Week in Pop: Airbird & Napolian, pacificUV, Rainbow Chan

Sjimon Gompers

(courtesy of Rainbow Chan, cover by Megazord, alt photo of Laura Solomon courtesy of pacificUV)

Here is how the headlines will remember the week. President of the Catholic League is so fired up at Bowie's “The Next Day” music video that he called the pop star a, “switch-hitting, bisexual, senior citizen”, while the media hedgefund-scaled hype surrounding The Great Gatsby redux only further reminds us of our current-crap-economic conditions, that finds Santigold moonlighting on “The Office” along with Clay Aiken and Aaron Rodgers to find “The Next Great A Cappella Sensation”. But now, here is how we remembered the week, and how we might remember the future—in no particular order.

photo by Abby Ross

Software label operator and friends, Airbird & Napolian get “In the Zone” with summertime vocals inclusions from Erika Spring that intertwine and move around the synths and production rhythm sequences like mercurial branches of ivy. A&N's In the Zone/ Special single comes out May 21 from Cascine, as the air lifted production taste-makers make plans for a full-length slated for release in Winter 2013. Joel “Airbird” Ford described to us the events that lead up to the project, getting into the zone and mind of beats, and rhythmic ambiance.

“I co-produced some tracks on the Napolian LP, out soon on Software, those sessions led to a full-on collaborative record, to be released via Cascine. “In the zone” is the first single. Napolian came to me with the basic beatscape, and I wrote and recorded the bass part. I also wrote the lyrics / vocal melody, and brought in Erika to sing. Her voice is amazing.”

With their album After the Dream You Are Awake available this coming Tuesday, May 14 from Mazarine Records; pacificUV brings “paper planes and sad refrains” with their new song, “I Wanna Be You”. The tune reaches out in the thin hopes of requited returns, “I wanna be you, you wanna be me too”, singing out in whispers for the chance at the fulfillment of unmet longings, “Little heart, are you still beating? Little heart of mine, are you still there?” Laura Solomon shared some words on the song's craft, about corroborated existences in a world where, “you know a dream won't last”, and the love & petrol spilled juxtapositions from the visuals of “daisies chained to trees and seas of gasoline” that permeate the languid song's scenery and environments.

“A lot of the songs on the album flirt with apocalyptic dream landscapes. In this one, we initially imagined running through a city in flames, the world toppling down around us, but feeling at one with everything rather than threatened, falling in love with all of that fire, identifying with it even. I think of this track a little like an anthem to the love song the universe sings to itself. What I mean is, if you look into the eyes of another person and allow yourself to be penetrated by the reality of that other being, totally independent from your own, your own existence gets confirmed. It’s not just an illusion that I’m alive—no, you’re alive too! And as our autonomous existences touch each other, they corroborate the existence of everything else, the trees and seas of gasoline, the planets, stars. In these rare moments, if we're lucky, we get a little taste of holiness, but most of our time we spend searching for it. The idea isn't that I want to be you instead of me, but that I want to be you as well as me, because I am and yet I'm not, because it’s all just universe shedding its skin, changing its costumes, waves breaking back into water. The end of the world isn't the end of the world.”

Go “Skinny Dipping” with Rainbow Chan's new summertime track from the Sydney producer's upcoming Long Vacation EP. Available July 30 from Silo Arts & Records, Chan brings down the stars with a Casio meteor shower that brings a helping of sampled beats and celestial keyboard dances without a care amid a musical planetary rain. Rainbow Chan was super kind to share a few thoughts and words for the piece on the art of constructing music box melodies from found sound approaches and her art of synthesizing sweet whimsical spirits within her productions.

“Skinny Dipping” was a turning point in my music-making and definitely sparked off the rest of my upcoming “Long Vacation” EP. Having written many darker songs, I wanted to free myself of emotional constraints and write something light, fun and refined. I'd also been watching way too many 90s Japanese TV dramas and became obsessed with their theme songs, often off-kilter and syrupy r n' b gems. It was perfect timing because I'd just acquired a little vintage synth that plays only traditional Japanese scales. This baby shaped the melodic contours of the song and is featured throughout. The beat, which I wanted to sound naive but rather hard-hitting, was inspired by the demos on Casio-keyboards from my childhood. I played around with manipulating tape loops, different synths and sweet guitar melodies. The organic and gritty tones of the saxophone licks balance out the electronic instrumentation. I'm clearly a sucker for sing-song harmonies and for spoken word à la Skeeter Davis. I hope “Skinny Dipping” can provide a youthful, sun-kissed and slightly whack soundtrack to someone else's adventures.”

