Week in Pop: Husky Rescue, LAURAPALMER, Soft Metals

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The Black Watch, The By Gods, The Caution Children, Innards, sarob., guest selections by Annika Zee .

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Sjimon Gompers | December 4, 2015

Introducing LAURAPALMER; aka Tying Tiffany's Tiff Lion; photographed at Glasslands [RIP] by Rafe Baron.

Listening and looking far beyond the weirdness at work with the strange state of our modern world, Impose’s Week in Pop continues the good fight of embracing universal harmony among all communities the world over. Bringing exclusive glimmers of hope and inspiration, we first bring you some of the week’s biggest buzz-lines beginning with G.O.O.D. Music boss Pusha T pushing Kanye West’s forthcoming album Swish, calling it “phenomenal”; Animal Collective announced their upcoming album Painting With available February 19 from Domino; check out DOOM living it up in St. Lucia; Chairlift dropped “Ch-Ching”; Lil Wayne to tour with Rae Sremmurd for the “The Dedication Tour”; Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band announced “The River Tour” of North America; La Sera (aka former Vivian Girl Katy Goodman) shared “High Notes” off upcoming Ryan Adams-produced album Music for Listening to Music To available March 4 from Polyvinyl; Mike Sniper hinted at the prospect of re-issuing the entire Felt catalog, plus news that Captured Tracks will begin the release cycle beginning with the compilations; Peaches’ wild “Rub” video; Kurt Vile with Kim Gordon, Steve Gunn, Bob Dylan, and Woods covered VU’s dirt-pop derelict opera “Sister Ray” and more; Beyoncé and Coldplay collaboration heard on “Hymn for the Weekend”, both are also expected to appear (plus, ahem, Bruno Mars) at Super Bowl 50’s halftime show February 7; SpaceFest! is happening right now in Gdansk, Poland; Björk dropped the mouthy Jesse Kanda directed video for “Mouth Mantra”; new National album said to drop in 2016; Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Swiss Secret Laboratory (aka the Blue Ark) suffered a fire; Talib Kweli allegedly attacked by bigots in Copenhagen, Denmark; Erykah Badu versus Iggy-Azalea; Peter Hook versus New Order; Thom Yorke DJed Greenpeace UK’s the People’s March for Climate, also check out Thom Yorke’s thoughts on Google & YouTube; Lana Del Ray fan that was camping in the garage of her Malibu home was arrested; our hearts are with Sinéad O’Connor; Morrissey’s complaint with the TSA continues with the latest commentary on the incident; and we mourn the passing of Scott Weiland.

Keeping the lanterns of hope and promise burning bright, we bring you world exclusives, interviews, insights and more from Husky Rescue, LAURAPALMER, Soft Metals, The Black Watch, The By Gods, The Caution Children, Color Palette, Innards, Kalash, sarob., Sports Coach, featuring guest selections by Annika Zee, and more—in no particular order.

LAURAPALMER

Fire walk with her; introducing LAURAPALMER.

Fire walk with her; introducing LAURAPALMER.

Italian artist, model, and pop star Tiff Lion, who you already know as Tying Tiffany, has launched a new dark techno chic offshoot LAURAPALMER in between her work with making cinematic soundscapes with Lorenzo Montanà. Unveiling her new electro-labor of love on 12″ via Polish imprint Mecanica Records on December 20, Tiff takes on the moniker of the notorious ill-fated Twin Peaks icon of whom the series was built around to make hard hitting electrified tracks that straddle the in-between places between lodges of alternate universes and parallel places.

The 12″ record begins with the ominous “Fog Attack” that is full of an impending since of war that blurs the lines where the banks of fog end and smoke smolders rising from the rubble begin. Even through the hard hitting four-quarter bludgeoning strikes of rhythm, Tiff interjects narratives of the obscure from within the sequences of bars and arrangements where hosts of feelings and a contemplative manifestation of urgency arises from within the alluring aural array of electronic built dynasties (that rise and fall on each track). The plot and blood thickens on “Bloodgum” that chews on some of the most warped and foreboding synths around that play about stampeding and staggering juke beats executed at ramming speed. The beat goes on from aberrated takes on Chicago style track dishes that are shattered by a European international goth sensibility that sets all the synths and sound components up like toy soldiers set for a final showdown on “Conflict”.

On an EP that features remixes from Montana, and Supersimmetria; we bring you the world premiere of LAURAPALMER’s “Fog Attack” remixed by Soft Metals for an alternate battle that underscores the mechanical menace of the original.

Soft Metals

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Soft Metals playing CT5 festival at Brooklyn’s The Well; photographed by Emily Cheng.

