With Record Store Day descending upon us, Week in Pop would like to remind all music fans out there that every day is a good day to visit your record store, while bringing you today and tomorrow’s newest indie champions. Keeping up with a press week that has been dominated by Coachella bringing us all kinds of new song unveilings and the like, we saw the ubiquitously covered Drake and Maddonna smooch on stage; heard that Florence Welch evidently broke her foot; Kendrick Lamar shared some love for Earl Sweatshirt and Weezy on a twitter Q & A session; Crystal Castles re-emerge sans Alice Glass; Young Thug dropped the tape, Barter 6; Patti Smith’s new memoir, M Train is in the works; experience Abbey Road Studios like it was Google street view; Kanye West’s Swan Lake performance in Yerevan, Armenia cut short; Ben Gibbard versus Tidal; our warmest thoughts are with Twin Shadow after their tour bus crash in Aurora, Colorado; Jack White announced a strictly acoustic tour before taking a “break” from his performing schedules; and we continue to mourn the losses of Konono n°1’s Mingiedi Mawangu, and Percy Sledge.
As we carry on forward, we honored and privileged to present the following exclusives and interviews from Intimatchine, Jordannah Elizabeth, Plush, Voice Coils, Web of Sunsets, Oddly Even, Omega Swan, J Fernandez, Ancient River, LA Font, Meresha, with guest selections from Downtown Boys, and more — in no particular order.
Presenting a prayer for peace during these times of tumultuous tribulations, proclaiming the power of love, and penning psych spirituals in the name of cultural, and global human harmony — experimental r n’ b artist Jordannah Elizabeth premieres her lead single, “A Prayer For Black America” remixed by fellow San Franciscan, Al Lover. Found on her album A Rush, that follows her solo releases, Harvest Time, N. Charles Sessions, Bring to the Table EP, and more; Jordannah works through a pastiche network of alternative folk, hip hop, psych, and more to bring her own fervent style of gospel that comes from a universal place. And so as the 24 hour news hubs, and constant current event feeds continue to depict the hostile, and unfriendlier aspects of the world that we all share — Jordannah Elizabeth interrupts this broadcast to bring a message that returns us all to our own common ground, uplifts her community, with a shamanic mantra that edges on the ancient traditions of expression before the advent of documented inscriptions, and far before the imperial gentrification of language.
The debut of Jordannah’s “A Prayer For Black America” remixed by Al Lover moves the prayer chants along metaphysical moonbeams in a way that electrically illustrates the song’s own code. Elizabeth’s “Oh Lord” prayers call out for protections of the African American makes a humanist plea to “keep us safe,”, “keep us clean,” “keep us lean”, to hold down the foundation of community, and inspirational assistance to create a constant state of song. The power of Jordannah’s effective, and terse aphorisms are expanded into Al’s magnified, macroscopic sound frame that speaks to mind, body, and soul; stamping out and scaring away any semblance of injustice or pang of prejudice. The rhythm rides like a desert vision quest that has become a hallmark of Al Lover’s DJ sets at Austin Psych Fest, here applied to transcending and stomping down the barricades of hate, intolerance, and racism. In our recent conversation, Al expressed his gratitude in remixing “Prayer”, “[Jordannah]’s incredibly talented, and I think this song is incredibly relevant right now given the current racial climate.” Immediately after the following the remix debut, read our interview with Jordannah Elizabeth.
From your early days as the artist, Makeshivt Kity, to your solo recordings, Harvest Time, the Bring to the Table EP, to A Rush; how do you reflect upon your own creative narratives that have inspired and moved you over this expanse of time?
Well, I was 21 when Makeshivt Kity’s first EP, Los Angeles EP was recorded. I was very naive and hadn’t gone through a lot in my life. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about life, heartache, happiness, loss, poverty and success. When I write records, I think I just take a two or three year chunk of my life, reflect upon it and write the album based on my perspective of that period of time. A Rush is about the beginning of the end of a season of my life. The Los Angeles EP is about trying something new and failing, but still having hope. Bring to the Table was about loving people who didn’t quite know how to love themselves. I say all this in retrospect. Sometimes, I write themes and stories that don’t relate to me, but my albums are really about personal lessons that can be interpreted as general life lessons and experiences…I believe I am having a similar experience to all human beings on this Earth. I think this realm of reality has certain lessons that we’re all born here to learn. I think that lesson truly is the lesson of love.
What was the process like recording A Rush like for you?
It was probably the hardest album I’ve ever completed. I got very ill during the last couple of months of recording. I had gotten an infection in my inner cheek because of my wisdom tooth growing in wrong. I was in and out of the hospital and dentist, but still had to work, travel and play shows…it was very hard.
Another reason why recording the album was tough was because it took eight months to finish. My producers Breck (former: The Apes) and Steve Kille (Dead Meadow) are busy people. I usually record full albums in four to seven days because I work for months to craft songs and rehearse my session band to as close to perfection as I can get. We go into the studio tight and ready to roll. Or I’ll record all by myself in my bedroom, so I give myself a few weeks to complete the album and bang it out. This time, I had a trust Breck and we created A Rush over time. I also had to go down to L.A. from San Francisco to record with Steve. It was good for me because I really gave in to the process…
Utilizing your own experimental methods, how do you go about conceptualizing your songs?
With the most experimental JE albums like Harvest Time and N. Charles Sessions, I just had a lot of instruments at my disposal because I lived in band houses in Baltimore during that time. I could just run around the house and find a djembe, a toy harmonium, different guitars and shakers. I was able to make some far out bedroom recordings. It was pretty fun.
Bring to the Table was me wanting to do a nice folk album after making tripped out stuff for a couple of years. I covered Bob Dylan for a few weeks just to get back into practice and listened to a lot of Townes Van Zandt and Lightenin’ Hopkins…a lot of Etta James and then wrote original stuff when my folk/soul palette was wet again.
The lead off track, “A Prayer For Black America”, has a combination of vintage gospel groove met by a modern day spiritual sense that is very timely for a tumultuous era of civil, and racial upheavals. What were some of the prayers at work when composing and recording this song?
Well, I was kind of talking in African American slang, because the song is a prayer and a message for my community. Like cultural Morse code:
“Hold us down” — Hold down the fort. Keep our foundation in tact.
“Keep us safe”
“Keep us clean” — Keep us pure. Love us for who we are.
“Keep us lean” — Keep us looking good. Keep us healthy.
“Stay by our side every day and every night”
“And help us sing” — help us continue to sing spirituals, gospel and soul music to keep up our moral and hope up.
Thoughts on the impact from Al Lover’s remix interpretation?
Oh, I call Al Lover’s remixes ‘shaman-psych.’ I like his style. It’s very different. I am familiar with his work because we have a lot of mutual friends, and colleagues in the neo-psych, and experimental hip hop music scenes. The experimental music world is very small. I just consider him an art brother of mine.
Other collaborations and recordings in the works you can tell us about?
Not right now. I’ve gotten a couple of whispers and calls to do singles and demos, but I won’t be dropping a solo full length album for a while.
Closing prayers and hopes for 2015, 2016, and so forth?
I pray that the power of love reveals itself to the world. I pray that we all learn that we are spirits encased in bodies and the fear and hatred this world teaches us are just challenges to teach us to dig deeper within ourselves to find the answer we’re looking for.
I believe hatred is a barrier in the obstacle course of the game of life to keep us from getting to love — the finish line.
I think if you want peace and happiness, be kind to others, help people who are less fortunate, make love (emotionally and physically) to your lovers/spouses and trust them. Spoil your parents with attention, play with your children and approach things that scare you with courage, tolerance and compassion.
Experience Jordannah Elizabeth’s A Rush via Soundcloud.
