Week in Pop: Caleb Groh, The Folk, Tight Eye, William Alexander

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Beyond all the big hype buzz that the harvest season reaps, Impose’s Week in Pop overseas the newest crops of cool while sowing the seeds of tomorrow’s brightest talents and visionaries. So helping to bring you all the greatest and latest, we give you words and media from our current heroes with first a headline run-through. Big news this week as Kanye West dropped a never-heard-before version of “Say You Will” (off 8089s & Heartbreak) and a rendering of the Weeknd’s “Tell Your Friends” titled “When I See It”; Grimes’ Claire Boucher announced the forthcoming of her new album; Death Grips proclaimed the forthcoming of their new album Bottomless Pit; SxSW initial line-up hype; Art Angels; Dan Deacon supporting Miley Cyrus & Flaming Lips on forthcoming tour; Boulevards signed to Captured Tracks; Adele announced a new album and dropped the video for “Hello”; David Lynch is reportedly working on a memoir-bio called Life and Work; D.R.A.M. claims that Drake might have “jacked” “Cha Cha” on his “Hotline Bling“; Junior Boys are back with Big Black Coat available February 5 from City Slang; Jens Lekman’s “Ghostwriting” project with the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center; Burger Records launched their own eyewear line; Mac Demarco and the pupppets; the Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye pleaded no contest over an alleged police officer punch last January in Las Vegas; Run For Cover dropped Whirr over transphobic Tweets; Joanna Newsom versus Spotify; and Lemmy from Motörhead revealed that he’s not a Radiohead fan.

But moving ahead it is an honor and privilege to present the following insights, exclusives, interviews, and more from Caleb Groh, The Folk, Tight Eye, William Alexander, Little L Records, New God, Shepherds, XL Middleton, young truck, featuring guest selections by Semi Hendrix (Ras Kass & Jack Splash) and more—in no particular order.

Tight Eye

Getting to know Giulia Bonometti, aka Tight Eye.
Getting to know Giulia Bonometti, aka Tight Eye.

From the eclectic Italo stable at We Were Never Being Boring, we present their latest signee Giulia Bonometti, aka Tight Eye who has an upcoming album for WWNBB in 2016 and today showcases the might and majesty of stage sweeping single, “L.L.D”. Giulia has played in bands like Fauves, Own Boo, and now sharpens her focus on communicating and conveying feeling through lyrics and instrumentation arrangements that move and morph in accordance to all aspects of emotions and sung intimacies. Like an elaborate alternate opening theme song from a future James Bond film serial that has yet to be made; Tight Eye is Bonometti narrowing her eyes and laying out all the sky falls, and specters of the past and present out on the line of life’s straight and narrow roads.

“L.L.D.” (Love Long Distance) chronicles the gulfs of space between the closest of couples and all the baggage and closed off connections that comprise the fierce nature of the attachment. The organ unloads the affection and tears as Giulia unveils her four minute pop anthem suite in two parts. The first song introduces a situation where the spark is gone, hurt feelings take the place of bonded affection where quips from an argument fallout are heard in lines like, “why do you treatment me badly, you don’t deserve me.” The high drama exists in the reasoning that begins at first desperately entangled in the co-dependent relationship before gaining the courage to grow wings and fly away from the weights of a beleaguered bond. Bonometti controls the tempos according to the action and reckoning in the lyrics that are given further character by the electric organ’s soap opera style of high stakes that underscore unrelenting emotive obsessions. Tight Eye casts a view on the corrosive nature of a relationship gone wrong, the complacency that connects unsuited pairs in a bold presentation prime for stage and screen. Tight Eye is more than just We Were Never Being Boring’s response to Lana Del Rey, but rather a stylistic push toward the days where impassioned and unfiltered songs of heartache and heartbreak were made as elaborate arrangements. After the following debut listen to “L.L.D.”, read our interview with with Tight Eye’s Giulia Bonometti.

How have your adventures with Own Boo, Fauves, and other bands informed and influenced your approaches as Tight Eye?

When things were going south with my latest band (Own Boo), I felt that the right time for me was coming. I really needed to express myself, I was/I am/I felt ready to be me. I always knew what I would like to say but I couldn’t do it with the bands I had before. I couldn’t work for real on myself, on my ideas, on my way to do everything/on my own personality.

I always wanted to be the head, the heart and the voice of my own music/songs. Starting from scratch by myself, I had the complete freedom to make my own decisions, and having played with other people before helped me understand what I really wanted or didn’t want in my music. This lead me to understand how to start with Tight Eye and what the project’s points should be.

The only thing I need to do is trying to communicate and convey everything I feel; the lyrics are the reason and the instrumental intensifies the meaning/sense and tells something at the same time. It’s not only a mood, it expresses in the best way what I’m trying to say and communicate. Everything starts from the words.

Talking with Tight Eye; photographed by Greta.
Talking with Tight Eye; photographed by Greta.

Tell us the storylines and such that would become the sweeping power number, “L.L.D.”?

One night I couldn’t sleep because I had too many thoughts and worries in my head, then I started writing fluently and furiously everything I was thinking about. I realized I wrote the lyrics for a song while rereading the words. The next day I went to the studio and I looked for the right harmony that could suit the mood and the lyrics. So I started singing on this harmony and gradually I went on developing the melody focusing on the meaning of the things I wrote. In this manner I created “L.L.D.” that is a crescendo from the beginning to the end, divided in two parts because of the subject of the lyrics. The first is insane, anguished and desperate; the second is hopeful, determined and free.

What do the initials stand for?

Love Long Distance, it’s a phrase I say in the song. I say it because I’m talking/singing about two lovers that don’t have the same feelings for each other anymore, they’re distant even if they’re near. They can’t say goodbye to each other, probably due to habit, until one of them succeeds in saying stop, putting and end to all that useless pain and finally manages to fly off to a new world.

Tight Eye's Giulia Bonometti; photographed by Greta.
Tight Eye’s Giulia Bonometti; photographed by Greta.

Tell us about how you go about the process of writing, and arranging your songs, because they feel like these experiential illustrations that become something that seems almost larger than life.

My creative process is very simple: I start writing the lyrics, I think about a possible melody for the voice, I think about a simple harmony with the guitar and about the mood I would like the song to have, then I work on it with my producer. Together, through the arrangement and the production, we try to achieve the idea of the song I have from the beginning. He—the producer—does the magic, or better, he knows me very well so he perfectly knows what I like and what I don’t like, and I think it’s fundamental to work with someone who gets along with you so much!

Give us the details about your forthcoming album for We Were Never Being Boring, and what hints about what we can expect.

This album represent my growth, both as a person and as an artist. It’s a combination of moments and situations I’ve been living this past year, and it’s mostly about myself and my personal feelings/what I feel and what I know. It’s an intimate—deep inside—conversation with myself, a personal diary and sometimes it seems like a medical record of an analysand.

What have you been listening to a lot lately?

I have been listening mostly to pre-80s music because I can find just there what I always (re)search in music—great words/lyrics, voices, music, intense emotions and truth. Music and words are perfectly blended in a unique piece/thing.

It’s hard for me to find this in music nowadays, cause a lot of artists are searching for a new sound but this often goes to the detriment of the means/substance.

