Week in Pop: Ed-Ape, Small Wigs, Tired Light

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Chris Connelly, Ducktails, Flesh World, Mammút, The Sandwitches, guest selections by Bellows.

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Sjimon Gompers | May 8, 2015

Presenting Small Wigs; featuring FIDLAR's Elvis Kuehn, Mikki Itzigsohn, Max Kuehn (Elvis's brother), and Matt Zuk; photographed by Jeff Fribourg.

With Mother’s Day and summer around the corner, Impose’s Week in Pop brings you a bouquet featuring some of the week’s biggest breakthroughs, with first a quick rundown some of the week’s  buzziest news items. First up, we learned that Kanye West changed the name of his upcoming album from So Melp Me God to SWISH, while Macca described how his collaborative single with Yeezy was inspired by “Let It Be”; Vince Staples debut album to arrive June 30, titled Summertime ’06; with buzz surrounding Tame Impala’s upcoming new album, Currents; FYF Fest announced their lineup; Frank Ocean to release his follow up to Channel Orange, and also interviewed Lil B for his own publication; Apple versus the FTC, and the future of free streaming; ?uestlove went to Cuba; Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves released the single, “Took The Ghost To The Movies”, off her forthcoming 7″ split with Kevin Devine; Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams want a new trial over “Blurred Lines” skewering copyright lines similar to “Got to Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye; Disclosure dropping a bunch of buzz with new track and word of a new upcoming album; Tyler, The Creator dropped some pro-gay merchandise; GWAR are releasing an upcoming hard cover book titled, Let There Be GWAR!, available in September; and Madison Square Garden will go vegan for none other than Morrissey’s upcoming NYC show, June 27.

But right now it is our honor, and pleasure to present the following feature of interviews and exclusives from Ed-Ape, Small Wigs, The Sandwitches, Tired Light, Beams, Chris Connelly, Cities Aviv, Ducktails, Field HarmonicsThe Chairman Dances, Flesh World, Mammút, The Relationship, YlangYlang, featuring guest selections by Bellows, and more — in no particular order.

Small Wigs

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Fresh from the FIDLAR camp, the LA band premieres their new offshoot, Small Wigs, debuting the rollicking, mad hatter affair, “New Wig”, from the a-side of their Mock Records 7″. Featuring FIDLAR’s own Elvis Kuehn, Mikki Itzigsohn, Matt Zuk, with  and fellow FIDLAR bandmate and Elvis’s brother Max Kuehn on the drums; Small Wigs shy away from the big wig/big time/big top tents to make a loud sound that is instant, effective, intense, urgent, and hair raising all at the same time. It’s as if FIDLAR took a time machine back to the days when the rock n’ roll game was young, primordial, and a fashionable (and impressionable) blaring alternative to the classical concerns of mid-century mind sets, modes of manners, and modern decorum favored by aristocrats of the time.

Small Wigs flip their wigs, and turn over the card game tables with the coolest, freshest, new hair fad fetish around on “New Wig”. As FIDLAR relishes itself as the unapologetic slacker-core export of the west coast (hey, if not for So Cal we might not ever have had a Total Slacker); Small Wigs cares even less for any pretensions, or striving to be a big wig, or any careerist/corporate/marketing take over plot. “New Wig” is urgent, uncut, pure rock and roll at it’s finest. There is no time here for heralding celluloid and wax pressed heroes, as Small Wig’s Elvis and Mikki belt out the playful and colorful catchiness with nasal lyrical harmonies like, “baby why you freaking out, gonna make your hair fall out, get the money and you go downtown, red, yellow, pink, or brown, ’cause what you need is a brand new wig…” “New Wig” shakes the problems and stresses out of the system, sponsoring implementations of synthetic implants affixed to skull caps for the newest looks, prime for head banging to endless shred-fests, and showing off to the world a type of do that just screams—you. To understand Southern California’s own DIY self-appointed style council better, we had a chance to catch up with the Wigs’ Elvis and Mikki, in our interview that immediately follows the debut of, “New Wig”.

Describe the synergistic connection between the two of you that informs the music, style, and attitude of Small Wigs.

We have a long history together. Our taste in music and art is very similar and that helps the creative process flow smoothly. We can bounce ideas off each other without a filter, which is very important when writing together. This is the first thing we have collaborated on and it all came together relatively easily, without too much arguing and crying.

So first, how was Small Wigs formed?

Our friends Double Naught Spy Car were doing a monthly residency at a bar called Cafe NELA and they asked us if our band would play. We didn’t have a band together so we started one.

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Where does the name come from exactly?

Well we aren’t Big Wigs, baby.

In what ways do you feel like your work and influences from your main band, FIDLAR play a part in Small Wigs? Or is this like your sort of break from the world of FIDLAR, or something?

Side projects are good for your health.

Tell us about the super piano banging, “New Wig” single that you all recorded. What sorts of wig flipping scenarios and situations contributed to this song’s super fast paced inception?

“New Wig” is about needing something new in your life; a new hat to put on. The song was written in about an hour so I think there is a sense of urgency that comes out in the recording.

How do you two craft songs together?

An idea comes knocking at the door, we let it in, get it drunk, and send it home once it’s stayed too long.

What other Small Wigs recordings can you tell us about, that we need to hear?

The b-side “Hangdog” is a kick in the pants.

Who else should we be listening to, that you all think are really important right now?

Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker, Wand, Shannon and the Clams, Natural Child, Jesus Sons, Sheer Mag.

More thoughts on the goals, mantras, and mission of Small Wigs?

WIG OUT!

Favorite type of wigs that you both would wear for fun, and fashion?

Definitely hat with dreads…or Mink Merkin.

Small Wigs’ New Wig 7″ is available in limited stocks of pink and black vinyl from Mock Records.

Ed Ape

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We were introduced to Ozone Park, Queens’ Ed-Ape, aka Christian Edward Guglielmo, with his scattered and surreal verses on the single, “Up, Up, Up“, an additional chapter to Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf’s progenerative “My World Premiere”. Appropriately titled as the debut single that began the Stones Throw imprint in 1996, Guglielmo’s gift for attaching associative connotations together runs in a streams that runs the gamut from toasts, boats, innuendo, and adept intimations of entendre. Winner of the Stones Throw and AIAIAI “World Premiere: The Rap Mic Contest“, and released by the reputable label on only a few dozen copies; Ed-Ape takes it back down to the old emcee block corner boom-bap poetics, and breaks it down to the 1-2 sneaky basics of bars confidently delivered into his iPhone.

Premiering the comical cut-up and paste video pastiche for, “Yes Sir”, taken off his album Ed-Ape’s Your Face Here, Ed-Ape mashes up Roman schemes from a decadent scene snip-up from Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I . The production of muffled rotations, percussive machine clicks, horn synths and Christian’s incessant obsession with iconoclasts (Jay Z, Puffy, etc), and more is choppily edited to fit the pompous dialogue, and soliloquy of Dom DeLuise’s Emperor Nero. The cutty edit creates a few comical layers where the scene involving the eccentric portrayal of Nerō Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus becomes a vehicle for Ed-Ape’s verses delivered between the Speak & Spell-“million billion dollars” chorus. With a booming baritone that lays down cross references from Jack & Jill nursery rhymes, to pop cultural allusions, and high rolling aspirations; further hilarity ensues as the rework of the classic comedy scene provides a quick (yet coarse in all senses) timing of deliveries, and punchlines that are given an added element of absurd and the odd. Read our exclusive interview with Ed-Ape’s Christian Edward Guglielmo, right after the following music video debut for, “Yes Sir”.

Below are his answers as well for the interview.

Tell us about how you transformed Charisma & Peanut Butter Wolf’s “My World Premier” into “Up, Up, Up”.

So I was really inspired by the story of how the record was received. In the promo video there was footage of the track being bumped at club and every one on stage and in the crowd was having fun. Hands were up and folks were smiling. I just put myself in the room with them, went up on stage, snatched the mic and that’s what I said.

