As 2014 begins to retire into its weird state of disarray, Impose’s Week in Pop is here to provide a view into the communities of tomorrow’s and today’s headliners. Starting you off with this week’s top entertainment stories of interest—Death Grips dropped the mental “Inanimate Sensation“; Jack White took his Third Man empire into the third dimension via the “Third D” virtual reality app; Cam’ron joined Ghostface Killah in the vanity emojis department; Johnny Marr canceled his tour; Neutral Milk Hotel announce their last tour ever(for now); Diddy versus Drake; Billy Corgan versus Pearl Jam and Dave Grohl; John Lydon says that the surviving Sex Pistols are too obese for any kind of reunion gig; pray for Beanie Sigel’s recovery, and pray for Avril Lavigne’s mystery ailment with the hashtag #Pray4Avril.
Moving ahead, we are honored and privileged to present the following interviews and exclusives from CityCop, D.Wing, Geographer, K.Flay, Sky Picnic, Thrillers, Adam Snow, Cave People, Folding Legs, Friend Roulette, Mayflower Madame, Quarterbacks, and more—in no particular order.
Geographer x K.Flay
Originally found off the Modern Art Records album Myth; we proudly present Geographer’s “Lover’s Game” remixed by fellow San Francisco resident and radical, K.Flay. Both artists return to the Bay Area’s Noise Pop festival, performing together February 27 at Oakland’s Fox Theater along with Bells Atlas, and Empires. Hearing the bridge of the two talents finds Mike Deni’s song of amorous sports sung in new arrangements of rhythmic patterns, rearranged stem placements, re-programmed sample cues, and punchy keyboard presets.
The beginning of the K.Flay’s “Lover’s Game” remix is the preliminary drum build. The algorithm to the rhythm is done utilizing a central two-beat measure air gust sample, supplemented with kick drums, and peripheral snare considerations. From here, Geographer’s Mike Deni gets his voice worked into the MIDI schematic that is treated to K.Flay’s trademark vocal-skipping by way of a creative square pushing effect. As Deni’s voice croons the “nothing we can do” chorus refrain, K features a variety of percussion styles, managing everything from the digital electric bass zaps in the foreground to the waving, and looping ambiance that creates a ghost fog vapor like the dry ice machines that work overtime at SF’s Independent. We asked Mike for his thoughts on the new remix, and he answered us with the following words:
People only know what they’re like from the inside and through other people’s eyes. I’ll never know what the experience of listening to my music truly is, but hearing a great remix of one of your songs is the closest you can get. You get a glimpse of what it’s like to appreciate your own work as a fan, if you’re a fan of the person doing the remixing. And I’ve been a big one of K. Flay’s ever since we played together at the Independent three years ago now. I thought, ‘Damn, who the hell is THAT?!’ And I think she’s been answering that question all over the country ever since, the girl is never home, doesn’t even have a home, has the world as a home. She’s one of the last true badasses. Thanks for the perspective on a blast from the past.
Catch Geographer on the following upcoming show dates:
16 Pomona, CA at Glasshouse with Haunted Summer, Smoke Season (tickets)
17 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theater Haunted Summer, Smoke Season (tickets)
18 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst with Haunted Summer (tickets)
27 Oakland, CA The Fox Theater Noise Pop with K.Flay, Empires, Bells Atlas (tickets)
We had ourselves a good time with the debut of CityCop’s “X” earlier this year from their Flannel Girl issued Loner EP, and now we premiere the performance video for “Glass Bones”, directed by Todd Thompson.
Old and new videotaped home movies bring memories closer with the present, as “Glass Bones” shouts through the doubt and attempts to make sense of the mortal condition. Classic moments from birthdays, and vintage family outings and holidays are edited together with images of CityCop playing around clothesline string strung photographs. The chords ring out a melodic presence, as the band throws every ounce of their gut into the delivery. Through ruminations of “Glass Bones” and the nostalgic visual blend, CityCop mixes their memories of growing up next to their parents, and those of their grandparents. The mixture of classic and contemporary thoughts gives “Glass Bones” a unique glimpse into the fragile human state, and a shared generational connection between millennials and their matriarchs.
As per tradition, what has been happening in your community of Ashtabula, Ohio since we’ve last talked?
As far as Ashtabula goes, I’m honestly not too sure because we don’t live there anymore. But Akron is still going strong. There are shows that happen at our house an It’s A Kling Thing almost every week and that will continue to happen for a long time.
What was it like helping make the home-video performance visual for “Glass Bones” with Todd Thompson?
Todd actually plays bass in CityCop as well, and he is going to school to make videos, so the whole process was pretty easy. We had the idea of using the home videos for a while, and I think it really captured the emotion of the whole song pretty well. Todd did an amazing job and he’s super talented at what he does. The video made us choke up when we first saw the finished product.
You guys have dropped The Hope In Forgiving & Giving Up Hope, Seasons, and Loner….what can you tell us about what’s next in the works for CityCop, what you all are working on now?
Right now we have a song finished for a split that will be announced in the near future, and we are also in the process of writing a full length. I think the new stuff we are writing is way different than even Loner. It involves a lot more singing rather than screaming, and I think a lot of people are going to enjoy the change of pace.
Other Ashtabula, Ohio artists, or other artists from Northeast Ohio or nearby Pennsylvania that you all are digging?
Heart Attack Man, Nope, Wasted Blood and Cruelster.
Further thoughts on the state of the Midwest movements?