Voice Coils are something a Brooklyn phenomenon. An experimental supergroup, they are made up of Yukon and Roomruner’s Sam Garrett, Caley Monahon-Ward of Extra Life, Feast of the Epiphany, Kelly Moran of Cellular Chaos, Kevin Wunderlich of Epistasis, Couch Slut, Cameron Wisch of Porches., and today Voice Coils premiers their song, “You In a Place For a While By Yourself”, featuring vocals by the one and only, Mitski. Taken off an upcoming EP that follows up the In Sixths/Field and Border 7″ from Shatter Your Leaves; Voice Coils wrap up their respective worlds in an enchanted quilt of hypnotic, gnostic new pagan post-traditional works for NYC’s urban DIY hymnals.
The very start of “You In A Place For A While By Yourself” has Voice Coils placing you into a dramatic, atmospheric environment of great solitude. The individuality and solitary nature of the song’s stream of thoughts are performed with the utmost flighted urgency by Mitski, that she takes to with an acrobatic swiftness and diligence through the song’s unorthodox progression and note scale schemes. Having been a member of Voice Coils through late last year, the creative parallels between Mitski’s experimental work with the collective and her own solo work that changed everyone’s lives with 2014’s bury me at make out creek can be aptly heard in a connective congruence. The structural arrangement experimentation exercises that Caley, Cameron, Kelly, Kevin, Sam and company have designed are made within a planned methodology like the great classical legends. The regiments and construction tools utilized by icons of the past are fashioned to the present’s new movements of musical impressionism. Evidence of this can be heard and felt in Mitski’s own solo discography, and certainly is at work on a grand collaborative stage with a handful of Brooklyn’s current day gentry, and DIY pop guardians. Sam took the time to talk to us in an insightful interview round, following Voice Coils’ debut of, “You In a Place For a While By Yourself”.
From Yukon, Roomrunner, to Voice Coils—how do you describe your own evolutionary music progressions?
I feel extraordinarily overwhelmed by this question, but here are a few thoughts —
I was in Yukon for nearly six years and was exposed to music, people, and ideas that were greatly influential to my creative growth. During that time, I studied contemporary classical composition with Stuart Saunders Smith and Linda Dusman at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Both of these experiences formed a sort of composite education from which a project like Voice Coils could grow.
With Voice Coils, I consciously sought to merge my work as a composer with my experience as a guitarist to create a framework that explored certain artistic, intellectual, and emotional ideas.
The only creative contribution I think I had in Roomrunner was adjusting a chorus pedal, but I had a great time playing with them for the short period of time I was involved.
Give us some insights into Voice Coils ‘supergroup’ style dynamics that involve work with folks from Extra Life/Feast of the Epiphany (Caley Monahon-Ward), Cellular Chaos (Kelly Moran), Epistasis/Couch Slut (Kevin Wunderlich), Porches. (Cameron Wisch), etc. How do you all collaborate together?
While the term ‘supergroup’ is empowering, Voice Coils was certainly never conceived as anything of the sort. I was fortunate to meet the right people who supported and understood the artistic aesthetic, and who felt compelled to be involved as musicians and composers in their own right.
In realizing the music for a live setting, the process is not unlike the traditional approach to composition and performance — a piece is written and we learn it, making any necessary technical or creative changes along the way.
In production, Caley and I are the primary collaborators.
That Shatter Your Leaves single is like hypnotic, gnostic hymns, or something. Reflections on recording this 7″?
After composing “In Sixths” and “Field and Border” in the ether, I was introduced to Cameron Wisch through Tony Gedrich, and the three of us began working together. Following months of reaching out to vocalists and keyboardists, most — all — of who were already overextended or uninterested, our goal became to simply learn and record the music.
This trio version recorded with Caley Monahon-Ward and disbanded, while Caley and I began production on the record. Whereas a live iteration has certain practical limits, the production of a record theoretically does not, and through a variety of experiments, an assumed vernacular, and some obsessive, self-destructive form of ‘faith’, we developed an aesthetic framework for “In Sixths” and “Field and Border”, which in turn became the aesthetic framework for Voice Coils.
Pretty floored by this Mitski collaboration on, “You In a Place For a While By Yourself”. How did you all strike up a creative bond? Her voice is like heaven on earth.
Caley had performed with Mitski – and coincidentally Kelly Moran – as part of a concert of chamber works by our friend Amy Mills, and reached out to her. She recorded the vocal parts for “In Sixths” and “Field and Border” after learning the music in two rehearsals and was part of Voice Coils until late last year.
Mitski is an enormously talented musician. I feel greatly indebted to her for her work in Voice Coils – she was integral in the realization of the project.
What’s next for Voice Coils?
We are nearly finished work on an EP, which will be released later this year on Shatter Your Leaves, and – maniacally – writing and rehearsing for a performance at Roulette on June 29.
Other NYC experimental artists & collectives we should know about?
To preface I am constantly discovering new artists and collectives here, so by no means is this list complete. Here are some artists, ensembles, and bands that come to mind at this moment — Darius Jones’ The Elizabeth-Caroline Unit, and his work The Oversoul Manual, Feast of the Epiphany, New Firmament, GABI, Liturgy, Mario Diaz de Leon, Oneirogen, Mivos Quartet, Psalm Zero, Seaven Teares, Travis Laplante, Battle Trance, Wet Ink Ensemble, Alex Mincek, Eric Wubbels…
The mantra/dao of Voice Coils?
There are many, but I think “Liberate tutame ex inferis” is the most appropriate.
Voice Coils new EP will be available soon from Shatter Your Leaves.
Plush popped up on our radar around last December with their lo-fi Pale EP that appeared on Bandcamp in all of it’s tape hissing glory. Through the echo chambers and surface noise we witnessed the melancholic passion of, “Head In The Ground”, the fuzzy-feedback sentiments of, “Soft In The Dark”, to the cannonball dive splash, “Lake”. Having freshly recorded their album Pine with the venerable Patrick Brown at Different Fur Studios; San Franciscos’ self-described ‘sob rock’ sect of Dylan, Eva, Karli, and Sinclair, present a listen to their sad, sweet, and distortion shredded songs in a brighter definitions (with all appropriate dissonance still in tact).
On the premiere of Plush’s Pine, the cassette recorded captures that pointed toward a variety of possibilities are heard as they were always meant to be. During the mastering sessions we got different listens to the opener, “WAYN” that sounds like one of the most beautiful ballads to emerge from the Bay this spring. The song glances at the fading of a deep friendship, keeping all the emotion in ear shot on the heart squeezing chorus that asks, “who are you now?” The previous tape recorded “Head In The Ground” emerges here cleaned up, but with all the clamor still stitched into the mix, with Plush’s harmonics shining through it all. Keeping true to the sketches and blueprints, “Soft In The Dark” remains with all of it’s amplifier blistering guitar blasts with an increased intimacy heard on the closing lyrics, “when you’re a ghost will you haunt me, because heaven knows I’ll need you around…” But Plush here are just beginning to turn up the heaviness, bringing the heaviest guitar settings and sounds they can muster on the cool walking nostalgia tripping, “Older Pictures”, to the floor tom hopping vexes of perplexion, “The Hex”, right before the new rendering of “Lake” is heard in the kind of earnest and intimate detail of the best shared vacation memories. The closing “Teeth” keeps Plush’s sad chord arranged pop songs sobbing, yet a certain peace of mind and smile can be almost heard from their cycle of songs about mortality and the discontinuity of the best relationships. After the following debut listen to Pine; read our roundtable interview with Plush’s Dylan, Eva, Karli, and Sinclair.
How did you all meet up, and when did you all know that Plush was a band?
Dylan: I met Eva through a mutual friend after seeing her band The She’s play a bunch of times. We became close friends and after realizing we had the same taste in music we decided to try and make music more akin to what we were listening to that we couldn’t do with our projects at the time. Eva wrote “Soft in the Dark” and sent it to me asking for help to write the other half so I did. We recorded a garageband demo of it with her playing guitar and me playing tambourine and didn’t think much of it afterwards. Sinclair and I live together so I pestered her constantly to play with Eva and I and she finally agreed and it’s been great!
