Because Summer mainstream headlines are seriously bumming us all out about everything, Impose's Week in Pop scans the span of items of interest for your convenience and entertainment needs. This week, 2 Chainz got arrested for not getting off the tour bus for something like 9 hours, while Kendrick Lamar is raking in the Twitter followers post-”Control”, epic WikiLeaks contributor Bradley Manning announced his new gender dysphoria and handle of Chelsea Manning as he got handed his 35 year court-martialed prison sentence, and apparently someone is trying to clone John Lennon from a tooth. But have no fear dear listeners and loyal readers, as we bring you the folks who made our week exciting through conversations, sounds, endless discussions, and manifestos, all in no particular order.
Last week we introduced you to Northern Florida by Asheville, North Carolina's Chase Hudson and Sean Sullivan of 2PPM, otherwise known as 2 People Playing Music. Their recent released album Desert Country and Physics gives you the Roman numerics of “I-IV”, 4 movements recorded in a series of single take improvised sessions that pushes the conceptual framework of chemistry-genre containment that breaks the catchall confines of descriptions. Chase handles the piano and synthesizers with a synergy that plays off of Sean's percussion, together 2PPM curates their own self-styled approach to the idea of jazz, or post-jazz, or maybe post-post-jazz, or the no jazz sound territories of Desert Country that lends a new degree of physics for the 2 musicians. Their third release introduces the aspect of drum sequencing and live sampling and looping that enhances the latest develops of audio terrain where all the organic aspects remain intact but take on new uplifted lives in territories that exist beyond this writer's ability to convey the complex tropes of relayed audio expression.
Chase Hudson wrote us an incredible companion piece/manifesto combining both his and Sean Sullivan's expansive thoughts on the work of 2PPM. “These are my words”, Chase wrote to me, “but they do represent our feelings”. Prepare yourself to get schooled in the new realms from the musical progression-schools of tomorrow.
“Bill Evans described Jazz music as a process: 'The process of making one minute's music in one minute's time…anyone playing improvised music is essentially playing jazz.' That to me is the essence of jazz music, not that jazz is even a particular type of music, but that it is more so a process of making music. Generally speaking, people tend to think of jazz as an invariably annoying, regurgitated style, with an elitist vibe. I think of jazz as the core of American music. It has given us a vision of music with so much substance, and I tend to think that it is responsible for many elements of pop music that everyone seems to cherish. However, because of the stigmatization of jazz Sean and I seemed to embrace the idea of 'post-jazz', implying that we existed in a world after, but influenced, by jazz or something like that. I see now that without a doubt we are essentially playing jazz music, maybe not what one might refer to as, 'real jazz', but certainly jazz, and more specifically, free jazz, and avant-garde jazz. However, I don't mean to say that we are simply playing jazz. I like more the idea that what people are truly into are elements of music. All musical genres are exploiting the same elements of music that people find desirable, just presenting them in a way so that it matches their particular style. I like to think that we (2ppm) have contributed to Bill's jazz process concept by essentially playing jazz, but including elements of music from the late 80s and 90s that are also very natural to us, like hip-hop, house, post-rock, and many other forms of progressive music we've heard along the way. That being said, you could quite accurately describe our music as “new jazz”, that is, jazz that explores the most recent possibilities of sound; the same way artists like Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters were referred to as new jazz in the early 70s. It is a fitting title that is inherently malleable.
One of the founding principles of 2PPM was the idea of a spontaneous and pure flow of music, where we remain so open, and so dedicated to listening, that we allow some universal force to speak through us. From the very beginning, almost three years ago, improvisation has been perhaps the most natural form of performance for us. It has actually been a fairly new experience creating the more composed songs we have recorded, and plan on recording for future albums. Our recent release is the manifestation of our original idea for this group, something we've recently referred to as “purist house”, just as a description, and not so much as a means to classify. This concept is basically live looping of acoustic percussion, mixed with sequenced digital percussion and a diverse bed of sounds, with individual sound generators chosen specifically for their evocative nature, and a live human engaging each instrument. No pre-recorded samples. No laptop. Ever-evolving music with the unmatched (as far as we know) element of the human being. The most obvious enhancement from our previous method of performance is the ability to loop bass lines, allowing me to free up my left hand, which until now was mostly locked into the Ray Manzarek/Doors position. Besides being incredibly uncomfortable, this was difficult because adding layers would require me to grow extra limbs. But now, with the recent acquisition of a drum machine synced to a multi-track looper we have helped to maximize control of our music. As we improvise we can add and remove percussive and melodic layers with ease, allowing us to speak through our instruments like never before. We have settled in a new dimension of sound, the possibilities of song/phrase development have expanded to an unimaginable state. It is really quite exciting. And the most interesting part is that these recordings for Desert Country and Physics represent the absolute first four times we attempted performing in this style after conceptualizing for over three years. That is why they are appropriately named, I, II, III, and IV. ” -Chase Hudson
Australia's Buchanan bring about their rendition of the human experience in powerful ways that are poised to take over the world with anthemic, posi-pop. Fresh from a world that is experiencing the uprising from global 'spring's, protests, expressions of dissent, and statements of the self that break through the walls of suppression; frontman Josh Simons takes on the album challenge with the devout commitment to make their mark in the raging tide of upheavals. With a sound that grows in an altitude like the highest circus tent, Simons asks for alternative routes in requests to “show me another way” that breaks through the ambivalence and apathy that initiates a call to personal action and decisiveness with, “there's not better time to start”. As per always, the new sounds of young Australia continue to prove to be the world's latest aspects of encouragement and inspirations. Their album is available now worldwide via Bandcamp, and we have their Stateside title track premiere for you right here.