Soft Metals debut their take on “Fog Attack” with an added metallic-synthetic luster that adds further drum suites and rhythm sweeps that make their targets on all arranged items in the mix like a warplane drone army tactfully making their GPS pins tacked to a world map. LAURAPALMER’s “Fog Attack” is re-routed on an alternate path of missions and diligent beat directives that that flash into the sound frame like a fleet of digital killer bees breaking the fragile peace of the skies for objectives of desires, confrontation, and thrills sought out at unknown destinations. Tiff’s original rendering of the techno cut operated with a visceral intensity perfect for clandestine clubs or cinema that the Metals latch onto and further expand all motifs present. Atmospheres on the remix flash forward from the get-go while a barrage of space buzzards and conscious shifting effects splash jet departures across an atmospheres that does not compromise it’s intensity for one moment. Soft Metals take on LAURAPALMER’s “Fog Attack” world finds further film reel celluloid for the ear like the wildest adventure thriller never made running at six minutes and sixteen seconds time.

Ian Hicks from Soft Metals shared some words about the approach to remixing “Fog Attack”:

With this remix I tried to bring out and emphasize some of the more atmospheric elements but also wanted to preserve the driving synth line. There was a lot of use of time modulated delay effects and reverbs to create space and subtle moving textures and then I re-sampled some of the original material to create new string/synth lines to add more of a melancholic, melodic element”

Tiff Lion

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Tying Tiffany performing at Glasslands; photographed by Rafe Baron.

In an overseas email exchange we had the chance to catch up with Tiff Lion on all things pertaining to LAURAPALMER, Tying Tiffany, her sound scores made with Through The Lens, and more in the following interview:

Tell us about how your LAURAPALMER offshoot first began.

Techno music have influenced me so much during all these years and it was an essential inspiration to find my very own musical path. I listening to lot of different kinds of music, but lately I’m back to my roots with acid, techno & ambient, and specially German and Belgian stuff. LAURAPALMER is just the project I wanted to start for long. It shows very well my state of mind. The project looks into the roots of what is considered the essence of techno, the darkest side of it and most radical of the genre. I was, and still I am, a passionate fan of techno from the early nineties. This sound inspired a lot of projects and bands that later became mainstream. I was a collector of the underground side of techno, the most harsh sound using only a hard kick and a 303 bass line. With LAURAPALMER I want to revive these basic elements.

How have you found that the character of Laura Palmer and David Lynch’s show Twin Peaks has informed your latest ‘obscure techno’ sounds?

In Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, the depiction of Laura Palmer was always very obscure and dramatic. I always associate with her a feeling of destructive violence, and I thought it was the perfect mood to describe my new sound.

Tell us your thoughts on how the remixes from Soft Metals, Supersimmetria and Lorenzo Montanà have also affected your recent electro compositions.

They all have the same mood. The sense to discover the weirdest part of this flow. I think each remix was a great chance to listen to my tracks with a different view. Definitely it was very important for me to collaborate with artists with whom I have a good feeling.

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Tiff Lion at Glasslands; photographed by Rafe Baron.

What else have you and Lorenzo Montanà and T.T.L. (Through The Lens) been cooking up? Heard you all had that track “Deep Shadow” featured in a Hunger Games film trailer.

We are constantly experimenting different genres and composing music to picture makes it all very exciting! Our compositions are mainly instrumental, the sound is a blend of avant-classical and industrial. I guess the experience of writing for the visual media with T.T.L. influences me a lot as a musician. I found me doing a sound very dynamic and cinematic.

How has your work with aforementioned, and Tying Tiffany translated or influenced your latest recordings as LAURAPALMER?

There are so many things in common but at the same time distant. I have always perceived Techno as a party culture and TT is something that you can listen at home. Anyway, I’m trying to keep them separated but obviously both represent myself. I love to work on very different facets of the music.

Winter plans for Tiff Lion?

I’m planning a tour and at the same time starting to work on some new songs with Tying Tiffany.

The LAURAPALMER 12″ EP will be available December 20 from Mecanica Records.

The Caution Children

Jet-setting with The Caution Children.

Jet-setting with The Caution Children.

Jacksonville, FL’s The Caution Children recently returned from their second tour of Japan to premiere their upcoming split with their Fort Worth, Texas buds Innards. With both bands covering each other (The Caution Children cover Innards’ “Smear”, Innards cover The Caution Children’s “Knowing About Bombs”), the split will be available January 15 from Community Records and Skeletal Lightning. The two pay friendly homage to each other’s works in a way that where shout-strung deliveries reveal a skilled melodic bond over the group’s shared love for garage-pop dissonance.

The Caution Children take on the brunt force of Innards’ “Smear” with some brilliant chord progressions full of vivid emotion. Beginning with a cacophony of feedback that channels into sections of flannel cloaked notes, Caution Children take Innards’ “Smear” back to 1995 with an ‘alt rock’ jam aimed at the top of the college charts. The agony unfolds while the progressions stir a sort of ecstacy of riffs that you never want to ever cease. Grunge sympathizers and pumpkin smashers will find a certain charm that extends beyond the conceits of infinite sadness and into a new breed of melancholy.

Guitarist of The Caution Children Ian Alcorn described to us their take on Innards’ “Smear” with the following thoughts:

Well, it’s the most controversial song Innards has written. It has some great anticipation to it, and it’s a song that really gets to the heart of the matter. As for the direction we took…we’ve been listening to a lot of music, and we like it more than ever. Tony started working out, and we wanted the song (our version) to reflect that.

Innards

Innards from Ft. Worth/Denton, TX.

