With winter sending the rains of transition into the beginnings of spring, Impose's Week in Pop presents the latest exclusives, interviews, and a few of the entertainment headlines you may have missed. Kid Cudi, fresh from splitting with G.O.O.D.E. Records, is allegedly not pleased with his vocal samples used on Yeezus (we also learned that a Yeezus tour film from Hype Williams is in the cards), then after boasts of there being some new 15 Blur songs in the works, Damon Albarn revealed his new solo vehicle The Heavy Seas to BBC 6 Music along with touring plans that include a stop in North Korea. Southern son Young Thug got busted on his own ATL turf for reckless driving and possession, and you can tune into Billy Corgan's eight-hour Siddhartha inspired jam here, and the city of Aberdeen,Washington recently unveiled a weeping Kurt Cobain statue to commemorate “Kurt Cobain Day.” So respond to this according to your own choosing, and check out the following discussions and debuts from Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Falling Off Maps, Japanese Girls (aka JPNSGRLS), Alsarah & The Nubatones, Broncho, Fielded, and much more—in no particular order.
Vancouver, BC's JPNSGRLS, or Japanese Girls, are proud to present a first look at their animated video epic for, “Mushroom”. We see a town under attack, as a green vines wrap around buildings, and business towers, as fire and brimstone apocalypse meteors pummel the once thriving metropolis. As the little people try to hunker down beneath the 'big brother-esque' big screens that display instructions to panic, and flashing words of 'emergency', resistance becomes futile in the face of a fiery rain of burning suns. As the demolished town is met with it's last and final gasp, we are let with Charlie's frantic closing message of, “hope is not lost.” After the JPNSGRLS present their Akira-like take of dystopian visual accompaniment for the thrash core of, “Mushrooms”; we still can't help but wonder about those cartoon folks in the video and hope they make it out alright somehow in the face of impending doom.
The song “Mushroom” can be found on Japanese Girls' The Sharkweek EP available from Light Organ Records, as they work on their upcoming album, Circulation, for release this summer. Like the rise of the natural green branches that consume the animated city, JPNSGRLS add their own primal howls and hymns to the Vancouver indie scene set. The cyclone and fury of guitars destroys the surrounding silence like the CGI hail stones of fire with the dizziness stated in lines like, “I'm high as the alps, and I want my scalps”, keeping the chaos in perpetual motion. “This town doesn't sleep, and neither do we.” Stay tuned after the premiere for an in-depth interview with the band, and the video's animator/director.
The director Jesse Davidge, JPNSGRLS' guitarist Oliver Mann, and vocalist Charlie Kerr were kind enough to talk to us about the new video and more:
Jesse: With this song, there was a sense of despair that led to hope. I imagined a world in decline where a perceived threat turned out to be salvation, foundation to build anew. This song captured that sense of redemption for me.
Oliver: We gave the director complete control and he gave us an epic fusion of rock and roll and destruction. I love the little inhabitants of the city , they remind me of Hayao Miyazaki's woodland spirits in Princess Mononoke, which is one of my all time favourite movies, where you have nature and humans battling against each other for dominance and personal interest when really they should be working together for everyone's benefits. In ‘Mushrooms' you see the inhabitants trying to destroy the flora but actually the plants are trying to protect the city from impending doom.
What attracts you all to the fungi phenomenon of, “Mushrooms”?
Charlie: “Mushrooms” is inspired by Sylvia Plath's Poem of the same name. Plath basically compares being oppressed as a female to the meek life and existence of a mushroom. So our song kinda tries to do the same thing. The other day my brother Matt informed me that men and women were sold alongside chairs and tables in the time of slavery. He thought that's what I was getting at with the main line of the chorus, 'we are the furniture.' Now when I wrote it I never thought of that but I think that's an incredibly powerful and tragic way to think of it. Really the song is about being oppressed and fighting back, whatever that means to you and contrary to popular belief, the song has nothing to do with the kind of mushrooms that y'know take you to different dimensions or whatever.
What inspired the speedy and heady track, that is “Mushrooms”?
C: In grade 11 I had an English assignment where the teacher got the class to interpret famous poems and present them to the class. I was given Sylvia Plath's “Mushrooms”. Her poem resonated for me and she became my favorite poet. I wrote a song to go along with my presentation as my teacher wanted the presentations to be “memorable”. And that song was Mushrooms. I showed a simple version of the song to the band and they fiddled with it and turned it into the energetic, spazzy version we have today.
Insight on recording The Sharkweek EP?
C: We were in the studio sporadically making that album in a very DIY style for about 9 months or so. I was in college at the time and I was in a program where I had to be in class everyday from 8am to 7pm and I would get phone calls from our producer, Justin Brown (a former student at nimbus) waking me up at like 2am being like “we have free studio time at nimbus from 3am-7am come sing!” And I would always choose studio time over sleep and then I would just go be the hugest wreck in the morning for class. Alternatively, if we weren't getting really random hours of studio time at Nimbus we would be recording in really strange places like my basement or our friend Mike Paton's house. Getting noise complaints from neighbours and stuff. Recording that album was so weird-good. I'm really happy people like it.
What has gripped your fascination to the cult of sharks, and the appeal of Sharkweek? Jaws fans? Nat Geo fans?
