Week in Pop: AERS, Fantastic, Nowhere, Soft Swells, Wild Decade, Wormburner

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Droid Bishop, Geoff Geis, Icewater, Quad, Scale Model, co-curated by Blood Moon.

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Sjimon Gompers | September 26, 2014

Soft Swells, from left; Christopher Pappas, Tim Williams, & Kyle Fredrickson, photographed by Dylan Bell.

Soft Swells, from left; Christopher Pappas, Tim Williams, & Kyle Fredrickson, photographed by Dylan Bell.

Moving along in the chaos of fall, Impose’s Week in Pop brings you the latest exclusive headlines, and all the buzz in between. Beyond the Ello social media hype, Apple’s purchase of Beats Music sits at a crossroads; Thom Yorke, Nigel Goodrich, and the curious case of the white-wax-most-likely-upcoming Radiohead LP; plus hints at perhaps a new Replacements album in the works, Team Sleep (Chino Moreno of Deftones, Zach Hill of Death Grips, Hella) also have their second album in the works; there’s a Elephant 6 Recording Co. doc in effect called A Place We Have Been To; Tyler, the Creator on the Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival morning news campaign trail, Charli XCX delays upcoming album; frightening Phil Spector pics from inside the pen, Pink Floyd promises endless baby-boomer runoff with news of The Endless River; Alex Winter talked about Bill & Ted 3; Brody Dalle versus J. Lo & Iggy Azalea over ‘horrendous‘ “Booty” video; a Neon Indian TED Talk, Morrissey’s “BE KIND TO ANIMALS OR I’LL KILL YOU” t-shirt; and be sure to check out the Columbia University creative writings of “post-hippie domesticity and the tenuous connection between preppiness and colonialism” from the college days of Vampy Weekend’s Ezra Koenig.

But moving over to the latest in world premieres, brand new developments, conversation cavalcades, with closer, newer, looks, and listens — we bring you Soft Swells, Nowhere, Fantastic, Wild Decade, AERS, Wormburner, Droid Bishop, Geoff Geis, Icewater, Quad, Glass Gang, co-curated by Blood Moon, and more — in no particular order.

SOFT SWELLS

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Tim Williams’ band Soft Swells are about to release the album Floodlights September 30 on Modern Outsider Records, and we have the debut advance listen followed by an interview with the frontman himself. While many sing, talk, and write about love — Tim writes his own song of songs that provide a sentimental look into the oceanic landscape expanses where the pressures and fear from the alienating excess of fish in the sea becomes a personal paeon and plea for to the listener to find a safe harbor in the metaphor of life’s engulfing floods.

“Bloodshot Eyes” pits the passionate piano keys against the revolving loop of stair step ascending synths coupled by Tim’s tale of hungry and weary eyes. Next up is the crowd pleaser, “Keep It To Yourself” that is the earworm that contains the titular chorus that will not slip away from your ear anytime soon, with it’s electric steel twang. The title track “Floodlights” shines an optimistic glow of searching spot lights on the chorus falsetto croon of “oh this love is gonna grow,” where the band gallops with the utmost urgency. Optimist and “a chance to grow old” weigh in on “Looking For Gold”, that ponders life lessons about thoughts on dreams, desires, and that elusive item of conjoined hearts, or as Tim puts it, “A Life To Hold”. Anthems of holding and hanging on to life and the ideas of love keep pulsing like heart rate pulse poetics of locked hearts looking for keys and a way to be broken apart on, “Locks”. As these songs in the key of life and love continue on with the search for substance and fulfillment; “Life Without Love” reckons that an empty hearted existence is no existence at all, while the electronic impulses percolate between the coordination and connective calm of, “Hands and Eyes”.

Williams pens an album born out of the love song motif, where he sends out messages for star-crossed lovers to “do what they want to” on the no-looking back confidence of “No Regrets”, followed by more motivational — yet intimate moments that become magnified by the mountains of headstrong volition on, “Go!”. And after the noise and dust settles and clears, Soft Swells part ways with another love ballad to leave you with on “Love Like You”. The lasting impressions build and rise with hopes of a bountiful bond to last for all time, as the Soft Swells leave you in an electric melange of forget me nots, on the happy hearted note that parted hearts will meet again in life’s great happily ever after. After this exclusive stream of Floodlights, Tim takes us through the making of the new album and more.

From your self-titled and last year’s Lifeboats — what was it like developing Floodlights on your own, and keeping with the aqua elemental motif found on the previous EP?

Floodlights happened really organically just like all the records I have recorded. I didn’t feel any pressure to write songs as I write all the time and certainly didn’t feel like I needed to write about waves and sand. I think that just living in Southern California pulls out those elements of my life.

Tell us what it was like combining the energy of your live sound into the recording mix? You have talked before about creating a more sophisticated approach to your songs, how has this kind of development behind the scenes for you impacted the overall run of Floodlights?

For this record I specifically wanted it to sound as much like our live show as possible. I like playing as a four piece, and that limits you a bit in the studio, but in the end it makes for a tight knit band — of which we have an incredible one. (Christopher Pappas on Bass, Kyle Fredrickson on Guitar/Keys and Jack Lawless on bass).

What sort of real life events inspired the title track of growing love to the expanses of Floodlights? Real life floods? Water world fixations perhaps? Even the name Soft Swell alludes to a tranquil blanketing of ocean waters and wave formations.

I grew up in a very landlocked part of the Midwest and the first time I saw the ocean I came alive. The song “Floodlights” was inspired by my new wife Sabrina and the feeling of a relationship finally working out — while making me happy/content but also challenging me (which I need).

Soft Swells, photographed by Dylan Bell.

Soft Swells, photographed by Dylan Bell.

Songs of love and courage populate the album on nearly every song, including the bonus cuts, “Take Back Your Life” and “Love Yourself”. What is about the connection of life affirmations, loving yourself and others that is so important to you?

The idea and the act of “Love” challenges us every day and is something that I connect deeply with. It’s as much reflective as it is promotive.

How do you, yourself translate these kinds of sentiments into the formats of song?

I try to write in a way that can speak to someone in the first person as if they are wearing headphones — kind of narrating along and adding colors to the landscape.

What can we expect next from Soft Swells?

Lots of touring both US and internationally we hope!

Artists and bands that you feel really deserve their due, and a heightened degree of attention?

Kathleen Edwards is a favorite of mine. I would also say Roman Candle out of Nashville.

Parting words of wisdom, or accompanying notes, companion piece words about Floodlights?

I couldn’t be more proud of this record and truly appreciate everyone that listens to Floodlights and comes to our shows!

The new Soft Swells album, Floodlights, will be available September 30 from Modern Outsider Records.

NOWHERE

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Readying to release the album Diamond September 30 from Jurassic Pop Records, meet Matt Rolin of Nowhere, featured here in an interview, and advance listen premiere to the entire full-length. The Cleveland based musician plays with folks that share a vision of lysergic-eyed eras and former empires resurrected like dinosaur fossils brought back to life (ala Michael Creighton / Steven Spielberg) to once again aimlessly roam the earth.

Nowhere brings the hedonism of Diamond somewhere deep into the magical mystery tour of “The Guide”, a map book to the following album of multi-sided prisms. “Colors” breaks the light into the many different hues, that teases the “colors in your hair” reminiscent of the thematic motifs found on 60s classics like “She Comes in Colors”/”She’s a Rainbow”. With freakouts that roar like a genie let loose after being bottled up in 1968, “You Never Knew” keeps the consciousness chasms ringing like an open cavern that echoes the tune in, turn on, drop out, be here now ethics that absorb every aspect of this record. As Nowhere keeps their world turning anywhere and everywhere they want to — “Everything” reaches out for the meaning of all in a tumble dry kaleidoscope machine, reckoning through the chest drawers of feelings on the midnight oil burner, “Nightlight”.

