Week in Pop: CARE, Drug Cabin, Happy Lives, Seatraffic, Shotty, Snubluck, True Lust

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Cuushe, Drew Dave, Jacques le Coque, Miniboone, Red Vienna, co-curated by Atelier Ciseaux.

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Sjimon Gompers | February 27, 2015

Keeping up with True Lust's Dillon Morton. (press photo courtesy of the artist)

Helping the world make sense of overloaded new-media madness; Impose’s Week in Pop breaks matters down to a handful of brand new favorites from this week, and the weeks ahead. In a quick wrap-up of a few of this week’s biggest stories, we witnessed Meredith Graves’ launch of her own imprint, Honor Press, and signing of Sacramento’s So Stressed; we watched a documentary on The Epoch collective; heard about Run the Jewels recording with Massive Attack; heard about Bobby “Ackquille Pollard” Shmurda versus the law and his label Epic; and saw sculpture representations of Daft Punk sans masks courtesy of artist Xavier Veilhan at New York’s Galerie Perrotin; learned that a Red House Painters box set is in the works; Kanye apologized to Beck and Bruno Mars via Twitter, and also broke down in sobs during an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe; Tom Delong keeps getting weirder; Donald Glover revealed on “The Lazarus Effect” that he might be retiring his Childish Gambino moniker; Madonna shared words on the rising intolerance in Europe after taking a tumble at the Brit Awards; and we continue to mourn the passing of jazz trumpeter extraordinaire, Clark Terry, and Leonard Nimoy.

But as we push ahead, we are privileged to bring you the following world exclusives, interviews and more from CARE, Drug Cabin, Happy Lives, Shotty, Snubluck, True Lust, Cuushe, Drew Dave, Jacques Le Coque, Miniboone, Red Vienna, Seatraffic, Vaadat Charigim, Sahara Beck, Oak House, Alpha Celeste, co-curated by Atelier Ciseaux, and more — in no particular order.

True Lust

True Lust's Dillon Morton. (press photo courtesy of the artist)

True Lust’s Dillon Morton. (press photo courtesy of the artist)

Denver’s True Lust (formerly Lust), fronted by Dillon Morton, closed out 2014 with the synth based atmospheres of late evening car rides on, “Vices“, following up our debut of “Silk & Lace”, and more engages 2015 by further developing his electronic angled aesthetics. Premiering his remix of Jonas Reindhardt’s “Elimination Street”, the impossible metropolises of leisure and pleasure are given the True Lust ‘cinema for the senses’ treatment. Seen supporting College in Denver last December; the artist who calls Chill Mega Chill, AMDISCS, and more home builds upon a blueprint that transforms every captured sound into a section of an 80s movie soundtrack on a naturally inclined whim.

Jonas Reinhardt’s original version of “Elimination Street” from the Not Not Fun release, Mask Of The Maker was caught from the progressive techno cloth that followers of Giorgio Moroder adhere to with a religious like fervor. The indie disco tempo and arrangement from Reinhardt — aka Brooklyn’s Jesse Reiner — is slowed down on the True Lust remix to a new set pace where all keys involved have both time and room to breathe. The new spaces Dillon allows for the synths to dwell in allows for a different take, where Jesse’s progressions are re-produced through a type of underscoring method accustomed to the most clever of musical auteurs. The stems and individual items return to the audio frame in a cerebral, pensive form that recalls late night mysteries and decisive moments in the plot of an imaginary movie instigated by Reiner, and elaborated on by Morton. Whereas “Elimination Street” was initially built like a rhythm driven autobahn; the True Lust remix experience further explores the songs high art aspirations of expressing wants and needs through even more evocative and immediate avenues. Dillon Morton presents the debut of the True Lust remix of “Elimination Street” with the following introduction:

true lust elmination-street-remix-cover week in pop

Last year, I reached out to Jesse about “Elimination Street” since I couldn’t stop listening to Jonas Reinhardt’s Mask of the Maker. The seductive nature of the relentless drums alongside the swelling of suspenseful synth layers immediately caught my attention. Even though this remix is just now seeing the light of day, I’m glad to finally share the sultry edit with hopes of raising the hair on the back of your neck.

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Having ended 2014 with the release of “Vices” in addition to revamping our live set for the opportunity to support College in Denver on his most recent tour, I can’t wait to finally release more singles leading up to the full-length album.

Drug Cabin

Drug Cabin's Marcus Congleton & Nathan Thelen, all featured photos by Kim Gordon.

Drug Cabin’s Marcus Congleton & Nathan Thelen, all featured photos by Kim Gordon.

This week saw the release of Drug Cabin’s album, Yard Work, from the group originally formed by Nathan Thelen (of Moonrats, Pretty Girls Make Graves) and Marcus Congleton (of Ambulance LTD). What started initially as a solo project of Thelen’s while staying in a mountainous cabin in Chiapas, Mexico expanded to include Congleton, bassist Brandon “Eugene” Owens, drummer Sheridan Riley, and pedal steel player Frankie Palmer who recorded Yard Work at LA’s Gaucho Electronics during heavy rains. As a result, the slightly psych-touched sound of Drug Cabin took form like your favorite forgotten album rock song from a dusty long player disc left in the corner of your vinyl cubby.

On the video premiere for Drug Cabin’s “Sapphire” Nathan along with visual artist Gordy Knouse assemble an animated collage of vintage pictures and classic clip-art cut-outs pasted together in mellow, musical harmony. Watch monks play guitar, and images of Michelangelo’s David take to the mic with Saturday Night Fever style apparel, with images of the group’s eponymous cabin in the background. The lost weekend roll of lazy guitars are portrayed in a performance by ancient Greco-Roman statues turned gauchos, that attest to the timeless testament of that forever faded 70s sepia saturated style of stoned singer-songwriter gold. The modern and the archaic get mixed together in a pastiches of a painted and drawn backgrounds, colors, shapes, and more, as the song trucks on down the line in an ode to a sapphire sun. Exploring the new album and video with Drug Cabin, we had the chance for a roundtable interview session with Nathan and Marcus, immediately after the following world premiere of “Sapphire”.

Tell us how the two of you built Drug Cabin, and how your collective experiences in Ambulance ltd, Pretty Girls Make Graves, and Moonrats has informed this project.

Nathan: Drug Cabin began as a way for me to record the songs I had been working on after Moonrats had ended. After recording the Drug Cabin EP, I gathered together some musician friends to play a couple of shows in Los Angeles, Big Sur and San Francisco. I met Marcus the day before the first show in Los Angeles and though the EP hadn’t had much more than one guitar on it, He ad-libbed all these brilliant parts that worked so well that he played the whole set the next day. We then spent the next year getting together regularly to work on each others songs and try writing together. After a short time playing out live as a two piece we quickly realized the necessity of a rhythm section for our music. We got Brandon Owens whom Marcus had played with in NY to play bass and Stella Mozgawa to play drums. After a while with this lineup Frankie Palmer began sitting in with us on pedal steel and Stella got busy with her band Warpaint, so we enlisted Sheridan Riley from long beach’s Avi Buffalo to play drums. This lineup was the one we took into Gaucho’s Electronics studio to record both the new records.

Our past experiences in bands and our lives during those times undoubtedly affects how we approach Drug Cabin. There is a lot of effort put into making it easy with us. We try and keep the songwriting very direct and to the point while allowing the musicians to be loose with how they interpret them. I think this has been the key to keeping the songs fresh through the change in members over the years. The only thing we are sort of rigid about is keeping the playing fairly simple and free from extravagant flourishes. This attitude has permeated our overall effort in everything from sound checks and shows to artwork.

Marcus: Nick DeWitt (Pretty Girls Make Graves, Liars) produced and mixed all three Drug Cabin releases, so he’s a big part of our sound/synergy. Our recording sessions are always fun and a little loose. Even though we want to maximize our time in the studio, we like to leave room for improvisations and new ideas. We don’t focus too narrowly on what we want the end result to be. Our songs are pretty simple and we all have years of music experience, so we just enjoy ourselves and use collective intuition.

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Love the “Sapphire” video with all it’s cool pastiche mod podge of cut-out collages. What’s the story on how these cool kitschy visuals came about?

Nathan: Thank you. The video for “Sapphire” was filmed and edited all on my phone. My friend Gordy Knouse and I have been making short animations for fun and decided to try a music vid. It was a lot of fun to build the characters and sets and create a total fantasy realm. The colors and shapes and general tone really seemed to work with the song from the beginning and it felt like it had made itself by the final edit. Amazing what you can do now with a phone and no budget. An interesting footnote to this is that about two hours after I uploaded the final draft of the video, I left my phone in a taxi and it and all the footage were lost for good. A bit of good and bad luck.

Describe the Drug Cabin synergy that has created everything from your self-titled to Yard Work, and Wiggle Room.

Nathan: We are very fortunate with the musicians we had to work with and the people who helped us to record and release this music. I can hear all those relationships in the records.

What is the Drug Cabin secret to making natural, laid back, cool jams?

Nathan: I could tell you, but we’d have to get stoned first.

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What else are all of you working on?

Nathan: We have a bunch of new songs to get into and have been playing with a new and different cast of characters so I believe we will be recording a new record soon.

What is everyone listening to right now?

Nathan: I am listening to Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain right now.

Marcus: Right now I’m really loving the William Onyeabor threee record set that was recently re-released. Futuristic Afro-pop with synths.

What else can we expect from Drug Cabin in 2015?

Nathan: Hopefully more recordings, videos and shows.

Drug Cabin’s Yard Work is available now.

Care

Introducing; Care, the project of Grand Rapids' own Justin Majetich, photographed by Chris Cox.

Introducing; Care, the project of Grand Rapids’ own Justin Majetich, photographed by Chris Cox.

Meet Justin Majetich, the artist behind, CARE, who premieres the single “Pamela” from his upcoming tape, UNENJOY available in April from Newer Style Records. Based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan; UNENJOY was recorded at Sabbath Recording in Cincinnati, and mastered in Chicago by Peter Andreadis at All City Mastering to create an intimate cycle of songs that are all titled with the first names of inspirations informed by acquaintances, friends, family, lovers, and everyone else in between. In the world of CARE, heart is at the core of everything, where creativity and humanity are inextricable and everything is unexpected, unpredictable, and ever-changing. UNENJOY offers vignettes of joy and disjointed realities that gives the listeners something new apart from the predictable, procedural constructs that pop music often take an auto-pilot comfort in.

