Week in Pop: Lando Chill, Mind Meld, Young Girls

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Casinos, Flesh & Tone, Iska Dhaaf, Mr. Suit, Yoke Lore, guest selects by Chris Cohen.

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Sjimon Gompers | May 6, 2016

Introducing Mello Music Group's new signing—Lando Chill; photographed by Jimi Giannatti.

Providing an alternate outlet & escape from the barrage of bad news & other such hype; Impose’s Week in Pop presents some of the biggest breaking media from the week & more. Delivering you a quick glance at the headlines & buzz, Death Grips released Bottomless Pit today; Radiohead’s digital exercise in how to disappear completely, then dropped “Burn The Witch”, dropped “Daydreaming” video, new album available May 8; Birdman denied withholding Weezy’s The Carter V; Neil Young is back on Tidal; Mitski dropped “Happy” off June 17 Dead Oceans album Puberty 2; Ty Segall’s GØGGS announced self-titled available July 1 through In the Red, & dropped “Glendale Junkyard”; Kanye revealed fall tour intentions, apologetic motions toward Wiz Khalifa & more insights, plus March 2014 paparazzi incident has now been scrubbed from his record, & also received a Webby Special Achievement Award for “contributions to internet culture”; Kehlani dropped “24/7”; M.I.A. completed what she said was her last album for her American imprint; Run the Jewels dropped the virtual reality video for “Crown”; Tegan and Sara dropped the Seth Bogart video for “U-Turn”; PC Music’s Danny L Harle dropped “Ashes of Love” ft. Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek; French Montana signed to Bad Boy, dropped “Figure It Out” video ft. Kanye; De La Soul announced the new album and the Anonymous Nobody… available August 26 from AOI Records, & dropped “Trainwreck”; James Blake announced the new album The Colour In Anything, dropped the tracks “Radio Silence“, “My Willing Heart” & the Bon Iver collaboration “I Need a Forest Fire“; Alicia Keys dropped “In Common”; Titus Andronicus’ live album S+@dium Rock: Five Nights at the Opera will be available July 29 (digital) / August 5 (vinyl) via Merge, watch “I Lost My Mind & Fatal Flaw” live at Shea Stadium; AraabMuzick announced the new album Dreamworld available July 5, & dropped the video for “Chasing Pirates”; Flume announced world tour; MUTEK Montreal buzz; new Grizzly Bear recording sessions to begin on June 1; U2’s The Edge performed in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican; William Basinski’s Shattered Stream; Timbaland’s upcoming hip hop musical Opera Noir; Steve Albini reflected on his music from a feminist point of view; Pharrell action figure; Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Roger Waters, & the Who announced the dad-trip mega-concert “Desert Trip”; hype for Drake’s Views reached a maximum point of over-saturation; Billy Corgan reached out to formerly estranged bassist D’arcy Wretzky; Yasiin Bey (oka Mos Def) apoligized to fans for show cancellations; Sinead O’Connor claims Arsenio Hall gave drugs to Prince for decades & drugged her, Arsenio suing for defamation; we mourn the loss of Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur; the passing of Iran’s Aaron Aites; Bruce Springsteen got weird;

Keeping the torches burning bright, it is our pleasure and privilege to present exclusives, interviews, & insights from Lando Chill, MIND MELD, Young Girls, Iska Dhaaf, Mister Suit, Yoke Lore, Flesh and Tone, Casinos, Stone Cold Fox, featuring guest selections by Chris Cohen, and more—in no particular order.

Lando Chill

Introducing Lando Chill; photographed by Jeff Weber.

Introducing Lando Chill; photographed by Jeff Weber.

Please say hello to Lando Chill, the latest addition to Mello Music Group readies his debut album for release late this summer presenting the heartbreak in hyperbole in the Malcolm Critcher video for “Coroner”. Born Lance Alan in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois; Lando’s mom encouraged him to perform in choir ensembles and theatre production in his youth, until a shint being cast in a film short for University Arizona Film School would change the Chi-town raised rising artist to creatively pursue hip hop & songwriting. Chill’s work seeks to find those new facets and outlets of artistic-emotive-expressions that have yet to be created, or discovered.

Lando Chill examines the time spent with a former love, measuring the meaning and moments from time spent to the magnitude of hurt felt afterward. We see the former couple’s first meeting in a bus, record store shopping, to moments spent lounging and laughing, to Lando’s solitary scenes driving or walking. The motif of the “Coroner” depicts Chill experiencing a rapid physical decline (losing fingernails, teeth, blood, to going the full Kano / Temple of Doom by ripping out his own heart and leaving it on his ex’s apartment doormat that reads welcome home), where the emotions felt inside are worn like the effects of a medieval plague. The entire arc of the relationship is observed, from cuddling to fights where string of being replaced by a new suitor is expressed in terms like a Shakespearean romantic-tragedy. Chill sums up the entire fallout of the heart in the following lyrics:”I’m not the man you believe in, you see I’m just the man you were leaving, I guess we move along like the seasons, I’m reeling, baby what the reason?” Lando joins us after the video for an insightful interview.

Welcome to the Mello Music Group family! We’re very moved by the video for “coroner” from Malcolm Critcher, and wanted to hear about the sorts of fatalistic feelings that inspired the song, to the making of the video that plays upon a kind of ‘rip your heart out’ play of heartbreak and hyperbole.

Thank you so much! It’s an honor and privilege to be apart of such a insanely talented musical family. [laughs] I’m glad you felt something when you watched Coroner, that was what we were going for! I think one person who commented on the video pretty much surmised it to a tee, getting back to what or who you need before you fall apart, but in this instance, it was too late. She had moved on, and I was at the end of the proverbial nine lives. There have been a few times in my existence in which I’ve felt such despair and unwant, and I drew upon those to convey what you see before you today. With Malcolm’s help that is!

How have your Chicago by Tucson, Arizona travels and environmental influences impacted your own creative vision?

Oh, I’d say most definitely. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having left my hometown and gone somewhere I’d never truly been. I cant honestly say I liked Tucson my first three years here, and it was only until I opened to the city that it started to give back. That meant breaking past those socially constructed barriers and stereotypes, as well as moving out of my own comfort zone when it came to my own craft. I’m a poet by trade, so beginning to hone that skill was paramount, and having lived what it seems like to be two and a half lives, I had a lot to share through my art.

