Week in Pop: DTCV, Iris Lune, The Naturalists

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In the pushes for justice and peace in the ever growing united police states of the world, our dearest thoughts are with Baltimore [& Nepal] right now, and everywhere where injustice, and tragedies strike. With these realities and more heavy in our hearts, Impose’s Week in Pop brings you a few of the week’s biggest exclusives, with a handful of pop culture headlines you may have missed. This week, Earl Sweatshirt dropped the 10 minute cut, “Solace”; Hova responded to critics, and tweeted the state of Tidal, Grimes also weighed in via Instagram over the Tidal discussion; while we heard Nas is reportedly releasing a new album this summer, following up 2012’s Life is Good; Michael Gira announced that Swans will be recording a new album in September; while Instagram continues to expand their brand into the social binary spheres with their own music channel called, @Music; Killer Mike talked at MIT; NNA Tapes has a showcase Sunday, May 3 at Waking Windows Festival in Winooksi, Vermont; a brand new 12″ featuring Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry is available only by barter system, according to XL Recordings boss Richard Russell; Lorde’s co-songwriter Joel Little signaled the possibility of “new things” on the second album; Waka Flocka Flame singled out Atlantic Records for holding back his anticipated album, Flockaveli 2, and still might be running for president in 2016; there is also a Jesu and Sun Kil Moon collaborative album is in the works; Weezy’s tour bus got hit with gunfire in Atlanta; Refused return with the upcoming Freedom LP; we got a Kanye West x Taylor Swift collaboration update; Billy Corgan announced on Twitter that he has signed on full time with TNA Wrestling; Black Sabbath has a farewell tour and new album album all in the works; Grooveshark is shutting down; while we continue to hope that Joni Mitchell gets well soon, and we mourn the loss of Ben E. King.

Leading us toward a better tomorrow, it’s our pleasure and privilege to bring the following exclusives and interviews from DTCV, The Naturalists, Such Hounds, Brooks Brown, Can’t Dance, Cusses, Iris Lune, Superheaven, The Use, featuring guest selections by Sadie Dupuis, and more — in no particular order.


DTCV, photographed by Robert Sobul.
DTCV, photographed by Robert Sobul.

DTCV’s Guylaine Vivarat, and James Greer (aliases Vivarock and Fiat Lux), premiere the NWR video for, “Radio Drive”, that takes you on a road trip vacation to Las Vegas. Found off their new album, Uptime!, available from Unsatisfied Records, and Lolipop Records; Guylaine and James continue to their free-spirit, righteous, rock and roll spree that follows Hilarious Heaven, singles comp The Early Year, However Strange, and other assorted projects of stage and screen. With a name properly pronounced, ‘detective;’ the Franco-American duo entertains a renaissance like a new millennial kind of nouvelle vague where the world and arts are enjoyed as if lived within a moving series of photographs, portraits, and pop art tales.

“Radio Drive” turns the dial around to a sound that treats the chord progressions from Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On” into a sub-genre of it’s own. DTCV’s James Greer keeps the that guitar rhythm riding on a frenzy of feedback and squalling chords to create the emulation of a fired up 12-cylinder engine block. Guylaine Vivarat serenades the joy ride that is “Radio Drive”, a generous contribution to the canon of ‘get up, and go places’ style of road warrior journey/tour songs. The NWR video features time elapsed footage of tunnels, freeways, performances, and idle moments put to different film speeds, and screen filter saturations. The destination for the highway hopping “Radio Drive” visual finds the DTCV duo enjoying the plush digs of Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, surrounded by all the fancy amenities, schmaltzy attractions, and water closet considerations courtesy of the finest sin city offers. Ultimately, “Radio Drive” is the reminder that 2015’s endless summer is still just around the corner, and DTCV provides you with a little vacation window in just two minutes and fourteen seconds time. Following the video debut, read our interview with Guylaine and James, after the jump.

Tell us some of your favorite moments in the making of Uptime! for Unsatisfied Records.

Guylaine: Having our friend Claire McKeown and her Honey Child choir come in to do vocals on “California Girl” was special. I was also very excited to record one of my favorite Clash songs, “Stay Free”, and learn the bass line. But mostly, recording songs we had never played before and hearing them come to life in the studio. That’s when I realized my song “Miley Cyrus Wins the Race” was actually good.

Jim: We like recording quickly and I think we finished basics and overdubs in four or five days. I thought the guitar sounds on this record were really good, and that I played a little better than usual. And Guylaine’s vocals are amazing. I’m in awe of the way she can layer harmonies, and just, you know, sing. Wish I could do that.

DTCV, photographed by Robert Sobul.
DTCV, photographed by Robert Sobul.

What are some of the keener happenings going on between Joshua Tree and LA these days that you all are fascinated by?

Jim: I saw a coachwhip snake a couple weeks ago.

Guylaine: We hide and complain about most of them but there are a couple events in the area that we are actually excited about. One of them is Deserted at the Palms on May 30. Good people, good bands, good times. Three very rare things these days.

“Radio Drive” sounds like an invigorating round trip cassette trip unto itself. What are some of touring, road trip tape, CD, mp3, album essentials for team DTCV?

Jim: I’ve been listening to Kendrick Lamar’s new record, which is brilliant. I like an Austin band called Spray Paint a lot. On the radio when we’re not on tour all you can really get on the drive from JT to LA is classic rock, which means I’m listening to a lot of Zeppelin, Stones, and The Who, which I think is obvious when you hear our music.

Guylaine: I would be stoked if people put it on their road trip mix! We listen to satellite radio a lot on tour, and also to records bands give us when we play with them. My current playlist includes Bouquet, Alvvays, Waxahatchee, Metz, Odd Future and Madlib’s entire discography.

DTCV's Guylaine Vivarat, photographed by Robert Sobul.
DTCV’s Guylaine Vivarat, photographed by Robert Sobul.

Summer plans for DTCV?

Guylaine: Record more stuff, make my own ginger beer, run around the Alps barefoot and hang out with the jack rabbits in Joshua Tree. Also Lolipop Records put out Uptime! on cassette and I think they’re going to release our tour documentary on VHS too, so I am excited about that.