The mood turns rosy on the jangle joy of “Baby” that shrugs with ambivalence on lost and found love, while “Jane Street” fires lazer ray beams while looking for some action on shaking street. “Silhouettes” speeds at a break neck pace in the shadows of “Astronomy Domine”, with “Wait” weighing out the price of patience and piety, while “Sleep” magnificently lulls you into the sweet nesting arms of psychedelic slumber, that leads you to the awakening of “Fall Away”. Clocking in under eight minutes, Matt Rolin brings down the house, commencing Diamond with an epic piece that awaits as the final chapter through his hazy romancing of precious stones. Following this debut stream, Matt joins for an enthusiastic discussion about the Cleveland indie scenes, and much more.


Give us the scoop from Cleveland, how have their indie scenes affected, influenced, and/or informed you?

This is a city with a very deep musical heritage that has largely remained quarantined off from the rest of the world until recent times. A lot of this attitude/sad reality can be attributed to the city getting a bum rap for so long that eventually everyone decided to say, “Fuck it, and fuck you!” to everyone else. You probably know The Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, and The Raspberries, but what about Bill Fox, Damnation of Adam Blessing, or Nick Tolar? If you haven’t heard any of these guys, stop whatever you’re doing and look them up before proceeding. There are countless other artists from this town that never got their due for a variety of reasons, but they probably didn’t even want it to begin with. People making music because they truly love music, and to a lesser extent have nothing else going for them in a bummer of a city is the essence of the music scene here.

How did Nowhere first begin?

On the verge of giving up. I had been involved in the music scene here for a number of years in a variety of bands and solo projects, but none that I was ever completely satisfied with. It always just kind of felt like there was something still missing from my end. I took almost a year off and started recording some stuff in the dead of winter that I had no plans of performing live. I should also note that I was floating around jobs at this point and was generally not very happy while being very stressed. I started a new bartending job and met Sandman, my bass player, who was a server at the place. We talked about music a lot and he convinced me to get a band together after hearing demos of the first Nowhere record. After giving the finished copy of the album to some friends, an old buddy had started a record label called Jurassic Pop out of Indianapolis with his college friend and they wanted to put it out on cassette. I was stoked. Then, I got asked to play a really good show before the band was put together, so of course I said yes and had to scramble. The live band consists of Christopher Hoke (Field Trip), Adam Gravatt (Prisoners), Stanton Thatcher (Founding Fathers, Tall Pines, Plus Ultra), and Sandman. All guys that I’d played with previously and/or had been good friends with from sharing a mutual respect for music and general weirdness.

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What’s the story behind the name? It seems like nowhere is a big concept from Neil Young (Everyone Knows This is Nowhere) to the Beatles (“Nowhere Man”), and now you guys.

As much as I love The Beatles, Neil Young, and Ride, the name doesn’t really have anything to do with them. I just like one-word band names, and I guess it resonated with me because I wanted the music to exist but not necessarily belong to anyone or anyplace. I am a Beatles freak though, and remember trying really hard to just straight rip Paul McCartney’s bass playing. It’s a style that sounds beautifully melodic and effortless while actually being pretty damn hard and fun to play.

What sort of jewel like prisms lent meaning during the crafting of Diamond?

None. I’m broke and easily distracted by shiny things.

What was the recording of this album like for you guys?

It was a similar process to the self-titled one. I was in between jobs again, and would wake up early and try to get the loud things out of the way before my upstairs neighbor came home from work. This proved difficult this time around because he decided to retire halfway through and never left the house again. Sorry for the noise Fernando. We had played a dozen or so shows and were getting more comfortable playing live, so I had that to think about this time around. I just tried to make everything slightly louder and more up-tempo this time around. I went to Salt Mastering in New York to get this one finished up by Paul Gold. I had worked with him once before and he is truly an awesome person.

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From the motorik folk psych of “You Never Knew” to the righteous and mighty curtain closer of “Fall Away”; how do you all craft that infectious, alluring and assuaging haze cadence in your sound?

A lot a frustration and moving of knobs and dials that I don’t understand. I just have melodies and song ideas pop into my head usually at bad times, and I try to document them somehow so that I can sit down with a guitar and work the basic chords and vocal melodies out before fleshing out the instrumentation. It’s all there in my head, but I have a hard time translating it to the real world. I try to keep overdubs to a minimum by getting good takes all the way through. It usually takes me a while to mix because I do it mainly on headphones and then have to burn cd’s to listen on car stereos afterwards.

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Other Cleveland bands and artists you all really dig?

Too many to name so I’ll just go with ones that are currently active. I’m sure I’m forgetting five others.

Herzog: Everyone and their mothers are singing praises for these guys and I’m no different. Good friends and the hardest working guys playing in the land.

Obnox: Bim makes great records that actually make punk sound scary and original again.

Filmstrip: Long term buddies that have been perpetually on tour for the last million years. Their third record is their best yet.

Ma Holos: Young guys that have the drone/sleaze factor turned all the way up. Pretty excited to hear their first recording.

The Insurance Salesmen: These guys remind me a lot of Devo/The Smiths/weird flanged-out garage stuff.”

Next big moves for Nowhere?

We’re playing in Philadelphia and New York for a week or so this Fall, which will be our first tour. The only other out of town show we’ve played was in Indianapolis at Joyful Noise Records warehouse. It was awesome. We have friends in the whole area between there and Bloomington so that will probably be our next stop. Chicago is on the map as well. Cleveland is a good location where it’s pretty much a five hour drive in any direction to get to another sweet city, so expect plenty of touring coming up.

Nowhere’s new album Diamond will be available September 30 from Jurassic Pop Records.

Also check out the psyched out warped-weirdness in the TurnStyle Films video for Nowhere’s “Jane Street”.

WORMBURNER

Wormburner, photographed by Tim Besa.

Wormburner, photographed by Tim Besa.

Brooklyn by Hoboken’s Wormburner premiere an early listen to their third album, Pleasant Living in Planned Communities, available September 30 from DIVE Records. Lead by Hank Henry, the band creates a rich array of narratives, and tales from life’s frontlines about the multitude of things, experiences, and rackets that wear us down. From the grids of planned metropolises and the quality life enjoyed within those city limits, Henry and the band further underline this odyssey with star guitar contributions from Blondie’s Paul Carbonara and Luna’s Sean Eden.

Military war stories are rehashed through tales of trench-coat warfare as Wormburner rocks around the bunker and barracks of, “Hopscotch Gunner”. Next up is a tale about a gay male hustler getting old and tired of turning tricks on, “Somewhere Else To Be”, about what happens to the transient at heart when the world passes you by and everyone else is too busy for anyone else but themselves amid the bustle of their schedules, agendas, etc. Through the odd model of trying to make a living and the urge to quit the game, Henry paints a portrait that every working person can relate through the protagonist’s predicament and plight. With a songwriting style that packs a plethora of visceral descriptions, multiple listens to Pleasant Living in Planned Communities yield new discoveries every time, like the scenes of lavish lyrical drama in “Drinks at the Plaza Hotel”, to the conversational litany of ennui on “Made-For TV Movie”. Rainy day cigarette lit thoughts that ruminate about which type of tobacco brand to enjoy on what day makes up the over-thought ode to human addictions, “Parliaments On Sundays”, and obsessive interior monologues worn in an exterior fashion on, “Today Might Be Our Day”, and more colloquial lifted parts and passages from uptight conversations like, “Dolores, If You Please”.