Buchanan's brain child Josh Simons took the time to talk with us about recording their first full-length, creating an optimistic response to the world's darkness, Australian cricket teams, and more.
After some 18 plus months of writing, recording, sweat tears and such; how was it working with and watching your labors of love get enhanced and further enriched from Catherine Marks and Tim Cross' production, Andy Baldwin's mixing and then the Abbey Road mastering treatment, a la Geoff Pesche?
Well we were incredibly lucky to get to work with almost all of our first choices for the production of this album. I really wanted a producer who was going to focus on the more traditional side of production – actually getting people in the room to perform and asking questions like 'how does this chord help tell your story?' rather than a producer who was just really clever in Pro Tools. We definitely got that with Catherine, and bringing in Andy and Geoff towards the end of the process ensured that sonically it was going to hold up and hopefully sound world class. They were also very collaborative and very much worked with the band on getting it to the finish line – it never felt like the album was teared away from my hands or from its roots.
Tell us about the titular track “Human Spring”, and the carpe diem ethic of 'making your mark' so to speak.
A lot of music at the moment is very dark – it seems like a lot of artists are trying to 'out-weird' each other and I think that's evident in not just the music world, but in all areas of life. The whole world is going through this weird transition period, and we're dealing with new issues like privacy and security. The whole point of our album and that track in particular was kind of like, 'fuck the darkness, let's make as optimistic a response we can and focus on the good in the world'. Ironically, a lot of the inspiration for the album came from some of that darker experimental music, but this was kind of like our response to that.
What for you were some of the constructive challenges of both writing and fleshing out your full-length debut, Human Spring?
Budget and time. We ended up working in about 7 studios to make this album because our time with Catherine was at the mercy of Foals recording schedule. The upside to that very stop-start process was that in between recording sessions we actually got to hit the rehearsal studio and learn to play these new songs as a band and take them out on the road. By the time we reached our final recording session the songs were finely tuned and we re-recorded nearly everything in two weeks, just playing it in as a band and not having to worry as much about overdubs and being clever in the computer.
We understand you abhor any referential, 'concept album' tags [don't blame you, ha], but what were some of the driving constants and conceptual processing and frameworks[and/or lack thereof] in the making of Human Spring?
We definitely worked under a very specific conceptual framework. I wrote this short story on our studio whiteboard about an imaginary revolution. Every time we were stuck for inspiration, whether it was a decision about artwork, the sonics of a song, or a lyric choice, we could come back to this story and it helped give the album a sense of cohesion, which is something we strived for from day one. It was a nice little experiment for this album and we're pretty happy with how it worked out.
What are some of the raddest things about the AU that none of us Yanks or outsiders know about?
A few years ago I might have said something about how great our cricket team is, but after another embarrassing loss to the Poms I'm not so sure?! We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and, particularly up north, there are places that are hot all year round that look and feel like tropical islands! It's a very lucky country to live in, really.
LA's Distortion Mirrors caught our attention with their track “Death By Love” the other week, and this week rocked us with the homecoming pop pedals of “Prom Queen” off their new album, Zeros and Kings. The Mirrors began as a solo project of Lukas Worle that became complete with the addition of Josiah Brooks' multi-talented gifts that turn their fuzz medals into machines that emulate the titans of surrounding musical industries while striking chords of their own autonomy in the fray of fuzz and seas of clamoring buzz. “Prom Queen” takes you back to those awkward dances, where the tiaras are discarded for the superficiality of the pomp and circumstance that most are forced to go and grow through during the so-called, 'time of your life'. Eschewing the limo ride of superficial royalty, “Death By Love” encompasses the vision that the progenitors of noise pop saw back in the 80s, probably somewhere around the time Bob Mould would trade in the accomplishments of Hüsker Dü for Sugar's new alternative/no alternative grizzly guitars of the noughties banners that spelled out the discontinuities bled from the shallow investments crises of the heart.
We were lucky enough this week to shoot the breeze with SoCal's Lukas Worle and Josiah Brooks to get inside the aesthetics, intents and thoughts behind the recordings, releases and ethos of Distortion Mirrors.
How did the previous efforts Silver Rocket, and Circle of Wolves inform Zeros and Kings?
Luke: The first record we did, Silver Rocket, was a testing ground demo, essentially. It was shoegaze, post-rock and what we call epic minimalism. I didn't sing a note on it. Mogwai strongly influenced that record as did My Bloody Valentine and that's when we decided to transplant synths into the mix, but treated to sound like gritty guitars. There was a lot of pitch bend manipulation done to synths that gave the character and nuance of guitar, but that whole record was essentially synths emulating guitars. That probably might surprise a few people who listen to it now.
“Silver Rocket” caught the ear of Sylvia Massy. We've long respected her work, but most novices might tag her as the Tool producer. I looked past that and saw her rich history with Rick Rubin, essentially being his go to engineer/mixer and then Circle of Wolves developed. We included spoken word vocals for the first (and last) time on our music. The EP was cut from the same cloth as Silver Rocket, yet there was a darker sonic undercurrent. We had real drums, guitars and the whole works giving an emphasis on texture and on primal power. Sylvia helped keep the subtle nuances though. Things only an audiophile might hear. Then the record was released on an experimental German record label that puts out obscure, heady, arty and often brilliant stuff.
Zeros and Kings was the great departure from the post rock and industrial sandwich we had pigeonholed ourselves between. Both those markets are tough, competitive, and to some degree, an outdated mode of musical expression, although I think post-rock is the viable better of the two. In LA we decided to cherry pick the records that inspired us personally. The records that impacted our lives. Consequentially, we disregarded the whole sonic stylings and presence of industrial keyboard driven tuneless art-noise in exchange for some great melodies and pop hooks. Out came Zeros and Kings and we couldn't be happier. You can strip all the record's songs down to an acoustic guitar and play them. That's the trademark of writing great music. Can you play it on an acoustic guitar and have it translate something emotionally palpable? For the first time, I believe we did.