Describe for us what it has been like writing and recording your forthcoming MMG album debut.

Oh it’s been so much fun. Experimenting with different sounds & song structures has been the most exciting. Writing has been equally as fun, but twice as frustrating. There’s so much I want to share, so many ranges of emotions I want the audience and listeners to feel, that sometimes I feel as though it’s overwhelming. But then its not far to doubt anyone, or their capabilities & musical taste, so here I am. Trying to genre break this musical game we play.

Describe your creative approach, working with your bandmates Chris “Deep Greasy” Pierce, Andy “Lasso” C, Jimmy “Jimbo” Borquez, & Isaiah “Zayah” Briggs.

It’s like cooking. You have four or five people at a time in a kitchen, all with different backgrounds & styles of cooking. Each with the same ingredient, just different tools. Throwing it all together to make something taste good is what we want the outcome to be each time, but of course, sometimes you make shit food, ya know? It’s about trusting that one another can add something to the whole, whether it be a riff here or a chord change there. It awesome, because I’m not necessarily tied to making music with just them, but I feel extremely comfortable with these guys.

Chilling with Lando Chill; photo courtesy of the artist.

Chilling with Lando Chill; photo courtesy of the artist.

What is exciting and awesome right n ow in Tucson, by the way?

The music scene is what is exciting. The arts scene is awesome. there are so many people here who are artin’ around and putting on amazing shows & events, and the support here varies. From The Scratch Shack, to the Think Tank, to Gary’s Place, to what, Congress, The Rock, and Flycatcher do…there is a lot of talent & potential. It’s the tapping into the UA [University of Arizona, located in Tucson] market without selling out or attracting people who just want to party, that the local scene here has yet to master, nor do I think really wants to. Yet I feel as though it is needed and necessary for the continued growth of the scene it’s self.

What are you and the band really stoked on right now?

Touring & working on new music. Plain & simple. I want to go out and show people want I can do; what we can do. Signing with Mello Music Group is a big step toward where I want to be, but there’s a long road toward real success & I sure as hell ain’t there yet. But you’ll see! :]

Parting words, insights, hopes, and dreams for spring/summer?

“The greatest lie man believes is that he is not in control of his own fate”. Remember that, because we’re all in control of where we’re going. I dream about my album being a success in the eyes of the people who helped me get here. I hope I get to hit a music festival or two. And I wish the best for you and yours.

MIND MELD

Introducing—MIND MELD; press photo courtesy of the band.

Introducing—MIND MELD; press photo courtesy of the band.

From LA’s inner-connective circuits of cliques, scenes, sects, and the sort; we introduce you to the brand new Mock Records co-released with Permanent Records the premiere of MIND MELD’s venom striking single “The Viper”. Made up of members from Jesus Sons, produced by the Spyrals’ Jeff Lewis; guitarist/vocalist Bert Hoover, bassist Erik Lake, percussionist Liz Tooley, & synthesist Jeff Fribourg follow up their previous 7″ flexi-disc for Permanent You’re Not Free with further concentration and creative disciplines in mastering the magic of the two and a half minute monster jam. The gathering of these west coast dwelling talents and visions creates an accelerated & enthusiastic energy heard from Bert’s snake-hissing delivery to Fribourg’s effects-treated electric-barrel synth where every iota of sound is cranked to the nines and tens. MIND MELD takes you into the clutches of their talons as you slide along the crust of earth’s dusty surfaces on your belly, moving in time to the instincts of the audio as these melders of the mind move forth on the attack.

“The Viper” emerges from it’s subterranean tunnel corridors and cave crevices to converge amongst the upright walking along with their fellow reptilian kind. Using the analog means to master the classic forms of psych-guitar shredding mastery, mixing all elements together in a ball of barely contained fury that is busting from the seams at every point of fabric & stitch. A blaze of chords come careening down like bolts of lightening & brimstone as MIND MELD melt your consciousness until they drip into the underground boroughs that are burrowed into the lesser known subterranean territories. “The Viper” buzzes like a late 60s nugget that is too dirty for the neat Village Green Preservation Societies that salutes the scuzzier sides of the Sunset Strip scenes (past and present) with an utter abandon and succinct economy where MIND MELD fits in all the action they can in well under three minutes. The perils of loneliness are matched with the kiss and bite of a femme fatale where a solitude in hell is traded for some kind of sordid marriage to a cold hearted snake-like figure. The catch-22 of affectionate connections here displays an intrinsic knowledge of vintage psych album rock rowdiness with an ear and nod toward the new dive directions DIY-skronk & that sort may be headed. We caught up with MIND MELD for an interview featured after the following debut listen to “The Viper”.

Give us the scoop on what inspired you all to start MIND MELD.

We all became friends back when the first Permanent Records opened in L.A. After that, we would regularly get together and jam in Bert’s garage. Just fun, free-form stuff. Eventually we’d jam around with some Hooveriii songs. It started to became it’s own thing. It just kind of happened. Then we decided we had become a band and needed a name. Mind Meld was pretty fitting for the way this all came together.

Describe the kind of mind melding cohesion that you all share.

Having similar taste in music and being really close friends made it pretty easy for us to start this project. When your jamming and you all have those influences you can feel where one person is heading and you all lock in. It’s really pretty cosmic.

In what ways have you all found your previous bands and acts influencing your work in Mind Meld?

It doesn’t really. None of us have really exclusively played this kind of music in a band before. Endless Bummer was gnarly and fun. Hooveriii was Bert’s solo project. Jesus Sons is still going strong. Bert and Erik are both in that band. We’ve all played in bands prior. I’d say a things we all try to respect is democracy and being kind to each other. Not every band can work that way, but we really try hard to get there. It should really be an enjoyable experience to play in a band otherwise what’s the point.

Tell us about the creation of the gritty, blistering, and full fire-blazing single, “The Viper”.

Bert demoed The Viper on a 4 track and then the band made it a song. There’s some tracks you finish and you just know it’s a great representation of the time and place you are at. We felt really good about that one. It’s so fun to play and it’s great when the audience feels it too.

Also interested in hearing further stories about the making of the “You’re Not Free” flexi with, along with work with The Spyrals’ Jeff Lewis’ at Permanent Records in Highland Park on “The Viper” 7″.