Give us the scoop on crossing the humorous heralding of “Yes Sir”, with this I-Claudius, Roman-esque video edit for the visuals.

I new I wanted to do a video for this song but I didn’t have a doable idea. At first I wanted to be carried around South Ozone Park in a royal litter on poles by a group of dudes dressed in home made robot costumes. After a while they would set me down and I’d order them to run up into peoples houses and steal shit. That dream fizzled pretty quickly though. It seems that nobody’s making royal litters much any more and I smoke way too much weed to make one myself. So that was that, and I had nothing. Until one night when I realized that I never saw History of the World: Part 1 but had wanted to watch it for years. I downloaded it, packed a bowl, threw it on, thought Dom DeLuise looked funny and took a few screen shots to put up on Instagram. A week later I had a video.

What else do you have in the works, or are there any other remixes, reworks that you got up your sleeve?

I have two more albums nearly completed. I’ll announce the start of my label and drop one of them as it’s maiden release later this year. I planned on calling the album D.T.A.S., but I hear Nas’s next album title is similar, so who knows? Maybe I’ll go head to head with Nas for an epic rap battle that nobody but me is aware of. As for reworks, I’m sure they’re coming. I just don’t know what they are at the moment.

Further insights into the ED-APE methodology of drafting yours bars, rhymes, meters, in conjunction with the production, and percussive metrics?

Well I suppose the first thing to consider is the music. It’s not unlike writing a part for any instrument. There’s a place in the music where you fit. The other thing to consider is the subject. That’s where the attitude is, and it will dictate to what degree you want to fit.

The future of ED-APE, according to ED-APE?

Lots more music. Hopefully sex. Beyond that, who knows?

Ed-Ape’s Your Face Here is available now.

Tired Light

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Blake Luley of Ajnabi, Airwaves, and formerly of Howth introduced us to his new group, Tired Light, also sporting members from Caged Animals, and Steel Phantoms with with Pat Curry, Neil Acharya, and Jesse Newkirk. Premiering their fresh double a-side release, “Bad Dream” and “Stars”; Tired Light clasp forth a thunderous rumble with the might of a handful of the east coast’s nu-post-punk / art pop believers that combines the sum of all involved powers to create something great than just the gestalt of a supergroup. Borrowing their name from a debunked proposal hypothesis on redshift mechanisms in physical cosmology—Tired Light explore their own theories and experiments in distance relationships through song sewn wishes thrown into the astrological universe systems of night with heavy hopes, courage to battle nightmares in the abyss of existential woe.

On “Bad Dream”, Tired Light ropes in a raft ride through the unforgiving, and out of control anarchy of the unconscious, through a heroic girth of guitars, and vocals that surfaces at times from the swarm of riffs. Tired Light’s orchestration and arrangement of guitars explode from the enormity of creating a giant sense, and space of a dense, all encompassing sinkhole style of void. This is also heard on the single “Stars”, where the strings rattle the heavens and the tenebrous earth — only breaking character for some bouncing no-wave rhythms that provide some dance inspiring respite from Tired Light’s conceptual sonic theories of controlled sound tests of reined-in chaos. Read our interview with both Blake and Jesse, immediately following the debuts of “Bad Dream”, and “Stars”.

With the meeting of talents from Caged Animals, Air Waves, Ajnabi, Howth, Steel Phantoms, etc; how together has Tired Light found a kind of collaborative bond amongst each other?

Jesse: Oh, I’ve known and played with Blake longer than any other musician in the city. I actually ripped off a few of his techniques and have been using them the last few years. Ha! Well, I think that means that our guitar work naturally gels. And I’ve been watching Neil play with Blake for a few years, so I know his specialties too. I think we all know what makes each other sound best, so we’ve all been taking advantage of each other…. And then Pat came in, and things really got cookin’.

Blake: Yeah, I mean I’ve known Jesse essentially since I moved to NYC about 8 years ago. I’ve known Neil since we were both in High School. I met Pat through the scene here. Basically, we all liked hanging out and figured we should make some music.

“Bad Dream” is like a bewildered night terror that operates on it’s own method of arrangement concepts, reaching for an awakened consciousness, or something like that. How was “Bad Dream” devised, and then recorded?

Blake: I wrote the 2 verses of the song as just a really rough and quiet song skeleton that I wasn’t even that crazy about. I was playing around with it at a practice and Neil had the idea to jam on it. Once we played it with our distortion pedals on it became what it is, which is super different than anything I had in mind. It’s a great example of why I love bringing ideas to the table with these dudes.

Tired Light performing live in the blue light, photographed by Dane Zarra.

Tired Light performing live in the blue light, photographed by Dane Zarra.

How do you all go about the song composition process in the Tired Light camp?

Blake: So far it’s been one person bringing a skeleton in varying degrees of completion and then everyone else being able to add their own sounds and ideas to the song. It’s been really rad how collaborative it’s been.

Describe for us what other kinds of gems you have been working on, and any upcoming releases too.

Jesse: We’ve got some softer tunes, some more synthy tunes coming up, as well as some even more fuzzed-out rock. Some more jangly rock too. Our songs each cover different territory, but I’m guessing our voices and instruments are distinct enough to tie it all together. I hope!

Favorite local acts that you want people to listen to more?

Jesse: I still get tunes from Slow Dance in the Cosmos stuck in my head all the time, so Porches. wins one of my votes. Gotta give it up to Eula too, who’s been doing some awesome stuff live, really expanding on their roots. And I dig Landlady too — it’s damn rich stuff.

Blake: Yeah, Porches. is the best band in the city in my mind, especially the new songs I’ve been hearing them play. I’m also starting to really love the Eskimeaux songs I’ve heard. I also love Pinegrove, although they are technically from Dirty Jersey.

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The vision and meditation for the future, according to Tired Light?

Jesse: Get on the stage. Put on a show. Get in a studio. Get back out on the stage.

Blake: Yeah, at this point we have a bunch more songs, so we’re going to try to workshop them live and then record them soon enough.

Tired Light’s “Bad Dream” and “Stars” are available now via Bandcamp.

Catch the band playing at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn, May 24.

The Sandwitches

The return of San Francisco's The Sandwitches; featuring Heidi Alexander, Grace Cooper, Roxanne Brodeur, photographed here by Rachel Walther.

The return of San Francisco’s The Sandwitches; featuring Heidi Alexander, Grace Cooper, Roxanne Brodeur, photographed here by Rachel Walther.

Among all the various arrivals and departures of many artists, bands, and so forth in the Bay Area networks, and scenes; The Sandwitches have remained steadfast on the western coast front homestead with a special sort of sound that illuminates any parlor or prairie. Giving us the albums, How To Make Ambient Sadcake, Mrs. Jones’ Cookies, along with countless EPs and singles; Heidi Alexander (aka Pruno Truman, Fresh & Onlys), Grace Cooper, and Roxanne Brodeur Young return with a toast, and testament full of the timeless, transportive wizardry. As some of SF’s standard bearers that hold the key to the city, and the Bay’s gateway to the circuitry of ‘whose who’ musician connections—their upcoming album, Our Toast was recorded by the esteemed Kelley Stoltz, mastered by the always amazing Mikey Young, with a classic cocktailer album cover painted by Deirdre White. Available from Empty Cellar Records on June 9; listen as smoky saloon seances to departed feelings, new chances, fresh perspectives, and more abound, and the style signatures of vintage, modern deco, and tomorrow’s sincerest songs resound together in a codified ensemble.