Hank keeps the drama marathon running with more obsessive thought pieces like “Catherine”, PTSD trauma stories from the soul and private hell of a soldier sing out in civil maladjustment, “The Sleep That Never Comes”, and a “whoa, whoa” interlude that on the less than a minute, “Billy’s Topless (Theme from RISK!)”. Shutting down the show with the tithes and offerings of “Doxology”; more character development, introductions, and scenes pass by in a showdown of salvation, saving graces with a gospel piano blowout bash. Pleasant Living in Planned Communities in total salutes the sparks of being alive in the world, and Hank Henry joins us following this album listen for an inner look into the manufacturing of the many vignettes that make up this full-length.

First of all, what began the inception for the album, Pleasant Living in Planned Communities?

It started with a bunch of song ideas that were more musical than they were lyrical. As has always been the case with our writing process, we just got together regularly as a band and started churning out music in the practice space.

How did you, Hank Henry first begin the Wormburner vehicle, and what’s up with the name? Worms with after-burners? Burnt out worms? Burner worms?

The name ‘Wormburner’ is baseball slang for a scorching ground ball. We chose the name about 10 years ago when we first started the band and we probably weren’t particularly good. We definitely didn’t take ourselves too seriously so we didn’t put much thought into the name. It just seemed kinda funny at the time. Today it just feels like we’re stuck with it, so I like to think we’re competing with Arctic Monkeys for the title of ‘best band with the worst name.’

On the mammoth single, “Somewhere Else To Be”, you have one of the greatest colloquial lyrics that cuts to a really brutal and honest core; “I don’t mind hustling so much as long as the money’s right, ah but then the hard part is always asking to stay the night, is like everyone has somewhere else to be.” Tell us about the various stories, the experiences of others, yourself, and everything that contributed to this song about hustling and hurrying through life’s schemes.

The song is actually about a transient gay male prostitute whose once-youthful good looks are weathering with age. He can no longer count on the attention that made for his livelihood, so he’s starting to think about getting out of the racket. It sounds like you’re hearing the song from a different angle, and it’s always interesting to me what resonates in a song for people besides myself.

And like the song, “Made – For – TV Movie”; so many of your songs are straight up scenes out a series of movies and vignettes that you’re directing throughout the duration of the entire album—”Drinks At The Plaza Hotel”, “Parliaments on Sundays”, “The Sleep That Never Comes”, “Doxology”, etc. —is this sort off like you trying your hand at a certain type of self-styled auter-ship in audio?

I’ve always gravitated toward lyricists whose songs have a capacity to play out like little movie scenes in listeners’ heads. We actually almost named this album “Made-for-TV Movies” because of that cinematic aspect. But “Pleasant Living in Planned Communities” won the vote.

Wormburner taking the stage, photographed Kurt Christensen.

Wormburner taking the stage, photographed Kurt Christensen.

What does a normal day of songwriting like for you, do you have any preferred routines, rituals or prescribed methods that you can share with us?

For us as a band, songs tend to come to life collaboratively. Someone brings an idea to the practice room. Maybe it’s a guitar line or a chord progression, and all five of us start putting our fingerprints on it. Then I go off on my own to get the lyrics. I’m afraid I don’t have a prescribed daily routine, but one thing that works for me is walking around New York City. I might start with my notebook in a coffee shop in one neighborhood, then move onto a diner in another neighborhood, then end up on a park bench or on a barstool someplace. If you’re lucky, the song will start telling you what it’s about and the lyrics just sort of unfold along the way.

There’s a lot of post-gender play at work here, but with everything taking the course of some kind of Tennessee Williams archetype goes to NYC to a be a male street walker, like “Dolores, If You Please”, “Catherine”, “Billy’s Topless (Them from RISK!)”, and so on. Throwing out the traditions of gender roles and relations, what is about these anecdotal scene flashes of microcosms and components of interpersonal relations that you really fancy incorporating in your own music?

When it comes to fiction, I don’t have much patience for characters who are drawn with clear, black-and-white lines. They aren’t as interesting to me as more complex characters who might struggle with concerns of right and wrong, or with concerns about other peoples’ perceptions of right and wrong. It’s a theme that seems to keep popping up in my writing.

What new living conditions and worlds beyond the manufactured manifestations to you envision to arrive next, beyond Pleasant Living in Planned Communities?

I can’t say for sure what the next song cycle will look like lyrically, but if the past is any indication it will probably be informed and inspired by the music of the band. Our founding bassist/guitarist John “Hazy” Hastings just re-joined the band after some time on the West Coast at CalArts. He played a huge part in helping us finish the album. He’s got a vocabulary for songs and a set of creative reference points that really complements the rest of the band. Plus he’s probably the best all-around musician in the band, and that really raises our game. So there is no shortage of new song ideas in the pipeline.

Wormburner’s Pleasant Living in Planned Communities will be available September 30 from DIVE Records.

FANTASTIC>

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We were one of the first to bring you the ghostly video and cuts from Gothenburg, Sweden’s Fantastic and today it is our pleasure and privilege to present to you the world premiere unveiling of their album, El Futuro, with an advance listen ahead of it’s October 7 release from La Société Expéditionnaire. And though the principle duo of Daniel and Markus have previously shared the music video for singles that play with the duality of “Darkness” to the locomotive rural water routes of “Limbs” — El Futuro grants you admission into the ever-worlds of wonder and neverlands in the following theater for the hear.

Fantastic makes their way forward into the future of El Futuro on the opening track, “Limbs”, first debuted in Impose a while back in the a river dancing video. And then before you know it, the necromancing moves into the second stage on, “Lawrence”, a tribal rave roundup that asks for plumes of fog machine manufactured dry ice steam. Readily rocking through the history of European rock and roll by incorporating the traits learned from a well-thumbed vinyl collection; they coast through the cool riding rhythms on “21”, to the unexpected noise maker made body that makes up the background of the motor machine pop madness, “Now Now Here And Now”.

Taking a minimalist piano loop, Fantastic twirls an entire bouncing ball-based production around the repeated flashes of notes that comprise, “Not Too Late”, before breaking it down for a few minutes with the lasting effects of sun stroked hair streaks and sunglasses-shades of memory that make up, “Indian Summer”. Life spent living in dreams become dispelled through the questions of dependent partners from the single (and entertaining video), “Darkness”, taking off on the wild wilderness of surprise and surreality on the hunting and gather games of prey and sport, — “Hunter”. The beginning of the two part series, “Beautiful Mind Pt 1” starts the album’s closing section of bewilderment and restrained psychedelic cinema score of sounds. “Achilles Heel” describes human weakness that weaves between song and the soundtrack of a spaghetti western. As Fantastic’s El Futuro draws to a close beyond your “wildest dreams;” the second partition of “Beautiful Mind Pt 2” sends out something to stimulate the mind and senses. The full-length from Fantastic becomes an exotic experience even greater than the previous earlier heard offerings hinted at. The Swedish group makes music for all strange fellows, while marveling at the ever elaborate expanses of the mind.
Daniel and Markus from Fantastic lent us the following companion piece on the the making of El Futuro, with thoughts and visions on Euro indie pop syntheses:

With one foot in the classic sound of the 60s and the other in a more electronic and monotonous sonic soundscape we set out to merge these two highly influential beasts. By using drum machines, whooshing guitars, gleaming synths, bourdun bass hooks we tried to create a new and exciting sound that would resonate and transcend or own expectations and hopefully others too. The basic premise was: how do one make pop out of kraut and/or trance music?