Get down with the Rob Williamson directed VHS video for Burnt Ones' single, “Web”. Burnt Ones release You'll Never Walk Alone, next Tuesday May 14 from Burger Records. The minimalist light, reflective mirrors and video cassette quality gives the video the image of what fuzzy proto-punk/post-glam live images look like when played on fuzzy headed VCRs.

Sic Alps are back on the attack, as mastermind Mike Donovan pours forth distorted attitude and “sha na na” sing alongs with, “Biz Bag”. Calling for you to “kick off your shoes” and ride the sounds of 1967-2017; the real genius here is his bridging of the SF and neighboring Monterey Peninsulas, of which Donovan's raucous & roll pop sounds are partially founded upon. “On our way to Monterey we cast our eyes across the sea”. The new Sic Alps pop fest release, She’s On Top 12″ EP will be available May 21 from Drag City.

Join the Cool Ghouls gang of Alex Fleshman, Ryan Wong, Pat McDonald and Pat Thomas on a nature hike along the shores of San Francisco and the Marin Headlands in Rob Thomas video for “Natural Life”, off their just released Empty Cellar Records self-titled. With producer Tim Cohen's blessing, the quartet bring one of the best and brightest odes to natural living, the sung joys of rolling around the hills and more virtues with a backdrop of oceanic vistas.

Get up, and turn everything up with Iamsu! and Wiz Khalifa in the video for “Goin' Up” directed by Kreayshawn and taken from the $uzy 6 $peed tape. A party block rocker or perfect cruiser-woofer candy, Kreay relays the best-afternoon-ever visually that could be had in either the Hollywood hills or the East Bay's parks and hidden pastures. You can also catch Su! and Problem playing Santos Party House, Wednesday May 15.

From the new Girls Names album The New Life from Slumberland, indulge into the victorian erotic of “Hypnotic Regression” with visuals directed by Nick Thompson. The Belfast group's “last confessions” are guarded by the appearance of the gorgeous Jordann Ebbitt, modeling on serious-solemn moods and attire, to the probably-not-so-safe-for work bathtub moves to the music.

Steve Gunn gives a glistening listen to the guitar string sparkle of “Water Wheel” strumming from the forthcoming Time Off album from Paradise of Bachelors. From the Gunn and John Trucinski rhythm team, Steve takes his experience from Magic Markers, GHQ and Kurt Vile's band on tour with earthbound streams of “Water” passing by old Western wheels and forgotten fences that house the folkiest fields.

Keeping the holistic sounds spinning, Dennis Callaci & Simon Joyner lend a listen to “The Frayed End of the Rope” The two will release their New Secrets LP, which features Kevin Morby of Woods, The Babies with Franklin Bruno and production from Woods's Jarvis, available June 11 on Shrimper.

In the Mars Today video, sayknowledge says what up with them “Art Goons ft. Cashius Green“. And If you still need to be schooled on this art goon game after kicking it backyard with say and Cahius, check out this educational/instructional.

Christopher Laufman, Pittsburgh's Wise Blood sent us the sky-sound-sweeping message that the “Universe is Blessed”, and yet another reason why we are looking forward to the release of id June 25 from Dovecote.

In the midst of working on a follow up to 2011's album Dive, Tycho's Scott Hansen released the future listen to airlifting atmospherics in the video for “Ascension”, directed by Charles Bergquist. The Fragments.Ascension 12″ with a remix from Thievery Corporation is available now from Ghostly International.

Knoxville, TN's Yung Life gave the world an aural care package of “Solarbeats”, tribal progressions dropped from the sky to present the band's jubilance set to the hyper-speed rhythmics where it feels like anything can happen. With the Yung Lifers rolling with the chorus chant of, “I'm 23, I live in outer space, I'm living in outer space” which sounds a bit like, “I live in my father's place, I live in my father's place”, that may indicate that that if both listenings are correct; living with your pops in space might not be such a bad place to be after all. The southern indie crew are following up last year's self-titled with a new album currently in the works.