On The Sandwitches’ “Play It Again Dick”, the harmonies from Heidi and Grace are set to Roxanne’s brick and mortar solid rhythm, that echo the bands best performances experienced downstairs in the underground of Cafe Du Nord, the modern classy brilliance of Bimbos 365, or the Barbary Coast style comforts of home at the Hotel Utah. In similar haunting ways found with the work of fellow cosmic folk voyagers like Web of Sunsets; The Sandwitches write music with a warmth that appeals to the rustic, and rudimentary forms of timeless expressions. The magic that exists on “Play It Again Dick” can be found in their live performances where a dive venue is suddenly classed up by their song, or a swanky night club can then seem like a DIY space, as their music transforms, and transfixes all who hear, and takes on an enchanted shape in any environment where their music is played—or performed. Catching up with The Sandwitches, and learning all about the making of their new album, Our Toast; enjoy our following roundtable interview with Grace, Heidi, and Roxanne after the jump.

What were the sessions with Kelley Stoltz like?

Grace: I remember drinking warm Aperol straight and laughing a lot. He was very open in the studio,he let us do our thing and made us very comfortable in his lovely home. I remember tacos.

Heidi: Awesome and slow. There was a lot of goofing around and a lot of television. We watched a lot of Storage Wars and took a lot of cat naps. It was also the virgin voyage for Kelley’s one inch tape machine and I think also a new board so we had the pleasure of getting to know the ins and out of some excellent but busted vintage gear. Electronics are weird. No one ever really understands.

Roxanne:Very comfortable and fun. He has a warm, light studio and Kelley is hilarious. I got to play his drums and sit around a lot. I was 2 months pregnant, so I also remember drinking a lot of tea and eating a lot of cookies.

There is forever a haunted SF vibe that runs through The Sandwitches catalog…how do you all go about creating this timeless, and yet out of time feeling?

Grace: Bad timing I guess.

Heidi: I don’t know.

Roxanne: It’s funny that the last interview mentioned something along those lines. I thought the music provoked a personal sentimentality because we rehearsed and played the songs together and shared so much time surrounded by these songs, but I get the feeling it’s not just me. That’s awesome.

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What were the toasts, and declarations that informed, Our Toast?

Grace: To the future and the past.

Heidi: I think mostly the end of our era and of a certain part of life for us. Also a toast to our under acknowledged ghost-bass player, Marc Dantona, who put out our first insisted that we add bass for the record, and that James Finch Jr. was the man for the job. We were completely ambivalent but as each new record came up we were always calling Jim, bossing him around, and underpaying him. He’s kind of the silent Sandwitch, and he’s our good friend. James has taken a lot of abuse, he’s a very resilient dude.

Roxanne: I remember the first discussion was in joking around before a show somewhere in LA. I was hoping we’d have a painting of a piece of toast somewhere on the album.

Latest local inspirations?

Grace: Depressor, Budlight cheladas from U&I liquor, and my best friend painter Michelle Guintu. She paints all the time, I admire her diligence.

Heidi: Bart Davenport, Useless Eaters, Bronze, Kelley Stoltz always.

Roxanne: music by Greg Ashley, embroidery by An Astrid Endeavor and Creations by Rainbow Kimono.

What have you all been listening to lately?

Grace: Strangulated Beatoffs, Elvis YouTube videos and self hypnosis YouTube videos.

Roxanne: S.E.Rogie, Hospitality.

Philosophies, theories, and mysticism of The Sandwitches?

Grace: Lighten up? Be thankful.

Roxanne: I like to keep it simple. Spending time with my husband, son, friends and family are my top priority along with being creative. If you are lucky enough to find what feeds your soul and have the time to pursue it and stay healthy, you’re doing alright. I just have to figure out the making money part…

The Sandwitches’ new album, Our Toast will be available June 9 from Empty Cellar Records.

Chris Connelly

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And now for a man that needs no introduction—you know his work from Ministry, PigFace, Revolting Cocks, as well as Steve Shelly’s The High Confessions; Scotland’s own Chris Connelly gave us the listen to “Mistreated And Wild” ft. Claire Massey off his new solo album, Decibels From The Heart. Available May 12 from Cleopatra Records, Connelly solo sounds span the expanses of land reminiscent of fellow countryman Edwyn Collins’ Orange Juice days to, the dramatiste passion and fashion of early 1992/93 Brit Pop. The mistreated ways and wild days push past the thrills, chills, and aches for new meaningful connections. The past is recalled like thoughts entertained while waiting for a train at a lonely station, where the previous journeys, roads, and tracks are recounted while the promise of new planes and terrain await the next boarding. Following the listen, read our candid interview with Chris Connelly right after the jump.

Give us some insights into the heart reverberating sounds that informed Decibels From The Heart.

The original influences for the album “decibels from heart” were pretty familiar to me, when I write, I am as alone as I can possibly be and in that moment I tend to come up with a palate of

Colors informed by ghosts of images, remembered thoughts or feelings, half heard conversations and my own longings which always seem to translate into the right chord changes and the right lyrics. Growing older certainly has informed the work, not in terms of fear or regret, but in terms of how I personally remember specific events or eras of my life with a completely different light…I am an impressionist, and I don’t wish that to sound pompous, I mean it in the truest sense of the word as I define it — much in the same way as the impressionists painted .That said I definitely have a very romantic view of my past, completely distorted and wrong perhaps, but it’s all mine.

How have you found your solo work has been informed from your barrage of experiences with Ministry, Revolting Cocks, PigFace, to The High Confessions?

Of course these experiences are going to have a resounding affect, and a lot of that stuff is what I am best known for, and I am grateful for that, but these days I do a lot of compartmentalizing: all that stuff I realized is a persona, a character, drawn from my own well of course, but developed-I find it a lot easier to think of myself in these different projects as a developed character, like how Keifer Sutherland can be Jack Bauer in “24” and then be in a Lars Von trier film.

“Mistreated And Wild” does have the luster of something of a ‘brit pop’ esoterica type of feel. What personal anecdotes can you share about the wild and mistreated events behind this number?

The lyrics harken to a time in my life perhaps 30 years ago, I was, indeed mistreated (by myself!) and wild, I remember a lot of running through fields and causeways in the middle of the night with girls, clutching bottles of red wine, I think “mistreated and wild” is a celebratory song, it has a passion to it.

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These days, how would you describe your own thoughts and personal reflections on your own approaches and methods of writing, and recording songs, albums, and the like?

The writing part as I said earlier is done alone in the deepest, deepest silence, that’s the only way it comes out, and it can be rapid fire, or it can take a long time. If I start writing, it usually takes about a minute to know if this is going to happen or not, if not, I move on.Some songs are born so quickly, some will take months, and that is fine, it is never a strain or a chore, if it feels hard, I don’t write, it’s a s simple as that.Once its done, I will rarely re visit or “tweak” unless something like a line is bothering me, I think I am fairly spontaneous in that regard.

On Decibels I worked with producer Matt Walker, these days, if I ask someone to produce, then I give them all the freedom, they choose the musicians, the studios, the arrangers, I look after the melody and words. With the song “to swing from the air” though, Matt got the bassist Alan Berliant to do a string arrangement, and in doing that, he kept the root notes, but changed the melody significantly enough that I almost choked when I first heard it (Matt warned me!) but that was just initial shock, I loved what he did.I am very precious about my chord changes and the way the other instruments relate to them, however, that’s why I chose Matt, he understands that about me.

What have you been listening to like mad lately?

I have been listening to the new Kendrick Lamar album “to pimp a butterfly”, one of the best and most important records in my lifetime I’d say. A few old faves too, “Hejira” by joni Mitchell, some Johnny guitar Watson, the Pop Group’s new one “citizen zombie” is mindblowing, also the Mad Professor’s “Anti racist dub broadcast”

Morrissey’s “World Peace is None of Your Business”, the Stranglers “No More Heroes”,

Other adventures of your sleeve you care to share?

My band Cocksure is just finishing up a new album, me in character again!

Chris Connelly’s Decibels From The Heart will be available May 12 from Cleopatra Records.

YlangYlang

YlangYlang's Catherine Debard, photographed by Katya Konioukhova.

YlangYlang’s Catherine Debard, photographed by Katya Konioukhova.