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The lyrics on the album are fragments taken from a small selection of experiences and daily encounters. In today’s world, with right wing extremism and racism on the rise in Europe, it’s important to tell and share these stories. In a more alienated world people still coexist with more connection points than dividers. Then again, sometimes it’s all about that one love song.

Fantastic’s album debut El Futuro will be available October 7 from La Société Expéditionnaire.

AERS

Brooklyn duo, AERS; consisting of Tasha Abbott, and Zack Nestel-Patt.

Brooklyn duo, AERS; consisting of Tasha Abbott, and Zack Nestel-Patt.

The new fabrics that make up the fringes and main stages of modern day folk spun songs is not the same Greenwich Village hype your parents and grandparents got radical with. Consider the premiere of AERS upcoming Blue Tempest EP ahead of the September 30 release day, where the duo of Tasha Abbott and Zack Nestel-Patt have created one of the most storm calming cycles to better guide the fall transitions into the harvest season. Tasha and Zack take the scholastic music student ways and blend the baroque chamber corners with the choral considerations that are meant by ambient hums of electric undercurrents that breathe new lives and states of mind for what fees almost like a new state of consciousness.

Beginning with the EP’s title track, “Blue Tempest”; Tasha’s voice leads way into the serene pool of strings that could assuage even the angriest of ogres and irritated individuals. Here the storm is scene in terms of a color, like the rich hues of blue that have never been assigned a specific name, and provide a feeling of comfort, rest, and a humbled heart of gratitude, thanksgiving, and thought-less concentrations of meditation. Through strings, lyrics of satisfying necessities of the soul from states of suffering are expressed on “For You”, where everything from the interplay of natural pagan healing processes to the subtle application of effects in the mix stirs up an effective type of therapy.

Then in the same way that “For You” affected your entire being in one way or another (depending on the overall state of where that listener is with themselves and their world, of course) — “Tongues” moves on another gargantuan level of arrangement and affirmation, touched off by the Tasha’s grand invitation to “breath in.” The two do as much with the most essential of arrangement ingredients, where the sparse layout of “Flutter” presents departure as a gradual scale that goes from acoustic guitar plunked requests to “leave,” met by climatic, and dizzying brushes of strings. And like their control of making great economies of atmospheres in their sound, the gorgeous eye and ear opening closer exhibits the two’s unique time allowances where every instrumental note and applied effect works in turn to ensure a maxim impact on the listener. To discover more on how Blue Tempest came to be, check out our conversation with Tasha and Zack immediately after this listen.

You both have described your music as ‘folk with electronics from outer space.’ How do the two of you translate the acoustic strummed components of more holistic song writing with the presence of perpetual ambiance, cinematic like scores and restrained electro elements?

Zack: Our sound comes from trying to combine different influences that we listen to. What would the musical child of Woody Guthrie and Radiohead sound like? There is this idea in Japanese culture of the imperfect perfect or the perfect imperfect; there are these amazing crafts, pottery, woodworking etc. that have an organic and earthly feel to them but are presented in an extremely minimalist aesthetic. I think our music is trying to do something similar, present something that is really organic but from a perspective that is totally different.

How did the two of you first meet, and how did the duo of AERS first begin?

Tasha: We met in college through a mutual friend. We started talking about music, as every music student does, and realized we had a very similar aesthetic and taste. At that time, I was working on my solo project and wanted to add more instruments for the recording and I brought in Zack on bass along with other friends. As the recording session grew closer, Zack’s role increased; he wrote the string arrangements and we worked together on the production. We realized we worked well together and liked where the sound was headed, so we decided to make it a duo.

Where does the name, AERS come from?

Tasha: We wanted a name that spoke to the atmospheric and ethereal sound we were creating. So we started browsing for translations of ‘ethereal.’ We came across the Latin and Greek root ‘aer,’ and added an ‘s.’

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If feels like the EP runs a well placed narrative cycle, from the titular opening of, “Blue Tempest” through the gorgeous illuminating string-wrapped finale of “With a Light”. What sort of consideration went into the song placement patterns of the track-listing decisions?

Zack: We both really wanted to create a complete listening experience with the EP. The songs weren’t written within a specific larger structure. Each song presents a specific emotional vibe, each is it’s own world that the listener travels to. Every journey contains a natural rise and fall and we wanted to attempt to create that organic movement moving through the sonic terrains of each song.

How do the two of you compose, and write these gorgeous and evocative kinds of songs?

Tasha: Basically I sit down and play my guitar. I have never been one to ‘song-write.’ I play when I feel I feel motivated by every day life, whether it be an event, a place, or a social issue. I feel it out, depending on my mood that day, until I find something that resonates with me and then I sing along and see what comes through. When I like what I hear, I make a rough recording where I layer multiple vocals on top of each other to create harmonies and textures and send the demos off to Zack.

Zack: Tasha is really the song writing force for the band. She writes these incredible, complex songs that on their own say so much. She will send me demos and from there we talk about what kind of atmosphere we want to build for each song, what world we want to transport the listener to. Then I’ll write string parts and we pull each song together when we bring in the rest of the band.

Fellow Brooklyn friends, artists and bands that the world needs to know about?

YES. Definitely check out Nick Hakim, ginla, Jaime Woods, and HANAH.

What is next for AERS?

Shows, new record, more shows.

AERS’ Blue Tempest EP will be available September 30.

WILD DECADE

Video premiere of "Last One Standing" from Wild Decade, live SF shows in the works.

Video premiere of “Last One Standing” from Wild Decade, live SF shows in the works.

Crisscrossing between the coasts with Wild Decade, we continue our coverage of SF based, Dan Leech, and NYC centered, Phil Maves as they prepare their follow-up to Conductor, with word of their upcoming Two Places EP, and the world premiere of “Last One Standing”. Moving geographically apart as their songwriting has tightened into closer, and more personal places Two Places marks the turning of Dan becoming the group’s lead vocalist, as Phil steps into a role concentrated on songwriting and studio logistics at home on the East Coast. This development in the band’s long distance relationship band has Dan readying a live incarnation of Wild Decade soon to be playing around and outside the Bay Area.

The music video for “Last One Standing” has Anthony Banares directing and presenting Dan strolling through Baker Beach with the Golden Gate bridge in the background while Steve Nolan shoots the Brooklyn Bridge locale backdrop featuring footage of Phil singing in unison, while drafting lyrics by hand. The friends bring trade contribution between the two cities, walking in parallel groups of two between opposing waterfronts. The intricate natures of matters written in notebook binders and prose recited during casual therapist couch sessions walks along shore fronts, the places where the Pacific and Atlantic tributaries flow friendly alongside. The wonders, and conflicts of life’s dependent hopes and fears is told through Phil’s penmanship by Dan’s reflective/respectful delivery, chorus harmonies with Phil, and then Dan’s epic dream weaving guitar solo that stands tall. The video incorporates the mirroring landmarks between coasts to further illustrate the new directions for Wild Decade, as we discuss it further with the band after the following video debut of “Last One Standing””

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Tell us about the processes of recording your Two Places EP from two different locations between SF and NYC.

Dan: We began recording in two different locations during the completion of our previous release, Conductor. That laid the groundwork for how we approach any new Wild Decade material. In some ways the Two Places EP was easier in the sense that we knew what to expect recording in this manner.

