Week in Pop: Be Forest., Hills Like Elephants, Horrible Houses

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Discussions and exclusives, with support from D.D Dumbo and others.

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Sjimon Gompers | October 25, 2013

Pesaro, Italy's Be Forest, San Diego's Hills Like Elephants, and Sweden's Horrible Houses. (photos courtesy of the respective artists)

With the week's top exclusives awaiting our attention, the Week in Pop first gives you a quick flashing headline glance. First, YouTube may be looking to cash in on their cache of streaming tunes with a paid music service, Paul McCartney allegedly speaks to John Lennon from beyond the grave during his song writing process, and Kanye West rented out San Francisco's AT&T Park to propose to Kim Kardashian. With our Bay Area office's north windows doubling as nose-bleed box seats to the ball park, we found ourselves startled and stunned by a blaze of fireworks set off while jumbotron displayed Yeezy's proposal, “PLEEEASE MARRY MEEE!!!” Feigning excitement as if a royal wedding was in the works, we are honored to present this week's inde game changers premiering the latest sounds, thoughts and visuals-in no particular order.

Be Forest. have been working in many different patterns, and creating sounds that have broken every category they could ever be placed in. We first became aware of the Pesaro, Italy band (also the hometown to rising Felte indie stars Soviet Soviet) with their recent Hanged Man/I Quit Girls 7″ that presented both an intrinsic understanding of astounding swirls of guitar-gazing indie pop, b/w a Japandroids cover that experiments with reigning in an unruly wash of noise sweeps with a feathery touch like a wicker bristled broom. Busying themselves with their recent process of writing and recording; vocalist Costanza Delle Rose, Erica Terenzi, Lorenzo Badioli and guitarist Nicola Lampredi have been readying their forthcoming Earthbeat, for February 4 release from the imprint, We Were Never Being Boring.

It is our privilege to premiere Be Forest.'s safari caravan processional “Captured Heart”. Recorded for their Earthbeat full-length, the guitars strum in the song's opening as they are followed by assemblages of organic drums and woodwinds. Costanza's voice flies between Erica, Lorenzo and Nicola's tapestries that sound like a group in full command of their surrounding environments along with the ascending natures of the way their contributions here work toward un upward and uplifting motion. What Erica, Costanza, Nicola and friends have discovered here is the measure of harmony to melody projections that reach to new dimensions that sound exacted in a way that is a cohesive and unified sound, something that belongs exclusively to Be Forest. The delivery sends fire flares of guitars that propel the tumbling drum collection progression along their path of earth's eclectic menageries.

Through an exchange of cables, we were able to talk a bit with Be Forest. about their sound, mystic fascinations, the new album Earthbeat, their new various directions, the Pesaro scene, and more.

Given your name, what was it that attracted you all to the mystique of trees, hence the moniker of Be Forest.?

The name Be Forest was born in an attempt to capture our common imagery, magic places where things are hiding under the fog, where dreams and reality live together.

Was there any like, Madonna-Kabballah like attraction or fancy involved in this influence or inspiration?

I'm really happy for this question, it is the first time someone asks me and in fact it is so. Since I was a little girl I always loved these types of readings, starting from astrology and books on destiny up to the reading of the Kabballah. I think these readings have helped me to create some songs and to live and see things in a different perspective.

You just released the Hanged Man/ I Quit Girls (Japandroids cover) 7″ from We Were Never Being Boring. Tell us about recording that amazing gazed out and upward single “Hanged Man” and then adapting Japandroids' “I Quit Girls”.

'Hanged Man' and 'I Quit Girls' were born shortly after the release of our first album, Cold. They flew out unfiltered. First they got released digitally and then after our European tour with Japandroids, WWNBB decided to release a limited edition 7'' vinyl.

These two songs are the end of an era for Be Forest…and the beginning of a new one.

Then with “Captured Heart” from the upcoming album, it has such a tropical jungle percussion drive that sinks into your dream whispers of vocal delivery and guitar work. What can you tell us about these sentimental capturing directions that are sending your sound all over the map?

