Week in Pop: Chuck Bass, Proudest Ever, Stickers

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Dazzletine, Gleemer, Lemonade, OVVN, White Hex, co-curated by Ruane Maurice.

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Sjimon Gompers | June 29, 2014

week in pop

Jersey's own Chuck Bass drops by for a world premiere and interview, Stickers premieres video for "Outlet", Ferns becomes Proudest Ever, and more in Impose's Week in Pop. (press photos courtesy of the artists)

Impose’s Week in Pop takes on the headlines with the latest pop culture breakthroughs of interest, sorting through the barrage of summer buzz. That totally hyped Grimes cut “Go” dropped, as did Tyler the Creator’s Aunt Wang Syrup Commercial. There was Frances Bean Cobain versus Lana Del Rey, Kanye at Cannes, and Kendrick’s TDE imprint allegedly had some reservations regarding the 2013 Yeezus tour. Amnesty International apologized for using Iggy Pop in an ad without permission, an Avicii gig goes wrong in Boston, Glastonbury’s has it’s own casualties, Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival might be the new Altamont for the EDM heads, and Liturgy reforms Renihilation lineup plus reissue. Whew!

But moving forward, we are proud to present, premiere, and showcase brand new gifts and discussions with Chuck Bass, Stickers, Proudest Ever (formerly Ferns), Lemonade, Dazzletine, White Hex, OVVN, Gleemer, Ruane Maurice, and more.

CHUCK BASS

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One of the freshest faces on the East Coast, New Jersey’s Chuck Bass premieres his first single off the upcoming Paper Plates EP with the hedonistic luxury lean on “Model Mayhem”. Generating intrigue from producers like Swizz Beatz, Chuck has been flying around the European circuits from Amsterdam, Italy, Paris, Spain, and the UK, releasing his debut with the Cool Life EP last year. He sports that Brooklyn cool while still repping the Jersey life. Through a unique NJ tempo, Chuck checks a sound that brings the coasts closer together, keeping the mood celebratory, the beats slapping, and paving the way for new up-and-coming gentry of emcees and producers.

Shaking it up a bit, Chuck rides like he’s got the key to the city in this VIP section style exclusive. On “Model Mayhem”, Bass walks arm-in-arm with metaphors from Def Jam’s patriarch to the Seattle Seahawks star on the bars: “I’m Russell Simmons with the models, Russell Wilson popping bottles.” Shout outs, too, to Colin Kaepernick and shopaholics, Bass pumps up the New Jersey you never knew as its NYC neighbor gets the bulk of attention for folks in the music game. Chuck unleashes a delivery that travels at different speeds, slowing it down to give love and providing views of that fine life leather and silk-lined interiors, putting it into fourth gear to illustrate big balling similes. Kicking it with Vogue-caliber entourages, Chuck Bass has put NJ back on the map as a hungry artist with a big vision. He joins us following the debut to talk Jersey, coming up with influeces from a Jamaican ex-pat patriarch, hopes for the new schools, new crews, and more.

Considering your grandfather’s influence as a reggae artist, how did that affect your earliest creations, and how have those bountiful catalogs of deep roots, dub plates, reggae, and dancehall  impact your own musical consciousness?

My grandfather definitely set the foundation musically for me at an early age. The sounds in his music were always smooth and catchy, especially in his choruses. You see, reggae music gives you a melodic vibe no matter how hard or soft the song is and I took that part with me. The chorus is so important in a song, I got that from him and reggae music as a whole. I give the audience a rhythm to connect to. Once I mastered the art in creating hooks I was able to create songs which in turn became cool music.

In choosing the moniker Chuck Bass, was it in anyway an homage to Rob Base?

The alias Chuck Bass was given to me by a close friend in my camp. It stems from the character in the show called Gossip Girl. A fashion-based show that concentrated on the high society lifestyle of this character from the lower and upper east side of Manhattan. The character’s cool life style and fashion sense coincide with the life I live and express in my music. So they consider me the real life Chuck Bass. It stuck ever since. But Rob Base? No, but I do have some Rob Base hits in my catalogue.

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How have both NYC and NJ informed your various tastes of that East Coast core of collectives, producers, emcees, and so on?