C: My older brother Sam is absolutely terrified of them. He's obsessed and has seen every single documentary and youtube video featuring them. It's a “know thine enemy” kinda thing so I get wrapped up in that side of it for sure. Sharks are a marvel of evolution, so I think its hard for humans not to be a little obsessed with such a powerful and unpredictable creature. Also I watched a lot of Steve Irwin growing up and I just love animals of all kinds. I think that's why they show up in my lyrics so consistently. Y'know what Despite being a big movie buff I've actually never seen Jaws all the way through but it's on my list. I really dig the jaguar shark from The Life Aquatic. And the shark that eats Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea cracks me up. I wish we had a video for shark week which was just that shitty cgi scene over and over again.
I have always wondered, what is the story behind your band name of, JPNSGRLS?
C: The name JPNSGRLS is a tribute to Mass of the Fermenting Dregs, a female rock band out of Japan, and a sort of promise to evoke the same kind of energy MOTFD inspired in their fans. With the vowels removed so people could find us easier on the net!
What is next for JPNSGRLS?
C: We are about to tour with Mounties and Rich Aucoin and then release a full length album this summer called Circulation produced by Steve Bays and mastered by Greg Calbi. Other than that just writing and getting the music to the masses every way we can. Y'know, next step Madison square garden.
Japanese Girls' The Sharkweek EP is available now from Light Organ Records.
Like the warmth shared between friends, and bandmates over a fireside chat or session, we bring you the debut of the acoustic vision of “Wolf River” from Nottingham's Falling Off Maps. Originally found from their recently self-released album, A Seaside Town in Winter; this stripped down version provides a down home listen and view into the warmth of a song that is well fitted for vintage fire stove comforts. Previous known as the band Headway; Dave Wright, Dane Prewett, Joe Watts, Tom Harrison, and Jay Wright move off the radars with Falling Off Maps into the more personal composition fields of pastoral prayers. Like Dave's refrain of “we're not running away,” they create a village made from the sounds of picked strings that move to the sharing of kindred emotions in a way that feels closer while occuring off the material maps.
On this down home session of, “Wolf River” (fireside), Falling Off Maps presents the expressive power of the unplugged song. Live and direct from the warm glow of a Nottingham fireside, Dave captures lyrical glow-worms in a jar with the soft shoe 'escapist' sentiments found in lines like, “the snow attacks us like a million fireflies,” that takes us along the outskirts along the “Wolf River” pass where he describes, “the streetlights buzz into life.” Following the note-underscored words to the calming ambiance of the fire's crackle of wood and generated heat; Wright takes us to places of the familiar and forgotten that contrasts the warm elements of the song and video with the rich descriptions with, “as the blankets of snow is resting the ghosts of our past.” In this sparse session, the runaway escape becomes realizations of shared ideals and constructive common grounds that exist in the soft sung wind sails and cascading chords found in the drifting motions of the chorus.
We talked to Dave Wright of Falling Off Maps about his song, “Wolf River”, and the album, A Seaside Town In Winter, where we inquire about the Nottingham scene and try to keep our Robin Hood references to a minimum.
What is the Nottingham scene like?
Yeah its thriving, doing well i think, so much so that bands that aren't even from the city are claiming to be, I think just meeting at University there makes you a “Nottingham” band. There is some cool stuff coming out though, Sleaford Mods are quality, always have been, not a compromise in sight, basically a kick in the bollocks but for your ears.
Are the legendary forests of Nottingham real, like in Robin Hood? If so, what are they like?
The forest is real and the legends are all real, there was a guy out there doing all that stuff, maybe not like the statue that stands outside the castle but a guy with a cause, pretty cool, the city is full of history, some of the oldest pubs on record and stuff like that.
What were the inspiring circumstances that lead to writing the song, “Wolf River”?
It is a song about escape, but sometimes that escape is through necessity rather than the fact that maybe you hate what you are leaving behind, ghosts of the past could be any number of things, like the song says, we are not running away, just making something better, I thought of all the things you would pass as you left them behind, like the cooling towers on the outskirts of Nottingham, its about hope on the horizon I guess.
Pros and cons for acoustic versus electric?
Well we use both, so I wouldn't say we were pro acoustic over electric, its just that I wrote almost all the demos on either an acoustic guitar or a piano so they just grow like that. The cons of playing lots of acoustic songs is when you're wedged between two heavy rock bands on a bill on a Tuesday night in Camden, then you better have good songs!
Take us behind the scenes on what it was like recording your album, A Seaside Town in Winter.
It was a long process, took us around three years from the first ideas I sent until we were done. A lot of why it took so long was due to the fact we were creating an identity for the group, from scratch, We had the name Falling Off maps and we had the album title, that gave us jumping off points and conjured up so much in terms of imagery and stylistically where we wanted to take the band. We had set outlines that we didn't want to waver from, we wanted complete control and we just wanted to make a complete piece of work that the five of us were proud of. Keeping everything in house, music, artwork, videos and all of that means we can always stay true to the vision we started out with.
What's the story behind your cartographical name, Falling Off Maps? Harkening back to old, 'the world is flat' type of myths?
