Providing you with a weekly respite from the weirdness of the world, Impose’s Week in Pop keeps on marching with some of the favorites of today and tomorrow. But first, with a glance at some of the current buzz going around, Radiohead just dropped the Oscar Hudson video for “The Numbers”; Brooklyn’s The Underachievers dropped their It Happened In Flatbush mixtape; Autechre dropped elseq 1-5; T.I. dropped “Dope” produced by Dr. Dre; Coldplay dropped the Vania Heymann & Gal Muggia video for “Up&Up”; Kanye West visited Ellen; Laura Jane Grace burned birth certificate at Durham, North Carolina show in protest of HB2; Puff Daddy announced expanded Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour; Clams Casino’s new album 32 Levels will be available July 15, dropped “Blast”; Kathleen Hanna is the latest to cover the Boss, Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”; Classixx dropped “Safe Inside” ft. Passion Pit off Faraway Reach available June 3 from Innovative Leisure; Joey Bada$$ & Pro Era are bringing back their Steez Day Festival to honor their fallen friend Capital STEEZ; Smashing Pumpkins’ former guitarist James Iha to score the upcoming James Franco reboot of Lifetime’s Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?; David Byrne revealed his upcoming Joan of Arc-based musical Saint Joan set to premiere at NYC’s Public Theater February 14, 2017; presenting the Prophets of Rage supergroup that includes Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, & Brad Wilk, Public Enemy’s Chuck D & Cypress Hill’s B-Real; Jarvis Cocker’s soundtrack for the television series “Likely Stories” will be available in digital May 27 via Rough Trade; all the Riot Fest hype; Seattle duo THEESatisfaction’s Stasia Irons & Catherine Harris-White announced that the ‘Satisfaction is no more; Oasis documentary Supersonic dropping in October; Sinéad O’Connor’s strange sagas continue; Eagles of Death Metal dropped from French festivals; Sacramento radio station KSFM 102.5’s Discovery Park hip hop festival turned deadly; send your warmest wishes to end Anthony Kiedis’ intestinal flu; we mourn the passing of Beastie Boys guitarist John Berry; and we said goodbye to Guy Clark.
And as we carry onward & forward, it is our pleasure and privilege to present the following exclusives, interviews, & insights from Dumb Waiter, Fusilier, Lil Donyel, Greenova South, The Henry Millers, Jon Bap, Luxley, Pastel, Pax, Pictorial Candi, The Blank Tapes, Fassine, Sea Span, featuring special guest Homeboy Sandman and more—in no particular order.
Arriving late to the Lil Donyel party, we present an exclusive listen, look, & discussion about some of the Portland by LA artist’s tracks & videos off the upcoming Dony Le Blow mixtape available June 6 via DatPiff. Having dropped releases previously on imprints like Afterlife Records, Afternoons Modeling, Gnar Tapes, Splash Tapes, etc; we had a chance to get know the young west coast creative don a little bit better as we discussed his upcoming appearance at Deathstock (hosted by Death Records), being his own producer under the handle Minderals1 along with all of the various projects in motion.
Premiering the phonetic and catchy “*Brpp Brpp*” produced by airboyexpress; Donyel gives us a taste of that city life all the while coming at you with his signature fuzz-treated vocal execution. And like another trademark of the Lil Donyel method, the title is used as the chorus hook of which every reiteration hinges off of a weedy haze narrative stream. “*Brpp Brpp*” repeats it’s belching loops as the very title describes everything from cell phone calls to just blowing smoke.
Presenting the debut of the @skinnyjesus420 video for “Gritsn’Eggs”, Lil Donyel brings some lo-fi morning glory routines to start your day off right. Standing as high and tall as the sun, Donyel breaks into some jubilant dance moves while enjoying a mellow sunrise out in the yard. Grinning ear to ear, the breakfast bell call is sounded through lo-tek fashioned nursery rhymes where Lil Donyel takes the roll of the Mother Goose-master of ceremonies.
Lil Donyel entertains his sophomoric side with the scuzzy Don Juan boasts on “Wett”, complete with over exposed video and abstract image montages. To be featured off the forthcoming Dony Le Blow mixtape, the delivery if fuzzy & feral while the super-syrupy trap-production drips like melting PC motherboards. It’s the surreal and dazzlingly sinister-ish sound from the parts of known of the coolest west coast sectors that span north to south.
Lil Donyel keeps his trap game golden & 100 on “Molly Soda” featuring more beguiling and head floating production by his Minerals1 alter ego. The internet artist/icon in the title is dropped in a stream of consciousness stew, not unlike the po-mo barrage of iconoclasts that have been featured in some of Lil B’s classic tracks (see “Bill Clinton”, “Fuck Kevin Durant”, among a host of other name checked celebrities that have been the subject of a Lil B song in recent years). Donyel here presents the persistent quest for the URL famous life (on that lo-fi/minimal-tek budget/diet), featuring filmwork by Finken.
Turning up an overpass, Lil Donyel brings more of that Minerals1 slow-fade movement on “It’s Cold” where half awake rounds of confident expressions are told as if drifting in and out of consciousnesses. The freeway surroundings provide another layer of afternoon idolatry that advocates for lazy days and reckless loitering. Read our interview with Lil Donyel featured right after the jump:
Describe how your Portland roots have helped shaped your creative consciousness.
Growing up in Portland is weird, especially being half black & half white. I was raised by my grandma Tedi because my mom and dad were gone, not around, except for visiting sometimes but for a short amount of time. Where I used to be filled with resentment and hatred mixed with unconditional love, I now see and accept they were so young when they had me and as an adult now, I don’t blame them for leaving me. My mother and grandma are really strong. My grandma did an amazing job and I will always be thankful for her love and care she had in raising me and supporting me, she always pushed me to be creative and I have always been involved in making art. Where I come from in Portland is different than all this “Portlandia” shit. I grew up extremely poor, sometimes we barely had food or had none at all. I come from the numbers, by Gateway where a lot of cultures are mashed together and there’s a lot of skinhead type fools who don’t like that. I used to get harassed a lot as a kid with a huge Afro and children’s Fubu clothes. I always had a keyboard and loved rap music since I was in diapers. When I entered into the music scene in Portland around 2010-ish, I fell in love with—at the time—a very accepting crowd of people who weren’t restricted by their aesthetic/race/origins/wealth all making really dope shit and basically being the string that held the town together. The Gnar Tapes boys and entire roster were so diverse and talented, they showed me the ropes of playing shows and became my second family. I was really intrigued by the whole thing and knew that I was where I belonged. With the weirdos and creatives. The environment is so diverse to develop in, so much to hear and experience it gives you a lot of musical perspective.