I’m blessed to say that I have the best of both worlds in Brooklyn and New Jersey. Brooklyn gave me Cool and Jersey gave me Life. The two completely different cities gave me a more cultured background. I got a variety of sounds from both places which I fused together. It allowed me to be versatile and left me without a home to place my music. As a result my sound can be appreciated by people of many backgrounds across the states and seas.

Have you and Swizz talked about anything collaborative in the pipeline?

No it didn’t get that far. I met Swizz a while back when I started taking music serious. Long story short, I got the opportunity to meet him in Sony studios. I spit some flows for him in the studio and he was feeling my energy and what I brought that night. It was a monumental moment in my musical journey. He told the people I was down with at the time that they had something in me, which gave me the confidence and the belief that I belong here.

How had the experience of recording Cool Life with Emanny help springboard the creative conversation further?

I connected with Emanny through a friend who engineered the entire Cool Life project. Shout out to Parks by the way. I recorded the song about a month before it was sent over to Emanny and he liked it and added exactly what it needed to become a dope song. It’s called “Art Of Love”, check it out if you didn’t already.

Like on the debut of “Model Mayhem”, the production is pushing both the East and West Coasts together, like the slap on “Model Mayhem” sounds at home next to a fresh HBK gang / Iamsu! cut. What was your vision for the production and flow of this hook heavy diamond of glamor and glitz?

Iamsu! is dope! The production is crazy! I made this song honestly for NJ. When I say I made it for New Jersey I mean the tempo. I wanted a house music feel to this record. Something really fast and out of control with a high BPM.. like Mayhem. New Jersey came from House music, its in the people’s DNA and a lot of people don’t even know it. I went into this song wanting to give Jersey a sound. Something they can call their own. If you feel like I gave off a East and West Coast vibe then my task is completed because it shows versatility. And I’m here to speak to the world but must first capture the nation. I changed up the flow on the second verse to express the rebellious attitude that we possess. With this record I wanted the people to have fun, dance and celebrate the models and the new change in music.

Some of your favorite mic handlers, deejays, producers, emcees, and more that deserve more credit?

I do think Pusha T deserves more credit as heavy spitter in this game. I think lyrically he is one of the best that do it but doesn’t get his credit due in the culture. I’d like to see artists like Curren$y get a chance at the big lights, I think he’s dope. My favorite hip hop artist is The LOX though. Every member. They made me who I am.

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Thoughts on the state of East Coast, NJ/NYC hip hop/r&b/electronic/pop/ everything these days?

I think there’s a lot of good artists in my coast but we just need more diversity. NY is known for the hardcore sound and anything else we gotta get from other parts of the map. Artists need to take more chances creatively and try to separate themselves from what’s going on around them. Isn’t that why we’re artists? Lets create!

What else are you working on lately? What’s next in the Chuck Bass canon?

Right now I’m finishing up my EP titled Paper Plates. I want this project to be something special for my fans, something long-lasting. We been shooting a bunch of videos, prepping for upcoming shows and just making sure this project is perfect in all aspects. A bunch of new music is on the way. So expect to see me in a city near you.

What are you listening to right now? Top five artists/groups/etc?

I got Lorde in my rotation right now. I like her sound, I think she’s the leader of the new wave. Um, I been bumping that new Usher “Good Kisser”. That song mean.. I like 90s hip hop. Honestly that’s what I listen to most. My top 5? Hm I got Jay Z, Biggie Smalls, Lil Wayne, Tupac, Lauryn Hill.

Listen to more Chuck Bass via Soundcloud.

STICKERS

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Seattle’s Stickers have been gaining the attention and adoration the Northwest’s indie denizens, recently signing with End of Time Records, and readying their much-anticipated debut album, Swollen, for August 12. These future legends are bringing together their batch of recordings from Crybaby Studios, where Gabi Page-Fort and the gang take you as their captive, leaving you bruised up, blown up, broken down, and still smiling.

Stickers are the ultimate love letter to the Seattle scenes right now. They embody the DIY ethos—the anti-rock, the anti-pop, the anti-commercialism, and the free play of ideas and attitudes in their clanging, churning, clamor-school of cool. Stickers continue to the be the band hot on the lips of Northwesterners who know what’s up, keeping us on the edge of our seats waiting for the fall release of Swollen.