Well I always liked the idea of traveling into the unknown and that was kind of what we were doing when we started this whole process, so yeah that was a part of it, I just liked that it was different and again conjured up images and ideas just in itself, it was the starting point for everything. Funnily enough its the next tattoo I'm getting, ships falling off the edge of the earth.
What's next for Falling Off Maps?
Well the album is out there so its just a case of trying to get it heard, we are an independent so its more people discovering us than us being being in the wider world and in their face but its nice to build anything slowly and we didn't think songs like these would be making it onto radio but they have so that's amazing. We also just started work on the second album, no idea how long but it won't take three years I promise!
Falling Off Maps' album A Seaside Town in Winter is available now via the band.
From Brooklyn's new creative inventors, get to know Cloud Becomes Your Hand. We bring you a debut listen to the band's album Rocks or Cakes that has just been released on Northern Spy Records, where Stephen Cooper, with the malletKAT, mallet percussion, and synthesizer talents from Weston Minissali, Sam Sowyrda, Booker Stardrum, and Hunter Jack bond together new discoveries.
From the beginning, “Felt Beetle” sends their organic orchestrations into the freeway inter-passes of conscious mind courses. The locomotive engine of “Beetle” is like a maze and machine of sounds, that drops you into the deep water blue wonders of, “Sand of Sea”. The mystic qualities of Cloud Becomes Your Hand shine on full display, as they bring a heart spun symphony that illustrates naturally designed physical borders where sand and sea meet, borders that constantly forever change. “Theme From Baby Age” sounds like old scores for foreign art flicks and the envy of all ears from the aspiring auteurs of independent cinema houses. Underground and burrowed under-tunnel worlds become explored through a large expressive scope and scale on, “Rat Jumps”.
“Waste Park” is an instrumental that practices the arts of muted distortion frequencies, before you enter the hive battlefield of, “Bees Going Postal”. But this is not run of the mill, “Flight of the Bumblebee”, this song sounds like an homage to the union of honey-making-worker-bees who tirelessly devote their services to the world's sweet tooth needs. Then taking off from the harbor to tour the world of notes and tones, “Bay Shamps” takes off on an eclectic flying boat cruise out to the earth's furthest reaches while wall-papering the globe with a mind grabbing soundtrack. CBYH then takes you into their own version of The Twilight Zone on the head and galaxy spins of, “Glimpse of Hot Glove”. Stephen Cooper's vocals present the sporadic lyrical, delivery wonders on the single, “Nuclei Spinoffs”, with moments like “if you want a new outlook on life open up the blinds”, and sections of captivating sound separatist movements. This leaves you with the European emergency siren note progression on, “Peanuts in a Celluloid Bag”, that inspires the whole band to treat their instruments and performance as if the end of Rocks Or Cakes was the dawning of human expressionism.
Stephen Cooper from Cloud Becomes Your Hand joined for a unique look into how one of Brooklyn's most fascinating groups functions as a team, in their experiments and expressions of organic humanisms.
What are the origins of your psychotropic vision eliciting band name?
The name comes from another project I'm in with Sam Sowyrda (malletkat) called Living Things that uses puppets and theatrical motives. We used to have a cloud beast with three eyeballs that oinked and I attempted to operate it without my hand being seen. Also, “Move Hands Like Clouds (seven times)” is # 73 of 108 movements of the Taoist Tai Chi set.
How did the chemistry of Cloud Becomes Your Hand develop?
For me personally it came out of loving avant-garde and experimental music so much that I got totally blue in the face. I was so obsessed with some abstract idea of breaking all boundaries all the time that I had no platform to work on, so I wasn't making much. I wanted to have more fun and record more. I made a short tape that got into the hands of Booker and Weston and Hunter and we started playing with two other people, then Sam joined a few months later. It was even more of a hodge podge in the beginning but things were honed in as the five of us began playing consistently and touring.
(Cloud Becomes Your Hand at Building 16 in Providence, Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of by Richard McCaffrey.)
What do your song crafting/writing and development sessions consist of? What are the settings that yield the best creative results?
I like to record all ideas on a tape recorder and I have all these tapes filled with little nuggets that sometimes takes years to get back to. But I am always recycling old ideas… the B section melody in “Theme from Baby Age” is from something I wrote in 2006 that only got performed once and never recorded. Usually it is me or one of the other dudes that bring a fairly concrete idea to the table. Something that has happened many times is I will try adding a new idea to an existing song and like it so much that it becomes its own song. For instance, the violin part in the beginning of Theme from Baby Age was originally going to be a part on Rat Jumps but then it turned into its very own song!
As a band that works in ways of the electronic and acoustic in all of your songs, how do you reconcile the digital and natural to be conveyed on the same wavelength?
Yeah it’s always a question of how that’s going to pan out. It’s usually a matter trying to human-ify something that's been sketched out in some sequenced way. In “Bees Going Postal”, I had the whole song in MIDI and Booker played his own parts on real drums along with the MIDI drums, followed by everyone else. The parts always change of course once humans start playing actual instruments. I have no problem ‘cheating’ or using sampled or sequenced sounds when its useful, but I am after music that is done by humans and where you can hear the human. On “Rat Jumps” there is a totally acoustic, dry marimba that is doubled by a heavily affected programmed marimba-esque sound. Live there are two digital “synths” and two amplified string instruments and then the drums are half acoustic, half electronic, so it’s pretty split down the middle in the acoustic/electronic sphere.