Give us the ballad & rise of Lil Donyel, describing how you came into your own as an artist & emcee.
I grew up on a lot of Bay Area rap, My mother dated the legendary Mac Dre for several years when I was a child. I have a photo album of them just smoking blunts, etc, and me chillin’ in his Escalade. I’ve always loved rap music the most out of anything because of how much room there is for innovation. I’ve always been rapping, people always just assumed I had a rap project like in high school so me and some buddies recorded a satirical Christmas album where I had a “Hannukah Song” I think that was my first recording. After high school I wanted to keep recording, I suck at guitar so a band wasn’t for me, I tried though, until I discovered noise music and the experimental scene and realized I could suck as an artistic/aesthetic choice. So I made up Donnie Blossoms, my first project I put time into, it was just simple synth shit with really badly mixed vocals and good melodies but no structure. I was still making rap on the side but it wasn’t my main focus. Then I became @DEAD_BAE which was me at my worst most Xanax’d out stage but also when I first started to think about taking rap more seriously, I made like one video. Then I switched back to Minerals1, my production project which I started after Donnie Blossoms in like, 2012. Over the last few years I’ve been making around four beats a day every day and last year I made the Fuck12 mixtape on DatPiff which is when I officially realized rap was my comfort zone, its always been there for me and with so many royalty free beats that I had been creating I just decided to stop putting out instrumentals and rap over everyting I have. Lil Donyel came about shortly after I dropped Fuck12, I realized after so many name changes that MY REAL name was the best to use all along. So this project is basically me in my true form. Like Super Saiyan or some shit.
Describe the creative synergy you share with your executive producer Minerals1.
[laughs]Well, we share the same blood. Minerals1 is my producer name, which is sometimes confusing to people, it’s like split personas. When I’m in that mode I am a studio rat, working a couple hours on a beat then while I’m making the beat I’ll come up with a hook and go from there.
Give us the breakdown on your most recent tracks and videos for “Molly Soda”, “Wettt”, “Its Cold” ft. OG Skinny Jesus, & “Grits & Eggs”.
All these tracks are for my new mixtape Dony Le Blow coming out June 6 on DatPiff and Bandcamp. These videos have been really fun to work on, I’ve been pushing myself to make videos almost every week, editing them myself and throwing them up online before I pass out sometime around 5am usually [laughs]. The one with OG Skinny was a lot of fun to do, we just filmed it on the way to Burger King. I got a sundae and some fries.
What else are you cooking up in the works?
Working on a lot of collabs and features there’s gonna be a lot on the Dony Le Blow mixtape. Been working with Yung Bruh, Souljahwitch, Lil Tracy, Abreeda9000, and more…
My little homies from back in the day Sporty & Icee-bOI are linking me with their homie from Oakland, Stunny and I’m excited to work with that nigga. I’ve got some stuff coming with a lot of homies from back home…Danny Denim, Mike Laary and more. I’m gonna stay reaching out to people to work on tracks, I have a long list of people I wanna rap with and nothing but storage space on my laptop.
Tell us which artists you are most excited to see and kick it with at Deathstock.
Oh man, so many. A lot of my friends are playing that, the day that I play my homies White Fang / The Memories get back from a two month European tour they are currently on so I’m very excited to smoke a blunt with them again and hear stories from abroad. I’m stoked I’m playing with Harry Talin (fka Trailblazer) at McT’s Bullpen, also cant wait to see Mild High Club, CCR Headcleaner, White Fence and Little Wings.
As an artist who has dropped releases on Gnar Tapes, Afterlife Records, Afternoons Modeling, etc; what’s next in the play book of Lil Donyel?
Lots of DatPiff releases to be honest, I’m gonna just keep cranking out mixtapes every month or so. Working on my networking clout and hopefully catching the eye of a label on my wishlist!
I have a couple of labels that I have in mind, there’s so many good ones. I’ve always liked 4AD as well as Olde English Spelling Bee, they put out so much good material. My manager used to help run Hippos In Tanks back when it was around. I want to reach out to more rap labels.
As groups and labels I really feel Thraxxhouse, Divine Council, Metro Zu, and GOTH Money they all do so much, them boys really work hard.
Sorry I talk a lot, I’m just really excited this is my first interview!
Shout out to ALL MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS, Jono mi Lo, Sean Bowie, Lil Tracy, Jimmy V, My best friend Dustyn Astbury, Hannah, Hess, Abreeda, Toonworld, Wakefield, Mike Laary, Danny Denim, LTBP, 100PCK, KWC, DPG, WHOK, BKF, GNAR TAPES, my fans, my exes, uncle steve, grandpa, my family, THE PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS, all the teachers that told me I wasn’t good enough and to every woman in the world, your beauty and strength amazes me daily.
Lil Donyel’s Dony Le Blow mixtape will be available June 6 via DatPiff.
Fusilier, also known as Blake Fusilier formerly of RIBS follows up the recent video for “The Moment” of gender fluidity & revolution with the premiere of the single, “Make You” available now from Brassland. The former bassist, now bandleader Fusilier described to us the musical mission statement of “Make You” and it’s visions of wonder and excitement. “My vision is Nine Inch Nails meets James Brown,” Fusilier explained in comparative terms. “When I say that to friends to describe ‘Make You’ the mixture of wonder and excitement they show is the exact feeling I want to cultivate. I think one of the major duties of any artist is to expand the realm of the possible—to stimulate the imagination of the masses.”