Which brings us to the world premiere of the Colin Dawson video for “Outlet”. Rippling circles frame stoner beach parties, psychedelic collage placements of strange clip-art (a human BBQ, global beach balls, entranced eyes, saxophones, etc.), ballet studio dance parties, bloodshot eyeballs, sacrilegious last suppers, electrical AC chords, and more. Mixing in some live video at the end, Dawson entertains the strange, the absurd, the playful, turning the somewhat serious and snarling sides of Stickers into a jovial po-mo romp. The ultimate summer party video knocks down the pillars of angst with an assertive anger that channels this energy through the “outlet” of unwound sounds and visions. Using foreshadowing with the green screen wall paper of saxophones, it leads into Gabi’s big sax blowout at the end as she keeps the audience in the tight control and grip of her hellbent, sometimes dead-panned delivery. Join us following the video debut, where Gabi talked with us briefly about Stickers, Seattle, and more.

What was the story of flipping back the 2014 dial to 1994 in the Colin Dawson video for “Outlet”?

It looks like Cobra’s imagination. (Cobra = Colin Dawson)

PS: Did you notice how there are colors in this video you’ve never seen before, not even in the hypercolor 90s?

There are lots of eyes in this video, was this like plugging into some kind of psychic, third eye….outlet?

Yes!

PS: see also the lyric sheet for further exegesis…the outlets are loose and there’s energy flowing wild.

How did Stickers form?

Stickers are the product of moms and dads mating. Then there was meeting, and instrument trying, and basements, and the SHRED. The rest is ancient history.

What is the semiotic story of the name?

We don’t remember. But my dad [Gabi’s dad] says everybody likes stickers.

Tell us about recording your upcoming album, Swollen, one of 2014’s most anticipated discs?

Recording happened, there was mixing, it was weird, it took time, and we are very very excited to see it out on fleshy vinyl. There was a Terminator 2 mixing board involved, which we terminated through the power of our shred. RIP T2. The record’s gestation period helped inspire its name.

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State of the Seattle scenes?

Best state, best scenes. Many bands we love, of various types, living in community and inspiring one another. Everyone’s doing it live.

Who should we be listening to that we aren’t?

Health Problems. Dream Decay. Peeping Tomboys. So Pitted. Those are some Seattle favs. Elephant Rifle from Reno.

Stickers’ Swollen LP will be available August 12 from End of Time Records.

PROUDEST EVER

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Proudest Ever; the band formerly known as Ferns whose relentless DIY spirit has graced our pages over time, along with side and splinter projects like Wild Decade. Premiering the lead opening single, “Can I Say”, from their Deals EP, singer Kelly Jackson presents some of the most realized work from the group amid the transitions and evolution of their moniker. Now a tentative three piece, Kelly is joined by Brandon Starniri and Phil Maves (also of Wild Decade) to present the pride that is felt through the genuine tenets of friendship.

On the debut of “Can I Say”, the stresses of city living and moving away from home are shared in honest terms. Using the title as an alliterative tool as a way to express a series of candid thoughts, the song brings conversational views between two privy parties in an earnest exchange. Through the repetition of the titular rhetoric, all items are considered and explored from, “living in this crazy, filthy city,” “I might not go home again,” to observations on gender traits, roles, and character contents like, “I couldn’t tell if he’s a woman or a man, no, he might be more woman than I’ll ever be.” As these topical items are expounded upon, the guitars and rhythm build a platform that captures the feeling of conversation between two kindred spirits where fears, fancy, and free thoughts flow like a dialogue that one hopes will never end. Lead singer Kelly Jackson talked to us about the road from from Ferns, to Proudest Ever, recording Deals, and much more, after the following premiere of “Can I Say”.

Tell us what prompted the evolution from Ferns, to trio Proudest Ever.

The four people in Ferns had plenty of songwriting ideas as a group, but there were different philosophies between us about performance, rehearsals, and preparation. All four people from Ferns contributed to the writing of the Deals EP, but we realized Ferns had nowhere left to go, so that’s why it’s being released as Proudest Ever, as we parted ways with our guitarist. I should add that if you’ve seen anything posted by Ferns since around late March, those opinions and that particular tone are not coming from Phil, Brandon, or me.

Is this a way of being an even prouder vision of sound and pride than you all have ever exhibited?

“Proudest Ever” came from a funny expression Brandon and a friend of his used to denote an individual being themselves in a big way, kind of an amped up version of themselves. I think our style is very genuine and direct so the name definitely fit for me.