Montreal solo artist YlangYlang (aka Catherine Debard) follows up her experimental ambient work, Pyramid Island / Parallel Beaches with Mutualism, from Cape Canaveral indie imprint, Illuminated Paths. Chamber synth, and minimalist choral abstracts surface on “De vent et de futur”, or the simmering “Assombrir”, lifting the mind forward to, “Face It”, to ghost calling electro-extraterrestrial echoing, “Les heures violettes”, and more. YlangYlang continues to be a solo fascination worthy of your continued listening, and quintessential counter part to your more sacred meditations.

Catherine explained to us the various evolutions and progressions that went into the making of the new YlangYlang release, Mutualism, clues into the creative composition, and recording processes, with further details featured in the following piece:

Working on Mutualism has been a strange and sometimes confusing project. I had been in a dazed musical state of mind for a while, looking for a path in which I’d like to adventure myself. I had grown skills with music software in the past couple of months, and it brought me to create over-the-top fucked up chopped wannabe house / weird lo-fi IDM productions I listened in loops during long walks, between layers of end-of-winter-grey. I don’t know why but I didn’t feel those tracks, something lacked feelings or magic. The only tracks from those sessions that I felt a lot for were “Face it”, “Sea Green”, and “Nature between the waves”, that I modified a lot since.

Then, during a stoner night home, everything unblocked for the first time with a big loner jam and ecstatic production session. Two new songs emerged from this. It’s probably “De vent et de futur” that gave me the first excitement of this album. The music was made as a jam saved into my loop pedal. I restructured it and added a dope beat. The lyrics were inspired by my reading of The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Kundera (I read it a while ago as a teenager, and I went back to it recently), and by a strong need to change my life in general (both my perception and my way to live, and take decisions). It was the first track I made in French since about four years, at the time with my former band Sally Paradise. Those lyrics have this pop vibe and my way to sing on it is pretty unusual comparing to what I usually do. It felt like a small revolution for me, and it’s really empowering to sing about freedom, future, and breaking open your mind to a new consciousness. Les heures violettes is another track in French from the same jam session, recorded as trance into deep blue/violet feelings, with an easy set up of a drum machine, synth, various pedals and a loop. It was a true catharsis of darkness, vulnerability, and anger. It’s like the explosion of dissatisfaction and awakening of new needs. I let it the way it was recorded, without touching it much. It gives this raw vibe to it.

A little after that, I took the picture for the artwork with French photographer and new friend Sarah Seené, while she was in Montreal. I told her I wanted to be like a Warrior of consciousness, taking roots into the nature, the realness and meditation layers of clouds. She layered elements from her garden with the polaroid she took and I feel it’s really symbiotic together. It was in a way a new character I had chosen for this album.

So I had those tracks and a bunch of weird songs I didn’t enjoy much, until one day I decided to just finish this album. It was time. The first action I did was trashing half of it, then, I opened a file that Alain Lefebvre had recorded from a live set I just did at Bar Pub St-Denis (really awesome night with Hazy Montagne Mystique, Klondike, Joshua Bastien, Alex Moskos and Alain) and I used the end of it for a track, “Assombrir”. In the afternoon I recorded an hour of music in the form of abstract loops and improvised deep lyrics. I spent the day polishing those two final tracks, “Descent in a feminine breakdown” and “More”. Those two songs were the glue that united everything together, as well as maybe the most personal and fragile introspective tracks I have ever done. Finally I had found a balance between those fresh ideas of music that were into my mind and my old way to work as jams / sound sculpture and production.

I feel really happy with the result actually because it feels like a renewal, a refresh. I’ve started to work on new tracks more rhythm based, using cool VSTS [Visual Studio Team System] a good friend of mine sent me (Sami Blanco, Temple Volant, Nava Luvu), slowly working on my side of a split for Flueure Tapes. Thinking about growing some plants, photosynthesis for the skin, and making good vibe sounds.

Beams

Beams, photographed by David "Kid With Camera" Waldman.

Beams, photographed by David “Kid With Camera” Waldman.

Toronto’s Beams returns with their new single, “The Way We Run”, from a recording project collaboration with the venerable indie statesman, John McEntire (the creative mind behind Tortoise, The Sea & Cake, and much more). The latest track takes one of the sunniest panning surveys of Appalachian trail ways that point toward the creativity of the great northern Canadian indie communities of great influence. Beams marches seven artists strong featuring banjo and vocals from Anna, more vocals from Heather, Dave bringing the mandolin, Keith commanding the saw and vibes & vocals, lap steel by Martin, Craig on bass, Mike’s percussive hand. Recorded and mixed at Soma EMS over a year back around January 3-4 in 2014; John McEntire’s guidance here presents his blessing and ear like the eighth member of Beams.

Beams percussionist Mike Duffield lent us the following insights into their recent collaborative project with John McEntire, and more:

I’ve wanted to record at Soma with John McEntire since I was a teenager. I first heard Tortoise’s TNT when I was 14 years old and that pretty much started the whole thing. After that, I’d pretty much pick up anything he worked on just because he worked on it. Funnily enough, out of all the bands I’ve ever been in, I never thought BEAMS would be the band to do it.

I met John at a Sea & Cake show and managed to get a tour of the studio on my first trip to Chicago in 2010, which definitely helped keep that teenage dream alive. What makes it odd is that the studio’s imminent demise was what turned the dream into reality. I woke up one morning, looked at my phone and the top post in my facebook feed was from the studio saying they were closing down in early 2014. It suddenly became a “now or never” type of thing. Coincidentally, BEAMS had two new songs,“The Way We Run” and “Black Shadow”, that were really taking the band in a different direction, and it just seemed like the thing to do. So I did everything I could to make it happen. We only had two days to record and mix the songs, which is a little insane considering we’re a seven-piece band. John is eccentrically quiet. He almost doesn’t talk at all, just observes and acts accordingly, which is probably the reason we were able to get so much done in such a short time. I feel the man is even more mysterious to me now but it’s dudes like him that make me wholeheartedly embrace my own eccentricities.

What was a thought lingering in my head for over a decade pretty much transpired within two days. The recordings are really a document of two things: the band in flux, and one of my favourite studios about to be no more. It’s something that could have only happened at that exact time. That’s what I think is the most magical thing about it.

Cities Aviv

cities aviv - east river park - aug 7 3 copy
(Cities Aviv, aka Gavin Mays performing at East River Park Amphitheater for Summerstage, photographed by Devyn Mañibo.)

Cities Aviv just released, Your Discretion Is Trust, via New York imprint, Collect Records, featuring the grainy minimalism video from Rimar Villaseñor for the brand new cut, “Isolation Quarters (Juk)”. Main man Gavin Mays keeps a juke style beat pressing underneath an undertow of phased and hazed sensory distortion, with an invitation to watch the sun rise, as his silhouette beams forth from the over exposed shot of light beaming through square sections of a glass window.

The new album finds Mays breaking deeper, and into higher definition’s of a style that he has developed over the years through his collaborations, and endless experimentations with the aura like enigma of the audio form. Agony and ecstasy hangs in the URL/IRL balances and blurs, featuring familiar cloudy vapor vibes from RPLD GHSTS on, “Is This Alright”, and, “Earth Signs”, synth loop manifestos of electro books of revelations ring true and timely on, “Discrimination”, nature over synthetic nurturing and tight rhythmic delivery on, “No GMO”, sending the entire ship off on the harmonic dissonance ode to perseverance, “Survival Fit”. The the new Cities style of production rings out clearer than ever, while still remaining lo-fi in the pointed, and purposeful places, over lyrics that ponder the current paradoxes of the present, with more than just a foot stepped into one of the most important audio portals of the future.

Ducktails

Ducktails Matt Mondanile, photographed by  Rob Kulisek.

Ducktails Matt Mondanile, photographed by Rob Kulisek.