“Make You” straps you on for a boat ride into the uncharted channels, watery bunkers, and utilidor corridors of the unknown on the dare of your life. The challenge is beyond the think differently tired-cache of cliches but rather the courses of action involved with taking the less travel paths sung about constantly by society (that would rather sling back into the apathetic arms of sticking within the parameters of comfort zones). Fusilier takes the routes of the abandoned industrial exclusion zones in search of possibilities, the raw wreckage wastelands that humankind leaves behind that break out of blinders of status-quo conformity to ponder things like the long term effects of actions now and the impact that has on future possibilities. Blake brings this in a ferocity of post-apocalyptic stripped-down blues that breaks apart the many pieces of the many individual pieces, fabrics, & tissues that makes up the constructs that much of the defeated and half-asleep world takes for granted. Fusilier’s “Make You” is designed to knock you off your feet and out of your chair through imagination stimulating provocations Blake further described in the following:
That kind of provocation proves difficult when there is an opposing force in our culture saying that you should live in awe of trinkets and approval. I actually think that people would love to stop living for candy crush and insta-double taps in theory, but in practice no one’s willing to step to the left and live there. Everyone thinks we should have 26 flavors of ice cream, but if you like anything other than vanilla, or even have friends who like rocky road you’re persona non grata in most circles. “Make You” is my attempt to break the stigma attached to deviance. It’s my contribution to the elevation of imagination in society.
Fusilier’s single “Make You” is available now from Brassland, with an EP coming soon.
Taking you back to the prolific plains and talented topography of Richmond, Virginia; we present the world premiere of “Black Mayonaise” from the quartet Dumb Waiter that flips the tables on the flunkies for fusion sessions of inverted innovations. A team made up of Nicholas Crider, Nathaniel Roseberry, Keith Paul, & Tristan Brennis; these four horsemen combine their own experiences and insights for improvisational aesthetics that pushes and encourages the elaboration and expansion of one another’s own artistic sensibilities (not to mention the hosts of potentially latent creative possibilities previously untapped until now).
“Black Mayonnaise” bubbles up with a secret sauce formula more potent than whipped up egg-yolks left out in a vat under the blaring beams of an unforgiving sun. The group takes their jazz and metal leanings and learnings into the rabbit hole vortex where Tristan’s saxophone tones can be heard shining bright in all of it’s brassy glory, as the chords and rhythmic measures run amok in a setting of tightly controlled chaos. Tracks like this also highlight the irony at work with the group’s name Dumb Waiter, where the band exhibits their own astute instrumental proficiency and choreographed chemistry. Read our interview with Dumb Waiter’s percussionist Nathaniel Roseberry after the following debut of “Black Mayonaise”.
Describe how Dumb Waiter was formed.
Okay I’ll be serious for a sec….Nick Crider [guitarist] and Nathaniel Roseberry know each other from way back in the 2005-era days. They both were in different technical metal bands from Northern Virginia. Fast forward to 2012. The two reconnected in Richmond, VA and talked about doing some sort of improvised band. Nick was booking a gig for Lightning Bolt and expressed that it would be the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl. Nathaniel mentioned to Nick that he wouldn’t mind possibly fleshing out the lineup, as he had been improvising with a few guys a couple times a week at a friends studio. The four, including Tristan Brennis on Saxophone and Keith Paul on Bass guitar got together…and it was terrible [laughs]! It was bad for reasons out of their control. They attempted to test out their chemistry, but the space was a huge practice space. A bumch metal and punk bands rehearse at this particular space, and was extremely loud. They couldn’t hear each other at all and decided to throw in the towel. They reconvened another day and actually wrote “Insectaconduit” from “Is This Chocolate? ” that very next practice!
How did you all agree upon the name.
Nick and Nath were texting ideas back and forth. It was really silly. We were just being ridiculous with our concepts. For some reason it ended up entering the tangent of furniture and appliances. Chair, Shelf, Ladder, Hammer, Dumb Waiter, Dinner Table, Lawn Mower, etc. We felt the name Dumb Waiter was it, the name has an openness to it. Seriousness over….
Describe the holiday spirit, or lack there of, in making your new album Cancel Christmas.
We hate Krit-mas. We don’t like Estero or whatever it called neither.
What sorts of proof went into the pudding of the widly fun single “Black Mayonnaise”?
One once o’ Finger plunkin’, plus a quarter pinch of Primus theft, plus a dash of smooth Yazz, plus three smidges of epic chamber music equals “Black Mayonnaise”.
What are you all listening to/watching/reading a lot of these days?
We listen to Locust, Daughters, Melvins, King Crimson, Torche, Yes, Death Grips, Hella, Magma, Weather Report, Return to Forever, Ruins, Ghost face Killa/Wu-Tang, Breadwinner, Loincloth, Radiohead, Paperchase, Candiria, John Zorn stuff and many more like minded nerds of this various type.
We watch bands play at Gallery 5 and other Wonderful venues in Richmond. We watch avant-garde silent film. We watch grass grow….we watch……paint dry….we watch trees and birds…..sometimes negligence in action….or even fire.
We read album liner notes. We read brail. We read your future. We read comics you have never heard of. We read the labels on our food. We don’t read Krit-mas cardz. We don’t read your mind. We don’t read or write….
Other parting words of advice you all can share?
As a song writer, take risks. Learn to read, not music though…listen to music from circa ’69-’76. Smoke pot after age 18…or don’t….have a drink ever once in a while post age 21….or don’t…listen to music on either cassette or vinyl record.
Little Rock, Arkansas’ own Pepperboy combines delivery craft with none other than his Green Ova comrade Squadda Bambino with Young God (aka Ian Taggart of Blue Sky Black Death) production to catapult the Greenova South project on reality. Squadda stands as one half of the influential Main Attrakionz cloud rap pioneering duo (releasing the lauded 808s & Dark Grapes trilogy & countless albums & mixtapes & too many collaborations to name with fellow East Oakland collaborator MondreM.A.N.) with Pepperboy (oka Jerry Davie) delivering further stories and inspirations from Little Rock’s southern side as heard in his works chronicled from his Bangin’ in the Rock origins, Str8 Off tha Block, Pt. 1, bouncing from the boilerplate street-warrior style (after serving a 30 month of a would be 10-year prison sentence in the Varner Unit over “possession with intent and a firearm: just protection”)—these South by the Bay combinations are further brought under the same atmospheric umbrella courtesy of Taggard’s hazy production cadences. The Greenova South celebrates the southern connect, Pepperboy delivers words and modes of inspiration information in subdued breaths while Squadda speaks learned gospel with that signature gravelly delivery with the weight of a gavel slam.