To mention a few, I’ve been listening to Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Duke Ellington, Beatles, Al Green, Muddy Waters, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Shirley Bassey, Jackson 5, The Ronettes, David Bowie, The Clovers, Blue Magic, Mina, Luigi Tenco.

In the matter of contemporary music I’ve been listening (a lot) to Lana Del Rey, Adele and Amy Winehouse. I love everything about them: voices, music, lyrics and their background. You completely manage to understand who they really are by their music, and especially by what they say in their lyrics. They’re real and this is so touching for me! I think Ultraviolence (Lana Del Rey) is one of the best contemporary album I’ve ever listened to, it’s astonishing with all that orchestral parts, thanks also to the presence of the orchestra and her characteristic voice.

Other artists I appreciate and I’ve been listening lately are: MGMT, Kendrick Lamar, Julian Casablancas, Kanye West and Nicole Dollandger.

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Who do you feel people should listen to more of?

I don’t know who I feel people should listen more of, to each their own! I think people should listen to songs they like and they can relate to because music is about emotions, not about fleeting trends.

Winter plans, 2016 wishes?

Winter plans: finish recording the album, take a break, be inspired by new things and restart writing and recording.

2016 wishes: be happy (and a world tour!)

The debut Tight Eye album will be available in 2016 from We Were Never Being Boring.

Caleb Groh

Getting in touch with nature and Caleb Groh; photographed by Juan Solorzano.
Getting in touch with nature and Caleb Groh; photographed by Juan Solorzano.

Nashville based Caleb Groh has been dabbling into the r n’ b experimental arts and today premiere “FCKNU” that delivers the thoughts, emotions, carnal desire, and conversational lyrical style that embodies the most intimate of love ballad odes. The second single from his forthcoming Hot Pop EP available October 30, Caleb follows up his recent single “Let It Groh” with a groove that cuts even deeper into the electronic ether of emerald glowing feelings and amorous intentions. The artist formerly known as Happiest Lion moves his work beyond the holistic folk stages for a sound that seeks new means of expression to relay things felt strongly from within through newer platforms and paths of warm hearted projections.

“FCKNU” begins with a piano based rhythm core that invites an array of electronic elements that slowly yet surely engulf the entire song in a hot spring bath of warm synths and sequenced percussion. Caleb begins the song’s lyrical narrative as a love note to a lover that confronts a relationship on the decline. Caleb croons forth perspectives and thoughts from both sides of a suspicious minds situation where jealousy and matters pertaining to the wants, needs, identities, and natures of all involved are considered. Everything from maligned interests to the weirdness that flows between lovebirds on the rocks is explored in “FCKNU” with the composure of a late night phone conversation or those ill-feeling heart to hearts. “I get reborn every hour I don’t hear about the bridal shower, two visions of you, one is your mother and the other brand new.” Flights of destined goals, perspectives, and objectives clash together that updates the I’m not ready for the altar-pop heard on AM stations that play “Sister Golden Hair” on the hour. Groh exhibits the complexity and underlying feelings involved by invoking the aesthetics championed by Autre Ne Veut or the cult of James Blake worshipers where earnest crooned ballads from the most pained and intricate quadrants of the hearts are assisted by today’s advanced applications of electronic effects/enhancements. Caleb describes all this and more in our interview found right after the following debut of “FCKNU”.

Describe for us your earliest singer-songwriter compositions, and what first drew you to the musical craft.

I got a Talkboy when I was six or seven. I recorded over the Home Alone sound clips that came on the accompanying cassette. Then, fast-forwarding through the embarrassing, possibly usual beginnings (i.e. Radio Disney, religious punk rock), I started recording more interesting compositions at 13, just bend-y guitar works. I was supposed to have been home-schooled, but instead started making the more lyrical records at 16. The first was a combination of cute and drone-y, and had 17 tracks. I hated that most albums of the albums I listened to had “only” 12.

I can’t remember what initially drew me to music. I just remember being 9 and getting my first guitar. I knew at that moment that I was going to write and hit “record” for the rest of my life, and that I didn’t need school, and I didn’t care who believed me.

What sorts of subtle synth-pop tapestries and sentimental textures informed your Hot Pop EP?

I had my first solo visual art show last Spring, displaying wool taxidermy, and I wrote a score to accompany it. The world textures were homages to different species. Regarding the sentimental textures—I’ve always been a sucker for a ballad, I’ve just tried to make the format more lively. I’ve also tried being a tough guy, but nobody buys it. My girlfriend has been a great filter. I’ll tweak something on a song, and she’ll tell me if it works or blows.

Sitting down with Caleb Groh; photographed by Laura E. Partain.
Sitting down with Caleb Groh; photographed by Laura E. Partain.

I like how “FCKNU” abides by smooth lovers rock conventions, until the restrained electronic effects almost engulf the entirety of the song. Describe for us the inspirations and behind the scenes making of “FCKNU”.

The song’s words are chosen carefully. When loving someone feels so lonely, but the physicality stays, we finally feel mammalian, archaic. When you give someone only half of yourself, you never give them the better half. Sometimes, at that point, the purpose you’ve assigned a union dissipates, and we become animals again. I wrote a short song called Indigo a few years back. People always complained about it’s length, so I added a part two. “Fcknu” is part threee.

Can you give us further insights into your own songwriting methods? I feel there is like a real meditative/contemplative state that is involved here…or maybe that is just my own responses to the effects of the sounds themselves.

I feel that just the art of sitting down and writing is meditative in itself. Writing time is one of my happier times. I beat myself up over the lyrics though, I never settle for a lyric that I’m only 95% sure of. I look manic when I’m writing, there’s often pacing or furiously furrowed brows.

Can you give us any details on an upcoming album that may or may not be in the making?

Yes! I have an album that I finished last year. My dear friend Chad Wahlbrink worked on it tediously with me (recorded, mixed, mastered, co-produced), I put him through a lot. It took about two years to make. It’s the most ambitious project I’ve tackled, and Chad really killed it. Chad and I make every record together. Hot Pop was just me, which was a process I haven’t experienced since I started out.

What are you reading, listening to, watching right now that you find to be super inspiring?

Gilmore Girls keeps me on my toes, and reminds me to not forget the people who love you best. My girlfriend and I are re-watching currently. Other than that, I’m not much of a consumer. I work all the time. My creative practices are pretty brutal.

Parting words, mantras, and any philosophical items that you care to impart?

Hug em if you got ’em.

Caleb Groh’s Hot Pop EP will be available October 30.

XL Middleton

Catching up with XL Middleton.
Catching up with XL Middleton.

The new funk feels are alive and real as XL Middleton further proves in our discussion on his upcoming album Tap Water available October 30 from MoFunk Records. The Pasadena artist keeps that deep bass bouncing beat “Bumpin'” in that future funk anthropomorphic form found in recent sounds from Dam-Funk, Boulevards, and more where the chronicles from the old school chapters from Brown and Clinton are continued into the future age.

