Week in Pop: Floam, Pleather, Sis

Sjimon Gompers

Seattle's own superstars Pleather from left—Butter & Andrew McKibben; photographed by Sofia Lee.


Insights from Manuel of Foliage; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Much has been written in this column documenting the continued dream pop narratives that make up so much of the west coast’s creative landscape. Our recent focus has been on San Bernardino’s own Foliage, otherwise known as Manuel Joseph Walker who just released the anticipated album III into the world via Z Tapes. A record that is full of influences that traverse the roads that connect the Bay, the Stockton scene, the Los Angeles bedroom pop undergrounds to the curious corners of the PNW-III exhibits the most mature & realized work to date from Walker that points to a promising future. As a fervent DIY-disciplined creative, the new Foliage album operates on a richness that alludes to what a potentially big-production future record (like IV if you will) might entail in the roads ahead.

Foliage has carefully carved a niche in the pantheon of dream-drawing pop heroes that dwell about the edges of the great Pacific. III is carried on a pursuit of the most core values & trust of the heart, mind & spirit as heard on the beautiful song of praise & adoration that is “It’s Time” and into the arms of care on “How Have You Been?”. Manuel exhibits consideration & respect for loved ones as space & time are observed with honest “Take Your Time, I Don’t Mind”, to the wistful energy of “Come Over”, observe the forks in the road that offer paths to familiar/unfamiliar directions on the meditations of “Decision”. All throughout III are paeons created to discovering a love that goes beyond the superficial & fleeting feelings for something greater as witnessed on the moving endearment of “Value”, the expressive rhyhms of “League” to the ballads of fondness & aches of absentia on “I’ll Miss You”. And even though Manuel has made a record that pushes for something greater than the surfaces of sentiments alone, the album exudes an array of emotive undertones & overtones that move the mind & soul in stirring ways of nostalgia to personal intimate reflections. Interludes are recalled in candid recounts exhibited on “The Other Day” that moves into the sunset where daydreams become evening encounters as felt on “Let’s Go Home” that ends the record on a note of hope with allusions of what expansive dreams & awakenings will follow.

“It’s Time”

The new record is entitled III and will be available worldwide via Z Tapes on April 20th, 2018, the first single is called ‘It’s Time’ and delves into the mind of Walker’s thoughts on modern romance. 2017’s “Silence” saw Manuel shedding light on an abusive relationship he was in, trying to escape soundly, all whilst stuck in a constant repeating cycle cause by his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This time around, Walker seems to be back on his feet, with a more secure head and self-worth. ‘It’s Time’ tells the story of a modern romance, from the point of view of Walker. As Walker croons through the chorus “It’s time to rehearse our goodbyes for a minute or two, I must take me away from you. Eventually we’ll die and I’ll find another just like you, just like you”, it is evident that he has truly realized self-worth, knowing nothing lasts forever, and people shall come and go.


This second single is entitled Value and is my favorite track from the new record. The track tells the story of a modern romance and not wanting to rush into things. Simply enjoying our time and friendship together as it goes, and not wanting to put any strain on us by enforcing any labels as the chorus says “Can we skip that part about falling in love with each other? I value you too much as a person to potentially hurt you”. It’s been a while since I have been in any sort of relationship, as it was for her, and the track acts as a confession of my feelings towards our time spent. “It’s too early on to tell you how I feel about you. I know you’re nervous too, it’s been a while since you’ve been out too. I know that you really like me, and I would like to, let you know that i’m into you. It’s been a long time since i’ve said that before but I mean that, how about you?

Watch the video for “The Other Day” featured off the new Foliage album III filmed & directed by David Rodriguez with editing from Manuel Joseph Walker.

Manuel Joseph Walker from Foliage shared the following insights about the single:

“The Other Day”

This song means a few things. Most importantly it’s about my trust issues. Falling in love and having a companion has its perks but has many cons that people aren’t aware of. This is me at my most vulnerable self, “When you said you missed me the other day, did you really mean that? you took my heart away..” My last record was about me going through the motions and escaping an abusive relationship I was in. Here I am, back again with a secure mind and heart, knowing true values and how I should be treated. No matter how bold I may seem to stand my ground whilst being in love, there’s a soft side in there, “If you did, it meant a lot to me. Others have said that before but it’s never struck a chord within me..”
Affection is more than sex, affection is connection & true friendship “Oh, I thought I’d let you know for sure, I liked you for who you were, not just cause you took off clothes..”

Though we may have come to an end and I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, I still cared for her and I wish her the best in her future endeavors, most importantly not rushing into things and creating false love in her own mind “Oh, I thought I’d let you know for sure, I liked you for who you were, don’t rush into your next lover” People come and go, keep your feet on the ground and remain you.

The new Foliage album III is available now from Z Tapes.

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