Week in Pop: Barleaux, Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser, Shade

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In a week dominated by Lana Del Rey Honeymoon hype, Impose’s Week in Pop is here to help make sense of it all with breaking pop exclusives, and a brief waltz through some of the week’s biggest stories. Big news as Kanye West presented Yeezy Season 2 at select theaters, and premiered the new track “Fade” during Fashion Week that features Ty Dolla $ign & Post Malone; Warpaint’s Jenny Lee Lindberg announced her solo album Right On! available December 11 from Rough Trade; Angel Haze dropped the D-Day mixtape; Young Thug dropped the Slime Season mixtape featuring Quavo & Offset (from Migos), & Lil Wayne; Lil Wayne claimed that he’s a better rapper than his Cash Money protégé Drake; Guerilla Toss signed to DFA, new EP & LP eminent; DOOM x Ghostface Killah collaboration as DOOMSTARKS; Krill broke up; Kendrick Lamar honored the late great 2Pac, and talked to Quincy Jones; Lana Del Rey dropped “Salvatore”; RZA to direct an upcoming action flick called Breakout; DIIV dropped “Dopamine” off the forthcoming new Captured Tracks album Is the Is Are; Deafheaven shared the cut “Come Back” off their forthcoming New Bermuda album; Run The Jewels parodies on “Colbert” (i.e. Squawk the Jewels & more); Thom Yorke helped soundtrack Fashion Week, and is also composing the music for the Harold Pinter Broadway play Old Times; Ice Cube slated to play Scrooge in upcoming film based on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol called Humbug; DOJ shut down Sharebeast; The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney versus Jack White (but now it’s cool); Pete Doherty’s anxiety attack causes a re-scheduling of upcoming Libertines dates; Devo’s Jerry Casale apologized for his 9/11-themed wedding; and Morrissey said that his upcoming two shows will be his last in the UK.

But now here to help introduce us to the new autumn season, we present the following exclusives, interviews, and insights from Barleaux, Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser, Shade, Ars Phoenix, Bluelily, Courtesy, Craft Spells, Gramma’s Boyfriend, Gwenno, Jimmy Turturici, Major Murphy, Social Studies, Teen Brains, The Wyrms, Yonas Michael, featuring guest selections by Childbirth, and more—in no particular order.


Barleaux; photographed by Marvin Joseph.
Barleaux; photographed by Marvin Joseph.

We introduced you to LA based artist Barleaux earlier this past summer, and now we present to you the evening synth reflective sentiments on the world premiere of her new track “Boo”. The slow burning flicker and flame found on “Fire” is brought to even deeper thought and memory zones where the atmosphere and electronic attitude is portrayed through brighter neon displays of synthesizers. Flip book photo albums of pictures pass by with Hilary Barleaux’s recollected endearing embrace of former adventures and excitement enjoyed with an offstage former partner. Turning the dials in her self penned & produced vision with mastering courtesy of additional mixing by Keith Munson; Barleaux succeeds in designing an electro pop vehicle that sonically creates the sound of going back in time and mixes in voicemail recordings from 1-800-Mattress and Graham Stone for good measure. Connected to the Afternoon’s Modeling imprint (operated by DIY everything pop impresario Jónó Mí Ló), Barleaux readies her debut album Wild Desire that she referred to in our conversation as a “sonic flip book of the past two years” that chronicles her own adventures through a cycle of songs recorded everywhere from bedrooms, bathrooms, garages, outdoors, state of the art studios, and anywhere possible.

Barleaux’s “Boo” arrives in a blur of blinking synths with fragment’s of Hillary’s vocals illuminated in the reverb hollowed background. “Take me my hand on the whole way home, let’s be friends for a one night show like we used to boo…” The cruising down the boulevard elation and moments of attraction and adulation are observed like a passing glance in the rear-view where the objects of desire reflected back in the mirror feel even closer than they appear. “Boo” finds Barleaux carving out a song created from the nostalgic relevance of now where every inspired and influence audio item from the respective realms of electronic music, hip hop, emotive pop maximalism are seamlessly blended for a feel that feels vaguely familiar and yet entirely new at the same time. Every effect and electro key touch creates the sound of thoughts and feelings traveling back to the point of cherished memories where the greatest culprit couples of reigning mischief masterminds are toasted in a reminiscing tribute. Murmuring and gurgling keys fire all around the listener at all times as Barleaux transports the listeners to wild nights and exquisite times shared with a departed beau. Read our interview featured after the following listen.

With summer behind us and fall upon us; tell us how summer 2015 treated you, and your outlook for fall, winter, and 2016.

This summer has been the best summer of my life. Making the decision to move away from everything I know and really dig into making music has been so rewarding. My outlook is super positive because the amount of content I’m sitting on right now and how excited I am about releasing my second album!

The video for “Fire” is almost edited, starring Chris Abbott from “GIRLS,” I’m in pre-production for another single, “Windows,” there are some potential CMJ dates, and we’ll be releasing a single every month until tour in the Spring on the east coast. I’m also excited for my label to release purple cassette tapes of this new record. But I’m also looking forward to my first winter on the west coast! Sayonara, snow.

Hot on the heels of your breakout single “Fire”, tell us about how “Boo” finds you settling further into your role as artist, singer, producer, and visionary.

The contrast between “Fire” and “Boo” is pretty apparent to the listener—”Fire” is broody, dark. “Boo,” on the other hand, is a lot more optimistic. It’s an opposite viewpoint on love and the potential it has to change you. When I started writing “Boo” I really wanted that nostalgic, fluffy, M83 effect but with the same lyrical tongue-in-cheek tone that “Fire” has. “Boo” really challenged me to really dive into the production side of things. And I’ve produced a lot of tracks, but I wanted the first one to be really special. I wanted that song that you would ask your über driver to blast while going home alone—like, the night was kind of shitty—but you listen to “Boo,” and realize that everything’s going to be okay and that boys are stupid.

The world according to Barleaux; photograph by Marvin Joseph.
The world according to Barleaux; photograph by Marvin Joseph.

Can you tell us what sorts of amorous reflections and projections lent inspiration for this track?

I kept thinking about how much I’ve traveled this past year and then I started getting into thinking about time—what is this crazy thing called time that you can’t hold in your hands but there is still evidence that it exists? I feel like everyone has this interesting pendulum aspect of their life in their 20s. It’s when you figure out how to build a strong enough ship—that’s when you just start gliding. If you apply that same endurance to a life-long love—someone that you’ve had ups and downs with for years and years, but you know that if you called them when you were in town, that you would always meet up and put aside the bullshit, despite marriage and career and all the strifes [sic] of life—and just have a drink with. Because that time is really valuable. And it might’ve not seemed valuable in the years prior.

How have your adventures from Brooklyn, Nashville, to LA have inspired your environment wise?

Those moves have really inspired everything. I’m grateful for the short time I spent in Nashville waiting tables and working in a music venue. New York is loud and expensive and tough, but it really helps you develop that hard rock layer of resilience that is absolutely essential as an artist. Los Angeles has proved really great because it’s so acceptable to work hard around the clock, and the whole town runs on the entertainment industry. I also spent five years in Boston and that was super inspirational—there’s so much good music that comes out of Boston it’s insane. My parents also live two hours north of Manhattan in a tiny town called Millerton—it’s literally minuscule—but the charm and character there is undeniably inspiring. Traveling feeds the songwriter’s soul.

Tell us further how working with Eddington Again, Julius, Garrett Eaton, etc, and experimental hip hop have all helped to shape your own visions of sound, sensations, and sentiments created with your productions.

It’s so weird—I never listened to hip hop, even when I went to Berklee—and it was everywhere—and the best hip hop musicians were at Berklee. But I just wanted to sit at the piano and focus on the song. My emotions were very contained to those white keys. But as time went on, I got really bored with the singer-songwriter thing, and I didn’t want to play to three people in New York anymore. So I had to find a way to turn the clockwork differently. Because no one wants to give up on their craft—but I was really frustrated. So I started digging deeper. Experimental hip hop enabled me to explore a lot more sonically while also staying true to my lyrical content and keeping things very much my own, unique sound. And then I wasn’t as frustrated anymore. It was a big problem in my mind that I needed to fix, and when I did figure out how to keep that inspiration stream flowing, then things started going swimmingly.

