of The West”?
Have you ever had a private, internal nickname for a stranger who you see often? Back when I was still an archaeologist, I worked with a team of land surveyors from Texas on a natural gas pipeline project. The surveyors were led by this 50-something attractive blonde woman who always wore western shirts, a jean jacket, and a cowboy hat. She reminded me of a hard-living country singer like Tammy Wynette or Loretta Lynn, and it was unusual to run across a woman in very male-dominated profession. I didn’t know her name at first but my private nickname for her was “Dottie, Queen of the West”. No idea how I came up with that phrase, but it’s where the song title originated. The song isn’t literally about that woman—it’s all just metaphor for an independent woman who has a tough-as-nails exterior but is vulnerable and human underneath.
What’s good these days in St. Paul, Minnesota?
The Twin Cities are incredibly bicycle-friendly. Biking is always good. We’ve got a great craft beer scene, and beer is always good. We’re coming up on the annual Minnesota State Fair, which is a huge deal here, especially if you like deep-fried crap on a stick. And then there’s the local music…
Local artists you want to give a shout out to?
We’ve got a vibrant music scene in the Twin Cities. However, some of my favorite local bands are on Land Ski Records, the label I initially formed just to release Persian Leaps material. In the last year, I’ve been really excited to expand a bit and help put out releases from The Person & The People, Deleter, Murder Shoes, and EDGER. Deleter and Murder Shoes have new releases coming out later this year on Land Ski, so stay tuned!
What’s next for The Persian Leaps?
We’ve got the EP release and show on September 25. We’ll play locally and maybe around the region a bit, but all of us have families, careers, mortgages, and so on, so touring isn’t a realistic option. This winter, we’ll be heading back to the studio to record again. The yearly pattern that’s been working for us is to take the five best new songs that work together, record them over the winter, and then release them in the fall. It’s a manageable schedule, and as a band, we’re more interested in having regular output and keeping standards high than putting out traditional full-length albums. We’ll likely keep doing that as long as we have good songs!
The Persian Leaps’ forthcoming High & Vibrate EP will be available September 25 from Land Ski Records.
Future Museums’ Mercury White Borneo will be available August 21 from Fire Talk Records and we bring you the Kate Ogle video for “Tether” that ties the instrumental trance-state-inducing sound to the sight of oils, and other paints placed like moving slides in a presentation of mixed media displayed in motion. Austin, Texas frontman Neil Lord began FM as a solo adventure that has been rounded out with a full band to provide a more lush, creative cushion of elements that find all droning instruments finding their own abodes and divergent paths of third-eye-opening expressions.
On the video for “Tether”, Kate’s visual textures begins like television static arts that jump off the screen and into the theater of your mind. Neil’s wind chime style of strums are met with the flow of elements that move in and out of the audio frame as new introduced notes and chords descend like a warm summer’s rain. The progressions take on a meditative effect where the feeling of moving your neck and head slowly in circles stirs the feeling of every cell in your body slowly awakening. In time to the resonating arrangement of components, the visuals made jagged sweeps in time to the sound’s vibrations, as various paint colors slide in and out of view as the entire visual show leaves you with video images of clouds floating neatly along an azure sky. Read out interview after the video with Future Museums’ own Neil Lord.
How did this spring from a solo project to a full band?
I had spent a lot of time meditating on concepts for each of the previous records before I moved to Austin from Fayetteville Arkansas in the summer of 2010 (A Solar Gold was recorded in the backseat of a Nissan Maxima between classes in a parking garage and finished mixing in an empty duplex during the hottest summer in Austin to date). Over time, Future Museums developed into a come-one-come-all sort of project, inviting anyone inspired by the ethos to record or improvise during a live set.
How do you feel the sound has been enhanced as a result?
The sound has benefited not only sonically but spiritually. There is a lot more personality that cuts through with each recording. Before, I had become very comfortable in how I liked my guitars to sound, now, I don’t have as much control and it feels more like divine intervention.
Tell us stories about recording Future Museums’ Mercury White Borneo.