On the debut of “Pamela”, a breeze of synths, Midwest winds, and the engine sounds of trucks shifting gears on the overpass begin the song of transitions, exchanges, and other short stories. CARE kicks into full swing with Justin’s guitar and vocal poetry that mythologizes the mystery of the gal he never knew. Exchanges of glances, aspects of observed auras, and fictitious narratives spring lives of their own, where a chance meeting becomes a sung description of a relationship dynamic one might find in a classic Buñuel or Godard film. Majetich keeps the action and characters in the song described in big dramatic overtones, where the story arc remains as unconventional as the original arrangement that forgoes the standardized chorus/verse organization for an audio layout that is full of surprises — right to the very end. Having recently made connections with the influential power clique The Epoch, and embarking on a March-April tour; we had the opportunity to discuss the art of CARE with Justin Majetich, in our interview after the following debut of, “Pamela”.

Describe the current indie scene landscape in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Everything oscillates every six months or so. Right now, things feel up. The scene is pretty house-centric, which makes for a good time but, by nature, risks greater exclusivity. Our #1, Austin Kane, is a brilliant and generous sound engineer, and largely because of him, this city has the best ‘underground’ sound I’ve ever heard. Sets in his basement sound legitimately better than they do at a couple of the 300+ venues in town. On a less positive note, Grand Rapids is deeply rooted in conservatism, and in my opinion, the artistic community has suffered for it. While there are certainly outliers, the tolerance for experimentation and transgression is subpar, and furthermore, the scene is dominantly patriarchal, heteronormative, WASP-y, etc. It’s a real problem that needs constant acknowledgement if it’s ever going to change. All that being said, I think we’re seeing the paradigm slowly begin to shift, and there are a lot of really talented, brave people — artists and otherwise — that I’m proud to exist with.

“Subjugating the beloved in a series of verses and choruses, the artist silences this individual and proceeds to mythologize, substituting the echoes of their own desire for the the voice of the beloved.”

What prompted the beginning of your project of love, CARE?

We all find our own ways of confronting the void.

Tell us about the real life “Pamela” that may or may not have inspired this song.

The real Pamela exists, if at all, in the first phrase of the song — everything beyond that is a sequence of projections, spiraling further and further from the true Pamela. And that’s actually a core concept of this track: the frequently oppressive nature of the love song. Subjugating the beloved in a series of verses and choruses, the artist silences this individual and proceeds to mythologize, substituting the echoes of their own desire for the the voice of the beloved. So yea, the real life Pamela was just someone who crashed at my house on tour. We shared maybe three sentences with one another, and the next morning, I found myself writing this song. I was disturbed by the whole ordeal — the impersonality, the exploitation, and the intrusion of it all. We cannot divorce creativity from humanity. So, anyway, I just teased the invasive tone of the speaker for the rest of the song and then, in the final moments, left them cradling their inexplicably severed penis.

Care, photographed by Derek Smith.

Care, photographed by Derek Smith.

What was the process like writing and recording, UNENJOY, and how much or how little enjoyment went into the making?

The four tracks on UNENJOY were written at different times and are pretty aesthetically diverse. The unifying feature is their personal emphasis; each song is titled with a first name: “Pamela”, “Michael”, “Bilal”, “Casey”. The latter three, in particular, carry a lot of emotional weight for me and weren’t necessarily enjoyable to write. ‘Fulfilling’ would be a more appropriate word. The title of UNENJOY is pulled from the third track, which explores the creative urge as an urge toward the grave, so that about encapsulates the spirit of the writing process. As for recording, we recorded with some of friends in Cincinnati. They played in the band Pomegranates/Healing Power for years but recently disbanded and built up a studio under the moniker, Sabbath Recording. They are exceptional people and took a lot of care to make sure our experience with them was just as emotionally gratifying as it was technically.

How do you go about writing and recording songs for CARE?

Painstakingly. At this point, the creative process is propelled by deconstructive energy (thus, we’ve self-identified as ‘deconstructive pop’). The momentum in our songs is generated as each part moves forward in an attempt to subvert or complicate the last. This occurs more in some songs than others. In “Pamela,” this gesture is more present in the text, but you’ll note, musically, there is very little unvaried repetition. Currently, I’m recording a full-length in my live-in ‘studio.’ I’ve been working on these songs for a couple of years, and both the writing and recording processes are very detail-oriented. The songs on this LP are of significantly greater scale and nuance than the material on UNENJOY. Some of them are really like five or six songs patched together. There’s just a lot going on. It’s also the most conceptually and aesthetically cohesive project I’ve worked on. Honestly, it’s been a pretty overwhelming process for me, and I’m ecstatic to release it, in every sense of the word.

Care, photographed by James Li.

Care, photographed by James Li.

Artists local or not local that you feel everyone should be listening to, but aren’t right now?

Some of my favorites in Grand Rapids right now are Darkly and Jade TV. Otherwise, Detroit’s Jamaican Queens certainly deserve everyone’s attention. They’ve got a new record coming out in the next month or so that’s gonna change lives. I’ve, also, recently had the pleasure of befriending a few of The Epoch collective kids. All of their work is a very important counterpoint to a dominant portion of current music trends, and I believe we’re all the better for their obstinate disregard. Also, Couples Counseling — Virginia is a brilliant songwriter/composer — one of the best on the east coast, in my opinion. Oh! and — my god — that new Krill album!

What are you looking forward to on your upcoming tour and post release fans after UNENJOY drops on Newer Style Records?

Well, we get to play with a plethora of artists whose work I both enjoy and highly respect: Eskimeaux, Bellows, Adult Mom, Small Wonder, Sharpless, Crying, Jawbreaker Reunion…to name a few. So neat! Otherwise, it’s always great to make new friends and snuggle up with their pets after the show.

Catch CARE on the following dates:

March
07 Bloomington, IN at Brick House with Warehouse & Hoops
11 Grand Rapids, MI at Ladies Literary Club with Son Lux

April
02 Grand Rapids, MI at Death House with Crying & Eskimeaux
04 Brooklyn, NY at Palisades with Adult Mom & Small Wonder
05 Brooklyn, NY at Baby’s All Right with Bad Cello & All Boy/All Girl
09 Turner Falls, MA at Brick House
10 Boston, MA at Last Haus
11 Hudson, NY at Bard College with Bellows, Sharpless & Jawbreaker Reunion

Happy Lives

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Giving our week an attitude adjustment and overall lift of spirits — Happy Lives’ Julian Beel and Mike Lande dropped the world premiere of their new single on us with, “Wanna Go Dance”. The NYC duo dabbles in the art of distorting those familiar dance floor tropes for an experience that exists outside the four-quarter beat obsessed EDM avenues for an echelon that is designed for all audio palettes and music minds to congregate to and partake in the dance together. “Wanna Go Dance” finds Julian and Mike burying the persistent beat and mood sensing keyboards beneath an order of blessed distortion that blends beauty with the surface crackle of intended static. Like the blue flames springing forth from the single cover artwork, Happy Lives spread the joy of dance-based therapy with top shelf footwork inspiring audio creations to ignite dance floors, kitchen floors, living room floors, bedroom floors, sidewalks, and streets alike.

Happy Lives start the “Wanna Go Dance” party proper with the invitational, “hey pretty baby, do you wanna go dance”, call for all to pay attention, and start shaking some action. Like the best club beat tracks, Happy Lives explore the dialogues between individuals whose discourse and duets are framed by the environments, urges, and desires for release bodily motion through the healthy, and energetic outlets. The confusions and conflicts get caught in the verses that are mirrored in the feel of the synth progressions, and the muddy instrumental treatments where the only solution and cure to all potential and possibly involved qualms is a hearty dance marathon session. To learn more about the making of the “Wanna Go Dance” single and more, we have a chance to catch up with NYC’s Happy Lives in our interview after the following debut.

How did Happy Lives first originate?

Hard to say. Realizing this isn’t a ‘band’ band took time. Laptop was the start. Couldn’t stretch the same with the 8-track. Back then it was called Condom Pocket. Now we don’t think in band terms. Happy Lives is when that flipped.

Story behind the name, and the Happy Lives secret to living happy lives and the pursuit of happiness?

The name comes straight out of Happiness. The movie. Fell in love with the trappings. And the green landscapes. And the secret to happiness is variety. I like that question.

Tell us about the making of the electro kinesis of the dance floor rager, “Wanna Go Dance?”

Had been wanting to write a Gaga song for a while. Failed a bunch. ‘Wanna Go Dance,’ after an early demo, couldn’t get out of my head but the recording was garbage. So I threw a mind melt distortion on the lot. Lyrics get tough to chat on. Was in love but the end loomed and I didn’t want to admit it. “Wanna Go Dance” knew before I did.

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Thoughts on dance floor etiquette and the best way to keep all involved happy?

Depends on the show. Hardcore? Dumb question. Fugazi? Get ready to get yelled at. But that’s not so much dance floor. Like da club? Are folks committing faux-pie? Like fingerbanging? You gotta know how to read signals and not get angry if you gotta reset. It’s a dance floor you’re lucky.

The latest from the NYC scenes? Obscure NYC artists that everyone needs to be listening to?

First to my mind is Haybaby. I drummed for them for the better part of the year until they had the good sense to kick me out. They’re about to release a new record with Tiny Engines. 1.21 Gigawatts is a homie. Creates a good scene. Danny’s a fella that can bump a cassette as hard as an Ariana Grande. Hard to find that. He works with Dances a lot, think y’all at Impose know them. Got us to DJ the last two nights of their month at Pianos. Good vibes. A lot of familiar friendly faces and Dances has a strong familiar sound.

What other recordings and collaborations do two have in store for the world?

“Bababa” is next single. Wrapping it up now. Strong dub / tense r & b mood. Starting to collaborate with females. I like to go at it alone but female vocals are unique. It’s a complicated process and you never know. Gotta develop flavor or throw it out.

Next big moves from Happy Lives that we should be aware of?

Video for “Wanna Go Dance”. Dancing and tights. Spending my days in front of a green screen watching Michael Jackson’s Vision. Beware the dancing man, ha ha.

Seatraffic

Seatraffic's Mark Zannad & Brandon Harrison, with photographs by Madison Kotack.

Seatraffic’s Mark Zannad & Brandon Harrison, with photographs by Madison Kotack.