Jeff’s been a really good friend of ours for a while now. Mock has issued 2 of The Spyrals albums. We all love the way their recordings sound so we thought we’d ask Jeff to help us out. He was super down and late one night we all got together at Permanent Records, where we practiced, to record a 7″. We drug Bert’s 388 up from El Segundo and threw it on a plastic table, mic’d everything up, and got the recordings done live in a couple hours. It happened so fast and everything turned out just as we’d hoped. Jeff did a terrific job!

What else is awesome right now in LA that has you all stoked?

We’re all pretty stoked on Prettiest Eyes and Matt Zuk, just to name a few.

Other things that are really getting you all amped and stoked right now?

Tequila, ZZ Top, whiskey and Badfinger (not necessarily in that order.)

MIND MELD’s The Viper 7″ is available now from Mock Records co-released with Permanent Records.

Young Girls

Young Girls' Charlie Tijerina, Pete Tijerina, & Nicholas Dudek; press photo courtesy of the band.

Young Girls’ Charlie Tijerina, Pete Tijerina, & Nicholas Dudek; press photo courtesy of the band.

Austin by Houston’s Young Girls are gearing up for the May 20 release of their Austin Town Hall Records album Party Blood, premiering the single “What We Do” that rolls on an upbeat whim and upright attitudes in the face of all frustrations & disappointments. Young Girls’ Charlie Tijerina, Pete Tijerina, and Nicholas Dudek makes sense of their world through all the change-ups, shake-downs, breakdowns, shake-ups, and breakups collected together in a cycle of catchy songs created by the trio. The Girls’ trades the easy path of jaded cynicism for a shrugged shoulder optimism ripped from tales of heartache, hope, and other highway pop hymns heard from the roads that connect Austin to Houston.

“What We Do” bridges the California surf-dream style with east coast leaning DIY-Americana primitive executed with a southern dive bar sensibility. The independent aura enjoyed by the respective left & right coasts are here uplifted in ways that could inspire a bleary-eyed sing along with the barkeep in a Houston watering hole long after the last-call bell has been rung. Young Girls’ “What We Do” is a ballad of the band statement that attempts to reconcile a romantic bond that requests possible reciprocated feelings while maintaining being realistic all the while. The three illustrate the notions of going through all the motions that we all go through (at some point or another), spelling out what they indeed do with an impressive array of fancy chord progressions (and an abrupt fade-out finish that keeps you wondering where that next guitar lead is going). Young Girls brothers Charlie & Pete Tijerina join us for a discussion featured right after the following debut of “What We Do”.

Between Austin & Houston—what’s good these days here in the spring Texas season?

Pete: In both cities, there’s nothing better than cook outs and drinking beer on a porch.

Tell us about the blood, sweat, tears, & parties that inspired your new album Party Blood.

Charlie: A lot of Lone Star beer and a relationship that didn’t didn’t work out.

Pete: It was a weird time. Putting this record together took a couple of years, but the thing that helped us accomplish it was a lot of support from our friends in town. We were kind of a mess, but our family and people like our producer, John Griffin, and Carlos Pozo, who created all the art work on the record, really gave us that extra push to make this thing happen. Other than that, it was mostly mundane everyday occurrences like breakups and shit jobs.

How do the three of you approach your own writing, and recording processes?

Pete: My brother and I like to improvise and just start making sounds. If we dig a riff, we record it on our iPhones and use that as a template when we go into the studio. In regards to the recording process, we leave that to the engineers and producers. I usually describe a sound we’re looking for and they make it happen.

Charlie: If it sounds good it usually becomes a song.

Young Girls live; photographed by Carlos Valencia.

Young Girls live; photographed by Carlos Valencia.

Tell us how you made the self-asserting song of purpose, “What We Do”.

Charlie: Well, I was pretty pissy about a girl who doesn’t live here, and I just wanted to express that in the song, as well as most of the record.

Pete: I came up with the main riff for this one. At the time, I wanted to add something dark to our up beat style and it just sorta happened. There was no plan; we were just making sounds and the song came together.

Other artists you all are really sweet on these days?

Charlie: Alvvays, I still can’t get enough of that record.

Pete: I’ve been revisiting a lot of Clash and Springsteen records.

Young Girls’ summer preview?

Tour behind the record, travel as much as we can…maybe hit up Mexico for a bit. Buds and beers. That’s a Texas summer.

Young Girls’ new album Party Blood will be available May 20 from Austin Town Hall Records.

Iska Dhaaf

Iska Dhaaf (from left), Benjamin Verdoes & Nathan Quiroga; photographed by Jordan Strong.

Iska Dhaaf (from left), Benjamin Verdoes & Nathan Quiroga; photographed by Jordan Strong.

Seattle by way of Brooklyn duo Iska Dhaaf present a listen to their understated new electro-choral cut, “Say What You Want” from the forthcoming The Wanting Creature album available May 20 from Brick Lane Records. The duo of Nathan Quiroga (of Mad Rad, Buffalo Madonna) with Benjamin Verdoes (of Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band) first enamored audiences with their debut Even the Sun Will Burn and continue to make music that moves folks toward places of warm honesty, and privy expressions made in hushed waves of confidence like secrets shared among best friends. The new album showcases Nathan & Benjamin examining human natures of want and need where their production furthers creates a stage and atmosphere for exhibitions of desire that arise as a stirring from within.

“Say What You Want” exhibits a kind of unveiling between parties that prepare to part ways. With a core sound that plays guitar streams off the drum machine sequences and subtle synths and echo; Iska Dhaaf paints a pained picture of moments that reckon and reason with the aftermath of a failed relationship. The left over feelings are harmonized by Benjamin & Nathan in a solemn manner that makes a memorial to remember a love that once was. “Once we clean up the glass there will be no looking back,” the duo sing with a solemn reverence to the feelings and bond that has moved on, as all the lingering thoughts and disconnected narratives lay strewn about like the disarray left behind after a loved one packs up their things and hits the great wide open roads. Iska Dhaaf’s Nathan Quiroga & Benjamin Verdoes joined us for an insightful discussion featured after the following listen to “Say What You Want”.

Describe how you two find that your previous projects Mad Rad, Buffalo Madonna and Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band have left impressions on the approaches that you employ (or don’t employ) in Iska Dhaaf.