Mercury White Borneo was recorded live in one take in October of 2014 with Ian Rundell. We literally set up and played for 2 hours straight, with no previous rehearsals or writing sessions. I had recruited Justin Sweatt (Xander Harris, Slow Pulse), Maxwell Parrott (TV Honest, Poppy Red) and Nicolas Nadeau (Single Lash, Slow Pulse) and we just let the moment breathe. With minimal overdubs, we cut the best takes into what felt was the best representation of that very singular, unique moment that the four of us shared.
Tell us how the Kale Ogle made video happened for “Tether”; it’s like watching a living oil painting springing to animated life.
Kale had worked on the very first Future Museums demos with me as I was leaving Fayetteville, so he was already very attuned to my process and intention. We had begun talking about a video collaboration in November of last year when Kale had become increasingly affectionate towards this style of video manipulation. A couple months ago I received a surprising email with a link to an early version of the Tether video and was stunned. He could not have made a more fitting sensory experience.
What are you and the band all stoked on these days from the Austin scenes?
LaChane. Sur. Silent Land Time Machine and Sungod (really anything Holodeck is touching). Breathing Problem. RF Shannon. Monofonus Press/Astral Spirits are both putting out really incredible, forward thinking stuff…
What else are you all recording, and recording with right now?
We have a more ambient, sound collage oriented full-length coming out later this year on Mirror Universe Tapes, and a lot more material prepped to begin tracking after our east coast tour in august. We have a wonderful working relationship with engineer Ian Rundell who uses a ton of vintage gear hobbled together in a cabin in north Austin. Found a few boxes of unused reel-to-reel tape in a junk bin at Goodwill, so expect plenty of dust and decay on the next record.
Future Museums’ Mercury White Borneo will be available August 21 from Fire Talk Records
Through the network of independent PDX artist and imprints we discovered Good Cheer Records, ran by KPSU and XRAY operator Blake Hickman and Morgan “Mo” Troper who just released the eponymous EP from Sabonis. A sort of Northwest supergroup in their own right whose name takes after retired Portland Trail Blazer Arvydas Sabonis; Maya Stoner, Cyrus Lampton, Michael pbell (formerly of Forest Park), Jarret Domen (from Your Rival), and Edward Beaudin (The Bustling Townships, Zoogirl) bring about the ferocity and emotional heavyweights from all your favorite underdog compact disc/jewel cased heroes.
The near calculated brilliance of the Sabonis self-titled is that they make it sound so effortless and easy. At first listen “More Time” affects with the catchiest and emotion appealing chord and vocal round arrangements on a topic that we all identify with according to individual experiences. Haunted fears of growing up, getting old, and the specter of humankind’s mortality cut to the core with more beautiful assemblages of chords, rockling with a raw emotive and earth grounded sprinkling of sound sodium on personal out pour of feelings on “Old Salt”. Sabonis situates all songs in the key of real life rawness, and sentiments that seek answers, communicative questions as heard on “Say”, to the effects of absentia on the alt. art-fuzz core of “Gone”. Join us after the listen for our entertaining interview roundtable with the entire Sabonis crew.
With a combination of talents from local Portland independent lore like Forest Park, Your Rival, The Bustling Townships, Zoogirl, etc; how did you all find yourselves distilling your collective talents together as Sabonis?
Cyrus: I think we all had a lot of appreciation for each other as musicians when we were growing up and all wanted to play together. Basically our former projects broke up around the same time for various reasons and we all needed something. Here we are 2 years later putting out our first release.
Edward: We didn’t distill our past projects and influences so much, we just kinda mushed them together. Like two handfuls of booty-meat.
Michael: While choosing each member was a no brainer, being that we were already friends and fans of each others work and styles, the fact that we were all available, and at perfect timing was the real kicker.
Maya: Before we were in Sabonis, Mike, Cyrus and I were in another band. Before we were in that band, I was in other bands that played shows with bands the boys were in. I was fifteen when I first played a show with one of Ed’s bands. Ed was in a band called A.P.E. SHIT (short for: All Punks Eat Shit) and I was in a band called Plasmic Stallion. I remember Ed heckling my band a little. I think he was wearing short red shorts. When I think about that show it reminds me that it’s been about a decade of at least going to the same shows as my bandmates. At the time when Sabonis started, all our past bands had dissolved but we didn’t want to stop playing music together, so it just made sense.
Roc 12: …
How do and where do you all feel all these previous influences impacting the inspirations that contribute to Sabonis?