How did a solo synth project evolve from Luke's bedroom and into a full blown pop duo with Josiah?
Josiah: Luke had called looking around for some band members to kickstart this real band he was forming. I was a fan of his trippy synthesized music, but it was extremely esoteric and it kind of cornered itself into its own small corner. He called talking to my brother asking about some local talent and I snatched the phone from his hand and introduced myself : 'Hi, I'm Josiah Brooks and I play guitar'.
L: He really did! And that's when we had that collective brother-hood, whatever you want to call it. He was listening to this great indie playlist, not for empty hipster posturing or indie cred points, but because he really loved music, regardless if it was popular or reviled in our small upstate New York pond. This was a guy that didn't laugh at my ideas or performances, or my desire to escape suburbia and make things happen, with a little faith in pocket.
I had played very early gigs in the small town where I was raised and people essentially laughed me through my performances. Nobody cared there if your musical reference points were Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine or Peter Gabriel. If you can bellow like cookie monster on a meth bender, then that's what they wanted. Josiah welcomed me as a co-freak and our kinship happened. We're brothers in that sense. Always have been since day one.
The story behind the single “Prom Queen”, and the scuzzy 'federation of cool' that is the chugging “Death by Love”, and any other stories and thoughts on the underground LA scenes we may be unaware of?
L: Like I said earlier, empty hipster indie posturing is everywhere. Bands supported by Converse and on Columbia Records are making radio waves writing shiny plastic songs and they look like GQ models. The impetus behind their art is commerce. Not every indie band is like that, thank God. Take Deafheaven who just released the year's best record. They aren't black metal. Their record sleeve is pink. But their impetus is art. They're not playing corporate games and they're blurring the lines between what a genre is. They're somewhat hated in metal circles for that. But we have tremendous respect for them and others who find a way to play record label politics, but not at the expense of writing songs that are limp, soulless, and slickly corporate drivel.
Those Converse supported Columbia Records signees? It's like the quarterback at high school all over again, just in the indie circuit.Distortion Mirrors are the Breakfast Club's John Bender. “Death By Love” and “Prom Queen” are as catchy and as alternative rock poppy as you can possibly get. But their lyrics reflect the cross current of nihilistic despair and radical hope. Our faith is integral to our music.Those songs are about the underdog.
“Prom Queen” is about that very underdog who has been given her life's wish, to be miss popularity and in doing so it triggers this massive misconception and blows her mind and breaks her heart; that popularity, charm, and other variables are fleeting. That's the Ecclesiastes approach to “Prom Queen”. That's what I meant when I wrote “As your halo burns, all the world will turn away”. Your silver tiara means nothing. Nor does your Mercedes, your millions of records sold, or your Wall Street takeover. Nothing in this world can satisfy you the way you think if you are counting on the approval and fluff of the world to do it. Ask Michael Jackson.
'Death By Love' is about the underdogs of Alternative Rock. The 90's era misfits that struggle to feel relevant. The greatest of the underdogs is Billy Corgan and he's the reason I decided to leave my classical music background and pick up rock and roll in the first place. That man won't be molded. “Death By Love” is a tribute to trailblazers like him, tortured by industry games, but in the end, they stay true to form, and the timeless art they make is it's own sweet reward.
The underground L.A. scene is great as far as I'm concerned. Dum Dum Girls are intent on being the new Ronettes and are doing one heck of a great job. Warpaint and Local Natives are getting great notices for their uniqueness. But at the moment, I'm beyond scenes. If it has a great tune, is sonically effective and made from the heart, that's all the scene that matters. Who knows:The next great band might come from Iceland!
Jason Lescalleet released his album Archaic Architecture this week from NNA Tapes, and we found ourselves deep within the encoded encryptions of “An Archaic Code”. We listened and attempted to discern those places where the electronic and the acoustic meet, like parallel and perpendicular lines traversing across graphs and plains that break through the linear algorithms to create new theorems and a language that exists outside of the mathematics for something new and unique unto it's own design. And through this dichotomy of the electric and naturally discovered sound stirs a perspectives of something akin to exploring the colossal exterior of a man-made space station surrounded by the natural essences of the final frontier where every convention of air, gravity, density, and life become rewritten in new understandings of new bold environments through carefully applied brush strokes. It is here where the archaic, the contemporary and the modern meet in a new language that can only begin to be defined by the listener's engagement with the experience of the new auditory patterns that pass through the ears of humankind.
While on the road, we were lucky to spend part of an afternoon chatting with Jason about his music in a manner of that covers everything from the experiential listener-response perspectives, collaborative conceptualizations, his Archaic Architecture tape, exploring the world of descriptive semantics, contemplative music, and the epiphanies that can and may occur through the act and art of listening. It was here that we moved well beyond the reductionist, and stilted language that keeps much expression about music confined within false, and irrelevant parameters for something boundless and generative that extends further than the most pithy and wildest of words pertaining to the art of sound.
With a title like Archaic Architecture it got me thinking about the concepts and constructs of architecture, what the connection to architecture of the past and your own musical creations and textures?