Sunny days become electrically dazzled on the instrumental testament to electrical advances and vitamin D dosage heard on “Sunshine & Power Lines”, to the 80s futurism throwback/flashback funk of “High On Your Love”, and the vocoded appeal to be the “Exception To The Rule”. The blurring between the new and old schools never lets up as “I’m Ready” delivers the updates that disco had on the funk (replete with a recorder woodwind), coasting to that crystal ball synth-wave of electronic wonders on “Psychic”, showing off the fancy Don Juan-esque footwork moves on “You Know It’s True” ft. Diamond Ortiz, and that’s when XL delivers the album closing highlight “Do Me Like That” that features Moniquea (featured and interviewed here) handling the song’s inquisitive vocal duties. Taking us deep down in the funk, read our interview with XL Middleton right after the jump.

Tell us about how the whole concept and design for Tap Water came about, and the influence that our current water crises had on these cuts.

You know, I never thought about the connection between the album title and the current drought we’re in here in California! Definitely serendipitous, to be certain. The whole idea behind the album and the title was that I wanted to come with some raw, dirty funk, that’s nasty like water from the tap. As much as I love the whole ambient, dreamy funk sound that’s really popular right now, I was looking more to create a collection of songs that will give you that “funk face” – when you hear it, you curl your face up like you smell something foul. The essence of funk, basically.

Give us some insights on what elements and combined essence comprise the quintessential XL Middleton cut.

The core for me is usually a good chord progression. I love the raw, driving feel of funk but I also love beautiful R&B chords. I think that’s why the whole blueprint of 80’s funk has stuck with me so tough, I mean, if you listen to records from the iconic groups like Zapp, Cameo, Con Funk Shun, One Way, all those guys, they really perfected the art of combining beautiful elements with elements of that “slap,” if you will. Once I have the chords I want I’ll build the rhythm around that, which I know is backwards from the way most producers do it. And of course a nice selection of squiggly, wet synth leads and basses will round it out for me.

What is it about this whole modern and future funk phenomenon that we have witnessing from Boulevards, Dam-Funk, to even a lot of what’s happening in the Brainfeeder Thundercat/FlyLo circles, and so on that has overtaken our musical consciousnesses and deep rhythmic obsessions?

There’s something in the funk groove that makes you feel uninhibited. Something about it that makes people who might be scared to get up and dance, do just that. It’s fun and it’s never pretentious. It’s a calling for all those who might feel like they’re on the fringes, or ostracized in some way, to come together and feel like you belong.

What directions do you feel modern funk and the future of production is going?

It’s going in a lot of directions at once. Like, you have all the party stuff, like the Bruno Mars or the Tuxedo thing, it’s real straightforward feel good music, and then on the underground, like I said you have a lot of artists doing a more ethereal, atmospheric kind of funk. Dam of course has his own lane, he’s really encouraging people to try new things, experiment with it, that’s something I got from hearing his new album. And when you step back and look at the bigger picture created by all of that, it’s dope because that means you have a scene with so many different flavors to choose from, all united under one flag, so to speak.

What else have you been working on every since wrapping up Tap Water?

We’ve been wrapping up projects with our core roster here at MoFunk Records. I’m doing an LP with Eddy Funkster; me and him are the co-founders of the label. Diamond Ortiz is finishing up his first LP and Moniquea is working on her second. Beyond that we’re looking to expand in 2016 and bring on a few new artists, so we’ve got some nice surprises in store. I’ll just leave it at that for now.

Artists and producers you want to give a shout out to that we should probably be listening to?

There’s way too many to name them all! Psychic Mirrors, Brian Ellis, Zackey Force Funk, K-Maxx. Of course everyone on MoFunk who I’ve already mentioned. You’ll definitely want to check out Spectrum Records, another great label that’s just starting up but they’re doing great things over there. This modern funk thing is still a relatively small community, so if you find a few of us, chances are you’re gonna be able to find just about everybody.

XL Middleton’s Tap Water will be available October 30 from MoFunk Records.

The Folk

Guelph, Ontario, Canada's The Folk, featuring Sarafina Bortolon-Vettor, Emmalia Bortolon-Vettor, Mark Ferrari, Liam Magahay, Simon Thomson & Alex Howard.
Guelph, Ontario, Canada’s The Folk, featuring Sarafina Bortolon-Vettor, Emmalia Bortolon-Vettor, Mark Ferrari, Liam Magahay, Simon Thomson & Alex Howard.

The Folk’s album Every Colour, Present Wonder was released last month on FuckPop and today the Montreal quartet premieres the vintage sourced visuals for “Avery” compiled, directed, and edited by Adam Machin. Sara Bortolon-Vettor & Emma Bortolon-Vettor, Mark Ferrari, and Liam Magahay’s follow up to We All Say from 2014 was recorded with Pat Gregoire at Mile End in Montreal that saw the band spending four months in a two bedroom to brainstorm their new album. A full-length that comments on the deaths of what the band calls lives not lived” is expressed in the daily generative and constructive “struggle to rejuvenate life into symbiotic relationships.” Watch as The Folk’s “Avery” is coupled with space-age images taken from the 60s documentary Universe (the alleged inception for Kubrick’s adaptation of 20011: A Space Odyssey).

Director Adam Machin described his editing methods in making the video for The Folk’s “Avery” as “using scenes from the 1960’s documentary Universe to tell the story of a lonely star gazer with a rich and vibrant inner world.” The lonely man in the observatory is portrayed as a character out of “Eleanor Rigby”, a personification of “Avery” who looks to the cosmos for a connective comfort and hope. The guitars, keys, vocals, and strings create a soundtrack for an alternate-edited version of Universe where the daydreams and longing ascends from the day to day drudges of city life to a new colorful world of understanding through observation of psychedelicized galaxies. The visuals for “Avery” play between the menial grounding of things on earth that get you down to the infinite wonders and sciences of space that extend even further beyond our current capacity of comprehension. “Avery” is turned into a short film about a starry-eyed scientist with his head high up among the planets and satellite stars rather than the earth that houses his own high powered telescopes. Imeddiately after the following video debut, read our roundtable interview with Emma, Liam, Mark, & Sara from The Folk.

Reflecting back, what was the experience of recording Every Colour, Present Wonder like for you all?

Emma: I feel like it was our own little NASA mission because all of our focus was on what this record was going to sound like.

Mark: At first it was relaxing to be in a completely new place with no obligations other than our own creative process. As the final product began to take shape some of that relaxation evaporated and we started going a bit longer in the studio, picking apart little things and going over something as small as a few seconds of a song for hours. By the end we were completely consumed by the very piece that we conceived, for better and worse.

Liam: It’s a time of my life that I really cherish in retrospect. The whole idea of running away with your friends to a new city solely to focus on art together was beyond thrilling. It made me feel alive.

Sara: Exciting, spontaneous, emotional. Living in Montreal with each other during the process had us connect more intimately. Plus, Pat Gregoire made me a more confident vocalist and songwriter.

How do you find Adam Machin’s video for “Avery” compliments the song’s own imaginative and inner reflective underpinnings?

Emma: “Avery” is an ode to my friend’s daughter who left this world before the age of one. The song embodies a struggling desire to reconnect, even if that re-connection is impossible. I feel that the protagonist finds his daughter too; beautiful and deserving of a universe much greater than this black and white world.

Mark: It’s interesting that Adam chose to use footage from the National Film Board of Canada’s 1960 documentary Universe. Particularly because this humble little doc inspired 2001: A Space Odyssey to the extent that Stanley Kubrick used many of the same people on his film to similar effect.