Karli: I got really hyped after hearing Eva and Dylan’s demo of “Soft in the Dark”, and sent them over my demo of “Head in the Ground” to see if they had any feedback. After that I think we quickly realized we were all very musically compatible and things kind of took off from there.
Give us what the jump was like for you all, from the lo-fi tape-hiss glow of Pale, to your new forthcoming album.
Karli: Our good friend/Dylan and Sinclair’s roommate Zack owns a 4-track recorder and wanted to experiment with recording to tape, and although we didn’t have much material at the time, we were really anxious to put out our stuff and test the waters. It was mutually beneficial for both Zack and us. I think the lo-fi vibe was really exciting for us because none of us had gotten the chance to play around with that style in our other bands and projects.
Eva: Once we got more comfortable with different tones we liked and honed in on a vision for what we ultimately wanted to be our sound, it seemed like a natural next step to record in a studio. Our dear friend Patrick Brown at Different Fur Studios engineered the album and Sean Paulson mixed it. They both totally understood our vision and were able to help us execute that smoothly.
What inspired “WAYN”?
Karli: In short, “WAYN” is about a dissolving friendship over a long period of time. I tried to lyrically emulate a mixture of both frustration and total loss. I’ve always gravitated toward a more melancholy sound over all so I think that’s what I was going for with most of the ideas I had for the album. We had all been listening to a lot of Ovlov at the time and that perhaps subconsciously inspired me instrumentally. They were the chillest band…RIP.
How do the four of your describe your own creative process that contribute to the Plush sound?
Dylan: I try to play really simple things in a way that isn’t too boring because I’m not very good at my instrument. Equipment wise, I try to play an odd drum setup because it forces me to play things in a way I may not be comfortable with and although it’s limiting and often frustrating it has worked thus far.
Karli: I’m heavily inspired by old country and folk music, which I think is where my simple chord progressions and heavier focus on vocal melodies stems from. It’s really neat because we all have specific and separate influences with a lot of overlap at the same time. It makes everyone’s ideas and contributions really crucial to the outcome of a song.
Eva: I tend to start with an idea in terms of lyrics first, which is unlike the way I’ve written thus far. I write down lines that pop into my head in the moment on a daily basis. Then I’ll combine it with guitar parts I’ve worked on separately or just write an entire song based around the lyrics.
Sinclair: I’ve only played drums in live bands but I’ve wanted to play bass for a long time. Most of the songs on Pine are me just learning how to actually play bass. But now that I’m more comfortable, I’m excited to play around with melodies since I’ve never been able to do that before.
Notes on the SF scenes these days?
Sinclair: The SF music scene is pretty welcoming. Bookers are willing to try out new bands and other musicians are always friendly. You get to know people pretty well since you might play with one of the same few bands at every show and definitely at the smaller venues will have to share equipment. Growing up in San Francisco, I found it a great place to be introduced to live music. Being able to go to such good shows at cool venues when I was younger is what made me want to play music. Now most shows are 21+ which is a bummer because had I not been able to go to shows as a kid and especially a teenager I definitely would not be living the life I do now. And there is a lot of great music in the city and coming through the city, it’s a shame to deprive people of that just because they can’t drink! I know it’s been harder on the venues for the past decade almost, with ABC and also just more housing and gentrification around venues that have been around for a long time. It’s harder to make what they need without at least a certain amount of 21+ shows.
Favorite local Bay Area acts that everyone should be listening to?
Dylan: Pardoner put out the best record of the year so everyone should listen to them. They are straight up the coolest band going right now. Other than that, all of these bands are great: The She’s, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Bloody Holly, Labor Temple, Bearcall, Fish Breath, Never Young, Tony Molina, Super Elvis, Void Boys, Beau27, Moms, Cool Ghouls, Blossom, Blood Sister, Meat Market, The Laibs, Worse. Henry’s Dress don’t exist anymore but they are definitely one of my favorites and I wanted to put that in here.
Karli: Everything Dylan said. And Creative Adult!
The Plush plan for 2015?
Dylan: Just play shows and keep writing I think? We’re playing a record release show at Bottom Of The Hill on May 7 with Pardoner, Wander, and Void Boys witch should be a blast. Other than that we have a few things lined up in May throughout California and in July we’re going on tour with our friends in Pardoner but we haven’t planned past that really.
Plush’s album Pine is available now via Bandcamp.
When we last heard from LA duo, Intimatchine; Chelsey Holland and Christopher Wormald had just given us their I’ll Eat You Last EP from Permanent Record Los Angeles / Strange Paradise full of synth dropped invitations of enticement. Intimatchine make music for clandestine chambers decorated in modern, industrial chic where every haunted ambient mood slowly drops you down a free fall of one trap door after the other that gives away to an endless abyss of bottomless basements. With their Part Time Punks Radio Sessions 10″ EP available May 14, Intimatchine premieres their self-directed, produced, and written b/w video for, “Eraser”. Taken from those aforementioned recording sessions, Chelsey and Christopher explore the continuum of existence in the candid comforts of a low-lit parlor.
The video for “Eraser” begins with displays of light formations splashing on wood, that give way to the interiors enjoyed by Intimatchine’s Chelsey and Chris. The two keep up their usual intensity, where the supernatural, sensual, and vaguely macabre run parallel to one another. The guitars and synths take ominous tones as Chelsey sings about the obfuscations of existence, and the finite parameters that portend to thoughts of the infinite, and curb immortal aspirations. “Eraser” depicts the living condition as a complicated one, where Intimatchine both relies and preys upon each other a sparse electro sport of affection, and their ever dark veiled veneer of a mysterious penchant for malice and an insatiable desire for mischief.
Read our recent interview with Intimatchine, immediately following the the audio only version of Intimatchine’s “Eraser”.
What have you two been up to since I’ll Eat You Last?
It’s been one year since the release of our first EP. That was a dark debut, but fortunately we’re still in good standing with our families. Although the mood has lightened in recent days…the jest remains the same, and for us that’s confrontation.
We’ve been playing with this concept more so in real time. Our live performances now require us to carry a vanity mirror, projector, and camcorder everywhere we go. It’s something having to do with projected feedbacking video, the Oz Factor and manipulating light rays through refracting phenomenons.
Our music has always tended to vibe well with hypnosis and we take advantage of that now with our multimedia performances. Like if you can’t get people to dance at your show, might as well put them to sleep…
What’s the latest from LA? How’s everything and everyone been down in SoCal lately?
It seems that everyone is moving (back) to LA these days. Regardless of this influx, they are all still at Coachella. It’s kind of like having the place to yourself…
We’re happy to report that the drought has not yet affected our ability to make music. Living in Glendale for a year now though, we’ve had time to adjust. They’ve been enforcing strict irrigation policies since 2010.
Enjoying your Part Time Punks Radio sessions, what was that recording experience like?
The session took place at the renown Bedrock Studios in Echo Park, with it’s secret PBR vending machine and tandem parking. We used to have a practice space there (we were one of those bands that rehearsed), but we gave that all up after sharing a wall with Youth Code. It was a whole different story being invited back to record in Bedrock’s actual studio and it has been the kindest gesture made to us since we started performing in 2013.
When we arrived at the studio we were greeted by Michael Stock and his engineer Drew Fischer. They laid down the rules for recording ‘live’ in the studio: no overdubbing, no individual takes, no cutting and pasting, etc… It took us a couple of hours to record four tracks, half of which was spent feng shuiing our position in the room. Within a few weeks, Drew Fischer presented us with an immaculate mix and sent the recordings off to Michael to be placed into his annual Part Time Punks compilation album.
It’s an honor to be a part of the Part Time Punks repertoire and amongst so many great bands that Michael has worked with. Feels like we’re in a cult…feels like we’re professionals…Both him and Drew Fischer made our dreams come true–they both deserve gift baskets.
What other recordings do you two have in the works?