Eddington Again is a good friend of mine and he’s one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. He has this purple aura and he connects people in a way that I’ve never seen anyone else do. It’s kind of magical. He’s basically a magician. Julius and I went to summer camp in Vermont together. That guy is a classical prodigy turned hip hop producer and the amount of talent he has is truly scary. I’m most excited for our track, “Windows”. Garrett Eaton and I met on one fateful night when he was in the same dorm at Berklee as me and he lived above me. We started making music together and despite both moving between cities these past few years, I’m so lucky we’re both in LA because we’re both on fire—see what I did there—we’re also both July babies, and the work dynamic between us is unreal because we’re both so spastic. He encourages me to embrace my weird. And you need those people around! But he’s doing things with music that no one else is doing, and he will probably—no doubt—take over the world very, very soon.

Barleaux, single art by Marvin Joseph.
Barleaux, single art by Marvin Joseph.

Tell us more stories behind the scenes on the making of your debut LP.

It is technically my debut record, but my last one I recorded under the moniker, Hillary Barleaux. This LP has been a real mind-fuck. Especially the past few weeks now that things are coming to a wrap—I’ve recorded in bedrooms, state of the art studios, garages, outside, bathrooms—everywhere. With the first album, we tracked everything pretty much live and in the same studio—Mad Oak Studios in Allston. There are live and electronic instruments on this record and they’re very 50/50. The way I wanted to approach this album was as if I had already been signed and I had gotten to work with any producer I wanted—within reason—just by stalking people and asking them if we could work together. But this album really focuses on production and there’s a real extensiveness there—there are folk songs, hip hop songs—it’s literally my dream record. And even though this past year has been so exhausting—that second that you sit down and put all your work into a composite, smoke a bowl and look at it on a screen—you’re like, ‘wait, how did I do that?’

I am so grateful for everyone that worked on this record and all the crazy adventures I’ve been on. J Saliba, who produced my first record, and I talk a lot about the term, ‘flip book.’ That’s what a song is—right? It’s a sonic flip book of your life. This record, Wild Desire, is a sonic flip book of the past two years.

Last time we talked you were obsessed with Sleep State’s single “Tether”; what are you currently listening to over and over again right now?

That’s a good one! Super chill dudes. I just found out about this duo Bob Moses, and they have a track, “Too Much is Never Enough“. Some of their songs are like, eight minutes long and the mixing on that track is unbelievable. I love when artists think outside the box because it encourages me to also think outside the box. Also—Gabrielle Aplin a UK artist who supported Ed Sheeran that is a little lesser known over in the states—she just released a bunch of singles in preparation for her new album and the mixing on that is also unbelievable. I want to get better at mixing so that’s what I’m listening for these days.

What sorts of mantras and philosophies have you adopted or created yourself as a personal/creative guideline as of recent?

Wow. That’s a great question! I really like ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ and Gandhi’s ‘be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Damn. I sound like a fucking hippy. In terms of personal and creative guidelines—I think just working your ass off seems to have a positive effect. So I think I’ll keep doing that!

Wild Desire will be available soon.

Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser

DeGreasing with Ben Katzman & the gang.
DeGreasing with Ben Katzman & the gang.

NYC based gnarly ones Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser interrupt your week to loiter about and premiere the record shop clerk ode video from Andrew Gibson & Bad Boi Productions for “Record Store Babe”. Featured off the band’s forthcoming Venus in Pisces album available October 30 from BUFU Records / Gnar Tapes, Katzman and crew follow up their recent Rok N Roll Community College offering with a continued ‘rok’ curriculum that encourages all the diversions and extra-curricular activities in the world. Ben and the band here continue the cult and culture of overtly self-aware rock antics that act completely un-self-conscious, all the while invoking your favorite shredders while having a laugh at the album rock canon as well.

The Andrew Gibson video presents Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser performing a rowdy rendering of their single “Record Store Babe” before the checkout counter lorded over by the very wax hustler goddess of their dreams. Ben and company charge down the aisles in vain attempts to garner any interest from their crush requesting favorite bands, top ten lists, and inquiries about iconic and immortal pop legends with tongue-in-cheek cheer that turns record store knowledge pretensions upside down. “Do you like Kiss? Madonna too? Do you buy your records at Feeding Tube?” Captured in the super DIY fashion of cam-recorded cool, Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser take over Ft. Lauderdale, Florida’s world famous Radio-Active Records like a nuclear weather cloud storm trudging down the aisles and rows of LPs, asking for a record recommendation as if they were asking their beloved shop keeper for a date. Hilarity ensues as Ben and the power chord bunch flaunt their scuzzy affections in the hopes to get more than the expected rolling of eyes obscured by the accessory of sunglasses. Join us following the “Record Store Babe” video debut as we catch up with Ben Katzman in a lively interview round.

What’s good and groovy these days for you all in Boston these days?

We actually don’t live in Boston anymore. We have spent the last couple months working on our new record in Miami in between a few tours. We have pretty much relocated to New York however. Home of the Ramones and KISS. What could be better?

Give us what the leap has been like from Rok N Roll Community College to your new album Venus In Pisces. What sorts of challenges, triumphs, tribulations, tears, fears, and beers were shed to make this happen?

Well we decided Rok N Rol Community College was fun but we didn’t enjoy being lectured by teachers who preferred Sammy Hagar over Diamond Dave so we ditched school. Unfortunately around the time I ditched school, I also got my heart broken. Ya know that kinda stuff happens to everyone but because my Venus is in Pisces it hit me pretty hard. I was in sad boy mode for god knows how long. I felt like Sandra Dee in Grease, going through the motions and cycles of being a young kid trying to find my way in the world. Venus In Pisces isn’t just a break up record, but a record about growing into your early twenties and becoming the person you want to be. I was listening to a lot of Ramones, Van Halen, and Weezer when I wrote this album so I’d say this is definitely our heartbreak shred record.

Who inspired this elusive “Record Store Babe” referenced in the song? Is there a record shop clerk in particular of whom this a homage to, like Toto penning a song after the keyboardist’s gf at the time Rosanna Arquette?

We were on tour with Colleen Green and the Jellyfish Brothers and we did an in-store at this place called Radio-Active Records in Ft. Lauderdale, We met this cool Libra there who was into mostly sick bands. I don’t remember if she liked Mumford and Sons or not but the song isn’t directly about her. It’s kind of about how when you are on the road you hope to meet a babe (gender neutral term) that you can chill hard with, and maybe they like the same things as you such as listening to KISS, or cropping t-shirts, or reading about The Ramones. It’s those little things that keep you together when you are on the road and in your world all day.

ben katzman degreaser week in pop 2

Tell us about what making the video with Andrew Gibson for Bad Boi Productions what’s like, and any off-screen anecdotes of humor or interest that you care to share?

I mean Andrew Gibson is an honorary member of DeGreaser. He has done work with lots of the other BUFU bands such as Tall Juan, and Free Pizza. He’s that rare-breed kinda Gemini/Cancer cusp that is no games, all hustler, and is mad fun to be around all the time.

Does a dream record store clerk have to like Kiss and Madonna as any kind of prerequisite of genuine realness, or is it merely a preferred suggestion?

They don’t have to like KISS or Madonna, and to be honest I’d prefer that they didn’t. I wouldn’t wanna date someone who is just like me. It’d be cool to date like a Leo or a Sagittarius who was into Klaus Nomi, or Abba. That would probably rock real hard.

Tell us what you all are vibing hard to right now.

I’ve been vibing really hard to this band from Seattle called Sick Sad World, The ABBA record Super Trouper, and the first LL Cool J record. I’m also always vibing to the Beets. That band rules. Other than that I’ve been really vibing to Kiwi’s, and peanut butter Cookie Lara Bars. You know what I think it pretty cool too that I’ve been enjoying is turning my cell phone off and stepping a way from wi-fi. That’s pretty crucial for me. I have a moon in Capricorn so I’m always trying to organize and get stuff done but sometimes you get so caught up in getting stuff done that you forget to just chill and enjoy the small things such as chillin’ hard with the homies.

Parting words of advice or wisdom from the DeGreasers?

No parting words, just be cool and be you! Life is too short to try and hide the fact that you like KISS, or the later Ramones records. Enjoy what you like, love what you love, and do you what you do. You rock!

The new Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser album Venus in Pisces will be available October 30 from BUFU Records / Gnar Tapes.

Catch them on the following tour dates with Tall Juan:

18 Burlington, VT @ Friends + Family VT
19 Boston, MA @ Thieves Grotto
20 Providence, RI @ TBA
21 Baltimore, MD @ Zissimo’s
23 Chicago, IL @ Wally’s World
24 Detroit, MI @ Elijah’s
25 Philadelphia, PA @ The Soundhole
26 Worcester, MA @ Clark University


From left, Devin & Kent of Shade; photographed by Cate Haller.
From left, Devin & Kent of Shade; photographed by Cate Haller.