Benjamin: MSHVB was an experiment that allowed me to write syncopated/odd meter songs. I developed my concept of arrangement, harmonization and narrative voice. You can see all of those elements surface in Iska Dhaaf.

Nathan: There is 100% trust between us as creators. That was something difficult to maintain in Mad Rad. Our visions were very different. For Benjamin and I our vision is creepily aligned. So there’s less fighting to match personal aesthetic and more focused on pushing it as far as we can together.

Very interested in hearing about the big exodus from Seattle to NYC, along with the growth and terrain traveled from your debut release Even the Sun Will Burn to The Wanting Creature.

Benjamin: We had an opportunity to go to NYC & and thought it would be a good experience and would push us to grow. That has certainly been the case. NYC has an undeniable energy and excitement. It’s a very intense city. I am really grateful to live there. As a band we’ve learned to be more efficient and creative with our time. We’ve also been gone a lot of the time since we moved to Brooklyn. There were a few national tours behind Even the Sun Will Burn, and recording sessions in Seattle for the new album. We spent last winter in Europe playing shows and writing in Paris & Berlin. It was amazing. We’re currently on tour in the Midwest.

Nathan: Seattle became comfortable and NY is not. The first year broke me, but then something crystallized. I feel sharper, stronger, less afraid, and ready to do and see as much as possible. Seattle brought me this at first, but another change was necessary for growth. The same goes for the journey from the first record to the second. In order to create something different we had to depart from our previous process and tools. Also, the idea of the Wanting Creature, i.e. people, is magnified in a city like New York. Everyone wants more of everything there and we’re practically running to make sure we get it, and once we do, we realize there’s even more we can get, and so we run after that. I like people who want more.

Striking a pose with Iska Dhaaf; photographed by Jordan Strong.

Striking a pose with Iska Dhaaf; photographed by Jordan Strong.

How has Iska Dhaaf developed over this time from both your perspectives?

Benjamin: We’ve definitely grown as writers and producers. The new record has a lot electronic elements and programming through Ableton & Native Instruments. The possibilities are endless. Being on tour and in tighter spaces in NY has pushed us to write in different formats. We both love making beats and will probably start producing for other people in addition to our own compositions.

Nathan: We’ve stopped limiting ourselves and we want to make music in whatever capacity so long as it makes you feel something and isn’t recycled thoughts or sounds. We want to get as far away as possible from being called an Indie band.

Describe NYC versus Seattle scenes, art culture, etc.

Benjamin: NYC is vast and full of different scenes of every genre and subculture. You can find so many things. It feels somewhat disconnected at times, but it’s exciting to explore and participate in. To us, Seattle is home, and it is familiar. It also has a connected-ness and cohesion. There’s an amazing infrastructure and community resources like KEXP, VERA, & local businesses participate a great deal in the music scene. It has been awesome being plugged into both cities.

Nathan: Seattle is a big city but really a small town. The scenes bleed together, everyone knows everyone. In NY the city is so massive that the scenes have to be microcosmic to exist. You need a highly specific search engine to find what you want there, or you can get lost in the sauce.

Tell us about the emotional inception for the evocative heart strings-pulling “Say What You Want”.

Nathan: We were moving to New York and I was leaving the city and people I loved. I was contemplating leaving my relationship and going alone to start over completely. This song was made to be the end of something beautiful and the beginning of something unknown. We finished writing it in BK and benjamin experimented with a lot of production elements that took it to a whole new place. The song sounds like it’s liberating from its sadness, rather than settling down with it. Which I’m very happy about.

How do the two of you describe your own generative, creative synergy?

Benjamin: We are best friends and huge fans of the way the other works. The collaboration is unique and we are able to challenge and inspire one another. One of us will write or get into something and share it with the other. Then we mine it for all it’s meaning and make it better.

Nathan: We create no matter what because it’s what makes us happy. Right now on the road we are making things in the morning at a coffee shop before driving. Then we show each other what we made in the car. We upload private files to Soundcloud and work on ideas from there. When I make something in the morning I’m trying to surprise myself while simultaneously hoping to surprise Benjamin. I always think his beats are better than mine which makes me want to make something immediately after.

Summer & fall hopes, plans, & desires?

Nathan: We’re playing Sasquatch! Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot. Doing a record release show June 3rd at The Crocodile, then hitting the west coast once more before flying back to NY. We want to throw rooftop parties in BK all summer. Finish writing the mixtape we started in Paris and Berlin. Tour the US in the fall. Then hopefully tour Europe and do a release party in Paris by the end of the year. So nothing much really.

Iska Dhaaf’s upcoming album The Wanting Creature will be available May 20 from Brick Lane Records.

Catch them on tour now via the following spring dates:

iska dhaaf spring tour week in pop

Casinos

Tackling life's games & sports of chance & luck with LA's own Casinos; press photo courtesy of the band.

Tackling life’s games & sports of chance & luck with LA’s own Casinos; press photo courtesy of the band.

From the opulent land of Los Angeles, we bring you Casinos’ who premiere “Crapulence” off their recently released LP An Album available now from Danger Collective Records. The gang of Kreider Dane, Jackson Katz, Rafe Noonan, & Reed Kanter combine together fun & frightening audio concoctions of jubilant jaunts and various pangs of fear. Casinos cram as many different electrified components together to make a for a whirling sound deserved of being an amusement park ride unto itself.

“Crapulence” dashes forward from the get-go as the song begins as Casinos convey a series of misgivings and nebulous needs. The song’s momentum is spurned by an ecstatic sort of synthesizer that encourages the fuzzy guitar licks and percussion sequencing to follow suit on a destination toward the unknown. Casinos spell out an urge for sharing debaucherous times with loved ones and VIP friends, as the song slows down a bit in the last third, as the instruments take over. From here “Crapulence” becomes something of a sonic rocket made by the band that runs off all the refuse and agitations expressed in the song with the dials set for a serene, celestial world somewhere out there. Join as after the following listen for our exclusive interview roundtable with Casinos’ Kreider Dane, Jackson Katz, Rafe Noonan, & Reed Kanter.

Describe fur how you all discovered one another, and then in turn how Casinos were discovered as a musical body.