Ducktails’ new album, St. Catherine will be available July 24 from Domino Records, and we got the new single from Matt Mondanile with, “Headbanging In The Mirror”. The sparkling sound of late mornings, and mid afternoon delights shine even brighter than witnessed on prior Ducktails offerings. Mondanile creates one the most relaxed summation of sounds that relates the joy of enjoying your favorite tunes in the comforts of your own abode, whilst banging your head in the company of your own personal mirror. Right after the listen, read our interview session with Matt.

Tell us about the art of juggling Ducktails, along with Real Estate.

I get this question a lot. It’s just basically keeps me busy. I still have a lot of free time. I also run a record label called New Images. You should check out the releases on the label. I definitely drive around a lot and sometimes do absolutely nothing at all. it’s good for the brain.

For yourself, how do you describe and define your creative approaches to Ducktails, versus Real Estate, and do you feel that perhaps Real Estate has been informing the new Ducktails material?

Ducktails is me, it’s my creation. It’s my alter ego. It’s my pet concept project that is in my head, my fantasy band. Real Estate is a band of five people who all contribute to it. Ducktails is like the hobby store in your town where you can play Magic the Gathering.

There’s a real idyllic, pursuit of the perfect holiday type of sound that the new St. Catherine album seems to be striving for. What recent events, and fascinations have informed the new music?

I moved to Los Angeles. I had a really interesting time, I traveled all over the world and I met a lot of people. I had interesting experiences… I walked through many beautiful botanical gardens and listened to Debussy Poulenc, and Ravel. Classical music… I learned to play the piano again after forgetting how to… I had a lot of parties on my deck. I fell in love, and then out of love, and I bought a lot of recording gear.

What is the latest and greatest happening in Jersey these days?

My mom got a dog named Lucy, a puppy golden retriever. I haven’t met it yet because I moved to LA but I will soon.

What kinda of philosophies, wisdom, advice, and more have you learn and adopted for the fifth Ducktails release?

Don’t expect anything from anyone.

How do you also make such melodic, beautiful sounds, and then with playful, antithetical titles like, “Headbanging in the Mirror”?

I don’t know, I just love music and melodies, harmonies. I love jamming.

What are a few of your favorite songs that you like to headbang in the mirror to?

Arnold Turboust, “Adelaide”
Scotch, “Take Me Up”
Todd Terje, “Inspector Norse”
Kevin Shields, “City Girl”

Flesh World

Flesh World's Jess Scott, Scott Moore, Guitardiane Anastasio, Andrew Luttrell, photographed by Alex Cruse.

Flesh World’s Jess Scott, Scott Moore, Guitardiane Anastasio, Andrew Luttrell, photographed by Alex Cruse.

We have been listening to the new single, “Poolside Boys“, from San Francisco’s Flesh World on a loop, and this week we were able to get a few words from Jess Scott (of Brilliant Colors), and Scott Moore (of Limp Wrist) on their upcoming album, The Wild Animals in My Life. The Bay Area band creates a synthesis apart from their prior bands and projects, where “Waiting For My Man” fantasias are displayed through sound like a distorted multimedia art installation experience. Jess and Scott describe for us the following feelings, and inspirations behind “Poolside Boys”, as well as a few words, and hints on what to expect from the upcoming The Wild Animals In My Life album, available June 2 from Iron Lung Records.

Scott:

While Poolside Boys was the last song written for the album, it conjures a feeling of beginning. The hazy sensation that washes over you as you surrender to vulnerability. The picture that you painted in your head being fully realized.

Jess:

My bit would basically be that more or less as well: I wrote the lyrics during a pretty intense period of painting work for an exhibition and it was a really sort of guttural envisage of what could be communicated to someone you admire.

What to expect? I guess it depends on if they’ve heard the other stuff in which case I think it’s like breaking that first record wide open, all the punk driving forces are still there, and still our bricks, but they’re now building this really much bigger space that feels a lot more courageous to us.

Mammút

Iceland's Mammút, photographed by Jonatan Gretarsson.

Iceland’s Mammút, photographed by Jonatan Gretarsson.

Following up 2013’s Komdu til mín svarta systir; Iceland’s Mammút return with the Rivers End EP, available June 1 from Bella Union. The group of childhood friends, comrades, and confidants take us through a gallery of images, feelings, and notes of familiarity through a cinematic sound sweep of shared, hidden realms. The band recalls old Nordic songs, brought about in scrawled scrolls, and cloth bound notebooks; carried in the guitar string creaking vessel bowels of an ancient, wooden ship. Translated rhymes of ancient, and contemporary mariners sing with a sweet, solemnity into the darkest ebb pulls of sea. Mammút vocalist Kata Mogenson described the translation process of adapting Icelandic lyrics to English on the upcoming Rivers End EP with the following:

For a long time I refused to translate any lyrics, I thought it was cheating. The lyrics came to me in Icelandic so they shouldn’t be forced into another context. But also it was a lot of people advising us to translate, and as a very young girl in the music scene I had very low tolerance for men telling me what we could do to make it in the big world.

As I and the rest of the band started performing more and more to an non Icelandic speaking audience the more I wanted them, not just to feel the emotions of my voice but also to understand it, to make a stronger connection. All of a sudden it almost felt pathetically patriotic to be holding on to the Icelandic language.

When I then started translating the lyrics I realized that they have no logic storyline. They are put together by words that wake up strong images, they are a hint of a strong and familiar state of mind. To make that work in English was difficult. Often they sounded like I had very poor understanding of the English language.

The lyrics were translated by me and Páll Jónsson, who has a broader vocabulary and helped to find words that have a similar sound as the Icelandic ones, we were not too obsessed with the logic of the English lyrics, but more focused on the sounds and the beauty of it.

Rivers End EP will be available June 1 from Bella Union.

Hear Mammút’s single “Salt”, that sails about the rocky waters of the Nordic Seas with purpose, and a confident push of war path chord progressions. The band creates a perfect, and steady storm that swirls cyclones around Kata’s vocals echoing brilliantly from within the of the whirlpool vortex.

Also watch Mammút perform the original, Icelandic version of “Salt” live on KEXP.

Mammút’s Rivers End EP will be available June 1 digitally from Bella Union.

The Relationship

The Relationship, photographed by Rebel Union Ent.

The Relationship, photographed by Rebel Union Ent.

Touring through May 15, check out The Relationship, founded by Brian Bell (of Weezer fame), with Nate Shaw (U.S. Bombs), Jon LaRue (co-songwriter buddy of Albert Hammond Jr.), and Anthony Burulcich (known for his percussion work for Morrissey, and The Bravery). From their Burger Records released 7″ single, “Oh Allen”; stories and tales of two friends growing apart, but remaining tight through it all sets the stage for a pop garage Iliad of an unrivaled bromance. A song about the best of friends, and dudes carries a dutiful weight of loyalty between bros like a modern day epic of Gilgamesh. Brian and Jon were also kind enough to join us for a conversation round, featured after the following listen.

How did you begin The Relationship with buddies Nate Shaw from U.S. Bombs, Jon LaRue (Albert Hammond Jr.’s collaborative bro), and percussion extraordinaire, Anthony Burulcich?

Brian: I began the group with Nate Shaw about five years ago as a songwriting partnership. After year of writing songs we decided that these songs were too good to give to other people. We decided that we are performers so we should perform them. And that nobody could perform the songs as well as we could.

How do you and the guys go about writing songs for The Relationship?

Brian: Allen started with an idea, and then we extrapolated on it and tried to not lose focus on the initial idea. If it’s a strong idea, it will make it into a Relationship song.

How have relationships and friendships and so forth inspired you all for this project?

Jon: this whole project is all about friendships and relationships. Outside of the band name, we wouldn’t be playing music together if we didn’t truly enjoy it and weren’t really friends. The songs are inspired by relationships, we have outside relationships, and then there’s us. We laugh sometimes that we are in a relationship with The Relationship.

What’s next in the cards for The Relationship?