Pink Floyd influenced the sound of “Avery” and they were originally tapped to write the score for 2001, but they rejected the offer in a move they’d later regret. So I find it fitting that Adam has gone back to the source material of that film and soundtracked it with a slightly post-Floyd song.

Liam: I find the video really evokes the idea of the lonely artist. Seeing and obsessing over the beauty in something that nobody else cares to look for.

Sara: There is more to life beyond the daily grind. This video is a reminder to enjoy the beauty around us. Time is irrelevant in the stars.

the folk week in pop 2

What are you all cooking up these days?

Emma: I have been playing with a lot of loops and bows.

Mark: Eggs and toast are pretty standard, I’d say I cook that up at least 4 out of 7 days of the week. Some stir-fry for dinner perchance depending on my mood. I made tater-tot poutine the other day, now that was something.

Liam: I’m really excited about more new videos that we have in the works

Sara: New music.

Favorite things you all have heard, read, saw, etc, recently?

Emma: Mushroom photography, Black Sabbath Volume 4, Hawkwind, wax, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan.

Mark: Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz and every little Instagram comment that comes along with them, Cocteau Twins, thanks Sasha for getting me back on that train, “Rick and Morty” forever bro, “Groove is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite on repeat for the past year for no apparent reason.

Liam: I’m really digging Majical Cloudz as of late. Their songs are mysteriously effective, and I guess I’m still trying to figure out just why I’m so captivated.

Sara: Emma dancing with a slightly buzzed 30 year old woman at a show in Sudbury, ON.

The Folk’s album Every Colour, Present Wonder is available now from FuckPop.


Meet Shepherds (left to right), Jonathan Merenivitch, Adrian Switon & Ross Politi; photographed by Robert Mahony.
Meet Shepherds (left to right), Jonathan Merenivitch, Adrian Switon & Ross Politi; photographed by Robert Mahony.

Shepherds, masterminded by Jonathan Merenivitch, just released their album Exit Youth today and presented us with the super courteous and super-charged single “Courtesy”. Merenivitch’s musical resume checks his work with Janelle Monae, Dog Bite, Del Venicci, and more, where Shepherds finds him playing with Peter Cauthorn from Mood Rings on bass, George Bataille Battle Cry’s Adrian Switon on drums, with further rumbling bass rhythm considerations courtesy of Canivores and Del Venicci’s Ross Politi. Their debut album toast to rites of passage and the road to adulthood tackles the challenges and changes with a memorable motorik driving jam that is not your parents’ post-punk/kraut/prog/album rock/whatever.

“Courtesy” is noise-reared in a way where every controlled instrumental item (or implementation of audio chaos) is sharpened finally to use every iota of sound to wrap melodic textures around a state of constant, rapid percussive locomotion. From here Merenivitch and the gang serve up sections of reigned roars and primal yells that all abide on accord of harmonic-percussion principles. Nothing stops the roll that “Courtesy” coasts on where sequences of sea-sawing electric metal strings spring up like brontosaurus sized Lochness sized leviathans from the depths of lakes and oceans.

Shepherds singer/guitarist Jonathan Merenivitch shared a few unique insights on the sessions for Exit Youth, and how his and his bandmates’ past experiences playing with Janelle Monae, Dog Bite, Mood Rings & Del Venicci informed the new album:

Each of the bands we’ve played with previously has its own unique approach to rehearsing, writing and performance. So we simply tried to take the best approaches from each band to create something perfect. For example, Janelle rehearsals are lengthy and structured while Del Venicci’s are loose and experimental. With Shepherds we have a part of the set that is entirely improvised but also add a sprinkling of well-rehearsed tunes throughout to get the best of both worlds.

The sessions for Exit Youth were long as hell with moments of frustration and delight. They were the best sessions ever because of the complete comfort we had to express ourselves. No idea was too terrible or strange to at least attempt, and we were all pretty honest about what worked and what didn’t. It was an open, honest environment that created an open, honest record. We wanted to make a connection to people in a very specific way, and I hope we succeeded. Also, Chris Brooker had an amazing supply of great coffee that powered us through the shitty times.

Shepherds’ album Exit Youth is available now via Bandcamp, and you can catch them on the following dates:

24 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl w/Diarrhea Planet & Concord America
25 Durham, NC @ The Pinhook w/Crocodiles & Lilac Shadows
27 Washington D.C. @ the Paperhaus w/Passing Phases & UVF Rays
28 New York, NY @ Cake Shop w/Huh
30 New York, NY @ Secret Project Robot w/Tiny Hazard

young truck

Introducing young truck; the latest addition to the TechnoFunk family
Introducing young truck; the latest addition to the TechnoFunk family

We recently were introduced to TechnoFunk Records‘ new artist (sans capital letters if you please), young truck hailing from Toronto and packing some heavy, big beats. Working in the analog traditions while adhering to the modern orders of the digital age, young truck packs a host of tricks in the flatbed that keeps the club atmosphere veering on the side of odd entrancement with surprise effects, hisses, surface noise, and more. Presenting an advance debut listen to his upcoming EP when you feel normal available October 30, truck drops tracks made for the most elusive and underground of clubs (that more likely than not have their own clandestine after-hours schedules).

The when you feel normal EP starts off with a bang on the opening number “the corn”, where young truck takes the beat craft from Toronto, to Vancouver, with shades of art-y Berlin club styling. Things progress deeper into the IDM zones on “temp figures” that creates the percussive sound that percolates like perhaps the secret lives of weather/temperature measure gagues and apparatuses. And things continue to get interesting as the EP rolls ahead on “cheap milk” that creates an audio oenamonapeia where spaced out synth drops and atmospheres create dairy and ocean curdling creations that continue to mutate as the track carries on. Capping everything off is the cut “fourteens” the introduces samples of dance guitar licks amid a swirling mix where that makes for a euphoric listen. Between the ambiance and synth lines finds something of a clubbed out missing link between Moroder and Vangelis compsed cinematic proportions.

Label operator Simon Lock (of Terrace, Model Clocks) gave us TechnoFunk Records version of the young truck story:

young truck is the brainchild of Toronto based Musician Rory Hanchard of Pants + Tie and previously of Toronto band Thighs. young truck lays down ambient techno funky sounds that makes you reminisce of the days whereby electronic music was a simple combination of imagination and inner exploration. Leaning on dedicated use of both old and new technologies with heavy focus on analog and fm synthesis during production, the result is a hazy, groovy and deep sound that conjures a spectrum of imagery.

In young truck’s own words:

The studio gets too warm in the winter, it’s got too many bad coffee cups and empty tubes of beer lying around. The baby’s coming in a couple of months, better get this thing wrapped. This box leads to that, some of it’s real but I’ll never tell. Somehow a part time job was enough, sold a couple of things, traded a few more, used and reused the others. Guessed at the mix as best as I could, made some deliberate mistakes, some awkward choices, counter intuition.