(Sam from CBYH, at Building 16, Providence, RI. Photo courtesy of by Richard McCaffrey.)
What was the construction side of Rocks or Cakes like?
Do you mean how was it recorded? Mostly recorded in my room, or occasionally someone else's room. The live band set up that you hear on “Bay Shamps” and “Felt Beetl”e was tracked all live in the same large room at Roulette in Brooklyn, where I work as a sound engineer. A bunch of sounds on Rat Jump were recorded at the Secret Squirrel in Athens, GA.
“Sand of Sea” sounds like video game folk, with “Nuclei Spinoffs” spawning every creative iota from a nucleonic membrane. And like the controlled blissful helter-skelter of “Felt Beetle”, how do you create sound and compose music with the most unexpected progression and shifts?
Patience. A balance of embracing your initial impulse with following through and developing something. In the words of Weston Minissali: “Approaching tonality, rhythm, instrumentation and all things sound, with as much freedom as we can possibly find, all under the rather absurd limit of fun songs.” The tape recorders I mentioned previously, taking different nuggets and smushing them together. The end of Felt Beetle was the middle section of a totally different song I had written two years before. I really liked that section it so I just threw it on the end and it gets interrupted by a tape recording of Weston, Booker and me horsin' around with a Kurt Schwiters vocal score.
How does Cloud Becomes Your Hand go about collecting suitable samples for your songs?
Just recording everything. One example is the whole basis for “Peanuts in a Celluloid Bag” came from a modified Yamaha portasound keyboard that my friend Greg in Athens, GA made. I recorded an hour or two of jammin' on the most elaborate circuit bent keyboard I have ever seen. There were switches all over he place and these organ style drawbars that affected the sound. Sounds from that session sneak into other songs too.
There is even a kind of global music futurism at work on this album, found on “Peanuts in a Celluloid Bag”, “Waste Park”, “Bees Going Postal”, “Bay Shamps”, etc. Is this wordly and other-worldly expansiveness intentional?
Sometimes there will be an intentional rhythmic decision in a song that gives it the flavor you're talking about. Or maybe its just general non-rock/pop components that makes it sound 'worldly?'
What's next for Cloud Becomes Your Hand?
Leaving for the biggest tour we've ever done in a week! Keep playing, writing, recording.
The new album, Rocks Or Cakes from Cloud Becomes Your Hand is available now from Northern Spy Records.
Catch Cloud Becomes Your Hand at their upcoming record release show, March 2 at Brooklyn's Roulette with Guerilla Toss and Jessica Cook. Check out the Facebook event for further information.
Check out the band's full list of US tour dates here.
(Alsarah, photographs courtesy of Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel)
Alsarah, of Alsarah & The Nubatones joined us this Friday morning, with a listen to the Soukura EP from Wonder Wheel Recordings with remixes. In what seems like the sound of journeys and travels between Sudanese towns to visit family and friends, the EP begins with the title track of “Soukura (It's Late)”. Vocals in harmony with the Eastern guitar strings and hand drums cast a light for the song's sentiments of late evening hours, and the events that past through the winds and ways that reach toward the hours of dawn The added dashes of keys and programmed rhythm sequences on the reworked version of,”Soukura” (Boddhi Satva Ancestral Soul Remix) takes the tune to the orders of the ancients and then back again to the present day.
Like a ride across the sun heated sands, “Nuba Noutou” (The Spy From Cairo Remix) drives to the rhythm of the surrounding terrain, as “Rennat” (Nickodemus Remix) kicks out the club percussion of a globally minded discotheque. Alsarah & The Nubatones, and the remixes from friends showcase the styles of North and Central Sudan, Nubian regions, Khartoum sounds, and more, taking further cues and inspiration from music the music heralding from Egypt, Zanzibar, and so forth. Alsarah and her crew of musicians and like minded producers unite their keen ear for sounds that encompass the many corners and sections of traditional and contemporary styles of African pop music. Stay tuned for our discussion with Alsarah, immediately following the listen to the EP and remixes.
Alsarah talks with us about the richness of Sudanese sounds, stretching out to inflences from across Africa, and the multi-faceted approaches and talents of The Nubatones.
What was it like producing Silt on your own?
Well, it was a very organic process to be honest. Producing when you have a band that works with you on arrangements is much easier a process then creating a sound from scratch in the studio. I knew what sort of a sound I wanted the album to have and the Nubatones was an integral part of creating that sound. We spent two years as a band together before going into the studio. And in those years we really crafted our sound through a trial and error process. So for me producing, much like being in a band was a wonderful and cooperative process.
Challenges that you found in producing on your own?