We last caught up with San Francisco duo Seatraffic’s Mark Zannad and Brandon Harrison during the making of their album, Beauty in the Night, soaking in the Pacific moon gazing single “Man On the Coast”, and dwelling in the song’s supernatural, dark beach solitude. Playing San Francisco’s Noise Pop at Brick & Mortar with Human Touch (formerly known as GNTLMN), and Sales tomorrow, February 28; we bring you one of the first listens to their new single, “Spoken Reprise”.

Here Seatraffic’s synthesizers make their way across Bay channels; Mark makes his lyrical claim in time to Brandon’s live percussion that cuts through the delusions and illusions for a representative chance. The chorus of “Spoken Reprise” spells it all out with all cards placed firmly on the deck as Mark sings, “how can you run when you cannot abide, when they talk about me it makes me want to hide, trying to see past the fiction and lies, first time I saw you was not a surprise…” Recorded at the legendary Different Fur Studios with producer Nic Pope for a Converse’s Rubbertracks session, Seatraffic sails their vessel of wayward ocean bound dreams that escape the described frustrations, addressing life’s events and inevitable changes that occur while steering, and navigating through the plotted courses of the Bay. After the following listen to “Spoken Reprise”, we bring you our latest conversation with Seatraffic’s Mark Zannad.

First off, how was the process of writing and recording your forthcoming album, Beauty in the Night?

Writing and releasing an album took a lot more out of me than I thought it would. Both as far as energy and stress, as well as financially. Making Beauty in the night was an extremely rewarding experience, I subleased my room here in SF and went to live on the coast of Oregon to flesh out the demos. Once I returned it took us almost a whole year to get it properly recorded and get the funds to press it on vinyl. By the time we got the pressings and released the first song, seeing the finished product was almost surreal.

Tell us about the recording process for this awesome loosie, “Spoken Reprise”.

We signed up for the Converse’s Rubbertracks SF sessions on a whim. When we were notified we got a day of studio time for free we actually had no new material, as we had just finished recording Beauty in the Night. Brandon and I went into our practice space and essentially did not come out until we had a solid demo. We also had to get it recorded in one day, which ended up being a fun challenge for our producer, Nic Pope and us. Every part that you hear in the song was recorded live that day in the studio, no midi programming, no producer witchcraft.

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I always imagine Seatraffic songs as these ballads sung by mariners or fishermen from the future. What sorts of events inspired “Spoken Reprise”?

I’m always excited to hear about the imagery our songs put in people’s heads! In general our songs are always based around feelings that people on many different levels can relate to; growing old, feeling remorse, missing loved ones, etc. Spoken Reprise is the first in a set of new songs that are much more about personal events. Ultimately this song is about the different stages of our lives, 2014 was a big year for me, I graduated college and entered the workforce, definitely a defining moment that I had a lot of feelings about.

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Thoughts on the state of the Bay Area’s indie scenes?

So many people have already said so much about this topic! I have only lived in Bay Area for 6 years, but I have seen it change quite a bit. I’ll try to keep this positive and just say, there are still many many great bands in SF and the Bay Area, this year’s Noise Pop line up is evident of that. What is important is that we look out for each other and the venues that book our small shows. How? Keep going to shows, go to shows early and support the local acts. Have a room in your apt? Rent it to a friend for a decent price rather than making a profit off it from a rich techie.

Seatraffic’s spring and summer plans?

There is a lot of uncertainty right now. I am writing a lot of new songs these days, some of them garbage, and some I get really excited about it. This year will be a defining moment for the band no doubt, I’d like to see us undergo some kind of rebirth, as the songs I’m writing are much different. Additionally, I’ve been working on a lot of solo material, and I’d like to spend sometime fleshing out that project.

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Excited for your Noise Pop show with Sales and GNTLMN. What other artists do you feel the world needs to be listening to right now?

We are also very excited for tomorrow’s show! We have been fans of Sales for a long time! My friend Vince recently turned me on to a guy named Palmbomen, that nobody seems to know about. He’s got some of the warmest synth textures I have ever heard. As far as local bands, the Belinda Butchers have been in the SF scene for a long time and they are starting to get a lot of coverage that is long overdue.

Shotty

Catching up and hanging with Shotty (from left),  Pat Birney, Miles Frank and Duffey Westlake. (press photo)

Catching up and hanging with Shotty (from left), Pat Birney, Miles Frank and Duffey Westlake. (press photo)

We were introduced to Seattle by LA’s Shotty on the debut of their video for “I’m Glad It’s Over”, and now we are proud to present the premiere of their video for “So Long”. The band of Pat Moon, Miles Frank and Duffey Westlake rock away in the ADHD affected and afflicted video from Pat and Andy Rines that indulges in a host of visual effects to cater to their skronk pop rich sound. With an EP coming soon for Cautionary Tail Records, engineered and mixed at Happy Ending Studios by Norm Block; the audio-visual adventures of Shotty continue to march forward to larger heights and bigger directions.

On the debut of “So Long”, Shotty starts out with a crisp and clean conveyance of chords as the big pedals and amps come swiftly in to play. “I followed you, I followed your friends…no where. I loved you, so much for that, it’s no fair,” Pat laments, as the struggle of fighting the lies of fickle folks without any reprieve inspires a pure, total self-assured anthem. Shotty bids adieu to the non-believers and fleeting friends and lovers, and embraces the essences and elements of themselves, their band, and their sound. Casting aside the lame brief games that people play, Shotty shreds out the most infectious power chords and bars that you wish would never end. The main hook of “So Long” has the sort power and potency that could be played on a constant loop and underscored to no end, while still retaining all maximum effects (and side effects). We had the pleasure of catching up with Pat, in our interview immediately following the premiere of “So Long”.

As a Seattle by LA group, what is the latest from LA and Seattle that you all are excited about?

We spent a few years being a rock band in Seattle, and then we moved to LA because it’s one step closer to living in Japan, which is one step closer to living on Mars. I’m sure there’s plenty to get excited about in Seattle and LA, but we’ve yet to find it. Maybe if we spent more time socializing with the Silverlake vampires or the Capitol Hill cool kids we’d be more privy to the festive public events, cool local art scenes, or spontaneous hangouts of smiling people and garage rock. We tend to lock ourselves in our practice space in the hopes that we can compensate for awkward social skills with intense sparkling rock prowess. So far it’s worked like a charm. Music is how we interact with the world, and as a result we are most excited by an empty Pro Tools session or that sizzling sound of a guitar amp that just turned on. And of course video games, magic cards, Netflix, and froyo. The best part about our favorite things is that we can bring them anywhere! The worst part is that while we’re living in Seattle or LA we tend to feel more dreamy than grounded, which leads to a restless rock-and-roll head-in-the-clouds kind of angst. Some day we’ll be living on another planet and it will still feel too small.

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Tell us about the making of the “So Long” video from Pat Moon and Andy Rines, and making it weird with a Nintendo 3DS camera and more.

The “So Long” video was an adventure! It started out as fancy as it gets. Oooh, there’s a treatment? A crew? Lights? What’s a D.P.? We need one. We set up, changed outfits, and played the song probably 1 or 1.2 million times. Ate some chips and ibuprofen and played it a couple more times. With the help of our amazing video partner Andy Rines, we got some killer footage. He put together a rough edit and handed it over to us. Then we had some big decisions to make. Okay, so this is us playing our song in a room looking dramatic. That’s totally awesome, but it’s only about 15% of who we really are. How to we capture the hidden nerdiness behind all the rockstar role playing? The answer, as always, was to look inward. Or in this case, to look around the room. This is a technique I use a lot when writing lyrics, stories, blogs, Facebook posts, or really just trying to sort anything out. I look around my bedroom and my heart becomes a dowsing rod. I know that when I look at something of mine, or think of a scene or image, and it makes my heart swell with human “feelings”, then that is the best source of inspiration.

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We settled on (a fraction of) my action figure collection and my Nintendo 3DS. I love both of these things with a vast majority of my heart. I used to work at Nintendo and would spend a lot of time fiddling with the 3DS camera, and I remembered it could do some amazing, broken, dreamy things. In one night of giggling, light flashing, laser gun shooting, action figure posing, and whimsical soul exploration, the now 12-year-old Pat and Miles emerged with the remaining footage for our video.

I edited the footage together and we ended up with a perfect and fuzzy representation of our big mess distortion ballad.

Thoughts on the scuzzy art of making lo-fi performance videos?

We’re definitely fans of low-fi performance videos. For us, the secret to making a good low-fi video is to try really hard to make a video that’s both fancy and completely honest. The two barely exist in the same universe, and I imagine low-fi lives somewhere in between. That’s where we tend to land. Wait until we’re rockstars with huge music video budgets! I have no idea what that will be like, but there will be some spaceships and seizures.

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“So Long” is a real power ballad that is buried in blasts of effects and pure passion, what is the story behind this song?

Writing “So Long” was kind of a breakthrough moment for me as a songwriter. I mean, every song I write is that way, but “So Long” was one of my first steps down a very fuzzy and polarizing path. I put in way too many instruments, way too many fuzz effects, turned the beefy snare drum up way too loud. I cranked knobs until things sounded broken. Not in that ‘avant-garde artist pushing the boundaries of cool’ kinda way. It was more like packing a too-small suitcase full of stuffed animals because I’m about to go on a trip and I really need all my buddies to come along. I really did break the song. Our producer had an interesting time trying to mix it. I basically handed him a bunch of glitter and pipe cleaners and asked him to glue something together. But as a songwriter it was a really positive experience for me. It’s so easy to be careful when making art, to picture all the people you want to please. You get so stiff that you can barely write a single line without analyzing it. Then you realize that you’re just one person, alone in a room in the dark, alone in a big world of lonely people who are all going to die someday, and all anybody ever wants is some rare taste of life. So if you’re me, you write a broken song and turn up the noise one notch too high. Then you clap your hands and walk away before it’s done. Because it’s never really done.

(And then your producer picks up the pieces and makes it awesome.)

What else have you all been working on?

We have been working on some amazing stuff recently. Seriously amazing. I know everybody says that about the stuff they’re working on, and it’s always true, and it’s always amazing. But we’re about to release the best songs we’ve ever written, and we’re about to shoot the most insane music videos we’ve ever thought of. I’m so excited! Of course most people will just see flashing lights, alien masks, and low budget special effects. But the really cool people will get it. Their minds will be blown.

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Once we release the songs and music videos, we’re going on tours, getting weirder and weirder, buying a PS4, and doing the rock star thing.

Who else should we be listening to?