Ancient Architecture is a really broad brush description of a lot of different concepts I have about arts and music and my role in music, I don’t want to draw any really clear descriptions about some of the relationships with titles to my art because I like giving the listener the opportunity to find their own way. I have heard a lot of artists say that I don’t like to assign messages, because I like the person to come up with their own views and that’s not what I’m saying because sometimes I think that’s a cop out, I don’t want to accuse anybody of anything, specific names or anything and I don’t think that’s always true but I think that sometimes artists use that as an easy way out to just say no, you’ll find your own way in anything that I do. I can assure you that everything I do has a specific meaning that means a lot of things to me, I never made some hokey music that I just thought was fun to do it and through it out there. I am pretty specific about what I do. But when I say I want the listener to do it, I think that me telling you what it’s about robs you of a really awesome experience with your epiphany. I don’t want to take that away from you, I love it when I have an epiphany, I love when I figure something out and I’m checking into some art and suddenly I‘m making a connection. I love conceptual continuity; I love it when an artist runs threads through all their work and you learn why some pieces are related to others.
And with those epiphanies and creative continuities, because you got that upcoming Graham Lambkin collaboration in September with Photographs; for you two, how does that collaborative dynamic work in conjunction with those epiphanies?
Absolutely, it’s a fair question, especially with what I just said. The statement I made to you was specifically related to my solo works, ‘cause I have 100% control of my solo works. The collaborative works sometimes, depending on who I’m working with may not be as conceptual as my solo works but I do feel confident in telling you that there is usually something behind it, most of the guys I work with feel similarly to me in that’s why we’re working together. But aside from all my collaborations, the deepest are obviously the ones with Graham Lambkin, because it’s 3 full-length releases and it’s always been planned since day 1 that there was going to be 3, and Graham and I have known since 2007 that this was a long term project, it had to be meaningful. So there is thread between all 3 pieces, and each release has its own specific thing happening to it and then on top of that the 3 are related to each other, each one, each step of the way, you get The Breadwinner that has its own thing, if you just heard The Breadwinner on its own you will be able to find that to be a concept record on its own, when Air Supply came out we expanded on the concepts of The Breadwinner and gave people something to look forward to by telling them, ‘by the way, there is a third part that is going to drop someday.’ And it was our goal to do it every other year, so it was 2008 for The Breadwinner, 2010 for Air Supply and we expected Photographs to come out within 2012 but it was quite an ambitious undertaking and took a little longer than we thought it would, it’s a double CD.
What is key for you and your own creativity in various other collaborative environments, like recent with Kevin Drumm, Aaron Dilloway, Joe Colley, etc?
I can tell you that each artist has their own way of approaching art. Sometimes the artist I’m working with don’t feel the need to have deep concepts, others do, and without pointing to any of them specifically, some of them are more conceptually driven than others. I think a lot of our listeners who are checking them out will be able to tell whether or not there was a deeper meaning there or not.
Like on “An Archaic Code”, at times you feel like you are privy to the analogue, natural musical construction and other times it feels like exploring the outer dimensions of an archaic-monolithic space-station.
I like that you saw it that way.
How do you describe the polarities of droning acoustic instrumentation into those heady-spaced out, man made constructs in space type of feeling?
That is a common relationship concern in all my works, whether it is collaborative or solo, I’m often working within the relationship between electronic music and acoustic music. Maybe not as much the analogue and digital but more about electronic and acoustic and those 2 things I find to be more vital of a discussion.
For you what is the process of reconciling [electronic and acoustic]?
I started with a digital medium; I started with electronic music and felt the need to bring in those field recorded sounds to give the music a more human feel. I think that one of the things that I think is valuable about what I do, it maybe be somewhat unique when compared to some of my peers, is that I strive to bring a human element to electronic music and even if my composition is a purely electronic I still want people to listen to this and feel like a human is responsible for it and I’m hoping that you, the listener are going to have a human connection. In some of my works it’s emotional, I’m hoping that I’m bringing some emotions involved which is a struggle in this field of music which is considered to be stoic and cold at times. So I really wanted to do that, and sometimes it’s hard to do if you’re not going to load it up with emotion, codes of emotion, you can do titles, pictures that are going to give you information that can bring you there. I’m hoping that music can do it on its own. And it’s especially important in today’s field where the listener can obtain my music like from a digital download and they’re not even getting the cover and they’re not going to be holding the object in their hands, they might not even get liner notes that might have been included with the project, so I can’t even control anymore how the listener is going to come across my music so I have to really make sure that my music stands alone and that it’s strong enough to bridge a gap between me and you and you’re going to feel something about it.
There is a lot of feeling, you are exploring the more hollow places like the breath of organ pipes and it’s like this sound for cathedral-like, hallowed natures of religious-like ritual.
Yeah, thank you for noticing that, the organ work like you said is part of a series I’ve been working on, you can hear that concept on other releases.
What role for you does the spiritual play in your arrangements and compositions? Where does that stem from for you?
Right, so there is an example of a question that I would not address specifically because I would like the listener to not be influenced by how I look at that. I think that religion is extremely personal, I will tell you this much that in my opinion I don’t think that there is place for religion in my art. From my perspective I don’t like to use religion in my art.
Yeah, but these elements of the spiritual…
But no, what I’m getting at is someone who may not be religious may be spiritual or vice versa, there still something very personal that I don’t want to rule out. So you may be someone who doesn’t believe in spirituality but you still may gain some emotion from it, I may put a road block up there by telling you that I’m a spiritual person or telling you that I’m Christian, or not, or that I’m atheist or anything, I would like people to be able to have the freedom to find their own way in my music. Even if it’s not the way I intended, that’s why I was stating earlier that I hope to not take away the experience of maybe having an epiphany, I hate to steer someone in the wrong direction, and not letting them find their own way.