Innards from Ft. Worth/Denton, TX.

Innards take on Caution Children’s “Knowing About Bombs” (that we premiered nearly two years ago) that brings out all the big sounds and revved up angst cranked to the max. Cathartic blasts of rhythm timed extreme releases of unyielding emotion and energy lead to the the heavy chord chugging sessions that propel the jumpy and juiced up verses expelled with much enthusiasm and conviction. The Innards described their take on the CC song with the following insights:

We chose this particular Caution Children song because it’s very energetic with some nice jangling. It’s one of our favorite songs written by them. Also, our guitarist Tommy wanted to make sure the song sounded like an Innards song, opposed to a straight cover.

The Caution Children and Innards split will be available January 15 from Community Records and Skeletal Lightning.

Husky Rescue

Warm hearts of winter with Helsinki, Finland's Husky Rescue.

Warm hearts of winter with Helsinki, Finland’s Husky Rescue.

Arriving in time for the holiday time feels to cozy up to with loved ones, Helsinki, Finland’s Husky Rescue takes to the tundra terrain with a sled of gentle and genuine comforts. Premiering the snow crashing sanctuary “Far From The Storm” and “Onnellisuus”; Marko Nyberg readies to re-release Long Lost Friend (Special Edition) on December 11 through Catskills Records (originally released in 2013) on Marko’s El Camino imprintmade with Antony Bently and Johanna Kalén. Reissuing the original album for wider release, the Special Edition includes a second disc comprised of Husky Rescue’s work as a duo consisting of Nyberg and Bently that followed Kalén’s departure. The result continues the Husky Rescue way of taking the listener on a bundled-up tobagan ride through valleys, fields, and Finnish mountains during a snow-blind spell the heart of the icy solstice.

“Far From The Storm” finds Husky Rescue burrowing into an enclave of lounge pop sophistication featuring restrained electro-fitting of late 60s Samba-esque styles. Holiday radio tunes are referenced by Johanna who recounts dream spun wishes that play about snowbound world pattern by snowflake falls and snow ball fights that are followed by the collected comforts of cabin shelter to shield out the unwanted elements. Sleigh bells can be heard in an arrangement that plays out like a seasonal special that beats the Jolly ol’ Saint Nick to the chimney punch delivering the feel and environment of home for the listener—no matter where they may be.

Also hear “Onnellisuus” that translates to “happiness” in English, and is essentially “Far From The Storm” sung in Finnish by Marko of Husky Rescue.

Over long distance cables of conversation, we caught up with Husky Rescue’s Marko Nyberg & Antony Bentley.

Tell us about how these thoughts on a real Long Lost Friend would later become part of the conceptual framework in the making of your new album.

Marko: It was New Year’s Eve and we met up with Antony at a bookshop. There was that certain positivity and expectancy in the air that New Year tends to have. I had recently met up with an old friend of mine after 15 years. And it led to us talking about the meaning of long-term friendships and about the, sometimes momentarily lost, inner child within us all. And these were thoughts that had already started to place themselves in lyrics on the album-to-be. That was the moment the album got its title and we wrote the title track soon after.

How do you feel the additions of Antony Bentley and vocalist Johanna have impacted the sound and feel of Husky Rescue?

Marko: We had talked about working together with Antony for a long time and it was great that the opportunity finally came. It opened up some flood gates, for sure. And Johanna’s presence in this era was unquestionably important. Her sensitivity helped define a whole new approach.

Interested in hearing about how you all worked together as a group during the making of The Long Lost Friend.

Antony: We fulfilled each other in quite a natural way. Everyone could bring to the table any impulse or the most unlikely experimental idea and we’d see where it takes us. Marko can be very experimental but also very efficient in finding form, simplicity and direction even with all sorts of opposite forces at play. I, on the other hand, come from a very experimental background and might come to the studio with source code of software that no one has heard of, and we’d see what sort of sounds we can squeeze out of it. And Johanna is a girl of the forests, an observer of the little or invisible things. And she would come with something striking she had recorded with an ukulele in her wardrobe closet. I wrote the lyrics with big contributions from Johanna. Also we had some great friends helping us out here and there.

The warmth and wonder of Husky Rescue.

The warmth and wonder of Husky Rescue.

Tell us what else from the Finnish and Swedish scens that has been exciting and inspiring you all lately.

Marko: I’ve actually lately been inspired by the spirit of Reykjavik and Berlin techno.

Antony: I’ve been very excited about my friend, Mikko Joensuu’s upcoming three-part album. It’s first part should be coming out early 2016.

Husky Rescue's Marko, Johanna, & Antony.

Husky Rescue’s Marko, Johanna, & Antony.

Holiday plan for Husky Rescue?

Marko: Not all that much holiday in sight unfortunately. On the other hand, fortunately working on some nice stuff, like a couple of film scores.

Antony: I hope to have a week or two around Christmas time either for staring at walls, making music or travel. I’m not entirely sure yet.

Describe the secret to making music that is full of feeling, and a kind of genuine warmth that feels like the organic insulation of a winter fleece coat.