“Can I Say” is a great conversation starter pop song that really pushes some of the perceptual buttons and thoughts on roles, identity and more. What sort of ideas and concepts from post-gender impressions were you all drawing from for this single?

I could probably write an entire article on all the experiences I’ve had and observed that led to the inspiration for this song. For me, the writing is mainly inspired by a friendship in my life, thinking back to when I first moved to New York years ago and met him. Our friendship is really raw and loving and full of inappropriate laughs. We’re always exploring where being true to who you are (or who you could be) can take you. I think a lot of people can relate to that.

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What was different for everyone in recording Deals?

This was definitely the first record that was more complex in structure and texture. We also didn’t play these songs live as much as we normally do before heading into the studio. I think it has a more deliberate, focused feel.

Has everyone’s songwriting approach shifted?

Phil especially has inspired me to think with more precision when writing. Brandon continues to nuance his drumming in ways that have really created an incredible platform for all of us to interact in a song.

Current thoughts on the NYC scene?

Full of all kinds of energy. My advice to it: Keep doing what you’re doing!

New indie favorites you all are loving these days?

I always recommend Andy D. Good times, great spirit. Also: Big Ups, What Model Citizens, Alien Trilogy, Face Tat, Happy Lives, Future Twin, Sofa Club, Sea Knight, Dangermaker, Sunbeam Rd, Wild Decade.

What is next for Proudest Ever?

I want to make more paintings based on these songs. Will be posting on Facebook, so check it out!

What are all three of you proud of?

I’m proud of all the creators out there; the observers, the listeners, the inquisitors, the lovers. I think that covers just about everyone.

Proudest Ever’s Deals EP is available now via Bandcamp.

LEMONADE

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(Lemonade’s Callan Clendenin, Ben Steidel and Alex Pasternak kick it roof-side, photographed by Shane McCauley)

Brooklyn’s Lemonade just made a cameo in our debut of Cascine’s So Goddamn Guilty Summer Mix after having introduced us just the other week to their own cool steps with single “Stepping”, off the upcoming album, Minus Tide for Cascine. Today we got the inside story from the trio of Callan Clendenin, Ben Steidel and Alex Pasternak. The San Francisco-by-Brooklyn group absorbs the cutting edge climates between the Bay and NYC for an undertow that pulls the listener into the free fall of synths that drop like digital marbles hitting the harp strings for infinity. “Stepping” provides a rhythmic motion that embraces the uncertainty of travels into new territories and creates a coalescence between the physical and binary universes.

“Stepping” begins the journey of Minus Tide, one that runs forty-three minutes to the title track’s conclusion. Imprints like Aficionado and Comeme are saluted throughout, in an ecstatic and eclectic pacing of rhythms that runs carefree across the sands of every beach. “Stepping” is only the beginning, where Alex, Ben, and Callan usher in a variety of smartly placed, and well-selected stem tropes, and samples that spin with skipping feet steps that softly twist the city grid drifts into the nearest waters and rural, rocky terrains. Join us after the jump for our exclusive interview with Lemonade.

What bonded the two of you under the umbrella of Lemonade?

In 2005, perhaps as a result of the internet, the path of music was feeling really wide open, like the rules were being erased. I think San Francisco was really needing a band to embody that, and I think we all felt we needed to be it. It was really just an outrageously optimistic moment that we got swept up in, so we played a mostly improvised show a couple of weeks after our first practice.

You all must be pretty jazzed on your July excursions on the Cascine & Friends Tour, bouncing to LA July 10, NY July 12, then Toronto July 19. Joining up with select groups from the 100%, Ghostly, and Arbutus rosters, what sounds, and potential collaborations are you all hoping for?

All of this is new for us. Aside from a couple of people these will all be new faces. We expect it will be a really fresh and exciting experience.

Let’s talk about “Stepping”; how do you intertwine the various dimensions and flutters of key sequences? It creates the feeling of swimming through a sugary soft drink or something.

The song came together really quickly, not too sure exactly what we were doing when we made it, but I do recall all of us agreeing to keep it really simple and not add too much. It’s only a few synth patches, samples, and a pretty limited set of drums, then we sort of washed it together and spread it out dynamically, but very little changed since the first session.

The electronic scenes use the term “step” quite a bit, is this in any way a kind of allusion to the electronic art of rhythmic arrangement/placement ?