The hardest part of producing on my own was getting the money together and accepting that albums take time. I pushed for this project to happen so that meant I needed to come up with the cash, to make sure everyone's schedule was respected (all of us are involved in multiple projects), and everyone's opinion was heard, but at the same time not compromising on the overall vision. Not compromising meant taking long breaks in the middle of the album process. We had gaps of four to five months after we finished recording through the mixing and mastering process because I ran out of money (I saved all the money for the project from other gigs we did together, my solo gigs, and the help of my family). Although in the midst of those gaps i was deeply frustrated at having to stop, in hindsight I am really grateful for that time because it really allowed me to take my time thinking about the mixing and to really try to imagine where we can take it.
Your last album was produced by French producer Debruit, and I was wondering do you feel that this presentation of your music with the Nubatones is more representative of the Sudanese sound?
First there is no singular Sudanese sound at all. Sudan is a huge and diverse place and depending on what region you are from the music, the rhythm and the language differs entirely. The Sudanese elements in this album are very much from North and Central Sudan, Nubian regions, and Khartoum sounds. I am Sudanese, so as far as I am concerned everything I touch musically becomes Sudanese somehow. But the sound of this album isn't strictly Sudanese, its very much mixture of East African sounds in general. You find elements of Nubian, Sudanese, Egyptian, Zanzibar, and more.
What is the art of rekindling the traditional sounds found on “Habibi Taal”, “Oud Solo”, “Soukura (It's Late)”, and elsewhere with what you call, “East African Retro Pop”?
Well, “Soukura”, and the “Oud” solo are both original pieces. The first written by me and arranged by the Nubatones, and the latter written and performed by our “Oud” player Haig Manoukian. “Habibi Taal” is a traditional piece usually performed with drums and vocals only, same goes for “Jibal Alnuba”. I think the key to rekindling traditional sounds is to realize that traditional is not static and not pure. Fusion is at the core of of all traditions. Once you accept that it frees you to find your current self and journey within those songs and allows you to see how it speaks to your life. Not all traditional songs survive the test of time. Many are forgotten, but the ones that stay alive without being written are ones that embrace the individual in their simplicity and are always full of truth. I think of traditional music as modern music from a long time ago.
Who are some of your favorite 60s/70s Sudanese and other Eastern artists from those vintage eras?
I am a huge fan of Mulatu Astatke from Ethiopia, Sayed Khalifa's early work, Sharhabeel's early work, Albalbil, Khogali Osman (all from Sudan), Hamza El Din and Hassan ali Kuban (Nubian) are also huge influences.I'm a huge fan of Taraab music from Zanzibar (Check out Sharmila and the Black Star Orchestra, and Bi Kidude). Also Googoosh (Iran), Fela Kuti (Nigeria), and basically all psychedelic funk/rock from Africa (check out Ghana Sounds series) and central Asia (from Thailand checkout an awesome compilation called Thai Dai, and from Iran check out a compilation called Pomegranates)…I can keep going for another 500 lines![laughs]
There is like a foreign otherworldy quality to songs like “Rennat”, and the closer “Jibal Alnuba”, compared to the more traditional sounds of “Wad Alnuba ft. Sounds of Taraab”. Can you share what you and the Nubatones song creation process is like?
Its interesting that you say that because “Jibal Alnuba” is a traditional piece and “Rennat” is an original composition, the first we recorded on the album actually. Our process is really organic. I do most of the writing, except for the instrumental pieces on the album, and then bring the bare bones of the song, melody and lyrics, to the band we sort of hash it out in rehearsals. Perform it a few times, change it a few more times, and preform it some more until we are happy with it. After that we take it into the studio.
What is next for you and the Nubatones?
Another album of course! I've always thought of Silt as the album leading to our second album to be honest. I really wanted the first album to ground people in our musical background because most often they aren't familiar with it, and from there I wanted to do start focusing on more original material for our second album. So as soon as we finish touring this project, I'm trying to get us back into the writing mode again, and back to the studio.
Alsarah & The Nubatones' Soukura EP will be available February 25, with Silt available March 11, all from Wonder Wheel Recordings.
Broncho recently dropped their new track to let you know that, “It's On”, available on 7″ from the Austin imprint, CQ Records. Frontman Ryan Lindsey (who you may remember from The Starlight Mints) continues the school-skipping cool that we enjoyed in our debut of “I Don't Really Want To Be Social” or “Try Me Out Sometime“; “It's On” lays out a series of rules and instigating incidents of the incendiary behaviors. From “if you show up in my room with no clothes on” to “you can go to LA, you can drink Manhattans,” Lindsey brings a litany of tough talk and real beneath the dead pan delivery and mean guitars.
“It's On” features everything between the dichotomies of “fuck” and “fight”, where the lists of situations are grounds for the measured effect to match each cause. With the strength and street hassle saviness that is reserved to the NYC scene shapers, it's wild when you remember that the Broncho boys are making these kinds of noises from their homes of Tulsa, and Norman, Oklahoma. Find Broncho bringing more garage-geared licks at SxSW, March 15 at Parish Underground and Thursday, March 13 at Bungalow, and stick around for our following interview with Ryan.
Broncho frontman Ryan Lindsey talked to us about tripping through the decades through their albums, SxSW plans, and more, with first a report from their home office of Norman, Oklahoma.
First give us the current state of the indie unions and scenes of Norman, Oklahoma:
Norman turns over every three or four years because it's a college town. So it keeps things fresh. Theres always new people showing up, and old people leaving. But I stayed.