'Captured Heart' is the the first song we wrote for Earthbeat, we believe it gives the right 'coordinates' for an accurate reading of the album. In this song you can hear all the changes we went through the last couple of years. 'Captured Heart' is the summary, the one song that embraces the whole history of the album itself

(Costanza Delle Rose and Lorenzo Buddy Holly Badioli recording Earthbeat, Day Two)

Which leads us to next year's release of Earthbeat. Tell us about the processes of development for this upcoming, earthy-labor of love.

While Cold was a silent and mysterious world, Earthbeat is based on a different kind of landscape, warmer and concrete. The rhythm is the base of this album, it's more segmented, visceral. We felt the need to include a fourth element in order to recreate certain atmospheres, with the new use of synth and others digital sounds.
It's a growth, a natural evolution of our sound and of ourselves.

(Nicola Lampredi and Erica Terenzi recording Earthbeat, Day Three in the studio)

What attracts you all to the earthy nature of sound, feeling, style, and numerous inspirations?

We were inspired by Native Americans, their approach to life and nature. Native American music was composed primarily of percussion that recreated 'the heartbeat of the earth', that's the reason we entitled the album Earthbeat. Native Americans believed lyrics and music had healing powers, reminding people to care for their land: music was like an antidote, a magic formula where you can mirror, recognize and accept yourself.

With Pesaro blowing up these days with the likes of Soviet Soviet, and more, who and what are some of all of your favorite things happening in Pesaro recently?

Pesaro is a small seaside town, a rich musical universe comprised of bands such as Soviet Soviet, Brothers in Law (seaside project of our Nicola Lampredi), Young Wrists and many others. Unfortunately, as a every small town, Pesaro doesn't offer much to young people, but maybe it's for this that young people start to play music… It's perhaps a fortunate thing.

(Nicola Lampredi and Erica Terenzi recording percussion sections for Earthbeat, Day One in the studio)

What else do we need to know about Earthbeat, and Be Forest in 2014?

Hang on and you'll find out!

San Diego's Hills Like Elephants gave us a spin of “Fall Through” not too long back and today premiere the song's short film music video. Made by frontman Sean Davenport, he mixes a variety of lonely settings that become high stakes encounters. Beaches are explored, lonely drives through the sea of city lights, to shadow signals in empty parking structures. Pub crawls. lead to poker matches, hallway confrontations, punches and threats left open-ended. From these moments of seaside solitude, barren structures of loneliness, silhouette wing flapping gestures, stool pigeon solemnity, gun transactions, card games and more; the mourning hollow synth moans chase the wind of singular car rides homes.

Through a budgeted minimalism, Davenport allows the effective art of “Fall Through” to tumble through the video's freefall into perpetual dissatisfaction and frustration. In many ways the song and the video can live separately from each other, but are together an evocative look at desperations and troubles within a modern Southwest gothic visual trajectory. Enjoy Sean and the band's Southern California quest for self-actualization with an audio/visual rendering of a projected internal abyss.

We caught up again with Sean Davenport about the making of the video, their upcoming third album, marrying and divorcing celebrities, changing the world, and more.

Just when we thought the “Fall Through” could not get any more devastating and heavy this video happened. What were the initial planning, and visualization processing like for this audio to visual translation?

The video was shot in very lo-fi format where we intially were just wondering around San Diego trying to get scenic shots and things happening. There was a little undertone of wanting to keep things open ended, but not to scatter brained. All in all I wasn't really trying to tell a story things just sort of came together while I was learning how to edit video.

There is an interesting narrative too unto it's own, like a short film, or perhaps an adapted Hemingway or Tennessee Williams tale happening here.

There is another video in the works, but it will not be self directed. We are going to release to coincide with a single from our upcomming album. Details to follow.

What have you and the band been up to lately in SD?

Lately here in SD we keep writing, playing working day/night jobs, whatever pays, and trying to get out on the road. Just waiting for Radiohead to write back about that tour.

What else can we expect from Hills Like Elephants in the fourth 2013 quarter, and early 2014?