Phil: This all happened because we started as a relatively prolific live band in San Francisco, so when I moved back to New York two years ago, we had a lot of material we wanted to continue releasing, so we opted for trying the long-distance recording approach. With Conductor, Dan lead the band through the backing tracks in California, while I handled my contributions from Manhattan, and our recording engineers would share the files and get everything in sync for mixing. The biggest change this time around from Conductor to the new Two Places EP was that I chose to cede my role as lead singer to Dan, because it makes sense for Dan, Cory (drums) and John (bass) to be playing Wild Decade songs for a live audience again. I’m still writing words and vocal melodies, and depending on the song, some of the music as well, so it’s really my role that’s changed.

How does the duality of locations impact the sound and creative, collaborative nature of Wild Decade?

Dan: The bi-coastal nature of the band significantly affects the way we now operate. Two of the songs, “Last One Standing” and “Three and a Half Stars” were pretty much finished while Phil was still living in SF. The remaining two had to go through the process of emailing ideas back and forth until we arrived at a point where both of us felt the songs were complete. This particular process will probably dictate how we create Wild Decade music moving forward.

Phil: People work together these days from separate locations, whether you’re making hip hop tracks or running meetings at a tech company, so we were fine with it. But it’s true that when you’re not in the same room with a group, you make different choices when recording and communicating ideas with each other. The return to the live shows is more a reflection of just being really excited about the material, and Dan and the band can present it well.

And like the EP title, the Anthony Banares and Steve Nolan video for “Last One Standing” features you both filmed separately, Dan in SF, and Phil in NYC. What was the process of writing, recording, and then making the video for “Last One Standing” like?

Dan: “Last One Standing” always felt like the lead track when we started putting together the Two Places EP. We wanted the video to reflect the fact that the creative forces behind the band are on opposite coasts. Throwing in some iconic imagery into the video seemed like an easy way to achieve that end. Anthony was the main driver for the “Last One Standing” video. Once we had the idea using easily identifiable places, Anthony suggested Baker Beach, which has a unique angle of the Golden Gate Bridge. Then we just fleshed out the rest of the ideas from there, and Phil and Steve handled the NYC portion of the shoot.

Phil: As Dan said, “Last One Standing” was written when I was still living in California, in late 2011, and it’s a somewhat personal song. The last song written for Conductor was a track called “Cornered,” and that song acts as a link to “Last One Standing” to an extent. For this video, Anthony and Dan story-boarded some of their ideas, and then I reached out to Steve to film the NYC footage. I met Steve when he was directing a What Model Citizens video, and I liked his work, so it was great to get him involved. There’s a shot of a wedding party in the video, and that was a happy accident that I really wanted left in. It kind of hints at what the song is about. And yes, that opening shot is me writing out the lyrics to the song, since that’s what I do in the band, and I thought it might make my appearance make more sense!

Dan, tell us about the live plan of performing Wild Decade songs live in SF, with Phil remaining a songwriting and recording partner in NYC.

Dan: Phil and I have been in a few bands together, share similar musical tastes, performed numerous shows, recording sessions, etc., where we’ve developed a good working relationship. Not wanting to drop all the music we’ve worked on, we decided to keep the train moving, so to speak. We still have quite a few completed songs that we’ll be recording for release next year. Also, we still have other ideas we send to each other, so we’ll continue to write together for the foreseeable future.

Initially, Wild Decade was only going to be a studio vehicle for us, because our drummer, Cory, was planning on moving to Nashville. Earlier this year, he decided he was going to stay in SF, so the live thing became more of a possibility. Our debut album, Conductor, received some good press from the blogosphere, but frankly could have gotten more exposure if we added live performances to the mix. We started kicking around the idea of bringing back the live element. Since Cory, who’s played on all our studio recordings, was on-board to get the band out on stage, this notion began to take shape. I brought in my friend John to play bass and sing some harmonies to round out the live band. Singing lead vocals, while playing guitar has added another layer of responsibility for me, but I’m enjoying the challenge. The material’s coming together nicely and we’ll begin to perform around SF later in the fall.

What else are you both excited about these days between SF and NYC?

Dan: Well the weather (aside from the complete lack of rain) and food in SF continues to impress. The technological advances are accelerating at seemingly impossible rates, which of course, makes everything super expensive on both coasts, ha. The music fans in SF still seem to support live acts, so I’m looking forward to getting out there to do some shows.

Phil: Writing great songs. Having a normal life, at least by NYC standards. Also, the new season of The League.

Parting words of wisdom?

Dan: @wilddecade #nobodycares

Phil: @wilddecade #twoplaces

Phil also gave us a bonus track by track summary of the Two Places EP:

1. “Last One Standing” – A statement of intent, a prayer, an apology. Noah’s Ark getting mixed up with a wedding ceremony, and a woman singing along to a song in a car.

2. “We’re Gonna Celebrate (When They Run You Outta Town)” – A verbal attack on a delusional hack. Everyone knows someone like this, unfortunately.

3. “Three and a Half Stars” – When the underground becomes the mainstream, it sometimes no longer understands what it’s looking at, but doesn’t want to look clueless. Hence the title of the song, and also lines like: “Readership has been declining, and the writers are pushed into resigning.”

4. “#nobodycares” – An earlier title for this was “Get To The End, Already.” Stupid musicians, a sensible girlfriend, and a closing statement by an unimpressed critic. More observation than autobiography (I hope).

Listen to more from Wild Decade via Bandcamp.

GEOFF GEIS

Geoff Geis remixes Habits' "Just a Ride", and talks to us about taking a ride and turning it into a journey, photo graphed by Dalton Blanco.

Geoff Geis remixes Habits’ “Just a Ride”, and talks to us about taking a ride and turning it into a journey, photo graphed by Dalton Blanco.

The latest buzz from Habits’ Unselves on Arrival album gets remixed by LA’s versatile and venerable Geoff Geis who premieres the redux of “The Ride” (Soft Sailors remix). Picking up on the key part of the song’s hook that features Dustin M Krapes reciting “I’m just along for the ride”, the lap bar lowers as the adventure takes on a new form, shape, and destination.

Decked out in a four quarter beat, the mystery of Habits original is present in the fuzzy guitar parts that decorate the hard hitting new percussion patterns. Dipping down on sudden drops, barrel rolling, and speeding along the track — “The Ride” continues Dustin’s vision of long, strange, transformative trips where what happens along the way results in the changes and shifts in identity and head-spaces from the comedown landing of re-entry into the real, real world. Geoff gave us the following creative insights on how the Soft Sailors remix of the track was made:

I’m inspired by chance, and I like painting myself into corners I have to fight out of, so rather than listen to the stems I picked waveforms at random and said the rest of the song was off limits. This song is about a ride and I wanted to make it a journey. I think the repeating phrase gets more mysterious as the song goes, maybe even a little disconcerting, and I tried to highlight that with vocal harmonies and an non-resolutory key change at the end. I put four on the floor, since this shit is for the clubs, and I added guitar riffs because that’s the exact opposite of what Habits would do. In the end, Tyler Sabbag provided additional beats and made the whole thing sound bigger with sound design wizardry that I don’t understand.

Habits’ Unselves In Arrival is available via Bandcamp / Fleeting Youth Records, and you can check out the many projects of the versatile Geoff Geis via his website.