The two toast up words of self-preservation and PMA on “Keep My Head Up”, the opener of Kome Ryde With Us, that moves onward with tales of “making it & spending it” on “G.O. Sound”. Ft. Robbie Rob”, searching out the situations on the pensive project “Find A Way”, as the crew lifts up the nostalgic, head-tripping trails of yore on “I Miss Them Days” ft. Ian Taggart reminiscing about being 16, listening to OutKast, & more before the world started spinning too fast. The title track ft. Lil Flip presents the group in their most hedonistic mode yet, while “Tears In My Eyes” finds Squadda pouring out some tears, fears & beers for the Jacka, A$AP Yams, Pimp C & more as Pepperboy moves the narratives from survivor tales to living that high-rolling life on “Lamborghini Dreams” ft. boasts & toasts by 2 Lettaz, to pushing the instinctive impulses heard on “Fight Or Flight”. Perspective and obfuscation of vision vibe forward on “Soul Blinded” ft. the powerful presence of Mr. Sche’s mighty sermon-like delivery, right before the whole squad gets into full mobbing formation on “Can Ya Blame Us” featuring contributions and prosodic exposition from Jarv Dee, Dope G & Ace Diego. Squadda provided us with the following exclusive intro to the new Greenova South family expansion:
Green Ova South time! We put our all into this release and hope that with time it connects with people on a deeper level than any previous work of ours has accomplished! Grateful that we even have the chance to get listens in the way that we do through the music today! Listen and zone out in your own personal zone and feel good, that’s all we want!
Introducing Luxley from New Orleans, lead by Ryan Gray out of New Orleans and committed to everything kinetic and dance inspiring. Having dubbed their style & sound wildfire dance rock; Luxley readies the Spirit EP for Rude Fox Records / Future Tapes that features remixes from Magic Man, X Ambassadors, along with the following world premiere of “Tremors” designed to literally quake & shake the dance floor. This is the track that is a call to shake-up all pouting and moping wallflowers waiting it out on the sidelines to come partake of the glamorous aesthetic and kinetic rhythms.
“Tremors” wastes no time in bringing all the beats you crave. Bursting out of the seams and the front gates with an aerobic-esque mechanized percussive base; the earth breaking motion propels the motives and dialogues heard in the lyrics. With Ryan’s “say what you want to say, before I cut you off,” the back and forth exchange is recounted by Gray as testaments of wills and foolish pride are littered about the ballroom like flashy stage & prom night lights. The games of give and take and stubborn yields of little to no compromise keep up an air of tension where egos and super-egos battle it out as an emotive war of attrition and skeptical desires. Read our interview with Ryan Gray featured right after the following debut listen to “Tremors”.
Tell us how Luxley became a musical phenomenon.
When I was living in Nashville, I experienced something that ultimately rekindled my love for writing music and transformed my voice from being a post-hardcore screamer to being a center-stage vocalist. It was there that I envisioned starting something of my own in music, which I had never done before. The journey led to me back to New Orleans where I started medical school at Tulane University. It eventually resulted in me leaving to pursue Luxley.
Describe how the term luxury became part of your moniker.
It’s because I’m usually drinking Cointreau and Patron after every show. Just kidding. My guess is that luxury coincides with the prefix lux, which the name Luxley so nicely shares. The luxury moniker is lagniappe, but I can’t say I don’t like it. And FYI, lux means light in Latin—a language that I studied for about eight years.
What sorts of quakes & shakes informed “Tremors”?
I was eating a lot of Quaker Oatmeal and drinking a lot of Nesquik shakes when I wrote “Tremors”.
Interested in hearing about your EP, & how you feel remixes from Magic Man & Ambassador X further impacted the music.
The songs on the Spirit EP are about that feeling of being unsettled—whether that be in a relationship or alone—something that I think a lot of people in their 20s can relate to. I’m most satisfied with how earnest these songs came-out, whilst still creating something refreshing and familiar. All of the songs, whether in a poetic manner or bluntly, are extensions of my own personal experiences or relatable ones from my collaborators.
Magic Man and Ambassador X’s both did an excellent job at showing my audience how relative music can be—how we can appreciate the difference of musical expression, even when certain musical elements stay the same with the original track. Lately I’ve been hooked with the Magic Man remix of “Camera Lens” because they did something that I’ve always wanted to do with “Camera Lens,” which was to express it more intimately and with more appreciation for the vocals.
What’s good in New Orleans right now?
Food is exploding right now. New Orleans just won—again—the national award for having the best executive chef and restaurant in the country. Shout out to all my friends who work under the Besh Restaurant Group and at Restaurant Shaya!
Film is also making more national press than before, and I know several people who are finding great opportunity here in the industry. So happy for them.
Art has really transformed over the recent years and become more progressive—I’m no art guru though, so what do I know. Excited to attend more art shows in the future. The last one really caught me off-guard.
Lastly, activities like Mardi Gras, music festivals, the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, live music, horse races, crawfish boils, and the endless drinking will always be preserved here. It’s in the water.
How has New Orleans inspired you?
Something I’ve always really enjoyed about this city’s live music scene is that it can take you through a roller coaster of emotions. From an upbeat percussive second line on any given street to the romantic jazz clubs, dirty blues bars, and lets not forget about how we get weird with funk and zydeco. I think innately the city’s music has influenced with me with its more European and funky style, but I am now influenced by whatever is around me.
Pastel recently released the slow-burning reflective single “The Mirror” taken from the forthcoming Bone-Weary EP avaialble June 24 through Very Jazzed / Frenchkiss Label Group. The Los Angeles by Orange County artist follows up his debut It Will Be Missed EP for terrains that the artist seeks in lyrics like, “I just want to feel like myself again…” From the ultra-personal intimacy that Pastel, oka Gabriel Brenner, has always dabbled in with his solo music arts; the latest cycle Bone-Weary documents the changes and growth that occurs from within the core of identity during various cognitive developments.
“The Mirror” is Gabriel working in ethereal elements that create the emotive textures of cooping-one’s-self-up in their room all day. With narratives that move past the binary constructs of gender, “Mirror” places the reflective lens in front of the artist to emanate and illuminate new sorts of light and states of being and feeling. This is the sound of Pastel breaking forth from the cocoon as a butterfly of a million different textures and vibrant hues where the emotion in Brenner’s delivery is guarded by the comfort of his understated (yet all the while evocative) arrangement.