Edward: When Maya, Mike and I first started playing and writing together, we were all about playing it as slow and sad as possible. We wanted to sound like bedhead, duster, codeine, all that stuff. But when Cyrus joined he brought this dynamic, sorta hyper, groove based drum style that injected more energy into it. Then when Roc started whacking his bass off on the tracks, shit got heavy. So now we are just a dirty-dicked classic rock band of single fathers. Whatcha gonna do?
Maya: Our past relationships as musicians have made it easier to form a really collaborative band in which it is easy to trust one another with ideas. I could never imagine myself bringing a song idea to a band I had just met over Craigslist or something. A little musical trust goes a long way. For example, I just wrote a song from my dog’s perspective… That’s a weird idea but I wasn’t afraid they’d hate me for it and I also wasn’t afraid they’d ruin it.
Roc 12: …
There are so many heavy things on the EP from the much lauded and loved opener “More Time” to the crushing closer of “Gone”. How do you all work out these kind of internal personal reckonings into the craft of chord melody and harmonies?
Cyrus: We push ourselves to become better and to always try new shit. Sometimes it can be a chaotic process but usually we’re able to make stuff happen pretty fast. There’s a lot of love in it.
Edward: The lyrics are pretty secondary to the song structure most of the time, and the song structure is pretty patchwork, meaning we allow each other to fill gaps in our ideas. None of us really know anything about musical theory, we are more practical, hands on type players, except Roc, who went to school for it and is a maestro. Not to say we just throw shit together, it’s that we don’t want to overcompose [sic] before we bring it to the table. A lot of our best stuff comes from jamming and ‘happy accidents.’
Michael: Once something is on the table, we will often quickly and quietly walk to our instruments and simply begin to write. An “oh boy do I have an idea for that” look can be expected to pop up on all our faces at about that point. With three guitars its a priority to leave room for each of our very different sounds to be spoken clearly. When added with our bass and drums its our goal to create large ensembles that speak to the severity of our melancholy.”
Roc 12: …
And even though the confrontations of your songs here on the EP are so cutting, there is a levity that remains throughout the emotive charged progressions that keep us completely locked into all the action. What can we expect perhaps from a Sabonis full-length?
Cyrus: More cohesion in the content for sure. We’re already working on it and we can’t wait to put it all together.
Edward: The Sabonis full-length will hopefully have 20-30 songs across a plethora of genres and styles, additional interstitial skits and interludes, never before seen behind the scenes footage, a lot of guest rappers, and if you put it in your bluray player, nothing happens, but when you eject it, its an eggo waffle. Always trying to push ourselves, redefine the medium.
Roc 12: …
Everyone’s favorite things about Portland these days?
Cyrus: Summer. Weed. Skinwalker. Blowout. The river.
Edward: I like nothing about Portland. Portland fucking sucks. It hurts my eyes to look at these fucking yuppies walk around in circles getting hammered like its fucking senior skip day at Disneyland. Seriously, this shit looks like a 80s beer commercial. Gaggles of pretty, fetal-looking white people in ray bans and colorful shorts that their nuts fall out of fucking high-fiving each other with ice cream cones over fucking nothing. I’d like to see it all burn. Seriously, its fucking oppressive, and that’s what Sabonis is all about. The collective misery of suppressed individuals.
Maya: Summers in Portland are really nice. I like to get a hotdog for breakfast, go to the river then come back into town and go to a bar and eat…maybe eat chicken and waffles. I spend a lot of time at the park with my pup…it’s nice to be outdoors and it’s nice to eat good food….weed.
Roc 12: Specifically the New Seasons on 20th and Division have fueled these songs and without them, we would cease to exist.
Favorite local PDX and general Northwest artists and bands?
Cyrus: Blowout, Skinwalker, Pass, Rod.
Edward: Z100, jamn 95.5, KNRK ‘the new rock alternative’, Craig the dogfaced boy, ya know, Burgerville, Nike, all that shit, um, Sassy’s, Pepe Lemoko, real underground shit, ya feel me, there’s fucking Powell’s Books, Barnes and Noble, Blockbuster, Hollywood video, Hollywood Burger Bar, little big burger, big little burger, little little tiny burger, big ass little burger with tiny ass pickles. All the greats.