Jim: We might play some shows in June, we might tour Europe in August and then in the fall we’re definitely going to tour the US a lot more. We just finished a US tour and — despite the fact I got pneumonia at the end — it was really fun. We had Ben from HEALTH playing drums with us and Michelle Vidal playing bass. I would love to tour with those guys again but I think HEALTH is going to be pretty busy for a while. So I guess: find a drummer?

DTCV’s new album, Uptime! is available now on multi-colored vinyl from Unsatisfied Records, on cassette and limited edition VHS Tape from Lolipop Records, along with a recent repressing of 2012’s double LP, Hilarious Heaven.

Iris Lune

Iris Lune, photographed by Pamela Hersch.
Iris Lune, photographed by Pamela Hersch.

Brooklyn’s Iris Lune play NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall next Friday, May 8, and premiere the illustrious dearly held expressions, “Triplets”. Painting with song the feel of heart beats that skip across lakes and oceans like pebbles and stones; frontwoman Ella Joy Meir, guitarist Asher Kurtz, bassist/keyboardist Aaron Liao, percussionist Angelo Spampinato. The musical realm of Iris Lune moves in subtle, mystical manners like the way the early mornings gradually bloom into the sun beam streaked colors, and motions that make up the activity and kinetic energy of the rising new day. Ella and the band uncover those hidden places of thought, conveying the feeling of candid moments enjoyed in a cozy corner of a breakfast nook, while gazing out the window, while thoughts, and feelings wash over the senses.

“Triplets” begins with samples of Ella’s voice edited in cuts of lo-fi echoes that slowly streak across the sustained synth foundation. Keyboard notes become more distinguishable, as Ella cues Angelo’s light rumbling drums, and Aaron’s heart beat style bass with heart beat alliterations that take flight further on Asher’s tranquil waterfall like chords. The nature of the outside world and the natures shared between people are connected through skipped beats of extra care. The sensations shared between others and the world is magnified and tripled by Iris Lune, where the most subtle inkling, thought, passing reflection, and/or observance is felt at three times the intensity. Ella provided us with a behind the scenes look at the group’s approaches to song composition, and more insights into the methods, and word of Iris Lune — immediately after the following debut of, “Triplets”.

What prompted the beginning of Iris Lune for you?

In a way, Iris Lune began when I wrote my first full song. I was 19 and hadn’t been able to complete a song I was satisfied with until that point. That first song poured out of me, fully formed, with no restraints. From then on, I worked with a bunch of people throughout the years trying to solidify my sound, but was never 100 percent convinced that I’d found it. When I met guitarist and composer Asher Kurtz back in Boston, I knew I’d found a true collaborator, someone I could get lost with musically, but always know where home was. We’re both into free improvisation and quirky sounds, and we would play for hours, letting the music resonate within and between us, always intrigued by what we would come up with. The collaboration quickly turned into an amazing friendship, and pretty soon we began to work on writing some songs together. I remember Asher told me at one point that if I ever start a band he’d love to be a part of it and help me realize my vision. I really wanted to work with a dedicated group of people that would turn my songs into what they were meant to be. And so, we started Iris Lune. Asher brought in Aaron, on bass, who was a huge part from the beginning. We’ve worked with a few drummers in the past that helped to develop our sound including Tim Merle, and JP Bouvet. JP was actually the drummer on our EP and contributed a lot to the recording process. Angelo, on drums, is our most recent member but his impact on the sound has been enormous. We also had a fifth member (Ran Gil) on keys who was a huge part of the band’s sound. We had a great time working with these guys, and they all left their mark. Producer Dalton Harts, who worked with us on the EP, was amazing and helped us craft and fine-tune our vision.

Moved by the heart beat skipping, subdued spheres of “Triplets”. What sort of heart stealing episodes and inspirations informed this song for you?

I remember when I wrote this song. It was my first fall in the U.S., and I was sitting in my Boston apartment, writing the lyrics. This was one of the first songs where I initially wrote the lyrics, since I usually start with the music. I don’t remember any episode in particular that sparked the writing, but in general, I was feeling kind of disconnected at the time. I was away from almost anything familiar, and it was as if someone tore the ground beneath me and replaced it with a foreign landscape. Things were pretty lonely, and I was longing to reach out for something that would sweep me off my feet and take me by storm. I was craving for something I couldn’t quite articulate, and when I finished writing the song it was as if I found it, even for a brief moment.

How do you describe your own perspectives, and approaches to song writing, and composition?

I’m a slow processor. Things usually build inside of me for a while, stirring and growing until they’re ready to come out. It can be a few days or even months until it feels complete, but when it feels ripe and I’m ready to put it on paper, the whole song can be done within the hour. I draw inspiration from everything. It’s funny how certain things will sink in and build a nest in your mind, and then surprise you by appearing from around the corner. I see songwriting as the experience of being a shape shifter, readjusting according to whatever’s inside of you, and you don’t get to choose what to write about. The songs choose you and you just have to direct them, using any kind of tool you want or have. I used to write songs on piano or guitar, but ever since I discovered sampling and synthesis I mostly start with sounds. I’m always looking for new ways to trigger my inspiration and to tap into new colors. I was born and raised in Israel, so a lot of my musical roots come from Middle Eastern and Israeli folk music and culture. I also think that the way I phrase things can be a bit ‘crooked’ and my perspective on the language is different because English isn’t my first language. Interestingly, when I first started writing songs, I could only write in English. I’m in love with the Hebrew language, but it always felt too bare and poetic to me. It’s weighted by so many years of ancient history, and I was afraid to touch it. I would write poetry in Hebrew, but felt strange writing songs in it. Eventually, I did compose several songs in my native language, but it was a long process. Now, I mostly write in English again and leave Hebrew for the poets.

In a way, in Iris Lune, we all become the composers, even though I’m the primary songwriter. Exploring the mixture of electronic and acoustic sounds often guides us in the compositional/arranging process. For example, if we’re stuck on a song, we’ll try approaching it from different angles. I might have a melodic idea, but Angelo sometimes will come up with some awesome drum programming that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of, and by the time Asher adds a guitar part, the song has taken on an entirely new direction, which is exciting. It’s also really important to us to think big picture about the emotion we want to convey, and we’re not shy about drawing comparisons from areas outside music. We keep it fun. For example, Aaron, our bass player has an obsession with spicy food and will often say things like, ‘chorus needs more sauce,’ or ‘guitar part is too salty.’ He also tends to reference movie scenes and translates that emotion into the music. Somehow, Hayao Miyazaki has become a big part of our rehearsals. Asher and Angelo have been roommates and friends for so long that they have invented their own language by now. It sounds silly, but maintaining that balance and humor is a big part of what helps us hold it together and remain adventurous.