Introducing LA’s Shade, a duo comprised of So Many Wizards bassist Devin Ray and Kent James who debut their motorik single “Lovelives”. The dreamcentric alt-Los Angeles lens is alive and well in the world of Shade where prog methods are approached that sees Ray and James applying an idiosyncratic mathematical-like forms of alchemy to their pop sciences of experimentation. First impressions you might glean from Kent & Dev’s audio synergy is the sound you might have waded around the great unwashed festival masses and hordes for all summer long in hopes to hear but came up empty. That is until now, where Shade drapes your world in an umbrella canopy of songs that elicit the tug of war fight between the love and hate persuasions that make up the balances of relationships that we hold for ourselves and others.

Devin and Kent contribute together a sound that centers it’s construction based after the creative development process rather than traditional forms of convention. The multi-instrumentalist duties of Ray and James finds the artists forging sounds that bring about ranges of emotions that bounce off the rhythm backboard where guitars, windy gusts of key sustains breeze along the vocal harmonies that stir emotions of love, sadness, anger, and more along the lonely streets and solo strolled side walks of Los Angeles. Shade starts the song element for element, measure for measure where gradually the swelling of thought and feeling rises like the air of the day that slowly sets along the Pacific with the westward sleeping sun. The rhythms and multi-colored clusters of chords symbolize the days that Shade meets with atmospheres that entertain the moon lit glow that relays satellite beacons of light from the fiery planet. After the following debut of “Lovelines”, read our interview with Shade’s Devin & Kent immediately after.

From your bassist duties in So Many Wizards, tell us about how the chance to launch Shade came about.

Devin: Well, I have been writing songs since I was 16 and have always wanted to start a project to showcase my own brand of spacey, melancholy, pop/rock music but didn’t want to do it alone and Kent seemed like the perfect collaborator. I met Kent through a mutual friend and realized we had similar musical sensibilities, sharing the desire to make pretty, atmospheric, and sometimes strange, pop songs that are centered less around straightforward strumming guitar arrangements, letting the keys, bass, or drums drive the song and using the guitar as more of a delicate icing on the cake.

The debut single “Lovelives” is very much guided by a rhythm based bass core; how has your background in bass impacted your songwriting and sensibilities with Shade?

Devin: I actually play keyboard more in this project and write most of my songs on keys now. I contributed live drums and tambourine to this track. Kent actually wrote this song and came up with the bass line. He is an incredible bass player and comes up with stuff I would never have dreamed of. Well, maybe I would dream of it but I’m sure I would forget it the moment I woke up!

From left; Kent & Dev of Shade.
From left; Kent & Dev of Shade.

Tell us about what sorts of lives and loves inspired this track.

Devin: I’ll leave that to Kent. Kent?

Kent: My tunes are usually like snapshots of my entire experience at the moment of writing the particular tune, so it’s kind of a collage of thoughts and feelings. But the life and love of reference would have to be my own. “Lovelives” is mostly a fight song against nihilism, both generally and quite personally. I was angry when I wrote it.

What else have you been working on with Shade? EP or LP perhaps in the works?

Devin: We have five more songs that are completely done and ready to be mastered. We’re gonna include “Lovelives” and release the six song EP very soon. Definitely before fall ends! We already have a back log of demos and fully fleshed songs recorded. I write like two songs a month and Kent writes like three songs a day, ha!

Dev & Kent from Shade in the desert.
Dev & Kent from Shade in the desert.

Give us the lowdown on what’s good right now in the LA independent and underground sectors.

Devin: Well I love the band Bouquet. I always try to catch them whenever they play. They play such beautiful, delicate music, with incredible vocal harmonies and are really sweet people. There is also a project coming out by my friend Alathea (from the band Banta) called Dr Fadeaway and I just listened to two of her songs and they are so beautiful. I am super excited about that! Also finally checked out Vinyl Williams. Can’t believe I am just now discovering them. I saw them at Non Plus Ultra about a month ago and they blew my mind!

What have you been listening to in excess lately?

Devin: INXS and Roy Orbison, mainly Roy Orbison.

Kent: Pyramids, Lift to Experience, and lectures on all sorts of nonsense.

Listen to more from Shade via Soundcloud.

Jimmy Turturici

jimmy turturici week in pop 1

Found off Noumenal Loom’s prolific Compilation 1; Monterey Peninsula dream pop weaver Jimmy Turturici debuts the video for “Dancing By The Radio” from The Void that features an ecstatic bunch busting moves and partaking in the proverbial indulgence of dancing in the streets the world over. Readying his EP Alien Garden for release soon via his Natural Satellite imprint (that also features the single), Turturici has recently been touring about Europe to bring his synth-penned visions and Pacific shores sensations throughout Germany, and Italy for new audiences to embark upon the productions he has been fusing on the sleepy west coast peninsula now for years.

With shades of similar synths and sax found on Molly Nilsson’s recent “1995“; “Dancing By The Radio” is an ode to an eternal expression of unbound jubilation where keys and and celebratory steps move together in flare of fun of the best times ever. With images of wild-hearted folks showing off their best impromptu ballroom styles; the world becomes one big dance floor under the spell of a radio broadcast to last for all time and into the eras and episodes of life yet to be unveiled. Aspects of anachronisms (i.e. the traditional radio) are exalted here as a force that transmits an energy of life to be heard in the years and great after when other terrestrial or celestial beings discover what all the buzz, fuss, and hype was about during the infancy of he current new millennial age.

Jimmy described the making of the single and a bit about what’s next in the works with the following words:

Both tracks “Aurora” and “Dancing by the Radio” were created in late 2014 using a 1970s reel to reel. The reason being I missed the warm sound and subtle hiss sound you can only get through analog. Ben Herod who plays the sax on both tracks was a huge help in reconnecting me to the sound I so longed for. Recalling the fun I had back in the mid 90s using my cassette four track, I wanted to revive—and/or better yet—continue from where I left off hoping to find what I felt I had lost when I switched to digital recording in the oughts.

The videos were created by “The Void” given that I don’t like to put myself in my videos I thought it best to entrust that responsibility to a great team of editors. I had plenty of stock footage as I I love to capture moments in time. What I have planned next is something that I’m keeping very close to heart, but all I can say for now is that it’s going to be a concept album of optimism and love. The music industry can be very cold, and the politics boring but I’m choosing to steer clear of all that nonsense and continue to create as I see the world for what it is—life imitating art.

Major Murphy

Introducing Major Murphy; the dream project of Grand Rapids, MI's Jacob Bullard.
Introducing Major Murphy; the dream project of Grand Rapids, MI’s Jacob Bullard.

We take you to Grand Rapids, Michigan to meet Jacob Bullard who has been working on a ridiculous music outfit titled Major Murphy who presents the premiere of “On & Off (National Broadcast TV)”. Their formidable beginnings started this past summer of 2015 where Bullard enlisted the heavyweights of Jacki Warren (of The Soil & The Sun) along with drummer, Brian Voortman to stir a sound that treats the AM radio frequency receiving/transmission creative/electrical components. The result of their experiments and inventions would the realized shape and form of the Major Murphy world, alive on the forthcoming Future Release available October 9 from Winspear Records.

While the concerns and cosmetic conceits of revivalism pride themselves upon embellishing reincarnations of anachronistic movements and motion in the storybook catalogs chronologies of influence. What is most interesting about Major Murphy’s “On & Off (National Broadcast TV) is it’s ability to remake and reshape all expectations on what the great modern pop ballad should sound like. “On & Off” is the sound of Bullard, Voortman, & Warren orchestrating the great epic sing-along anthem that buzzes on a sugar blast fueled by Nuclear age-modernism with the definition of today’s most progressive music adventurers. This is the smooth and soft album pop gem of near arrangement perfection that you may have waited your entire life to hear. Delving further into the sound is Major Murphy’s Jacob Bullard who joins us for an interview after the following debut of “On & Off (National Broadcast TV)”.

Tell us how you formulated Major Murphy and how Jacki Warren of The Soil & The Sun and Brian Voortman contributed to the project.

Major Murphy has been coming together for about a year now… Brian and I were in a band together previous, and Jacki and I have played along side each other frequently with our respective bands in the past. Somewhere in there the three of us fell in love with Paul McCartney and kept talking about making music together. In June 2015 I went on a tour with Jacki’s band, The Soil & The Sun, opening for them with songs I have been writing. They helped fill in as my band too. On a couple of those shows, Brian was able to drum with me and those were the first shows for us in a while, but we didn’t have a name at the time. Then, in July, the name kind of struck me and since Brian, Jacki & I all live at the same house, it was easy for them to contribute to the recordings I was producing – Brian playing drums, Jacki playing synths and singing. Brian lives on the top floor in a big apartment with carpet that has great acoustics for recording.