We are anticipating the summer release of a split 7” we completed in the winter. It features our pseudo-lyrical pop ballad “Poison, Yeah” adjacent to a single from Glaare – our doom metal counterparts. We expect to start production on our first full-length in August.
In the meantime, we have been commissioned to write a few exclusive tracks, alongside artists like the Growlers, for a documentary about a local LA-ish fashion designer.
Who else have you two been listening to as of recent? Other important, underground/rising LA artists that the world should know about right now?
We just put out a mixtape via Track Number Records for their exclusive artist series on Mixcloud. It was a 45-minute compilation featuring our favorite artists like Netshaker, Vum, Kirin j Callihan, and Balam Acab. We also have a few home-grown cassette tapes that frequent the tape player but never leave the car. Those entrapped souls are forever favorites: Drab Majesty, Ghost Noise, TLC, Ruiins and Half Goon…
The spring and summer plan for Intimatchine?
To celebrate the release of this record, we’re about to embark on our first tour—basically me dragging my boyfriend and synthesizers to Tijuana and New York. It will be fun, he’s never been to either. We want to continue to travel and play shows outside of LA—to anyone reading this, help us get on the road by e-mailing us or sending smoke signals. We will follow. xo
Intimatchine’s Part Time Punks Radio Sessions 10″ EP will be available May 14, with pre-sale available now via Bandcamp.
Nashville’s young guns Omega Swan are having their own moment of sorts. In our recent conversation with Marcus Garceau, we learned about the Southern space-party band’s sharper directions, courtesy of their new drummer Aaron Westine who can be heard holding down a tight rhythm base on the debut of their home studio recorded single, “Hate Love”. With the shaping of a brand new sound for the band, Marcus and the Omegas have focused their development around a steady rhythmic nature, where Aaron not only keeps the metric timings of the beat — but shapes much of Omega Swan’s ear for details.
“Hate Love” find Marcus and Omega Swan bonding with the disenchanted that hate the restraint of what loving bonds bring. Cuing a sample of a foreign phone call sounding audio bite to set the situation, Omega Swan’s shred fests find a rightful place within their tightest rhythmic patterns heard yet, lampooning the rockslides and histrionics that relationship situations often bring. And though the “Love Stinks” kind of attitude might be put here on blast, Marcus delivers with a healthy, but punctuated does of the band’s own knack for sardonic humor that keeps the affair light, lively, and the chords coordinated, and crunchy.
Stream Omega Swan’s “Hate Love” on Spotif, and read our interview with Marcus after the jump.
First off, what’s the latest from Omega Swan? We hear you got a new drummer that is pretty tight.
Omega Swan is back in action. Last year the drummer we built this band with bailed to pursue other things in life. We supported that decision and were grateful that he cut out before the music started to take a hit. It really was a blessing in disguise. A couple weeks later we met a friend of some friends, Mr. Aaron Westine, fresh off the boat from Malibu, CA. As soon as we heard how powerful this dude is, the pocket he’s in, the guy is a monster. He sounds like a modern day John Bonham. We are beyond stoked to have him as part of the team. He’s really helped push our sound to the limit.
What’s Nashville been like lately?
Nashville remains the most mind-blowing musical city. The culture out here is so real you forget what’s going on sometimes.
How’s Nashville been treating you all?
The support we’ve had from Nashville while rebuilding has been awesome. Everyone we’ve been working with, from the bands to the studios we’ve been tracking in, is stoked to help us get the new Omega sounds out there. Recently we had some of our music on the Showtime TV show Shameless, and all the support we’ve been getting in Nashville and from around the country is motivation to create the best stuff we can.
Tell us about the love and hate feelings that set the gears in motion for, “Hate Love”.
Before I moved to Nashville from Providence, RI I was in this wild relationship for almost five years. When you’re that deep into something, and shit goes wrong, that shit hurts. It goes beyond the numb to any feelings phase, and when that whole thing ended for me, I hated the idea of love. Being 20 something should be about turning it to 11, shredding, skating and enjoying your life. So that stuck with me, the idea of purposefully, going out of my way to hate everything about love and to focus on me. The song idea really hit when I was at this house show in Nashville, talking to a girl who hated love even more than I did. We spent a bit bashing on our relationships and our exes. After a bit it was like, damn, if anything is going to work, it’s gonna be like this. She ended up punching her ex in the face that night. She’s since disappeared.
What is there to hate about love?
Nothing, love is awesome. Everyone gets in that headspace when they are let down, they think everyone is out to get them. I’m over all that stuff now, mainly because I got a few good songs out of it to shred with my friends. But when you do find yourself in that spot, pump this track up and let it out.
What is there to love about hate?
“Peace and love man.” For real though, don’t hate. Get frustrated, get mad, change the world, but don’t hate.
Further thoughts on the new crisp sound directions for Omega Swan?
The new sounds are like we are stepping out of the garage and into 80’s. I’ve personally been on a fat disco dance kick lately (mainly Chic & Nile Rogers), and have stayed cranking out AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. The new sounds vary from song to song, but my personal favorites got that disco-grunge edge. My life just feels like it’s at 120 BPM right now.
Can you divulge any secrets about new recordings in the works?
I can tell you that there are many. They won’t be released all at once. We don’t want to do a full album right now. Our creative process is so constant, and dynamic, that our plan right now is to focus in on our songwriting, recording and production skills, and crank out quality singles & EPs whenever we got them. Expect a lot more from Omega Swan this year.
The latest and greatest Nashville artists we all should be listening to right now?
That’s My Kid, Kat Milk Blu, AJ & the Jiggawatts, Brandon Wise & the Scorchin’ Sons. Shit is too crazy out here, everybody just make the trip down, find us, and we’ll show you.
Listen to more Omega Swan via Bandcamp.
Web of Sunsets
The ever wandering ways of dream journeyers Web of Sunsets are back, with the announcement of their upcoming Steel New Days EP available April 28 from End of Time Records, after their tour with Trampled By Turtles. Having recorded again at the Old Blackberry Way in MN, back in December 2014; Sarah Nienaber (also of Gospel Gossip, Is/Is) made the move to Portland late last year, while still working closely and collaboratively with bandmates Sara Bischoff and Chris Rose (both of Heavy Deeds) to create some new studio magic textures, recorded by Neil Weir. As Web of Sunsets have spoken to the soul on singles like “Fool’s Melodies“, and their Room of Monsters album; new days are met with reflections on what previous adventures have taught with an understated guitar galloping progression that seeks out the smoke signals sent by a far away melody that forever lingers in the background.
“Steel New Days” haunts in the ways that always had you in the grips of “Fool’s Melodies” from a few years back. Those days of driving across highways, boarder trails, and wandering to these haunted songs that contained the smoke of exhaled exhaust pipes, encased through the campfire classic tradition of song-making. The word play of new days stolen, and the heavy weights endured turn into the endearing ways that the cherished and complicated memories surface with in the web of our heart connected consciousnesses. The psychic Americana country haunts from old highways that lead to memories, hometowns, and former places now indistinguishable from the natural waves of redevelopment’s courses can be heard in every note, and sharp chord struck by the Webs with every iota of audio.
Web of Sunsets wrote us the following collectively about the nature of the new EP:
Steel New Days felt more like a studio project than previous albums, and the tape is more of it’s own thing as opposed to a representation of the live performance — some songs have parts/textures that don’t exist in the live show which is new for us. There was more distance between the three of us while making this group of songs but it still worked well to write and record the way we always have — one of us working on a song and bringing it to the other two to finish and fill out, and then recording with Neil Weir. Despite the distance in our lives, the music still comes with ease.
Steel New Days will be available April 28 from End of Time Records.
Catch Web of Sunsets on their spring tour with Trampled By Turtles via the following dates:
Meet Oddly Even, a husband and wife duo based out of in San Jose, CA who premiere a listen to the ghost like meditations of, “Pitchfork Dimes”, from their debut EP available April 21. Made up Ashley Macachor (sister of Macajey’s Jeremy Macachor) and Calvin Sturges, the two create an ambient strummed stirring of hushed vocals, jumbling chords, and sparse steps of percussion.