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What other recordings, and releases do you all have in store?

We’re planning to release a video for ‘Triplets’ in a few weeks. We’ll be releasing another single in the summer, and then drop the EP in late summer.

Some other Brooklyn indie artists and groups that you all are really into right now?
There are so many awesome bands in Brooklyn alone. Bent Knee has one of the best live performances I’ve seen around (they’re actually based in Boston- Providence, but perform a lot in NYC.) Some of our favorite local acts include HANAH, Tiny Hazard, Nadia Washington, Star Rover and many more. It’s truly inspiring to be part of such an amazing community of hard-working artists.

Spring/summer plans for Iris Lune?

We just came back from a quick mini tour in the Baltimore-DC area, which was a lot of fun. Apart from the releases, we’re planning to have a few NYC shows and are going on an east coast tour in August. Our next show is next Friday (5/8) at Rockwood 1, at 7pm. I’m joining the other guys in New York in a few months, so right now, I’m focused on making the move from Boston as smooth as possible. Aside from playing and writing together, we’re all looking forward to hiking, meditating, swimming and trying new hot sauces.

Catch Iris Lune in NYC, May 8 at Rockwood Music Hall.

The Naturalists

Keeping it natural with, The Naturalists, photographed by Drew Lazelle.
Keeping it natural with, The Naturalists, photographed by Drew Lazelle.

Buffalo, NY’s The Naturalists premiere their biggest single to date with, “Slip”, from their upcoming debut EP, Home Honey, I’m Hi. Blazing with all the fireworks of the most epic So. Cal style stoner jams; transgressive recollections, and shoulder shrugging lamentations are mixed together for a concoction that creates anthems for the energy felt during the throes of the messiest break ups, to pissed up antics on stage, or out on the town. Having delivered a the recent singles, “Strange“, “Hypoxia“; “Slip” finds the trio of twin brothers, Craig and Travis Perno with Zach Russell making their strongest, sturdiest, and biggest alt rock statement to date. While the previous found the group working to crystallize a some what alienated outsider voice, “Slip” is The Naturalists’ flying their own freak flag, in an honest song about short comings, while delivering a fervent, slacker—but self-devout rooted sound. The Naturalists here fully embrace their own oddness, strangeness, and deliver something of a brutal, but cool kind of confidence in the process.

Recorded by Paul Besch at Quiet County Audio, The Naturalists are heard here as a new force, and almost a completely different band than heard on previous singles. The bigger production allows every chord, note, and glorious chorus burst of distortion to be heard in the highest definition possibly, designed to be played as loud as possible. On “Slip”, The Naturalists take you to that moment when the end game of a relationship begins it’s commencement with the breakdown of communication, confusion, and clouds of cluelessness illustrated in lyrics like, “show me how to figure it out, or to shout it out lout,” to the distancing stances and mind games expressed in the lines of, “even when I slip away, every time we play that game”. The guitars glows from the benefit of perfecting the grunge and alternative formulas of yesterday for a new uncorked potency where the quiet/loud proportions unleash a ferocity that words themselves cannot contained, that are belied by the brutal self-awareness in the key chorus closing remark, “I’m neurotic, and I’ll never have a clue.” After the debut of “Slip”, read our exclusive interview session with The Naturalists.

Walk us down the cobble stones and single stair steps from July 2014’s “Hypoxia”, followed by, “Strange”, to “Slip”, and the process of making your first EP, via Honey I’m Hi.

“Hypoxia” in 2014 was like dipping our toes in the water. It was really one of the first songs we had written as a band. With “Strange” we were kind of wading around in the shallow end and got our bearings. But with “Slip” we dove headfirst into the deep end. After that song I think we established the style we were looking for and the rest of the EP just kind of fell into place. We we’re riding a creative high and Paul Besch from Quiet Country Audio helmed that whole process.

Any favorite stories, anecdotes, and/or fond memories from recording the EP at Quiet County Audio with Paul Besch?

Paul Besch is the next Dave Sardy or Butch Vig. The only thing that would stop him is if he comes up with a Fortune 500 company from being on Shark Tank and buys his own private island. He was absolutely in tune with what we wanted for this record and pushed us to make it as good as possible. We’re musical soul-mates. He’s grown to be a really good friend of ours.

Out on the town with, The Naturalists, photograph by Abram Thompson.
Out on the town with, The Naturalists, photograph by Abram Thompson.

As brothers and friends, how did the three of you start The Naturalists?

We really only started this band because I was going crazy, bouncing off the walls. I had a book full of songs, but no band to do anything with. Trav and I have always played music together growing up and being twin brothers, it only made sense for him to play drums. So Travis suggested we get Zach to play Bass and it ended up being a perfect fit. All of this happened sometime in 2014.

What have your recent tours taught the three of you as a band, and as a team?

Our recent tours have taught us that our bass player Zach Russell (who is 6′ 5″) is too tall for tour vans. We’ve considered strapping him on top so everyone has more room. No, but seriously. The tour van with the big hairy guy on top, that’s us.

Having weathered the storm that had gripped the entire east coast, what are the three of you looking forward to for summer, 2015?

We have a couple tours and some cool shows planned this summer around the North East along with the release of this EP “Home Honey, I’m Hi” on July 28th. We’re also pretty excited to get going with some BBQ’s during the summer. Thankfully the snow is finally gone in Buffalo.

With Buffalo rapidly becoming the next ‘it’ DIY hub, what local artists and groups do you all want to give shout outs to?

Buffalo’s got it going on. It’s hard to cover everybody but some acts that definitely deserve some shouts are Bearhunter, Zealot and M.A.G.S. There’s talent spewing out of the faucet in Buffalo.