What with the concepts and semantics of religious or spiritual, it’s like ambient, the term ambient, which these days everything is ambient something or rather in practically almost every corner. I feel that maybe in the past 4, 5 years it’s more of a thing, and definitely a a much longer stretch of time but it’s caught on and everyone uses some kind of silly tag line for it, thank Simon Reynolds for hypnagogia, and getting that into the modern contemporary musical lexicon. But ambient, maybe this almost a question you may not even care to address because it is one of those crystallizing specifications.
I will offer you a term I like to use; I try to create contemplative music.
Contemplative music…I like it!
Yep, for some people when you hear my music is being played in the background, it’s like okay, it’s on. Some people just enjoy having music in their life itself without having to study it, I wouldn’t want them not to listen to my records, but that’s not what it’s for. I hope when you’re playing my music, you’re thinking about it, I want it to be a cerebral experience, I’m hoping it is.
Get a listen to the collaboration between Kevin Drumm and Jason Lescalleet with their cut, “The Curse”, that will test your ability to withstand high decibal piercing treble before the slow tapes kick in. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely recommended for the musically adventurous.
Our Oakland buddy Jeremy Sullivan, aka Parentz dropped the track “FP&B<3Z:PART1" off the Sepember 3 slated FP&B<3Z1:FLY EP. In the cumulation of interweb connected artists, fans, and journalists; Parentz has rode past the post-modern theme park amusements for something reflective of the state of these overlapping digital worlds that overflow into the material, physical world. Promoting a mission statement of “future-pop and blog heartz”, Sullivan veers into the tomorrow that already arrived where the clear distinctions of genre become subverted into the melting-pot-ether where communities of anyone with an affinity for music made with heart is celebrated in manner where the listener, artist, and blogger exist within the same consciousness. Jeremy's ambitions may be birthed from the amalgam of intricate artistry that exists around us all, but sets himself apart by attending to a personal passion that is truly all his own. From the hip-hop backed beats, to the glittering synth loops, one thing on this is made darn clear from the East Bay's esteemed parental advocate of elite advisories; “the future will be glorious”. F-P&B<3Z1FLY will be available September 3, followed up by the following 2 releases coming soon.
It having been a couple years since we checked in with Parentz' Jeremy Sullivan, we caught up on the latest excitement behind F-P&B<3Z
The last time we met, you were fresh off the Tom Hanks-ing stylee on your Chill Mega Chill tape, Big. So off the bat, tell us about the first in your new trilogy, F-P&B<3Z1FLY.
Yeah that tape was so rad. Chill is the best. I actually got a copy into the hands of Tom Hanks himself thanks to a friend. Great way to wrap-up that era.
Well this idea of a mash of characters as a representation of technology and muddled communication somehow stuck with me. Kind of like a puzzle. And somehow it's tied to the ubiquity of future pop acts in the post-Purity Ring/post-Grimes world, the blogger community that really activated and ignited them, and the avalanche of artists that imitate them. Except its really just a love letter to electronic musicians and the blogger community, which I see really as one big community.
I have some future-y sounding songs that I wanted to group together that are a little more moody, less dancey, and I didn't think it made sense to do a proper release. Plus it's just silly to have like multiple parts to albums and songs, so I wanted to sort of make fun of that “This is just part 1.”
This one is just some songs rounded out by a killer retro/future-y video and song, Fly, coming soon.
More than ever your hip-hop production has taken a decidedly cloudy turn, indicative of the East Bay's rise to underground beat prominence of recent years. How do you describe the glorious futurism you have concocted on “FP&B<3Z"?
These songs do have more of a hip-hop/r n' b element than some of my other stuff. I play almost no guitar on these songs. I think it's probably something to do with Adam Myatt of James and Evander cleaning up my mixes, and how I stuck to pretty typical tropes in the genre. I mean, it's just electronic pop with a ton of delay, pitched vocals, some side-chained, super compressed. But I think obviously the pillars of the genre are making really polished amazing art. This is not quite that.
What do we need to know about FP&B<3Z1FLY:Parts 2-3?
Well this one is fixated around PARENTZ -> Skullface which you see in some live performances, the Back it Up video, James and Evander's Ambigamy, and some other forthcoming videos. It's meant to be darker, moodier.
The next one is gonna be more about Jeremy, and will have more of a human, emotional element.
The last one is gonna be all about Kia, with Kia singing lead on all the songs. Really great songs coming from her that are going to probably be the best in all the series. Some of them we've played live at Rickshaw, and at Bottom of the Hill and they just crushed the crowd. She crushes vocals. Really glad she's having so much fun as a part of Ghost and the City and Ghost(tet).
Pardon my ignorance, but can you explain and decode for us the acronym-encoding of these titles? Their inspiration?
Uh, sure. It's what I sing during the chorus of the title track, Future-pop and Blog Heartz. Basically instead of 'everybody dance now' or 'let's make some music, make some money, find some models for wives,' it's like 'sometimes you feel like a show, meet up with someone you know… I'll be the beat, you be the bassline, and eventually we'll be future pop and blog heartz'. It's about the marriage of electronic music and the blogger community. But really it's just absurd puzzly confusion I like to create in my art and songs that I don't really think anyone is picking up on or cares about. I'll explore it more on some upcoming stuff that might make it more clear.
But yeah I look at life like a video game sometimes and everytime you get coverage in a blog it's like a blogheart-container or a blogcoin, and if you get enough blogcoins you get famous and win!
In what ways do you feel your style has changed and grown in recent years?
I think things are a bit more clear, and I'm a little less pointed and aggressive with some of my sonic stuff. I'm trying to sing with more clarity and less attitude. I think I'm finally able to shake the Billy Corgan whine that I grew-up emulating that isn't really working in my current music.
The stuff I'm making now is a lot different than even this trilogy, but it's all just stripping away convention, (or fully embracing convention) or trying on other genres and trying to write good songs with good moods and good melodies that sound fresh or feel real.