Recently I’ve been getting my musical inspiration from Norwegian scream-y hard rock band Kvelertak, cheesy fantasy power metal, Sega Genesis & N64 soundtracks, and whatever happens to be playing in Starbucks while I drink coffee. Miles has been listening to Rush, Santana, Behemoth, and the Buzz Cuts mix. Duffey is really the one who should be recommending bands. Somehow he knows every 90s band ever. Here’s a fun game: think of a random word that would be a funny name for a band, tell it to Duffey, and he’ll tell you about how that’s actually a real band and he’s seen them live and years later bumped into their bass player at the grocery store but was too scared to ask for his autograph. Duffey is a magnet for those situations. He redefines superfan.

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Spring and summer plans for Shotty?

Spring and summer is Shotty’s time to shine! We’ll be release our new EP soon, followed by music videos, shows around LA, and cute pictures of baby red pandas. Plus more songwriting and late night rehearsals. Sounds lovely to me.

Shotty’s upcoming EP will be available later this year from Cautionary Tail Records. Now watch Pat talk about his guitar pedals in the following informative video.

Snubluck

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This week also saw the release of the Altar EP from Denver, Colorado artist Snubluck (aka Corey English), for the San Francisco stationed label, Dirty//Clean. The five tracks finds Snubluck tapping into the alternative realms of electronic experimentation that has defined much of the Denver indie undergrounds for over a decade now, new twists on synth arrangements and interjecting sentiment into the synthesizers is what makes much of these ‘mile high’ based artists so unique to the EDM/IDM global spectrums.

Altar kicks off with the title track full of chirps tunes, tones, and notes, before you pay your penance at the foot of, “Shrine”. The character and moods of all involved sounds and items hit with super charged energy and life, as if every sound represented a creature or mutant of Snubluck’s own creation. The forever connection between highway music and electronica get test driven again on the track, “Neon Freeway” that plays around with various drum and bass tropes, will chopping up and messing withe mix so much that the listener has little idea what strange things might be popping up further down the winding, and twisting road. “Melt Together” finds every instrument involved in some kind of bonding ritual with it’s surrounding counterparts, where at times the very mix itself warps like white label wax left for too long in a crate sitting in the back of a car trunk in 105-plus degree weather. The closing finale is Andrea’s remix of “Altar”, that alters the sovereign integrity of the original to summon the metaphysics that might have been in the original track’s DNA encoding all along. As you are left in the soft ghostly tranquility of lost, but warm keys; enjoy our interview with Snubluck himself after the following listen.

Take us through your work playing in jazz and progressive groups to shifting your focus on hip-hop, rhythm based music?

I used to attend jazz performance school, thinking I wanted to play hard bop and latin jazz, but I was put off by the lack of creativity in the genre and by the lack of creativity my instrument was providing me (trumpet). I had some friends that were into old school jungle, dub step, and other bass music and while playing in a prog rock band with them, they taught me how to produce my own music.

What lead you to choose the name Snubluck for a moniker, and what’s the story behind the name?

Initially the name came to me out of nowhere, like a mantra in my head, a phrase that just stuck with me. Over the years I feel like it’s come to apply to a state of bad luck, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or simply being misunderstood. This to me was a very personal phrase applying to weird and bad things that happened to me while simultaneously using the music as an outlet for frustration.

Tell us about crafting Altar for Dirty//Clean, and what was the construction process like, and what sorts otherworldly inspirations lead to the formation of Altar?

Altar was a long project for me in that I wrote probably 15 tracks for it and had to narrow it down to 4. The tracks I selected were based on the use of a large array of analog sounds which at the time was a new world for me (having used soft synths up until then). To me this EP signifies losing something and then rediscovering something new, taking a part of yourself and destroying it to build it up again. Each song to me signifies an aspect of your life, the things that are important to you, the things that you worship.

Snubluck, at Reversible Eye, Chicago, Il.

Snubluck, at Reversible Eye, Chicago, Il.

How do you describe your own production methods?

I try to approach every song differently, but the production process involves a lot of layering of analog textures, constant development of percussion, and a strong melodic core.

Thoughts on Anderea’s remix of the title track, Altar?

I love Andrea’s remix! It’s so bizarre and lovely, such a fresh take on the track I initially produced. I like that it’s almost the ‘shadow’ version of the original.

What’s next for Corey English, and the world of Snubluck?

The next projects I’m working on are a slew of remixes, including a collection of bootlegs I did with Dawn Safari, a hip-hop mixtape, some more single releases, and trying to get my band Albny’s next release ready.

Shout outs to artists who you feel deserve more attention?

Big shout outs to all my Dirty//Clean family: Bedrockk, Dawn Safari, Lemon Future, Dailon, Gunkst, Mosis, and Glassy. These guys are producing some serious next level stuff (as you’ll see in the upcoming year). Also huge shout outs to Shoeboxx Records, the music they put out is incredible and certainly worth listening to.

Snubluck’s Altar EP is available now from Dirty//Clean..

Drew Dave

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Taking us back to the DMV (fresh off of the recent, official legalizing of grass in DC), we bring you you an interview and listen to instrumentalist Drew Dave’s SynthBASED from Mello Music Group. Drawing from a variety of styles that follows contemporary hip-hop production to jazz roots; Drew Dave arrives on the scene with a series of introspective instrumentals that features appearances from Cortez, and Kenn Starr to join you on the following journey.

SynthBASED gets the whole affair started with the keyboard strutting, “The Prelude”, featuring the Drew Dave theme song style that features vocal styles from Cortez on, “feat. Cortez”, before blending the vintage electric funk with modern sound-scapes that align together on, “Here We Go”. The envelope continues to get pushed on “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, turning the party delightfully wired and weird, turning the Shuggie Otis classic style into the head nodding, ballroom synthesis of “Red Flowers”. Tripping out the lover’s rock into something radical, “Kool-Aid (Sugar)” pours some sugar all over the situation, before moving the progressions forward on “Live From Da Blackout”. The variety of eclectic styles keep on turning as Drew constantly brings all things, “Full Circle”, continuing to mash past and present with future leaning ways on experiments like, “The Metropolitan”, slipping through city scene sounds for some Southern styles like, “Bullshittin'”, to the lunch break dash, “Lunchin’ Like a Mug”. Joined by Kenn Starr on “Techno Groove”, combines town and country thoughts that become formed in chilled verses, leading you to the piano lead quandary, “Quarter Life Crisis”, before closing out the whole show with the title bonus cut. Stay with us after the following listen for our interview with Drew Dave himself.

What prompted the moniker switch up from Soulful! to Drew Dave?

That switch was a long time coming. I’ve been known as Soulful! since high school. But it was my sophomore year in college back in 2008, when I felt the need to change it. I just didn’t know to what at the time. I just realized that it was too cliche. Like everything you hear or see is “soulful.” Everything and everybody had/has to have soul these days, it seems like. I felt like I no longer had to declare myself as that, because having soul is who I am as a person and I like to think that it just naturally reflects in my production. So around 2012, I just decided to go by Drew Dave, which is a derivative of my government name, Andrew Davidson. Kind of symbolic. I saw it as reinventing myself. And it just sounds normal to me. Like when I’m introduced to people or females, it’s just like “this is Drew”. Those close to me still call me Soul, though.

As an avowed devotee to the modern and vintage module practice, share us some tricks of the trade that went into the mix on the making of, SynthBASED, including all the Roland TRs, Akai MPCs, SP-12s, 808s, and other old school samplers and rhythm machines that went into the recipe.

What I mostly utilized for SynthBASED, was my Native Instruments Maschine. Chopped all the samples, did the drums and basslines in it. Then once the foundations for the beats were laid, between myself and my man Drew Kid who’s a dope keyboard player, we would lay additional melodies to fill in the gaps using his Korg SV and the MicroKorg keyboards. He did most of the melodies throughout the album though. I just did some slight stuff. Also, peace to my man Charlie Ross, he did live drums for one of the album tracks that’s out now, “FullCircle”.

Drew Dave, photographed by Antoine Lyers.

Drew Dave, photographed by Antoine Lyers.

The DMV has forever had it’s own thing happening, but it seems like you all got something really special out there. How do you find yourself influenced and inspired by local artists, and how do you describe the support system that you indie artists have out there?

I’m a man that is primarily influenced by his surroundings and the people around me. This area had a huge part in the making of this album, whether it was intentional or subconscious. I grew up in this area essentially my whole life, and the culture here is extremely unique and original. So there’s quite a few DC area references throughout the album, some blatant, some subtle. Whether it’s in the samples, drums/percussion, the skits I used, and even down to some of the tracklist titles. I’ve been a huge fan of the artists and collectives here for years. From a hip-hop aspect and as far as the foundation goes, obviously that includes Wale and Tabi Bonney, but also the whole Low Budget Crew, The 1978ers, Diamond District, Asheru, Kokayi, Gods’illa, etc. To the more recent artists like DTMD, Drew Kid, and the brother Goldlink, who’s recently emerged but has rapidly been gaining attention. Then we got go-go, and bands like Backyard, Rare Essence, NEG, UCB, CCB, New Impressionz, etc have always had a significant influence. So it’s a lot of homegrown stuff that I constantly and consistently turn to, to draw inspiration from.

How was it working with Cortez, and Kenn Starr on the album?

Working with Cortez and Kenn Starr was dope! Both artists from here that I have so much respect and admiration for. Cortez is such a unique emcee. He’s hands down one of my favorite artists from the city and we lowkey have a lot of stuff that we’ve collaborated on that we’re trying to turn into an EP and an album, as we speak. People definitely need to check out his album The Journey he released a few years back. And Kenn Starr is a legend! Haha no bullshit though. No matter what, I’m a fan first. And I used to, and still do, hold him and the rest of Low Budget on a pedestal. They’re definitely role models in this area when it comes to making dope hip-hop music. Ever since Starr Status and Kev Brown’s I Do What I Do, I’ve been a fan of Kenn. He’s an extremely potent emcee. Real laid back when he rhymes and in person. That collab was actually like 5 years in the making. But we finally made it happen and it came out dope. I was psyched.

Other projects/collabos you got cooking in the works?

I’m trying to finish up this EP entitled The Weight with my brother Cortez. Then I have an EP I’m currently in the process of mixing entitled, Sumthin’Slight. It’s pretty much a compilation of different artists, mostly from the DMV such as, Muggsy Malone, Uptown XO & yU from Diamond District, Doe Cigapom, and Rob Regal, as well as instrumentals. I also have an album entitled Underground which will hopefully be finished soon. So I’m trying to stay as productive as possible.