Brooks Brown

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Heard recently on the big sparkling diamond pop of “Sidetracked” ft. Madi Walsh, remixing Dreezy’s “The Motion”, and more; Tulsa by Leawood, Kansas producer, Brooks Brown has been building big bright pop tracks at just 17 years of age. But even without being old enough to vote yet, Brown elects an approach of attention toward the frequency by which the synths are heard and understood in rhythmic relation to the percussion and melodic progression sections. On the premiere of Brooks Brown’s “Awake”, the synthesizers spin and flash that whir in a wash of sound that is unlike the sound your voice makes when broken up by a portable cooling fan. Found off the upcoming Sidetracked EP available May 12; Brooks provides an outlet of escapist productions to enlighten your world with necessary diversions.

On the debut of “Awake”, the synths set the scene of a new day as the programmed percussion sparsely mimics the waking process of rhythms that gradually collect themselves together. From here, one set of synthesizers begin waving across the rolling hills, and valleys of worlds manifested by sound, as the drum beat finds it’s own steady and solid set groove. Brooks Brown on “Awake” creates the kind of conscious lifting instrumental track narrative that is carried by the heat rising, sleepy melodies that move upward like the effects of evaporating morning dew, and aftermaths of spring showers. The sequencing simulates the beginning, middle, and end of a day while harmonic keys provide soundtracks for an infinite array of possible poetic narratives to take place on a rich canvas of sound. Right after the following premiere of “Awake”, Brooks joins us for a round of conversation.

How have the environments and influences from your experiences in both Tulsa, Oklahoma and Leawood, Kansas impacted your musical vision?

The Kansas City area has definitely had the most impact on my musical vision. I haven’t been involved as much in Tulsa, considering I’m not down there as much as I used to be. The network of students at my high school and the people in the KC music scene have been so supportive of all my endeavors, and it’s been incredible to see how they’ve pushed me to grow as an artist. I have also felt that the scene here is an under-appreciated and underrated one, considering the amount of work and dedication I’ve seen out of so many individuals. It’s a very forward-thinking community of people that put each other on whenever possible and I’m so proud to represent such a close-knit scene of visionaries.

How did you get involved in this kind of deep electro dimensions of production, as heard on the single “Awake”?

My production over the past two years has been constantly evolving, and right now, I’m really into this kind of groovy, filtered-down vibe that some dudes are adopting. The melodies and progressions of my production have always been a main focus of mine, so that I think those ‘dimensions’ come from layered synths and leads. I got really interested in this style listening to dudes like Carmack and Mura Masa; they manipulate sounds in a really simple yet soulful way that is just contagious, and I’ve been trying to portray that same feeling. I like “Awake” because it stands out from the rest of the tunes. Its complexity lies not in the arrangement or drum patterns, but in the various melodies/harmonies.

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Tell us about what the process of creating the Sidetracked EP was like for you.

The whole idea of an EP was at the forefront of my mind in January of this year. I had been really wanting to do an official release and make a point to create a collection of tunes that were cohesive and consistent. I had already been working on the title track, Sidetracked, with an amazingly talented vocalist and producer I had met at GRAMMY Camp that past year, Madi Walsh. We began work on that track in like September of 2014, and we’d been sitting on it until the idea for an EP came about. So, naturally, I thought that the production and musicality of Sidetracked would be a perfect platform for a full-fledged release. The other three tunes came about in February and early March, and the project has come together nicely in the past month.

What would you like to create as a follow up to Sidetracked?

I am going to make a point to start singing on my tunes more. Also, Madi and I have other tracks in the works, so be on the lookout for some more Brooks Brown x Madi Walsh action. As always, I want to improve my productions both technically and musically as well; I really aspire to reach that level of quality in which people are not only led to click a ‘like’ or ‘repost’ button, but to share the music with their peers.

Brooks Brown’s Sidetracked EP will be available May 12.


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Michael Durek and TheUse play May 16 at NYC’s Nola, Darling with Collapsible Shoulder (featuring Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), diNMachine, with Black Saturn from Virginia bringing lo-fi verses. Embarking on a three week Europe tour afterwards, hear The Use twisting and warping around your conceptions of deconstructed electro pop radio, with the world premiere of their re-twerked remix of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball”.

The destructive forces of the weight swinging, exhibitionism original get cast into the abstract EDM veins of binary conformity-deformity concoctions. The doctored auto-tuned elements of Miley’s orginal are re-explored, and re-developed utilizing new treatments and digital filter trials that provide different octave /tone/note shifts and changes. The alterations treat the single and the ubiquitous video as a plain canvas for a cavalcade of creative fun, where Ms. Cyrus’s delivery is transformed into more of an electronically addled Rihanna style rendering.

Michael Durek wrote us the following on the about the remix, the upcoming show at Nola, Darling and Euro tour:

After the success of his Lumineers “Morning Song” Remix, theUse (Alrealon Musique) takes Miley’s Wrecking Ball and tears it to pieces. “I dug that track the first time I heard it, but always wanted to make it faster and a little more wicked, but still head-bobable” Durek writes. The idea was spawned by a “Bootleg Remix” sound-set that his fellow producer Isaac Cotec (aka Subaqueous) had asked him to try out. Durek used many of Cotec’s instruments when creating the remix.

What’s more – while Durek is no stranger to touring Europe ( having played there many times with the Pas Musique) it’ll be his first time going as theUse, sharing bills with X:Navi-et, Brandstifter, Diatopa, Inox Kapelle, Ghyp:See and many more.

You can catch the kick off show on May 16th in Manhattan at Nola, Darling ( 161 W 22nd St) presented by MIXT. In addition to theUse, it looks to be stellar lineup featuring diNMachine who is working on a new record, Chris Cochrane’s Collapsible Shoulder (feat Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Black Saturn, Visuals from Vj Mamiko Kushida (Japan) & Jim Tuite, and yellow baked goods from Lindsay.

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Such Hounds

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Feels like only yesterday we were talking with Such Hounds’ Matt Martin about their 2013 EP, I Hate Summer from The Sleepover Party, and today we give you a listen to the ‘Hounds’ new single, “Drink To Sleep”, to warm away the remnants from the winter’s cold spells.

On “Drink To Sleep”, Such Hounds break through the bleakness, and denseness of tough times, and constricting times, and tries to have an honest good time. The reflective nature begins the song in a conversational lile lyrical mode, until the tones and sentiments of conflicted longings kick in, and the feeling is reflected by the entire band’s delivery. The aches and pains have Such Hounds howling at a hopeful moon, as the chords strike louder, and harder than the last, as by the single’s end you actually feel as if you have closed down the bar, and must flag a cab, Lyft, Uber, or whatever home. We had the pleasure of catching up with Matt Martin, right after the jump.

