Week in Pop: Floam, Pleather, Sis

Sjimon Gompers

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

Reality Something

The radical revolution & relativity of Reality Something; photographed by Bridgette Aikens.


Introducing Nashville’s newest noise makers Reality Something who have resurrected the creative cadences enjoyed throughout the 90s into succinct pop tunes that feel both fresh while vaguely familiar. Comprised of Elena Franklin, Kingsley Brock, Ethan Place and Bill Grasley; the quartet fashion styles that originated from the era when the compact disc was on top of the world with songs that cycle through the distortions & abstractions that inform our daily existences. Presenting the world premiere for their title track single “Life Noise” featured off their upcoming album of the same name available May 4 courtesy of Infinity Cat—Reality Something sends us sounds that reach beyond the veneer of disaffection for a reality that bites where the feelings of whatever are infused with a sense of intimate wonder.

“Life Noise” opens with field recorded sounds of life in progress as Elena observes the absurdity and intrigue of it all with the opening lyrics life noise in my head never stops let me breathe, it’s hard enough to be myself when there’s nothing to believe, to passages like I can sleep much easier with your teeth around my neck. Life lessons are surveyed in streams of stories that develop & dissolve in searches for calm & comfort amid the cavalcade of chaos & clamor that contribute to the multi-sensory collage called life. Reality Something’s Elena, Kingsley, Ethan & Bill curate their sound to resemble scenes from throwback flicks from the 1990s to resembling cinema soundtrack sensibilities from that era that never were. The four direct with an aesthetic that recalls flannel-cloaked singles struggling & striving to figure it out in the wide world with all the components of trials, errors & accidents mixed in. Reality Something’s “Life Noise” is made to sync up with the listener’s own world in a song that is made for commutes across town to work, school, to be enjoyed in a private vehicle, on all modes of public transit & more. Through crunchy melodies & lackadaisical harmonies—Reality Something shares part of their worlds with ours that attempts to make sense of the cacophonies that surround us daily.

Entering the existential dissonance with Reality Something; photographed by Bridgette Aikens.

Reality Something’s Elena Franklin caught up with us for a chat about “Life Noise”, life, the 90s & more in the following interview feature:

Give us behind-the-band docu-style anecdotes that inspired “Life Noise” the single & record.

So last year when we had all the songs for the record almost done, I was leaving myself open for the right name for the album to come to me, because trying to force it wasn’t working. One morning I was reading and having coffee when a line from my favorite writer Patti Smith jumped out at me from the pages of Woolgathering; …leaving my post in pursuit of life noise. I knew immediately that Life Noise was the title of the record. “Life Noise” was the first song we started recording, untitled at first of course and the last one we finished. I took most of the lyrics from a page of my notebook I was writing in on a long drive in the van listening to a lot of Mysterious Universe. The life noise we added in the song and throughout the record, I got last summer at home in NYC by walking around the city for two weeks sneakily recording strangers and street noise with my iPhone like a psychopath.

What noises are you & the band really psyched about currently?

While we were making the record we listened to a lot of Blur, Smashing Pumpkins, DJ Shadow…Innervisions, that record has a LOT of life noise. 🙂 I’ve been listening to Beck again a bunch in the last couple weeks. At home we listen to a lot of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. Some bands we love out of Nashville right now are Ron Gallo, Welles and Daddy Issues.

Reality Something has a real 90s revisionist approach to aesthetics & was wondering what sorts of iconographia & records are all time favs?

All the ones you think! Nirvana, Hole, Sheryl Crow, Juliana Hatfield, Veruca Salt, Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis, Liz Phair, REM, Chris Cornell, Radiohead, Garbage, Silverchair, Pearl Jam, Blind Melon…I could go on all day. I think I’m trying to be the cool teenager I always wanted to be as a kid [laughs].

Best overlooked 90s films?

Well, I may as well take this opportunity to say that I’ve NEVER actually seen Reality Bites, despite popular opinion that that’s where the band name came from! It’s on my DVR right now actually I really just need to go ahead and watch it. BUT speaking of Winona—Girl, Interrupted is a great one and so is Mermaids—Cher! Rules of Attraction has also been on my mind lately, that one maaay be early 2000s, cause I took lots of inspiration from that really great Eurotrip montage for the background footage of our music video for “Life Noise”.

Most overrated 90s films?

Eh, there’s some, but I feel like anything I say would just make people who like those movies feel bad, soooo I’m just gonna go ahead and name all the BEST 90s movies ever instead? Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura (1 AND 2), Austin Powers, You’ve Got Mail, Practical Magic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, um Titanic, Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, Goodfellas, every Tim Burton movie, Friday, Next Friday, Friday After Next, Home Alone(s), Basketball Diaries, A League of Their Own, Pulp Fiction, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Dazed and Confused, Almost Famous, Trainspotting, The Big Lebowski, Fight Club, Forrest Gump, Thelma and Louise, [laughs] the bessssst.

Summer objectives?

I can’t wait to get back to writing music with the band, we’ve been taking a little break from doing anything new as we prepare for this record cycle but we’re all ready to get back into the studio for sure. I’m also going to Montana this summer for the first time! I am going to read a lot of Sam Shepard and Kerouac, put my phone away and be a cowboy for a min.

Current creative inspirations?

I had my first art show last November, and I definitely want to have another one hopefully this year. I also have been printing my own little poetry books for a few years, usually a new one with each music release, but I would love to actually have a book published for real one day. 🙂

Any parting mantras or wisdom to impart?

Do something every day that makes you feel like you’re expressing your solitary identity!

Reality Something’s album Life Noise will be available May 4 courtesy of Infinity Cat.

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