Maya: Skinwalker, Bod, Drowse, Sloths…I recently saw a band called Havania Whaal that really blew my mind. I stumbled upon a show they were playing at a bar in which they played behind a makeshift curtain on the side of the room while a trippier version of the Wizard of Oz was happening on stage, complete with giant paper mache masks. They shredded hard and I was really impressed the bizarre vision they brought to life.
Roc 12: Chain 3.
Sabonis’s self-titled EP is available now from Good Cheer Records, and you can catch them playing live in Portland August 13 for their cassette release party at The Know, followed by an afternoon gig August 16 at Music Millennium.
Featuring members formely from bands like Goodnight Loving, Jaill, Sugar Stems, Head On Electric, Holy Shit!, etc; Wisconsin’s Phylums release their Dirtnap Records‘ album Phylum Phyloid today and we bring you an exclusive stream, and inside look and close listen. Straight out of Milwaukee, say hello to Tabanus Bromus on sax and drums, Harrilimacina on keyboards, Kavus immutabilis on guitar with percussionist Joccus Parasiticus, and bassist Deauzoaccae Hyemalis that promises to keep the mood moving in fun and exciting measures, and motions.
Phylums’ Phylum Phyloid takes off from the very get-go with “Can’t Get Through” that pushes to break through to the other side, to praising the finer things in life on the rip curl rocking and raft capsizing “Bottle of Wine”. The caffeinated effects of iced beverages kicks in on “Cold Coffee”, taking you on a slow strutting highway roller with “Route 66”, next making a pit stop to the tidal wave crashing “Crummy Side of Town”, to the speach impediment detriments of “Stutter Bug”, or the knowledge seeking surf guitar derelict romp of “I Gotta Know”. Visions of things in the third-dimension descend like a late night thriller-picture show on “IC3D”, to the strange times of the uncertain and odd of “Absurdity”, that keeps the guitars sizzling on the amplifier grill of “Time Capsule”, sucking up all the internal messes with the cleansing cataclysm hop of “Vacuum Cleaner”, right before the beachside bonanze comes a complete full circle close on the domecile return rider, “Go Home”. By the end of the album cycle, Phylums leave you with the feeling of being spun about and around in a rotating office chair one turn too many.
Phylum Phyloid is available now from Dirtnap Records.
Girl Band’s album debut Holding Hands With Jamie will be available September 25 from Rough Trade, and we bring you their video “Paul”, followed by a chat with Daniel Fox. The Bob Gallagher presents an animal farm of costumed performers going through the motions of rehearsal, downtimes, and showtimes that take you behind the scenes and into the lives of the people behind a seeming harmless children’s program. Matters of feuds, anger, and aggression get the best of the performers where feelings and personalities run awry like mixed up costume head pieces. All the while, the action runs in time to the progressively erratic, and emotionally charged delivery from the Dublin band that gradually cranks up the distortion and fuzz throughout the song’s nearly seven minute duration. Following the listen and look, Girl Band bassist Daniel Fox talked to us long distance about the forthcoming much anticipated record, and more.
What do you all enjoy the most about Dublin these days? Favorite hometown artists, favorite pubs, and the like?
With being away touring a good bit over the last year it’s been great getting back to Dublin, catching up with people and the like. There’s a lot of great artists around town, some of my favourites are Cian Nugent and the Cosmos who I did some recording work with a few months ago and also renowned cheeky boys Jet Setter, as much for their onstage hip action as their catchy tunes. In terms of Dublin pubs, last place I was out was an odd little spot called the Hacienda, you have to knock on the door and (sheepishly, in my case) asked to be let in, ‘can I please have some pints with my mates please?’, kind of makes me feel like I’m in the Stonecutters a little.
Give us the story on recording Holding Hands With Jamie; was it inspired by any Jamie in particular, and what sort of hand embraces contributed to the record?
Partially inspired by the greatest Jamie of them all, Jamie Hyland who engineered on the record, one of my oldest friends, many a handhold between us both, fleeting glances across the school courtyard several years later we made a record. Recording the album was a lot of fun, it was the first time that we’ve had a substantial amount of time in the studio to experiment with things, we did it in the studio where we’ve done the rest of our records before, gave a nice familiar home cooking kind of atmosphere for the whole thing. Open door policy, lots of friends dropping in and stuff.