Tell us everything and all you can about the upcoming LP you're recording.
We are slowly making our way through the decades. Our first record was 70's 80's 90's, this next record will be 80's 90's 2000's. So we should be current by our third record. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.
What about your sound and process do you think has either adjusted or developed between this upcoming disc and 2013's Can't Get Past The Lips?
We wanted to make this record in the same fashion as the first one. Lots of tape and warmth. Controlled and chaotic. Let the songwriting change the record rather than relying solely on the sounds to do that
“It's On” totally brings it, what were the on and offs behind writing this song?
It was definitely on. We knew it would eventually be off, so we tried as hard as we could to keep it up and running for as long as possible.
I love how your songs have this confrontational, in-your-face titles and then you just get hit with real tough as tits, rock and roll. Are these showdown invitational titles a conscious intention or is it just one of those things that just springs from the gut?
Probably both. I like being ambiguous when it comes to these things. It opens up for interpretation and saves me if I was offensive to someone. Maybe I'm serious, I might be joking.
What's the Broncho gameplan for SxSW? We know you're hitting up the Bungalow March 13 and Parish Underground March 15. What else is going down on your day party/after party radar?
I'm not sure yet, but can we hang out?
The new Broncho album will be available soon while the It's On 7″ is available from CQ Records.
This week, Brooklyn producer Lindsay Powell, aka Fielded, set the surrounding fields and towers ablaze with the supreme ruling track, “REIGN”. One of the first listen from her upcoming Universally Handsome EP coming on July 29, Powell commands field, stream, and metropolis with an iron, and diamond adorned fist.
Lindsay begins “REIGN” with the royal and regal whirl of executive helicopter blades that ignites the scene with these opening words: “Got your picture on my wall, all jewels and all, looking for loving in the body mall way, got your picture on my wall, full scale and all, from the bottom to the mouth that calls, man.” More than just some kind of “poster babe” posturing, Fielded shatters the Elizabethan crystals with a digital front in the contemporary pentameters like a rogue Shakespearean-showdown. “Are you Queen, Warrior or Runaway, is this the look the way in which you want to say, on this day, never again, never before, never no more, you are the way.” Following a listen to “REIGN” from her Fielded majesty, Lindsay Powell talked with us about her new directions of pride and production.
Without further ado, we present you our interview with Fielded's Lindsay Powell:
“REIGN” sounds like you are commanding and ruling over your own musical creation. What kind of royal model narratives were at work when you were writing and constructing this song?
This past year I spent a lot of time deconstructing and rebuilding my songs for live shows, remixes and sometimes just for fun. I got really into the production end of things and wanted to see how far I could take backing tracks before spinning them into vocal form. I think there has always been a soft duality between producer and performer within me – I’m like, 'okay, if I take this there then can I take that there, too? Is it too diva, too freak-forward?' Sharpening my ear as a producer and vocalist is just starting to feel like a fruitful effort – I’m feeling more confident in my relationship to my aesthetic and the kind of music that I want to be making
“REIGN” is reflective of the beginning of this cool moment I’ve been living in – I think because I was feeling powerful and excited when I made it I could really take it beyond without fear. ‘Make it Reign’ was this funny little phrase I heard in my head (I love puns, so sue me!) and I was thinking about being a female, feeling empowered, owning it, working it, honing your craft and living with intention. So for me, the lyrical content and the overall vibe is about ruling your own zone, vibing with yourself and feeling good from head to toe.
There seems to be recurring royal related themes in your music, like “He's the Queen”. Is this just part of your monarchical take over plan? Or is like, Kanye/Jay Z Throne Watching?
Ha! Man, well – I think it’s less watching the throne and more owning it. No disrespect, of course! What I mean to say is this: I meditate often on the Queen archetype and what she means to me. How can I embody the positive attributes – style, grace, power, beauty, humility, etc. – without inheriting the negative attributes? How can I be a Queen and a Warrior at the same time? I think a lot of people ask themselves the same things about different, often conflicting, archetypes within themselves. We are all presented with these images of societal norms, whatever that even means, and we are like, 'shit, I’m a little bit of that but a whole lot of me is not something I see being represented. How do I own it if it’s not already tested and approved?' I think even the smartest of us falls under the spell some of the time and it is so important to take a step back and find your center, identify what about your life makes you feel powerful and live for yourself. Harness your power, your inner Queen! Be your freaky beautiful self because the world needs more freaks, for sure.
I love too that you even go as far as to spell out the title in the chorus, with “R-E-I-G-N”. Maybe it's just me, but there needs to be more of that spelling thing going on in pop music more these days. Your thoughts?
Oh, you mean like, 'this shit is bananas/ b-a-n-a-n-a-s' or like, 'r-e-s-p-e-c-t/ find out what it means to me?' Oh, yeah. Pop music could definitely use more of that in 2014!
What do you find in Brooklyn and outside of Brooklyn that has been informing your productions lately?