I am currently writing this email in the studio where we are recording our new album and we are hoping for a release in the early new year. Other things to expect in the 2013-2014 quarter from us are, playing shows, officially releasing our home recording sessions entitled Bedroom Colonies Volume 1, running for president, releasing our third album [that is] not yet officially titled, travel to outer space, play more shows, marry a celebrity, go to prison, get out of prison, divorce that celebrity, change the world, and play more shows.

Hills Like Elephants album Feral Flocks is available now via iTunes.

Horrible Houses, the moniker of Daniel Johnsson, heralding house hemmed recordings from his home in Särna, Sweden. The type of house that Johnsson keeps is one that makes this sort of derelict folk that seems so unintentional about anything or any sound produced. Almost everything sound Johnsson sings and plays resounds in a way that seems effortless and some how only too perfect in a balance of wry wit and endless riffs. This is the stuff of freak beat legacy when you have burned yourself out on listening to The Fugs and the Velvets in excess.

Horrible Houses on the debut of “Sun Leaving” has us at first chord, calling to arms the bed-fort-studio sound from the perfect line opener of, “Sunshine upon your hips, rain drops on your fingertips”. The get up and groove coasts into such a dirge that you pray won't ever end, as the Houses stream driving train tramples the complications of dreams and goals along with our modern disconnect by way of mobile devices. “You're just a bastard kid, you're a slave to your phone”. Daniel's guitar work and structures only strum with a passion that keeps an endless jangle stirring soft ripples with a sound like molded ringing metal.

Preparing Family Tapes Vol. 3 for release December 17 from indie imprint tastemakers Happenin Records; Johnsson brings tales of humor, family ire, frustrating and awkward situations with the consciousness of making a morning single drip cup of coffee. The guitar's progression moves by a logic that is as natural as it is looks toward a bliss beyond the lyrical display of discontinuties.

Daniel Johnsson and I caught up long distance between the States and Särna, Sweden to talk the details of Family Tapes Vol. 3, “Sun Leaving”, current tastes, and more.

Where does that warm, down home sentiment come from for you in the creation of your forthcoming, Family Tapes Vol. 3 LP?

Well I drank a lot of coffee while recording these tracks, I'm drinking coffee while writing this too, the house smelled of coffee all the time. What i'm trying to say is that i don't think there is anything more homely and inviting than the warm smell of freshly brewed java. I guess that's what gave it that warm, down home feeling you're talking about. And I did not want the album to sound new and fresh, I was aiming for it to sound like that mixtape your friend gave you ten years ago (but you haven't heard in 9 years), you know, familiar and alien at the same time. And I mostly recorded at night, when the house settled and 'Moonlighting' was running on TV.

Between you, Drew Price's Bermuda Triangle, Nudity, etc; there seems to be a real incredible family thing happening on Happenin Records. Why do you feel that is? What is it that you all are doing that is contributing to some of the earthiest and most progressive indie pop in the world?

I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I have not listened much to either Drew Price's Bermuda Triangle or Nudity, so I cannot really speak for them. I guess the Happenin' band I'm most familiar with is Plains, consisting of Travis Swinford, who also did the rockin artwork for Vol. 3. He's got that worn-out Velvet Underground-y feeling to his music, a feeling I easily can relate to. But I'm glad you feel like there is a family feeling about Happenin' Records, most great labels have that feeling, like K-records, Woodsist etc. You have to thank Chris McCauley for that, he's really good at digging us up!

What is the key to getting that sun glow sound that shines through on the song, “Sun Leaving”?

Though it may not be apperant, there are probably about five guitars playing on that song. I first recorded it digitally on an 8-track, and later dubbed it to tape to achive that warm fuzzy feeling that's completely absent on most digital recordings. I did that probably three or four times, adding more and more guitars. It was originally called 'Naive Lungs' which is really just an anagram of the final title.

There is a real melancholia at work too on that song, like observing the coming and going of loved ones, present and former loves, and so forth. What inspired that type of sentiment for such a beautiful song?

I do not really know where the lyrics to Sun Leaving came from. Thinking about it, it's probably my 45-year old self talking to my present-day self. I'm predicting a really gloomy future it seems, but not completely without happy moments though, referring to the first verse. Not many of my songs are autobiographical.

Who else in Sweden have you been digging, and listening to a lot of, lately?