Marko: That’s exactly it, that is the secret! It is insulation, a fleece coat, a surviving mechanism through extended periods of cold and dark. But making music can also be a way to celebrate the noticeably shorter but equally intense time of the year when the sun hardly sets at all.

2016 hopes and projections?

Antony: If all goes well, 2016 will have us making new music with a return to the stage to follow.

Husky Rescue’s Long Lost Friend (Special Edition) will be available December 11 from Catskills Records.

The By Gods

Nashville's power pop trio The By Gods; photographed by Bradley Spitzer.

Nashville’s power pop trio The By Gods; photographed by Bradley Spitzer.

From the eclectic and vast musical hotbed of Nashville, we bring you the world premiere of The By Gods’ new single “Miss It” taken from their forthcoming album Get On Feelings available January 22. A trio consisting of Natalie Pauley, Tye Hammonds, & George Pauley; the Bob Mould books and chapters on pop rock decorum (think post-Sugar, Copper Blue era) are adhered to in an honest approach to making anthems that unleash emotive outbursts in the form of pure fun hooks. The anarchic sound that informed the 1990s dream is alive and well with The By Gods who tap into channels and power-chord schemes of deity-like omnipotence.

“Miss It” is a song that reaches out for something real and somewhat permanent beyond the fleeting fancies that the temporal casual passings provide. The driven push for something real plays out by The By Gods in an ultra big production portrayal of unbridled passion that makes no apology in a righteous appeal of investing deeper in worthwhile matters beyond just an arbitrary pedestrian glance. George, Natalie, and Tie kick out a jam that plays out like an after school special filmed in prime time with a drama that unfolds with relationships and bonds in trouble where the reckoning and emotion runs up toward a boiling point in search of resolve & resolution. The By Gods’ own guitarist/vocalist George Pauley was kind enough to answer our pressing questions in the interview featured after the debut of “Miss It”.

Describe for us the story on the forming of The By Gods, like you would all want it described say in an epic ballad homage.

Our story is nowhere near as good as “Rock and Roll Dreams’ll Come Through”…more of a television movie version of Rancid’s “Journey to the End of the East Bay” from a one-mall town in Louisiana.

We started in 2011. Got a garage or an amp. We’d play anytime. It was just the two of us. Yeah man, the core of us. Two kids on tour. 3000 miles in a two-door car not knowing what was going on. We got a million years touring out like this. Hell no! No premonition could’ve seen this. Natalie came from far away from Bastrop to Nashville. She said this is a mecca. I said, ‘this ain’t no mecca man, this place is fucked.’ Three months go by. We had no home. We had no food. We’re all alone.

To the end, to the end. We’ll journey to the end.

Tell us about the various evolutions and shifts at work with you all that you experienced behind the scenes with making Get On Feelings, from I Don’t Care Who Believes Me.

I Don’t Care Who Believes Me…was a fairly easy record to make. We did waste some time at other studios in Nashville trying to find our sound but once we settled in with Carl it was smooth sailing. Then, not soon after we pressed that record, we lost our first bass player. So, we started looping the bass through the computer live. That made writing and rehearsing new material pretty difficult. It took us a while to get the new songs tight and we didn’t really know how they were going to turn out until we went to record them. Carl doesn’t mess around. If we don’t know our shit, he’ll call us on it. So, we pretended to know what we were doing and powered through what we could in two days. When we got home Natalie jokingly asked to be in the band, having never played before in her life. So, we got her a bass and told her to learn all the songs. We recorded her bass tracks a few weeks later in Nashville. Since day one with her playing bass, we’ve never sounded better. It was really a no-brainer.

Nashville's The By Gods.

Nashville’s The By Gods.

Give us more anecdotes and stories from recording with Carl Amburn in his barn, aka The Mousetrap studio out in Oklahoma.

Well, Oklahoma Sooners did lose their bowl game to Clemson Tigers 40 to 6 while we were there. Carl tolerates us. Every time we record with him, Tye just asks to hear stories about Rob Smith (Traindodge) because it’s one of his favorite drummers. George just keeps asking for everything to sound like The Colour And The Shape, to which Carl replies “What’s your budget again?” Tye only ate almond butter and canned salmon while there which had the small control room smelling pretty ripe. George clogged up Carl’s entire home sewage system—impressive! We discussed Tye’s solo album next year, Gestures And Gyrations.

Everyone likes Nashville’s vast scenes for various reasons; what do you all adore about Nashville right now?

We all come from tiny paper mill towns in North Louisiana. The most exciting things we have there are drive thru daiquiri stores, high school football and Duck Dynasty. So, the small things are what we adore—seeing a skyline every day, local coffee, a music scene, a town that doesn’t smell like a fart, not running into the same people every night, all of the touring bands that come through, great local radio, great food, great bars, great people. We do miss the crawfish though.

2016 post-release plans for The By Gods?

We’re heading back to Oklahoma to record our third record with Carl in January. We’re really excited about this one because we’re all settled in and we are a full band again. We have some really cool new songs that we can’t wait to show everyone. We are touring in February and doing some short runs in March with our buds Navaeh from Nashville.

Get On Feelings will be available January 22.