I think everything is in a pretty good spot right now, DIY venues are still going strong and more keep popping up. As long as people keep showing up and supporting and starting new bands then future generations will keep discovering and starting new things as well. I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.
CityCop’s Loner EP is available now from Flannel Gurl Records.
New duo Thrillers make pop music that continues to feed our cravings, and current obsession with the way 80s music and film continues to impact our modern consciousness. North Carolina by LA brothers Gregory and Jeremy Pearson premiere the video for their lusty and lavish single, “Can’t Get Enough” that mixes retro new romantics with modern day maximalism. The video is said to be an homage to the 1985 film Weird Science, also providing a first look and listen from the Pearsons’ upcoming Cotton Candy Kisses EP, available in spring 2015 from Manimal.
In the low key blue and red light, Thrillers’ “Can’t Get Enough” begins with the duo’s name being inscribed in lipstick on bathroom mirror by a dancer/model, before the big number kicks off. VHS tape scanlines, and rolling ripples can be seen as an effect often found from pre-viewed titles rented from the nearest shop. The single is decked in out in snazzed-up sound and a danced-up video demonstration of the hottest thing for your VCR, complete with even a copyright warning. Camp and cult techniques for lighting choices, aerobic aesthetics, and other atmospheric considerations create the look and feel of a lost, video store classic. Gregory and Jeremy curate the midnight neon splashed r&b, with a nods to the sensations and inspirations taken from the titles that were once available at the video tape rental shops of yesterday. But the Thrillers principle concern with the throwback nature of their style, is throwing these modern digital artifices further into the present day, and maybe even deeper into a future of freshness. The Pearson brothers took a moment to talk with us, right after the following debut of “Can’t Get Enough”.
What was it like being brought up in North Carolina, and how were the both you were creatively affected by the experience?
Being brought up in North Carolina was a humbling experience. Growing up in the South you learn how to take your time, we take this approach to our music. Also because it’s so secluded you have to have a big imagination.
Seems like North Carolina always has some kind of scene or movement going down, I know you both are LA based now, but any insights into what the latest is from NC?
There has always been a underground music scene in the Carolina’s, its very small though. The best thing we feel thats came out of the Carolina’s in a while is Toro y Moi.
Tell us about creating the addictive bright synth dipped pop of “Can’t Get Enough”, to making the Weird Science inspired video.
Before we wrote & recorded “Can’t Get Enough” and our entire EP we decided to trip shrooms and go on a spiritual journey at the beach in California. We feel this ‘creative quest’ channeled transcendental energies and summoned all of our inspirations. For the video “Can’t Get Enough” we wanted to capture the nostalgia of our childhood and the feeling that we had watching MTV videos early in the morning while eating Fruity Pebbles in our undies.
In what was have these vintage 80s flicks impacted your upcoming Cotton Candy Kisses EP?
Wow, there are so many 80’s flicks that inspired us, that was such a golden era. Here’s a few movies we’d like to name: Michael Schultz’s The Last Dragon (Soundtrack by Berry Gordy is slamming FYI), Richard Donner’s The Goonies, Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and our all time favorite John Badham’s Short Circuit (Johnny FUCKIN Five!).
What was the experience like recording the EP in Atlanta?
The experience was awesome, we recorded it in our favorite music hub “Little Five Points”. Everything you need is right outside your door.
How do the two of you normally collaborate over song compositions?
This may seem like the ‘go-to answer’ but we really don’t have a formula. We just let the good vibes roll.
As brothers, what are some of the artistic squabbles that you sometimes have, if any?
Most of our squabbles is over what to post on social networks, ha ha.
Thrillers’ Cotton Candy Kisses EP, will be available in spring 2015 from Manimal.
Following up their recent single “June Sunshine“, Brooklyn psych believers premiere “Upon Further Reflection” from their forthcoming new album, Her Dawn Wardrobe. Lead by the dawn treading voyages of visionary Chris Sherman with fellow multi-instrumentalists Leah Cinnamon, and Pete Meriwether; Sky Picnic takes off to a psychedelic, green park from another dimension, and an alternate state of consciousness. Slated for release January 20 as a joint release from the band’s own Psychedelic Picnic Music and Mega Dodo Records UK—prepare for your perceptions to become pleasantly shifted to the essence of an eternal afternoon spent lounging, and brunching with friends, and lovers alike.
The debut of Sky Picnic’s “Upon Further Reflection” is the epitome of everything you have ever wanted from a forestall, psych-sailing wonder. Chris, Leah, and Pete pattern their arrangements after the splendor of rich, deep deciduous green foliage surroundings. The natural canopy top cathedral of trees becomes a sanctuary chamber of kindred solitude as the mind paints pictures, and sensations illustrated on the “Reflection” like weeping electric guitars, steady back-beats, and ethereal electric organ atmospheres. 2015 becomes transformed into the experimental territory of 1965-like modern methods, where vibraphones, and strummed guitar styles, and choices of applied distortion present Sky Picnic moving toward the most realized relics of their sonic wizard craft yet. Considering that “Upon Further Reflection” is the opening number that begins Her Dawn Wardrobe—the band sets the tone for an experience that echoes it’s own instated Narnia or Middle Earth made out of the creative sands of recorded audio. Following the debut, be sure to read our interview with Chris Sherman after the listen.
From Farther In This Fairy Tale, to the upcoming advent of Her Dawn Wardrobe’s release; what has the Sky Picnic flight been like?