No, I don’t think that it is actually. It probably comes from reggae drumming that has a really straight kick, known as a “stepper” rhythm. I don’t know if I had meant to reference that at first, but the song does have a tiny bit of a dancehall element rhythmically so it could work as a reference. Stepping is just the movement with the feet, the dance even, and I like the idea of walking on uncertain ground. I actually don’t like to think of it in terms of computer arrangement because then I see Ableton blocks and it feels too technical.

Give us some hints and insights on what the composition of Minus Tide was like.

We live together these days in a loft that we all lived in about 6 years ago and there is a small production studio in it for making electronic music. Once the songs were written and developed, we had Le Chev come and record the vocals and help us with the engineering and production a bit. It was made at home, right around the time that the longest winter ever began to lift and it was getting sunny. Alex would cook us all dinner often. Sometimes people would run off to DJ or work but someone would always be working on the record. It was really just a more productive version of our daily lives, and felt incredibly lighthearted.

What else have the two of you been listening to that strikes you as different?

Lately I have been digging into the past a bit more and have felt less interested in digital sounding music or internet-based futurism. Really organic new age and balearic music from labels like Aficionado, but also dance labels like Comeme. So much stuff really.

Who else in NYC is doing great things and getting little bandwidth?

I am interested to see what Michael Beharie makes in the future, as well as Hiro Kone. They are friends and I like what is inside of them, but in all honestly maybe everyone gets a lot of bandwidth here ya know?

Lemonade’s Minus Tide will be available September 9 from Cascine.

WHITE HEX

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Felte, the barely two-year-old imprint has been scanning and trotting the globe for the most understated and alluring artists and ambience imaginable. Consider their catalog that counts names like PVT, Billow Observatory, Flaamingos, ERAAS, Soviet Soviet, Standish/Carlyon, Lushes, The Tower of Light, and White Hex. Following up 2012’s Heat from AVANT!, the Melbourne duo Jimi Kritzler and Tara Green released their new album Gold Nights. They also joined us for a discussion over long distances.

Recorded in the late evening hours after gigs between Berlin, Paris, Melbourne, and New York, the element of night becomes its own character within the aura of the album. Consider “Only a Game”, which opens the album like a gothic, ornate rendering of a casino scene set for an alt-James Bond character. “Paradise” streams the serene pasture of pleasure and ecstasy-addled all-nighters; the tense tedium of “Sisters”; orgies of orr that decorate “Gold”; and the entries into the back alleys of the unknown that slowly cruise on chords and keys on “In the Night”. Global industries are melted into the Eastern enveloping ether of “United Colours of KL”, through the high-fashion dub skank and soak of “Burberry Congo”, before leaving you with the murmur, rumors, and whispers of war on the outro, “Battleground”. The two take you on a tour of the world’s electronic undergrounds, on an album that unveils and uplifts some of the more unusual approaches to electronic music’s colder, darker, and alluring audio dimensions. Check out our interview with Jimi and Tara that follows this stream of Gold Nights.

When did the two of you know that you were the synth duo, White Hex?

Jimi: It is hard to say, we see each other literally 20 hours every day and have for so many years so pinpointing when we became White Hex is not easy.

Tara: November, 2012.

In what ways do the two of you acknowledge your own growth in sound development between the albums, Heat and Gold Nights?

Tara: For me both albums are simply a soundtrack of our lives at the time. We are both extremely influenced by our surroundings, which we think has shaped the difference in sounds on Heat and Gold Nights, and will continue so into the future.

Jimi: I like to think of it as a change in surroundings, so, where we recorded Heat in Berlin during Winter, it changed as we recorded Gold Nights in Summer in Melbourne. There is also a building of different interests and influence.

What about those golden nights of recordings after shows in Melbourne, Berlin, New York, and Paris remain some of your fondest memories?

Jimi: I really love all those cities but who doesn’t? Berlin and New York hold so many memories…This may seem like a banal one but I think my most cherished memory of recording is being in our apartment in Berlin and trying to get the songs perfect by discussing them, not playing them before recording, and being on the U-Bahn in Berlin getting to this distant recording room as it snowed outside.

There is a real night synth vibe that plays about “In The Night”, “Paradise”, “Gold”, compared to the more politically charged “United Colours of KL”, “Burberry Congo”, and “Battleground”. How do you balance these senses of hedonistic electronica with the more globally aware types of approaches?