What was the process of making Future Release like, covering the gamut of eclectic electric styles?

Ben Wittkugel is very instrumental in this process. When he approached me about some demos he heard of mine and wanted to put together a release for his tape label, Winspear, it really gave me something to work toward. Until then, I was just kind of aimlessly recording demos. It was then that I also had the idea that this could be a good opportunity to start a new project and picked out a few songs that represented a few musical directions that it might go. Having Jacki add synths to the songs was huge too. Synths change the entire dynamic of a song. You can take a part that would be a guitar line or an organ line and have a synth play it and an entirely new energy level comes in, new windows are opened and you see/hear new potentials with the arrangements and production.

“On & Off (National Broadcast TV)” is honestly a timeless classic…something out of time, of mind, from another place…really unique and quite a treasure. Tell us what sort of television ennui and thoughts inspired this song?

Thank you! Late night show musical performances are a part of this story. I feel like I see bands on The Late Show or SNL and it signifies a kind of status. It’s like people won’t believe you are legit until they see you there. Whether that would be family or friends or industry pros. It’s the moment at a family reunion where your great uncle says they keep waiting to see you on Good Morning America. It’s calling out that whole paradigm and being frustrated with it, but then realizing that I’m holding myself to the same standard, realizing I want the same thing. I’m kind of throwing my hands up in surrender and saying: take me! At that point, the whole thing takes on a kind of sexual connotation, and given the medium, it relates to pornography. Basically, take my most treasured, pure little song I wrote in my room about my inner-most feelings and put it on TV. That is what it takes to be an entertainer, I accept it, and I’m even admitting that I want it.

Other Grand Rapids, Michigan artists that you are really feeling right now?

A friend of mine, Justin Majetich, has a project called, Care which is really incredible. He lives in NYC now, but I met him in Grand Rapids. Justin also introduced me to James Allen who has a few bands and I have been inspired by his musicianship. He released an album called Parallel Moments under the name, Jade TV.

With your tour in effect right now, what are you looking forward to tour wise, and what are some of the post-tour plans?

I can’t wait to play with my friend, Joey Cook and his band Joseph in Cincinnati. Joey also plays with Pomegranates and they are quite an inspiration.

2016 prospects for Major Murphy & friends?

We are releasing our EP on October 9 and are going to finish out this fall with some midwest and Michigan shows. I just got some new gear for recording so will probably spend most of the winter in the booth. Looking at the spring for more widespread touring!

Catch Major Murphy on the following dates:

18 Jackson, TN @ Jackson University
19 Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
21 Kalamazoo, MI @ Louie’s Back Room w/ The Donkeys
26 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Pyramid Scheme w/ The Go Rounds

Future Release will be available October 9 from Winspear Records.

The Wyrms

Carrboro, NC's radical & whimsical warlocks, The Wyrms.
Carrboro, NC’s radical & whimsical warlocks, The Wyrms.

Carrboro by Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s The Wyrms celebrate the release of their Negative Fun album At Wizard Island today with the following exclusive stream, and roundtable interview with the band. The album debut from the quartet of Jack, Patrick, and the rhythm section-sibling force from Chloe, and Derek turns the Magic: The Gathering card playing tables over with wild rolls of the multi-faceted/multi-shaped dice that delivers something for all warriors, wizards, orcs, ogres, and more to head bang to whilst blasting at unreasonable volumes.

At Wizard Island is both a celebration of the DIY home-hemmed spirit as much as it is a D&D cosplay invitation that is way more fun than your average Vampire: The Masquerade hang out sesh. The Transylvanian rage begins on “Vampire”, where the blood sucking freaks are up against The Wyrms valiant swords & shields of honor displayed on “Don’t Freak Out”. The Chapel Hill bunch keep the entire occasion super so weird and wacky with the “don’t touch me” bleached denim rip and rock of “Ooze”, to the foreboding tribal beach thunder invasion camp of “War Machine”. Modicums of Grand Guignol-esque macabre abound like the splatter and sputter sneer shred fest of “I Want My Arm Back”, the doomed space rock of “Woke Up Dead”, to the ghost guitar Nuggets punk piercings on the devastating ripper, “Shadow”. Flights of fights are detailed in the battling noise narcotic dirges that wail like ripped pages from the Necronomicon on “Run”, to the pepped up ode of enchantment for all those dreamboat sorcerers out there with the closing finale of “I Only Date Wizards”. The next time when you and the posse get ready for your next marathon role playing match, remember At Wizard Island for your essential sound score needs. We had a chance to talk to Jack, Patrick, and Chloe from The Wyrms in our following interview session.

We had a chance to talk to Jack, Patrick, and Chloe from The Wyrms in our following interview session.

Take us to the magical land of being At Wizard Island; describing what the making of this scuzzy album amusement park was like.

Jack: Wizard Island is actually the magical house that Chloe and I live in, and it’s in the country just outside of Chapel Hill. Living in the sticks allowed us to turn up and let loose in a way we couldn’t when we lived in town. Also, due to a combination of confidence and being really broke, we recorded this live by ourselves onto an old cassette recorder (thanks, Uncle Barry!), and that had a big impact on the sound of the record.

Chloe: There are cats everywhere. I am in heaven at Wizard Island. But, Patrick can’t breathe.

Patrick: It was four friends in a room playing together. Like any good recording session, it was equal parts fantasy and friction.

How has (or how hasn’t) Chapel Hill impacted the sounds of The Wyrms?

Chloe: The Wyrms doesn’t exist without the musical web that is Chapel Hill. The support of the people here is a non-stop ride of love, enthusiasm, and growth. The bands work together. The labels work together. Everyone records with everyone. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Jack: Like Chloe said, I can’t imagine making music anywhere else. I moved up here about six years ago with the intention of just being a fan, but the community of people and friends that I have found in this town have been inspiring and encouraging beyond what words can convey.

Patrick: Chapel Hill is the cauldron that we pull our inspiration from. It’s a heady mixture of community minded musicians and crazy freaks who never stop creating. It’s a mad house that we’re lucky to call home.

Chilling on the couch in our discussion round with The Wyrms.
Chilling on the couch in our discussion round with The Wyrms.

Describe what sorts of interstellar overdrive sketching and recording sessions make up The Wyrms approach to making music.

Patrick: Basically we light some incense, spark a joint, and pray to the song gods to deliver us the most righteous hooks.

Chloe: Sometimes at home we are a jam band. Don’t tell my mom.

Jack: You caught our Pink Floyd tease, so you get a magical item as a reward! Congrats! Sometimes the songs come out fully-formed and other times it’s more collaborative. Nothing feels real until everyone puts their touch on it. And of course, we keep our fuzz pedals on the whole time.

What sorts of video nasties, camp & cult movies, horror flicks, cosplay antics, rpgs, D&D fun inspired this cycle of songs that feels like attending a midnight matinee?

Chloe’s Picks: Saga, Hermione Granger, Rat Queens, Galadriel, Firefly, Burning Hands, +1 Daggers

Jacks Picks: Saga, Rat Queens, The Thing, Harry Potter, Beowulf, The Prose Edda, Lord of the Rings, Romero, Min/Maxing, Sneak Attacks, Casting Grease on everything, Natural 20s, Reavers, Jedi, Earthsea, Madeline L’Engle, Nosferatu, Tremors, Alien, Sleep Paralysis, I could keep going…

If The Wyrms could write, direct, produce, and star in their own future cult classic; what would it be called, what would it be about, and what would the plot be?

Jack: “You’ve Got Wyrms” It’s a story about a dog who gains advanced intelligence after being possessed by The Wyrms and while we are in its head we teach it how to play guitar and use riffs and pure wattage to defend earth against an extra-planar invasion. There are gonna be a lot of cuts to music performances with a pulsing brain green screened behind us, and it’ll star that dog from Air Bud.

Patrick: It would be called ‘Nerd Alert!’ – it’s about a group of kids who end up possessing the powers that they conjure while playing D&D – and use those powers to over throw the forces of evil that prevail in their sleepy, mountain town.

Craft Spells

Craft Spells
(Justin Vallesteros & Craft Spells at Constellation Room; photographed by Nicole Busch.)

With Craft Spells preparing to tour Europe November 4 through December 4; news of the brand new Our Park By Night 7″ was met with the utmost exhalation and some of the best bliss heard this year. “Our Park By Night” is the single that has been days/months/years in the making, one that finds frontman Justin Paul Vallesteros working in the producer’s role that extends some of the traits of the Stockton sound that he has been overseeing and working behind the scenes in all sorts of capacities. Being an engineer, producer, and spiritual guidance motivator for numerous rising local luminaries in the Stockton, Bay Area, Seattle, Brooklyn, etc. scenes; we have a strong feeling this is only a sign of more CS cuts and forthcoming Justin collaborations to follow. In Vallesteros’s own words about the new single:

I genuinely wanted to write the next album to help transcend the label of indie rock that was put on my music. “This was my youthful approach to my early style of production where I never thought about a live band. Our Park by Night was the first to be finished after the last album Nausea and you can hear me slowly putting the color back into the music. I’m getting back to being a producer first before anything, It feels like an art project again and not so much of an indie album.