It’s been a learning and growing experience. Time flies by really fast. I like to relate it to the experience of seeing a high school yearbook years after graduating and critiquing everything about oneself. “Why did I wear that? Why is my hair so bad?” That’s how I look back on the early songs now, but it was a vital time in us discovering who we are, where we were going and what Sky Picnic ought to sound like. (Or perhaps I should just have just quoted the highly overused Grateful Dead lyric here to simplify matters?)
How do you think you all have progressed as a group, and how have you watched your own musical styles and approaches grow?
We are more confident now and have a very unified vibe and vision. Knowing each other musically, what we each bring in as players, and predicting where someone else is going to go before they do so is a special bond to have. This is of course a byproduct of our time and experiences together, which has led to such a strong musical telepathy. Our improvs have gotten more effortless and more musical, but feel even more adventurous, all the while we have learned to tone down anything that we deem over-indulgent.
When writing, we have also learned to allow the songs to breathe by creating space in the music. My mantra for when we started Her Dawn Wardrobe was, ‘don’t focus on what is being played, but instead on what isn’t being played,’ and it really lead to a total change in approach. And stylistically, each of us is growing and branching out, and bringing those new influences in to the band; this upcoming LP has traces of jazz, funk, ambient, folk, bossa, 90’s “Madchester”, all of which are added to our foundation in psych rock, art rock and prog.
What is the method of connecting feeling and narrative from song to song, side a, to side b?
For me, it has always been about a mood and feel that connects everything. As a writer, if I can approach the material in the right frame of mind for the period of the creation process, it should just flow out naturally, creating a unifying factor that allows a narrative to unfold, almost like an author writing a novel.
We set out to create a listening experience, and worked quite hard to make the album flow and keep the listener engaged as everything unfolds. Having songs that compliment each other sequenced together, separating the epics, and operating under the old adage of having a “single” open each side were discussed at large. I think, all told, it took nearly a month to get it just right, even down to the length of dead space between songs.
What was the process of recording Her Dawn Wardrobe like? What sorts of visionary practices were utilized?
We set out to top what we had done before, so a lot of work really went into this one on the creation side before we began recording; countless demos were made and then analyzed, leading to the reworking of arrangements and parts. We mostly know what we want, and when you have that approach, along with perfectionist tendencies, it takes some time to achieve the desired results. This prep work thankfully allows us to spend remarkably little time in the studio. A few sessions is usually enough to get down basic tracks for a full record. We do all our ‘homework’ in advance. In this way we keep it somewhat raw and live but still polished and finished. Then again, “Most Of A Box Of Winter” took over 30 takes to get just right.
As a producer, I approached this knowing I wanted a more intimate feeling, something warmer and inviting, yet bigger than our past records. As such, we kept the overdubs to a minimum, to the point where there were songs where a mere 8 tracks (out of the 16-track machine we recorded on) were used, which by today’s standards, is nothing. Everything was run through as much analog gear as possible, utilizing tube pre-amps, ribbon mics, and our secret weapon for the guitar and vocals, the Klemt Echolette. And nearly every take of every song was recorded, as my philosophy was to record everything until you think the master has been achieved, save that, and then go for one more pass that hopefully tops that one. The reasoning of course is that now that the pressure is off to capture the perfect take, you likely end up performing better, and surpassing the version previously thought to be the best.
Also, can you divulge about what sorts of high soaring reflections informed the dream-bending conscious stream of, “Upon Further Reflection”?
The genesis for that song came from the novel “The Sheltering Sky”, which is a dark story that touches on themes of alienation and spending time in one’s own head. I wrote the majority of it after driving through the mountains in upstate Connecticut last winter and being overcome with a sense of freedom by being surrounded with nature and such openness. With that, I drew parallels between myself and the characters in the book, who are in the open Sahara, and it basically fell into place from there. It’s really about rejoicing in being alone with one’s thoughts and how solitude from this world can sometimes be one of the best feelings.
The state of psych music in 2014/2015 versus say back in 2011?
It’s a healthy scene for sure, not a fad or niche any longer, and dare I say, even popular. There are festivals and magazines and blogs devoted to it, and the more exposure, the better. I think psych rock has evolved greatly, to the point that it has spawned sub-genres, but, as a consequence, this has made it less “pure” now. It’s relatively easy to slap the “psychedelic” tag on anything now, whether it deserves that designation or not. In a way this can be frustrating for a band like Sky Picnic, because we are creating what really is psych rock in the classic terminology, but yet, don’t fit in with what it being termed “psych” at the moment. So that puts us in strange position in the psychedelic music world, although at the end of the day, does it really matter what one in labeled as?
State of NYC indie music scenes, hopes for 2015?
The state of the music industry is changing, but not necessarily for better or for worse. It’s just different. Selling music is no longer a viable way to get one’s music out there, as it has given way to streams. I know some artists are against it, but I am fine with our songs being on Spotify and such; it is still exposure, and if someone enjoys it, perhaps it prompts them to come to a gig, or end up purchasing the album. Word of mouth is also huge these days, as it seems people are most likely to check something out if referred by someone they know. New York and Brooklyn are as competitive as ever, but at the same time, there is way more opportunity here than anywhere else, so it all balances out.
As for 2015, the hope is that the record does really well, allowing us to secure a US deal. We want to do a small tour here behind the album in the Spring, and if that’s successful, look into something bigger later this year. We’ve really worked on our live show over the last few months, so it’s exciting to see it all play out. We’re just really excited for everyone to be able to hear the new music. It had been such a long process to get to this stage, that it is great to share it all finally.