The Black Watch

LA's The Black Watch.

LA’s The Black Watch.

The Black Watch, lead by author John Andrew Fredrick has come out of retirement today with the release of the album Highs & Lows from Pop Culture Press marking the group’s thirteenth release over the course of 27 years. Working with Rob Campanella on production, John salutes the great DIY pop canon and trophy hallways of heroes with an illustrious of array of pepped up jangle pop.

Presenting today the world premiere of “Quondam Redhead”, The Black Watch take on images of the macabre with the carefree glee heard in the “do do do do” choruses. The classic murder ballad form is resurrected with wordplay (i.e. double entendres regarding “opening up’) and an arrangement that flies on the dove wings of hope that ultimately soars into the tonal sound distortion exercises that populate the second half of the song. The upbeat disaffected beginning is met with the second heavier three minutes that provides something of a moral weight to the grisly details divulged in the light hearted opening three minutes.

The Black Watch’s own frontman and accomplished author John Andrew Fredrick wrote the following prelude to the highs and lows involved in making Highs & Lows with the following words:

The Highs and Lows of Making Highs and Lows:

One of the highs was opium. We’d gone back in time to British Occupied Hong Kong and each of us had gotten a personalized dragon-pipe with our star sign inscribed on it. Of course I jest. We just smoked black tar out of whatever hookah was available to time-traveling exaggerators. Seriously now, the highest high was getting, at long last, to work with Rob Campanella, whom we’ve know socially for yonks.

Rob pushed me very very hard. I like to work a lot more on the hurry-up than he does—and I must say he was very patient with impatient me. Became even greater, closer friends with him. Though he might wince at that! I was something of a pain in the bum. His basic approach—-way psychedelic—fit our aesthetic only too well. One of the lows had greatly to do with the fact that, for this record, we very much under-rehearsed before going in to the studio. I took a serious chance—thinking we’d carry over that nervous excitement of not quite knowing what we were doing, tracking-wise, to the tracking of the tracks. Great things like the double tom-tom drum part in “Quondam Redhead” emerged from paths we went down that were, metaphorically, blocked.

We had to take a couple of hiatuses on account of Rob had to go to Europe a couple of times on tour. That made me mental! Recordus interruptus is almost as bad as the other well-known interruptus thing…there’s always a down when you finish something you’ve worked on like mad for months and months. But then, there’s always the next record…and the next down after it. We loved making this very difficult-to-make record: the sounds, the late nights, the camaraderie, the feeling like we had gotten away with something, pulled a proverbial fast one. Then puffed a heap of imaginary opium.

The Black Watch’s album Highs & Lows is available now from Pop Culture Press.

Color Palette

color palette week in pop 2

Happy holidays from Jay Nemeyer’s Color Palette with the epic track “Come Back Home” that takes the action to the ultimate pop hilt. The action burns and boils to the ultimate near half-way point turning point where Jay and the gang turn on all the bright lights and big anthemic power chords to bring the house down that brings “Come Back Home” all the way home indeed. Jay was also so kind as to share a few words describing the events and sentiments behind “Come Back Home”:

“Come Back Home” is about figuring out how to cope with loss (death in family, friends drifting apart, break ups), and a longing for clarity. Loss is a part of life—everyone can relate to it in some capacity.

sarob.

sarob week in pop 1 1

Rising Dayton, Ohio emcee sarob. dropped the Oliver Hamilton video for “serenity.” from his forthcoming album the down available December 22 that looks for that medium moment of mellow zen from the life’s stresses and headaches. The artist has told us that his forthcoming album provides a PMA twist on life’s uphill confrontations of adversity and challenges with a rich groove, “I want people to feel better about what they’re going through. There’s something valuable in everyone’s experiences, even if they’re down.” Produced by Flying Motus, Hamilton’s video showcases sarob. kicking back for a moment of calm that observes the surrounding commotion with a pursuant state of peace as he is treated like the central star of attraction.

Sports Coach

Sports Coach's Thatcher May.

Sports Coach’s Thatcher May.

Boston, Massachusetts’ Sports Coach just dropped his album through the stillness that finds the artist breaking through the electronic pastures that beckon beyond the barriers of glass shattered by decibel frequencies. Since we last spoke to Thatcher circa try & try & try & try around August, the Boston artist has been on a recording spree yielding works like they likely came by sea, with eyes forest​-​keen, and until something works; stillness brings about an almost metaphysical entertainment of the motion found in the stances of stationary and calm. The opener “lesson one is breathing” gets the contemporary post-yoga thought moving forward with the lo-fi love that spills out on the title track, the everlasting all nighter celebration sought after with the echo-electric-tek of “the going away party”, to the ice-bolt glacier pop blasts of “out into the cold”, traversing to the electro-analog mountain stretch zones of “summit”. The scope of Thatcher May’s knack for instantaneous striking pop feels can be experienced on “anymore of anything”, right before diving into the psych tape stream dream of “with a bone in her teeth”, taking you to grand finale DIY dive of “the show is free” that induces a kind of euphoria as if cassette recordings were a new phenomenon.