To tell you the truth I've never been too big on Swedish music, which is weird I guess, because I live here, but I dig Bo Hansson, The Radio Dept., Rocky Dennis and a bunch of stuff that's on Swedish tape label Zeon Light Kassett, that's about it.

Stateside artists and groups that are on your radar?

I guess that's really where my heart lies. Canada's really cooking up good stuff these days, Faux Fur are one of them, Mac Demarco another, Cindy Lee, Grimes, The Squids, I mean, the list goes on and on. And it's the same thing with the States – I love Cass McCombs, and you guys should really check out Mark Aubert from San Francisco, dude was the soundtrack to my summer, really looking forward to the new Cate le Bon-album also. It's been a great year for music so far.

Plans for 2014?

Besides the odd haircut or two i am really hoping to play some more shows, record a couple of albums, finish that Neil Young book and catch up on Boardwalk Empire. Thanks and take care, IMPOSE! Hope you're well!

Listen to Horrible Houses Songs for Halloween here, as Family Tapes Vol. 3 will be available digitally on November 26 and available on cassette December 17 from Happenin Records.

Castlemaine, Australia artist D.D Dumbo declared an upcoming self-titled EP for The Blue Rider and shared a listen to “Tropical Oceans”. The song has a quality that feels like traversing the outback outlands that present an endless vastness of down-under wilderness to explore and experience. Yet despite Australia hosting D.D, the sound extends itself further to other continents and that mesh a gaucho song from the land of the Americas to the Eastern guitar tones that creates a transient experience. The percussion moves like the equestrian cloven steps of migrations, that could very well be ex-pats of any land, or drifters without a country, or without a name. D.D Dumbo leaves it to you put together your own experiential event of perpetual magic and motion.

D.D Dumbo and I sent some cables across the ocean back and forth to discuss his music, what Castlemaine, AU is all about, and hints of an upcoming album.

Describe for us what Castlemaine, Australia is like and how it has informed your music.

Castlemaine is a small country town in Victoria, it's an old gold mining town surrounded by bush land. There's the arty folk who live off welfare payments, drink cafe lattes and 'exchange ideas' and then there's the more traditional harder working types who have real jobs during the weekdays the drink excessive amounts of beer on the weekend and repeat this routine until death. It's hard to say how it's informed my music but certainly some inhabitants have opened my ears to new sounds.

How did the minimalist “Tropical Oceans” come about with it's minimalist percussion and sparse guitar echo?

I think it's got a minimal feel from making the beat with a loop pedal and intetionally not letting it get too busy, the beat was recorded by beating the back of an opened string acoustic guitar with and fermenting it in reverb. The guitar is an ode to Captain Beefheart's guitarist's and malian desert blues.

There is also a kind of sea sailing journey pacing of this song too, was that intentional in the recording?

I've never thought of it as that but can see what you mean, indeed.

“Tropical Oceans” has a sound that feels like it could have been inspired by waves from the East or West. How important do you feel geography is in music in a world connected by interwebs, social networks and the like?

Yeah, there is definitely influence from the east and west! I think it's amazing and incredibly rewarding that we now have the option to listen to more obscure stuff from around the globe, there's so much profoundly good music beyond the immediate western culture.

What is next for D.D Dumbo?

I'm currently working on an album, hoping to have a bit more varied instrumentation like clarinet, vibes, hammond, human trumpet etc.

Pop. 1280 “Do the Anglerfish” manufactured by Scott Kiernan off the album Imps of Perversion available from Sacred Bones Records. With angular guitars and lots of anger, the dark-Poppers who gave you “Bodies in the Dunes” prevent a concert night horror show not to be missed under the raging blue lights. Just in time for Halloween the collection of freak core images match the droning distortion that comprises the song's underbelly like the sinister underworld club the band's hazy video creates.

Get psyched for your North Oakland by Sacramento connection with Main Attrakionz x Tynethys's mixtape, that brings the Bay a little closer to the creative hot bed of the great San Joaquin. Let the Cali sentiments flow, and get your own copy here via Audiomack.

Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truthspeaker return as the mighty Latyrx, with an upcoming new album titled The Second Album available November 5, and we got the titans working with Busdriver and some production by Antonionian on the cut, “Close Your Eyes”. So get riled up as the titans return and say hello to the new schools that they have been nurturing in both influence and pathway illuminations.

Tune your eyes to this bright Prides mix of Sir Sly's “Gold”, that hopes you find your dreams amid the biggest synthesizer beacons. Download it via Neon Gold Records, and listen now in as metal gets bent into the shiniest dance pop orr.

Greg Ashley takes on Leonard Cohen and Phil Spector's dysfunctional celebration of blessed dysfunction, Death of a Ladies' Man coming soon from Guitars and Bongos Records. So go ahead and enjoy the lead off track of sado-masochistic scars both visible and unseen from a trajectory that only the most downtrodded and jaded can fully comprehend on the first listen.

Keeping up with the indie Nashville, Tennessee scene; Omega Swan recently dropped their video for “Planet Rad”, courtesy of GemsOnVHS. Get rad and spiral into the surreality of this glimpse at a gig gone awry, as these alpha and omegas continue to prove that the Southern scene is comprised of something that defies convention rocks harder than some of their surrounding coastal based contemporaries and peers. Omega Swan's album OS-1 is available now on digital and wax via Bandcamp. Find Marcus Garceau, Mark Madison, William Burgess, and their cosmic friends out in their outer constellations for the best night you ever had, where time and freak flags fly, and these dudes come more alive than Frampton.

His Clancyness dropped his Giulia Mazza video for “Safe Around The Edges” this week fresh off the new album, Vicious, available from FatCat Records. Shot in a single room, watch the band play it safe, while playing with whichever furniture and amenities abound, keeping the vibe minimalist, fun, with their collective security taken into consideration. From blending it with their surroundings, hiding in the cushions and pantomiming their parts; the His Clancyness gang should inspire anyone with ideas on how to shoot the perfect minimalist, dime budge video.

Young Fathers declared the forthcoming of their Dead LP from Anticon slated for February 4, and gave us an audio/visual taste with the radical excitement of, “Low”. February 2014 is already looking and sounding more massive than any February before.

Combining the powers of Voxtrot, Belaire, and Agent Ribbons; Tele Novella returns with “Don't Be a Stranger” that forges together the members vintage records together in one stylistic heap, for a real cool attitude sound. Like friends getting together to bounce ideas off one another for fun and sport, that is the appeal of Tele Novella for us and many. Look out for Austin, Texas's finest dropped their full-length in 2014.

Sleepy Sun cruises down “The Lane” on this emotion rock and rider 7″, available now on Dine Alone Records.

With a deluxe edition of deluxe version of Girls Names The New Life album being released this November 4, featuring 7 extra tracks; check out the Dan Tombs dark scanning dance imagery for the title track now.

Then this cut from 2Four7 with “Ragged Foot”, produced by US dropped the other day, found out from our boy King Krule and had to share with all of you.

Michael Wingate directed the retro arcade 3D video for Daedelus's cut “Tiptoes”, off the LA beat breaker's Drown Out LP available now from Anticon.

Recorded at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco and Mother West NYC, we got another coasting morning jam for you, with Kris Gruen's “Morning Glory”. Like morning after morning, chapter after chapter, and from sunrise to sunset; Gruen touches on the passage of time in a way that only a modern troubadour of experience can relate to and relay in song.

Taken off his upcoming November 4 slated album Caramel for Mexican Summer; Connan Mockasin pops the question, “Do I Make You Feel Shy?” Mr. Mockasin's AM christened glow comes from a long line of lo-fi championing enthusiasts who have found a maleable approach to mess with your receptors of memory-sensory-response.

Peep the Joey Angerone video for Tanya Morgan's “Eulogy” off the Rubber Souls album. With production from 6th Sense; Donwill and Von Pea spit tales of how the world keeps turning and moving on forward from real life altering, endgame situations.

Gatekeeper is preparing Young Chronos for release November 11 and dropped the electro gate crasher with operatic tones, “Imperatrix”.