Sky Picnic’s new album Her Dawn Wardrobe will be available January 20, pre-order available via Bandcamp.
LA artist D.Wing (aka Daniel Wing) debuts the title cut from his Good 4 U EP, filled to the brim full of only the dearest of intentions. The synths and keys collect in sparse evocations of sentiments that entails toward the more selfless extents of empathy, all the while laying an open heart out on the line (and in the line of fire).
The discourse of what is good for another, and the expression of needs, and urges of want are illustrated by Daniel’s delivery. D.Wing’s lovers rock is served like the radio dials of romantic, soul pop stations from the 80s, the archetypical clock radio that coos out a daytime’s worth of sensitive hits from a stuck snooze alarm. The big appeal made by the D.Wing style is the croon of confidence that plays the game and states the case in a plea that is more determined than the exasperated breathlessness of hysterical desperation. The audio mantra of D.Wing translates to the subscribed idea that two pilots working together in the winds of flight are better than one. We had a chance to talk to Daniel Wing himself, right after our featured premiere of “Good 4 U”.
Tell us about the goodness and feelings that went into the Good 4 U EP and the single of the same name.
This EP, and especially this song in particular, represents a time in my life where I felt like I got my identity back as a person and an artist. I had just ended a very intense and challenging relationship and moved to Chicago to get some emotional rehab. I spent a lot of my time searching my heart, looking for redemption, meeting new faces, and relearning the basic functions of what it means to just “be.” It all clicked when I got off a train on a super windy (of course.) evening. The cold breeze touched my face and suddenly my romanticism and excitement were rekindled and it felt so thrilling. I don’t really know why that moment affected me so much, but the creativity was overwhelming.I remember listening to Tevin Campbell and Dru Hill and my brain just sort of came alive. I couldn’t help myself from writing everything down. The feelings were new, but ever so familiar, and that lead directly to the concept behind Good 4 U. It is very simple, to the point, but that’s why I love it so much- at the end of the day all we really want and need is someone who is good for us. I think that’s what everyone desires but that simple concept gets messed up by all life’s bullshit.
What was it like working with Jeff Ellis x Charley Malloy, and King Karnov to get this sweet pop soul sort of sound?
Jeff is so wonderful to work with! He’s an extremely talented, kind, and genuine person. I think what really sets him apart is his ability to make you feel at ease during the recording process, I have the tendency to become super anxious and self conscious – he just has a nice way of making things comfortable and fun. He also knows how shit is supposed to sound- he’s classically trained and has worked on a number of records that I listen to and love so there’s that trust that the song’s outcome is going to be the best it can be. As for working with Karnov, it was just good fortune. He was in town for some meetings and other projects and happened to be staying with Jeff. I was over at the house while we were listening to a recent mix so we asked if he wanted to play bass, he knocked his part out in less than 20 minutes and it completely elevated the song – the result: Sci-Fi Bobby Caldwell.
What is about the rhythm and blues style that attracts you to this particular expressive mode?
Honestly, I am who I am because of Babyface, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Teddy Riley. If there’s been one constant in my life since I was a kid, it’s R&B. I mean, I was in elementary school recording songs from the radio like “On Bended Knee”, “I Wanna be Down”, and “Breathe Again”. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music but when it comes to making music it’s the style that comes the most natural, I have the freedom to be vulnerable and sincere without having to force anything.
Thoughts on the states of things in the LA scenes?
It’s a fun time to be in LA right now. There are a number of different scenes, but I think there’s a lot of support across the board for anyone who wants to make stuff that they love and are proud of. And, people are actually going to shows! You can definitely find what you’re looking for here, which can be a bit daunting as well cause it’s easy to get caught up. But aside from that I think the DIY spirit is still alive and I’ve been living by the saying ‘don’t fear the weird.’
Favorite rising LA artists that you like right now?
My top 3 at the moment:
Micah James — The recent stuff he’s been releasing is incredible! The way he’s able to articulate himself with such power and resolve but remain slightly tender- it’s like you don’t wanna miss a single line he’s saying cause you’re in fear your life will never be as good without it.
Small Wigs — All-Star cast (Max and Elvis from FIDLAR, Mikki J and Zuk from the Phantoms) and wig out! Also,any excuse to watch Elvis Kuehn shred and I’m there.
Kehlani — She’s already kind of blowing up but her newest mixtape is very rad. There’s something familiar about her writing and melody style but she’s got her own thing going. I get similar feelings as to when I first heard Brandy and Monica.
Listen to more from D.Wing via Soundcloud.
Having spent this past summer working and recording, the Brooklyn based group Folding Legs released their new single, “Stick Tie Lock” to keep some disco pep in your step. Combined from the talents of Stockholm, Swedish singer Katharina Stenbeck, Viennese keyboardist Chris Cerny, with drummer Jesse Richman, and bassist Greg Henits from the States; the group continues to challenge the possibilities that abound in the post-disco landscapes.
On the single from their forthcoming self-titled EP, Folding Legs create the sound of whole other kind of Trans-Euro Express on “Stick Tie Lock Tether” that combines the Italo lavishness with late 70s motorik percussion engines, and the eternal echoing command from Katharina’s call. We caught with Chris in an interview that follows their new single.
How does the cross section of talents stemming from Stockholm, Vienna, and New York together impact the fold of Folding Legs?