The lead on “Pitchfork Dimes” is the rhythmic engine of acoustic strings, and soft sung entrances into sleepless fixations, bound and tethered testaments, told through understated earth toned airs of earth wandering troubadour ballads of vagabonds and destitute derelicts. Oddly Even creates an almost even playing field between the vocals that are joined by the jogging momentum of running note strikes and strums. After the following debut listen, read our interview with Ashley and Calvin.
As a husband and wife group, tell us about how Oddly Even happened, how you both met, and your own creative synergy has informed this holistic tunes.
Ashley: We met when I was working at a cafe and Cal came in for lunch one day. One of our first conversations was about music. We both played music and Cal invited me to a show he was doing at the time. Naturally, soon after, we started playing music together. There’s a lot we have in common and many ways we are different, which makes for an interesting creative process! Ultimately, we balance each other out and I think this ebb and flow plays out in the music we create together.
How did the name Oddly Even come about between you two?
Calvin: Listening to the Leonard Cohen song — “There is a War”, “…a war between the odd and the even”. I suppose because we like to think about the strange connections between things.
Take us through the process of crafting together your first EP?
Calvin: On the edge of a bed is where I write most songs and we hoped to capture that basic essence. Eventually we set up a small analog studio in our apartment and slowly but surely learned how to work the gear and get things laid down.
Ashley: We wanted the ep to sound not too far off from how we sound live and also to capture our interaction, so we recorded Cal’s guitar & vocals and my drums live, then did some basic overdubs. “Hide Away” was a one-take improv we recorded and then decide to include. For the EP, we wanted to include new material that we felt represented the sound and energies that have developed from playing together up to this point.
Recording in an apartment is tricky! Luckily, we have nice neighbors. I kind of like that we had to work within the limitations of time (when we could actually record), what gear we had and make the most of it. It might have taken a little longer and there were frustrating moments, but everything happens in due time. It was a lesson in patience and persistence.
Love the super, tape recorded at home aspect, like that emergency siren finish to the EP at the end of “Don’t Speak” sounds like a product of happenstance. Can you tell us a bit about the specs behind your DIY setup?
Calvin: All of the tracks were recorded on a Tascam 388, except for “Hide Away” which was recorded on a 424 mkii. We used dynamic mics with very light compression. Yeah, that siren came along right when we were wrapping up the take. Most of the time it was an airplane right in the middle of a chorus and we’d have to start again.
Ashley: Since we couldn’t escape a lot of the sounds around us, we decided to let it become a part of the process. By inviting it in instead of resisting it, some interesting, synchronistic moments happened. I like the idea of having the unseen world play a part. It can add a different context that you may not have thought about. I also like that listening back in 5-10 years we will remember this time and the sounds that we used to hear everyday.
The latest from the San Jose scenes?
Cafe Stritch has become a nice music spot and there’s a growing jazz scene there. The go-to Blank Club has closed, but a new club called the Ritz by the same owner just opened up. Of course, we’ve always loved playing at Good Karma. Things have definitely been picking up here in San Jose, both with music and art. It’s great to be a part of it.
Other San Jose artists that you both want a give a shout out to?
Amonie are always great live, Dinners, too, and although we’ve only seen them play once but really liked them, Breathing Patterns. Also, the formerly San Jose-based bands, Plantain, Orangutang, Brooke D.
Oddly Even’s upcoming EP will be available April 21, hear more via Soundcloud.
We last caught up with Caleb Nichols last year with the release of his single, “Year Of The Horse“, sharing hints, and early blueprints of recently released concept album of pure power pop love; Double Mantasy. Riffing on the John Lennon solo album of the same name, the sketches drafted by the Fab Four are brought to new sorts of life and dimensions as Nichols deconstructs the alternate worlds from The Beatles’ Abbey Road flip-side, where you get to know the memorable cast of characters that you were merely quickly acquainted with in more profound, and new ways.
The action kicks starts off with the golden and glistening “Listen To The Beatles”, that wears inspirations pinned with love on the sleeve, rocking steady and soundly on “Dog Days”, embracing the power pop spaces that mark the distances between Liverpool and San Luis Obispo (where Caleb resides) on “Run Rabbit Rune”, to the playful McCartney fetishism found in the sparse strumming, “Ramon”. From here the adventure into the lesser known ways of “Mean Mister Mustard” become outlined in the tour de force that begins with “Captain Custard / Mr. Mustard”, closing out the big show with finale, “Last Words (From a Hole In The Road)”. Following the clues left behind from the collective works of John, Paul, George and Ringo — we bring you a listen to the new album, followed by an exclusive, personal tour of the cassette from Caleb himself right after.
From the cool sketched cover homage of sorts, I have wondered; how much more than just the album cover aesthetic has John Lennon’s Double Fantasy lent influence to your new album? And how much do you feel the music of folks like The Beatles (like the admitted opening title track, “Listen to the Beatles”, lyrical references to Paul and Linda’s “Ram On” in “Ramon” ), or say other power pop canon figures like Badinger, Big Star, Emitt Rhodes, Dwight Twilley etc have made some kind of osmotic cameo in your own creative song comp process? Is “Captain Custard / Mr. Mustard” (tied in lyrically as well to, “She’s The Beard (His Sister Pam)”) sort of like your own sequel to “Mean Mr. Mustard”?
Double Mantasy is one part concept album, one part musical fan fiction and one part love letter to the Beatles.
It tells the story of Mean Mr. Mustard – his origin story. The fan fiction part is that I decided to borrow from that genre and write fan fiction in the form of songs, explaining what happened to me. Mustard to make him so mean.
I used the Lennon-penned lyrics as clues. From the song we know Mustard
sleeps in a park in a hole in the road, is old, is mean, shouts obscenities at people, possibly is agoraphobic, and possibly has a drug habit.
I used these lyrical clues to fill out a back story- how’d he end up as a drug using, nasty old man living in the park.
I was inspired by the way the Beatles themselves wrote little stories in their songs. Apparently, John Lennon wrote Mean Mr. Mustard after he read an article in a newspaper about a man who hid money up his ass. Then the Beatles turned that rather short, strange tale into a little gem of a pop song, and wove it into the larger fabric of the best b-side in rock history.
So, all of these songs tell part of the story, particularly everything from “Ramon” onwards. And, of course since I wrote it, I thought about how interesting it would be if Ramon Mustard was gay, and from that point, that idea, it was easy to construct a whole narrative.
I won’t spoil it by detailing it here- its all in the songs!
And what sort of challenges did you have in the making of an album of this undertaking?
The only challenge, as ever, was money. And having enough patience to see it through. I spent a lot of time while
making this album being awed by the idea that this whole idea started as an electrical signal in my brain, and then became a real thing outside of my brain. I suppose everything is like that in the world, but it made me feel something.
The latest from the San Luis Obispo scenes? Favorite recent SLO acts?
SLO is a bit of a wasteland, culturally. The city has shut down two DIY venues since I’ve been living here (about a year). So there isn’t a ton happening, unless you are the most boring type of person (sorry! not sorry!).
A few good bands exist here:
1. King Walrus and the Magicians
2. Sparrows Gate
3. Hollow Sunshine
4. Some Ember (alas, they are moving to Berlin next month).
SLO is the type of place you should move to if you need a sandwich, REALLY like wine, hate children, hate underground culture, hate yourself, or just want some
peace and quiet.
I like it though, but probably because I grew up here.
Caleb Nichols’ Double Mantasy is available now via Bandcamp.
J Fernandez has proclaimed that his debut album, Many Levels Of Laughter will be available April 9 from Joyful Noise Recordings, and we have your first listen of wonder and enchantment with, “Read My Mind”. J takes us to the places where conversations and voices fail, and thoughts speaking to another’s thoughts becomes the focus of this head swimming song of ESP connective proportions. Join us after the listen for our latest conversation with J Fernandez himself.