With coloring from Mark Olivan, check out Ski Lodge's video for “Looking For a Change” made while on tour with Chad Valley. As you watch the changing of places, locales, and venues, travel along vicariously, as the album Heart is available from Dovecote Records. Look for for the Lodgers on tour from November 13 through December 17 with the likes of, Gringo Star, Brazos, Crocodiles and Au Revoir Simone.

Hopsin, ringleader of Funk Volume proclaimed his new album Knock Madness dropping November 26 on the “Ill Mind Of Hopsin 6” video, and makes it loud and clear in the wild Justin Jones video that, “Hop is Back” with a vengeance. While controversial and definitely not here to make friends, Hop continues to provide some clever bars and commentary on the various states of mind in a complicated and rapidly changing rap game.

And in case you missed it, here's Such Hounds' video for “Sold My Soul” from their I Hate Summer EP available from The Sleepover Party. The Mark A. Smith video captures the roaring, rolling-rocker as an intimate performance party where things get hot, weird and continuously wild.

Hejira stream their album, Prayer Before Birth, that presents their many pale moods through the following cycle. “Litmus Test” set out to prove the durability of bonds, “nothing more and nothing less”, while “Time” sings modern songs for sea faring creatures. “Dust” brings parts of heart, as “Know” drifts forward in search on knowledge, that then takes you to the twinkling sky top terraces of “Fields of Rooftops”. “Echoes” stir murmurs of the same, while “Pinter” picks up the collective energy of change, as “Gypsy of the Soul” passes through like a rocking and rolling stone. Hymns of the past meet present on “The Penny”, before “Powercut” brings a big building force of audio assertion, as “Reprise” brings back new beginnings and births, as you are musically instructed to replay Prayer Before Birth to get an even deeper understanding.

In preparations for the release of The Age of Fracture February 4 from Tough Love Records; CYMBALS ask you to enjoy the death-disco chapter-closing, shoulder-shaking apocalypse on their hot new track, “The End”.

We also got the Georgia Hudson video for Midlake's title track “Antiphon”, available November 5 on ATO. From low-lit imagery, candles, keyboard close ups and everything else, Midlake brings enough elusive weirdness to “fight a war”.

Wax Fang gave a listen to their big-time/big-top/big-arranged single, “Hearts Are Made For Beating”, available November 5 from Don't Panic Records.

Oddisee's Tangible Dream mixtape is available now from Mello Music Group, and in the Tim Whalen and Adam Cate video for “Own Appeal”, Odd breaks down how he writes everything outside as he continues to satisfy hunger for future knowledge.

Jake Troth remixed the inescapable “Royals” from Lorde, with a ghetto fab glory attitude of dreamers and queen bees living the majestic life. Catch the car cruising video from Stewart Yost, for the track that continues to spin into the remix pool of prevalent ubiquity.

The OverDoz. crew get their cut “Killer Tofu” visualized by Calmatic Films that brings over Cream, Sleezy, Tube, and Kent for a kick-back fashion shoot op. Catch OverDoz onthe Turnt x Burnt Tour with A$AP Ferg, A$AP Mob, Ashton Matthews, Joey Fatts, and 100s November 22 through December 9.

Get beat sick to Heatsick's slick engineered title track, “RE-ENGINEERING” from the full-length of the same name slated for release November 26 from PAN. Listen as the words move to the piston-propelled pop that creates a manufactured sense of equilibrium and intelligence.

I Break Horses return, with a video from Magnus Härdner for “Faith” with news of a second album slated for 2014. Maria Lindén brings a b/w sense of Stockholm as she provides a layer of warmth for addictive cold beats, before her European tour spanning from November 16 to November 28.

Get a look at the digital Rorschach designs that look like the screen savers of the future, on These Ghosts' video for “The Great Unknown” off the upcoming NX Records compilation Crossing Lines available November 11.

Eduard Artemiev composed the soundtrack to Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 classic film, Solaris, which is seeing an original soundtrack re-release October 29 from San Francisco's archivist/preservationist society, Superior Viaduct. The OST chamber tones sound like emulated organs from a score made on an early synthesizer named after Russian purveyor of the occult, Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (aka ANS). Solicitors of the super natural, film, and film soundtrack enthusiasts will want for historical representations of early uses of the ANS synth system.

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