Drew Dave’s SynthBASED is available now from the Mello Music Group.

Jacques le Coque

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The self-titled album from Stamford, Connecticut band Jacques Le Coque was a sleeper hit garage treasure for all lucky enough to have heard it when it dropped. Making the jump to the Brooklyn indie imprint of rising DIY prominence, King Pizza Records, the quartet has just released their second album, Hooky that goes great with dropping out, flunking out, giving the bloated principal the bird, and embracing the joy and virtues of truancy in the name of total rock and roll. Delivering a baker’s dozen of some of the wildest ruckus not being made in the South or west coast; we bring you a listen to your spring break/solstice soiree of super fuzz sounds.

Jacques Le Coque’s Pete begins the occasion with the wailing waltz of “Don’t Wanna Fight”, with RJ’s guitar rising to prominent on the addictive attraction anthem, “Can’t Keep Away”, with Jason kicking up the tempo percussion-wise on the indulgent, “Pass It Around”, with everyone pitching in proper on the fuzzed out 50s doo-wop dance, “Ruler Of My Heart”. “Just Last Night” keeps the mood and style somewhat tight/somewhat sloppy and shambling through “Stay With Me”, “Dead & Gone”; with RJ’s guitar to Jason and Brendan rhythm section tearing it up as Pete keeps the energy manic with the razor wrenching guitars and vocals that veer wildly across the spectrum of octaves/tempos, and dimensions. Stoned pauses on “Wizard Staff” takes a nice slow toke from the proverbial Gandalf bong, hopping the the album along on the, “Got It Bad”, gallop, twangy times with the down home, “Home Heart Blues”, the side B sad and lonely, “My Own”, sending the action out on a very Burger Records-esque kind of note on, “I’m Gold”. To get to know the band better that sounds like the perfect world tour companions for Natural Child, we had a chance to catch up with frontman Pete Mazza to discusse the world of Stamford, the making of Hooky, to the story behind their French-esque moniker in our interview, featured after the jump.

Give us a taste on what the scene is like in Stamford, Connecticut.

More often than not it’s whatever we make it! We’ve hosted some stellar out of town bands like Crosss, Secret Lover, and The Eeries at either of our two mainstays, Seaside Tavern or The Fez. Stamford is flush with tacky bars and clubs with loud shitty music, so when we’re not busy playing shows and interrupting the status quo, more often than not, it’s an excuse to stay at home to write and record. We used to DJ for a local dive too, our stage name was 12 Dudes. It was only three of us. Make of that what you will.

From your self-titled to Hooky; describe for us how Jacque Le Coque has developed in this three year span.

We had four people and then we had two people but then we had three people and now we have four people again. I learned how to grow a mustache. Jason hit a cantaloupe with a bow and arrow. RJ is developing the board game of the future called Dilk. Also, a wild Francis Carr appeared! We got a new-er van too after the last one was totaled by a mini cooper. We’re like a regular PhotoHut with all these developments I tell ya.

What sort of anecdotes inspired the name?

The name of the album or the name of the band? Why don’t I just give you both!

Hooky has seemingly been the only constant in my life, so it just seemed natural. Intentionally or not, my absenteeism has served me some of the finest moments of my life, including the culmination and fruition of this band. Take it from me kids, screw off on what anyone else tells you to do. Ferris Bueller and Riff Randall for life.

We debated band names for a while when we started out. One day our friend Sergio, of the renowned fake skateboard company Fabo Les, told us if he were a stripper his name would be Jacques Le Coque. We thought that was hysterical and still do. I’m glad we chose that and not The Rolling Sno-Cones, ha ha.

Tell us about the recording process of Hooky.

We had been rehearsing and playing most of the album for the earlier part of 2013. Then, in early July – by way of Jason’s never-ending gear hunt – we acquired a Tascam 388. We had also built up a pretty decent collection of recording gear and a few “swiss army knife” mics. After we returned from the tour, we all hunkered down at the house as often as possible, working usually from early afternoon well into the night. We recorded everything live putting amps in bedrooms, the kitchen, cutting vocals in the bathroom. We had wires running throughout the house at all times. The experience was rewarding, not just for realizing the final product itself, but the focus it took to get there.

We have always tried to “DIY” everything possible (including our T-shirts available on Bandcamp) and home-recording meant having the time to craft a great album without the constraint of paying for studio time and also ensuring that the production gave the songs the treatment they deserved. On “Ruler of My Heart”, for example, we recorded three takes, all of them very different from one another. The first take came out too clean-sounding; as result, for the second take, Jason recorded us with the levels blown-out at the board, to create a dirty sound. That sounded too dirty, so we recorded a third version which was right in-between the first two, soundwise. We initially thought the third take would be the keeper, but the more we listened back, we realized that the second (blown-out) version had something special to it – and it does. Had we been on someone else’s time, we wouldn’t even have been able to record three very different versions, let alone give the decision of choosing the right one some real time and thought.

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Other Connecticut artists that you all really love and think deserve more attention?

There are some creeps in Stamford who live in a cemetery or a deli, no one really knows, and every October they shed their human suits to become the food centric Italo-Halloween band of your nightmares, The Gabba Ghouls. Actually, we’re those creeps and it’s a total blast to be able to get together every fall and work on our worst Italian accents. Not to be too back patty or whatever, but most of the music we really love in CT we’ve been lucky enough to be a part of. Dan Soto & The High Doses have an album coming out this year that I can’t wait for. Moth Eggs is another brilliant musical excursion from our bassist Francis Carr and it’s been incredibly fun and rewarding taking part in that band.

Two CT bands who I’ve been hooked on for quite a while are Medication and Estrogen Highs, who I’ve probably seen live more than any other band in the past 5 years come to think of it. Also, I’m not sure if he is still CT based, but if you ever get the chance to see the noise pop oddity that is Phemale, don’t miss it!

Plans post-release of Hooky?

We have a 7″ coming out through Windian Records very soon! I’m certain we’ll be touring as much as our wallets and jobs can afford us to, so keep an eye out for dates, skip school, ditch work, and come play hooky with us!

Jacques le Coque’s Hooky is available now from King Pizza Records.

Miniboone

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NYC’s Miniboone premiere “Basic Song” from their upcoming album Bad Sports, available April 21 from Ernest Jenning Record Co., featuring an exclusive roundtable interview with the band talking to superfan Carl Creighton from Howth. Working with producer Travis Harrison on their new record, the crew of Craig Barnes, Joe Reichel, Doug Schrashun, and Drew St. Aubin untangle out their synergistic symphonies from their hair for a clever blend of upbeat witticisms to warm away the winter, and brighten the overcast skies. Combining the smart nerdcore observations of the world with lessons learned from the game of life—Miniboone allow the audience to realize their own triumphant song that lies hidden from within.

On the debut of “Basic Song”, Miniboone focus the audio lens on the ballads that everyone has from within them. From the very get-go, the four piece starts their surreal story song from the very beginning and dawn of everything. “You were born in a world without mystery, every angle caught on tape, and every sound a man can make is now history.” An abstract reading of alpha and omega histories are brought with quick rhymes that play about on a stage in Miniboone’s own self-styled song-theater of the absurd; where descriptions, allegories, and parables fly by quicker than can ever be caught on the first few listens. Personal trajectories of episodes and incidents mold together in a melting pot of post-modern palm reading of lives redrawn where the end and the beginning all goes back to the inherent song that exists within everyone—where the listener is included in the song’s colorful cast of characters and strange situations/predicaments. Stick around after the premiere of “Basic Song”, as Carl Creighton entertains us with an interview with Miniboone you can only find here.

The new album sounds cool. Why’s it called Bad Sports?

Drew: If I remember right, we had some good joke names flying around. At some point someone suggested “Bad”, which Michael Jackson obviously already used, but seemed in line with a lot of this record’s lyrical material. Sports — another iconic album title from the 80s — was also suggested. Putting the two together made sense in so many ways that we all breathed a big sigh of relief. Deciding on album names and artwork can be uphill marathons for us.

Doug: A lot of the album deals with the topic of failure, so in addition to being a pretty awesome Huey Lewis joke, the title fits the mood of the songs pretty well. It’s a bad version of Sports created by bad sports. Thank you for saying it sounds cool, Carl.

You guys are going on tour for a week in April and three weeks in May. Tell us about that!

Drew: We get to do some shows in April with Bunny’s a Swine, who are our perennial favorite northeast touring buddies. We love them, and I think they love us back. This tour is gonna be a nacho train with biscuit wheels and also some gravy. You should really listen to Bunny’s a Swine.

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Doug: If history is any indication the shows with Bunny’s a Swine in April will likely be a sort of wonderful lost weekend in springtime New England. At this point we’re still trying to get all the dates lined up for the other shows in May, which is stressful, but it’ll be fun once we’re all in the van and doing it. Additionally, that van will be your van, Carl. Thanks for loaning us your van, Carl.

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Howth played Muchmores a while ago with Miniboone and we both have shows with our spacemates Robot Princess in March (us on March 5 at Rough Trade and you at Cake Shop on March 20). It’s cool to have this sense of community despite all the crap going on all the time. Do you think that’s helping us out creatively?

Doug: Good question, Carl. I’m not sure. A community of musicians can definitely raise the bar creatively by creating a sense of competition, or by creating a sort of incubator where ideas can exist and develop in their own little world and become these weird, unique sounds, but I’m not sure that’s happening with our friends, at least maybe not yet. What something like that show at Muchmores, or the fact that we share a practice space with like-minded folks (shout out to Radical Dads, Geena Davis, and all other space mates past and present) gives us, I think, is more of an emotional support system. When you go and put yourself out there on stage, or wade through the muck of self promotion, it helps to know that there are other good people going through the same bullshit required of being a poor, under appreciated band in this expensive, ridiculous city, who will have your back if need be.

Drew: The community thing is never something to take for granted. I personally get the most inspired and excited for bands we are friends with. When you get to see a friend perform, you get to see a part of them that doesn’t necessarily exist on the outside all the time. It can be easy to fall prey to the “promotion” companies that just have slots to fill on bills, so when we get to play with bands like Robot Princess and Howth (or Clouder, the Meaning of Life, Gunfight, Mount Sharp, I’m Turning Into, etc, etc) it’s special, cohesive, and just more fun. We are lucky to be a part of this little corner of indie music in NY.

Who made the paper-mache heads in the “I Could, I Could” video? Any other videos coming up?