We all come from different backgrounds both musically and geographically, drawing inspiration from our internal music libraries. For this new EP, we tried to blend elements from electronic/dance music from our various homelands together with live instrumentation. We self-recorded and produced this EP with help from Morgan Wiley from (Midnight Magic) at Midnight Sun Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This album came straight from our live show which is rooted in both festival and club culture.
“Stick Tie Lock Tether” is a real Euro by New York dance gem, what were the composition sessions like for this song, and the upcoming EP?
This was the first time we were completely autonomous, so we took the time to make the record that was close to our hearts.
What are the latest reports from the respective scenes of Stockholm, Vienna, and NYC according to Folding Legs?
The only thing in our opinion that ever mattered that came out of Austria is Jünge Römer by Falco definitely our record of the year 2014. “Honey is cool” from Sweden is always in our tape deck and the Juan Maclean’s live show is still the best thing we’ve ever seen in NY.
2015 plans, hopes, and aspirations?
We hope to keep putting out records next year and will be touring the East and West coasts.
Listen to more from Folding Legs via Soundcloud.
Young DC producer Adam Snow reached out to us with his new track, “Amelia’s Theme” and accompanying visuals from Shinichirō Watanabe’s Space Dandy to compliment the song’s night moods. Known for his production work with Talib Kweli,Tayyib Ali,GLC, Nickelus F, the notorious Lil B and others; the artist takes a break from the collaborative scenes to entertain his own solo recordings. Embracing the scratchy, surface noise of a worn jukebox 45, the analogous intro entertains a prism like clarity of thoughtful keys, and rhythm sections that are sampled a bit rough around the edges. We caught with the DC producer following the listen to his new single, “Amelia’s Theme”.
How has the environment of the DMV impacted your work and influence as an artist?
Growing up here definitely gave me a diverse taste in music. DC never really had a distinct “sound”, which allowed its culture the freedom to experiment. NY gave us Rap, New Orleans gave us Jazz, Chicago gave us House, the list goes on. DC gives you a bit of everything and I love her for that.
Tell us about working with cool cats like Tayyib Ali and Lil B versus making productions that are for your own more solo focused material?
I love working with those guys honestly. I’ve known Tayyib personally for a couple years now which definitely helps our work relationship. Lil B is, well… Lil B. He’s always positive and open minded. Frankly, the guy is a legend. Both of them have been super supportive of the “experimental” direction my music has taken. As far as process, Most songs start out as beats for an artist. If a track feels particularly personal, or stands better alone, I’ll usually keep it for myself. A lot of this comes from my roots as a producer, I’m still getting used to being in the spotlight ha ha. Also, I tend to pay more attention to instrumentation and song arrangement if I know it’s a solo piece. I LOVE under-produced rap beats. I think one of the reasons lyricism in rap has gone downhill is because artists began to favor production and studio magic over their own abilities.
Best DC artists that you want to share with the rest of the world, unheard outside of the DMV?
So many have broken out of the DC area but I’ll try and pick some on the come up.
I’m gonna go with Phil Ade, Hunt For The Breeze, and Coby Jones.
2015 game plan for Adam Snow?
Definitely more production for Tayyib Ali and Lil B. Also working on stuff for this kid Tedy Andreas. He’s super talented and in this group with Biggie’s son called Origami Prophets. Ya’ll should check him out. I’d like to play some festivals and go on tour too. I just want to be in a position where I can provide for the people I care about and share this art with the world. Oh, and there’s a solo EP coming, just waiting on the right release situation.
Listen to more from Adam Snow via Soundcloud.
Adding a hint of Halloween to your Winter holiday scene; we bring you the Kenneth Karlstad video for “Into The Haze” from Norway’s Mayflower Madame. Filmed as a tribute to the expressionist German horror films of the 1920s, Karlstad’s video entertains the idea of a stranger lurking in the heart. Set in a dancer’s studio, the manifestations of internal and external forces are expressed through dramatic facial expressions, and the kind of suspense best enjoyed at nightfall. Mayflower Madame’s Trond Fagernes explained the making of the video further in the following exclusive words:
The band and the director Kenneth Karlstad share a common love for the aesthetics of German Expressionist horror films, and we wanted to make a video that reflects this inspiration. The song’s lyrics revolve around themes like obsessive self-will and split identities. Director Kenneth came up with the whole script and we were impressed that he sensed the themes of the song so well without having to explain it to him. We love the way he managed to first portray her obsession, then the beautifully shot dream sequence that leads on to her emergent personality crisis and the doppelgänger-motif in the mirror scene, before the whole story ends in an excessive “dance macabre” in the subway tunnel. The lyrics and the video are not only about despair and angst, but also about the ecstatic power of self-will and intensified feelings — much in the spirit of German Expressionism.
Philadelphia’s Cave People dropped the Matt Schimelfenig video for “Brace”, off their tape, Older from Stereophonodon Records. Watch as frontman David Tomaine ponders the “maybe I’ve gone too far” questions while kicking it with the hoodie up by the hedges, or sitting and strumming up a lazy storm while posted on a red brick wall. Tomaine deals in the do it yourself, and doing it in Philly laid back vibe while bracing the mind for a kind of internal reckoning process he puts to song with a whole heart. One could call it the after-effect of the DSU Alex G goldrush; but Cave People reach toward a real heartfelt, and often brutal testament of truths that runs the gamut throughout Older from the get-go of the opener of “Cluster” to smoldering ashes of “Burnin'”. David was kind enough to join up with us after the jump for a Q & A discussion.