There was this attitude amongst some of my Los Angeles friends about NYC not really being a sustainable place to actually live as an artist. I definitely have a can-do attitude so I went into it with this funny forceful approach thinking I was going to spend every waking minute working on music and clothing never leaving the studio. I had a mini-breakdown when I realized that even though that might be possible…it was making me a little miserable. I wasn’t slowing down in my own life to enjoy the weird, split-second wonders that pop up in the day-to-day, the types of experiences that make people say, 'only in New York.' It’s kind of weird to say that living in New York has actually taught me to slow down, but I think it’s true. There is less time to fuss over every note, beat and song in the moment and more time to let it take on a new life, listening against the backdrop of the city. So, I guess I’m pausing more, having a bit more fun and taking advantage of all of the amazing and accessible live music that is happening here. Not to mention new and wonderful relationships with fellow artists and musicians. Beyond Brooklyn, I like to go to my Parents’ house and hang with my family, go on walks with the dog and play and just enjoy the time away from the hustle and bustle! I like to read a lot and I think meditation has been an especially inspiring activity lately.
What other kinds of sounds and sensations should we expect from your upcoming Universally Handsome EP, at the end of July?
I’ve had a lot of fun with this EP. I really loosened up and let myself be more honest while at the same time hanging on to a sense of humor and imagination. I tried to let it all glide against some flirty, funky, dance-y tracks. It’s like the soundtrack to a Sadie Hawkins dance in Outer Space Heaven, maybe.
Any other collaborations production wise and so on that you have in the works that we should be hipped to?
I’m currently starting production on a few new singles as well as remixing some songs for other artists. My friends and I are shooting the music video for “REIGN” in two weeks and I’ll be playing some upcoming shows in Brooklyn, Chicago and a few other cities before a tour to support the release of the EP in July/August. I can think of one thousand artists, producers, etc. that I’d love to collaborate with and do remixes for. I always encourage people to reach out about collaborating and making new projects happen!
Fielded's Universally Handsome EP will be available July 29.
DZ Deathrays freak us out further, with news of their upcoming album Black Rat for release this summer, and a a video of their forthcoming album cover being covered by rats, as you rock to the tune of “Gina Works at Hearts”. You can thank the two-man Aussie team of Shane Parsons and Simon Ridley for this gem. And like our home girl “Gina” in the song; who of us don't just do it all because we crave the attention?
From Protomartyr's upcoming album, Under Color of Official Right, available April 8, we bring you another invitational single from the band with, “Come & See”. Come and see with these Detroit rockers whether or not there are thrashing, rock and roll guitars above in the heavenly cloud hosts.
Marian Hill has plans to hit up NYC's Brooklyn Bowl on March 9, and dropped the following live session from Out of Town Films for, “One Time”.
Brighton's Blood Red Shoes are dropping their self-titled album March 4 from Jazz Life/PIAS America, and we got the comical jogging about video from Brass Moustache for, “An Animal”.
Touring with Nils Frahm from March 15-28, London artist Douglas Dare preps his album Whelm for release with lyric book Nine Poems on CD, Vinyl and Download from Erased Tapes, May 12. Listen and walk along the walkways and swim the waterways with the UK poet and tunsmith's track, “Nile”.
The Mary Onettes destroyed the places between the mind that negotiate the awake and asleep comprehension capacities on, “Naive Dream”, from their forthcoming album Portico for Labrador Records. Prepare to search for that connected element, the right frequency code that connects the receptors for ESP communications that are more commonly found in songs like the following, as opposed to the diametrical sciences of casual conversation.
Keeping a cut above and a head above the digital trends, “Heads Above” is a gift from the Copenhagen trio WhoMadeWho, off their upcoming Dreams LP, available March 3.
Bust out the ALL CAPS for LA's latest pop sensations BEGINNERS, made up of Holy Fever's Samantha Barbera and producer Nick Ruth. We bring you the big bright and overboard pop tint of, “Who Knows” that is waiting to be placed on a the next romantic indie piece of cinema and played on the band stands across America. Their self-titled EP will be available March 25.
SoftSpot are dropping their self-released album MASS April 8, and we got a listen to the track “King Porus” to entrance, entertain, and delight your senses.
Ballin' Oates dude takes on Phil Collins, in The Melker Project's menagerie of, “In the Air ToNas”, “What More Can I Say? That's All. Ft. Genesis & Jay-Z”, and “Melker's Invisible Touch Ft. Genesis”. This is the trillest version of Genesis you have ever heard, sure to have your parents and other baby-boomers shaking their heads in unison.
On the rise artist Gene Noble is prepping Rebirth of Gene, for March 4, awakening mind and the awarenesses of all with ears to listen here.
Check out the cello styles of Linnea Olsson in the Joakim Andersson directed video for, “Never Again”, off her album Ah!.
UK two piece Smoke Fairies sends lunar sign movements with, “Eclipse Them All”, off their upcoming self-titled album, available Stateside May 6 and April 14 in the EU/UK from Full Time Hobby. When it's not enough to be better than the best, you have to eclipse the best.
Gainesville, Florida's Frameworks delivered the title single “Loom” from their upcoming album available April 29 Topshelf Records. Amid the speed of vocals and crashing guitars, producer Jack Shirley keeps the entire affair one big controlled and overseen, burning fire.