Collaborations we should be looking out for? Favorite Bay artists, producers, rappers and rockers you have been digging as of late?
You know I have a bunch of songs that are almost done for an even further future release, and I built in 16 bars into some so that somebody could rap on them. I might just rap on them myself. I want to work with Rnb Millionaires and Antwon but the songs are a little PG-13 so I don't know if it will be a perfect fit or if they'll be down. I'll probably ask Adam Myatt and Matt/Shortcircles to help me finish the next couple things, and then maybe I'll hit up Different Fur, cus I really want to see what they could do for my mixes.
Feeling Dan Casey's new release Empty City, Social Studies new one (and live), Myron and E, Painted Palms, and Bam!Bam!, of course…
Steffaloo and Chrome Sparks come together to bring you the coastal bell synth motions on their single, “Eyes For You”. Found off Steph Thompson's recent Mush Records multi-artist collaborative release Heartbeats, this featured collaboration shows off a musical chemistry between both her and Chrome's Jeremy Malvin that proves to be something dynamic that shows where some of the current tide trends may be headed toward.
Listen to Zula's Twin Loss EP, streaming for a limited time. The Brooklyn cousin team of Henry and Nate Terapka transcend life into the amalgamated mergings of the same and/or similar consciousness, ahead of their full-length available this October from Inflated Records.
Start chugging and putting your best grimace forward, with Windhand's new track “Orchard” off Soma available September 17 from Relapse Records. When you need something heavy, hold up your hands, make a fist and rock them back and forth with a little bit of this, cranked up as high as the stereo will go.
Hopie dropped the REL produced and directed track and video for “Somone Else” off the recent Sugar Water LP. Keep an eye on Hopie's Bay Area rhythm, blues and rhymes.
Forest Fire wonders the big things like “how long between haircuts and who is going to pay for lunch” on their new single, “Alone With The Wires”. New York's Mark Thresher has expanded his senti-strums with Natalie Stormann, Galen Bremer, and Robert Pounding for the forthcoming album Screens available September 10 from FatCat Records.
Au Palais, the brother/sister duo of David and Elise Commathe bring the Toronto mood of perpetual cool to the sooted fog and overcast skies of London. Their self-released single “Blue Lights” will take you both “somewhere dark” and “somewhere bad”, and somewhere you have wanted an electric impulsed single to take you all week. We look very much forward to their follow up to 2011's Tender Mercy EP, coming sometime soon.
Oddisee brings you the instrumental cut, “Lonely Planet”, amid fanfare over wide spread word of his upcoming The Beauty In All album available October 1 from Mello Music Group. Like some of the best producers in his class, Od drops it with that sunny day-electrified feel, a pinch of jazz, psych flavors and subtle murmurs, or to hear from the boss himself:
“The Beauty In All is about the flaws & mistakes that give life its character and worth – how even ignorance can give light to knowledge. For me, not knowing how to do something & still trying is a process that helped my production style evolve. If everything we are is out in perfect tutorials, we might never deviate from the teacher. This record is dedicated to imperfection and the sense of pride & accomplishment we get from our struggles. Hopefully, you listen to this record, reflect on the ups & downs of life, and see the beauty in all.”
Seattle's trio of chums Cumulus recently dropped the stage lit, silhoutte bright, Jordan Albertsen video for “Do You Remember”, ahead of their full-length release on Chris Walla's imprint, Trans- Records available October 1. Reminisce on what it was once like, when young meant being invincible, the world was your oyster, and you could always bounce back like rubber-rising to any occasion.
Quelle Chris dropped his Mu Gadu directed video for, “Old Friend” ft. Cavalier, filmed on locales in Uganda Chris's album Niggas is Men is available now from Mello Music Group. The video traverses environment, time, places and keeps thoughts about histories, strings of unanswered questions while coasting through life's reasons and ruminations on spirituality and existence. Follow the lyrical path of wisdom, and memories explored in conscious frames of verbs with powerful visuals brought to you direct from the motherland of all culture.
As we still dwell and live in those Outside Lands afternoon spirits from Brooks Nielsen and the rest of his crew from The Growlers, get more from your Costa Mesa surfing faves in the vintage looking Jack Coleman video of pure fun. Be forewarned that the video gets NSFW for a few frames at the 3:02 mark. The Growlers' new album Hung at Heart is available now from Everloving Records, with a bunch of releases set and slated to arrive soon. More on that later.
TV Ghost dropped their single “Siren” ahead of their upcoming album Disconnect from In the Red available September 3. This is the sound of disconnect that is heard through the oscillating electric loops that almost threatens to engulf everything around, as the vocals call for unlisted, and nameless names and guitars burst through inside and outside of the unforgiving ether.
Get a listen to the first jam in about 15 years from half of the Folk Implosion's John Davis, with “Masoch”, off his upcoming October 29 slated album Spare Parts from Shrimper. The sparse acoustic musings of Davis present a solo artist now working with a group of earthy-ethereal inclined musicians that follow his gentle guitar strums and masochistic lyrics that reinforce those human and existential needs and desires that rarely are met in a happy unison. In a word; stunning.
Aotearoa brought their own thunder after touring for some 3 years, and set their track, “Thunderbird” free with rocking party favor funk. The shoulder and tambourine shaking jitters begin here as you shuffle around town muttering, “what's the word thunderbird”, off their album Strange Weather available from their imprint, Funkazon River Records.
Chief Keef’s Chicago crew GBE spilled a little out with their collective offshoot SD with the Danny Brown remix of “New World Order”. So kick it in the Chi-town post-apocalyptic suburbs, sip some sizzurp and get wild to this one.