How did Cave People first begin? Take us on the road from Scranton to Philly.
Cave People got started in my apartment in Scranton when I was in college. Before that I was in an acoustic band that was sort of fizzling, so I started working on some new stuff that sounded a bit different without any real plans for it. A bit later I texted Matt Schimelfenig to see if he wanted to record some songs for me. Moving to Philly was more of a life choice than a musical one, but being in the area helped me work with Stereophonodon to put out the tape. And Philly is great, ya know?
What was it like recording the reflective Older tape?
We recorded the EP in Matt’s old house in Fishtown. We’d walk in to find him eating a bagel while watching “Parks and Rec”. He was the bagel king. It was a super relaxed atmosphere that felt more like hanging out than anything else. The whole EP only took two days to finish but nothing ever felt rushed. Matt was great with giving input without being pushy, and Ben and Zeke who also play on the record are very talented guys, so the whole thing came together pretty easily.
Philly seems like such a cluster of scenes, how has it inspired or informed your work?
There are so many great Philly bands right now. Three Man Cannon has been one of my favorites for years, but there are also some incredible new acts like Queen Jesus, Hurry, and Cayetana making such great music that it’s impossible not to be inspired. I drove from Scranton to Philly the other night after a show and listened to Darkness Yea, Yea by Queen Jesus twice in a row. I wish I was always listening to that record.
Loved the Matt Schimelfenig video for “Brace”, looks like you guys had a fun time. Give us the behind the DIY scenes here.
Matt’s really my go to guy for recording anything.
1. We filmed a scene in my basement where we turned off all the lights and my friends, Ben and Kiley, covered me in glow paint. I sort of forgot to wear something over my eyes, and we only had enough glow sticks for one shot, so I got a lot of paint in them. It felt AWFUL. When I told them I couldn’t open my eyes there was some pretty funny scrambling that ended with Kiley pouring several cups of water over my face. That actually felt great.
2. The true star of the video is Jasper. He’s my cat, but he’s also my dawg.
The next moves, next recordings from Cave People?
Touring would be cool. I’m working on a full length but who knows when that will be done. It’s getting there but I don’t really see any reason to rush it.
Cave People’s Older EP is available now from Stereophonodon Records.
Brooklyn band of buddies Friend Roulette are readying their forthcoming I See You. Your Eyes Are Red album for release spring/summer 2015 from Goodnight Records, and currently are wrapping up their fourth tour. Working and recording with Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez of Ava Luna, and Sam Owens of Celestial Shore for mixing; Julia Tepper’s vocals sing out with the band’s nu-baroque sensibility that blends into some of Friend Roulette’s most elaborate arrangements ever on the new single, “Strange Girl”. Julia’s vocals, combined with the band’s performance sing out a cinematic theme for a femme fatale type of character in a production that could have been featured in an indie James Bond style film. Available now as a free download, get ready as the band returns to their Brooklyn stomping grounds tomorrow, December 13 at Palisades with Dave Harrington, Banned Books, and Tiny Hazard. After the listen, we caught up with Friend Roulette’s always entertaining Matthew Meade over both of our broken iPhones from the back of their tour van…somewhere on the way to DC from Richmond, VA.
First, give us some tales and highlights from your Winter tour.
It’s really been great. It’s our fourth tour and were playing a lot of places we’ve played before so the shows have been really well attended. Last night was rowdy as fuck! We play Richmond twice on every tour and last night was round two at a crazy venue called The Compound that used to be a dentist’s office. It’s great to have the crowd really crammed in, close & singing along. Round one was at Gallery 5, this great venue that used to be a fire house and they let us bar tend after our set and drunkenly slide down the fire pole.
We went to Miami to play a couple Art Basel shows and chilled very hard on the beach, drinking Coors light, while just 20 ft away there were hungover models hooked up to I.V. saline drips at a fancy resort. Seriously, I.V. drip on the beach…
Tiny Hazard joined us halfway through the tour and it’s been a pleasure to hear them every night. They’re so damn good. It’s their first tour and it makes us so happy to see these people in all these cities we’ve played over the years get really into them.
There is a baroque and cinematic quality to Friend Roulette’s sound that continues to increase with every release. Is this conscious on your parts?
We’ve been getting that comparison for years. To be quite honest I don’t watch that many movies or listen to much baroque music. However since we have been getting that comparison, we decided to really flaunt the strings on this track.
“Strange Girl” is a perfect example of this vast, majestic approach. What inspired it’s post-apocalyptic noir quality?
The fuel behind this song is the notion of hopelessness — Knowing you can’t save someone even if your own life depended on it yet were all going to die anyway and some people just gotta die sooner and live on in a different way.
How was it working with Ava Luna and Celestial Shores, and how have each of their respective contributions enhanced the FR sound?
Quite simply, they’re all good friends in like minded bands. We were all on the same page which makes everything run smoothly. Carlos [of Ava Luna] is great in the studio because he doesn’t say much at all until you’re about to do something that could ruin the song and then all these great creative suggestions start flowing. He also is pretty insistent about keeping as many first takes as possible. Sam Owens [of Celestial Shore] has incredible ears and, after playing so many shows together throughout the years, he really knows our aesthetic. We don’t have to tell him much about the mixes, he already knows the vibe.
Holiday plans for Friend Roulette?