Catch Habits on the following dates;
October:
8 Santa Barbara – Funzone *
9 Fresno, CA – Cafe Infoshop *
10 San Francisco, CA – TBA *
11 Oakland, CA – Vamp Gallery *%
12 Davis, CA – KDVS Presents: House Party *
13 Sacramento, CA – House Party *
14 Santa Clarita – The Big Space *
17 Las Vegas, NV – The Dive *
18 Indio, CA _ Club 5 *#
19 El Centro, CA – Strangers Bar *

November:
23 Temecula, CA – The Dial ^

* with Bür Gür
% with Golden Drugs
# with Greasetrap
^ with Alligator Indian

SCALE MODEL

Introducing: Scale Model, and their first track, remixed by Cyclist.

Introducing: Scale Model, and their first track, remixed by Cyclist.

Nashville synth pop three-piece Scale Model are preparing their debut album Star for release September 29, and we have the premiere of their first cut, made in collaboration with Cyclist, who remixed the night life embracing, “Live It Up”. The Tennessee three have a slate of shows (dates featured below) in October with stops throughout the Midwest and East Coast.

On the Cyclist remix of “Live It Up”, the synths illuminate like rows of utility lights that light and dot the concrete streets, to the multi-colored fluorescence that drape the club and dance floors in red, blues, orange, purples, and so on. The night life is embraced with the bright-eyed/bright minded contributions from Dave Johnson’s rhythmic guitar, to the vocal surveillance of nightclub creatures from keytarist/vocalist Megan Rox, to Steve Cross’s drum arrangements getting re-kitted and gears shifted by Cyclist’s new sequence. Here the keyboard notes fall all around Megan’s thought journal that describes the dispositions and characterS of the different club-goers — young and old — giving all listening participants a new chance to feel as old or as young as they want. The message is life, and to live every evening and day to the VERY fullest.

Catch Scale Model on the following dates:

October
05 Knoxville, TN tba
07 Philadelphia, PA at Kung Fu Necktie
08 NYC at Piano’s (CBGB Festival)
09 Brooklyn at Bar Matchless
10 Washington DC at Treehouse Lounge
11 Chapel Hill, NC at Local 506
24 Nashville, TN at Foo Bar

November
14 Chattanooga -TBA
15 Atlanta – TBA

ICEWATER

icewater goldfish week in pop 1

Icewater, the combined caliber of Michael Rosen, his brother Jonathan Rosen, Malcolm Perkins, and Noah Hecht are also known to play with Eleanor Friedberger are releasing a 7″ October 7 that follows up the album, Collector’s Edition, from earlier this year. The band uses the sort of synchronized talent to provide something larger and vaster than expected from the a trio. Making great economic use of instrumentation and the ESP that bandmates share between each other after playing tightly together over the course of years on the following listen.

“Good Face” moves to Michael’s slippery 70s progressive pop organ, that eggs on Malcolm’s lyrical listings that are all propelled by Noah’s mathematically sound beat times. The road companion of “Wisecrack” brings wisdom that travels like the band’s experiences in and out of the van and across the road maps of the world. The two songs finds the group entertaining the sides of songwriting enjoyed lately from the output of indie vanguards such as Fresh & Onlys, and Woods; indicating some interesting opportunities for the Icewater ahead. After this advance listen, Michael joined us for a candid conversation that toasts their departed founding member, Grant Martin, and more.


How did you go from playing with the talented Eleanor Friedberger, to forming your own trio with Icewater, and how had the former-Fiery Furnaces artist’s solo songs influence Icewater?

We actually formed Icewater prior to joining Eleanor’s band. Icewater started as an acoustic trio with two guitars and a Wurlitzer keyboard. Eventually we decided it was time to play louder, so we found a drummer. Three of us were also playing in our friend Cassandra Jenkins’ band at the time (check her out, she’s great). A friend of Cassandra put us in touch with Eleanor, who was looking for a new band.

Eleanor’s songs are grounded in 70’s rock — she highlights that style while maintaining a quality that is uniquely current and idiomatic. She is uncompromising and doesn’t take herself too seriously. Icewater strives for something similar, and we are definitely influenced by her approach. Performing with such a prolific, well versed, and established musician as Eleanor deeply contributes to our personal and collective development.

What inspired the name Icewater? I believe an early incarnation of Big Star was titled something like Icewater too, way back when.

Yeah, Icewater was one of Chris Bell’s projects. I’m pretty sure they only released a few songs. We are all Big Star fans, but were unaware of the Chris Bell project at the time of conception.

One of our original members, Grant Martin, came up with the name, and consequently had the image tattooed on his arm. We all felt a connection to the name, but it undoubtedly had a more personal, symbolic significance to Grant, who passed away one year ago.

Tell us about recording “Good Face” and “Wisecrack” at the ever-popular Rumpus Room in Brooklyn, and how did that impact the process and shape the sounds you were looking for?

We’re excited to hear you say “the ever-popular Rumpus Room” as they are fully deserving of the praise. Albert DiFiore (the engineer) and his brother Phil run the studio, and are great friends of ours. There is a strong community of musicians surrounding Rumpus. After mixing our first LP, Collector’s Edition, with Albert, we wanted to work with him on a couple tracks from start to finish. Albert suggested we do all of the tracking to 2″ tape, so we obliged without hesitation. This approach greatly affected the sounds and the performances. Also, Albert has a Melotron, so you know, that too.

icewater conemouth week in pop 2

Being that you are all from the SF area, what do you all feel are the similarities and differences between SF and Brooklyn?

Actually, we are not all from San Francisco. Malcolm is from Charlottesville, VA. Noah is from Philly. Jonathan and I’m from San Francisco, as was Grant. So it originally had significant west coast weight, and still does.

San Francisco has better burritos, while Brooklyn has better pizza. They are both expensive.

What can you tell us about to expect on the album follow up to, Collector’s Edition?

The follow up album to Collector’s Edition is Cardinal. We recently recorded Cardinal at White Star Sound with our friend Adam Smith. White Star is a studio/farm near Charlottesville, VA. It’s rare to have that kind of personal space and creative isolation, and to us, it is clearly reflected in the result. After recording in VA, we came back to Brooklyn to mix at Strange Weather with our friend Daniel Schlett. Cardinal does not have a scheduled release at this point.

The release of Collector’s Edition came at a very hard time for our band. Grant passed away in the middle of the production. We finished it without question, and released it not really knowing how to move forward — both personally and as a group. Jonathan (Michael’s brother) joined the band, and we rearranged the songs for performance.

We view Cardinal, and our new EP, to be personal triumphs. Our mission is to perpetuate the feeling — the unparalleled sense of connection that comes with playing in a band. The sound has changed a bit, as it tends to do. As it should. We felt braced with new energy as we wrote the new material, and are very excited to share.

Icewater’s new 7″ will be available October 7 via Bandcamp.

DROID BISHOP

LA's Droid Bishop, aka James Bowen caught in the tunnel flash.

LA’s Droid Bishop, aka James Bowen caught in the tunnel flash.

As the cycles, and recycled ways of synth pop revivalism, revisionism, and re-visitation remain full swing in the world—artists will continue to take the technologies of today and modify them as weapons with one foot set in the past and an unknown future. Take LA’s Droid Bishop, aka James Bowen, who has just released the album Beyond the Blue on the new Chicago by Memphis imprint, 80s Ladies Records presents the following premiere stream and following conversation.

The voice of James, the Droid Bishop himself emerges from his digitized holiest of holies to zap you with 80s synth pop appropriated ray-guns. The dream machine gets set to the indefinite and undefined coordinates of a synthetic serenity on “The Infinite Dream”, to purveying planetary origins, flying light-years from the galaxy and, “Through the Universe”, coming in for a kind of connective contact via “Human”, to the star course riding closing farewell hushed keyboard on, “In the End”. The cosmic clergy himself, James Bowen joins us following the jump with an inside look at the making of, Beyond the Blue, and more.