What is it about the use of pointed distorted tropes of fuzz, squelch, and shouts that attracts you all to this plugged-in-modes-of pure primal expression?
I think we gravitate to those kind of things pretty naturally, I reckon if we tried to think about it too much it probably would’ve been written differently.
What has Girl Band’s summer been like so far?
It’s been really good, we finished mastering the album at the start. We did another US tour doing some dates with Viet Cong, that and running around doing some festivals around Europe, been back in Dublin a bit working on some ideas. Al has also learned how to make risotto balls, it’s all business round here.
Plans for fall post-release?
Lots of touring, the main album tour starts at the end of September and we’re away up until just before Christmas, it’ll be around Europe and North America, we’re all looking forward to it, getting the record out there and hitting the road.
Meet LA’s Barleaux (from Jónó Mí Ló’s Afternoons Modeling imprint roster)who brought us some witch pop this week with the ethereal play of danger and playing with matches that ignites the slow, and soft electro brew of “Fire”. The Garrett Eaton produced cut further illustrates the divisions and degrees of devastation between opposing parties, and the wedge that is placed between people as they part ways. Following the listen, check out our following interview with Barleaux.
Tell us what brought you to start making home recordings?
I started demoing around the time that I started writing songs—so, fourteen? Of course the first one was in my dad’s office with a Steinway upright and a four track and my music teacher, ha ha. I gotta find that. It’s gold.
What is the story behind your moniker, Barleaux?
I drew Barleaux from my legal middle name, Barleau. It is a family name. I felt it represented my sonic expression and enabled me to keep expanding and pushing boundaries for Barleaux as a trademark and a brand.
Tell us about the making of “Fire”, the explosive, and fiery feelings that exist on the surface, and lava boiling undercurrent, and the heated atmosphere of the track.
Damn! Lava boiling undercurrent! What left is there to say? I wrote “Fire” in Brooklyn in March after a breakup. I tracked the first studio version in Boston with J Saliba, who did my first album…and a lot of whiskey gingers ha ha. Then when I moved to LA full time this Spring I reconnected with my friend Garrett Eaton from college who I’d been recording in bedrooms with since 2007 and he really made it come alive.
Lyrically, It’s a very emotional song. It’s kind of a farewell bid to a past life or identity. Like, “See you later. I’m gonna do this instead.” People just get such a kick out of this whole, “he said, she said” thing. Just do your thing and don’t worry about the rest.
What other singles and recordings do you have in the works?
I have hundreds of songs, but right now I’m strategizing [sic], collaborating with a couple hip hop artists and recording an EP as well. It’s been really busy since moving to LA. Next up is a new single, “Boo”. It showcases more of that “tongue-in-cheek” tone that you hear in “Fire” and continues my transition into electronic pop with some hints of hip hop and trap in there. It’s also 100% my own—I wrote, produced, arranged, and mixed it. I’m really excited about it because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done. The first record was all tracked live and it was very folk. I’m really excited to step into this new territory of cross genres. “Fire” is a good transition song.
Other LA artists that you are really excited about right now?
I’ve only been out here since May and I’ve already seen more talent than any other city I’ve lived in, I have to say [shoutouts to Brooklyn and Nashville, though]. I’m working with my friend Eddington Again, my amazing summer camp friend and producer Julius, and I also met these great guys Sleep State the other day who have a single, “Tether” that I can’t stop listening to. I’m kind of obsessed with experimental hip hop right now so that’s what I’m seeking out. I enjoy burrowing in a corner of any good club and really listen to local talent…then go home and smoke a bowl and get to work.
Stop the presses, and buzz-mills because Sarah P. released word that her new upcoming single “I’d Go” from her upcoming mini-album Free will be available September 10; and we are proud to bring you Sarah’s mix titled We’ll always have…music. The styles you have heard from her collaborations with Sun Glitter, Mmoths, The New Division, or her previous act Keep Shelly In Athens presents a collection of music to keep you lifted into the headspaces and upper tier edges of enlightenment to keep your interest piqued as you await for her upcoming fall release. Regarding the mix and upcoming music, Sarah had this to say:
Ancient Warfare’s debut album for Alias Records The Pale Horse will be available August 11 and you can check out their heady, smoky trail tribulations, sentimental strings, and melancholy campfire blaze testimonials that spans the experiences and reflections that connect Savannah, GA to Lexington, KY on “The Last Living Trail”, followed by our interview with Echo Wilcox after the jump.