The Orwells give you the title track from their “slipping in, and tripping out” Other Voices EP dropping June 25 from East End/Canvasback and East End/National Anthem in the UK. Never before has wild psychosis sounded like so much fun or so infectious. Hit play, head bang, and repeat as necessary.

Sacramento's underground indie scene gives us the members from Bananas, Bright Ideas and Nar, to form the new band English Singles, which play homage with gems of the genuine in spirit to the tune of those legendary 80s 7″s of their namesake. On “Ordinary Girls”, fall in love to a jangle song about falling for common people with lead Scott Miller deconstructing the atypical nature of so-called 'typical girls'. This English Singles 7″ is available now from Slumberland Records. Also catch Slumberland darlings Kids on a Crime Spree with #1 Smash Hits, and Manatee tomorrow night in San Francisco at the Hemlock.

On the same topic of indie-classico, Slumberland Records boss Mike Schulman also switched us on to Real Numbers, bringing us the news that Minnesota has discovered the finer pieces of indie's archaic pieces of important esoterica. From “Perils of Pauline” to “Ordeal”, the spirit of Television Personalities DIY pop is alive and well from coast to coast, and through the Midwest. Real Numbers' Only Two Can Play 12″ EP is available now from Three Dimensional Records.

Seatraffic's “Tempo of Regret” got remixed by Italian producer Moodive this week, given new synthetic directions and suite arrangements. Catch the oceanic electro duo May 19 at San Francisco's Brick & Mortar Music Hall with Gothic Tropic, and June 22 at the Davis Music Festival.

Phaseone's If I Tell You double LP came out this week from Williams Street Records, and we got your preview of the phased out electronic texture's from Brooklyn's Andrew Jernigan here.

Gensu Dean & Planet Asia bring some conscious knowledge and understanding of “Thyself”, that features David Banner & Tragedy Khadafi to school the mind with illuminating life lessons and rhymes. Gensu & Planet's Abrasions is available now from the Mello Music Group.

Club 8 keeps their discotheque-technologies timeless and forever young with the single, “I'm Not Gonna Grow Old” off their forthcoming Above The City, available May 21 from Labrador Records.

Touché's presses the play button on early 90s looking-stay-in-horror-video for “Big Fan”, directed by Chris Coats with televised effects from Isaac Ravishankara. They play up that synth-sidewinding, late night soundtrack for hot messes of gore and enough sleaze to please everybody. Touché's debut album It’s Fate is available now.

Also catch PVT's Clemens Habicht directed video for “Homosapien” that dropped this week, off the album of the same name from felte. The band is shown here in b/w, jerky strobes that are filmed in time to match the group's sliced up vocal effects that skip like the foward seeking option on an old compact disc player.

More in felte label news, get one of the first limited listens to Standish/Carlyon's Deleted Scenes available next Tuesday, May 13. Also read our previous Week in Pop edition for Conrad Standish's thoughts on the single “Subliminally”.

Grab an ear to Botzy's old world curated cut, “Thrill is Gone”, giving some jazz and rhyme from the upcoming Buck Fotzy album available July 9 from Fake Four Inc.

Free Time's self-titled is slated for release May 28 from Underwater Peoples Records, and they dropped their Charles Poekel and Maia Stern directed video for “I Lost Again”. The video evokes the band's sound in the mellow, 'let's just hang out together' vibe, hanging in the rehearsal spaces, performing in the elevators, loitering in the hallway spaces and more. A beautiful moving portrait of the band that at times works like impromptu screen tests that gives second chances to the beautiful losers everywhere with a visual pace and place for their sound.

Marijuana Deathsquads drops their flipped up/tripped up/switched up remix of “Piano Hits” from the upcoming retwerking mixer of DOOMTREE'S P.O.S's We Don't Don't Even Live Here, called POS WDELH MDS RMX. Check out a brand new bit from P.O.S along with appearances from SIMS and Lizzo amid the the stoney bass croaks that sound stuck in the quicksand post-trap-mind-melt.

Get a load at the road tripping music video from Corey Tatarczuk and David Hale for Shellshag's “Driving Song”. Their album Shellshag Fever is available now from Don Giovanni Records.