Jon: We are starting a full US tour. We can’t wait to get this stuff on the road and play the songs and have a good time. It’s will be our first time playing most of the cities and we are really looking forward to meeting the people who come out to our shows. We really feel like our live set has come into its own. We are actually all in the van right now of the way to San Francisco. We have been working on a full length release and have most of the songs already and have been listening to them in the van and talking about ways to make them as good as they can be. When we get back home at the end of May, we will hopefully be finishing the record.

Indie artists/bands that need more attention and ears do you feel?

Jon: I’m not as close to the indie music as I used to be. I think when you are growing up and that whole high school period for a lot of people, especially musicians and artists, is all about finding the coolest music possible and being able to play an amazing new band for your friends that they hadn’t heard yet. When I was growing up, there was a lot of really cool indie rock stuff at the end of the 90’s. Bands like Guided By Voices, Built to Spill, Elliott Smith. Nowadays, I hear about a lot of bands when we play shows. I have a whole list on my phone of bands people have recommended to me. I haven’t had a chance to go through and listen to them yet, but I will. We are bringing Gringo Star on the road with us. They are really good and fun to watch.

The Oh Allen / Young Temptations 7″ is available now from Burger Records.

Check out more of The Relationship’s power poppy sentiments in the Daniel Dart video from Rebel Union Ent for “Young Temptations”, collected and edited from Burgerama at The Observatory.

The Chairman Dances

Introducing The Chairman Dances, photographed by J. Randolph Brown of Steady State Productions.

Introducing The Chairman Dances, photographed by J. Randolph Brown of Steady State Productions.

Meet Philadelphia’s The Chairman Dances are readying their Daniel Smith recorded EP (the good man behind Sufjan Steven’s Seven Swans, and more), Samantha Says, available May 29 from Grizzly Records, presenting a debut listen to the song, “Consolation”. Comprised of the friendly crew of Dan Comly, Ashley Cubbler, Luke Pigott, Ben Rosen, Kevin Walker, and Eric Krewson; the sextet makes music that rings pure and true from the observances and inclinations from the most self-aware hearts.

“Consolation” tallies up the hurt from harsh familiar routines, broken hearts, and ripped valentines that asks for some sort of reprieve from life’s rough complications. The anguish, anger, and all the reactive energies are described in a raw, but poet manner of honest examinations. The Chairman Dances take the twee aspects of love sick let downs, and make the hopeful best of it in melodic brush strokes where the band’s harmonized voices are lifted up even higher from the feel good/feel better sound of “Consolation”. Following the premiere listen, read songwriter Eric Krewson’s thoughts on the making of their upcoming Samantha Says EP.

The story of Samantha Says is as brief as the EP itself, though that brevity belies the care given to the record. I met producer and songwriter Daniel Smith after a Jad Fair and Danielson show. I told Daniel about my band, gave him some of our recordings; in a few days, he said he’d like to record us. We then tracked the EP in a weekend at Daniel’s New Jersey studio. That’s the whole story. What’s missing is that I wrote two albums after the band’s last LP, The Death of Samuel Miller. I was most proud of the second, Samantha Says, which is far more ‘pop’ than any of our previous efforts, and which deals with femininity, generally, and a fictional 40-year-old woman, specifically. The band had been working on the other album when Daniel agreed to record us; with studio time now booked, we threw out everything we had been working on, and concentrated solely on Samantha. We honed that new material, cutting three songs, and came to Daniel with an EP. For his part, Daniel was far more ‘hands on’ than I had expected; he helped shape every song. ‘Does the guitar need to be in right now? What if it came in here?’ ‘What if the keys played a different line. No, not that one. Yes, do that!’ He helped us to listen more critically. With the band members and Daniel bouncing ideas off each other, we wound up changing quite a bit in the studio. The result is The Chairman Dances’ most mature record to date, and the one I am the most proud of. It is brief but, I hope, substantive and moving.

The Chairman Dances’ Samantha Says EP will be available May 29 from Grizzly Records.

Field Harmonics

field harmonics week in pop 1

Field Harmonics lent a listen to the follow up sound from their 2013 debut album Walls, with the new single, “Girls”. Available May 18 from Wayside and Woodland Recordings, the new track features the vocal expressions of Bryony Williams, coupled with Rob Glover’s music to make for a volatile ultra electro pop jam. The decadence from former futurist-leaning decades of the neon 80s, and the polyester 70s burn through the anachronistic books of audio decorum for a styles that borrows the sound textile from the clothiers and wardrobes of tomorrow’s best of aesthetic tastes. Over long distance cables, we were able to catch up with both Bryony, and Rob in our featured interview that follows the new single.

What has shifted in your own creative methods since your debut album, Walls?

Rob: Walls was written and produced in a very isolated, almost hermetic manner, which was great at the time and gave me real focus on what I was trying to achieve. After playing in various bands (epic45, July Skies, My Autumn Empire) in the time preceding the recording of ‘Walls’, I really relished that isolation and singular vision – totally inspired by my friends and fellow bandmates and how they would work and develop in a solo environment. The only hints of collaboration on ‘Walls’ were the female vocal lines that I recorded or sampled from my friends Sarah and Xenia. Within that was the seed of the idea to work with more female vocalists, something I’d been thinking about for a while, but I hadn’t been sure of who to approach and who might be into the idea. After meeting Bryony Williams at one of my shows around 2 years ago, we started to tentatively work on remixes and new Field Harmonics material together, and the dynamic of collaboration once again became something I thoroughly enjoyed and wanted.

How did you guys meet and how did Bryony become part of the Field Harmonics
team?

Bryony: I met Rob through my older cousin, Tom, who had been close friends with Rob since school, and had grown up together in the same village. Back in May 2013, Still Corners were performing at a venue in Birmingham and on a whim I decided to go. Rob just so happened to be supporting, and so my cousin put my name down on the guestlist and I met Rob that night. A little later, Rob viewed some YouTube posts of me singing and playing guitar and soon after asked if I was interested in collaborating vocally on a couple of tracks and remixes he was working on…and now we’re here!

How did the two of you find that perfect electro pop ground that you relish in with one hook after the next on the track, “Girls”?

Rob: “Girls” as a track has been about 18 months in the making and started life as a series of loops just as Bryony and I started collaborating together. We slowly chipped away at it for a while before it was at a stage where I wanted Bryony to add solid vocals, and at this point it took on a whole new lease of life and quickly came together in the finished form you hear now, with the lyrics being written and recorded in a single afternoon. Admittedly, I did then spend a few months editing and mixing the nearly 100 channels of audio that comprised the project and finally got to the stage where I felt happy with how the layers and arrangement were sitting. Whilst there is no real discernible chorus, it really felt all along like a series of mini choruses and hooks that shift and change to keep the listener second guessing as to where the track is heading.

Bryony: Rob was the creator of “Girls”, as the ideas for the track were forming around the time we first started recording together. However since then, “Girls” has shifted in every direction imaginable before it reached the stage it’s at now. It was always fun coming back to the song and listening to it again, and hearing something in the track that had been altered since the last time we’d worked on it together. It really tuned my ears in terms of production and subtly of mixing, and each time we listened back to it the arrangements would affect our bodies and we’d share acknowledgment through eye glances and whipping the headphones off to say, ‘this is pretty fucking good.’

Tell us about the new Field Harmonics material that you two have been working on.

Bryony: The new Field Harmonics material has often come from extended jams or very quickly throwing ideas back and forth. We’ve been in the studio for so much time over the last six months in the lead up to our new EP release this summer. I’m very excited about it all, and you can definitely hear both of our influences coming through in the sounds we are creating at the moment.

Spring/summer plans for Field Harmonics?

Rob: We are just in the process of moving studio space at the moment but are trying to complete vocals and extra instrumentation for the forthcoming EP either side of the shift. We are also starting to work on material for the following release which is developing the sound even further with a greater emphasis on throwing in elements of both of our influences and current tastes. We are playing a series of UK gigs and festivals over the summer to try out more of this new material in front of a live audience to see how it goes down. We cant wait to see where it all takes us next.