Tell us how your Savannah by Lexington roots and experiences have informed your music.
Savannah has a kind of mystical atmosphere—a place you can get lost in. Its beauty is
haunting, it has many stories to tell. Being surrounded by the thick Savannah heat where
everything moves a little slower—it definitely effects how you take things in, visually and mentally, contributing to our sound.
The countryside of Kentucky is all rolling hills of green pastures home to horses, coyotes, the occasional el chupacabra…its storybook and childlike fervor infiltrates our writing.
Why the name Ancient Warfare instead of Modern Warfare?
Ancient Warfare is more of a reflection of past loves, trials, and tribulations.
What was the process of making The Pale Horse like?
It was a long one. Ancient Warfare was not a fully formed band (as it is now) when the
recording process began. I brought songs in and arranged/rehearsed with session musicians
and producer Duane Lundy at Shangri-La with the initial plan of making an EP. Soon after,
though, we realized the potential for a full-length album. Emily [Hagihara], Rachael [Yanarella], and I had started playing together and we worked up new material that naturally fit with the previously recorded songs. We had a rotating cast of bass players contribute their efforts, overdubbed extra guitar, percussion, backing vocals to complete the record.
Other local artists that you all want to recognize?
Lexington is home to wide spectrum of talented artists, but to name a few of our favorites: We spent some time on the road with our friends Bear Medicine, a whimsical chamber folk group whose music we never tire of hearing. They are definitely ones to check out. Matt Duncan brings an old-school throwback vibe to the scene with clever pop sensibilities and catchy hooks.
You might recognize him as the blue-haired bassist in the Broadway musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Then there is the raw power pop of The Fanged Robot, fronted by Robby Cosenza, who is no stranger to the Lexington music scene and beyond.
What’s next for Ancient Warfare?
Well, currently we are sitting in the rain drinking coffee out of a leaking styrofoam cup at the mechanic waiting for our vehicle to get up and running. Once that’s done, we look forward to continuing our tour in promotion of “The Pale Horse” release, out August 11.
The UK’s Mart Wilson (on vocals, guitars, synths) and Ollie Pound (guitar & bass) are SIGHS, who specializing in making DIY pop out of feelings with “Feels” that ask the pivotal question of “how does it feel to be on your own”. Combining restrained and earnest guitars, synths, and a drum machine; the events of seasons past and the end of a summer that brings life changes of leaving home, and leaving comfort zones resonates in that endearing way like a long distance phone call from an old, close friend. SIGHS shared with us the feelings behind “Feels”, and a few words on what’s next:
“Feels” is a song for the never were’s and could have beens…but it’s okay. You can share your last bite of chocolate with your love on the night bus home. Tomorrow you will try again. The song was recorded with good friends in London. Oliver playing beautiful guitar and Misha in control of his amazing studio. I’m halfway through writing an album and that will be the next adventure.
We received word that Michigan’s own Apollo Brown will release his new album Grandeur September 25 on Mello Music Group featuring cameo appearances from friends like Freddie Gibbs, Your Old Droog, Oddisee, Evidence, M.O.P., Ras Kass, Rapper Big Pooh, OC, Sean Price, and so forth. Check out the explosive organ expressed production ordinance “Detonate” with M.O.P. that illuminates mandated rules of street cred that doesn’t play around with small talk or mince words, and rhymes.
Pregnant’s Live Porch Party Records is available now from the label in the title, and we have a listen to the Placerville, California artist performing at a Porch Party Records house show in Long Beach, California with “Know Ahead”. Recorded from back in March 29, you can get a head flipping experience into the experimental unknown full of infinite possibilities and mind expanding opportunities.
We Are Temporary presents the drag remix of Kelela’s “A Message” accompanied by visuals from Videopunks that applies analog inhibitions to track. Re-worked by Stars & Letters’ boss Mark Roberts, Kelela’s Arca produced cut is slowed down to feature the places where percussive complexities and abstract melodicism meets like hands holding each other, or in the congress of meditation or prayer.