Gabriel provided us with the following reflections & perspective on the new single “The Mirror”:
“The Mirror” was one of the more difficult songs on Bone-Weary EP for me to record. Though every song from the EP is extremely personal and diaristic in nature, this song holds a particularly important place in my heart. I wrote “The Mirror” about my struggles with gender identity, and recording the song was one of the ways I was able to process reframing myself as neither boy nor girl. I made this song the way most of my songs are made: alone in my bedroom, sitting on my creaky twin-sized bed, and singing into my broken Yeti USB mic. But I was really only able to record this song in the early morning (hence the opening lines), when the haze of nightly turmoil still lingered. It was definitely a cathartic recording process, and I don’t think I would’ve been able to deal with such big emotions as easily had I not made “The Mirror”.
Gabriel Brenner on the Bone-Weary EP:
Bone-Weary EP is the follow-up to my debut EP, It Will Be Missed, which came out last year. Bone-Weary is much more personal than my debut EP. I feel like I’m a different person entirely, too. I was 18 when I recorded all of It Will Be Missed, and though I’m only 20 now, I’ve grown up quite a bit in two years. I have a better understanding of myself and my relationships, and I feel like that’s apparent in Bone-Weary. The subject matter is relatively the same; both EPs were basically about all the things that keep me up at night. But the way in which the content is handled this time around is much more nuanced. I feel like I have much more distinct voice now. Bone-Weary is also my first set of songs that will see a physical release. I’m going to be putting out a limited run of cassettes, and an even more limited run of photo books with some photos I took through a small label based in Houston called Very Jazzed so I’m super excited to share those with everyone.
Pastel’s new EP Bone-Weary will be available June 24, cassette & photo book pre-order available now.
The Henry Millers
Taking their name from one of the twentieth century’s greatest literary provacteurs; The Henry Millers’ John MacCallum and Katie Schecter return with the new anthem of awkward, bottom-lip-biting nervous butterfly-fluttering feelings of asking someone out on their premiere of “Heartbreak”. John & Katie’s enthusiastic duet draws upon their bashful sentiments and recreates the swell of feelings and fight or flight sorts of courage that one gets while anticipating talking to the object of their obsessive affection. This is a song for all who feel confident at heart who need to be reminded of their own apprehensive and reluctant intuitions while emboldening the introverted to be brave in pursuing the ones that they care about.
“Heartbreak” moves quickly as John & Katie wear their emotions and feelings displayed proudly on their sleeve or shirt like a button or patch of a favorite phenomenon. The synth and piano hooks permeate the entire two-plus minute as The Henry Millers exhibit all the internalized musings and thoughts that pertain to the should I or shouldn’t I inward inquiries that contemplate proactive procedures of putting yourself out there. Owning up to their smiling, shoulder-shrugging pop; the two tackle all their most embarrassing fears about romantic failure while immortalizing their infatuated other through the crystallization of a song about the greatest love story that probably never was. Hear more from The Henry Millers in our interview session featured right after the debut of “Heartbreak”.
Tell us about what is new and wonderful right now in the world of the Henry Millers.
Just bought a new guitar and getting ready for summer.
Describe for us how you have chronicled the evolution of THMs sound.
I’ve just been trying to evolve the chronicle sound-wise pretty much. Always move forward…hip hop has been influencing me a lot recently.
“Heart Break” rocks like an epic festival crashing banger—give us the tales of IRL, and maybe URL if relevant, stories of heartbreaks, aches, & quakes that may have played an informant part & contribution to this song.
I get super nervous talking to pretty girls…
What other recordings are next in the pipeline?
We are actually both working on solo music for now.
Current favorite Henry Miller novels, stories, essays, quotes, anecdotes, and the like?
I think we are both fans of his whole repertoire. Tropic of Capricorn was what I read first, so that definitely affected me the most.
How has the literary giant’s work impacted your own musical perceptions, approaches, and so on?
He didn’t write to make money writing, and that has always resonated.
Summer plans for The Henry Millers?
Providing the following foreword of “for ms. stieb༼ ༎ຶ ෴ ༎ຶ༽”; the elusive artist known as pax, aka pictochat, re-emerges with the new single “vivian” that brings the most melancholic post-winter depression hues mixed with holistic spring lo-fi undertones. The world of pictochat is one that imagines a world in pictures, where stylistic considerations are observed and illustrated like mercurial brush-strokes that are as ever shifting like our own awkward relationships with our own moods and mental states. The closing of “vivian” hears the entire track being slowed & stripped down to a kind of slow sailing rhythm cut where half-opened/heavy eye-lid chords steer the way to new states of feeling.
The artist provided with us the following exclusive insights into the new single & more:
So I’ve had the intention to make this song for the longest time now, but I was super unsure of myself. I came up with the first draft of it a couple months ago but I ended up scrapping it because I was so unsure about writing a song about someone. I don’t know, the idea of writing a song about someone that you’re crushing on was so beyond me. To me, it was like, “why am I making this song, it’s pointless, it’s just going to bum me out later”. That’s just the mindset I had at the time [laughs].
But the dude J’Von, whom I met through the internet recently, released this joint, Seattle Girl a little over a month ago and wrote something like, love is war, love is perpetual, and we all dedicate songs to people who will perhaps never listen to them. I thought it’d be cool to make something that speaks to that feeling as a creator with a muse amiss.
After reading that and listening to the song, I was like, “word”. The song and whole concept behind it was super interesting to me, and I ended up using that as the basis and motivation for me to finish the song. I kinda went from thinking, “should I even write this song? Is it going to reach the person I’m writing it for?” and just saying to myself, yo, I don’t care if it does or not. I just need to get this song off my chest, [laughs]. It ended up being a song I’d never done anything like before and probably the most personal song I’ve ever made. It was the first time I had played guitar/bass on a track in like five years and I feel like it was the perfect embodiment of how I was feeling.
Fassine’s debut released their debut album Dialectik today and we have a listen to their new single “Headlong” and a brief discussion round with the band. The trio of Sarah Palmer, Laurie Langan, & James Hayward echo the kind of air spaces of environments that are reminiscent of dramatic scenes from prime time soaps that spill their sob-stories & plot devices out of the television screen. “Headlong” takes headstrong thoughts out to explore potential and possibilities, like an angel inhabiting a human form at a crossroads in an arid, rural setting. Read our interview with Fassine featured right after the jump.
Describe the dawning of Fassine, and how it first started.