Kreider: I met Jackson and Rafe at a music program in agoura. Reed joined later because I guess we have an aversion to having a bass guitar player so we needed something to fill the dry/rawness so Reed does bass synth stuff. The sound or feel of the music has been fairly consistent since day one, we didn’t need to conceptualize it or anything it’s just fairly natural.

Rafe: We all meet playing together and realized we had the same music taste and wanted to just make cool weird music together so that’s what we did.

Jackson : Kreider Pagett and Jackson Katz met when they were 12 years old at an after school music program. Kreider playing guitar and Jackson drums. Eventually they met Rafe Noonan through the music school. The songwriting began to revolve around Rafe’s piano playing. Then later Rafe introduced Kreider and Jackson to Reed who added synth and drum machine.

Reed: I started playing in Casinos when I was 16 so four years. They originally were just Kreider, Jackson, and Rafe. Ive known Rafe most of my life so I was introduced to Jackson and Kreider around February of 2012. I smoked weed with Kreider one day at my mom’s house and just started playing some synths for him and then after that he asked me to come to a practice.

What about the concepts of casinos themselves informed or influenced you all taking on this title?

Kreider: I forget casinos has any involvement with anything other than our group frequently. It was just a shot in the dark name that we enjoyed no influence or hidden motives behind the name.

Rafe: We took on this title cause we liked it? Kinda confused by that one.

Jackson: When naming this project, we liked the aesthetics and more importantly the sounds of vaudeville and cabaret. Earlier on being very inspired by Tom Waits. We felt the name Casinos captured the overall vibe of our band.

Reed: I wasn’t around when the name was created but I think it fits us perfectly.

In conversation with LA's Casinos; press photo courtesy of the band.

In conversation with LA’s Casinos; press photo courtesy of the band.

“Crapulence” is an astonishing DIY take on electrical opulence on an economically minded budget that has little concern for genre considerations. Tell us about the making of this ambitious single.

Kreider: We recorded this in Oakland last year… We ran the drum machine through a Marshall half stack so it sounds pretty gnarly lo fi I guess but the silly background vocals are super hi fi so there’s a good dichotomy of sound going on here.

Rafe: We made this song because we wanted to make something cool and different that we would enjoy listening too and playing and I think we did

Jackson: When we wrote the song we were listening to a lot of trap music. We really developed a liking for trap drums. When we realized that we could add trap drums to our sound and make it work, we took advantage of that.

Describe for us how you all go about creating such sounds.

Kreider: The crazy sounds are probably coming through reeds set up. We ran everything through amps instead of going DI on the synths and keyboards. He has a native instruments maschine and a moog sub 37, while Rafe is working with a Korg SV1. I use a Brian Setzer signature model gretsch and Jackson plays on a gretsch Jazz kit Catalina series.

Rafe: By being fucking sick geniuses.

Jackson: We write together in a rehearsal space. Most of the songs stem from a riff or jingle that Rafe has written and then we all work it out together from there. Forming its structure and dynamics. Kreider writes all of the lyrics with the occasional help from Jackson.

Reed: When writing “Crapulence” we were all listening to a lot of trap. I remember us specifically listening to Traplord by ASAP Ferg a bunch and just being really into all of that. I made beats and stuff using this drum machine so I just brought it in to practice one day and were like fuck it lets just add some 808 drums to this. The whole song was always really fun to play at shows so when we finally got around to recording it, I think we were all pleased with the results.

What else can you all tell us about what everyone’s working on right now?

Kreider: We are trying to make new music to put out as soon as possible. Reed plays keyboards in Slow Hollows. Jackson is Rexx’s full time drummer while I’m beginning to fill in on bass a little bit for them. I’m also in the process of finishing a solo EP.

Latest notes from the LA scenes and circuits?

Kreider: Notes on the scene and circuit…I guess thanks for being interested in the stuff we do.

Reed: What Jackson said.

Casinos’ full-length An Album is available now via Danger Collective Records.

Yoke Lore

Yoke Lore's Adrian Galvin; photographed by Jake Wayler.

Yoke Lore’s Adrian Galvin; photographed by Jake Wayler.

The debut Yoke Lore EP Far Shore is available today from B3SCI Records and we have your first listen, followed by an exclusive introductory manifest from the central artist/dancer/multi-instrumentalist/yoga instructor Adrian Galvin (whose brother Noah Galvin you already know from Show Me The Body). Through these host of different disciplines and artistic consciousnesses, Adrian finds an enlightened meeting ground where all these focuses meet in a congressional intersection like an endearing embrace by the many arms of Ganesha. Having just recenlty premiered a dance work made with Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier last March at Dixon Place in Manhattan with his dance troupe Boomerang; Galvin continues to work to find new new aesthetic forms and models of expression that work outside the pollemics and didactic of representation & presentation.

The weightless motion toward a mode and state of levitation all starts on the narratives of “Heavy Love” that moves from the indelible memories of romantic dreams to scenes of beach bums shtupping in the sand dunes. The grandiose opening invitational rings of the righteous sounds of festival fare feels that beam like stage lights that burn from the amphitheater bright, always keeping a sentimental spotlight on the securities of the heart on songs like “Safety”. Stances of defense and disarmed stances are heard in a pursuit for safe zones of comfort and care, where the most treasured and precious desires revolve around the cabin essences of being thankfully snowed-in on “Snowday”. The EP draws to a close that continues the confessional mode that seeks grander conversations and elated states of feeling while also seeking a certain peace of mind through being grounded in the present.

Yoke Lore’s Adrian Galvin provided us with the following introductory manifesto that describes how his work in the fields of dance, yoga, theaters, & more inform his musical approaches & sensibilities:

Using our imagination is what really makes us human. You can talk all you want about opposable thumbs and our landmark respiratory systems, but our ability to create is what marks us. What we make and how it connects to the world defines our character and our destiny.

In Buddhism there is a term for high saints and teachers called the Bodhisattva. A Bodhisattva is a person who vows that his goal of enlightenment shall not be obtained until every other sentient being achieves that transcendent release. Imagine this: you and everyone you know are in a desert dying of thirst and you all come to an incredible oasis with pools of fresh water and trees of bulbous fruit. Bodhisattva’s are the people who vow not to drink or eat until everyone else has eaten their fill and sated their thirst. I am no Bodhisattva. I don’t claim the prowess or the altruism necessary to undertake such a vow. But I do come from a big family of sensual people who see the world differently than most. My father digs up metal from his front lawn and displays it on his wall. My mother reads bodies the way most of us read the newspaper. They taught me to speak with tact and focus, to feel with every fiber of my body, to make someone feel heard and seen and loved. They taught me how to create the world around me, and how to participate in its constant becoming. I feel responsible for that knowledge.