In the making of Many Levels Of Laughter, what sorts of humor, and laughs lent inspiration and conceptual framework for you?
I’d been listening to Steven Wright’s stand-up at the time. It’s from the idea that humor can serve different purposes: to ridicule, or to be playful, or as a way of coping with reality. And also that we can get laughs out of pretty much anything no matter how absurd or depressing the subject matter might seem.
Give us the behind the creative mind story on the ESP types of notions that informed, “Read My Mind”?
It’s a love song about a relationship where communication is lacking. It’s about wishing you had ESP or wishing that they could read you. And then everything seems like a clue or a pattern. It becomes a bit obsessive.
Spring and summer plan, to-do-lists, etc that you have in store?
I have a tour starting April 28th. Then the album comes out on June 9th. And more tour dates in June.
I also have to get my van repaired. The steering wheel has this issue where it won’t let me turn left sometimes. We’ve managed to go on two tours in this van without needing to turn left.
What have you found yourself listening to repeatedly this year?
Burt Bacharach. Barry 7’s Connectors compilation. Margo Guryan. Shy Boys.
Upcoming tour dates:
28 Bloomington, IN – The Blockhouse with Mike Adams at His Honest Weight
01 New York, NY – Bowery Electric
02 Winooski, VT – Waking Windows Fest
04 Buffalo, NY – The Ninth Ward
05 Lexington, KY – Al’s Bar
06 Detroit, MI – UFO Factory with Fred Thomas
07 Kalamazoo, MI – Bell’s Brewery
We just got word that our buddies LA Font are releasing their upcoming, Hangtime Vol. 1 EP April 28 on Fleeting Youth, and we have the first listen with, “Whisperer”. Touring with Shark? April 23 through May 2, those familiar art of feedback frenzies come back into the coolest, collected, and honest rock songs to keep your head nodding, and fist pumping. Danny Bobbe describes the new EP with the following words:
Hangtime‘s a record about not waiting around for something to happen. It’s about putting in work, kicking it out, washing your hands and starting again. Take the best part of a lemon meringue pie (the meringue) and a Dodger Dog (the Dodgers) and that’s Hangtime Vol. 1.
The Nico Missile
Ricky Hamilton of The Nico Missile and Quality Time Records operator and more just released his split with Ma Holos on his imprint, giving us a taste with, “Don’t Mind Losing (Everything To You)”, as Ricky says; “to usher in a fiery summer of passion.” The Cleveland based musician presents the destitute nature of the world, and situations and lays everything down on the line with the cool rocking romantic come on/turn on jam to change your spring to an early summer dawning.
Florida’s rising beatsmith, songwriter, vocalist Meresha arrives on the scene with her EP No Revolution, a testament to the passage rights and rebellions spelled out through pop electric diaries. Carving out fantasias that simmer around the sentiments that seasons like summer propel ad infinitum; songs like “You” address an offstage individual in expressing array of emotions in a manner free of the hesitation that overt self-conscious song composition can bring. Catching up with the artist, we discussed Meresha’s new EP and more in our interview featured after the following listen.
Tell us about what revolutions for you informed your New Revolution EP.
A few years ago I successfully convinced my parents to move from Poland to the States. I wanted to get closer to the music scenes that I had become obsessed with online. That might sound a little strange, but honestly there aren’t many places to play out in Poland. I wanted to get out more.
I’m starting to find my own crowd since I’ve moved to the States, but New Revolution is about me beginning to branch out from my own social alcove.
“You” fluxes between this really personal and profound reckoning while, the mix and production play with a bevy of electro-pop concepts to further the songs move and narrative plot. Tell us about the making of this complex number.
“You” is a story about two people that are in love but are too afraid to do anything about it and aren’t sure if the other person feels the same way. The verses are the description of the many feelings felt during this time and the chorus is about actually going up to the person and telling them how you feel. ‘You spread your arms out wide,’ in the chorus, is an indicator that this perplexed state turns out quite alright, meaning the people realize they’ve been feeling this way about each other all along.
Tell us a bit about your approaches and song writing/recording methods.
My songs usually start as an idea in my spiral notebook or some notes played on my Prophet 12 keyboard or guitar. New Revolution, was mostly recorded at home where I set up some makeshift foam set up between two doors to record the vocals. I have to say I am so fortunate to have a family that supports me, and doesn’t mind that sometimes I turn my room into my recording haven.
What else have you been working on in your compositions, songs sketches, and so forth?
I have a couple of demos up now on Soundcloud — “Fool Don’t Be” and “check check…” The first one isn’t a new song. Actually “Fool Don’t Be” I wrote when I was twelve. It’s not the exact lyrics so much I’m attached to. I do like the melody though, so I’m reworking it and seeing what might become of it. Maybe I’m a little attached because it was the first song I wrote and said to myself, ‘I want to do this. I want to write music.’
The other track, “check check..” is an evolving sketch. I also wrote it recently. It’s about escape. I’m still very fond of the breezy fantasy world I created on the track, but I need to flesh it out. Some of the lyrics are, ‘I’m going swimming on a mountaintop. It will be a while ’til you see me again. check check, we’re looking for signs of UFOs. Might be hiding somewhere here. We don’t know.’
Meresha’s New Revolution EP is available now via Souncloud.
With a massive stateside tour taking off this May, Ancient River released their LP, Keeper Of The Dawn, and we bring you heady listen to the psych simmering title track to add a lysergic lens for your day or evening. To learn more about the methods behind their frontal lobes dissolving sounds, we had a chance to talk to James Barreto in our interview featured right after the jump.
Give us the journey along the tributaries of making music for films, playing in various groups, to forming Ancient River.
The journey began when the guitar really started to speak to me. My friend and I were making strange psychedelic recordings and then in Gainesville, Florida we started a free form psych band The Ohm in 2000. We were obsessed with Pink Floyd and modern psych bands like Mercury Rev and Olivia Tremor Control. We made some recordings, played some gigs and had a big laugh the whole time. Very fond of my early rock n roll beginnings. After The Ohm I locked myself in a room for a couple of years trying to really develop my sound. I played guitar until it felt like another limb and also taught myself some music theory. My goal was to define exactly what I wanted to do artistically and have the ability to do it. Around that time I had been recording some compositions on my own and entered them into a Gainesville film festival. My songs were used the most during the film fest so I figured that was a good sign. It was around that time that early Ancient River recordings began around 2005.
How do you feel Gainesville has affected you creatively, musically, etc?
It affected me immensely, a lot of my growth as an artist took place there. I went there because friends were there and it was a quiet liberal town with a university. I wanted isolation and cheap rent. I remember coming into town really optimistic, but I think I had just missed a great time of an alternative rock scene there and just caught the tail end of it. By the time I got there the town got taken over by some kind of pop punk scene complete with very ambitious punk promoters and labels. I wasn’t into it and it probably turned me into feeling like an outsider. Besides that, there’s not any kind of music industry there so it allows bands and artists room to do whatever they want and develop without much competition and industry pressure. Its very DIY, which I love.
Walk us, and talk us through the cosmonautic travels that brought us, Keeper of the Dawn?
Keeper of the Dawn is a one I’m very happy with. The drummer Alex Cordova and I had been working on these arrangements for a while in the studio and on the road. We wanted to figure out how to work as a two piece and fill the sound out to where it sounds like some soundtrack to a vintage Italian horror movie with some dream pop mixed in for good measure. We are big David Axelrod fans and I loved the idea of putting the drums up front on some tracks. The album is a dark precursor to those first moments of light at dawn, only what you thought was the early light was merely a dream and you awaken to find yourself in the darkest of night with morning no where in sight. The only one that can save you from this nightmare and guide you to the light is the keeper of the dawn.
Other Gainesville luminaries you want to recognize?