Fassine started when all three of us decided we weren’t happy with our own personal processes of creating music. Fassine was created to allow us to do what we wanted and when we wanted to do it. Some call it a band, others a project but for us it’s an outlet, pure and simple.
Give us the long-views and head-spaces behind the song “Headlong”.
“Headlong” is a question. To speak the truth and leave it “pure”, or to take the other road.
Interested in hearing about how you three develop tracks together.
Every track is different but the constant idea is always to create something that conjures up strong imagery and strong emotions. There are no rules, other than does it make us feel something? Our favourite pieces are the pieces that create a sense of confliction, disorder. Developing this allows a lot of different ideas to grow.
Best things happening in London right now?
Are right under our noses. Look out of any window.
Next things happening for Fassine?
The second album is under way.
The Blank Tapes
Following up 2013’s super fun Vacation, Matt Adams and The Blank Tapes returned with the album Ojos Rojos available now from It’s A Gas! Records / Honey Bomb / Burger / Bongtastic inspired by international tours circa 2010-2013. Chronicling travels from Brazil, Japan, to Europe, and elsewhere; Matt & the trusty Blank Tapes team of Will Halsey, DA Humphrey, & Pearl Charles recorded their tales with cool cats like Mike McHugh, Jason Quever, and JP Bendzinski. From sessions that began in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to The Growlers’ surf-turf of Costa Mesa; the BT trip sails & swims onward for new excitement & kicks.
All the Ojos Rojos red-eyed action kicks off with the long-distance love intimations of the sleavy-scuzz of “Sexxy Skyype”, followed by the fan favorite “LA Baby”, to the old school rug-cutting burner, “Dance To The Dance” that keeps the hips shaking & swinging like a groovy grandma. That holiday mode held over from the residual buzz heard on Vacation is the hangover gift that keeps on giving on the laid back “Spring Break”, to the near self-pardoy song “Biggest Blunt In Brazil” that would probably make Willie Nelson chuckle. The chase game continues in the sleepy sport of “Chasing That Ball”, passing the time dinner table wise on “Pass The Potato”, turning it up to some saloon shuffling fun on “Don’t Take It From Me”, the surfing safari action of beach towel on the burning sand dreams on “Beach Party”, keeping it classic on cuts like “Let Me Hear You Rock” & “Sh-Bop Sh-Bop Yea”. At times The Blank Tapes sound like their own walking, living, breathing jukebox of all your favorite oldies on heart-breakers like “Baby Face Brunette”, lost in translation & in foreign lands on “Missing In Japan”, to the slow dancing romance gestures of the closing hymn, “I Can’t Make It Alone”, to the decidely electric outtake “Early Birdy” bonus track.
The Blank Tapes’ Matt Adams described the making of the album with the following succinct words:
I wrote “LA Baby” when I toured Brazil for the second time while I was homesick for a girl I just started seeing right before I left. Most of the album was written on that 2nd Brazilian tour actually.
Pictorial Candi is Argentinian by Warszawa DIY pop star Candelaria Saenz who follows up her album DRINK and her solo album debut Eat Your Convey Island; PC presents fOREVER TILL YOU DIE which brings you into to the obscure yet home-made art worlds of infinity. Released via the Berlin label Mansions and Millions, Candelaria entrances from the opening manic weirdness and elusive invitation of “Tonic (Paso de los Toros)”, passing to the electro-afterlife minimalism beat-machines of “Dead Teens”, poetic prayer-like interludes with “Extra State Time”, moving in mysterious ways on “Got Things To Do”, to the mystical-experimental tour heard on “Lithium Starline”. The world of Pictorial Candi offers more than your standard pictorial review, as all elements of audio find new life and meaning in a free-form world of expression and existence. Candelaria described her new album with the following words:
The album is an ode to the lifelong imprint of teenage years, to times when all the tragedies were weighed in lightly and all the little nothings heaved passionately. Its a massive wave that rolls you under, it’s pleasant though, and even if you manage to get your head up, you know it’s not for long, cause you’ll always be that pre-teen rolling in the foam.
Following up their debut single “Winter Sublet“; introduce yourselves to Sea Span and their new single “tired of winning” that delivers subversive message of ennui & a plea for caution in the face of the great too big to fail doctrines of blind hubris. Sea Span provides new crystal visions that exist outside of the scope of political polemics, shaking off the capitol hill sharks and legislative snarks and their impotent short-term schemes. The result becomes some of the most transcendental chords that provides a great escape away from the world of failed policies and regressive trends for new feels and frontiers of potential enlightenment. In the group’s own words:
As a former senate page turned musician, I have tried to channel my frustrations of the American political system into a more gratifying outlet. This tune is a little bit of a tongue and cheek reference to this most recent election cycle in the united states and all the craziness that has surrounded it. I figure with a band name like sea span, we might as well reference politics from time to time, hopefully in a non preachy manner.
Jon Bap emerged on various radars around 2014 with the release of his debut Let It Happen that would introduce the Buffalo artist’s own avant-productions with the ears of the inquisitive world. Presenting the premiere of the title track “Let It Happen” plus a listen to his single “Gooder Than Before/Forced” off the upcoming Let It Happen available May 27 from Fresh Selects; Bap delivers a cycle of sunny psychedelic saved tracks rescued from a crashed drive that otherwise would not have seen the light of day.
“Let It Happen” is something of an arty psych-jazz ode to the live and let live philosophy that observes the ongoing of things through the passenger side view of happenstance. The chords strum in what sounds like warped and winding waves, that effect you get when trying to play a gnarled vinyl from the 1970s that has been sitting in the back of a hope chest in someone’s overheated car trunk for over 40 years (that yields audio returns that are more than just a little bit of surface noise). Bap’s own lyrical delivery is saved but for a sporadic moments, that furthers the kind of hands-off feel of the entire track. “Let It Happen” feels like the outcome of a late night jam session spent strumming and overdubbing light percussion on top as a way to let the events of the day settle in a soothing style of calm. The spinning notes propel the track to somewhere else, as if blown softly about the whistling air of a summery spring breeze.