Fine Print’s self titled EP will be available August 28 from B3SCI, and we have the new single “Tell Me” that lightly and carefully drifts through the shared discourse of thoughts with piano accompaniment set to an atmosperhic background.
Playing a series of LA gigs beginning with Echo Park Rising August 15, an album release party at Non Plus Ultra August 27, and at the Echoplex with Chamelons Vox September; we have a listen to “Visions of You” to shake-up everything you thought you already knew about the post-structural/post-construct realm of dark veiled electrical undulations and synth underlined sight scanning followed by “Flesh”, and “Can’t Take” from A Thousand Hands available August 21 from felte. Read our recent interview with Sextile here.
Miami’s Plastic Pinks are touring across the northern states from August 7 through October 9, and we got a listen to the gritty garage groovers channeling the golden state vibes on “Livin’ On The Coast” that takes back the sun-kissed sound with a sunshine state-state of mind.
Watch the video for Vursatyl’s “It’s Nothing” from director Quincy Davis, featuring production from fellow Oregonian Pele Won. Taken off the BBE Music album Crooked Straights, V takes us through the mic masters accolates, talents, and testimony to the artist’s own evolving versatility.
Get ready for the ultimate Liphemra live 360 experience of “Did U Cry” performed live atop a building in Los Angeles filmed by one of those handy-dandy GoPro drones that creates a floating outside of your body in the city feeling as you hear, feel, and experience the sounds and sights from one of LA’s most important artists.
Check it out as our friend Elliott Baker, aka Crystal Ghost covers Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” that brings the contemporary rhythm and blues toward some electronic arrangements made for listeners of discerning taste, and a love for rhythmic synths.
New York duo Devon Craig Johnson and Nasimiyu Murumba are Baeb Rxxth who delivered the single “Gutter” that features Nasimiyu’s vocals inter-meshing with the ripples in the arrangement that fade the sample edits in and out. Sharing sound-shaping duties that involve all the treatments, tweaks, and twists; Baeb Rxxth keep the track rippling between the diamond encrusted high life and the curbside canals. Their OMW EP will be available November 14.
Watch the Thaddeus Ruzicka video for Gothic Tropic’s “Puppet Master” full of main-stage pizazz and humorous pomp that pulls strings and lots of laughs from their forthcoming debut album from Old Flame Records.
Cardiff, Wales’ Chain of Flowers shares the track “Crisis” off their October 16 slated self-titled available from Alter, bringing a thundering quixotic trove of doom, and gloom that makes the deep cuts of calamitous occaisions sound a bit better.
Sara Lov’s Some Kind of Champion will be available October 30 and we have the title track’s emotive, feeling-scapes of the interpersonal depicted through a visual homage to the films of François Truffaut and Federico Fellini.
France by India’s Velour Modular just dropped the defense mechanism mode of electronic dance-floor essences on “The Shields” that recommend a healthy does of “distance” and “resistance” in a song about the necessities of being and maintaining control. The dance devotional moves like upward vapors of steam from metal bar grates that populate the asphalt streets and sidewalks of metropolitan concrete corridors.
Hear the “Bad Habit” confessional rocker from Brooklyn’s Best Behavior off their debut album Good Luck Bad Karma available August 14 from Money Fire Records.
Vancouver’s Chandra Melting Tallow, aka Mourning Cup dropped the phased-out echo-laden track “Master” that resounds like a doppelganger of Meg Remy from another planet off Tallow’s five years in the making debut album Baby Blue that combines Chandra’s artistry that stems from her heritage from the Siksika Nation and a love for performance arts.
Watch the self-made b/w video from Good Boy Media from RDGLDGRN that features the fight or flight values of what you woud do if truly was your last night on earth.
Honduras’s debut album Rituals will be available in 2016 and we have their Danny Dwyer collaborative video for “Paralyzed” that features heart tub paralysis bathed in a Brooklyn groove.
Danny Brown with Clams Casino production proivde the latest Adult Swim single with “Worth It” that weighs out the balances and measures of living that high life equipped with Mike Volpe’s signature sparse chasm-cavernous recording style of perpetual reverberations.
Watch the video for “Deepthroat Love”, the b-side from San Francisco’s O recently released their debut single, Ireek available now from Hit City U.S.A.’s For Immediate Release digital single imprint that presents heart-strummed sentiments brought out in the raw, dim-lit light of the b/w visuals frame.