Brooklyn's Ajnabi gives you something to meditate and mellow the eff out to, while taking a variety of head-space detours along the way. The order of the day is an unspoken contest to make the most effective slow burning cut, and here you are taken through the sampled streets of villages of the Eastward designations and are met with a populous represented through a bevy of varied electric string notes. Ajnabi's self-titled album debut will be available September 17 from the conscious minds at Mecca Lecca.
Slow it down a bit, with the chill, super chill, mega-chill remix from I, CED of AM & Shawn Lee's “Replay” that just feels right for the remainder of sun left before labor day takes the rest of it away. Look for A & S on a tour from September 26 through October 18 at the CMJ Festival in NYC via dates listed here.
Mount Kimbie has released Cold Spring Fault Less Youth on Warp, and has a North America tour happening this Fall. Anthony Dickenson just made a video for “Home Recording”, which takes you around the inside and outside of an abode on an overcast day to match the overcasted sentiment.
Austin's own League Of Extraordinary Gz make a statement against recent murder of Larry Jackson Jr. by the hands of Texas police on their new cut “APD”, not available on their album #LeagueShit. Listen now and hear the heavy hearts spill some words on survival that spreads some thoughts and a pointed message on justice in the face of a plethora of injustices-coming at you straight from the 'League.
The Antlers' Darby Cicci dropped his new solo cut “Lying”, with word getting around about his School of Night EP available October 15 stateside from Minus Green Records, and the day before everywhere else from Transgressive Records. Cicci shows off a more intimate side while summons a host of intriguing noise syntheses that come from places that only stir the imagination but give away no sign of origin as a whole new pop world literally opens up. If popular culture has had you in a rut and you're convinced that no one understands the ways in which multi-tracked, self-arranged tracks can yield virtually limitless combinations to the stubborn locked cage from within.
Keeping the wheels turning, Roberto Lange continues to busy himself as we recently reported with word of his upcoming Helado Negro album Island Universe Story Two available August 27 on digital with a cassette available in September on Asthmatic Kitty. Having just rocked us with “We Will You”, swim through the string tinged orchestral dissonance on “Stop Living Dead” which will bring enough emotive sound to rouse you up for your slumber.
Foxygen's Jonathan Rado busts out the the slippery organ beep machine on the rocking lo-fidelity cool of “Seven Horses”. In the unanswered call of, “if you feel at all clap your hands” as you are taken on a day trip to the Southern California heart of sunshine and strangeness. Rado's Law and Order available September 3 from Woodsist.
SL Jones dropped the cut, “Big Bank (No Ones)” to keep your head nodding all the way to the bank off the Metro Boomin produced, Don Cannon hosted tape Way Of Life No Hobby available September 4 from LiveMixtapes.
Pagiins' upcoming double EP action of Good Things Take Time and Bad Things Don't are slated for October 7 on 20Sided Records. The pagan rock pageantry begins here as the Arkansas bunch present the virtues of patience and invite you to, “Open Up Your Mind”.
Get weird, hate on nostalgia with Tuscon, Arizona's Weird Womb on the track “Another Misspent Youth” from their Ruined By The 90s 7″ available now via Bandcamp. Get lost in that wailing guitar noise-tone, but be careful about what comparative dribble you may associate it with, 'cause this sound is nothing to mess with.
Tezeo's self-titled will be available October 8, and you can get a preview of the latest serving from the duo in their ultraviolet rays of electronic fun with a listen to their cut, “Violet”.
Because you need more real, vintage house music in your life. Because EDM may have failed you. Because you are tired of getting schoold about what 'real' electronically enhanced dance music used to be. Because you just can't take it anymore. Well get ready, because the Matt Warren's old school imprint is seeing a second regeneration, thanks to Still Music with Bang The Box! The (Lost) story of AKA Dance Music, available October 15. Get a taste here with Modern Mechanical Music's Pleasure Dome” where warren brings you back to the electric biodome of 1986. Also with the Sunset Records comp Kill Yourself Dancing dancine in toe also via Still, get into all those Chicago cuts that made classes of wrecking crews worldwide.
UK producer Hello Skinny dropped by the meditative bonfire-burner track, “Revolutions Part 1″. This is the track that marries together those acoustic elements of varied drum progressions and horn like echoes that sound off like shofars or long distance train horns caught by ear from far off lengths. This song could be your Burning Man 2013 anthem. Hello Skinny's upcoming Revolutions 12″ EP will be available September 9 from Slowfoot Records.
Nude Beach's self-titled record from Mandible Records is now available for your guilt free streaming pleasure.
Tune into France's defier of that thing your parents once called genre [not to mention time transcender, era escaper, amongst many other nicknames you can apply to this eclectic artist] with Don Cavalli as he turns his duet with chanteuse Xiao Li Zhan into a karaoke romantic adventure of laughs, song, twists, turns, and surprises you won't believe. And we ain't going to spoil it for you, either, so check it out asap. Don's new album Temperamental is available now from Everloving Records.
If you have yet to already, make friends with Paper Lions' title track off their new album My Friends album from Fountain Pop Records. Listen as the friendly vibes goes straight for the sky.
Zero 7's duo of Sam Hardaker & Henry Binns stroll back on the scene, all on their own, and commemorate the occasion with a listen to their night-mood shaking upcoming single, “On My Own”. Slated for release August 26 from Make Records, get into the electronically enhanced rhythmic decadence suited for those VIP moments in the club, or driving on the way back from the club, where Sam and Henry's steady dance production gets joined by Canberra, Australia's Danny-Boy Pratt.