Thatcher shared the following words with us on the process and feelings involved in the making of Through The Stillness:

With Through the Stillness I intended to make a more lo-fi album from the beginning. I also wanted to make something a little darker than my usual stuff. I think the change in weather // season plays a big role in the mood of my music.

There was something really liberating about making a more lo-fi album. It took away a lot of stress that comes with making everything sound polished. I’m not a professional sound engineer by any means, everything I know I’ve taught myself through trial and error. That makes it really stressful when I’m going for a more professional sound. Also, with lo-fi I felt like maybe I could reconnect with the audience that used to prefer my more indie garage rock music from the beginning of Sports Coach. I felt like I had lost a little footing with that demographic when my music started getting more electronic.

Other than that this is just another album in my discography. Its my 4th LP in 4 months and I have no plans on stopping that creative process at the moment. A lot of the songs and general vibe kind of reflect feeling like you’re not really moving in life. As an unknown artist its all really tough. We work so hard on albums and art just to be ignored by everyone you reach out to. Success is a matter of hard work but also a matter of luck as well. Regardless, you really have no choice but to keep moving and pushing Through the Stillness.

Off their Cordless mixtape that dropped this past Halloween produced by Bart Boy, check out the Herzog TV video for Yun Gee’s “Deadbeat” that that presents a compendium of clips to accompany the erratic and sporadic style of rhyme and verse delivered. Lysergic inhibited type of rhymes are here coupled with imagery that run with glee to the pace of Yun Gee’s own tailored happenstance frame of conscious execution to double the fun.

Check out rekindled passions and dramatic cinematography from Wayne Moreheart and Corey MacGregor for Vancouver’s Girlfriends and Boyfriends video for “Forgiven Lust”. Desire runs on overdrive with memories that consume and new romantic synth and 80s guitar pop pomp saturates the scene with a stern and serious pop goth aesthetic that embraces life’s breaks that feel tragic and worse.

Following up our coverage of the London, Ontario group’s single “Lucifer Baby”, check out the applied visuals from West Nile’s footage work that cut and edits up footage from Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising and Invocation of My Demon Brother. The beats that pulses to recitations of numerics involving 6’s that pushes on with the dance forward movements with the guise of a dive bar goth diva divulging tales of damned highways and interstates.

Slow Dakota, aka Indiana’s PJ Sauerteig dropped “The Lilac Bush” that features an array of fluttering feels that showcase synths spinning to life. Find this and more off the upcoming album The Ascension Of Slow Dakota available in early spring from Massif Records.

Seattle electronic two piece Ceci and Kessiah are Crater who have just announced their upcoming debut LP Talk to Me so I Can Fall Asleep available February 26 on Help Yourself Records, and we are thrilled to bring you the first listen with the affectionate-electronic slo-mo abstract ebb & tide turn of “Habits Die Slow”. With production designed like brain waves and mental activity uninhibited (or inhibited if you will) and unleashed in ways like expressions bottled up and obfuscated like smoky billows of clouds with a high THC percentage. The mix and arrangement matches the feel and content of the lyrics like things said, and/or left unsaid and momentarily forgotten after a lost weekend of unmatched decadence.

Good authority has it that Matt Kivel’s anticipated third album Janus will be available February 5 from Driftless Records, and we give you a listen to the echo of heavy reflective sentiments that sail longingly through the chilly breeze with “Jamie”. Recorded with Glasgow’s Alasdair Roberts that began with Kivel sending Garageband demos before stepping into the Glaswegian scenes, recording Janus at the notable Green Door Studio. Kivel provided these words reflecting on recording with Roberts and more with the following:

At the time, I was listening obsessively to a few of Ali’s records, “I didn’t know him. I’d never been to Glasgow before. But his music was just everywhere in my life at that time. I thought he would make a great producer, though to my knowledge, he had never produced an album by anyone other than himself. “I didn’t know anyone in the city and felt pretty isolated at first, Ali was such a gracious host. We quickly became good friends. He even helped me pick out a ring box that I would later use to house the engagement ring that I would propose to my wife with.

Watch the Londo Donovan of L-Vision video for Wiki’s “Living with My Mom’s” ft. Nasty Nigel and production from Black Noi$e. With word of Wiki’s new joint lil me available December 7 from Letter Racer; get in all the fun with Wiki and the gang with shout outs to Arthur Soleimanpour, Sean Gordon-Loebl, Jake Wayler, Micah Dickbauer, Cole Evlev, Clio Garland, Isis Rubirosa, Hectah, Aaron Mouton, Santos Party House, and GEORGIA.

Kevin Basko known for his guitar work in Foxygen is also Rubber Band Gun who presents the follow up to 2014’s Horror Sounds in Stereo with a listen to Making a Fool of Myself that portrays the life of a weatherman’s final day at a local access news television station called “Channel 17 Local News”. Basko prefaces the concept work with the following words about the lo-fi trials and tribulation fun that begins with Hurrican Horace and the climactic/dramatic “The End of the Mock”:

A crude awakening. A hard hitting, six A.M, smack down with that dang alarm clock, kind of morning. Eggs, bacon, the whole tomato for your inner ear. Follow our favorite weatherman, Horace A. Hobart, through his final day at “Channel 17 Local News” where if we listen closely, we can hear the soft, gentle snap of mental stability. Can a vandalized picture cause a train wreck? Can a man earn respect through malice? All this, and more, brought to you by the force of local access television, through the lens of Rubber Band Gun.