I dance to explore my primal self. We don’t usually get to yell, scream, throw ourselves, kick as hard as we can, thrash, shake or leap on a day to day basis. We go to work, we sit in cars and trains, we wait in lines, we sit on couches, we may lift or run a couple times a week. It’s sterile and breeds rigidity. I want to show people how to move freely, and how beautiful the most mundane of physical moments can be. I want to infuse intimacy back into everyday life and to stop confusing it with sexuality. I want you to look at the bus driver and hold his gaze as you give him a small gift in thanks for his service. I want the slight touch of a barista’s fingers as he hands you your coffee to make you stop and consider. I think more people should kiss in public.

I strive to help people make better contact with themselves and others. Yoga is the science of making contact, binding. Like a yoke, the binds that make up the yogic cannon work to hold you together, so that you won’t unravel and break apart easily. I do yoga to help people protect themselves and find the balance in constant flux.

I make music because want to make the exploration of my worst fears and doubts beautiful. I write songs about how I’m vulnerable, where my weak spots are. Music making is therapeutic. The Far Shore EP comes out of a history committed sincerity. I care so much about women that I’ve loved, ideas that I believe in, books that have changed me, artists that have shaped me, stories that we use to tell our children how to live and be. I do what I do to try and make people think about the stuff we usually don’t think about; to make the unconscious conscious. The idea of the Far Shore comes from the Daoist I-Ching – the book of change. True enlightenment is knowledge of the far shore. My dance, yoga, music, and art become building materials for my boat that can fit everyone.

The Yoke Lore EP Fare Shore is available now via B3SCI Records.

Mister Suit

In the tub with Mister Suit's Garrett Jones; photographed by Sara Wenokur.

In the tub with Mister Suit’s Garrett Jones; photographed by Sara Wenokur.

Checking in on our old school buddy Garrett Jones, aka Mister Suit, we discovered his new single “Never Feeling Right” that operates in the Mister Suit style of rhythmic bopping that we have always known and loved that issues a whole sort of can’t get no satisfaction lament. The rhythm guitar skips like a peppy stone being kicked like a can across the sidewalk concrete as Jones displays a song of desires met with disappointments, and the pangs and aches of feeling incomplete. In our recent conversation, Garrett gave us the following humble thoughts on his latest batch of recordings:

I got / am pretty sick of rock n roll these days—haven’t been playing out or thinking about any new tunes, but I recorded this one last Saturday; It rained all day and I sorta liked it. The last thing anyone needs is another rock n roll song, especially by a white dude, but here ya go.

Flesh and Tone

From San Francisco—introducing Flesh and Tone's Chase Fleming; press photo.

From San Francisco—introducing Flesh and Tone’s Chase Fleming; press photo.

San Francisco artist Chase Fleming has been making music under the name Flesh and Tone, working alongside Luke Andreini. Premiering a listen to the upcoming single “Don’t Forget About Me” available May 13, Fleming pleads for the central focus to an offstage significant other to remember him even though far apart. The aches and nagging pangs of loneliness experienced in a long-distance relationship are put on full blast where all the emotions are contained in the slow building synth stair-steps that keeps hope rising on the up and up.

Time is counted, and recalled dialogue transcripts are mulled over obsessively with a love in absentia on “Don’t Forget About Me”. Flesh and Tone counts the three more weeks of being apart before a serendipitous homecoming can commence as metaphysical wishes cause the entire arrangement to soar up like a sappy & sweet note sent into the sky in a helium balloon potentially for a loved one to intercept. Chase puts on the big lovesick delivery, while allowing the keys and mechanical rhythms to create a warm abode to inhabit until Fleming’s dear one returns. Chase described the new single with the following words:

The track came about after my ex girlfriend moved to another country. I was planning to move over there a month or two after she left, and did, but the initial separation was difficult. I’m hoping the song resonates with anyone feeling a loss or separation. I also want it to inspire hope that even though it may be hard now, at one point you’ll make it through and look back feeling stronger you made it.

Stone Cold Fox

Brooklyn's Stone Cold Fox; press photo.

Brooklyn’s Stone Cold Fox; press photo.

Playing tomorrow May 7 at NYC’s Mercury Lounge, we bring you a listen to Stone Cold Fox’s new EP Tunnel Vision, followed by a track for track breakdown courtesy of the band’s Kevin, Aaron, Graham, & Justin. “Contagion” kicks the EP off with an infectious energy that marches ahead in the faces of all pathogens and parasites. With great festival sound overtures, “Firing Squad” breaks out of the cell of isolation for something exquisite and bombast, paired next to the slow-waking dawn treading “Morning Light”. SCF’s penchant for refining their arrangements to pop perfection can be heard with the synth-underscored narratives & dialogues on “Change My Mind”, right before the Brooklyn band brings their own brand of distorted disco all back home again with the closing anthem “Polyethylene”.

Stone Cold Fox gave the following exclusive track-by-track breakdown of their new Tunnel Vision EP:

“Contagion” is a song born out of the frustrations of conformity and trends that every musician has to struggle with and recognize. The song is a culmination of a two year journey to find our own musical identity. Musically we wanted to incorporate both the dance-ability of electronic music and the energy of rock and roll. We had a lot of push and pull in different directions but ended up finding a middle ground that allowed us to explore the trends we were inspired by but also stand our ground in a rock rooted foundation.

“Firing Squad” was written in the winter of 2015 during a relatively long bout of seasonal depression. I have a super hard time with winter’s, especially in NYC. I pretty much walled myself up in my room and just watched movies and wrote music. So, at some point during a Woody Allen marathon, I ended up with “Firing Squad”, a very slow acoustic version, all miserable and shit. And I showed it to Ariel (ex-member/producer of the band) and he was like, wait why don’t we just make this faster? If you’ve heard the song by now, then you’ll notice it is definitely not an old sad bastard song anymore. And that’s something we do a lot in Stone Cold Fox. We take the basis of a song, the emotional fuel, and we try and flip it on it’s end and challenge it’s form. What started as a song about defeat, turned into a song about triumph in the face of defeat.