Yonas Michael

Yonas Michael presents an introduction/preface to his first chapter of his Black, Swan, Theory EP trilogy.
Yonas Michael presents an introduction/preface to his first chapter of his Black, Swan, Theory EP trilogy.

Yonas Michael recently dropped his solo EP Black, the first installment of his Black, Swan, Theory release cycle. We had a chance to catch-up with Yonas some months back to discuss moving ahead from U-N-I, Y-O, to the exercising the autonomy of an artist stepping into the wonderland of his own super smooth sensationalism of sound portraits.

The title track “Black Swan Theory” arrives like a dizzying hip hop enhanced dub plate that starts the EP cycle with a hypnotic cyclone that transports you to a whole other state of consciousness. The holiday hemmed vibe blooms in full effect like the sped up sample loop track and smooth sea synths, licks, and keys to further carnal cuts of sport and amour on “Fun & Games” feat. Bad Lucc & Polyester. Inner ruminations and monologues stroll to the horn arranged mind stream of “Last Supper”, closing out with the much lauded single “B L E S S E D” that takes the listener to a Sunday sit down gospel service of truths like you’ve never before heard. Check out our interview with Ars Phoenix after the following listen.

Yonas Michael generously gave us the following exclusive introduction to his Black EP, featuring a few notes on the forthcoming Swan, & Theory EP additions, and some reflections on creating conceptual works of art:

Black of Black Swan Theory is the heart of the album that consumes most of the substance. The vibe is very intimate & soulful with personal lyrics influenced by a lot of jazz and cultural sounds. The self titled track “Black Swan Theory” is one of those records I’ll be performing for the rest of my life because it’s so good and timeless. Swan is more colorful, upbeat, fun & more ‘mainstream’ driven. It features everyone’s favorite song, Volvo. Theory is the closure and ties in Black Swan references with skits of Barack Obama to remind listeners they’re listening to a conceptual album.

This album should give you a clear reason why I needed make the solo jump from U-N-I. The music now is sonically different with a broader approach. I finally tapped into my artistry, enjoy the waves!

Ars Phoenix

The art of Ars Phoenix.
The art of Ars Phoenix.

Following up their recent Dead Tank Records/Popnihil tape, Ars Phoenix rises again with the debut of their new track “Lifetime Supply” The triumvirate core of John Gauntletier, Caitlin Grimalkin, and Mike Cruickshank make synth melting sounds where the entire world around the group’s aura appears to be caught in an ominous, bubbling state of dissolve. Heralding from Gainesville, Florida; Ars Phoenix’s synthesizer built pop makes for a subterranean sonic shelter to avoid the sun rays spit down to earth to make daylight.

Recorded at what John calls ‘the Phoenix House,” “Lifetime Supply” spins on an axis of it’s own night-terrors ripped from television infomercials and a play on the mechanical day to day routines depicted like the deceits of propagated advertising and status quo conformity. The track begins like an electronic space craft landing into the nightmare of contemporary cycles of fruitless corporate pursuits and climbing up dead-end company ladders. Gauntletier, Grimalkin, and Cruickshank outline and underline the meaningless hamster wheel runs of chasing dreams and directives of maximizing and monetizing everything in the name of dubious success. The points are driven forward in handbook guide fashion where the rules and regulations for obtaining and reaching goals is spelled out with a tongue in a tongue and cheek fashion that rains down a digital hail storm of electric brimstone lightning.

How did Ars Phoenix come together, and what’s the story behind the name?

There were some solo project demos and shows under the Ars Phoenix moniker in the early-2000s, but the band did not really become a fully functioning entity until 2008, when Jonn Gauntletier (vocals, guitar, synths, drum machines) teamed up with guitarist Paige Fowler in Gainesville, FL. After relocating to Southeast, FL, the band’s lineup shifted to include Jonn, Caitlin Grimalkin (synths, vocals), and Mike Cruickshank (synths, electric violin). Ars Phoenix basically means “art of the phoenix” or “craft of the phoenix”: perpetual immolation and rebirth.

What’s good these days in Florida?

We play primarily in Orlando, Gainesville, and Jacksonville. There’s a weekly post-punk/darkwave/synth-pop night in Orlando called Uberbahn at the Falcon in Orlando that we love to play. It feels like home. We’ve played there 3 times since last March and are itching to get back there again soon. In Jacksonville, we’ve become deeply associated with the Popnihil tape label and its constellation of noise, goth, and post-punk. We did a split tape with Burnt Hair earlier this year that was co-released by Popnihil and Dead Tank, another Jacksonville label that has been putting out grade A punk, hardcore, and even a bit of darkwave/post-punk recently, for about 10 years. Our Popnihil favorites would be Burnt Hair, Heavy Flow, Severed+Said, Virgin Flower, and Woven In. The coolest spots in Gainesville now go by ‘ask a punk’ rules to avoid unwanted attention, so we can’t really tell you much about Gainesville, except for Action Research. Andrew Chadwick, who does experimental vinyl and tape manipulation/collage under the name Ironing, has been running Action Research for many years now. Action Research showcases touring and local experimental acts on a very regular basis. I think he’ll be closing in on his 200th show soon–it’s a bonafide institution.

In what ways do you feel the ‘Sunshine State’ environment has impacted your sound?

In 2013, we released a vinyl LP on Etxe Records called Violent Rain. That title does a pretty good job summing up how the “Sunshine State” has influenced us. We’re more compelled by the thunder and lightning, the threat of flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes than by the artificial serenity that most people associate with Florida. Hiking through swamps, watching crabs scatter through the mangroves, walking on the beach while a storm rolls in to watch lightning stab the ocean–that’s more what FL is to us, not Disney World or Spring Breakers.

Tell us about how you all set about making the righteous and abundant “Lifetime Supply” track.

“Lifetime Supply” began with a simple synth loop on a Dave Smith Pro 2 and a basic synthpunk beat on a Korg Electribe 2. Lyrically, the chorus came first. “You get a
lifetime supply of sweat and spit, but not much else”–It just sounded right with the beat and bassline. The verses were written to flesh the chorus out thematically, a kind of anti-utilitarian, late-consumerist dystopian vibe. The guitar riff is basically the same as the synth parts, but it helps clarify the chord changes and give the song some extra grit. The synth lead was played on a Moog Sub Phatty, and there’s some Korg Wavestation laying down some atmospheric stuff in the background too.

What are you all working on right now?

“Lifetime Supply” is the lead track and video for our upcoming split cassette with The Viirus, a fantastic industrial/synth pop artist from Gainesville. We actually call him the “Gary Numan of Gainesville.” We’re pretty much done with our side of the cassette, so we’re already working on another batch of tracks that will either become 2 EPs/splits or our next full length, we’re not sure with which labels yet.

Who should we be listening to right now?

You should be listening to The Viirus, Burnt Hair, Clay Rendering, Cold Waste, Autarx, The Holy Circle, Teething Veils, Silo Halo, Screen Vinyl Image, Genre Baptiste, Severed+Said, Heavy Flow, Street Sects, Profondo Delle Tenebre, Virgin Flower, Veranear, Woven In, and many more than we can list.


bluelily week in pop 1

From Auburn, Iowa; meet Bluelily, the project of Zack Stewart and collaborators like Nate Wagner who is readying the Subtractive EP for release September 25 from Little L Records and today presents the world premiere of the lush guitar luster and piano adorned hues of the single “CMYK” single. Emerging on the scenes with the Little L release of Rainfall Sky / Live in Sound, Stewart here transforms an ordinary piano improvisational number into a rocket launch pad for paint brush feathered audio art arrangements.

The moment “CMYK” begins, Zack brings the full Bluelily trip with the interplay dynamics between the piano key bars, breath of guitars to the later introduced percussion section. The apprehensions and hesitations toward life and the world here drift like anxiety balloons before bursting into the light headed space where bottled up emotional tension erupts into a sky fall of ephemeral matter. There are many impressive things at work with “CMYK”, with one of the wild attractions being the rising ten story ocean wave of droning tremelo guitars that slowly and masterfully crashes into the shore of another section of the song. Zack’s delivery throughout is expressed in a variety of passing thoughts and truths that gain traction in the pace that they’re expressed throughout the song. By the end Stewart’s embraces the temporal and finiteness of now with a passion that increases ten fold from the song’s opening moments. Lessons and narratives are mused as scores of roaring guitars follow the networks of water falls and river flow paths lead by the piano keys. After the following debut of “CMYK”, check out our interview with Bluelily’s Zack Stewart.