Kalash

Warp into the hyper-zones with Donnie Kalash.

Warp into the hyper-zones with Donnie Kalash.

The latest from UK’s Donnie Kalash (oka Andrew Kalash) who follows up his recent “Defeat Me” demo with the epic, cinematic pointed “13 Steps” that is about to upset your day. Already making ripples across the industry and turning heads; Kalash pulls out all the stops that creates a classic dark clad thematic piece while utilizing the dimensions of music made for tomorrow’s trap houses, halfway homes, safe houses, and every new music micro-genre that has house in the suffix. Donnie Kalash gave us a behind the scenes view to the haunting vocals and cinematic elements of his sound with the following words:

This song is from fall sessions, I was hesitating to put it out. Original track was rock, complex, I asked engineer to mix it many times and yet wasn’t satisfied with it. Then I decided to take almost everything out: guitars, drums, synths, bass and mixed it myself. This final minimal production creates a raw and emotional journey.

Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray are Still Corners who share a listen to the wild horses/goodbye horses synth sweet pop of “Horses of Night” from their forthcoming third album available later in 2016. Following up their Sub Pop releases Strange Pleasures and Creatures of an Hour; the guitars and synth glitz gets its hair done and nail did with an added layer of glamour and starry-eyed hook executions.

Dream Koala’s Exodus is available today and we have an audio and visual stream featuring b/w projections and video art adaptations from Adrien Peze & Albin Merle that provide cosmic readings from the electro-touched intimate stylings by DK.

Abby Banks of Potty Mouth directed the band’s video for “Creeper Weed” on vintage style Sony vx 1000 DV tape to recreate that skate board busting thrills of the 1990s back all over again. Found off the Massachusetts band’s self-titled EP, watch and listen as the days of The Breeders and Elastica return to the vibes of skater gals claiming their turf and overriding the influence and insignificance of the oughts.

Off his recent MoFunk release Tap Water; check out the Brandon Mahlberg directed video for XL’s Middleton’s “Bumpin” where it’s our funked-out hero versus the Anti-Funk Task Force. Read our recent interview session with XL here.

Michael Sherburn, John Barclay and Greem Jellyfsh; aka DUST gave us the first listen from their forthcoming 2MR album Agony Planet, sharing the Sarlacc style succubus electronica of “Breeding Pit”. The Brooklyn beat decoders/de-programmers kick up a cool brew of techno-based of fantasy-future flights of fancy that pens epics beyond Homerian odysseys beyond the veil of post-epic trance.

Filmed at Six Dogs Club in Athens by G.N.P.; peep The Cave Children’s “Pelorian” performed live off their Inner Ear album Quasiland. The Greek psych-enthusiasts present their lavish odes to lysergic sorts of luxuries and the most hedonistic delights that lazy day lethargy can deliver.

Introducing Victoria, BC’s Marble Pawns who just dropped the single “Hypnostasis” that emerged onto our radar with it’s electro dotted murmurs and pulse that rides into the hypnotic reflections of inner gazed thoughts on the nature of equilibrium and more. The synth-strokes blink like dial touch-tones played in a mysterious and cryptic order as Marble Pawns make a sonic phone call to the universe through expressions of sentiment and sound.

Chicago’s Strange Faces lent a listen to the fuzzy-fi feelings of “Brand New Way” of their upcoming album Stonerism available December 11 from Autumn Tone Records where bright guitar chords chime like church bell towers fed through all the blistering distortion devices and pedals available.

Australia’s Bloodhounds On My Trail recently dropped Escape II from Moon Sounds Records that features such rich dream soaked schemes like the loveless yet affectionate “Dreamless”, the uplifting moods of “Jolly” (which is also given the Ummagma remix treatment), and more that explores the space-audio-terrains less-traversed from down under.

Historian dropped the Leslie Andrew Ridings video for “Pulled Under” featuring strings from Quartetto Fantastico off the Record Machine album Current. LA artist Chris Karman depicts the emotional and exhausting motions of what it feels like to get caught in the pull of the world’s undertow whirlpool.

From Samson The Truest’s new album Come Back Shane, peep the Saskia Kahn video for “Gunslinger” that presents biblical like tales and fables of love lost, roads ridden, and the mystique of seas and the strange sands of time.

FEWS dropped the Alden Volney animated and directed video for “The Zoo” produced by Dan Carey and available soon via his Speedy Wunderground imprint (following up ILL from earlier this year), coupling the sounds with VHS views of council houses, roadways, and dazzling designs. The urban menageries of daily modern life are depicted in a metropolitan mode of aesthetics to match the destitution and hope/vision fueled fight for destiny.