“Gooder Than Before/Forced” occupies that similar terrain of dusty found grooves re-discovered like a time capsule for audiences of the future, or an obscure one off of inspiration information that Shuggie Otis might have accidentally left on the cutting room floor. Jon Bap moves in and out of chord-cranked narratives, where feelings are expressed between states of received intuition and visions. Perspectives on things being better (or in this case, gooder) than they were previously takes an enlightened path, portraying goodness happening by way of random occurrence. Heard further in Jon’s plea to “let it come naturally,” Jon Bap encourages us to a world of holistic living where things are as they are according to forces and cycles of natural orders. Read our interview with Buffalo’s one and only Jon Bap right after the following listen.
First of all, describe the kinds of thoughts and feelings that set the underlying stage for “Gooder Than Before” / “Forced”.
“Gooder Than before” is about realizing that happiness is only felt when one is in the moment, and only recognized when one is outside of that moment.
“Forced” is about getting over the realization that I was over complicating what it meant to enjoy creating art. I thought I had to “make the best thing” instead of purely enjoying my craft.
Interested in hearing about the Buffalo scene that is currently becoming the new Bushwick, or something what we understand (shout outs to Shawn of Lesionread!).
I actually don’t know much about Buffalo being the new Bushwick, I’m not really involved in the scene that much. I pretty much stay at home to make music every day…and only pop out once in a blue moon to do a show if someone asks me. But I’m not really that hip to whats going on. I do believe buffalo is up and coming though. And there are some dope artists sprouting.
Interested in hearing about the ideas and thoughts of happenstance that would contribute to the creation of Let It Happen for Fresh Selects.
Let It Happen was created for me and my girlfriend to listen to. It was made after I realized I was trying too hard to make the best album ever. I was really stuck on what the end result would be…and for about two years I was creating hella music and throwing it away because it wasn’t good enough. I ended up realizing I was taking all of the enjoyment out of creating music. So after two years of bull shitting, I decided to not care about possible reactions to my music, and just have fun making whatever I wanted. I made Let It Happen, released it on Soundcloud, then Kenny from Fresh Selects reached out and asked to re-release it. And here we are.
Describe what sorts of practices and methods and/or rituals that play a role in your own writing, recording, jamming, freestyles, etc.
Most of the songs on Let It Happen were written after I recorded a couple drum loops. I added chords to the drum loops. Then bass. Then whatever else. And then my girlfriend Marissa and I wrote the lyrics after listening to a lot of Alan Watts videos on YouTube. My music isn’t always made the same way though. Its just kinda whatever flows.
Jon Bap’s Let It Happen will be available May 27 from Fresh Selects.
Hold on to your hats and hearts as we introduce you to Boy Romeo, the new power pop outfit from Satan Wriders’ own John Steiner. Delivering the single “Ghosts”, John entertains the paranormal as an excuse to unleash an arsenal of riffs and expressions. Like the coolness & cadences of merriment brought by your jewel cases left over from the 90s (you know the ones we’re talking about, with the cracked plastic transparent covers); Boy Romeo brought the answer for all Weezer fans that wanted a bridge between their beloved 90s alternative antics and something reminiscent of the entire Stiff Records catalog. Look out for the big Boy Romeo EP debut available in early summer.
SF’s Useless Eaters recently graced us with a single that lives up to their sound & style called “Electrical Outlet” taken from their upcoming album Relaxing Death available June 3 from Castle Face Records. Useless Eaters imbibe from that herky-jerky goblet of Bay Area grace with the official John Dwyer seal of approval.
From Bronx artist Breeze Embalm’s 2015 album Embalming Fluid, we deliver the self-directed video for “Cochise” that feature BE raging against the constructs from the confines of a cluttered room. Rapping from the catacombs, Breeze brings wind of a whole kind of catharsis that involves the ringing and wrangling of discontent from the subversive zones and into the surface level crypts.
Following up their debut Eternalism, Evvol deliver a listen to their brand new Physical L.U.V that is now out in the world via !K7 Records. The Berlin-centered duo of Irish singer Julie Chance and Australia’s Jane Arnison emerge from their Kreuzberg studio with electro-moves & moods that cast towering presences and atmospheres to marvel at with a sense of digitally dazzled awe.
Montreal duo Fabrikate present some of their subdued and super-chill singles off their brand new BODIES album available now. “Good Times” begins to roll with plenty of kinetic rhythms at work, while “Atari” trades digital illusions of IRL possibilities, right before “Reach” takes you out toward the outer regions and lengths of rhyme & reason.
Performing in NYC June 6 (at The Hollows) & June 7 (at Sixty LES) watch Baby Alpaca’s fancy & fantastical video from Benji Staker & Chris Kittrell for “Can’t Find My Way Home”. Worlds of watery & gaseous elements are elevated to upper celestial heights and mythic levels of grandeur. Their new album Under Water is available now from Atlas Chair.
From her upcoming June 10 release on her own imprint Gloriette Records, Nite Jewel presents the IRL intimacies interrupted by otherworldly aspects in the Delaney Bishop-directed video for “Kiss the Screen”, found off Liquid Cool. Complete with dance routines coordinated in chic attire; daytime & dinnertime dalliances are moved from dining room to a bakery that provide all hi-art action we imagined from the visual version from one of Nite Jewel’s newest hits.
Seramic (the latest IAMSOUND signee) will play a headline London gig June 21 at The Waiting, presenting the discovered volition and big bright rising vibes on the single “Found”.
Hear Moonface and Siinai’s new single “Them Call Themselves Old Punks” taken from their album My Best Human Face available June 3 from Jagjaguwar. The corroded gate to the world of punk-dom can be heard here heralded like the rusty old guard here to remind the newest wavers who was here before.
Introducing Toronto’s Noita, aka Alina Baraz who presents her new single of place, pertinence and perspective, “Over Here”. This is the be here now for everyone living in some other moment, some other state of mind and place, instead of the here and now.
Fresh from performing at The Great Escape Festival this past week, we bring you Pyramid Tropic’s “My Destroyer” available now from Toronto imprint The Confidence Emperors. The tropical triangle fanatics issue a big bright pop sound designed to dwarf everything else resounding around in a spring/summer festival sort of setting.
Liss brings together disparate destinations illustrating adventures and late evening excitement on “Miles Apart” taken from theFirst EP available now from XL Recordings. The early morning and midnight modes of revelry and night owl attitudes come out to play like nocturnal youth congregating together beneath the dim light of the moon.