Doug: Along with our intrepid partner in motion picture magic, Pat Breen, we made those heads ourselves. It was like 10 hours in my apartment with a lot of newspaper, and cardboard, and plaster. No major label money, man: DIY paper mache heads, true punk rock, for real. We have plans in the works for more videos for sure. We were going to shoot something for one earlier this week, but it was really cold and Craig and I have specific wardrobes that are not particularly warm, so we’re holding out for some slightly more appropriate weather.

Doug shows real flow in the NBA All-Stars 2014 Jams. When’s his ill gonna spill into Miniboone?

Doug: As the great poet, the guy from the Offspring, once said in that song they play during hockey fights: “you’ve got to keep them separated.” In any case, I’m only any good at rapping about basketball, so it wouldn’t really work out.

Also just wanna know, what’s the songwriting process like in Miniboone?

Doug: Different for every record, and every incarnation of the band, but for this record it was basically a) jam, b) elaborate and record jam, c) write lyrics and vocals for jam, hone recording, d) work up full band arrangement. That makes it sound more tidy than it usually is though. “Basic Song”, for instance, was in that third stage for months, going back and forth between computers with different sets of lyrics, before it emerged as a finished song.

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And…”Basic Song” is far from basic. It somehow combines the sunny harmonies of the Beach Boys with the neurotic shifts of Weezer or Elvis Costello. How did “Basic Song” come into being?

Doug: “Basic Song” was a tough one to finish. Craig had a lyrical idea that was about the last note of music heard before the universe ends, or music as this eternal concept, something really out there, and I had something about a kid who thought he was too cool for school and retreated into records from the 60s, which was difficult to express in a song. We somehow combined them and ended up with something that’s sort of about both of those things and neither. Musically, I think you nailed it, Carl. Before we tracked drums an early demo had a loop of the beat from “This Year’s Girl” under it.

Who designed the album cover?

Doug: A guy named Akira Horikawa who used to work with Craig at Takashi Murakami’s studio in Long Island City. He’s awesome. The record’s gonna come with big fold out with more of his art, too.

Miniboone’s upcoming album Bad Sports will be available April 21 from Ernest Jenning Record Co. Catch them March 20 at Cake Shop with Robot Princess, Flying Pace, and Duckspeak.

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Also catch Carl Creighton’s band Howth playing March 5 at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade with Robot Princess, A Deer A Horse, and Pinegrove.

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Vaadat Charigim

Vaadat Charigim, photographed by Goni Riskin.

Vaadat Charigim, photographed by Goni Riskin.

Tel Aviv’s Vaadat Charigim has been rocking our little worlds ever since we heard their master work, The World is Well Lost, and now we bring you a listen to “Ein Li Makom” off their forthcoming second album, Sinking As A Stone, available May 5 from Burger Records / Anova Records. Prepare thyself as those familiar cataclysms of guitars, vocals, vibes, atmospheres surround like old fables and myths sprung from the Pentateuch, where miracles, mitzvahs, and transformations of the spirit and mind can be perceived from the cadence of sound alone.

And though the kind of mind catching unconscious awakening dream senses of Vaadat’s music has been documented by Impose and elsewhere over recent years, our recent interview with Juval Harring revealed the candid struggles, and uphill battles endured by himself, co-patriots and ex-pats. With the world’s political theater increasingly in instability (and becoming more and more unsustainable for that matter), Vaadat Charigim experiencing the recent Israel-Gaza war that occurred during the making of Sinking As A Stone, economic squeezes, and so forth — Juval described a very personal, and intimate view to the underlying unsettled and unnerving discontent behind the group’s sound, and more in our following exclusive interview.

In the time between the recording of your new album, Sinking as a Stone, and the previous epic, The World is Well Lost; describe what the world of Vaadat Charigim has been like, and what whirlwinds of activity have been taking place with you all?

Well lets see. There was another needless war. Our government is pushing the extreme on total absurd. The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Israel 2015. Got some pretty depressing elections coming up in March. I am working like 14 hours a day as a publicist and am barely making ends meet after taxes. We recorded a new album on very basic home gear for a few months comprised of songs that actually pre-date the ones on The World is Well Lost (were written in Berlin, some as far back as 2010). Somehow magically we once again recorded with war in the background. And for some reason this record was so emotional for me, so exhausting to exorcise from myself, that I am now in a sort of plateau of depression. But on the bright side, we are playing in the studio and it sounds great, and at the end of the day I have love in my life.

Tell us about recording the new album at Derech Yafo 44 in Tel Aviv.

Drums were recorded using four mics – kick, snare, overhead and a rotating hi hat / ride mic. Everything was separately recorded. I like this way of working because then everything is slightly off in a weird way, like in old 4 track recordings. Guitars ran simultaneously through a Twin reverb 65 reissue and a Rolland Jazz Chorus. Bass through some nameless rig. Everything through a simple four track soundcard and very basic, totally non impressive mics, in totally unimpressive acoustic spaces. Derech Yafo 44 is drummer Yuval Guttmans home as well so we had to record around a very angry neighbor that kept banging on the wall and at times even played VERY loud house music to try and ruin our recordings. Maybe there’s like, faint house music in the album now, I don’t know.

The latest report from the indie scenes of Tel Aviv lately?

Well, less and less interesting original rock bands and more and more neo-pop, avant-pop, electro, EDM, Balkan, and nostalgic reunions of has-been dinosaur names. Some cool experimental stuff too. Check out Haxxan, Lovegrenade, Garden City Movement, Cain and Abel 90210, Mujahideen.

Tell us about the recipe to making such emotionally, and personally charged dream pop that has defined the Vaadat sound that we adore.

I dont think we make dream pop dude. I know its in the press release and all, but seriously, if you saw us live, there is nothing dreamy about it. Each one of us is a very pasimistic, disturbed individual.

I wish I could make dream pop, seriously. I’d like nothing more than to sleep my life away. But unfortunately I wake up at night with too many thoughts. Emotional music is all about the nuances in the sound of a band. The way old MBV songs vibrate when the drum rolls get fast. The way Greg Sage’s voice vibrates with pain when he sings about being an alien. The guitar feedbacking in the middle of a Sonic Youth solo as if running out of breath. Music that is human is like a lung. It fills up and empties and fills up again. You have to remember to breath all the time. You have to forget yourself when you are playing and concentrate on breathing, in every sense of the word.

What else are you all listening to right now?

Japanese music mostly for repetition, meditation and erasing my ego. Mission of Burma and Husker Du to feel young.

Next big moves for Vaadat Charigim?

Haha, “big”. I like that. Well, US tour in May, Austin Psych Fest, string of shows up the west coast, a NYC gig too. Then probably returning in the fall. We are a band from nowhere, on a great, but ultimately DIY label. I’ve been touring and doing this for almost 10 years now. If I was into making big moves I’d probably already do them. I guess I enjoy working slowly, taking the time to make music the way I feel it should sound, and tour the way it fits me , and not according to some release schedule, work with labels I think are cool and similar to my state of mind. As long as i’m surrounded by friends and everything is more or less chill, I’m happy. I know that sounds really cheesy but seriously, that’s all I want for this band.

Well you all rule, wishing you all many mitzvahs, and keep making great music.

My Bar Mitzvah was 20 years ago. Its been all down hill from there, man.

Vaadat Charigim’s Sinking As A Stone will be available May 5 from Burger Records / Anova Records.

Cuushe

Cuushe, photographed by Repeat Pattern.

Cuushe, photographed by Repeat Pattern.

By now you might have heard about Cuushe’s upcoming Night Lines EP, available April 7 as a joint release between Cascine and flau, and we bring you the fluttering vocal thread textures that wrap around like synthesizer ropes on, “Tie”. Cuushe sings the refrain of “everyday” that describes natural rituals and solstice rites that are an intrinsic part of biological habitats and both the existences of earthy and ethereal lifeforms of all conceivable variety. From overseas telegrams and late night translations, Cuushe shared with us an exclusive and unique view into the sorts of musical inclinations tied together, “Tie”, and some thoughts on the experience of making, Night Lines:

When I sing about “Tie”, it translates to connection within relationships. When I’m standing in Tokyo, I feel abundance, affluence and many relationships with people but at same time melancholy and loneliness. Growing up in Kyoto, I was near nature. There is nothing, but I felt realistic. The Night Lines EP symbolizes city life, green-line, urban mobility etc. Yoko Kuno’s illustration of the EP cover looks like a secretive meeting, an escape from the city while also functioning as a funeral. On “Tie” and the EP, the vocals are brighter and more emotional than my last album, Butterfly Case. My current inclination for my music is uptempo and beat oriented.

Oak House

Oak House, from left; Slade Adams (guitar, violin, synth), Gresham Cash (guitar, vocals), Connor Sabula (bass), Wes Gregory (drums).

Oak House, from left; Slade Adams (guitar, violin, synth), Gresham Cash (guitar, vocals), Connor Sabula (bass), Wes Gregory (drums).

Playing a string of dates in New York City the week of March 7, meet Oak House so specialize in their own Athens, Georgia style of psych baroque. Their recent release, Plastique Cash presents a melding of strings, song suites, and more that runs through the opener “River Bridegroom” to the haunting epic closer, “Vexilla Regis”. Catch them playing Rockwood Music Hall March 7, Niagara March 11, a TBA show in Montclair, NJ March 12, March 13 at Brooklyn’s The Living Room, and at The Candy Barrel March 14 in New Brunswick, NJ. Frontman Gresham Cash offered us the following words on the making of Plastique Cash, and upcoming east coast tour:

We went into the making of our first album a month or so after the formation of Oak House. Our first show together was under a different name and had an equally different arrangement of band members. However, there was a core group of songs and members that continued to develop. “New Wake”, “Riverfield Bridegroom”, and “Spade for You” were some of the earliest tracks that we knew we liked, but songs like “Little Queen” and “Further” were ideas from Gresham that materialized quickly in the final days of recording.

With a year together, the band is taking Plastique Cash to NYC. Thanks to enormous support and help booking from Jersey band Perennial Reel, Oak House has five (or more) shows booked in the NYC area for the week of 3/7 to 3/14. Although Athens and Atlanta have a thriving music scene, the band is excited to play in arguably the greatest music scene in the world. New York, and cities like it, can make or break baby bands. At the very least, we hope to play to human beings in a great city on our mini tour, but if our shows don’t yield people, then the dark, dreary doom of New York’s night will quiver with our sound waves.