Jimi: Our songs are not political at all. There are no personal or worldly politics in any of our songs. We are apolitical.

Tara: I have always loved how people individually interpret a song’s meaning. Ensuring a sense of ambiguity is often in the back of my mind when I am writing lyrics. Although there are no political or break-up themed songs on Gold Nights, I like the thought of someone perceiving them as such.

Other artists that the two of you enjoy from around the world that should be on our lists?

Tara: As I am currently yearning for an American summer, I’ve been held up inside listening to a lot of Johnny Cash, Lee Hazelwood and The Mamas & The Papas.

Jimi: Craig Leon and Arthur Russel.

How will the two of you be celebrating the release of Gold Nights, and enjoying your summer?

Jimi: We will be in the Hamptons drinking wine coolers, eating truffles and looking to the sky for inspiration.

Gold Nights is available now from felte.

DAZZLETINE

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(Dazzletine’s Don Kashute Chris Sprowls of Christopher Sprowls Photography.)

We have been on the Dazzletine ride, crowd-surfing through Heart, Mind, Bodies, their Skin Period single, and now we got their amp-busting cut, “Lajos”. Taken from an upcoming EP in the works, of the same name, this is the first listen to upcoming full-length Organomee. This is the largest you have ever heard Dazzletine do their dazzle thing — Dan Koshute pulls out all the stops for a sound that is reborn, perhaps their most definitive article yet.

“Lajos” was recorded in Darren Diedrich’s Room, in Pittsburgh, with Ophelia Diederich, Jarrett Smith helping out, and with some mastering love from Treelady Studios over in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. This is the sound you always knew that Koshute and company had in them, and now Dazzletine comes of age with an album rock banner that rips the traditions of everything you have ever loved about long player classics and over the top-pop antics. Dazzletine has found their own niche, and Dan tells us all about it following this listen.

“Lajos” might be your loudest, most rocking track to date. Tell us what it’s all about and how it was inspired, and made flesh.

“Lajos” was written in the midst of a dark time for me—one that ended up being a pivotal experience that I’m grateful for in retrospect. I ended up in that position by being led off my path by someone who tricked me into risking the consequences of doing so, persuading me that there was an easier route that has been hidden from me. As a result, I found myself in hell. I was completely isolated and everyone that could help me disappeared or was deaf to my cries for help.

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But, instead of succumbing to the darkness, I chose to put all of my being into art and song, like Orpheus, and I transfigured myself into pure light. At that moment, my suffering was alleviated, and I awoke back on the Path. But I was changed forever. I was transformed. I was the artist I always dreamed of becoming. I found my “voice” as a songwriter and could write music that was wholly unique and unlike anything else. And I found my actual voice and could sing in registers that I never imagined I could.

It was a trial given to me to prove myself, to prove that I wanted what I asked for, to prove I was an artist. “Lajos” was the ACTUAL SONG I wrote and sang that liberated me from that darkness.

Give us the scoop on what to expect from your upcoming EP later this summer.

The new record, Lajos, a mini-EP, is a bridge between our past and the new sound of the debut full-length, Organomee, to come. We see it as primer to prepare your ear for the future sound. Without this record, the transition could be traumatic; and it probably will be for those that hear Organomee first. But we want our fans to be able to relish in the joy of the music, not to be paralyzed by the shock of the newness.

“Lajos” is a different approach than anything we’ve done before. The song structures are unorthodox, at least for pop music, to the point that they teeter on the edge of the theatrical, which we see as a refreshing change from the armies of boring mediocrity, beating old paradigms to death. ‘Don’t be careful.’

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Production wise, we aimed on this record for a new sound that’s emerging under the radar of the recording world and put our own stamp on it. An extremely hi-fi sound that utilizes the total extent of where music technology is in 2014 and beyond. A year ago, Darren and I heard a record—the flagship example of this new production ethos in our minds—that changed our lives and our perspective on where the new frontier is for record production, when everyone else seems to think that it’s a dead art.

We are guiding the way for our fans towards our new evolution and asking them to merge with us as we grow. The Dazzletine everyone knows is about to get way bigger.

Dazzletine’s Lajos EP will be available soon, followed by the upcoming album, Organomee. Listen to more via Bandcamp.