With spring upon us, tell me how you and Such Hounds survived this helluva winter?

I’m not really sure how we do it at this point, there’s a lot of drinking to keep warm and speed time up. It gets harder each year, but we just keep our heads down and blast through the cold keeping our eyes on the prize. We know that there’s the promise of warm days ahead and that helps distract us and eventually forget that the whole winter thing ever happened.

What’s been the latest and greatest with you guys since we last talked, circa the release of your I Hate Summer EP?

After I Hate Summer we spent a lot of time writing and at went in and recorded a record with Kevin McMahon at Marcarta Studios (Titus Andronicus, Real Estate, Swans) towards the end of last summer. Kevin’s got a big old barn that he has converted into this really amazing studio space that invokes all sorts of weird vibes, in a good way. We spent two weekends up there recording live which we’ve never done before and that gave us a whole new perspective on how we write and track our songs. It was a really rad experience for us and something we needed to do as a band. The two songs on the 7″ are a taste of what came from those sessions.

Tell us the stories behind the songs, “Drink To Sleep”, and “Those Lies” from your upcoming 7″.

Funny you ask…”Drink to Sleep” was written toward the end of last Winter. I sat down with Ross, our drummer, and we thought about how frustrated and stagnant we were feeling after such a long winter and the lyrics kind of just came to fruition through that. We had just went through that ridiculous polar vortex and everyone was super bummed out. I guess the underlying theme is similar to what I mentioned before about breaking through all that denseness and trying to remember what it’s like to have a good time.

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“Those lies” is a bit different. It’s a love story about my friends and this period we all went through when we were pretty self-destructive. It’s about those mornings when you wake up with a bunch of regrets but never own up to them. They cycle perpetuates itself and leaves you pretty empty inside.

What do you feel has evolved about the way you and the band flesh out your songs? I feel like the passion, productions, and arrangements have been turned way the hell up.

I think working with Kevin McMahon really took our music to the next level. He was able to translate our music in a way we never could when we were recording everything ourselves. We tracked the songs live which helped us capture an energy that had been missing from our records and we also spent a lot of time really digging in and hashing out lyrics to create a deeper connection with the tracks. We’ve been playing together for a while and have become a tighter unit, the pieces are just fitting together in a way that makes more sense now.

I know you all are admittedly not fans of summer, so I want to know how you and Such Hounds plan on conquering/surviving summer 2015?

At this point I don’t think we can actually say we hate summer. That was more of a tongue and cheek statement on getting older and being uncomfortable with some of the feelings that come along with that. Summer is this symbol of youth and frivolity and when you start to feel some of the greater responsibilities of life you begin to resent what it stands for because things just don’t feel the same any more. That said, we plan on having a great fucking time this summer. Our new album with all of the tracks from our session with Kevin will come out around that time too. We’re excited to get them out there.

Who else from NYC have you been playing on a loop lately?

We really love this band called Heaven’s Jail. We connected late last year trading music via emails and they have become good buds of ours. They’re making timeless rock songs with super evocative lyrics and everyone in the band is an amazing player. We have a lot of respect for those dudes.

Other artists that deserve to be listened to that have been tragically overlooked?

I’m not sure if they are overlooked at this point but people should check out the band Left & Right. They are a bunch of dudes from Philly via Virginia and they fucking shred. Their super loud and emotive and teaming with nostalgia filled hooks. For us it doesn’t get much better than that.

Lessons that 2015 has taught you all so far?

2015 has taught me to be patient. I know it’s a cliché, but it truly pays off sometimes so I’m really working on that especially when It comes to putting out new music. I think the rest of the hounds would also agree that they appreciate my new found patience.


cusses week in pop 1

On June 2, Savannah, Georgia’s Cusses release their, Here Comes The Rat, via their imprint, HA! Records, featuring a taste of their forthcoming album, Golden Rat. Delivering the title cut from that very upcoming album, Angel Bond vocal’s lead the aggressive ambush along with bandmates Brian Lackey, and Bryan Harder; propping up all very constructs and notions surrounding the rock and roll artifice — as quick as they seem ready to tear the whole thing down. Let Cusses swear your cares away into the enthralled outer-regions of oblivion.

Over an exchange of emails, Angel provided us with some candid words about the “Golden Rat” single, the upcoming EP and LP, and more:

Golden rat is a rock song of memory. It is a eulogy of the drummer, [Brian Lackey’s] mother that died quickly. It came out so fast and with force. The EP is basically a introduction of that force.

Death happened between each member in some shape and form during this recording, so we harvested it and the outcome is a rock funeral of sorts. Inside the full album are songs we made right when we formed, all the way to days before recording. Some songs happen so fast, who knows what they are really about, sometimes it’s just rocking out instead of sitting in the room with the psychiatrist.


Superheaven, photographed by Andy Schwarz.
Superheaven, photographed by Andy Schwarz.

Superheaven (formerly known as Daylight), release their new album, Ours Is Chrome, May 4 via SideOneDummy, and we bring you an advance listen, followed by an interview with Taylor Madison. Following up 2014’s Jar LP, the band begins Ours with the boredom confessional, “I’ve Been Bored”, the ennui stream of consciousness power chord mania, “Next To Nothing”, to the alternative anthem for boarded up old bedrooms of, “Room”.

Keeping the entire album of Chrome polished; producer Will Yip assists the Philadelphia band’s vision in dropping a series of power charged hooks sprawling throughout the album like “Leach”, keeping the guitars moving steadily on the upswing on songs like, “Downswing”, slightly slowing into the sledge of, “Blur”, before “Gushin’ Blood” busts open more bright guitar pop blisters. Visceral imagery and cathartic metaphors abound everywhere like on, “Dig Into Me”, taking the tempo a little slower on the sentiment strewn, “From The Chest Down”, before departing with the album closer of open hearted understanding, “Poor Aileen”. Following the listen to Superheaven’s Ours Is Chrome; check out our interview Taylor immediately afterward.

Always wondered, what prompted the name shift from Daylight to Superheaven for you all?

I mean, it was a year ago, at this point. It was a legal issue. Another band owned the rights to the name, so we had to change it. It was a pain in the ass.