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TechnoFunk Records is proud to introduce you to the first release from young truck on TechnoFunk entitled when you feel normal. This EP takes you back to early Aphex Twin, Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia and The Future Sound of London. Listen to the tracks, float into the haziness of it and you’ll see what we mean. It’s time to let go of the fast paced A.D.D. ridden electronic music world that reigns over the masses and get down to business. The full EP from young truck will be available by the usual vendors on October 30. Meanwhile, check it out and we will see you when you feel normal.

young truck’s wen you feel normal EP will be available October 30 from TechnoFunk Records.

William Alexander

Taking calls while riding on a studio-office cloud in the sky—it's William Alexander.
Taking calls while riding on a studio-office cloud in the sky—it’s William Alexander.

Long Beach artist William Alexander (fka The Meanest Boys) has been readying his new album Strangest Things for release November 6 via Yellow K Records and we are proud to present the world premiere of the time-warp classic pop of the title track. An artist devoted to home recordings all and things involving Tascam 4-tracks; Alexander builds golden vintage gems off of muddied hip hop rhythms that contain the lo-fi luster of songs that possess that familiar cadence of a classic pop song recalled from the corner storage banks consciousness and memory. The world of William Alexander is based around discovering new audio essences of the yet to arrive future with the dial turned permanently on the frequency of all the coolest oldies stations.

“Strangest Things” by design is arranged and set up to be like that song that you enjoyed as much as your parents from back in the day. Electric grooving guitar riffs and all the bags of tricks to recreate the uncanny sound of your favorite modern radio rocker. The guitar tracking and channeling and progressions glow with the templates taken from the golden era that are touched with sensibilities of mid-60s style with a fuzzy contemporary back beat. There are many moments here where William dials the correct chord and effect combinations that signals all the strangeness and vagaries from the past masters pushing toward the DIY bedroom pop of tomorrow. The aura of the unusual is placed here on a pedestal where “Strangest Things” celebrates inexplicable phenomenons that occur as happenstance that revolves around romantic endeavors. Right after the following debut listen, we invite you to read our recent discussion with William Alexander that provides a deeper details on methodologies, and more.

Give us the story on the move from working as The Meanest Boys to making music under your own name?

I had been releasing my music under the name The Meanest Boys since about 2005. It was initially intended to be more of a group effort that would include a rotating cast of my friends that also write songs. It never really panned out that way due to scheduling and I decided to hold onto it and put out some of my music under the name. I got to a point where I felt like the name might be a bit misleading since it wasn’t a group effort and also I’m quite a nice guy. Before the release of my album Girl’s Basketball I decided to go with William Alexander, which are my first and middle names. There’s also a DJ named William Alexander so hopefully we’ll be able to collab someday on a remix.

What is the latest and most awesome things happening Long Beach right now?

Long Beach is amazing. I’m currently trying to eat my way through all of the taquerias to find the best al pastor burrito but there might be too many of them. But really, there’s always something exciting popping off on the weekends and if you feel like catching a show you can find one any night of the week. We have an incredibly diverse music scene that’s got a lot of steam going right now so that’s a lot of fun to be a part of. I’m really into hip hop so it’s cool to see guys like Vince Staples doing their thing for Long Beach too. Anyone who’s looking to check out some local talent can go through the Porch Party Records catalog and find a ton of great music.

Inside the DIY pop world of William Alexander.
Inside the DIY pop world of William Alexander.

Please tell us the making of Strangest Things was like, along with the strange inspirations behind the album title, and title track of the same name.

Strangest Things was a fairly easy record for me, songwriting wise. It was going to be an EP at first but I had an small label interested in stretching it out to a full length and releasing it so I added a few more songs I had been working on. I was really happy with the final result but the deal with the original label fell apart due to some financial issues. At that point I was pretty distraught but I thought, what the heck, and put the album online. That’s where Josh from Yellow K Records came across it and he got in contact with me. It’s been roses ever since.

The title track came about because I’d always wanted to write a song similar to “Love Potion #9” or “Poison Ivy”. I really like the exaggerated feel of the falling in love and being under a spell or in a trance. There’s something very classic about that notion but it’s also pretty campy. I was really happy with how the song came out and felt it was fitting to call the album by the same name.

How do you describe your own self-prescribed recording style? It feels like this out of time/out of mind approach utilizing analog mediums where it feels like you could have a full band, or it’s just you all along. How is this sound accomplished?

Thanks. It’s just me and my lonesome self playing/programming everything you hear. I think I’ve been able to find my own sound through years of just messing around. I’m very much a bedroom artist. I’ve never recorded in any kind of legitimate studio. I don’t have a single approach but I generally start with the back beat. Sometimes I’ll record my friends playing drums and chop up the parts or I’ll program a beat on my drum machine. Once I have that I start laying down the guitars and keys. Sometimes I’ll record through my Tascam 4-track and play with speeds to get cool tape effects going. I’m definitely a fan of being hands on with the gear but at the end it all gets dumped onto my computer so I can play around with the mix. There’s really no strategy, when it’s working and your in the moment you just feel it and know that you’re onto something good. Other days I think it’s all garbage and want to delete everything I’ve ever recorded. Sigh.

What have you been obsessively listening to right now?

Oh man, I’m all across the board. I’ve been listening to a lot of Young Thug and the Future/Drake album. Jamie XX’s In Colour was my summer album. Recently, Saun & Starr, Tobias Jesso Jr, Charlie Brand and of course “Hotline Bling”. Oh, and I can’t wait for the new ELO album too. Jeff Lynne is my hero.

William Alexander rocking at The Roxy Theatre; photographed by Scott Sheff.
William Alexander rocking at The Roxy Theatre; photographed by Scott Sheff.

What else might be next from you in your adventures in recording and forging new sounds?

Well, I just recently got FL Studio 12 so I’ll be beefing up my beat game hopefully. Who knows maybe I’ll get into trap beats and start cooking. I’m really into playing with vocal loops right now too. Reverse them, layer them, throw some delay on there and you can find some amazing textures. I like building songs around those.

2016 hopes, advice and wisdom according to William Alexander?

Make it nice or do it twice. Constantly save your work when using a computer. Drink a lot of water. Call your family at least once a week and put hot sauce on everything you eat. Thanks.

William Alexander’s Strangest Things will be available November 6 from Yellow K Records.

New God

new god week in pop 1

In more Yellow K breaking news, New God dropped the Autumn Hymnal EP that brings a collection of what the duo calls “Autumnal cover versions of Springtime songs.” Opening the event is Kenny Tompkins taking on Real Estate’s “Had To Hear”, a whistle along harmony for Elvis Depressedly’s “Rock & Roll”, a sleepy-eyed version of Polaris’s “Hey Sandy”, a candid sparse strumming take on Opal’s “My Only Friend”, to the music box bedroom bop of Told Slant’s “Algae Bloom”.

Baltimore brothers Curt and Kenny continue the traditions they established on Firework, providing you with a close and personal listen to some of their favorite songs where they focus and draw out the human element further of everyone else’s song they skin. “Algae Bloom” is brought to an even newfound timelessness with Felix Walworth’s beautiful song transformed into a lullaby anthem, “Hey Sandy” becomes the music box love note we never before knew, reaching out to kindred ones through a dream on the sparse rendering of Opal’s “My Only Friend”, stripping down Elvis Depressedly’s “Rock & Roll” saloon sing-a-long, or the neo-Simon & Garfunkle-psych eye opener that is their cover of Real Estate’s “Had To Hear”. This surprise EP contains something for everyone’s autumn mixtape.