Your sounds are like ripped from something between a lost Japanese 8-16 bit MIDI sound set up that could power a spaceship, or video game, movie, manga soundtracks etc. What was the patterning process like for shaping and mapping out what would become, Beyond the Blue?

I enjoy the primitive sounds of early 80’s technology. I want my music to sound like you are lost in a world of neon lights and flying cars. I add little bursts of fluttering, lazer-esque type 16 bit arpeggios to electrocute the listener’s ears to the point of technological orgasm.

The aesthetic too, like the album cover, feels ripped from primitive-future digital technology of the early 80s to the throwback phenomenons from today’s nostalgia markets.

As a huge fan of space and sci-fi, I wanted the cover art to resemble an old movie poster from the 70s/80s. Earth can be very boring. The ever expanding universe seems much more exciting to me.

How did all these considerations go into creating what feels like a classic-modern narrative set to space seas of synths?

I see myself as an android rather than a human. Therefor, I prefer to tell my story with robotic, synthesized sounds instead of earthly instruments. I feel safe in the comforts of the machine.

The “Out of My Mind” cut with Sam Sparro is totally ripped out of a Tokyo made fighting game or something (or at least some good Moroder circa Top Gun fodder), how did the two of you come together to make this track?

Sam Sparro is my brother so the collaboration was inevitable. I came up with a musical concept and sent him the track. He came up with all the vocals and sent them back rather quickly. It was a bit of a challenge working with someone else, but I think it came out okay.

Like the time-travel insinuations of synth and singularity via “In My DeLorean”, what are your thoughts on this sort of time-slip of rebuilding the old analogous machines of production and concept from previous space ages into the now age?

I think there was a bigger sense of wonder and imagination when it came to creating the machines of the 80’s. Everything today feels as if it is built for newer levels of logistical convenience. Give me a DeLorean over any new car.

Tell us a bit more about the imprint, 80s Ladies Records, how you got hooked up with them, and some of your rad labelmates, like Alec West’s upcoming Eno homage, Another Green World, and that super-gaze-guitar present on their October slated Memorial album.

About a year ago, I made a track for John Littlefield (Co founder of 80s Ladies) who had a compilation album he was putting together and we hit it off from that point. At the time of working on Beyond The Blue, I was contacted by a few labels who were interested in signing with me. 80s Ladies Records was the only label I felt comfortable working with and they have been doing great things for me. Alec is great too. I’m a huge fan of 80s shoe gaze type stuff and can’t wait for his album.

What are the next worlds to explore for James Bowen, and the Droid Bishop project, and are there any other collaborations between you and other like minded artists that we should be hipped to?

Hopefully, I can start playing live soon. I would like to incorporate extensive lights and imagery to the live show. Taking the audience to another dimension and leaving them with a memorable experience is the main goal. I have a few collaborations in the works, but you will have to wait and see who they are.

Droid Bishop’s album Beyond the Blue is available now from 80s Ladies Records.

QUAD

quad press pic impose

Conceived of originally by Samuel Shea (formerly of Spires), introduce yourself to Quad, a new-New York group that leans toward the influences and affectations from across the pond as well as their own front and backyards. Rounded up by fellow guitarist and keyboardist Julien O’Neill, bass Bryan Percivall, and percussion Ethan Snyder; they share their first single “Falling Faster” ahead of it’s release later this fall. With a studio located in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, Sam and the gang create a rave down that couples the recorded essence of urban musician spaces with the big sound engineered by Ben Baptie at Electric Lady Studios. From here the sound leaves all troubles and woe behind as Quad slips through time between the delusion breaking illusions of psyched out visions that sail from the head spinning speed of sounds falling at increased rates of velocity. Sam described the making of the song for us, along with how the Manchester/Madchester by fuzzy New York sensibilities were developed.

Originally, I started recording everything in the bedroom of my apartment with cheap, low quality equipment not knowing where everything was heading, using battery powered amps for the guitars and even audio samples from an iPhone for different parts. It wasn’t until moving into our studio space in the Navy Yard and Ethan Snyder’s eventual drum takes that we realized the interesting sound the songs were beginning to undertake. About a month into it, Julien O’Neill entered the group and brought his own Manchester influences, adding different samples and synth effects, shaping the music in a different light. When it came time for mixing we decided to go with our friend, Ben Baptie at Electric Lady, but were a little unsure about the process given how we recorded everything. Ben was absolutely terrific in putting his own spin on the music and cleaning it up the way he best saw fit


You can also find them at their residency at Baby’s All Right over the next few Wednesdays, September 30 with Winstons, October 8 with special guests TBA.

WILLIAM BOLTON

william bolton week in pop 1

From William Bolton’s Summer Breeze album, check out the held over sunny vibes that keeps the vacation mood marinating long after Labor Day has come and went on the title cut video from Adam Ardekani
and Dalton Price. Known as well under his production moniker, Times New Roman, and also working with fellow artist Ryan Leslie on the DMM music app — the “Summer Breeze” visual raises up a glass to chilling all day and night and making every instance count as if winter was never even a thing. William talked to us about summer 2014 memories, about making the track, and the video:

Summer 2014 was one hell of a summer. I moved to New York City to work with Ryan Leslie and finish my new album “Summer Breeze”. This was only my second time to the city ever, and it was a ton of fun. I moved with my filmmaking friend Adam Ardekani who directed and shot the video for “Summer Breeze”. Between mixing sessions, talking with Ryan, and traveling to film a music video I kept pretty busy. I chose to sample “Summer Breeze” because I love the song and it’s instrumentation. I’m very inspired by 60s-70s soul and rock music, and a producer (Danny Ives) I work with brought me the sample to work with. I ended up chopping the sample to make it sound pretty fresh and new, but it still retained the colors of the original song.

The song means a lot to me because it’s one of my favorite beats I’ve made, and I feel like the song just jams. I made the track during a time when I wasn’t very happy, but making the song (and entire album) was therapeutic. Creating music makes me forget about everything and live in the moment, and I love that.


GLASS GANG

glass gang week in pop 3

Shut the doors, close the windows, burn the bridges, and burn the boats, because we just received word that the elusive alliance known as Glass Gang are going to put out a full-length feature, and we got one of your first listens with the frontal lobe scrambler/brain addler; “Lower”. From out of the depths of the electronic abyss, voices of pain that search out empathetic others are torn between tortured ambivalence and the anguish that often decisive choices, and actions bring that cannot be rewound. Possibly one of the most complex cuts from the group to date, that spills out of the raw, tear streaked snarls in the kind of musical product that recalls the rhythmic buzzing of medical lab machinery. In further news, the Brooklyn band also released a compilation that includes all the tracks they’ve released over the past year for free download at glassgang.us.

Available September 30 from Felte, Detroit’s Ritual Howls are scheduled to release the sound of the new post-apocalyptic electric fields on, Turkish Leather, and we have an advance listen fresh for your ears, nerves, and overall structure. Paul Bancell’s voice rises from the world of Ben Saginaw and Chris Samuels’ creation of the sounds imagined to be heard echoing in the abandoned tenements from the exclusion zones of the future. The action begins with the romantic ruins of, “Zemmoa”, then leads to the brooding flavor trail-tongue extenders on, “The Taste Of You”, the goth-industrial complex of “Take Me Up”, and the dance-club-Kafka synth-stoicism that snipe through Paul’s draconian lyrical barbs.