From your span of something like four EPs to your first album, to Ours is Chrome; what do you feel has defined Superheaven at this point in your collective pursuits?

I don’t know if we’ve been defined by anything, but I guess when people think of us, they probably think of a loud rock band, and that’s cool to me. Most of the bands I like are loud rock bands, so I’d rather be associated with that than anything else.

Superheaven, photographed by Alvin Carrillo.
Superheaven, photographed by Alvin Carrillo.

What’s the key to that ultra cool power chord hook heaven thrill sound that you all do?

I don’t know. We barely know how to play our guitars, so I guess we just mess around until we play stuff we like. I don’t think there’s a real formula to it. We just write what we know, I guess.

Can you give us any insider vision into what the making of Ours is Chrome was like?

It was fun, but at times pretty stressful. I personally hate recording, but recording a record with Will Yip is about as painless as the process can be, in my opinion. He’s a good friend of ours, so while I don’t actually like recording, I do enjoy hanging out at Studio 4 and eating food all day.

Fellow local Philadelphia area artists and bands that everyone should be listening to on repeat, right now?

I don’t know of many other bands in the area. I mean, I know they exist, but I don’t know much about them. There’s a new band from Wilkes Barre that a few of our friends started, called Westpoint. They’re playing our record release show in Philly on 6/21, and they’re great. They just put out a 7” called ‘Dive’ on Triple B Records.

Superheaven’s Ours Is Chrome, May 4 via SideOneDummy.

Can’t Dance

cant dance week in pop 1

Back in 2013 we introduced you to the Pittsburgh trio Can’t Dance with their debut EP, Comfortably Dumb, and this week we have been thoroughly enjoying their incredible lead track, “Ghost of 1976”, from their upcoming, Hearsay EP. “Ghost” is more than that specter of the late punked up 70s, but it’s the love ballad to every DIY, doing everything right, while sounding like they everyone is barely even trying. This is the key to the Can’t Dance’s latest directions, where they unleash a really terse series of every succinct, o.g. CBGBs dreaming power punk trick in the book at you; with no mercy provided.

Can’t Dance’s Garrett McKee and Jordan Gorsuch wrote us the following on what informed, “Ghost of 1976”, and also shed some light on the making of the forthcoming, Hearsay EP.

On Ghost of 1976:

Garrett: I was listening to a lot of beachy stuff at the time when I wrote it. I’m always struggling with the idea of being a surf-rock band. One day I’m fine with our sound, then the next I’m like, ‘okay we gotta make this way more beachy!’ As for the meaning, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Sort of a heartbreak song I guess. It’s also kind of about shitty people in general. How you can put all of this effort towards a relationship and then sometimes you just get nothing back.

On Hearsay EP:

Jordan: I feel like ‘Ghost of 1976’ is sort of an encapsulation of the whole EP. The lyrics have some more mature themes this time around, and all of the instruments are more fleshed out. Hearsay feels like a leaner, more concise representation of the music we’re trying to make.

Garrett: It’s a pretty good mix of songs I think. Some are newer for us, and some were written a long time ago. To me the songs sound a little more mature and are structured better. It was also a little more of a collaborative effort compared to our first EP, and I think the songs reflect that. Self-producing your own music is very rewarding, but man is it a pain in the butt! I went through so many different mixes and was getting really stressed out over it. But it’s definitely the best sound we’ve gotten with our music so far so I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out. And of course there are some mistakes, but we’re still learning.

Can’t Dance’s new EP will be available May 5 via Bandcamp.

From their upcoming album, The Wild Animals In My Life, available June 2 from Iron Lung Records; San Francisco indie survivors Flesh World (comprised of personnel from Brilliant Colors, and Limp Wrist) dropped the single, “Poolside Boys”, for a spring break feeling and fever to rock all summer long. Matching the current heat waved being enjoyed among various micro-climates in the Bay Area; Flesh World’s “Poolside Boys” paints a beautiful, sophisticated, and sensual portrait with ultra pop hooks on blast, and a enough trash and thrash distortion to keep the entire affair encrusted in diamonds — along with a dangerous degree of utter filth.

Hear Porcelain Raft’s conscious waking, and cranium nodding cut, “All In My Head”, from the upcoming Half Awake EP, available June 2 from Volcanic Field. For those that have been following Mauro Remiddi’s work over the recent years, the Italy by LA artist celebrates a sound carved from from the craft works from his studio in Highland Park where he has made handmade linoleum prints to accompany the cassette of his EP. On tour from June 22 through July 11; Porcelain Raft continues to make voyage into more evocations of feelings that few other groups, artists, and sounds have ever before elicited.

Hear the bass and luxury centered vibe of the András Fox moods created for the remix of Yumi Zouma’s “Catastrophe”, off their recent Cascine release,EP II. The secluded stems of counted measures are put to know dream-worked and welled patterns that provide a pensive, and fear assuaging head space to be enjoyed during the most stressed out of days. Catch the Yumis on their current tour of New Zealand and the States, running through August 1.

Featured on the upcoming OIM Records compilation available June 23; hear Waterstrider’s new single, “Frayed”, produced by the label’s own Jeff Saltzman. The upfull swing of “Frayed” features Nate Salman’s delivery shining like floodlight beams splashed across a force field of rain. Read our recent interview with OIM (Oaktown Indie Mayhem) operators Jeff Saltzman, Sarah Sexton, and Angelica Tavella.

Courtesy’s Drew Ryan and Kirk Rawlings released their video for, “Slow Bruise”, directed by Alex Viscius, taken off the Moon Glyph cassette of the same name. As you would imagine from the track itself, the slow burning sound is treated to an art house cinema array of visual sensory that blends sciences, and simulations of the surreal together at last. Read our recent interview with Drew and Kirk here.

Boston’s Salem Wolves dropped the new EP, Black Books, where Howlin’ Jack, Isaac, and Woodrue howl out the hounds of heck on, “I Saw Hell”, to the rumbling rough and ready, “Rumblr”, unleashing the occultic underground observances, “There Be Wytches”, to the doom destroying title cut finale. Salem Wolves are here to summon out your inner ache for ruggid, and damned riffs that ride out into a thousand sunsets.

We had the pleasure of debuting Happy Lives’ “Wanna Go Dance”, and this week offer the visual, Mike Lande video production for the single. The dance invitations take to the green screens where indie choreographed footwork takes a front stage in the forefront of black and blue minimalist backdrops.