Kenny from New God was so kind as to provide the following breakdown the adaptive processes at works for the barrage of covers found on Autumn Hymnal:

“Had To Hear” by Real Estate

The biggest mutation here is the delivery of the vocal melody. I added a few beats pause in the rhythm which makes it a bit more contemplative and matches the vibe of the guitar and piano. The original very masterfully matches the weight of the subject matter with the subtle emotions in the music. There is no melodrama and I really appreciate that about their music. Mine definitely pulls a heavier or darker emotion out of the lyrics.

“Rock and Roll’ by Elvis Depressedly

The original is so stylish in its arrangement. It certainly didn’t need my help but I loved it so much that I couldn’t resist. My version piles on the vocal harmonies and raises the key. I listened to this track hundreds of times over the summer (I get obsessed) and phantom harmonies started haunting me as I listened. The piano tone reminds me of something like Bright Eyes’ “When the curious girl realizes she is under glass” or early perfume genius and I’m happy about that.

“Algae Bloom” by Told Slant

This is one of my favorite songs of the past few years and the original is something I can’t touch at all. His vocal delivery is so perfectly unique and intimate that i decided to avoid chasing that element. I did try to reveal something different about the melody by singing it an octave higher than the original. I also tried out some layered piano ideas that i think have an interesting effect here.

“Hey Sandy” by Polaris

The Pete and Pete theme song in a feedback loop of nostalgia for itself. The strumming drop-D acoustic thing obviously sounds a bit like early Elliot Smith. I had to roll the dice on a few of these lyrics and hope I made the right call. The jury is still out on the original lyrics as far as I can tell. For years I thought the original chorus said “does your dog bite” but the internet unanimously agreed that it was “Don’t you talk back” which gives my version a better chorus for sure. It reminds me of tiger milk-era Belle & Sebastian.

“My Only Friend” by Opal

This was commissioned by the blog “Coke Machine Glow” for a comp of eighties covers. (there is a cool B-52s cover by a Sunny Day in Glasgow on there too). The original is fairly obscure at this point I think. I’m not sure if they ever released it on anything official. I love the odd-but-endearing lyrics about waiting patiently. My good friend Mike Nau (leader of Cotton Jones/Page France) met me on a sunny afternoon and we sang in harmony in one take while I played the ukulele. He added the big piano chords and the hypnotic chimes. I added the mysterious droning noises. It was done really quickly.

Keep up with all of our New God coverage here.

Little L Records

little l records week in pop logo

Little L Records celebrates Cassette Store Day with their compilation Herzog TV: A Dublin Lo​-​Fi Collection that shows off the DIY denizens of the Ireland you never knew. Imagine a band of young underachievers with great promise and you still only have a vague idea of the goodness in store. The fun begins with the infectious jam “Love Me” from Mr. Rosso that could have been the catchiest rock single from the yesteryears. The nostalgia keeps on ringing with Stephen Star and the sparse “Japanese Schoolgirl” that samples anime in between the smooth keys and cool guitar chords. Matters become fraternal and existential on the home spun symphony of “Egbert, Existing” from The Brotherlode, the warped weirdness of Yun Gee’s “Goldfish”, cruising along to the cool “You Sit There” sentimentality from Tobi The Dog, the young and fuzzy at heart “Rock N Roll Kids” from No Monster Club, to the kicked back shamble pop goodness of the closing cut “Kiss Me Kate” from Dr. Duloc that leaves you wanting to hear more from yung-Dublin’s lesser heard undergrounds. Little L label boss Callum Browne provided the following introduction to the Lo-Fi Collection with the following words;

Herzog TV is a loose collective who work with us at Little L Records here in Dublin. They’re a group of wild teens making some of the freshest lo-fi pop (a la Alex G or Ariel Pink) that we’ve heard in some time and we thought there’d be no better way to show off the Dublin scene by making this compilation happen and doing it for Cassette Store Day. The compilation is diverse, with everything from tongue in cheek bossa nova pop numbers from Stephen Star to weird-hop from Yun Gee and a little bit of Mr. Rosso thrown in there for fun. We hope you’ll enjoy the compilation and check out Dublin for something other than U2.

Storming the Beaches With Logos in Hand

Storming the Beaches With Logos in Hand; photographed by Luke Carr.
Storming the Beaches With Logos in Hand; photographed by Luke Carr.

Meet Santa Fe’s own super-band Storming The Beaches With Logos In Hand who dropped by a listen to their mammoth six minute masher “Gorillas In The Sky”. Found off their recent album Southwick Howls, their self-describe “sci-fi post-punk new-media opera” album revolves around “The boy, his father and a group of rebels begin their escape from Southwick through muddied shores, North, towards the Northern Grace,” and a whole lot of epic audio displays of instrumentation.

Luke Carr—composer, creator, guitarist and vocalist of STBWLIH—took the time to answers all of our following pressing inquiries.

Describe further the inspirations and musical fusions that comprise the visions at work in your “sci-fi post-punk new-media opera” known as Storming the Beaches With Logos in Hand.

After releasing my first solo record Pigrow, on which I played all the instruments myself—besides contributions from co-producer John Dieterich—I was really starving for a bigger, badder sound, with more meaning and momentum behind it.

I have always been entrenched in punk-rock, post-punk, post-rock, whatever you want to call all that. I have also always been really into percussion. Not just heavy percussion, but skilled, intricate, poly-rhythmic, entrancing drumming—the stuff that really hits at the core and speaks from a source. So, they just met each other in my writing process. I assembled multiple drummers to flesh out the rhythms that I had been drafting up and the band really clicked—I had aimed to do one song with them, but it turned into 20!

Storming The Beaches With Logos In Hand is what I like to call a ‘world-building project.’ The world already exists, we are just doing our part to clarify aspects, sights and sounds of it. Now that the first album has launched, the project will dive deeper into the culture, people and concepts that lead up to the events that take place in Southwick Howls.

What’s the story behind the name?

Honestly, the name just came out from pen to paper one day, and I rediscovered it years later in a lost journal. When I reread it, it was obvious to me that the name was to become something big in my life. It continues to reveal itself as powerful and appropriate to my mission with the project and the story itself; plus, it reads in a 3/4 time signature – can’t go wrong with that.

Tell us about the making of your six minute epic monster jam, “Gorillas in the Sky”, and the correlation to the album’s concept surrounding what you all refer to as an episode about “A boy, his father and a group of rebels begin their escape from Southwick through muddied shores, North, towards the Northern Grace.”

I believe I started writing “Gorillas In The Sky” on guitar, and luckily found that I could revolve the parts around a hefty, motivated yet jagged rhythm; which really became the core language of the piece. Bass players don’t really enjoying playing one note for so long, but I’m a sucker for the repetition in this one.

As far as the story, “Gorillas In The Sky” follows the actual escape of the characters from the city of Southwick—which occurs in the previous song “Digest”—and tracks the subsequent passage through the decrepit landscape of New Europe. The boy, his father and a few other rebels (who’s mysterious identities will be explored through a future album) are traveling through the starving relics of small towns, navigating through rotting pipes of a failed infrastructure, all the while being hounded by helicopters that drop soldiers in heavily armored ‘pur-suits,’ which are nicknamed ‘gorillas’ by the rebels. Though these details are happening in the story, the song’s lyrics are more meant to capture the internal reflections of the rebels’ commitment to reset the order of their failing country.