I mostly live in London now so I’d love to shout out to both sides of the pond. Gainesville had a great alternative rock band called For Squirrels, check out their music online. Also Two Finger Suicide, Dirty Poodle now known as The Sleep Tights, A very heavy band called Driver and also a very prolific musician/comic book artist named James Lantz. From London I want to shout out Lola Colt, they are really nice people with a very big sound, go check out their music!
Take a trip to the land down-under, with a listen to the self-titled debut EP from Sun Bazel, recently released by the new Melbourne, Australia imprint, Breathlessness. That new indie-esque Aussie sound rings through like untamed impalas and cheetahs on the consciousness bending, “Oosheen of Mynd”, to the fuzz day drift jam, “Halfway”, that leads you stoned down the hallways into the high rise sky tight-rope walker, “Cloud Hill”, before shutting down the show with a big fuzzy-buzzing anthem, “It’s Alright (Party Song)”. Sun Bazel remind us that no matter how glum the seasonal affective disorders might get us down-it’s always good to know that we can take a bit of comfort in the forever alt-psyched-styles that seems to run out of the Australia water taps like endless kegs of pure, bright blue ocean. Harry Hayes from the band wrote the following little introduction to the group, and their fledgeling imprint, Breathlessness:
Sun Bazel is a Melbourne duo consisting of Jack Foy and Harry Hayes. Also a part of Splendidid (another Breathlessness signing) guitarist and drummer have branched off to create a mellow psychedelic EP. The two wrote, played and recorded everything them selves over the summer of ’14-’15. Using minimal equipment borrowed from friends, they turned there simple songs into full productions. Incorporating wavy-detuned synthesisers, fuzzed out guitars and slick bass lines.
They share the roles of song writing and create together, where Harry sings some and Jack others. The couple are set to play shows in 2015 with the full band and are already writing new material for their next release!Breathlessness’ released the EP on cassette but has already sold out! For record store day, the label will be allowing fans to place an order and the will produce however many required for the one day only!
Friend Roulette are working on a series of ballads and compositions by Matt Sheffer not to be released for a year called, Matt Sheffer Song Book Vol 1, and give you a rare, and ultra limited time listen to the song, “Joan”. The FR sound works in sparse manners where old school tinsel town icons are edified and deified in a sweeping spell of evocative strings to swing and sing you gently into the arms of the visions that dreams may bring.
Rob Tate, aka sarob has returned from his University of Oxford studies, and has given the world, “desiderata”, from his forthcoming album, the down.. Listen as sampled discourse of material matters give way to some grain gripping rides to dip low and shake some of that perennial anxiety and tension that many of our worlds are consumed with. Rob explained the new track to us like this:
The title of this song is “desiderata.” and was inspired by Max Ehrmann’s poem of the same name. The track is a sharp contrast to the rest of my album, but I wrote it to demonstrate the tension between wanting worldly things, e.g. “bitches and money,” and appreciating the undying and intrinsic value of music–and of yourself. My album, the down., focuses on my battles with anxiety disorders; the tension shown in this particular song expresses my desire to alleviate my anxiety by choosing to chase extrinsic goals or to love myself.
Off their upcoming album, Another Mind, available May 15 from Strange Records; get to know Phoenix’s psych fuzz sympathizers, Strange Lot, kicking up a storm with their single “Into The Night”. The guitars gust by like freight trains making their ways across deserts, industrial rust belt terrains, and into the oblivion zones that Strange Lot summon with their cataclysmic sound of storms, and many other analogies for other natural forms of torrential tyranny.
Freshly debuted at their recent Coachella, hear the latest from RATATAT with “Chrome on Chrome” to keep those Daft Punk-esque electro instrumental bumping like it was still 2009.
What was originally made for a Swedish filmmaker, “Ruins” from The Mary Onettes finds the Gothenburg sentimental poppers of Philip Ekström, Henrik Ekström, Simon Fransson, and Petter Agurén joined by Selebrities’ own Maria Usbeck to describe the collective “ruins we share” on the Cascine single that conjures up images of the great abandoned post-modern artifices, and emotions that we all experience in this day and age. The duet like vocal arrangements abide among the feeling charged production that reminds us how to pick up the pieces and remnants of the personal things that are shared between only the most kindred hearts.
As Cuushe’s Night Lines EP from Cascine / flau has already moved so many of us; hear Nite Jewel’s remix of “Shadow” that brings a new fun life to the shadows of the warm creatures and creations that spring forth from the speakers.
Descending from Stockholm, Sweden; listen to John Alexander Ericson’s (My Empire of Sound, Alberta Cross, The Northern Territories, etc) new act, The Ghost Of Helags, with the debut single, “242”. Ghosts of present, future, and past rise to the occasion here in the cut from the forthcoming album available later this year via Warsaw Recordings / Misty Music Publishing, and currently being recording in Berlin. Traverse around Europe via the electronic pathways and pulses that dot the maps of destinations known and unknown.
Off the The Beautiful Music released album, Earthquakes & Tidal Waves, produced by Mitch Easter; hear “The Winter of Discontent” from DC’s Dot Dash, that makes the most of one of the longest, coldest winters in recent memory. The boredom and stir craziness that comes with being cooped up inside all season presents the sound a thousand new happy springs with a blistering power chord fest to last through next winter.
Shana Cleveland (of La Luz), and her rotating member musician team The Sandcastles release their first proper album, Oh Man, Cover The Ground May 26 on Suicide Squeeze. The wanderlust of world winding acoustic elements ring in the effective use of rhythm following strings on, “Itching Around”, that illustrates the departures that thumps with a heartbeat of foot steps or train engine chugs that wave like a sea of hands and ornate fans around Shana’s clock stopping vocal delivery.
Sweden’s pop art provocateurs, Itsabrightlight, are the latest signing to Woah Dad! (home to folks like, Dolores Haze, The Tarantula Waltz, etc), lending the stripped and ripped down electro-synthesis heavy sentimental sensations of, “Weaken Me”, available as a single April 24. Listen as the track lives up to the title of Sarah Frey’s vision for shaping sound after the infinite varietal tones of light.
For this upcoming Saturday’s Record Store Day, Twin Peaks have a new 7” in the pipeline that features the a side, “In The Morning (In The Evening)”, and we bring you a listen to the b side, “Got Your Money”, that jangles with a vacuum tube glow that is worth more than material, money in the bank fortunes themselves.
Behold “Belong To The World”, the brand new single from Oddisee’s upcoming album, The Good Fight LP, available May 5 from Mello Music Group. The DMV artist continue to impress as one of this era’s rare talents that commands the mic as hard as the production slaps, and kicks genuine timeless arrangements.
Tough Age’s new album, I Get The Feeling Central will be available June 23 from Mint Records, and we are thrilled to bring you the board game of win, lose, draw, ascend the chariot, or fall on, “Snake & Ladders”. Jarrett Samson and the gang bring a sound brought to life from Felix Fung’s Little Red Studios out of Vancouver to get the ripped flannel sound that knows no era; knows no decade, and rocks without the time stamped crystallization of an expiration date. Catch them on their west tour with tour with Energy Slime, (aka Jay Arner).
Amid all the excitement over the new Carly Rae Jepsen single “All That”; hear LUKA’s remixes that introduces some atmospheres that soar straight from the old cloud station centers that fostered much of alt/ambient hip hop and more of the past half-decade.
Sit down with the gentle, intimate, and intriguing sound from Bill Fay, with the electric choral crooning, “A Page Incomplete”, from the forthcoming album, Who is the Sender? available April 28 from Dead Oceans. The search for completion is life is presented in audio tones familiar, painstaking, and personal.
Also from the Dead Oceans stable, grab a listen to the new Night Beds single, “Tide Teeth”, that consumes the ever flowing oceans into an alchemy that fuses tide traffic with sound. Electric synths and melodic stems press against an steady rhythm beat bolted current that keeps the bedroom pop sentiments flowing from sea through to the deltas and tributaries of distinction.