Declaring their first release in about four years time; Tenement dropped rocking, refined thrills of, “Dull Joy”, off the follow up to 2011’s Napalm Dream; Predatory Headlights, available June 2 from Don Giovanni Records. Here the dull joys of golden, glimmering guitar bliss is brought from the garage poppers to bring not-so-dull joys of delight for all with ears to hear.

Jay-Jay Johanson’s album Opium will be available June 8 from Kwaidan Records, and we have the Joakim remix of “Moonshine” to bring some distilled melodic notes from far off Euro destinations, resorts, and obscuro-elitist clubs.

Lade’s Ethan Edenburg delivered another comedy update with, “1-800-ChineseFood 2”, all the while posting fake ads from the “Species Elite”
podcast on YouTube.

Off the forthcoming TORRES album, Sprinter, available May 4 from Partisan Records; check out the electric stomping, “Cowboy Guilt” that trips through the post-colonial lens with clenched fists, and rolling through the resitutions, and reparations of sins past, and present.

From Sharon Van Etten’s band, we invite you to to hear Heather Woods Broderick’s evocative, and ethereal song, “A Call For Distance”, from her new upcoming album, Glider, available July 10 from Western Vinyl, following up 2009’s From the Ground. The Portland based artist communicates the experiences, and sentiment synthesis of couples broken apart, like maudlin weather patterns that collect around the convection plumes of rain and fog in the northwest regions.

Don’t miss mewithoutYou’s new single, “Red Cow”, taken from their upcoming, Pale Horses album, available June 16 from Run For Cover Records. Catch them on their summer 2015 tour featuring June 11 through July 2 dates with Lithuania, and July 4-18 dates with Field Mouse, with Foxing also joining the action.

Perth based duo Erasers dropped their first single in about two years with the electric ambient mantra, “Golden Tones”, with a full-length said to be under way later this year via Pouring Dream. Rebecca Orchard’s voice can be heard amid the note hymnal hum that was recorded and mixed at home, and meant for all the most personal places and spaces of the world.

Sea Of Bees brings us one of the first listens to their upcoming third album, with the paternal ruminations that soar swiftly across star bound highways on, “Dad”. Find this on the Bees’ forthcoming, Build A Boat To The Sun, available in late June.

Off Abram Shook’s new Western Vinyl album, Landscape Dream; hear the sparse collection of various sounds, and synthesized sorts that are accumulated together in rhythms that roll to the steady, and mellow flow of pebble riddled brook.

Watch the Danilo Parra and Kate Arizmendi video for HONNE’s “Coastal Love”, from their EP of the same name, available May 4. Watch as coastal deals, and meetings transpire in a shore-side getaway to remember.

Watch the Charlotte Rutherford, further adding to the electro-glamor aesthetic of, “Deeper Shadows”, from Jaakko Eino Kalevi. Watch an array of beautiful people pose, flourish their locks, pom-poms, and synchronized fashion attire to Jaakko’s aloof evening attitudes of utter aloof elements of artistic intent.

Lane 8’s debut album, Rise, will be available July 17 from Anjunadeep, and we have the lightly vocal ‘tuned single banger, “Ghost” (feat. Patrick Baker).

Originally found off the Shy Girls’ 4WZ mixtape that arrived earlier this year; catch their cut, “Clean Cut”, remixed by Lexington, KY’s force to be reckoned with, and one of our personal heroes; Ellie Herring. Listen as Herring takes the Shy Girls stems, and turns up their rhythmic composition to a whole percussive foundation, built like an exotic club, that contains a labyrinth of uniquely themed rooms.

You might already know Digital Leather as the group that features Destruction Unit’s Shawn Foree, and The Faint’s Todd Fink; who dropped the pop and bop track, “Face To The Wall”, from their forthcoming album, All Faded, available June 23 (and on in vinyl later this fall). Between the jumpy guitar to bass rhythm dynamics, and the synth dotted spots that mark the single; Digital Leather have cooked up an anthem of how each and every day is greeted.

Off Applescal’s upcoming album For, available May 18 via his co-founded imprint, Atomnation; hear the delightful natural lifeforms, and bio-essences that inhabit the gorgeous single, “Japanese Bubbles”.

From director Natalia Stuyk and animator, Eva Papamargeriti; grab a look at the CGI-tek world imagined for Django Django’s “Reflections”, off the upcoming album, Born Under Saturn, available May 5 from Ribbon Music.

For a good indie power popping good time; we recomend the “ain’t going to take it” exhalation catharsis rock on Sweet John Bloom’s “Tell Me”, off their upcoming album, Weird Prayer, available in June from Tiny Engines. Weird Prayer is out later this year via Tiny Engines.

Catch a listen to Michael Vidal’s single, “Dreams (Come Back To Me)”, taken from the upcoming Couple Skate Records album, Dream Center, available June 9. The artist formerly of Abe Vigoda originally released this album via LA imprint, Big Joy, and now reissues it for all ears and hearts to experience, who may have missed it the first time around.

Heaters’ dropped their Mean Green 7″ this week on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records, and we got the b/w ballroom swing dancing good times in the visual for the mean breathing dance floor title sorcher; “Mean Green”.

With a tour running through June 7, have a listen to Crocodiles’ love note cleanser, “Peroxide Hearts”, from the forthcoming album, Boys.

Yukon Blonde third album, On Blonde will be available June 16 from Dine Alone, and we got the big time glamor video from Mac Boucher & Gaya Abdalian for, “Saturday Night”. Dance yourself pretty to the “la la las.”

With some atmospheric, future chamber electro pop things happening at the Kitten camp; hear the cover of Dido’s “Thank You” that is treated with restrained, low key interior deco notes, relaxed rhythms that frame electronically enhanced vocals.

In case you missed it; don’t miss Eiko Hara’s CSCN single, “Going Somewhere”, featuring production from Justyn Pilbrow of The Neighbourhood, her break through single that shatters the vocal pop hi-art award vases. It’s one of those tracks where the future of radio is brought to the confrontation of an over amplified analog interface to a whole other world wants, passions, and desires that much lead to somewhere.