Can you share further details about what the making, mapping, and arranging of Southwick Howls was like?

Well, to prevent hearing myself complain, I usually sum up the process of creating Southwick Howls by saying ‘I learned a lot.’ Which is absolutely true, but really I would not go about making a record again the way I did this one! There was actually a lack of process in creating this music, every song came to life in a different way, whether that was through me sitting with a loop machine and creating rhythms and arrangements alone, or by being surrounded by five drummers and having to make up accompaniment rhythms on the fly. Maybe that comes through on the record? Maybe it doesn’t?

What are you all listening to right now?

That is a great question! Everyone in STBWLIH has very different tastes in music, which ultimately makes it very rewarding when we find music that we all agree on—and especially relieving for me when I present new material to the band that everyone digs. Lately, I have been listening to some Jackson Boone, Joanna Newsom, Deerhoof, Interpol’s Turn On The Bright Lights made it’s way into my collection recently. Max—my roommate and drummer in STBWLIH—just put Breathe Owl Breathe on the turntable, so I am listening to that now.

Tell us about all the cool local bands you all are playing with right now too, if that’s cool.

I just finished up a short solo tour, sharing the stage with the innovative banjoist Johnny Bell, who plays in a local Santa Fe group called Cloacas. Some other great Santa Fe gems are GRYGRDNS, Heavy Breather (a personal favorite), Evarusnik, and As In We.

London, Ontario’s Kit Bath and L-DC comprise the vocal/producer duo of West Nile who share their underworld adventuring single “Lucifer Baby”. Kit’s vocals play off the devilish ‘666’ numerics in a song that cruises like coastal drives spent listening to assorted synth pop CDs and 80s cassette tapes. L-DC works in sound craft the elicits thoughts of darker clad new-romantic renditions met with electronic craft adorned by treated dance hall noises and some super sweet synthesizers. Flash your horns, and rage like it’s a house party in Hades to Kit’s refrain of “6,666” surrounded by a futuristic environment of sound.

UK crooner Alxndr London returns with the single “Harrison” that brings some of the chillest saxophone stewed sounds you have heard all week. With an upcoming debut album at London’s Electrowerkz on October 26, listen to the way the artist takes the most sentimental pop sensationalist tropes and then spins them into an ether of warm water rhythms and that sax that saturates the song’s entire being.

Human Potential, the project from Medications man Andrew Becker shares a listen to the forthcoming How To Get To Where You Want To Go available now from What Delicate Recordings that has all the earthly and other-worldly atmospheres you have been listening and looking for the world over. The opener “Marathon 12/19/67” rises slowly like a slow rising sun at dawn, the mind opening moments on “Reprisal”, to the sharking and shimmering joy that reverberates on “Shivering Through”. Pictorial flip-book planes take flight on “This History in Pictures”, celestial places on “The End of Heaven”, the oblivion voyage on “105 Pounds of Disintegration”, arriving at the mighty, dramatic, sun setting closer “Manasquan 12/19/97”. An experience for those who prefer their albums to be an experience unto itself.

Presenting a listen to Bombee’s electronic-dipped expressions on “Clear Lines” available November 6 and to be featured on his upcoming new album Golden Cage. The emotion spills like early morning dialogues of urgency with intimate others that are here set to slow electro-waterfall flows of synths.

Japanese composer/pianist is Rayons, who presents the Tao Tajima video for “Waxing Moon” ft. Predawn that showcases the heart, styles, and splendor of Tokyo at night. Rayons’ album The World Left Behind is available now from flau that features the piano built ballads from Masako Nakai where she elaborates the arrangements with the aid of electronic and baroque pop orchestrations.

San Francisco’s Future Shapes present their track “Feel” that sends out expressive feels from the home baked variety. Fil Cala & Steven Johnsrude and their propagation of a thing called “shitwave“, we bring you a sound that is steeped in all the lo-fi home manufactured sounds that create a feeling that inspires new reasons to be excited about music happening in the SF scene.

Morgane Lhote from Stereolab presents her new project Hologram Teen as she readies her Post-Apocalypteacakes / Tracksuit Minotaur 7″ for London’s Deep Distance label November 9, sharing a listen to the a-side that features Buddy Cop that rides down haunted railways. Subterranean dance party sounds rise to a surface that seeks electronic rhythm objectives like low flying remote controlled synth missiles.

Take a traveling ride with Unalaska on the video for “Air Transylvania” from Clemens Purner captured on a number of iPhones over the past half decade during a plethora of flights. That jet-lag addled sentiment is further relayed from the cold arrangement of electronics and keys to the visuals that adjust the focuses of the world observed from the varied vantage point of a plane’s passenger window.Find this and more electrically enhanced episodes on their self-titled EP available October 16 on Light Organ Records.

We bring you Wax Idols’ video for “Lonely You” directed by Dustin Senovic off the album American Tragic available now, and touring now through November 8. Hether Fortune’s blue shaded worlds of solace are adorned by costume designer Domonique Echeverria, featuring Dion Oliver, and paper cranes made by Jen Goland. Read Wax Idols’ tour essentials feature here.

Keep an eye and ear out for The Skulx, raging power ballad rock jams out of Ohio, sharing the lyric video for “Do What You Do” that will have you singing the righteous titular chorus everywhere you go. With an upcoming album said to be in the works, more fist pumping anthem rockers are still yet to arrive.

Check out the Kevin Eis and Mike Dominic video for Behaviors’ “Don’t Fight It” that features the talents of Dave Child, Julia Larson, Brooks Morrison getting into all kinds of suburban mischief and campy horror. A creepy curmudgeon of a neighbor exacts his revenge like a b-movie villainous tale put to Behaviors’ sweet breezy single.

Watch Small Black’s William Colby assisted video for “No One Wants It To Happen To You” off their new album Best Blues available now from Jagjaguwar. Their chord warped pop renderings are set to images of hi-def performances close-ups and water-submerged moments to let the fancy resolutions shine bright in conjunction with the art pop sounds.

Market East is made up of members and writers from Lee Fields & The Expression, and deliver the classic modern pop homage with “Love Will Always Win” available via La Ti Da Records. The sounds of Wrecking Crew backed pop gems paint the portrait of the most unbreakable bonds and love with the big band brush strokes that depict a bond that is larger and more epic than life itself.

Oneohtrix Point Never dropped the electro-mutating/shape-shifting track “Mutant Standard” off their upcoming album Garden of Delete available November 13 from Warp.

Everyone’s favorite shit-disturbers Le Rug are back with another batch of previously unreleased chaos with the forthcoming Game Over available November 20 from your friends at Fleeting Youth Records. The world of NYC’s own forgotten boy Ray Weiss explodes in the catchy and cool electrified power pop slugger “Bomb” that detonates with all the right chords and changes in the right places to make it absolutely addictive. The reflective “it’s all right” trajectories move in between dazzling displays of flaming guitar pyrotechnics that occur in aural form.