Field Harmonics new single, “Girls” will be available on limited edition cassette and digital May 18 via Wayside and Woodland Recordings.

“Dedicated to all those who feel something,” Liphemra announced with the release of new b-side, “…even nothing.” The new single is “Feel Nothing”, which works in the way of the grandiose vision of previous Liphemra works, where the entire audio environment is designed like a sound-stage to contain some of the biggest emotions and feelings Liv Marsico has been curating and orchestrating in recent months, days, years, and moments.

NYC’s pow wow! out of the springtime blue dropped the new single, “I Want You”, to provide a little sunshine sweet, and suave sensations to curate a sound that caters to all the relaxing pop sounds you crave. Featuring an animated adventure to go with the new single, the band described the single with the following preface:

Seemingly out of nowhere, we decided to drop “I Want You”the first in a string of sexy new singles for 2015, featuring two new songs and a music video that summon the power of the Dark Lord himself to shake up your otherwise pleasant, sunny, mojito and kale salad filled summer.

Check out the Chop N Shoot Films video for Laelo’s “One Time For Hip Hop” that presents a little something like a diamond shining brighter than the sun. L lays it down with head held high for a marvelous new future from his collaborative project with Hec Dolo, Deeper than Plenty, Higher Than Most, featuring slacked back sax styles from Brent Brickhead, and moves by Kristina Divine.

With all the remixing action surrounding the collaborative Sun Glitters Galaxy EP; we are delighted to give you the Sarah P. remix of, “Clouds In Your Eyes”. The cloud crossed visions here are crossed into the perpendicular convection styles and systems from two of the post-internet age’s most beloved indie star artists. The synergy combined continues to inspire the two titans of nu-electro into those places of sensory and experimentation that snarky journos and writers have yet to find sub-genre tags for.

With their album, Atlantis available later this year from Anova Music (that features mixing from Yuck’s Max Bloom), hear and see the Berlin based band Soda Fabric’s “I Don’t Wanna Save Your Life”, put to the collage image collection assembled by Shay Yacinton Ariely. The nature versus nurture clashes of nature, and development collide into a cavalcade of images, hybrid oddities, and other surreal sensations.

Vaadat Charigim presents visuals for their single, “Ein Li Makom”, directed by Juval Harring’s brother, Tal Haring, from the upcoming album, Sinking As A Stone / Hashiamum Shokea available May 19 from Burger Records / Anova. Watch as late night bus rides provide chances for a kind of connective magic, and mysticism, with light beaming results of transcendentalism.

The Yetis dropped their new single, “Where You Goin'”, from their upcoming EP, delivering some home power pop romanticism that somehow never gets old, and always strikes the heart chords with a resonance of truths. Currently the band is filming their music video for, “Mysterion” with director Ryan Ohm (who has shot videos for Twin Peaks, Modern Vices, etc), as the Allentown, PA bunch jet set out on their European tour in July.

Hear Pavo Pavo’s a-side from their upcoming single, “Ran Ran Run” b/w “Annie Hall”, available May 18, with the promise of their debut album, Young Narrator in the Breakers available later this year. Playing a release show May 22 at NYC’s Mercury Lounge with Sam Cohen, the quintet transform their Yale musical school studies into something experimental, unusual, and one of the most beautiful sounds in pop music today. “Ran Ran Run” moves in mysterious ways, from a skilled group that brings talents from Sam Fermin, collaborators of Here We Go Magic’s Luke Temple, Dave Longstreth, and the backing band of Sam Cohen for fusions in sound, with sequences, motions, and movements that will surprise you in unexpected ways, at the most least suspecting moments.

HONNE’s Coastal Love was released this week from Tatemae Recordings, and we have the piano guided single of head to foot sensations and sentiments with, “Top To Toe”. The acoustic notes press against the rhythm machines, and treated synths that create a full experience that inhabits and embodies nearly your entire being from beginning to finish.

Drawing inspiration from the ill-fated 1970s visual artist Bas Jan Ader, Landshapes deliver the b/w performance video from David Graham and Ben Marshall for “Ader”, off their album, Heyoon, available from Bella Union. Catch our premiere of the single and interview with the band here, and enjoy the energy and interpretive/inspired dances from the London group now.

Ecstatic Vision sent along an ecstatic listen to some new stomping, distorted, sweet sounds from their upcoming debut album available via Relapse on June 30, with “Don’t Kill The Vibe”. Like many songs that request that the vibe not be squashed out, or extinguished into the ether; EV blazes laser guitar trails through a wind tunnel occupied by the motor distortion of circle eight motocross audio pyrotechnics.

Sibling duo Gem and Eye take a twist on the 1920s, by catapulting it to a ballroom pop affair for the 2020s, 3020s, and so forth. The NYC brother and sister spin a baroque take on the choral pop correlations to the more spaced out aspect of production, and arrangements that soar in an ascension light years above, beyond, and some where from the time and places yet to be known.

Glower dropped the big guitar-garage pop alternative attitudes on the high swinging, “Low Motion”, available on the upcoming, The Circle Binds album, available June 23 from Broken Circles. The chords are big, the hooks are phat, and the melodies clang together with the big pop amplified control blasts of well defined distorted edges.

Bay Area’s own fierce duo Double Dutchess released their CSCN single, and cover of Grace Jones’ “Bullshit”, while the world awaits the documentary on Jones titled, The Musical Of My Life. Listen as the icon’s original is reworked with even more attitude, and dance suite of sweet tasting noise makers, and body moving candy to keep pushing forward all night.

In more news from the Cascine / flau camps; check out the Natalia Stuyk video (known for her visualizations for artists like How To Dress Well, Basement Jaxx, and Django Django) for Cuushe’s “Tie” that folks like David Dean Burkhart are calling, a “Windows 2098 screensaver.” Watch as CGI shapes, neon patterns, and circuit like abstracts rotate, break, and create binary metropolises, and universes of illumination.

Etiquette dropped the mystical chic in the Luke McCutcheon video for “Twinkling Stars”, from the Toronto duo of Julie Fadar and Graham Walsh’s (of Holy Fuck) debut album, Reminisce, available now from Hand Drawn Dracula. Electro worlds of shining star galaxies are strewn through visions of lavender and purple lens filter squares, and electric visual sequences.

Imaginary People’s album debut, Dead Letterbox will be available July 17, and you can join Dylan Von Wagner now in the b/w Julio D. De Los Santos video for, “Summerstock”, that shares some ecstatic, strictly NYC vibes to help ring in the summer edition of 2015.

Rosen & Spyddet’s album, Fortuna will be available from Posh Isolation, May 22, and we have a listen to the track, “Forglemmigej”, to provide the sound of rising days, new dawning of new months, and the anticipation of new opportunities and hopes.

Cafe Lanai delivered a lush listen to the tropic comforts of, “Lanai”, the first single off their upcoming Paradise EP, avaialble June 30 from Hybridity Music.

We received a digital telegram from North East UK’s Cape Cub, who followed up their single, “Lantern“, with the soft, serene and determined ditty, “Swim”. The ways of amour’s effects, and the side effects of affection are described with metaphors and similes that that roar and splash like the might of the sea, sending a heavy valentine/love note of abandonment, and the emotional embrace of a beloved one when everything feels sunk to the bottom leagues of the sea’s uncompromising depths.

Bang Gang’s The Wolves Are Whispering will be available on Bang Ehf June 23, and we present the electric ultra pop from Ladytron’s Helen Marnie, Keren Ann, Bloodgroup, and more set to the dramatic imagination of Luis Vanegas’s rendering with the out of the blue video for, “Out Of Horizon”.

Check out the Barbarossa, aka James Mathé out enjoying the splendor of nature in a hoodie to the groove of the title track off of, Imager, available May 12 from Memphis Industries.