From Ian Perlman and Edward Greenberg, check out their video for Sterling Fox’s “Freak Caroline”, where the adventures of the artist’s alter persona, Neil Diamondz plays for his Caroline (portrayed by Maria Bruun), between the clutches of the ‘psychopop party patrol’, and the ‘the proletariat rabble.’

Lending a taste from the the Chicago band’s upcoming second album, Our Animal Ways, available June 9; grab a listen to Brontosaurus’s “Safe To Surface” single, that rocks piano pangs and pains through a multi-suite of sounds that burrows from the subterranean tunnels, and safely, gradually, climbing to the surface.

DC’s Pree release their album, Rima, May 5 through Brooklyn’s Paper Garden Records, and we have “Hi-Livin'” here to help lift your spirits out of the dumps, mood dampened swamps, and stress pressure of the week for a new, happier, and healthier stratosphere of air/life.

For an instant good time that will make your troubles turn into a palm tree pool resort paradise; check out Cayucas’s following new track, “Moony Eyed Walrus”, from their forthcoming album, Dancing at the Blue Lagoon available June 23 from Secretly Canadian.

Vinyl Williams gave us the single, “World Soul” after signing to Chaz Bundick’s Company Records, with the album, Into, available July 24. Williams brings the groove for your pre-party, after party, and that special party favor for the after-after-after party.

Sadie Dupuis’s Week in Pop

(Sadie Dupuis, and Speedy Ortiz playing Death By Audio [RIP], all photographs by Dylan Johnson.)
Speedy Ortiz recently released Foil Deer on Carpark Records, and we present you with Week in Pop guest selections expertly selected and penned by Sadie Dupuis:

All eyes have been on Baltimore this week, as well as protests in other cities which are amplifying the voices of the disenfranchised. Despite racist, harmful reporting that poorly contextualizes the impetus behind the Baltimore uprising, these protestors are speaking
out in tandem against systemic oppression, fighting back against epidemic police and governmental disregard for black lives.

Some of the best music in the past few months has spoken towards frustration with this climate of oppression, towards anger with our culture of state-condoned murder–most notably, ‘Black Messiah’ and To Pimp a Butterfly. And some of the most significant pop music in the past year has grappled with some iteration of this theme–society is wronging many of us, and we have to do something to push back, to
speak out.

Speedy Ortiz - Death By Audio-3

DC band Beauty Pill, fronted by incomparable songwriter and producer
Chad Clark, has a long legacy of calling out the world’s ills in
elaborately-told stories — human trafficking, incarceration, and
antipathy towards the homeless have served as subjects on his bands’
previous albums. The new record, Beauty Pill Describes Things As They
seems to do just as its title purports — its narratives overflow with sadness, optimism, anger and love, and its songs are built upon
gorgeous, intricate, at times overwhelming arrangements. In other words, it feels like a musical human truth. “When Cornered”, one of the album’s standouts, uses a repeated image of a nefarious casino to lament a “dearth of truth and a surplus of filthy lies.” Swaggering, Clark threatens, “If you really wanna take me out, you better do it in one shot, ‘cuz the next one will be mine and I don’t fuck around.”

Likewise, Torres’ “Cowboy Guilt” is impressively constructed, layered with Mackenzie Scott’s taut harmonies, industrial buzzsaw flourishes, and disjointed guitars. This song speaks toward moving past a “green and protected” childhood naïveté and growing into a more cognizant, compassionate adult. “You had us in stitches with George W impressions,” Scott sings, “You sang of reparations.”

Speedy Ortiz - Death By Audio-5

Empress Of, meanwhile, sloughs away her apathy. Woozy and twinkling,
“Water Water” pleads confidently about conserving resources, about
understanding privilege. But it also grapples with catatonia over a
stuttered beat: “I hate when you get too high sometimes and forget
about existing,” she sings. “I want to care much more, but I’m feeling
less awake.”

Likewise, Ezra Furman’s “Lousy Connection” uses barbershop swoons, squalling horns, and hyper orchestration direct from the Of Montreal lesson book to skewer privileged kids pontificating about half-baked social activism, showing up at congress in headdresses and blowing smoke rings from behind blue lipstick, hoping all the while not to “be the bad guy.”

Speedy Ortiz - Death By Audio-7

Cloud Rat is a powerful, musically expansive Detroit grind band,
uncompromising in their politics, which lean towards feminist and
anti-fascist. Their new album’s title, Qlipoth, is a Cabalistic term
for husks or shells, which seems fitting, as vocalist Madison
Marshall — also a talented multi-instrumentalist in many other
projects — told Noisey the record is about “buried, dormant feelings […] causing me to take charge of my life.” Earthy rumbles, choral
vocals, pillars of guitars, hissing squeals and Madison’s wrenching screams pave the way for catharsis here.

This week Earl Sweatshirt premiered “Solace,” a ten-minute patchwork of distorted pianos, wiggly guitar samples, melted speech and clinking glasses. This outtake was recorded after Earl was prescribed a fortnight of bed rest for exhaustion, causing the muscles in his legs to atrophy. “I spent days faded and anemic,” he deadpans, “One foot stuck in the tar pit of my ways.” The hazy atmosphere of confusion allows this lengthy composition to move between spaced out keyboards, rambling bass, and overblown drums, bringing Earl from a defeated low of “fixin’ to give up” with “nothing to save us or stop us,” to some kind of solace. “I’m the youngest old man that you know,” he declares. “If your soul in tact, let me know.”


King of Cats, which features contributions from a constantly
collaborating group of young musicians best known for working together
in Joanna Gruesome, sounds like Ween gone twee, with pitched up
vocals, out-of-tune and oh-so-good guitars, and fuzzy feedback
drenching the squeaked melodies of singer Max Levy. Maybe the John
Oliver footage cameoing throughout their video contributes to my politicized reading, but King of Cats seem to speak to complacency and
diminished agency with sardonic lines like, “It’s my responsibility to tell you that you could never do anything wrong.” The song is, after all, called “Incorrect.”

I think these King of Cats folks would argue that it’s always your responsibility to call out wrongdoing when you see it — and to help when you’re able. To that end, the Maryland Food Bank is collecting donations to provide emergency meals for the people of Baltimore — please consider donating here: mdfoodbank.org

And here’s a video of a fox assembling and eating a quintuple-decker sausage sandwich at Chernobyl. Just cuz.

Follow Sadie via Twitter.