Brass Bed is back offering a listen to the personified echo rhythm & rock of “I Am just a Whisper” their new digital single to tide you over as we await further details on their forthcoming new album available in 2016 from Modern Outsider. The Louisiana band brings more of their guitar string lead jams that traverse in accordance to the percussive relationship between the chord progressions, peppy drums, and the harmonic howls from frontman Johnny Campos. Keep an ear out for more coming soon.

Rodney Cromwell declared the forthcoming of his Black Dog EP available November 6 from Happy Robots Records, that follows on the heels of his album Age of Anxiety (which we feature here streaming). The London taps into the most glimmering of synth choices (new, modern, ancient, and brand new) that makes up memorable romps through electronic narratives found on “You Will Struggle”, “Barry Was An Arms Dealer”, among others.

Sara Lov (formerly of Devics) presents her video for “Trains” featuring Dustin O’Halloran off her album Some Kind of Champion available October 30 from Splinter Records that showcases under-the-sea creature images to compliment the chamber pop that chronicles transitions and observations.

Starlight Girls dropped their video for “Fancy” taken off their upcoming album Fantasm available January 15 that features the Brooklyn group’s dance-inflected pop visualized like a music video made during the post-disco transitional era when the 70s turned into the 80s.

Lisa Masia and Marina Cristofalo who make up the Italo duo Lilies On Mars are back with the release of their new album AGO on Lady Sometimes Records via Cargo Records that features the continued chapters of two friend’s love for luscious synth pop styles and limitless textures. The invitation back to their electronically imbued world begins with “Stealing” that keeps the keyboards swirling and swarming to a menagerie of sequences in a cycle that runs through the closing cut “I’ve Got You” that embraces a keyboard kissed world of possibility and limitless beauty. Follow all of our LOM coverage here.

Eluvium’s Life Through Bombardment Vol. 2 box set will be available in time for the holidays December 18 from Temporary Residence Ltd, and we give you a listen with “Confessor” full of beautiful piano painted orchestral indulgences for the entire being to absorb and enjoy.

From Humboldt County’s own Brian Pyle; hear Ensemble Economique’s ambient work “From The Train Window, Red Flowers On The Mountain” taken off the new album Blossoms In Red from Denovali Records. The Northern California artist utilizes synth sustains to create moods to accompany pensive and reflective moments while traveling.

Ras Kass & Jack Splash together are the post-modern melters of the mind and mic as Semi Hendrix, bringing a west coast twist of the welcomed weird with a listen to their debut album Breakfast At Banksy’s. Free play of contemporary pop cultural allusions and more are the order of the day with the table talk back and forth fodder that features Coast Contra & 4Rax throwing bars into the mix. The mood is constantly set to the mode of fun, heard on 70s swagger of “I.T.”, dropping eye and mind opening bangers like “Think About It” ft. Brothers Voodoo, to Cee-Lo rom “Sex Pistol” on the merits of being special and unique. Ras & Jack’s Semi Hendrix spectacular is all about keeping it surreal and silly with tracks like “Loogies” flying references from Louis to Lord of the Rings like spitting phlegm. Weirdness and wacked-out fantasies play out on “Waterboarding Tinkerbell”, to sentimental sections like “Heartbreak” (feat. Teedra Moses), confidence cuts like “Can’t Give Up Now” feat. Jessica, the sensory mash-up of “M.A.S.H.” ft. Kurupt and television theme references, analog throwback interludes like “Jheri Curl Juice” with “fuck what you heard this is not for the radio, this is Ice-T with a perm back in 84.” Heavy contemporary issues run deep on the conscientious crying “Jesus Pressed Mute”, the electric thumping “Trunk Rock” fet. Montego Meli, the jubilant focus jam “Gotta Get a Grip” ft. Alice Russell & Wreckonize, the introductory anthem “Semi Hendrix – #4081” that was the duo’s first single.

Semi Hendrix’s Week in Pop

Semi Hendrix, the dynamic duo of Ras Kass & Jack Splash.
Semi Hendrix, the dynamic duo of Ras Kass & Jack Splash.

Semi Hendrix (Ras Kass & Jack Splash) have recently released their album Breakfast at Banksy’s via Mello Music Group & digital, and today we present you with their own exclusive Week in Pop guest selections:

Ras Kass

Duran Duran, “Save A Prayer”

I’ve been a DD fan since a little kid. Just last week me, Elgant & DJ Premier were high-fiving singing this song when we realized we were all big fans. 80’s music rules! Ha ha.

Redman, “Dope Man”

Classic Red killing it over my man Rick Rocks beat! Perfect combination of east coast lyrics and Nor Cal crack music. Plus the video is hilarious!

Sean Price, “BBQ Sauce” ft. Pharoahe Monch

One of the dopest hiphop videos ever with two of the greatest rhymers ever! RIP!

Anderson .Paak, “Drugs”

About two years ago I was half hesitant to go to a show my buddy Adrian Miller invited me to check out some upstart rapper/singer named Paak but when I saw him perform this song live i knew he was the truth!! Now with at least 6 songs on Dr. Dre’s “Compton” soundtrack, the whole world knows it.

Lana Del Rey, “High By The Beach”

She’s talented, she’s introspective, she’s beautiful and she just wants to get high by the beach; that’s a no drama date, and she blows up paparazzi helicopters with rocket launchers! Emphatically, that’s the girl of my dreams.

Joe Budden, “Slaughtermouse”

A dope artist (Budden) asking his more successful counterpart (Eminem) for career advice. It’s humble and that’s a rarity in rap these days. Theres definitely a lack of mentorship in hiphop so its dope to hear someone genuinely ask for it so poetically. #BARS

semi hendrix week in pop 2

Jack Splash

Raury, “Forbidden Knowledge” (feat. Big K.R.I.T.)

This is the kind of hip hop I love. Truly original poetry and a unique perspective from a young artist. His whole album is great, but this song in particular is one of his best performances.

The Golden Rules (Eric Biddines & Paul White), “Down South Boogie”

Eric Biddines is one of the illest and most creative hip hop artists right now. This song is off his side project with Paul White & shows his funk tendencies.

Petite Noir, “Best”

I love music that defies labels & genres. This song and artist are in a weird world of their own (somewhere in between funk, afrobeat & progressive indie-rock). The video is also breathtaking & magnificently shot.

Lianne La Havas, “Unstoppable”

Lianne is amazing. Her voice is so angelic & pure. This is the first song on her new album and I highly suggest listening to the whole album (and then go back and listen to her first album as well).

Homeboy Sandman, “Enough” (feat. J-Live & Kurious)

I love everything Sandman does. This song is beautiful because the subdued track lets you focus on his poetry. J-Live also murders his verse & Kurious rounds out the trio perfectly. This is reminiscent of the classic posse cuts that I miss from the 90s where every rapper really adds something special to the track.

D.A. Wallach, “Glowing”

D.A. is the former lead singer of Chester French. On his solo album he digs much deeper and this song is really a beautiful masterpiece. The vocals in the chorus and bridge are truly breathtaking. Tyler The Creator directed the video and it kind of deals with love in the time of chaos.

Follow Semi Hendrix, Ras Kass, & Jack Splash on Twitter.