Julia and Matt are going to be singing a couple Christmas songs at Dave Harrington’s (Darkside, Nico Jarr) holiday party at Glasslands.
2015 hopes and prayers and/or meditations?
We want a sponsorship from the popular liqueur, Rum Chata. All they have to do is put they’re brand on our van and we’ll tour as much as possible, giving away bottles of rum chata all over the land. And we also have two separate LPs in the works to be released in 2015.
Catch Friend Roulette play their Brooklyn homecoming show tomorrow, December 13 at Palisades with Banned Books, Tiny Hazard and Dave Harrington’s El Topo. Check out the Facebook event for more details.
Matt Adams and his team of wide eyed dreamers The Blank Tapes are back, returning to the scene with their forthcoming album, Geodesic Dome Piece, available January 13 from Royal Oakie Tapes & Records. Adams and company keep that west coast rock swaying in motion, while allowing the vibrations to funnel into the head tripping channels of hallucinogenic hedonism. Utilizing the modern conventions and tropes associated with nuggets and the 60s dawn of album rock, The Blank Tapes write over the old memories with an analog angled aura more potent than your dad’s shake found dried up beneath the couch cushions. Also don’t miss the Tapes’ Way Too Stoned In Europe ’14 EP.
The upcoming Cowboy Worship companion EP compliment to Amen Dunes’ Love will be available January 20 from Sacred Bones, and you are invited to hear the rumbling chords that echo from the prairie path with, “Song To The Siren”.
Lo-fi project Axis: Sova stems from the dankest corners of garages and home studio rec rooms, as the second album, Early Surf is slated for release February 17 from Ty Segall’s Drag City city imprint subsidy, God? Records. Listen where the scuzz, and spastic drum machines meet the oil slicked surface of the asphalt on the exceptional descent into excellence, “Fractal Ancestry”.
Hear “Shoulders”, taken from Twerps’ upcoming album Range Anxiety, available January 27 from Merge Records. The Melbourne quartet brings some of the feelings of future summers, where the winter winds, and ice breeze cold subside into the suns of swaying strings and sincerest deliveries of endearment.
Leapling unveiled their new song, “Silent Stone”, found off their upcoming album debut, Vacant Page, available February 10 from Inflated Records/Exploding In Sound. Dan Arnes guides you with a sense of yearning, that travels down cobble stone lanes and lazily through busy city fray of sound.
Weekend Money dropped the track “Break Spinal”, featuring Charlotte’s emcee on the rise Well$ dropping verseses next to none other than Kool AD. The production matches the delivery being fun, playful, with ghosting synths to give off vibes, where a spontaneity between the rhyme smith keeps the ego’s bold but smiling.
Carl Creighton has released his solo album The World is a Beautiful Place on Bandcamp for free until December 17, as a pre-emptive holiday gift. The artist who has given us Howth, and more presents a full-length of acoustic folk vignettes to frame the new developments from the creative fringes that inspire today’s and tomorrow’s inquisitive collectives.
Mayer Hawthorne & Jake One’s Tuxedo outfit drops their self-titled debut joint March 3 on Stones Throw, and we got their funked up-McCartney holiday mode of “Wonderful Christmastime”. All that weirdness indicated in the phaser keys of Macca’s original get brought out in a full, bouncing, realized rendering from this power duo.
Anouncing their February tour with Ex Hex, Dubliners Princess get their single “Molly” remixed by Ben Bix of Meltybrains. Vocals, echoes, electro-cello like things and more spill over empty noise, and at times piano keys, and beat sequences that march to the beat of a whole other kind of drum, bringing on a whole other kind of atmosphere.
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper released the lyric video for her new song, “Billions of Eyes”, from her forthcoming album, After, available March 3 from Mom+Pop. Aly Spaltro follows up her Ba Da Bing! Records debut album Ripely Pine with a sound deeply rootes in personal events set to the free form and free-play of consciousness with her greatest, and poppiest sound to date. This is the sound indie Maine making it big, by making an even bigger noise.
AXEL F., the combined forces of J. Rocc & MED drop the “Superman Remix” ft. Strong Arm Steady and Pok music video directed by J along with Truly Odd. With their album Theme Music available now, With everyone repping that West coast LA fancy lifestyle; watch as each emcee indulges their own personal, high-flying superman style.
Also in time for the holidays, we got the new jEP from Oakland’s rising emcee, C-Money’s Just 4 You EP. Making a splash from the East Bay, C flashes his new kid on the block style with some o.g. cred from statesmen like Too $hort (on “Keep Up”) to appearances from the new school’s Chonkie F and Iamsu!.
Off the February 17 slated album A Distant Fist Unclenching from Exploding in Sound Records and Double Double Whammy; hear the fist pump worthy single, “Torturer”. Rest assured, no actual torture will be involved in the listening to the latest gem from one of our Brooklyn favorites.
Dick Diver have a new album from Trouble in Mind Records in the works, and we have the first single, “Waste The Alphabet” for you to feast your ears and senses on. Names and words disappear into the haze of memory on the floating disappearing, reappearing song of floating letters.
Slim Twig has re-released his excellent album A Hound At The Hem on DFA and we have the Jennifer Hazel and Meg Remy video for “Hover On A Sliver” that stars that stars Lulu Hazel Turnbull. Revisiting Polanski’s 1965 film Repulsion; Lulu is dressed like a pop art France Gall as the protagonist in the odyssey of the obscure commanded by Twig and friends.