And in yet more Dead Oceans news, catch a listen to The Tallest Man On Earth’s title song, “Dark Bird Is Home” sparing some strummed presences and essences of home off the album of the same name, available May 12.
More from bands with that begin with the word, ‘ancient;’ check out John Bohannon as Ancient Ocean, letting us have a listen to, “Blood Moon”, unleashing ambient adventure music for lunar caverns available June 30 from Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records. The movements gradually move about the astral plane as humankind looks deep into the sequences of stars, and the odd — yet natural — formation of planets for all the answers and questions that we do not possess.
Hear the Kaytranada and Potatohead People produced Illa J cut, “Strippers”, from the artist’s upcoming joint for label Bastard Jazz Recordings, available this fall. Follow Dilla’s bro from the cradle of Detroit to the ever-creative hot bed of Montreal dropping jams beat-based bangers for mixtapes, headphone happy hours, and house parties everywhere.
Hop Along keep on the trot and give us big guitar balladry goodness with, “Texas Funeral”, from the upcoming album, Painted Shut, available May 4 from Saddle Creek.
From Jacco Gardner’s upcoming May 5 slated Polyvinyl release; you are invited to dive into the spiraling, swirling, and expanding baroque title cut, “Hypnophobia”, that will inhabit the recesses of your mind long after the vibraphones and strings have disappeared.
For those seeking more of those genuine flighty spring expressions, then let us recommend the catchy Steve Osborne remix of Kate Pierson’s “Better Not Sting The Bee”, off the limited edition Record Store Day 7”, available April 18.
Let The Wooden Sky take you on a crunchy, cool, whiskey river swimming weekend with the Scott Cudmore and Indie88 video for, “Satrday Night”, from the upcoming album, Let’s Be Ready available June 16 from Nevado Music.
Toronto artist, Tamara Lindeman is The Weather Station, sharing some coy, and personal acoustic strummed views into the interpersonal places of responses, and recoiling on, “Shy Women”, off the upcoming album, Loyalty, available May 12 from Paradise of Bachelors.
Peach Kelli Pop goes the full Princess Peach in the imagination sprung video from Eddie Ruiz for, “Princess Castle 1987”, from their upcoming album, III, available April 21 from Burger Records.
Peep the Travis Lamb video for Microwave’s “Stovall” full of warehouse performance catharsis off their album of the same name, as the Atlanta band prepares to embark on their west coast tour, spanning from May 16-31.prepares to embark on their west coast tour, spanning from May 16-31. You can also check out their Daytrotter session here.
If you haven’t fallen for the music of Michael Rault yet, then soak up the singer-slacker-songwriter vibes on the lackadaisical, “Lovers Lie”, from the forthcoming album, Living Daylight, available May 5, also from Burger Records.
Check out the post-Masters golf vintage vibes on the Julia Suddenly and Lyndon Blue visuals for Dick Diver’s “Year In Pictures”, from the Aussies’ album, Melbourne, Florida, available now from Trouble In Mind. The reflections of the past, and reminiscing on old sports send the mind reeling along to the song and video memory jogging through those guide times framed by the lenses of cameras.
Mystery Jets’ Pete Cochrane’s band Alpha Celeste dropped the kaleidoscopic psych spinner for their single, “Pale Blue Nothing”. The future-retro trends of looking backward to create forward minded assemblages that collides earths with all the galactic seeking ideas that occur according to the mind’s own arbitrary orders.
Ancient Sky’s upcoming album, Mosaic was produced by none other than the great Ben Greenberg, available June 9 from Wharf Cat Records, and presenting the following head full of garage geared tapestries of perfect noise on, “Garbage Brain”. Listen as Greenberg organizes the guitars to act as natural forces of weathers, faring thundering storms and blending them seamlessly into the chord continuity of an unspeakable ecstasy.
After a creative hiatus, LA’s The Danes dropped the hard hitting new single, “The Ultimate Tool”, that underlines the effects of undermining individuals through acts of utilization on the stage of some big anthem scale action. Find this on their new forthcoming EP, available soon.
Craig Greenberg gave the world some tender dating advice that has nothing to do with questionable phone applications and that sort with, “That Girl is Wrong for You”, busting out some piano assisted life assistance (solicited or otherwise), off the upcoming album, The Grand Loss & Legacy, available May 15.
Legs’ Altitud is available now, and we got the Midnight Magic remix of “Jungle” to add some extra bouncing, danced up, keys, sassy stems, and everything you need to get any weekend started proper.
In case you haven’t yet already, check out Jackson Phillips of Carousel’s solo side, Day Wave, breaking loose on the scene with the day clock time tick, “Drag”. The bedroom strummed sketches of cabin fever and claustrophobic heart aches becomes set free like a dove following the power chord sensations of a shoulder shrugging possibility of hope.
Playing San Francisco’s Popscene May 29 on The Dø’s stateside tour in support of Shake Shook Shaken; check out their live flashy dance and dazzle performance of, “Despair, Hangover, and Ecstasy” from France’s Victoires de la Musique 2015.
Hear Gacha’s sun-downing title track from the upcoming album, Two Sunsets, available May 5 from Apollo Records. Featuring vocals from Natalie Beridze Tba, the synths that move like sun rise and sunsets in elapsed time provide a solar system for the vocals ascend and descend within.
Also too this week; Mitski covered One Direction’s “Fireproof” to some astonishing results, presented with the following statement:
I’m not down with the elitism of indie rock music, where it considers itself more “serious” or “intelligent” than mainstream pop. That thought often has nothing to do with the composition or political motivations of the music as its conveyed to be about, and more to do with its production, “aesthetic,” and just another kind of branding. Here is a mainstream pop song that I liked and recorded with an “indie rock aesthetic.” Is it more thoughtful now?
Downtown Boys’ album, Full Communism is available May 4 from Don Giovanni, and we got the LP’s opening cut, “Wave Of History” that provides a real people’s history of the world with plenty of sax attitude action.
Also experience their enthusiastic, and mind exploding cover of the Boss’s “Dancing in the Dark”. Stay tuned for something special from Rhode Island’s DBs, right after the following listen.
Downtown Boys’s Week in Pop
(Downtown Boys photographs appear courtesy of Stephanie Orentas, taken at the 2015 Austin Imposition Night 3 with Don Giovanni Records)
And now we are proud to present Downtown Boys’ exclusive Week in Pop guest selections.
Here’s some inspiring people we’ve played with so far this year/are gonna play with soon.
Mitski, “First Love / Late Spring”
Screaming Females, “Hopeless”
Cheap Wig, “Human Garbage”
Ana Tijoux, “Shock”
cmov, “Beyond Rejection”
The Mighty Paradocs, “Nada”
DJ Mafe y rAt, “Maraculeando con Amor mix”
Barf Troop, “Phat Kat Freeystle”
Mother Tongue, “snakes”
Sheer Mag, “Hard Lovin”
Catch Downtown Boys on their following upcoming tour:
08 Pawtucket, RI – Machines with Magnets
09 Boston, MA – Make Shift Boston
15 Brooklyn, NY – Palisades (w/ The Homewreckers)
16 Philadelphia, PA – Lava Space (w/ Priests & Sheer Mag)
17 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar (w/ Priests)
18 Washington, DC – Black Cat Backstage
19 Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Roboto Project
20 Columbus, OH – Legion of Doom
21 Bloomington, IN – House Show
22 Chicago, IL – Old Mount Happy
23 Milwaukee, WI – Cocoon Room
24 Ann Arbor, MI – 3rd Death Star
25 Buffalo, NY – Sugar City
26 Toronto, ON – S.H.I.G.B.S.
27 Ottawa, ON – House of TARG
28 Montreal, QC – La Vitrola
29 Portland, ME – SPACE Gallery
30 Easthampton, MA – Flywheel
Follow Downtown Boys on Twitter.