What is the latest haps in these days in Iowa that the rest of us non-midwesterners know nothing about?

Well, the corn’s getting pretty tall! I think you also just missed the annual State Fair butter cow. Imagine a life-sized cow, except made out of dairy products and enshrined like some sort of religious icon. It’s pretty amazing, in a charmingly bizarre sort of way.

Give us the story on what making your Subtractive EP for Little L Records was like. Tell us too what the epic single “CMYK” was inspired by, and how you made this gorgeous nu-gazing cut.

Honestly, it was a long, agonizing process. I started writing the songs in high school and it took about three years to commit everything to tape. The songs all started out as piano improv sessions, and I’d slowly build up ideas session by session. But I’d always inevitably run into the issue of trying to translate my ideas to guitar, bass, and drums without actually being able to play any of those instruments myself. Between that, not having access to recording gear, and struggling a lot during my first year of college with loneliness and realizing that I wasn’t nearly as clever or musically talented as I had liked to think I was, everything just totally ground to a halt.

Eventually, I reached out to my friend Nate Wagner (of An Occasion for Balloons) and said, ‘Hey, if I gave you some guitar and bass parts, would you play them on my record?’ and he agreed. So I channeled all of my frustration and negativity into finishing the EP. “CMYK” is definitely the culmination of all of that; it’s the most juvenile and self-loathing song on the record, but it was also exactly the outlet I needed for all the crap I’d been bottling up. Nate absolutely nailed my vision for the EP’s climax when he laid down those guitars in the second half. I couldn’t have asked for a better musical representation of all my frustrations and anxieties.

What’s the secret to connecting your piano styles and dreamy guitar drones together? It’s a real gift you got at work here.

Thanks! I get a lot of my musical influence from jazz and shoegaze. Swing grooves, blue notes, and mixed meters all have this amazing capacity for expression, and likewise for the colorful, ethereal beauty of shoegaze. So, essentially, I just smashed them together and hoped something would stick! I also owe a lot of the success to Nate—anyone who can turn pages upon pages of vague directions like ‘The guitar here should sound like stars’ and ‘Can you make this part sound like a fire, but like a very slow, dry fire?’ into an actual recording probably deserves some sort of medal.

What do you find yourself listening to a lot of right now?

Barring the (fantastic) new Sufjan album, I’ve been pretty out of the loop for new releases this year, so lately I’ve been going back and consuming as much Sweet Trip and Rocketship as possible. I also recently discovered this Japanese compilation called mikgazer vol.1 that’s entirely made up of shoegaze songs featuring Hatsune Miku—like, that sounds awful, right? But I swear, it’s top 5 shoegaze album material!

Other Iowan artists that the world needs to know about?

I’d be a very bad Iowa indie dude if I didn’t give a shout-out to The Envy Corps, who’ve dropped several killer records and are basically my Iowa indie heroes. There’s also Cashes Rivers, who put out a great LP a few years back. I’m from out in the corn fields so I’m completely disconnected from the live scene here, but there’s definitely all sorts of cool stuff going on around the Des Moines area right now.

Further philosophies from the world of Bluelily, and beyond?

Being depressed really sucks, so if you’re in a bad place, try making some art. Write a song, draw stuff, do something you’ve never done before. It doesn’t have to be ‘deep,’ or even ‘good.’ You’d be amazed at what you’re capable of, and you might even feel a bit better when you’re done.

Bluelily’s Subtractive EP will be available September 25 from Little L Records.

Teen Brains

Introducing Norwich, England's Teen Brains.
Introducing Norwich, England’s Teen Brains.

This past June saw UK DIY-poppers Teen Brains release their self-titled EP on cassette through the Leeds based imprint Chud Records, which now sees a a US tape release from Citrus City Records. Following up the singles “Annabel” and “Flume” (featured on a Beech Coma’s Vol. 3 cassette compilation); the slacker-perfect-grunge-pop-forever sound and feels can now be experienced in full home spun/home recorded VHS fashion.

The visual for the time stunting anthem “All My Time” from Teen Brains opens up with the video playback of a zodiac calendar that cues you into the wonderful world of the Norwich band. From busting skateboards to shed performances with the band, and goofing off with friends; it feels like the Brains gang works to take all the time they possibly can to hold in the gripped palms of their hands. The grainy analog visuals, and kaleidoscopic effects catch the group in their element having a jam session where they seize every moment, minute, and second in their web net of wistful sounds of now.

Jack Palfrey of Teen Brains shared the following words on the making of their self-titled, and the track “All The Time” along with the home made video counterpart:

We recorded the ep over the space over a few months at the start of the year, keeping to the DIY ethos we’ve put in to all our stuff, we recorded it ourselves in Jacks kitchen, living room and our shed turned practice space, where we spend most of our time wasting away. “All My Time” is the first song off the EP, and probably our favorite, it’s about being caught in a seemingly endless cycle of wasting time and spending all our time doing the same thing, nothing. We shot the video ourselves and its just a compilation of footage of us practicing in our shed and hanging out with friends and stuff.

Find Teen Brains playing with Run For Cover’s very own Turnover this January, 2016 in the UK:

04 Cardiff @ Clwb 14
15 Bristol @ The Exchange
16 Nottingham @ Bodega –
17 Birmingham @ The Cellar –
18 Norwich @ The Owl Sanctuary
19 Southampton @ Joiners


Courtesy's Drew Ryan and Kirk Rawlings, press photo courtesy of the artists.
Courtesy’s Drew Ryan and Kirk Rawlings, press photo courtesy of the artists.

Off their Slow Bruise cassette from Moon Glyph watch the Jason Ogawa and Joseph Lim video for Courtesy’s “Jungle Juice” that finds the duo engaging in all the over-indulgences of nicotine, sodium, egg-y cholesterol and all the things that everyone should cut back on. The percussion and bass rhythms stage the showdown of man versus mortality in a humorous, and somewhat frightening display of pure unbridled excess.

Kirk Rawlings from Courtesy chatted with us for a bit this past week, and explained how their song about willful self-destruction turned into a game of ‘how-many-hazardous-things-can-we-squeeze-into-one-video’ outing:

The lyric “if I say I want to die, please just let me die” came after my partner drew watch a documentary about assisted suicide. So it was pretty dark. But I took as a sort of statement of independence and even a celebration of gluttony the 1st time he showed me those words. I had the idea that I wanted to make a video that takes that to an extreme, but I wanted the vice’s to be more domestic than say, a Scarface pile of coke in a table. So I wanted to take J.Jaramuch’s Coffee and Cigarrettes and make a horror show out of it.

Director Jason Ogawa and I fleshed out the idea and shot it. He really took the simple idea I had and blew out and did a great job. We smoked about 40 cigs a piece and in not even a tobacco smoker. It was pretty rough. I dry heaved quite a bit, but we held it together. Now, we are just sitting, waiting for the cancer to sink in.

Social Studies

Chilling on a roof with Social Studies, featuring Natalia Rogovin, Michael Jirkovsky, Tom Smith, Jesse Hudson and Ben McClintock; photographed by Richard Hart.
Chilling on a roof with Social Studies, featuring Natalia Rogovin, Michael Jirkovsky, Tom Smith, Jesse Hudson and Ben McClintock; photographed by Richard Hart.

Social Studies just released their new album Wake via Aerobic International today, and we present you with Natalia Rogovin and the crew with the drifting wild spirited instinct of “Drifty”. Natalia paints a picture of the most wild at heart humans that live in dream worlds of make believe tricks that favor the allure of wanderlust beckoning to the sedentary stay-put life of homestead grounded living. The wayward worlds of derelict prone people are portrayed in the scene of departure where perceptions of destiny turn into faith invested in a tumbling stoned desperado. The feelings and situations build up in a wave of epic emotion and power that finds Rogovin taking charge of a cosmic solar system of her own design and illustrated strength of resolve.

During a recent conversation, Natalia was very generous in sharing her perceptions and feelings behind the making of the new Social Studies’ album, Wake with the following words:

Writing this record [Wake] ended up being a process of letting go of all our inhibitions and being really—scarily—honest. We explored some heavy and raw feelings in this material: failure, guilt, anger, loss, loneliness—the ones you try to hide from the outside world. It’s hard to go there and be truthful about your negative side especially in front of other people. But digging deep, exploring, and confronting all those feelings was a really beautiful and cathartic process. You learn to see yourself as you really are—your flaws and your strengths. You forgive yourself and others that have hurt you. For me, finishing the record was like becoming a kid again—the world looked shiny, brighter: more full of joy and wonder.