Available now, introduce yourself to Helsinki’s new rising pop star Anni and her EP Redemption Street that combines piano and string wound sensibilities with a new contemporary synthesis. In Annie’s own words on her new EP:
It’s an anthem to the future generation to be themselves and accept whatever imperfections and scars they might have in life. Once you choose to step into the path of authenticity, you walk through a mental pitch black where you are confronting everything about yourself you have been hiding and denying in order to fit in and be liked. You have to choose mercy and self-love. At the end of this dark journey, is the most awesome life you can imagine. For me, that journey was Redemption Street.
From Philadelphia’s The Dove and The Wolf, we bring you their new single “The Smell of Us” taken off their upcoming new EP I Don’t Know What To Feel. The group embraces their own animal-like instincts and desires that reach out toward one another ways the extend beyond the human experience itself.
Agar Agar present their electric & addictive new single “Prettiest Virgin” taken from the duo’s forthcoming September slated EP for Cracki Records. Lead by Clara’s vocals that are the center of Agar Agar’s synth-saturated sound; the two specialize in seductive electro-bathed sounds that inspire neon dreams for bright new tomorrows that await to be experienced.
Introducing the album Fades from Don Vail, featuring the talents of Broken Social Scene’s Mitch Bowden, with David Dunham, Bill Priddle, Bob Wilcox, & Jordon Zadorozny, Kori Pop, & Luke Bentham, all recorded at Mechanical Noise. From “Personal League” through “Sister”; the Ontario collective runs the gamut of northern electric emotions and mental musings.
G-Eazy producer Christoph Andersson is Monopol who recently delivered the paranormal perusing of the supernatural and the normal on the single “Haunting”. The rhythm & blues production style is exchanged for an ephemeral altitude that shoots for the stars while breaking through the valence spheres of the sky’s atmosphere layers & levels.
LA’s Coast Modern are currently touring with Børns and playing their debut NYC show at Terminal 5 on May 25; we present you the single “Guru” that slows it down with a skanking rhythm that seeks shamanic guidance on their life’s winding path.
Playing NYC’s Music Hall of Williamsburg June 11; don’t miss the derelict-desperado desert-drought-buster from Psychic Ills with “Inner Journey Out” available June 3 via Sacred Bones. For those that crave some of that inside sound from way out; Psychic Ills got that destitute styled twang that you need and crave.
MOURN provide some 8-bit pearls of wisdom straight out of Legend of Zelda with the track “Second Sage” taken from their new album Ha, Ha, He. available June 3 from Captured Tracks. For all vintage RPG-heads who are still looking for a lost oracle in a digital maze of pixels & JPEG sprites.
In case you missed it, go the full 360° with Still Parade as they take you to the lofty CGI worlds of interstellar glaciers, bodies of water and more via Vinyl Williams’ visuals of imagined palatial places.
Behold T.O.L.D.’s Garret Curtis’s video for “Master of the Species” off the upcoming It’s Not About The Witches available June 17 from IAMSOUND Records. Notions about conquering ones way to the top of the food chain plays out like a game of academic civics and the hopes of betterment instilled by suburban dreams.
In case you missed it, watch the red light soaked Stuart Breadner video for Scottish group The Mirror Trap’s “Piranhas” that deals with matters more frightening than fish with a big bite.
Liana Bank$ brought some statements of solitude with hopes for a little bit of that solidarity that lies in mutual human understanding on the new single “Leave Me Alone” feat. Mura Masa. This is the song you got to blare to everyone who is jumping all over your case while you just want to decompress all by yourself.
Don’t miss the experimental noise chambers & caverns of Gravity says_i’s mind opening/expanding nearly 10 minute epic, “Quantum Unknown (Riveted Eye)”. Taken off the forthcoming album Quantum Unknown available in September from Inner Ear Records; prepare thy self for a journey into what feels like the sci-fi unknown or some kind of elaborate catacombs where moody sound serves as your compass & lantern.
Brit Manor’s nu-disco is served up on the Only Child mini-album available now from Bastard Jazz. The Los Angeles singer moves in all stylistic directions, from the wild “Wheels of Eternity”, to spaced out collaborations with Kilo Kish, Def Sound, & more.
Week in Pop special guest: Homeboy Sandman
Homeboy Sandman performing at Palisades; photographed by Edwina Hay.
In our continued appreciation of Homeboy Sandman’s output, we recently had a chance to catch up with the Queens emcee to discuss the recent Stones Throw album Kindness For Weakness, his Lice collaboration with Aesop Rock, poetic conversations on the topic of God, and more. Following up recent releases from First of a Living Breed, Hallways, & more; Sandman’s Kindness sports production by K-Nite 13 who transforms tales of introspection and rap game perspectives into timeless, styling & profiling cinematic settings and scenes. Drawing from his own learned philosophical wisdom that revolves around the adage of “mistaking kindness for weakness is a weakness I need to have more kindness for;” Homeboy Sandman helps us to collectively open our eyes to have a greater empathy for both our surroundings and our own human weaknesses. Read more in our following candid interview:
Tell us about the sorts of kindness and weaknesses that informed Kindness for Weakness.
Kindnesses: forgiveness, acceptance, open-mindedness.
Weaknesses: judgment, insecurity, fear.
In what ways do you feel kindness/weakness are mutually inclusive/exclusive.
Kindness is strength.
Describe the inspirations that informed your thoughts and your track about notions of Gnosticism & a metaphysical deity on the track “God”, featured in the Dungeon Session video.
I just looked up gnosticism on Google. my song isn’t about that. God is all that I believe in. God is my safety. My security. My strength. My talent. God is the force driving my existence. My reality. My experiences. I feel this as undeniably as I feel a breeze.
Further thoughts on your recent Aesop Rock collabo Lice?
Aes is a genius. His talent blows me away. I am perpetually awed at what he’s capable of doing. the opportunity to work with him is priceless. We been rocking those songs on tour and the energy is unlike anything else I’ve ever been involved in performing.
Next big moves you got in store for the world?
“Nonbelievers”—got an ill video coming out. “Eyes” got an ill video coming out.
What’s good right in Queens?
Mets tied for first. Weather’s getting nice I know I’m missing out on a lot of legs and midsections while I’m away on tour. Miss home.
Homeboy Sandman’s Kindness for Weakness album is available now via Stones Throw Records.
Follow Homeboy Sandman on Twitter.