“Morning Light” is about sleeping in and spending the whole day alone after a one night stand. The verses are meant to be set in the present while the choruses act as a reprise from the night before. It began as an instrumental idea by Graham Stone. This was one of the first Stone Cold Fox song’s that I didn’t directly write from the get go, so it was kinda a challenge finding a story with it, but I think it ended up being really freeing and gave me a chance to explore other avenues of songwriting.

“Change My Mind” is a song that really gets to the core of the EP, it’s about staying the course no matter what. The song evolved over the course of a year as we honed in on a new sound. As we’ve developed as a group, we have become much more comfortable with writing together and this was one of the first songs that was truly a collaborative writing process. It was a tough one to get through, took many revisions, a lot of rerecording, but we finally finished it, and it makes it so much more rewarding having gone through the struggle.

“Polyethylene” was sparked by former member Ariel Loh with a super catchy synth line that opens the song. We used it as a basis and then just built on it from there, adding pulsing guitar and synth, monster noises from Justin, eerie guitar lines from Graham and forward moving drums from Aaron. The song came about so quickly because at this point in the EP we had really found the sound we were going for. It was a song that took a lot of collaboration and really spanned a lot of ground musically and had a wide range of influences. It acts as the final battle ground for a lot of the themes running through the album; battling with insecurity, powering through depression, and finding your voice. Though the ending is heavy, I feel like it’s actually this dark and loud celebration of all these things finally being overcome.

Ugly Heroes are the three horsemen of Detroit producer Apollo Brown & mic masters Red Pill & Verbal Kent, breaking us off a little something with the heartfelt track “Heart Attack” taken off their upcoming Everything In Between available June 24 from Mello Music Group. Apollo delivers a piano forward sample while Pill & Kent spit stories and stresses with a plea to hold on to your heart.

Alge returns with further pop devotionals on the single “Devoted” that delivers the various conceits and connective cords and bonds that bind. Found off the Brooklyn artist’s forthcoming EP The Bluebird Triptych, Jon Weinman works in ways where all the constructs of the world feel like they are all collapsing all around like ruins of fallen pillars.

Matre readies the forthcoming Courage mixtape (ft. appearances from Mkya 9 of Freestyle Fellowship, Awol One of Shape Shifters, & more) available June 7 and we got a listen to the poetic inner view of will conquering struggle on “Call Water” (Courage Remix) ft. Mayda Del Valle. Featuring production by Joe Lonnberg, Rick Ellis and Peter Walden; Matre, Mayda & company sing a song of prayer & deliverance to quench the palettes of thirsty spirits during times drought, famine, & upheavals of unbelievable adversity. This is a call for true serenity now.

Jerome Alexander is Message to Bears who works in organic-emotive expressions of intentions and perspectives in sound on the upcoming album Carved From Tides available July 1 via the artist’s label Message To Bears Music. On a listen to “I’ll Lead You There” feat. Will Samson, the single finds Alexander create a scenic path through strings, synthesized rhythms, and loops that guides the way to lairs, levels, and meetings.

Hear “Hard To Love” from rising vocal pop star Folly Rae that exhibits all frustrations, conflicts, and roadblock obstacles that often stand in the way of love.

Henry Chadwick dropped the super-poppy track “Guest at Home”, presenting some stranger in a familiar abode type of vignette. Known for his work with The Coffis Brothers and My Stupid Brother (currently on hiatus), Henry works within the power-pop model that brings about all the sentimental sewn proudly on sleeves with a host of hooks. Chadwick draws upon a rich musical heritage (his father worked at Hollywood’s Cherokee Studios, a home studio in the Santa Cruz mountains, etc); Henry makes a song that for everyone that has ever felt out of place in their own environment with an upbeat lean.

Yung presented the latest scuzzy emotive dorm room bawler “The Child”, taken off their debut album available June 10 from Fat Possum. The Aarhus, DK gang drop one that explores the shifts, changes, and new occurrences that come with growing up and entering into the foyer of new opportunities.

Eric Copeland sent out some muddy-stoned-tripping smoke signals about the forthcoming album Black Bubblegum available July 8 from DFA Records, sharing the weird wandering wonder of “On”. Copeland’s vocals are buried beneath a mechanical rhythm beat that entertains loops a of woodwinds, brass, hand claps, that utilizes the homemade/everything and the kitchen sink-approach to pop.

The Loom lets you in for a therapy session in the Matt Bauer video for “Fire Makes” taken off their just released album Here In The Deadlights from Crossbill Records/Stereocilia.The session goes from a normal gathering to a speedy-camera spinning shred fest that reminds you that “as long as we’re looking we’re not lost…”

Desert Sound Colony dropped their remix of Natalie McCool’s single “Fortress” that rebuilds mortars of clay, straw, and new red bricks of electric grit. But the DSC rendering re-creates a fortitude that is like a like a towering ziggurat of ambient-rhythms of peaceful dwellings.

Crypt Thing’s debut EP will be available June 17 from the South-East London imprint squareglass, and we present you wit5h a listen to the title track “Shodan”. The cut delivers a desert bound wandering mystic aura that wanders like a lost trails traveler looking for the next watering hole to hitch up their rig on a highway post.

Brothers return with the single “Hope Y’all Die” that constructively transforms ill-sentiments into pure pop gold. Taken off the forthcoming album WANT, the mysterious group that consists of what they say are “two members from other bands” make elusive pop that sounds like template/framework of sunny sensations.

Berlin’s strange-trippers Slow Steve present the following listen to Adventures available today from Morr Music. Rémi Letournelle runs the gamut between the various Euro experimental pop canons to present an odyssey for the mind and senses to remember.

From R. Hemsworth’s Secret Songs imprint; we present to you the Netherlands’ own Julien Mier who delivers a hybrid of his composer/producer affinities with the fluttering rapid-percussion propelled single “Hum Of The Hummingbirds”.

In case you missed it, hear Astronautalis’s new album Cut The Body Loose first before anyone else before it drops May 13 from Side One Dummy. The provocateur issues out a call for all the lovers and haters to join along in a wild stream of conscious ride that is produced, engineered, and recorded by the one and only John Congleton.