Wake feels like the most personal, intimate, raw and ambitious Social Studies record yet. “Territories” wastes no time in bringing you the terrains traversed by Rogovin and the band in the three years since 2012’s Developer from Antenna Farm Records, to marching through the spiritual exegesis heard on “Holy One”. The rapid water chop of “On The Docks” finds Natalia and Michael Jirkovsky dueting in an atmosphere built like worlds on the brink, measurements of landscape crossed and treaded following Natalia’s lead on “Miles Away”, where Social Studies evokes the sound of a dearly seasoned family band, eulogizing time passed on with “Moment Is Dead”, with a permeating almost metaphysical atmosphere heard in full essence on “Heart Like a Drum”. Tangible, verified validation between the gulf of two hearts takes center stage on “Convince Me”, to festival ready whirling rockers like “Tacit Change”, that takes you to the title cut “Wake” that leaves you with the parting exit of perception expanding visions through confessions and expressions of an ever searching mode of care and compassion.

Natalia Rogovin of Social Studies and Nima Kazerouni of So Many Wizards are Human Touch (whom we introduced you to a while back), and we present the emotive charged atmospheres of Natalia’s reigning voice and Nima’s undeniably affectionate guitars on the single “I’m In The Mood”.

Our friend and hero Shamir kicks off his tour that runs from September 22 through November 22 but not before bringing us the most welcomed escapist UFO soaring “In For The Kill” video directed by Anthony Sylvester. Check out Shamir’s recent Week in Pop guest selection feature here.


Gwenno Saunders; photographed by Ian Watson at Queens Arcade.
Gwenno Saunders; photographed by Ian Watson at Queens Arcade.

GWENNO dropped the “Patriarchaeth” video designed in illustrious neon-polygon technicolor by Ian Watson off the Heavenly Recordings album Y Dydd Olaf. Watch as Gwenno Saunders of The Pipettes sings nu-kraut rhythm models that are put to mechanical art alterations and effects before your very eyes (and ears).

Gwenno shared the following thoughts on the new song:

The more information that’s available to you via new technology, the more aware you become of the startling inequality between the sexes. I would go as far as to say too that as a minority culture, Wales can at times fall into an even more conservative and narrow view of gender roles in public life, which is as much to do with the size of the population as it is to do with opportunity of course. With “Patriarchaeth” I’m trying to express what sexism feels like for a woman living in a patriarchal society.

Also some insights on the Ian Watson video for “Patriarchaeth”:

The video was shot in Ian Watson’s art studio beneath a shopping centre in Cardiff. The video was made using a variety of lo-fi methods of manipulation including chewed-up VHS tapes and the randomized erasure of digital memory. What survived these processes has been edited and layered, keyed and arranged and turned into the ‘Patriarchaeth’ video, and I couldn’t be happier with the result


prewilly week in pop 2
We bring you the second track from Pre-Willy (aka William Smith” with the Ian Dwy video for “Boo Luvin’ Joose” that Smith described to us as:

Second track released from Pre-Willy. Safe to say that things get a little nutty in this classic disagreement between neighbors. The groove must jive on.

Here we find our weird-fi wanderer/warrior keeping it minimalist like just a quiet night of kicking back with a PBR turns into a funk-rocking battle of the warring apartment units. Check out our recent debut of the first Pre-Willy track with interview here.

Gramma’s Boyfriend

Gramma's Boyfriend, featuring Haley Bonar front and center; photographed by Graham Tolbert Photography, & styled by Torey Erin at Disneyland.
Gramma’s Boyfriend, featuring Haley Bonar front and center; photographed by Graham Tolbert Photography, & styled by Torey Erin at Disneyland.

Haley Bonar, or the moniker Gramma’s Boyfriend is readying her album PERM for release October 9 from Graveface Records, and we have the anthem for conquering the boulevard of broken dreams, desires, and visions with “I Live My Broken Dreams”. Haley brings her Minneapolis pop party jams with the contributions from members of Andrew Bird, Cloak Ox, and more. Live all the best and most beautiful of all your broken dreams now with Bonar and friends.

Haley provided us some words on the broken dreams that inspired the will to live out those so-called broken visions in “I Live My Broken Dreams”:

About the tune: I started covering this song four years ago after I watched The Devil vs. Daniel Johnston, which features a clip of him singing the song on MTV in the 1980’s. It was so powerful and achey and hopeful all at once. We started playing it in Gramma’s Boyfriend on a whim, and the recording is actually the first take we did of the song in the studio. The ending is abrupt because we literally ran out of space and it stopped recording!

Recorded at 9th Wonder’s Bright Lady Studios in Raleigh, NC; please welcome back our old friends Kooley High as they prep their new EP Heights for release October 9 from M.E.C.C.A. Records and we bring you the latest from Tab-One and Charlie Smarts with the track “Where I’m Going” that features Chi-town’s own Add-2 contributing some bars as well. Boasting some deep celestial big time soul beat from Sinopsis, the message of “it’s going to be fine, it’s going to be alright” that moves the conversations ahead from obsessing over the past to feeling elated and lifted about the prospects of the future.

Yung’s These Thoughts Are Like Mandatory Chores is available today from Fat Possum / Tough Love and we give you the following limited time stream from the Danish band. Frontman Mikkel Holm Silkjær brings sounds of unbound wild and young at heart vibes through cuts like “God”, “It Happened Again”, “Blue Uniforms”, “Offshore”, “Too Good For You” and more that make up all the coming of age kind of nostalgia that ignites the banks and circuits of memories that depicts where you’ve come from, where you’ve been, and the new horizons that you’re arriving upon.

Psalm One recently dropped the track “Maybe Never” ft. My Gold Mask (aka Greta Rochelle) that features Optiks production where sparse electric rhythm exteriors allow PO to express the observations, outlooks, and bars that break outward from the interior.

From director Michael Lukk Litwak, peep the inter-kaleidoscopic view into the world of Jesse Brickel’s new suave and savvy pop project/vehicle Blood Moon with the video for “All U Got”. Brickel’s persona takes a kind of tomorrow-land pointed direction while keeping the romantic synth to vocal coo & croon intact to a total pastiche semiotic style that meshes 80s & 90s fashion oddities compounded into the gestalt of today’s synthesized textile frontiers.

Available now from Thessaloniki, Greece imprint FWF Records, hear Tendt’s album Cheap Poetry that translates the poetics into instrumental clusters and assortments of vibrant atmospheres. From the earthy opener “Grass”, the friendship gestures of “So Friendly”, the temporal and palatial “Temporary Palaces” to the closing cut of “Telling Nothing”; the relics and remnants of summers past are met with the gorgeous dawn of rebirth of the ensuing new fall season.

Ride down the easier and more tranquil tributaries with Wilder Maker’s new single “EZ River” taken off their third forthcoming EP, Everyday Crimes Against Objects of Desire, Vol III. available September 25 from Bleaksploitation Records. Listen to Gabriel Birnbaum and band wrap up their trilogy run and release cycle that finds the group edifying the more overlooked items of natural aesthetic attractions via a sound that is as unexpected as it is varied in a series of suites the seek to assuage the inner pangs of eternal unrest.

Violet Dream, aka Johannes Nysveen is the 18 year old producer from Norway who just dropped the Redolent EP via Sellout! Music. Johannes’s Violet Dream brings the sentiments buried deep in dreams above ground on “Surface”, to making beats and keys that flutter and beckon on “Cover Over”, right before “Bloodflower” blooms and blossoms into ways that imagines the ways that plants and humans share similar existences. In the Vagle’s own reflective words on the EP:

Redolent EP consists of three songs that have evolved naturally over a long period of time. I’ve drawn inspiration from a lot of different places over the course of the production of the EP and i think that is apparent in the songs. It’s the product of me having done what has felt right at different stages in my personal and musical development and therefore i think it’s a bit difficult to classify in terms of genre. All in all I think it turned out pretty cool and I hope people will like it.

Keep your eyes and ears open for more material in the future. There are rumours about a debut full length, and if it’s as good as this EP it will be massive.

Jimmy Whispers lends some last seasons of sun sentiment with the playful video from Alexa and Jessica Viscius for “I Get Lost In You In the Summertime” off Summer In Pain available now from Moniker / Field Mates. The frustrations, pains, and annoyances all play out in a kind of stream of consciousness tranquil honesty that will make you long for the next holiday season, or next three day weekend at least.