In a joint partnership with fellow Brooklynites from The Most Definitely imprint, Steel Phantoms get the night set up and turned up in swift kinesis with the flow-flowing over on the Night Drive remix of “Overflow”. Steel Phantoms play Glasslands Tuesday, August 27 and their self-titled EP is available now via Bandcamp.
Helm dropped the industrial noise excercising title track off the upcoming Silencer EP available September 10 from PAN / Alter.
Detroit legends The Dirtbombs let loose their cut “Crazy For You”, off their upcoming new album, Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey! available September 17 from In the Red Records. Love them all over again, right now.
Detroit's Clear Soul Forces are readying up Gold PP7's for release September 17 from Fat Beats Records, and this week saw them release the interview with E-Fav right here. Check out our extensive interview with the D's new wrecking crew force of soul.
Seattle by Brooklyn bros, Motive get all agro-pyro in the angst ridden-fx video for “Burn Down Brooklyn”, directed by Ari Goldstein and Frank J. Young. This rage and rocker is likely to appear on their 2014 album coming this March, with more fun available via their Bandcamp.
The Delta Mirror gets golden on the music video directed by the Mirror's own Chris Acosta for “Goldfish”, off the Better Unsung LP available now from Lightwave. Get into the dark dancing and night swimming action right here.
Fugazi's Jerry Busher has produced Sunwolf's album Angel Eyes available October 8 from El Rey Records, and we got your listen to the punk-pusher, “Push It”.
Alex Brüel Flagstad crafted a video to match the acoustic strings that swing along Agnes Obel's vocals and enduring arrangements in the black and white night to day video for “The Curse” from the upcoming album Aventine, available October 1 from Play it Again Sam.
Body Parts gets unavoidably personal and funktified on 'Unavoidable Things”, from their forthcoming Fire Dream album debut available October 29 from Father/Daughter Records. Dive head first into the fire, and into the land of dreams now.
White Prism's self-titled debut EP is available from MNRCH, and you can listen to the upcoming new prismatic single “Fool” available August 27 from iTunes. Johanna Cranitch commands the love-fooled enamorment through lyrics like, “you've got your mind made up, and I'm standing here waiting for your words, but your silence says it all, maybe I was never your girl”, as the chase continues on through some of the brightest keys lights you will hear all week.
ODESZA brings their electrical vocal ethereal cuts and loops that will dazzle you past the mortal threshold and into the great eternal spring of life, on the title track “My Friends Never Die” from the EP of the same name, available September 17 from THUMP.
Wisonsin's Blessed Feathers delivered their latest song, “Ahbinreedis” that features memorable lines such as, “I've been working hard trying to keep my mouth shut, trying to grow my beer gut”, off their upcoming Fall album.
Tape Deck Mountain's second album SWAY comes out October 1 and you can get a preview of the glorious bliss of “Always Lie”, the fakester-effacing “Pretend Friends”, and the enchantment of “Mystics”. Check it out via Bandcamp.
Heaven's Gate dropped the screamer this week with “Screams” off their forthcoming debut LP Transmuting available September 24th from Inflated Records. Listen to the Comet Hale–Bopp-rock bop from Brooklyn's new thrashing cult order, as the take on the Music Hall of Williamsburg September 14 with Screaming Females, Waxahatchee, and Tenement; as well as their upcoming record release show at 285 Kent September 28 with California X, The Dreebs & Blanche, Blanche Blanche.
An over-elaborate Smart Car commercial, or a cultural re-appropriation of the White Stripes-Third Man Records main man? We will let you decide, as you get a gander at all the ludicrous action you can handle in the Daniel Stessen video for Spirit Animal's “The Black Jack White”, off their forthcoming Kingdom Phylum EP available October 1.
Shine a light, bang a gong, and do whatever you got to do, cause we got J. Roddy Walston & The Business with their new cut “Black Light” off their upcoming Essential Tremors album available September 10 on ATO Records.
Get a look at the Tommy Sugimoto for GRMLN's “Do You Know How it Feels?”, from our man Yoodoo Park's debut full-length, Empire available from Carpark Records. Run around the forest with Yoodoo and friends, while you relate and relay feelings of good times of now, and good times still to arrive.
Susanna and Ensemble neoN give you “Oh, I Am Stuck,” from their upcoming album The Forester, available September 17 from SusannaSonata. Let the neon lit ensemble enter your ears with sparse pop orchestrals that will quell what ails you.
Violent Soho drops the 90s thrashed out b/w video directed by Timothy O'Keefe for “Dope Calypso” off their upcoming Hungry Ghost LP for September 6 for On I Oh You.
Superchunk dropped the Phil Morrison directed visual for “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” [named after the legendary Jamaican rocksteady organist] off their new album I Hate Music, available now from Merge Records. They made this little ditty for everyone that can't stand anything that has come out in the past 10, 20 years or whatever.
HSY gets scuzzy and buzzy in the Chris Chami video for the guitar and vocal chugger,”Milk Chug”, off their debut EP available September 17 from Buzz Records.
Josh Berwanger of The Anniversary dropped his solo track “Baby Loses Her Mind”, which strums with that power popular chord cruise from his upcoming Strange Stains available October 1 from Good Land Records.
Take a “Cold Lead Bath” with Owl Paws, in the natural wanderings of the Ricky Kelley video for the title song from the album of the same name, available now from Bandcamp.
There is something about the emotion that Jake Bellows brings in his songs, where his Willie Nelson-esque nod of, “you're always on my mind, you're always in my plans”, melts the heart and makes you happy that there is still someone in the world who believes in the creed of a profound romanticism that many of us have long abandoned already. Jake's video for “I Can't Wait” captures the visceral natural splendor, directed by Morgans Brother that brings those inner touches and tones from Mr. Bellows' new Saddle Creek album, New Ocean, to a new loving light.