Yuzima

yuzima week in pop 1

Over the past six-plus years, NYC artist Yuzima has been putting out a handful of releases via Bandcamp, from 2009’s The Cosmonaut, to last fall’s Bash {Insta​-​Album}. Specializing in showcasing a wide stylstic range in his home brews, Y’s audio experiments in adventurism trip from droning streams of the psychotropic variety, to the more ascerbic, and electrically charged angles of post-industrial revolutions. With an upbringing based out the Bronx’s Gun Hill Projects; Yuzima overrides the advesity and stress by honing a rich multi-directional approach to music arts of the transitional, and post-structural that push the conversation to the next level. An artist that attacks from all the available faculties from the former modern idea of genres; Yuz keeps the ear, eye and mind alert through unorthodox arrangements where idiosyncratic approaches extend past your standard ‘eclectic’ fare.

An artist known to entertain everything from the classical, occaisional folk-y acoustic sessions, and more, goes on the “I’m fighting for you” offense in the video debut for “Bash”. Giving the viewers a stark, b/w, cold, grey look at New York in the dead of winter, where Yuzima dances with defiant glee in the face of skyscrapers, and oppressive institutions, in a timely video that portrays the fist clenched struggled in the continued peoples struggle against the nefarious and institutionalized systems.

Take us on your own personal creative trip that counts The Cosmonaut through to your recent release, BASH {Insta​-​Album}.

Music is a learning experience. I’ve picked up instruments, new chords, different sounds – just always pushing the boundaries. The Cosmonaut was more indie-pop, glam, psych. While, through the recordings up till now, I’ve gone in a harder direction toward noise and industrial. it’s been a natural progression for me.

What for your guided the construct mashing single, “Bash”?

It came to me as a follow up to an single of mine that did really well “Anarchy”. I wanted to build on the power chorus experiment of that song, where it’s shouty and propulsive. “Bash” came out of the air. I was wary at first, thinking that people would get the wrong impression like I was promoting homophobia or something. In fact it’s the opposite. I think punk or post-punk can still make a powerful statement on society.

Tell us the story behind your moniker, Yuzima.

My mom picked it up while traveling through out Africa before I was born. It means whole.

How do you set about making these lo-fi vignettes? Shine a bit of light on your process if you could.

I work with creative director Jim Fairfax who helps scout locations and films the footage. He has a revolutionary point of view and visual vision – you can’t pay for that. Then I do the effects and editing.

Thoughts on the post-gender/post-cultural state of everything in 2015?

It’s moving at tremendous speed and we’re at the forefront. We’re the real power generation to quote Prince. But we as artist’s have to do more to break down the wall — we have to really own it.

What’s the latest and greatest from NYC?

People sleep on NYC. There’s a major scene; it’s just focused around the internet.

What’s next for Yuzima?

I’m right now — at this moment — recording my next insta album “Behemoth”. It’s an escalation of BASH. I feel like I’m telling a story that hasn’t been told — just doing it in parts.

Listen to more from Yuzima via Bandcamp.

Red Vienna

red vienna week in pop 2

From Red Vienna’s forthcoming The Book of Hours available March 31 from Locust Hail; get one of the first listens to their new single, “Forty Eight Graves” that manifests utter exhaustion with six feet under analogies cemetery-centered sentiments. The guitar schools of pop ring out like your favorite underground (and under-appreciated) rock gods and goddesses of the 80s and 90s in an angst drenched fashion.

“Forty Eight Graves” brings the heart on the sleeve new-romantic radicalization with the Vancouver group’s penchant for the dramatic, and destitute. The “open up a box and lay me in, cross my arms and free my sins” attitude showcases Red Vienna railing against the pressures brought by the world with the give-up styles the entertains the funereal procedures with the burning anguished power chords that push for something else out of the cruel world. And though the self-brutal flagellations are grueling, the anguish finds itself almost extinguished by the ever present mix of hooks that package the assemblage strings in an manner that points toward perhaps an unsung hope. The duo of Robbie Zgaljic and Jahmeel Russell gave us some exclusive insight on the melodic pop dissonance of “Forty-Eight Graves”, the inspirations behind the track, and how it fits into their forthcoming, Book of Hours:

Jahmeel

“Forty Eight Graves” mainly deals with mortality and that’s a theme that runs through a lot of the songs on The Book of Hours. When we came up with the music I remember thinking it was pretty poppy both in contrast to the subject matter and compared to some of the other songs we had written at that point… it reminded me of Dinosaur Jr. – I love that and I think it still somehow fits perfectly with the other tracks on the record.

Rob

I felt that “Forty Eight Graves” was necessary for the album as to me musically the uptempo pop balances out the records darker, moodier songs. Lyrically there is a similar theme through out each song but musically it has a Swervedriver feel to me which was exciting at the time of us writing it. Overall, we feel it works well within the album and we’re excited for people to hear it.

Sahara Beck

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We caught word that Australian artist Sahara Beck is making her U.S. debut, and we give you a listen to her single, “Brother Sister” off her Bloom EP, courtesy of Sugar Rush Music. The folk ways from down-under traverse around the world to provide fables of time and relations that everyone responds to in their own unique way, according to one’s own personal registry of lived experiences. Sahara shared the following words on her own creative process behind the making of Bloom, and the inspirations that informed “Brother Sister”

After I finished school, I realized I suddenly had so much to write about. The year I was out of school opened my eyes a lot to the way I used to see things, and I learned a lot about myself and the way that everything actually is. The songs I wrote about during this experience were put onto my EP. I thought, what better title than Bloom for this body of work, as these songs described the process of everything it took for me to bloom into the person I am now.

​”​Brother Sister​”​ was written about a few people I know that spend their whole lives sitting at home alone not doing anything productive​.​​ T​hey felt like everything interesting, everything worth doing​,​had already been done​. ​​M​usically​ and ​artistically​,​ they thought there was nothing more they could add to the world because every role had been taken. This is the opposite way to how I think​. For “Brother Sister,”​I was trying to think about​ that mentality of not feeling like you are worth the time​ or ​not having any hope that you can make a change in anyway. The message of, ‘we’ve got time, let’s go waste it on the other side’ refers to a realization I had which means; all we have is time​,​but what we chose to do with that time is completely up to us. Without time​,​ we would be nothing​.​ W​e owe it to time to contribute by doing the best ​we can with the time​ we have been given. After ​I finished the lyrics​,​ I went over to my drummer’s house and we spent the day walking around his house hitting things with drum sticks​, ​trying to find which objects would make the most interesting and most appropriate sounds for this song​.​ I can’t remember which exact objects we ended up using​,​but I remember we used a pot​,​ coffee jug​,​some cutlery and a few other things​!


Check out the live and straight to tape video from Mystery Jets bassist Pete Cochrane’s new project, Alpha Celeste, for “Strange Light”. The acoustic-ish version presents an intimate view of the new project that provides a blend of steady and sure percussion, constant key waves, and Pete’s own delivery that dwells and invites all things strange, interesting, intriguing, with an omniscient allure toward the one that got away. Catching up over long distance cables, Pete lent the following words on the new project and more:

Graham, Miles and I formed Alpha Celeste whilst touring the States together as members of different bands on the same bill. I was playing bass in Mystery Jets and Graham and Miles were Mike Kiwanuka’s rhythm section. We discovered a mutual love for 70s soul, west coast and soft rock records and decided we would hit the studio as soon as we got home. “Strange Light” kind of marks a development in the project where we’ve incorporated more varied influences in the writing and the production. It sounds more psychedelic as we pushed ourselves to combine less conventional sounds in the studio. The song describes someone who feels alienated and directionless but he finds a purpose by indulging in thoughts of a girl who he once encountered.


Cult Club

cult club week in pop 1

Introduce yourself to Berlin’s Cult Club, who gave us the single “All The People”, a taste of things to come from their summer slated EP for Manimal. The duo of Sally Jørgensen & Laslo Antal bring a gothy brand of electro bathed sensations for the people, for all people, creating a common ground for those that prefer the solitary company of their headphone sets, to the folks that prefer to hear everything amplified by venue backed power. Sally was cool and kind enough to share some exclusive words on on making music for the people, via the “All The People” single, and a few thoughts on their upcoming summer EP:

We wanted to create musically was a pop sound that combined sounds not so commonly used in pop music today. We brought together vocal harmonies and the fretless bass over a backdrop of catchy synth music to create both a spacious and yet hard and driving sound. Our next single will be out by March 2015, and then expected in summer will be our LP.

Assuage your aggression with the animated video by Devin Ensz for Rough Francis’s “MSP2”, courtesy of Riot House Records. For those up against a machine too strong, this an anthem for holding on to your autonomy, while keeping your soul from life’s auction house chop-blocks.

Two Sheds, made of California pop’s cool couple Caitlin & Johnny brought us the organic to digital synthesis of “You Get To Me”, that reaches to the inner core of appeals and connections, taken off their forthcoming, Assembling, album available May 26 on Crossbill Records. Caitlin (also of Zach Rogue’s project, Release the Sunbird) voice describes her ability to read a coded language of human identity and the particulars that involve the ability to understand the intricacies of another person, through a desert drift of sweeping cinematic minimalism coupled with the ever presence of mechanical metronome rhythms.

Having just played Music Hall of Williamsburg with Yung Lean; our hero Cities Aviv, aka Gavin Mays, follows up one of our favorite albums, Come To Life, with a luminous new single. With Gavin’s voice front, center, and presented in an even clearer form; no one can stay neutral upon the first striking impact of “Neutralizer”, that then dips the listener down into the cascading waterfall of electro synths on, “Graced and Blessed”. Surely this is a sign of great things soon to arrive from Cities Aviv, perhaps sooner than we know.

Let the piano lead you down to the elecronic grooved pastures on the single, “Sisters”, taken off Portable Sunsets’ forthcoming album, Bless, available March 17 from Atomnation.

With visuals made up from Nick Fox-Gieg’s “The Foxhole Manifesto”; experience the future beat track of certain and uncertain endeavors, on Woof’s “Certainty”.

Hear the densely packed and economic poetic strummer, “Cops Don’t Care Pt. II”, that showcases Fred Thomas’ trademark song style that brings a personal blend of non-sequitors with existential ideas that trail off to matters of police interests and aggression, closing with the catchy momentary refrain, “they don’t give a fuck, they don’t a give a fuck about us.” Find this and other short song stories on Thomas’ forthcoming All Are Saved available April 7 from Polyvinyl Records.