Watch the Rahi Rezvani b/w video for Editors’ “Life Is A Fear” that features some synth bathed emotions of ethereal realities and the truth of trepidation that comes with it off their upcoming album In Dream available October 2 from Play It Again Sam.

Aussie artist Jacky Winter’s forthcoming The Nails EP will be available November 6 from Very Rare Animals and we got the infectious ear-worm cut “Half of It” that features Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s own Brendan Huntley that plays with the whole glass being either half empty or full depending on how your hear or look at the matter.

The Giraffes dropped the single “Product Placement Song” that shreds out chords of commodity from their upcoming Usury album available October 2 via Silver Sleeve Records.

Watch the Laura Lynn Petrick Super 8 video for Alex Bleeker and The Freaks’ “Sealong Hair” that finds the warm folksters feeling those summer vibes as we prepare for fall off the upcoming Country Agenda album available October 16 from Sinderlyn.

The Naturalists present their Andy DeLuca VHS vibe video for their single “Potions” off their forthcoming Home Honey I’m Hi available October 30. Desires for panaceas and potent potables is declared in full performance space display where the band keeps it natural and grunge-y as if the 90s never left us.

Medina, Ohio’s Chomp dropped the track “Rile” to rile you up with a rocking hop chant of wants, desires, and the endless pursuit to get enough of anything and everything all the time. Find this on their new tape Bruise Control available October 9 from Mirror Universe.

Fade to Mind’s Rizzla dropped the ice-queen post-post-industrial nervous tick ice queen pop with “Twitch Queen” found off his forthcoming debut EP Iron Cages available September 25 from the influential Fade to Mind.

Yonatan Gat & Gal Lazer’s Physical Copy is available now from Joyful Noise, and you are welcome to get absolutely meshuggah to jam sessions unlike any other.

Check out Interwine’s warm glowing, gentle new single “My Only Lie is Silence” that reverberates with the bliss that only a moment of silence can provide off the artist’s forthcoming album Goraikoo available November 6 via Brilliance Records.

Sweden’s DNKL dropped the slick synth sophisto new dimension grooves and sentiments of the single “Otherside” via Different Recordings where keys and vocals flow like rivers into a great big blue sea of infinite like consciousness. DNKL described the track with the following words:

We started to work on “Otherside” last summer, actually under quite some pressure…we were set to perform at Roskilde and at the time of the booking, our first ever in fact, we only had one track out on Soundcloud. We simply had to sit down together and create music that was needed for the show. It turned out to be quite an exciting challenge. It was the first time we had experimented with adding dancier elements to our music. Lyrically though it’s still very DNKL though, it’s a song about vanity and the heart burning desire to always get a piece of what we don’t have. The constant gazing at the other side.

Off Quelle Chris’s Innocent Country album from Mello Music Group, check out the video for “Nothing Moves” directed by Da Dreak for Eyewerk Films that features Chris smoothing out realities over ghostly Chris Keys production in a minimalist video that Quelle described with the following words:

A tribute to rap hands. The sixth and most important element of hip hop. For true rap hands connoisseurs.

From their forthcoming Pacific Surf Line available October 16 from Alive Naturalsound; grab a listen to the subtle twangy-psyched out sun-bathed sound from Gospelbeach’s “Your Freedom”. This is the lysergic vision of the freedom train that unlocks the lid of your mind for a perpetual pastures of endless pursuits of the the most harmonious perfections.

Playing Elvis Guesthouse in NYC tomorrow September 19; hear Soft Spot’s gorgeous evocative “Abalone” single that features the emergence of Sarah Kinlaw’s spirit calming vocals, Bryan Keller Jr.’s arrangements and the steady rhythm roll from percussionist Blaze Bateh.

Look into the light and feel the light-hearted goodness and earnest-strummed bliss with Last Good Tooth’s new single “This Light” that presents all the chord glistening shimmers with subtle horn touches of audio decorum.

Check out Slaughter Beach’s perceptive pretty pop on the single “Clear Insight” taken from their forthcoming Love/Venice EP available October 9 via the Norwegian imprint Brilliance Records. The Odense, Norway based trio of Hasse, Nikolaj and Mads were seen playing Denmark’s Roskilde festival & Øya Festival in Norway and now deliver modes of lush Euro sentiment drowned styles of emotion that hangs on the vocal harmonizes, and the interplay of synth, guitar, and sharp forward beating rhythms.

From their forthcoming Pacific Surf Line available October 16 from Alive Naturalsound; grab a listen to the subtle twangy-psyched out sun-bathed sound from GospelbeacH’s “Your Freedom”. This is the lysergic vision of the freedom train that unlocks the lid of your mind for a perpetual pastures of endless pursuits of the the most harmonious perfections.

Chain Of Flowers debut album will be available October 16 on Alter and we got the death gripping/death shaking graveyard thrash-a-thon of “Death’s Got a Hold On Me”. The Cardiff band lead by Josh Smith wrestles with the reaper with an absolute piercing arsenal of guitars that are wielded like battle axes and sonic cannons.

With Some Kind of Champion available October 30, check out Sara Lov’s emotional and piercing piano lead “The Sharpest Knife” that features compositions by Hauschka. Lov’s lyrics and the whole ensemble will clutch your heart and melt it in four and a half minutes time.

Sea Moya dropped the beat-deluxe beauty of the title cut off the forthcoming EP Twins available October 2 from Heist Or Hit, where those daydreaming visions are put to rhythmic frequencies and carefree atmospheres that makes all cares melt into the very air. Check out Sea Moya’s recent Week in Pop feature here.

Watch \\GT//’s Dillon Hayes & Dustin Lane video for “Something’s Wrong with My Mind” from their forthcoming album Beats Misplaced available October 16. Performance action in an empty house frames the adventures of a heroine in distress who embarks on an emotional adventure framed by the projection of a fighter jet theater flick.

Dive into the deep end of Heaters’ upcoming album Holy Water Pool available October 25 via Beyond Beyond is Beyond. The vintage summers of 60s psych rage forward with lo-fi flashes of future foretold mysteries to follow.

“Take It High” as possible with Introverted Dancefloor’s new video of outdoor adventurism from Daniel Batkin-Smith off their Carpark Records self-titled. Take it to the next level with ID’s electro pop buzz and the great surrounding wild.

John Jagos, aka Brothertiger dropped the title track of his forthcoming fourth album Out of Touch available in late 2015 via Mush Records. Preparing to tour with Jr. Jr. (formerly known as Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr) October 26 through November 14 (full tour spanning from October 21 to November 20); the Brooklyn based artist dabbles in the process of re-connection and matters pertaining to plain connecting in general are put to washes of synths and the most chill glows of melodies and electric harmonization from Jagos.

With a national tour starting October 5 in NYC; hear Mal Blum’s “Rober Frost” off their forthcoming album You Look A Lot Like Me October 2 from Don Giovanni Records. Produced by the always awesome Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females; “Frost” is Mal Blum making the radical honest attitudes of electric hooked alternative rock that keeps the narrative real with real life stories met by poetic musings.

Childbirth’s Week in Pop

(Childbirth’s Bree McKenna, Stacy Peck, & Julia Shapiro; photographed by Shaine Truscott.)
Childbirth is a supergroup in their own right that needs little introduction to those already in the know. Our reigning northwest DIY-pop champions Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt, Bree McKenna of Tacocat, and Stacy Peck of Pony Time are readying to release their second album Women’s Rights! October 2 via Suicide Squeeze, and today we give you Childbirth’s exclusive Week in Pop guest selections:


Anna Hillburg, “My Room”

Anna Hillburg is my hilarious friend in San Francisco who made a perfect pop album. The video is like a miniature indie rom-dramady.

Sleater-Kinney, “Jumpers” (Live on Letterman)

This Sleater-Kinney performance is really really really ripping.

Malaria!, “Trash Me”

Malaria! is a cool German punk band that has highly influenced Childbirth. We may or may not have attempted to copy them a few times.


Shannon and the Clams, “The Point of Being Right”

I just listened to this song with Lisa Prank like 7 times in a row.

Potty Mouth, “Cherry Picking”

This song sounds like it should be on Last Splash.

Universe People, “The Modern Girl”

This is one of my favorite Seattle bands ever, but they are breaking up soon. I’m very angry about it.

Mommy Long Legs,- “Life RIPS”

This band’s EP on Bandcamp is also hella dope.


Mall Walk, “Pales in Comparison”

Can’t stop listening to this song.


This whole album is really great. Saw them with Upset at the Black Lodge a few weeks ago.

Briana Marela, “Take Care Of Me” (Live on KEXP)

She’s so good live. Really love the way she layers stuff.

Mark Gormley, “Little Wings”

This guy is tight.

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