For those in the mood for some orchestral, nu-chamber essences; might we recommend the sparse and evocative video from Indy Hait for Zohara’s single “Lost”, full of world stirring strings.

Jamaican Queens dropped the “Love Is Impossible” single, and video ahead of their upcoming new album, Downers available June 2 from Freakish Pleasures. Enjoy the snazzy, and jazzy electric sound from the J Queens, and attempt to make sense, or just get weird right along with all the strange, and out of control antics that are about to transpire before your eyes and ears.

For the ambivalent folks out there, Slim Wray and the gang to give you a cloven hooved kick of directional inspiration on the lively skronk hopper, “Take It Or Leave It”, found on their upcoming Post No Bills EP, available July 14.

From Medina, Ohip; check out Chomp, that features the talented Joe Boyer of Cloud Nothings, who are readying their 7″ for Future Boy Records, available June 9, and we give you the dystopian ode to reason and rationale with, “The Rational Anthem”. The trio gurgle guitars against engine driving bass chords that rails against the shaded, dated, and wasted days of our lives by seeking out the questions via DIY style inquiries.

From the 7″ available this summer on Terrible Records, let yourself lie down in a thicket of flowers, overgrown weeds, and reeds, and let Moses Sumney’s single “Seeds” slowly strum you into the drifting lands of crumbling sands that fall into the cradling arms of mother nature. This is the sound of art imitating nature, while the wandering consciousness ponders whether or not Sumney’s work here is whole different kind of nature, mirroring the audio arts of genuine tranquility.

The debut Terrace album We Fall Together will be available June 1 from TechnoFunk, and we present the fresh spring to summer transition vibes from Simon Lock and the gang on the sensational video for, “Exit Stars”. Follow all of our Terrace coverage here.

Portal Bat, aka Money For Rope’s Chris Loftis just released his EP, Slow Boil, via Breathlessness Records. The Melbourne artist will brighten up your late nights with snazzy sheen of, “Slash Bang”, simmer surreal fidelity frequencies on the cerebral shifting, “Cerberus”, cruising into the crystal cavern, “Shrine”, while “Slow Boil” takes Portal Bat’s into the eight and a half minutes conclusion. Keep an ear out for more feel good fringe flights from Mr. Loftis, and associated acts.

Donald Cumming (from The Virgins) dropped the working class sound of sorting it all out on the single, “Workin’ It Out”, from his solo album, Out Calls Only, available June 16 from Washington Square/Razor and Tie.

The upcoming Kindred Spirit is an upcoming split EP featuring Rocky Votolato (of Waxwing) and Chuck Ragan, available June 2 from SideOneDummy Records, and we have the lyric video from Jeff Rosenstock for the slow strumming single, “Sparks of Recovery”.

LA’s Parks Burton(a producer from Ryan Hemsworth’s Secret Songs imprint) along with Kazimier (of Shlohmo, Chrome Sparks) are releasing a split EP titled, Gifts, available June 16 from Grind Select / Graveyard Orbit. Catch some of Burton ice cold cool cuts with the track, “Ribbon”, that wraps up dance floor decorum with glossiest of silk streamers.

Watch Jenny Hval’s low-lit video of vintage goth-ish noir fare for her song of sardonic surveys, “That Battle Is Over”, directed by Zia Anger from the forthcoming Sacred Bones album, Apocalypse, girl.

From our friends Buffalo Rodeo, check out the Adam Wolffbrandt, Morgan Walker, and Tyler Essary video for “Blue Sky” (featuring many fancy stage lights of many colors), off their EP, 123 Water, available now via Jeffery Drag Records. These are the lights, sights, and sounds of the indie Bowling Green, Kentucky you never knew. Read our lively interview with the band, here.

The big stadium tailored pop of Chase Coy’s “Like Sin” would not normally have caught my ear, but the transformation shift that occurs at the two and a half minute mark onward is the stuff that makes for the choicest remix stems, and a hook progression that could go on ad infinitum. The track is taken from his forthcoming album, Youth, available June 23.

Hear what all the buzz and fuss is about, surrounding the release of Blue Blood’s This Is Life via This Is American Music. The Athens group is centered around Hunter Morris and features members from Dead Confederate, MGMT creates a cluster of songs situated in the key of life.

Farao, aka Kari Jahnsen gathers the instinctive ethics, and subtle electronic attitudes on her new single, “Hunter”, delivered fresh from the artist’s quaint village of Ulnes, Norway.

Aichi, Japan based artist Noah lent the flawless beauty and unblemished glory of, “Flaw”, taken off her upcoming debut album, Sivutie, available June 22 from flau. Part of an elaborate work that paints a myersious night world in the enviornment of a dream; essences of the intimate and interpersonal desires and callings manifest like some of the most evocative ambient pop of today.

Bellows’s Week in Pop

Bellows

Bellows

(Bellows’ Oliver Kalb, performing at the Lincoln Center, photographed by Walter Wlodarczyk.)
As The Epoch releases a brand new song online every day for seven days for their “May 5 to 12 Songs” project — Oliver Kalb was kind enough to take a moment provide some guest selections for the following presentation of Bellows’s Week in Pop:

 

Chris Weisman, “Working On My Skateboarding”

“The truth is coming out, the truth is coming out my friend, so I’m working on it working on it working on my skateboarding.” Not much more to say about this song. I think it’s perfect. Some things get ruined when you try to explain them. “It represents a baby’s birth.”

Enya, “How Can I Keep From Singing?”

Some kind of purity, a pastoral simplicity…sometimes there’s too much irony and will to fuck up beautiful things in the weird world of rock music. Enya just rocks it in her own way by making beautiful music that is utterly un-fucked-up. Still, there’s more interesting things going on in this earnestness than in any rock band’s irony. We’re in the world only a short while. Why would you taint this?

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(Bellows’ Oliver Kalb, photographed by Walter Wlodarczyk.)

Kendrick Lamar, “King Kunta”

I hesitated to put this song on my list cause I think there’s something weird and gross about the white-indie-Kendrick-fan, shouting from the mountain tops about his hot take on To Pimp a Butterfly. I wish there was a way to love and appreciate the album without contributing to all of this noise. Anyway, I guess everybody wants to set themselves apart from the lame crowd, whose appreciation of an artist seems beneath your own. In any case, I think this is my favorite song by Kendrick Lamar. The emotion in the, “aw yeah, fuck the judge, I made it past 25 and there I was…” moment is so scathing and joyful. I think the coolest dynamic trick in a hip hop song is when the verse is extended a few more bars to delay the satisfaction of the hook — the beat changes slightly and plays on the listener’s desire for an emotion climax. “King Kunta” is also interesting cause the music modulates repeatedly, making the beat that much more tense each time it happens. Even tiny instrumental changes, like the two-note electric guitar riff that comes in on the second chorus, sound gigantic. I’ve never really heard another song that sounds like this.

Judee Sill, “Jesus Was a Crossmaker”

Judee Sill’s story is sad. Despite being a better songwriter than any of her male contemporaries in the 1970’s California folk-rock scene, she never really found mainstream success and eventually died of an overdose at a really young age. “Jesus Was a Crossmaker” is one of the strangest and best pop songs I’ve ever heard — there’s an ingenuity to the way Sill uses chords, an extremely interesting and irregular meter, and something so plain and powerful about the lyric, “he’s a bandit and a heartbreaker, but Jesus was a Crossmaker.” Sill is able to hate the man who hurt her, but excuse him for what he did to her in the exact same line, likening him to Jesus Christ and suggesting that some people are drawn to their own destruction. There’s a confusing duality to the way people love each other, and this song captures how anger and tenderness can entangle themselves in our hearts. Memorializing artists like Judee Sill, who never got their due when they were alive, is really important. They deserve to be remembered and loved.

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Hello Shark, “The Rolling Stones”

I don’t wanna over explain this one. “I don’t know why the Rolling Stones put me down.”

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