The Sydney by London trio of Danny, Elias, and Freya make up Netsuke who give us the gorgeous title track from their upcoming album Mute available August 28 from Illustrated Records. The group takes the preexisting beauty of sounds that have been forged throughout the UK and adds their own take on the organic sampling of percussive elements, cascading wonder keys and harmonies that ascend toward limitless broken glass ceilings of something that resembles a sound of boundless potential that rises to whatever stratosphere that the Netsuke three desire. The band described the title cut “Mute” with the following thoughts:
Mute is based around a small loop repeated in different forms, both transposed and in retrograde, with lyrics touching on themes of leaving home and loneliness. Composed during our final months in Sydney prior to our move to London, it explores our mixed feelings of apprehension and excitement.
Peep the strobing colors for Automatic Writing’s video for their title track “New Colours” for the EP of the same name released today. The band mixes synths, dramatic hook loops, and more repeated slices of paradise where the the sound, mind, ears, taste, and more blends to make a new never before seen or heard luster that is summoned by AW’s electric assembly.
Hear the cool zombie style strolling single “Dead Man Walking” found off Coke Weed forthcoming fourth album Mary Weaver available October 9 from Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records.
Steven A. Clark lent the withdrawal like prohibitive cravings and yearnings that stretch like over extended arms and emotion shaking hands and vocals on the electro synth-baroque single “Can’t Have” taken from his upcoming album The Lonely Roller available September 18 from Secretly Canadian.
Bronx, NY emcee Breeze Embalm album Embalming Fluid will be available August 17 featuring appearances from Blu, Dessy Hinds from Pro-Era and we have the self-made video for “TiminG” that features our hero embarking on a sci-fi adventure out in a desolate forest.
Briana Marela shares the warm northwest intimate essences and sparse gentle touch atmospheres of “Take Care Of Me” that surrounds and comforts like the best security blanket ever devised. Find this and more off Briana’s forthcoming album All Around Us available August 21 from Jagjaguwar.
Lou Barlow’s new album Brace the Wave will be available September 4 from Joyful Noise Recordings and you are invited to hear what you friends have probably already discovered and adore to no end with the new single “Moving”.
From Windhand’s upcoming September 18 slated album Grief’s Infernal Flower from Relapse Records, watch the Jordan Vance video for “Crypt Key” that blurs band visuals on a blurred video planes that natural arts, archived footage, nature footage, and plenty of unsettling images that create the sensation of exhuming the contents of an ancient tomb.
Let Miya Folick’s “Oceans” lull you down the melancholic lullaby waters of rest, tossed, and turns in the tempests of restless seas.
Hear the new Icarus Moth produced cut “Too Quiet” from Wolkoff’s Talismans EP available August 28 that brings that big fancy beat that is suitable for both the club, bike, car, bedroom, or the wooden dance floor confines of your living room.
Our buddy Boulevards, aka JaMil Rashad will release his self-titled EP September 25 via his own imprint Don’t Funk With Me, and we have a listen to the nu-funk ushered in by one of Raleigh, NC’s most important artists. “Go” dabbles in all the rare grooves found from dusty LP crates that offers the soulful disco flair of the 70s coupled with the inventive funk progressions found on some of the lesser celebrated 80s funk cuts. Join us after the listen, for a special guest selection feature Mr. Rashad himself.
Boulevards’ Week in Pop
JaMil Rashad is not only one of our favorite artists on the move and on the rise, but has some of the greatest taste in the world when it comes to sporting those hard to find grooves that require deep vinyl bin digging. Providing us with an exclusive to some of the Raleigh, NC artist latest old school favorites; we are proud to present Boulevards’ Week in Pop:
Midnight Express, “Danger Zone”
Charlie Singleton & Stargasm, “I Wanna Boogie with You”
Teena Marie, “Behind The Groove” (original 12″ mix)
The SOS Band, “If You Want My Love”
Raw Silk, “Do It To The Music”
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, “Before I Let Go” (extended mix)
Change, “Change Of Heart” (extended version)
Young And Company, “Strut Your Stuff”
BB & Q Band, “Imagination”
Surface, “Falling in Love”
Advance, “Take Me To The Top”
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