50 Foot Wave is the new band from Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses, who presents the new gnostic-notions of “God’s Not A Dick” off the forthcoming Bath White EP available May 27 from HHBTM Records. Hersh unleashes that alternative rock that shaped your favorite 4AD memories with new school waves of mutilation and anecdotes of real life mysteries.

Tempelhof & Gigi Masin shared a new instrumental breakthrough from their forthcoming album Tsuki available June 10 from Cascine/Hell Yeah Recordings with the abstract jazz aura of “Vampeta”. These masters of modern day understanding of the ambient audio arts continue to push the envelope of instrumentally charged methods of sound shaping.

Bronze Whale’s “Love To Feel” featuring Khai gets re-twisted by Laetho with a remix of the original featured off BW’s debut EP War Of Art. Amorous feelings are turned into a new array of heart-felt percussive euphoria.

Someday River dropped the single “Sleeping Sideways” full of spring getaway vibes and sunny jubilation. It’s the getting away from it all single made to comfort and inspire all of those that can’t get away from it all based upon their own civic duties & responsibilities.

Peep the Robert Cobbina video for Ed Scissor & Lamplighter’s “TTIW” cut from the new album Tell Them It’s Winter available from High Focus Records. Ed & the crew give some winter sentiments to compliment the gloomier side of spring and the ensuing summer sun.

Courtesy of Tempel Arts, watch the Mariuca G.L. video for Northwest’s “Wind” that spins various folk-style b/w images to match the choral song style that permeates the atmosphere of the Northwest sound.

From WEIRDO, get down to the fun-thumping d-pop fun to keep your weekend whirling with “ARMANIO” that provides a series of dance-floor dramas and more.

Toronto champions of all things chill and tranquil Jaunt will drop their album Chat circa July 1 through Craft Singles, lending a gentle & joyous listen to “Gentle Reminder”. With additional vocals supplied by Michaela Woeller, with a sampled re-work ripped from Usher’s “U Remind Me”; Jaunt turns back the radio time machine dial to a whole other world where AM jams and classic r & b gems ruled the airwaves where slow dance signals switch the lights down low as the ballroom illuminations and feelings take full form.

Casket Girls bring more pop blasts from the future crypt with “Tears Of A Clown” from their forthcoming album The Night Machines available June 3 via Graveface Records. Savannah’s Phaedra & Elsa Greene with Ryan Graveface deliver their plight & fight with paradigms that bounce the capitalist minded with the creative desire of want.

The funereal video from Crooked Gentlemen, Jeff Doyle & Shaun Ryan for Funeral Suits’ “Tree of Life” brings about the life and death continuum through stark imagery that delivers feels that rattle the finite nature of mortality from the core of your being and through your bones.

Presenting the Faraz Shariat video of farmland fancies (with a power plant seen in the background) for Evvol’s title track off the upcoming EP Physical L.U.V available May 13 from !K7 Records. The country quiet life here is depicted in a kind of intimacy that farmers will understand and city slickers will marvel at in envy.

Swedish/American duo Djustin features Rose Suau & Johan Angergård who dropped the slow-synth-dripping “Concrete” taken from their upcoming debut EP Tryst available May 13 on Labrador Records. The ambiguities of being stuck in the night of “nothing is wrong, nothing is right” delivers a slow & soft decent into the alluring gates of blessed purgatory.

With Fruit Bats’ new album Absolute Loser available May 13 from Easy Sound, we bring you the earnest strumming sound & songs sent to you straight from the Americana heart & soul of Eric D. Johnson.

Off their album No Manchester, take in Mexrrissey marrying the mariachi styles in the key of Moz in the video for “Cada Día es Domingo” (Morrissey’s “Every Day Is Like Sunday”) filmed in the Salford Lads Club. This is the Latin-Mozzer connection experienced like nothing else ever before.

Taken from the forthcoming Moon Window EP, you are invited to take a night ride out to the furthest shores and most tranquil sea waves on “Night Boat” from Colourwaves. The various elements and past essences from former chillwave gods are used as something of a canvas where subtle synths and emotionally etched sustains create the impression like something heard or experienced in a beautiful dream of unbound ecstasy.

Chris Cohen’s Week in Pop

Taking a stroll with Chris Cohen; photographed by Kate Dollenmayer.

Taking a stroll with Chris Cohen; photographed by Kate Dollenmayer.

Chris Cohen today releases the long-awaited follow up to his solo album debut Overgrown Path with the release of As If Apart via Captured Tracks, sharing his following exclusive Week in Pop guest selections with Impose to help celebrate the occasion:

Here’s what I’ve been listening to this week:

One of my all-time favorite songwriters, Ruth Garbus.

Chris Cohen jamming; photographed by Mike Stoltz.

Chris Cohen jamming; photographed by Mike Stoltz.

Lightstorm, “Sweet Dreaming”
You may know them as 33 1/3 from the Enjoy the Experience vanity -pressing comp but this is one of their other, non-Sai Baba-related bands.

My friend Alex Keefe recently turned me on to these guys, Burnier e Carter.

The Chris Cohen band; photo courtesy of the artists.

The Chris Cohen band; photo courtesy of the artists.

I love all the FM radio air-checks on YouTube—this one from my youth. Hearing all the old songs and the local commercials and DJ personalities plus sometimes you hear some obscure songs that didn’t quite become hits. KIQQ was so good.

Chris Cohen & the band; photographed by Mike Stoltz.

Chris Cohen & the band; photographed by Mike Stoltz.

Dream meeting of CE Schneider Topical and The Lentils.

I came across this randomly on a Zydeco kick, on the amazing Bay Area public-access TV show hosted by Girl George. Queen Ida and the Bon Ton Band.

Having a laugh with Chris Cohen's band; photo courtesy of the artist.

Having a laugh with Chris Cohen’s band; photo courtesy of the artist.

Brand new Maher Shalal Hash Baz recorded in New York—a totally new side of the ever-changing/unchanging Tori Kud Band.

Chris Cohen at the piano; photographed by Mike Stoltz.

Chris Cohen at the piano; photographed by Mike Stoltz.

I’ve been listening to Gun Outfit “Dream All Over” a lot lately and every time I love it more. These guys are also incredible filmmakers.

Like Chris Cohen via Facebook.

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