Destinations, sanctification, and solutions of unsettling and sacrificial variety take center focus on cold grimace of, “Final Service”. Everything on Turkish Leather leads to the next chapter of some kind of suspense film set in modern day dilapidated settings like, “Helm”, to the menacing fear and fright entrancing, “No Witnesses”, leaving you to walk away humbled by the closing title track. Once again, Felte takes the conventions of your favorite new orders of old tech styles that are traded in for today’s newest textiles and audio pattern arrangements.

The new Diamond District album March on Washington will be available October 14 from Mello Music Group, and we got the cast of representatives Oddisee, yU and Uptown XO taking it to the streets with the track, “Lost Cause.” Picking up from their first collaborative outing In the Ruff, Oddisee keeps the production whirling with vintage brass and big beats as yU and XO present the prosodic strengths of their delivery that move narrative and exposition running as quick as Odd can keep the decks turning.

In other breaking news, our buddy Patrick Clos from SF’s Cocktails threw us an emerald gem not included on their Adult Life album from Father/Daughter Records with the rapid evening power pop of, “Tonic Nights” that “go way too fast” and we never want to see it go. Dance floor hesitations and bar room blitzes bring romanticized helpings of idiot optimism and itching hormonal attractions set to power chord clusters of cool.

San Francisco artist Hazel Rose dropped one of her catchiest singles yet with the Yung Cutt E produced track, “Dalai Lama”, off the upcoming album, The Seed. Rose keeps the peace increasing with a smoke screened slow simmering joint that posts up, and levitates as Hazel comes at you with the confidence that can move mountains with this champion sound.

In a world where we are all truly the prostitutes, revisit Pop Group’s “Thief of Fire” from the October 20 slated Superior Viaduct re-issue of, We Are Time. The spirit of the Bristol group that began in 1977 is presented in all of it’s rawness, on a compiled remaster that showcases the studio and live recordings that made up the pivotal album that tells the draconian status quo to shove it. The legendary Mark Stewart tells is like this:

The Pop Group was mutating so fast right from the start that it was crucial to document those first experiments with this compilation. We Are Time is really ‘the’ teenage Pop Group album. It’s full of defiance and the material demonstrates the band’s staunch independence and our really early DIY ethic before the studio became another instrument.

Nashville’s The Wans dropped some fun-times/sun-times on their Jason Denton and Steve Voss video for the cut, “Never Win” off the album, He Said, She Said. Bluebirds of happiness, a healthy bull of ‘Wan-Os,’ chance encounters, and opportunities gone awry.

With our old pals MNDR collaborating on the writing of a brand new Escort single, you are invited to check out the results with the nu-soul poppy smooth of, “If You Say So”, available October 21, b/w a cover of St. Vincent’s “Actor Out Of Work”. The red velvet rope VIP pop of Escort gets grooves and lyrical arrangements courtesy of NYC’s institutions of electric rhythms and last call blues.

Take an enthusiastic look at the Andrew Hines video from Sneakout’s “The Art of Hanging On”, off the Letting Go Mixtape that depicts the kings of letting go, and stars of getting old. Here a grandpa and his grandson go on a mischief spree to the lively pop tones penned by our friend Robert Fleming.

Fresh from her self-titled EP, Selena Garcia presents the sibling rivalry through the various stages and rooms of the multi-tiered house on the song, “Brother”. Garcia hits with everything she can muster, where whirl winds of piano, organs, aspects of delivery that incorporate every aspects of the vocal range that leaves you with the breathless breaths of exhausted emotional angst expressed throughout the movements of complicated truths and tribulation.

Their much lauded album, Love Chills, is available now from the esteemed imprint, Old Flame Records, and we have the low lit performance video from Ryan Ohm for YAWN’s electric carnivorous zapper, “Flytrap”. From the bouncy electric bounty brought by the band, the event evolves into a full-on dance party instigated by a ballet ensemble that gets everyone into the art and act.

Barbarian. New album. Night Blooms. Available November 4 on Manimal Vinyl. The weirdness all starts here on this following trailer.

From the dude is remixing every body it seems, check out Ron Flieger’s own cut, “All I Want”. Recorded from the producer and artist ‘s recent Los Angeles residence that features his friend Alysha Nett sharing some shouts to the immediate club-booming beats and bright lights.

Across the pond, Los Waves dropped their debut album This is Los Waves So What? with a listen and look at the João da Mota and band directed video for “Strange Kind of Love”. A cheeky DJ introduces group over a bottle of Jack, before jamming into the sound that collides that the Atlantic between the NYC of the early oughts with the London romanticism that once had likely lads talking about Albion and all kinds of stuff and nonsense.


BLOOD MOON’S WEEK IN POP

Blood Moon, the new identity of Young Yeller's Jesse Brickel, photographed by Andi Wilson.

Blood Moon, the new identity of Young Yeller’s Jesse Brickel, photographed by Andi Wilson.

Just a few days ago we helped introduce you to Blood Moon, project of Jesse Brickel, aka Young Yeller, former touring member of Chrome Sparks, Farewell Republic, [Kirk O’Bain?] and seen sometimes subbing in Broadway theater orchestra pits and more. While we continue to be delightfully haunted by the new single, “Ghost“, we keep the Blood Moon phantasm-phenomenon going as Jesse keeps the celebration rolling by presenting his own Week in Pop curation:

Porches., “Prism”

‘Prism,’ the A side to Aaron Maine’s Terrible Records 7” (out on 10/14) as Porches. is a blissed out chill-jam featuring a minimal synth / drum machine arrangement beneath floaty layered vocals. The glassy-bongo synth bass totally bring me back to the cave levels of Donkey Kong Country, which is only a good thing honestly. “I watched my body taking up space” is a great lyric. This dude is the real deal.

Arp, “UHF1”

This is from Arp’s just-released EP on Mexican Summer, Pulsars E Quasars. Easygoing feels throughout make it a super enjoyable vibe-sesh through the early-Autumn New York chill. The song devolves into a hazy noise-fest around the four minute mark, which is a perfect time to stare at your iTunes visualizer and finish eating your late-night taco truck burrito.

et aliae, “Baby”

London-based mystery producer et aliae is at it again, this time with a killer jam courtesy of Ryan Hemsworth’s ‘Secret Songs’ series. ‘Baby’ moves along at the pace of its trap hi-hat arrangement and keeps things interesting with creative sampling and feel changes throughout. This track is a one-way ticket to vibe city, and I’m currently on line (for tickets).

Lydia Ainsworth, “Moonstone”

Lydia Ainsworth isn’t shy about getting poppy, and she isn’t shy about getting weird. Affected vocals carry Ainsworth’s poetic lyrics over the sweeping, expansive synth world of “Moonstone”, while the 6/8 meter bounces the track along in a slow jam fashion that would be perfect for the masquerade dance sequence in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. This track is from Ainsworth’s upcoming 12” on the always on-point Arbutus Records, and I’ll be picking up a copy for sure.

The Drums, “I Can’t Pretend”

The Drums’ most recent LP, Encyclopedia, debuted just the other day — So to celebrate, here’s “I Can’t Pretend”, a slow jam that simmers and caramelizes in its pessimism. “It’s too hard to begin when you know it will end,” is first line of the chorus, and it’s all dying roses from here on out. “When everyone wants to dance, I can’t stand up — I see us die, dying on a mountain.” You get the idea. Anyway, who doesn’t love a good brooding song? I know I do.

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