Night Beds released their new single from Dead Oceans this week, titled “Me Liquor & God” that mixes the metaphysical with the stumbling bumble of intoxicating, and exquisite pop arrangments. Synths stream endlessly while the vocal rounds and blurred delivery mimic slurred lines and blurrier states.
For those in need of some big time spirited pop, grab a listen to Luxley’s title single, “Spirit” (feat. Nora Patterson) from the upcoming EP of the same name. Arpeggiated synths descend like rain with infectious tones that you never want to end.
Their album Daggers is available now from Downtown Records, and they recently co-curated a Week in Pop feature; check out Ex Cops’ Amalie Bruun and Brian Harding in the Niklaus Lange directed video for “White Noise”.
Landing just in time for your weekend, let the waves wash over you on Scooter Island’s Obey City & Matt FX produced single, “Wavy (What U Gotta Do)” Ft. Taro & Synead. These are the tales of passion and real life back and forth dialogues that occur as you continue your way up that grapevine.
As if it never left, They Might Be Giants’ Dial-a-Song is bringing its low-tech innovation from the 1983 Brooklyn number of (844) 387-6962 to the hi-tech hub of Drip.fm’s Dial-A-Song Direct service, and a dot com of its own. New songs will also be launched January 5, and you can sample some of the goodness here.
With the album The Feeling Noise Becomes available February 10 from EggHunt Records, get a listen to Feral Conservatives’ “Class Union”, that promises more fun than a rabid, frothing at the mouth, loud, shouting shame-down from a crew of basic cable pundits. The spirit of outcasts reuniting are wound closer together with Rashie Rosenfarb’s genuine delivery that asks for a reserved seat in a huddle for the scholastic set that went against the grain.
Dropping the following loosie “Raw Shit”, Detroit’s MAHD dropped enlists fellow D-denizen Nolan the Ninja to bring back that raw sound of basement made tapes, and something for the fakesters to chew on. Look for MAHD’s album 13 available this coming March.
Windhand’s Dorthia Cottrell has plans to release her self-titled March 3 on Forcefield Records, and we have her pedal steel sifting single, “Gold”. The “I know where you’ve been” confrontational stance depicts Dorthia walking proud on gold-shining spurs sparring strong against the odds, and the harsh environmental elements.
Iris Campo of the Indica Records group Roads is releasing her first solo EP later in 2015, written from Montréal with a warm heart and an ultra-pop wit. Conquering ulcerative-colitis, the Spanish by way of Canada artist has re-branded herself as Iris (sans surname), deliverying the clench-fisted determined sound of patience and perseverance unbound and unleashed on the big new single; “I’ll Wait For You”.
Brooklyn’s We Are Temporary makes his stand against the country’s wave of discriminatory police enforcement tactics, and recent incidents with the solemn synth track, “I Can’t Breathe (In Memory of Eric Garner)”. Available December 16 from Stars & Letters Records as a donation to the ACLU; label operator Mark Roberts samples voices of protest, raw media audio, words from Garner’s widow, and a sobering electric soundscape that illustrates our own current modern day dystopian, united police states.
Dirty Dishes dropped the heavy chugging, deep rumbling, and tumbling dice on, “Red Roulette”, ahead of their upcoming album debut, Guilty available January 27 from Exploding In Sound Records. The Boston by LA duo features guitar-grinding grunge gears and vocals with attitude from Jenny Tuite, with bass and synth sequences from Alex Molini; keeping the sound slowly bursting in time like fireworks filmed in slow-motion.
With Warm Blanket available now from Paw Tracks, get ready for some of that glassy-eyed cheer with Dent May yuletide hymn; “I’ll Be Stoned For Christmas”. Happy holidays, direct from one of Mississippi’s brightest.
Keeping that holiday cheer going, Streight Angular presents their contributions to the some songs for the holiday season with an original and song and a cover. The first song is the iron reindeer ride of “It’s Christmas” that should be an immediate choice for that special holiday mixtape you’re curating for that special somebody.
The next offering from Streight Angular is a cover of “All I Want for Christmas is You” available on the first Polk Records compilation, A Very Polk Christmas 5. Listen as the holiday standard gets trampled down in the shamble core while remaining somewhat melodic and decidedly atonal. Polk Records are currently taking submissions of both lo-fi and hi-fi recordings via firstname.lastname@example.org. According to frontman/label operator Al Polk, bands have up until December 20 to send.
The album Night Safari is available now from Bad Panda Records / Folk Wisdom, and we got Populous’ video for “Fall” (feat. Cuushe) from Uolli. Taking place in one of the most gorgeous settings of ineffable wonder, warm electro adventures around the waterfall bring the fall of digital triangles that descend like leaves to become their own assigned shapes.
Our friends Quarterbacks are going to be releasing their self-titled February 10 from Team Love Records, and we got a new track for you all to enjoy with the fun and sun single, “Pool”. Enjoy the speed ups, and slow down from Dean Engle and the New Paltz crew as they wear hearts on their sleeves, and sing about the fun days that could be, and just might be. In our continued conversations with Mr. Engle; Dean discussed the making of their new single, with a few insights into their forthcoming self-titled:
I think that [“Pool”] is the best example on the record of my bandmates’ influence. Max and Tom got ahold of my mopey demo and pulled it out of the gutter, turned a self-pitying song into a true rocker. No way to overstate how their playing over the past three years has shaped/defined this band’s sound, made some questionable tunes worth listening to.