Way Yes's full-length Tog Pebbles is out now from Lefse as their single “Macando” has been making the music journal rounds of interest. Glenn D. Davis Sr and Travis M. Hall Sr., with the multi-instrument talents of Maxwell N. Lewis Sr, and Timothy W.H. Horak Sr on further drums craft the safari sounds of their sentimental conceits and concerns. “My heart, is no place to live. At the start, you started to quit. My head, is no place to run, run. It's full of, too much weighing it down…”

Chicago's F.Stokes has his project Fearless Beauty slated for release June 15 that features some promising production from DoomTree's Paper Tiger from the family-up cut, “Shaka Zulu”. Taking on the warrior like character of Shaka Kasenzangakhona, Stokes describes situations of militant volatility as a result of mindsets, “baptized in commercialism, free but mentally in prison”.

Rogue Wave has been spreading the word about their new forthcoming album Nightingale Floors June 4 from Vagrant, and dropped by the new single “Siren's Song” that brings California vibes designed for the festival grounds for 2013 summer sounds.

Baltimore duo Kyle England and Antonio Harper are BRAIDER who have been spilling digital “Milk” while blowing clouds of “Dust” with the old school music motions. This is the music born out of the sportscar 80s ad soundtracks you never heard until this moment.

Kidd Upstairs & X.O. dropped a “diamonds/money/weed/blow” send up/shout out toast to America's latest child star gone cray, “Amanda Bynes”. So while you design your very own social media fueled meltdown of your own, check this visual directed by the LA emcee Kidd, with his Psychotropics mixtape available now along with XO's tape Mr. Porfavorian.

Mother Falcon has set their debut LP You Knew this week and played their sweeping-string choral majesty of “Blue and Gold” to take your mind off the binary-based advancements of music for a brief moment.

Mikhael Paskalev plays his bar-stool burning strummer, “Jive Babe”, as part of the Obscenic Sessions, filmed and edited by Jack Whiteley from the Mom+Pop EP of the same name.

Groundislava has a tour in the works with oOoOO, kicking off May 16 in Austin, TX and gives us the new single “Time Alone” with the remix Treasure Chest collection to sweeten your weekend. Jasper Patterson's Feel Me LP and TV Dream EP are both available now from Friends of Friends.

Experience the new Groundislava single, “Time Alone” that is like a summer swim in the sunny Bay in slow motion. Rise to the surface and ripple like the waves and tides as the ground is not only lava, but the warm waters that stir from beneath the earth's crust.

Junip's Elias Araya and José Gonzáles got the title track from their new Mute album, “Your Life, Your Call” remixed by Tobacco, adding some distorted connections to the levitating keys.

Cloud Boat's single “Youthern” gets the Ghosting Season remix touch from the Youthern/Hammerspace single dropping May 20 ahead of the Book of Hours full-length available May 28 from Apollo / R&S Records. Here you can feel the icy, love-deprived feelings in the state of a drifting mix that moves like digital ghosts exploring abandoned, foreclosed buildings.

We got your listen to our boy Alexander Spit's new single,”Valet Park, CA”, the first joint off the upcoming, Mansions 2, that features 26 instrumentals to follow up this year's earlier release, A Breathtaking Trip To That Otherside. With echoes sending all sounds floating everywhere, “Valet Park” makes us think of one big park where valet and bottle service comes complimentary, catering to all classes of ballers arriving in fashion at the ball.

Tone Of Arc take us to the warped-groove-bass and beat moves of “Chalk Hill”, off the forthcoming The Time Was Right dropping next Tuesday, May 13 from No 19 Music. San Francisco's Derrick Boyd and Zoe Presnick takes you through the beat-bricked alleyways and into the underground venues where the genres of the past melt into a after-hours dance groove that operates with the cognition of a disco ball with a mind of it's own.

Vaghe Stelle's Out Of Body EP is available now on Danse Noire, and you can enter the electro gaming world of synthesized vocals and keyboard created image sprites with Nguzunguzu's remix of “Video Game Paraphernalia”.

Then our friends Peaking Lights stepped up to the Vaghe Stelle remix plate and send “Spiral Gloom” moving into larger circular patterns and synths that bring feelings of moving the body and head, spiralling upward instead of down-wise.