We present you the new sounds from Kitsuné with, New Faces. Forever keeping that dance, techno-evolution thing, hopping…worldwide.
from their new album True Love Kills The Fairy Tale available now from Graveface Records, check out Casket Girls video for “Chemical Dizzy”. Watch the video edited from Kevin Canavan and shot by a bunch of folks to capture all the various ups and downs that tips the chemical balance scale. “And numbers can't explain the universe connection between a mind and the dream…”
And in case you missed it, listen and peep the Cherise Payne lyric video for The Horrors' “I See You”, off their upcoming May 5 slated album, Luminous. Observe, and illuminate within the web shades of the digital darkness.
Milagres brings the idle/vinyl coated sentiments on, “IDNYL”, off their album Violent Light. Listen as the digital organ arranged electric pop opens up the floodgates of feelings.
Rafa Alvarez operates under the handle of Different Sleep, readying up the Conflict EP for release April 22 on Friends of Friends. For those looking for some inner-flight spaces for air grazing thoughts and mellow tones; then listen and look no further than the rocking future lullaby of, “Damage”, here to heal your ears and head.
To perpetuate those winter time feelings, a listen and feel for the E.J. McLeavey Fisher video visualization for “Movement”, from High Highs. Find this track and mroe from the Brooklyn by Sydney duo's album, Open Season.
From the Unwound dudes, check out Survival Knife's “Fell Runner” after their upcoming album, Loose Power, available April 29 from Glacial Pace. Take a jog to this that will encourage you to keep up the pace, and keep on the run with little time to catch your breath, let alone catch up to your best time. This is a song that should have been the soundtrack for anyone and everyone who was ever forced to run the mile under an undesired amount of minutes. Thank you Survival Knife, for creating a musical utility vehicle for us to pack in our emergency survival kit for rain days, and those moments in need of commiseration for someone else who understands the pain.
Nathan Lithgow and Garth Macaleavey of NØMADS dropped their image strobing video from Bryan Parker & Gregg Conde of “Free My Animal”, which the band premiered with us along with a synergistic discussion piece.
Their upcoming album NOW+ 4EVA is scheduled for release March 28 AU/NZ and April 1 worldwide, and we have the survival pop for your musical palette with, “I Might Survive”.
With Loom available April 22 on Kanine Records, we got the new Fear of Men track “Luna” that sails the tides of moons and stars. Look for them touring the world with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart April 15 through May 22. “Luna” will also be released as flexi disc 7″ with B-side and zine April 7 from Art is Hard.
Bushwick band The Library is on Fire was created from the vision of Steve Five to capture the nerve edges of dream pop feeling with the single, “Red Flags”. Find this on Panovich and company's upcoming album, Halcyon and Surrounding Areas, available April 15. This is one of those singles that charges from the raided and ransacked archives of old tape reel spools and the resurrected and rediscovered media that finds new sonic relevance. They also just leaked their new single, “Labyrinths of February” here.
Jef Barbara has plans to hit up SxSW showcases beginning March 13, 4.35 pm at Maggie Mae’s for the Planet Quebec showcase, March 14, Midnight at Velveeta for the POP Montreal showcase, March 16, TBA at Webberville Baptist Church for GayBiGayGay, and dropped the following video for, “Erection”.
Jean Jacket's self-titled debut LP is available March 25 from Decades Records, and we got your look at frontman Harlowe G. in the electro-performance-party video for, “Super Party Cups”.
Zilla Rocca & The Shadowboxers take it into the deep trenches with the Pat Murray video for, “Fake Surfers”, off the April 1 slated album, No Vacation For Murder, the long awaited follow-up to, The Slow Twilight.
Our buddy Castle dropped the “Live Action” with the Has-Lo remix, ahead of the upcoming Return of the Gasface (The Has-Lo Passages) album available March 18 from Mello Music Group. Get up and get down to this re-imagining from the one and only Has-Lo, and get a look at our interview with Castle here.
Step up your pimp game, with Damon Frost fresh as hell, “sTEP uP”, that brings the promise of upcoming found-sound and beat experiments on The Explain My Drive EP, available March 30 from Accidental Records. Listen for those knock out, blown-out-speaker-sub-bass effects.
Having dropped their album Anywhere That's Wild on Internet Piracy Records, and helped us to close out 2013 with their headlining-interview-premiere feature; we bring you Adventure Galley's future cult pop classic, “Cult Classic”
The Faint hit the help-light switches for the mental clarity seeking, “Help In The Head”, off the their upcoming album, Doom Abuse available April 8 from SQEMUSIC.
Off their Shiner EP, Mainland dropped the invigorating performance video for “Savant” from Henri Groux-Holt. Check out our premiere of the single plus interview with Mainland here.
Formerly White Dress, Arum Rae kicks off her new single, “2001”, with the line, “There's no hope for myself trying to be a good pearl”, that reflects on love lost in the decade and a half decay of feelings and synths.
Hazel Rose dropped the night beats with video for, “Heartbeat”, directed by Nelson G. Navarrete with cinematography from Claudio Napolitano. Hazel has her album 9 Lives slated for later this year, prepping her and my upcoming single “Robotic”.
Sweden's Lune is preparing to release their debut album Music & Sports March 10 from Refune Records, and we have the intimate electro dance beauty of, “Close Dance”. Dance a little closer to your partner with this bright n