Introducing the cassette, Cheerleader, from Glasgow’s Youngstrr Joey, available now from Number4Door. Welcome to the noisy, scuzzy world of wonder commanded by Cal Donnelly, that provides some pure chaotic (yet controlled) catharsis on the bloodletting opener, “Michael”, the sporty alt essence of varsity blues, “Chearleaders”, the sludge-fest surrender, “I Give Up”, leaving you to wallow in the teenage wasteland closer, “Cough”. Having just played their release gig at Glasgow’s 13th Note with FROTH, King Wine, Passion Pusher and Mary Column; Youngstrr Joey and the music of Cal Donnelly is something to keep a close ear on.

From Hayden’s forthcoming album, Hey Love, available March 24 from Arts & Crafts; get that summer of love spirit coursing freely throughout your entire being on the video for “Nowhere We Cannot Go”.

Hear Wolf Solent’s “Hold On” off the upcoming 7 track EP, the second chapter in a trilogy, available March 23 from Sea Records. Here you can hold tight to some down home lo-fi, weird fi melodies, homespun percussion, a little tape recorder know, and a little bit of everything and the kitchen sink included in the pudding.

Get ready, because Detroit’s own Clear Soul Forces are returning with their upcoming album, Fab 5ive, available April 28 from Fat Beat Records. It’s your boys, Ilajide, E-Fav, Noveliss & L.A.Z. who are working with up and coming producer, Nameless, dropping the Richard Taylor video for “BPSWR” (an acronym for BackPackerSubWooferRap), that shares some freestyle exposition in the middle of the video while presenting a collection of verse from the D’s own rhyme-smiths of hope and aspirations.

Tour with with Nots May 14 through June 13, catch a listen to Quintron and Miss Pussycat’s “Death In Space” electric organ galactic attack off, Spellcaster II: Death In Space, available now from Pizza Burglar Records.

This week saw the release of Young Empires’ single, “So Cruel”, from Votiv Records, providing the newest from the Toronto group since 2013’s Wake All My Youth EP. Think the classic “Don’t Be Cruel” ethos established by rock and roll’s matriarchs and patriarchs, transformed into a passionate track for today’s electro inundated audiences.

Marriages upcoming album, Salome will be available April 7 from Sargent House; experience the sonic, skronk rocket reducer of “Less Than” from the LA trio here.

From the upcoming Turn To Crime album, Actions available April 28 from Mugg & Bopp; hear the single that claims the crown and throne of supreme laziness, “Prince of Slackers”.

Ryley Walker sent us some sweet, strumming sounds of satisfaction, electric action and hazy/lazy days bottled up into sound on, “Sweet Satisfaction”, from the upcoming album, Primrose Green, available March 31 from Dead Oceans.

With Golem available March 17 from In The Red, Wand presents the single galactic grim reaper haunted hunt of, “Reaper Invert”. Scuffing up sneakers, and grinding out the scuzz; Wand gives us what we imagine a galactic showdown with the grim reaper might sound like if battled on a distant planet.

With Potatohead People (Canada, Vancouver/Montreal duo of producers Nick Wisdom & AstroLogical) readying Big Luxury for March 3 release from Bastard Jazz, you are cordially invited to sample the smooth chill charms of, “Blue Charms”, laid back slap on, “Explosives” feat. Illa J & Moka Only, lover’s bounce on, “Luv Ya” feat. Amalia, to the twinkling hot stepping sanctuary, “Broke The Pen” feat. Mosaic. Rhythms and slick vibe textures populate throughout the entire album with new schools that sound like old grooves.

From their Trust EP, hear Ski Lodge’s “Our Love is Over Now” that provides the best antidote for the winter break-up blues, where the Brooklyn band provides a bit of old fashioned commiserations and piano lead accompaniment & company.

Playing Woodsist Festival in Big Sur May 18; hear Simon Joyner’s “Nostalgia Blues” full of heart-strummed folk essences off the upcoming Woodsist album, Grass, Branch & Bone available March 31.

Meet Mirror Kisses, aka George Clanton, who you might already know as the vaporwave artist, ESPRIT 空想, who just released the single, “Kill You In Bed”, b/w “Little Heart Surrender” for Cascine’s singles imprint, CSCN. Clanton delivers big on hook heavy vocals that follow the parallel paths on the sustains that entertain the pop chemistry at work in his hard hitting synth systems. From here the keys glisten on the emotionally empowered, “Kill You In Bed”, that carries you over to the sweet surrender and disarming, “Little Heart Surrender”. The treasured and shared moments between intimate others and the self stand paramount as treasured experiences expressed through all the new tricks and channels that today’s technology and future inclinations can afford.

For those in need of big production and an opened floodgate of emotive energy; then consider a listen to the UK’s own Pim Stones’ title track off the upcoming We Have It All EP available April 20 from Put Me On It.

From director Dan Huiting, watch a performance of Aero Flynn’s “Crisp” live that features the whole band of Josh Scott, Mike Noyce, Adam Hurlburt, Ben Lester, Jake and Jeremy Hanson; playing some emotionally engunlfed attitudes under the blue lights. Find this off their upcoming self-titled album debut available March 10 from Ooh La La Records.

With Grounders’ self-titled available May 12 from Nevado, lose yourself in the Toronto quartet’s clandestine friendship anthem that sails like a sunny day in May on, “Secret Friend”.

Hear Lindstrøm & Grace Hall’s track, “Home Tonight,” available April 6, Feedelity Records, with the dazzling display of sun simmer synths brightening the aura around Grace’s vocals.

Hear the progressive techno loops, boops, and beat-down beats that comprise, “Mobility Effort”; taken from Nick Klein’s upcoming 12″, Failed Devotee for Unknown Precept, available March 4.

Watch the Daniel Swan video of metropolis-mazes for the single, “First Light”, from Django Django’s new album, Born Under Saturn, available May 5 from Ribbon Music.

Take an evening synth-soundtracked ride shotgun with Night Drive’s “Easy To Lie” video, directed by Christian Haberkern, available from Sound Control Records.

For those in need of some bodacious clubby-ish bangers for your weekend, consider the saccharine evening outing hedonism new-disco of Clementine & The Galaxy’s “Midnight Machine”, from Feel Up Records — the new imprint from Jillionaire of Major Lazer.

Then for further after-party tempo beats, might we recomend, “Fresia,” off Sofia Kourtesis’s upcoming This Is It EP available February 28.

Check out the chic electro atmospheres on the single, “Dusk In Parts”, from Mike Simonetti’s new project Pale Blue, featuring vocals from Jana Hunter of Lower Dens. Available April 14 from 2MR (an imprint collaboration between Simonetti, formerly of the imprint Italians Do It Better, and Captured Tracks boss, Mike Sniper), prepare yourself for the sound and sensations of a dream indie discotheque that resonates coast to coast, and the world over.

Atelier Ciseaux’s Week in Pop

Atelier Ciseaux label boss, Rémi Laffitte & his dog, co-curating Impose's Week in Pop.

Atelier Ciseaux label boss, Rémi Laffitte & his dog, co-curating Impose’s Week in Pop.

After a series of long distance cables, e-mails, and late night/early morning roundtable discussions; Lyon, France’s exquisite indie imprint operator Rémi Laffitte who runs Atelier Ciseaux presents a co-curation titled, “Band I Want to sign to Atelier Ciseaux” — in no particular order:

Michael Rault

michael rault week in pop 1

From the Toronto based gang (Slim Twig/ U.S. Girls), Michael Rault, Edmonton native, is going to release his debut album, Living Daylight, in May on Burger Records. And wow, it will probably be one of the records who’ll stay for a long time on my vinyl-player.
Michael R. is a great songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has this power to change melodies in acid-fuzz-pop-vintage-songs that glow in the dark (like his jacket in this video!).

Michael Rault, “Still Not Sad”

Don’t miss this — smilin — mustache because you’ll see it, super soon, in a venue near your home. Michael, we wish you a big “Suckcess”!

Un Blonde

un blonde week in pop 1

Un Blonde, where are you? Strange -typical- story : one day, I received an email-tip who told me to listen to the Un Blonde’s music. I already saw this curious name somewhere but I couldn’t remember where. Later, I received an another message directly from Jean-Sebastien/ Un Blonde asking us if we were interested in releasing something with him. My answer was : “Yes”! My email was probably lost into the deep web, where people are playing baseball with dolphins, because I never got a feebdack.

I don’t know as much about Un Blonde except this -only- 19(?) year old musician, who apparently moved recently form Calgary to Montreal, seems to be already a kind of veteran musician. A pop-collage-deconstructive-master-pop with a haunted voice. His music is like a sweet perforation in your ear drum. Un Blonde, are you real?

Un Blonde, “Lord”

Grouper

grouper week in pop 1

I know, I know, lately everything goes so fast. The future was yesterday morning. Sometimes, a one week-old-new-release is already too old to be new. Something good, something unique, released two days or five years ago, is still good, unique when your heart still makes “Boom”. Don’t care about the timeline.

In most of the mixtapes I made for the label, I put on a Grouper track. There’s something so special, so beautiful, so unreal in the Liz Harris’ music. Some years ago, when I lived in Montreal, I rented a car to go to Philadelphia to see U.S. Girls and Grouper live. Ten hours on the road, and an eternal memory.

To be honest, I’d like Atelier Ciseaux to release something with Grouper. To be honest, I can’t say I haven’t tried yet. To be honest, I can’t promise I’ll never try again. Five years later, my heart still makes “Boom”.

Grouper, “Vessel”

She-Devils

she-devils week in pop 1

“Hey Boy”, again a mysterious -for me- Montreal based band. I tried to discover their music after I saw their name on a poster for a show with Vesuvio Solo. I only found this live video/ track “Hey Boy” which has literally blown my mind. Hypnotic-karao-pop?
Different days, same story? Maybe! Later, a friend of mine, who’s living now in Montreal, wrote me, “You have to listen to She-Devils, c’est vraiment bon (in French in the text).” “Yes, yes, I’d like to but where?” I decided to write to the band. I only know one track but I have a good feeling. Apparently, they’re working on their first record. “Hey Boy”, can’t wait!

She-Devils, “Hey Boy” [Montreal, July 9, 2014]

Francis Lung, “A Selfish Man”

Atelier Ciseaux Records THIS IS OUR LIFE! If you’re interested in knowing how we are working…

Thanks to Sjimon, and Impose Magazine. Pardon my English.

atelier ciseaux logo week in pop

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