Exile dropped the compilation Dirty Science Radio Vol. 1 from his imprint and artist collective of the same name that features his mixes of various artists that he has collaborated with over the years. Familiar classics abound from favorites like Aloe Blacc, Blu, Fashawn, Cashius King, Choosey, Denmark Vessey, Emanon, ABJO, Quelle Chris, ADAD, Pac Div, Dag Savage and more.

Berlin’s Still Parade, aka Niklas Kramer just dropped the cut “07:41” for the Art Is Hard Singles Club that showcases the artist’s tape recorded aesthetic and warm essences that channel the classic singer songwriters of yesterday and tomorrow. Following up Kramer’s Fields EP and a host of singles; “07:41” provides the perfect song to enjoy in the early yawns and cat stretches of morning to be particularly enjoyed before 8:00am arrives.

Manchester’s MONEY, aka Jamie Lee, drops his second album Suicide Songs available January 29 from Bella Union and bring you the single “I’ll Be the Night” that encompasses those long dark nights that lament the failed empires that crash down by day and the recollections and reckoning that only late evenings can offer.

Check out Vandaveer’s “But Enough On That For Now” that is chocked full of Heidinger and Guerin’s dueting harmonics found off their forthcoming album available February 19.

Summer Salt dropped the smooth, sweet, and neat single “Manastra” from their Going Native EP available from Austin Town Hall Records in January. “Manastra” provides that pleasant sound for ever lasting holidays that melt the malaise of the mundane and the fixations from the school/work weeks into the relaxed ether.

Naples’ Stella Diana dropped their Alhena EP today from Vipchoyo Sound Factory that soars with dream pop textures taken from yesterday’s institutions for the future’s new hopes and daydreams. Nu-Italo pop sounds of hearts worn humbly on the sleeve stride forward on “Shohet”, the ruminating “Calfield”, chord percolations on “Bill Carson”, the siren sludge and song of “Mira”, closing it out with a dream-weapon like cover of Kula Shaker’s “Govinda”.

New York’s Joel Michael Howard to follow up his 2014 album Love As A First Response with I Feel Nauseous available January 22 from Ernest Jenning Record Company sharing the “best part of fame” that can “last all day” with the subdued yet smart single “Hit Wonder”. The pains and pressures of making a hit and musings on idolatry and more flow about the mix that spins and swirls like weather patterns enjoyed during a cold December or January day.

Weaves covered One Direction’s “Drag Me Down” for a Rdio compilation before the company declared bankruptcy, and now present it with abandon and glee with the following words from Jasmyn Burke on the cover:

In what I’m now assuming was one of the streaming service’s last attempts at doing something interesting before shutting down, they had asked us and a group of other artists to pick a song to cover from a list of contemporary music, we chose “Drag Me Down” by One Direction. It might seem like a strange choice, but we are obsessed with pop songs and strong hooks so the challenge was not so much changing everything about the song, but elevating certain parts and adding our own touch so a song meant to appeal to teenage girls would in fact sound like a new Weaves tune. Over the course of one weekend we hibernated in Morgan’s house and pumped out this new version. It’s an infectious song without us but maybe it’s a licentious song with us.

Annika Zee’s Week in Pop

Annika Zee, photographed by Jacob Blumberg.

Annika Zee, photographed by Jacob Blumberg.

Annika Zee has emerged in recent weeks with news of her upcoming album Aging Aesthetics (available later this month of December) along with her evocative single “Crazy”. Today Annika shares her following exclusive Week in Pop guest selections:

Mala, “Alicia”

London producer Mala does a great rework of Alicia Key’s “Feeling U, Feeling Me” off The Diary of Alicia Keys.

MF Doom, “Potholderz” feat. Count Bass D

Prince, “Strange Relationship”

Sign ‘O’ the Times is one of my favorite Prince albums. I like tracks where the singer is flawed and has no guilt in expressing it—keeps the lyrics spicy not boring. Can’t post a link because Prince only puts his music out on Tidal.

Esthero, “Superheroes”

My 90s jam. This is a very sensual track but also kind of sad. I feel like Esthero is not really being seen by whoever she is singing about: “My frame is here but my mind is gone.” The ending line, “bigger better faster wetter” makes me think of how people are always looking for something newer, sexier, and fresher, treating people like products. It’s quick, thoughtless consumption. Esthero knew what was up.

Annika Zee emerges from the shadows; photographed by Jacob Blumberg.

Annika Zee emerges from the shadows; photographed by Jacob Blumberg.

Bjork, “An Echo, A Stain”

It’s incredible how Bjork accurately captures human emotion by showing how it is multifaceted and not box-like. This track somehow manages to be creepy yet also stunningly beautiful. Vespertine is still futuristic, and it was made almost 15 years ago.

DJ Nigga Fox, “Um Ano”

annika zee week in pop 3

Laurel Halo, “Out”

Jakko Eino Kalevi, “Macho Men”

The Style Council, “The Paris Match” (Tracey Thorn Version)

Tracey Thorn sings this song very nicely. I also just love The Style Council—Tom Weller’s songwriting and his melodrama, especially on “Long Hot Summer” and “My Ever Changing Moods.” Weller was also in a punk band called The Jam. Their song “Start” is killer.

Follow Annika Zee via Twitter.

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