Louisiana's Paul Kintzing is German Error Message that gathers some layered home stirred folk with stacked fabric layers of rhythms. From the spinning thuds and acoustic strums, Kintzing's vocals create a place that makes urbanites long to live on farms far out on veldts and endless acres of landscape. German Error Message's The Lifting is available now from Hand Eye Records.

Sweden's Kriget gives us an electronic rendering of what, “Sleeping With Buddha” might be like. Somehow this involves a panning fly buzzard that circles around both headphone channels for a bit until it becomes trapped in the mix's fuzz emissions, only to give out utterances of key bursts and horn samples that transforms things all together. The full-length Dystopico will be available this August from BLVVD.

San Francisco's Violent Vickie lives up to her name on the distorted electric menacer, “Men”, off her album Monster Alley. Keeping the kind of brazen agro-bravado thought to have disappeared with the noughts, this surprise single brought the gloomiest fog clouds to curb our sunshine back to the Pacific waters.

Steel Phantoms have declared an upcoming self-titled EP to follow up their debut Forer, that features the added assists from Aaron Harris and Jesse Newkirk. Get a preview with the drape raiser, “Curtain Call”. Catch them at the following Brooklyn dates, May 18 at Muchmores and May 31 at Cameo Gallery.

Listen to Luke Rathborne's “Last Forgiven” ahead of the 7″ release May 14 with a show at Glasslands. Wistful and full of posi-jangle hopped up on green tea, Rathborne let's his sound ring free and forgiving all debtors. His album Soft comes out July 2.

Lake Isle's forthcoming Winter Lights album comes out June 30, the musical vehicle for Mark Doughtery of Greensboro, NC who with friends brings music for wearsome travelers, trucking on down the line with “Steel Rails”. Like a musical cannonball into Yeats' “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”, only this time with sax inflections and noir vintage visuals.

Patrick Stanton directs the steam driving video of record manufacturing, for Telekinesis's “Empathetic People”. Watch as the pop punk might have you feeling empathetic sentiments for the mechanical reproductive process of the record industry, or if anything an appreciation for the vinyl species origin all the way down the supply chain. Their album Dormarion is available now from Merge Records.

Get into the weeping willow guitar string picks from Alela Diane's title track, “About Farewell”, sung parting thoughts as a pair becomes one. Find this on the album of the same name, June 25, self-released on Rusted Blue Records.

Ann Arbor, Michigan's Saturday Looks Good to Me gives you a preview play of their brand new new album, One Kiss Ends It All coming May 21 from Polyvinyl Records.

Royal Forest keeps the ATX weird with their song “Everyone Who Knows You” off their upcoming record, Spillway dropping July 10 from King Electric Record Company. By the end of the song, you will be traveling through the organ's electric wind pipes reciting the refrain, ad infinitum.

Raise a mother's day glass and toast your mama with Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins, aka G&D, on their new track, “Muthadear”. Bringing things back to the basics, this title is from their upcoming collaborative album, The Lighthouse, available May 21 from the husband and wife duo's own label, SomeOthaShip Connect.

Word up everyboyd, as The Cairo Gang has declared the coming of their new album Tiny Rebels to drop July 23 from Disneyland Reform Party and Empty Cellar.

Watch the wild, psychedelic horsies run in Wooden Indian Burial Ground's organ+surf-guitar spinner, “Helicopter”, off their self-titled album available now from Mon Amie Records. Free your mind like those beautiful creatures and catch the Portland, Oregonians on a national tour through June 26.

San Francisco atmosphere electro producer Kastle has been blowing up everywhere, and we just got word that he's playing a cozy gig at San Francisco's Independent May 16. Be the fifth one to e-mail me, Re: KASTLE, and you and a friend could be in yo. Get into the vibes with, “Make You Stay ft. JMSN” now.

Today sees The Downtown Festival kicking off through tomorrow, May 11 in NYC's Lower East Side, and the always amazing Ryan Hemsworth dropped the following mix for the occaision along with the following words:

“I usually go into mixes with an emotion or a season or a memory in mind. It was finally warm yesterday when I recorded this one, and I'm looking forward to Downtown Festival as my first ~summer festival~ of the year. Antwon and Earl Sweatshirt are super fun performers and I guess this is just a warm up for what to expect from myself at our show.”

Turn this up, and check the full lineup and schedule here.

…and a happy Mother's Day weekend out there to all the most wonderful women who make our lives possible.

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