GLEEMER

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NYC-by-Loveland, Colorado Gleemer has recorded a lovely song about “Iowa”, unleashing an earnest, raw vocal delivery, and electrical storms of guitars. Corey Coffman and Matt Roberts take the studied patterns of pop chords and focus on bringing those brilliant tones to life. On “Iowa”, recitations of “say your sorry” revisit the ways in which old wounds create character through the lens of memory, pain, pride. The guitars squall at the right times and the keyboards are used like supportive foundations. Corey wrote us the following introductory piece to the world of Gleemer:

“Basically, I was living in New York working bizarre hours at a studio and began writing songs. I didn’t know many people and got off work at weird times, so it was a pretty natural thing to fall into in my free time. Matt was in Colorado at the time, and we had been music pals for a while, so I asked him to join me in this new endeavor. From there we recorded the first LP by sending tracks back and forth for about 3 months until it was done. We had so much fun that, as studio work thinned out for me in NY, I decided to move back home to Colorado to be closer to Matt and continue developing Gleemer.

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In that time, we got a live act together and recorded and wrote Holyland USA in my parents’ basement (thanks a bunch to Space Magnetic Studio for the mastering work). Being in the same place for the creative process has been really excellent for us. We were certainly unsure of how things would go, but I feel like my isolation really helped me overcome creative fears and prepared me for actually working with others. We just try to be as open and honest as possible with our songwriting and then pay homage tonally to everything we love. At this point we’re working on a new live set, writing and recording new material, and hoping to be touring within the next year.”

Listen to more from Gleemer via Bandcamp.

OVVN

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OVVN ascends and then descends as quick as the underground punk heroes came, keeping us traumatized and entranced with their weird video, “b l o vv n”. It features mangina crucifixes and everything else that is probably going to get you either excommunicated, kicked out of the house, fired, dumped, and whatever; you should be sending these dudes love letters of thanks for shaking up the squares proper, at least. Ethan wrote us the following piece, lending a little insight into OVVN’s anarchic offerings:

“The first set of OVVN songs vvere vvritten and put to tape solo by Ethan Jayne in 2013, but nothing much happened til his friends (Connor Alfaro, Guy Henry Mueller, Max Kaufman) got involved. OVVN was a connection of disparate vibrations of dark underground music, Flipper/Godflesh/Wire, etc… It’s 2014. North and East Bay-based. OVVN is about constructing something new in the collective (un)conscious of punk rock.”

 
How dos OVVN first start, and what informed the name?
OVVN first started in 2013 when I moved back to California after living in Portland for five years and didn’t have a band to play with. I wrote and recorded a bunch of songs myself, playing guitar, bass, drums, vocals, tracking them one at a time, just making stuff up as I went along and basically just pulling the perfect band that I wanted to be in out of my butt. My friends heard it and liked it. Connor, who plays drums in the live band, was especially into it and kept bugging me to make it a real band for a year until we made it happen. Guy and Max, two of our best friends, started playing with us at the beginning of 2014.
I thought the name sounded dark and brutal and I knew that it was hard enough to read and pronounce that it would piss people off. It rhymes with “drone”, “tone”, and “bone”. People ask me how my band “Oven” is doing and I laugh a big fake laugh in their face.
Why is the letter ‘v’ one of the most interesting letters in the alphabet?
It looks like a vagina and/or a tucked back dick.
Alright, so tell us about all eccentric action that went into making this weird, bird and horse head masquerades, and manginas?
The video for “b l o vv n” was filmed at my house when I was still living in Richmond. My photographer roommate (shout-out to Noah Dye Photography) to was gonna help us out but he had to go out of town so we just used his lights and his masks. The camera we used had a full battery but no charger so we just shot a constant stream of the weirdest shit we could think of as fast as possible before the battery died.
What are you all recording these days?
I think I’ve recorded the last OVVN song that just has me playing on it, we have plans to get all the boys in the studio to record a full length this summer. In the meantime I have a bunch of stuff already recorded that’s going to be steadily coming out on cassette and vinyl for the rest of 2014.
 

How has the North and East Bays respectively lent inspiration to your sound?

We all grew up in the North Bay and have all lived together in the East Bay, some of us are there right now. Most of the songs are about feeling shitty in one way or another and our hometowns, both original and adopted, inspire a lot of that. On a positive note, there’s a lot of really amazing, inspirational things happening there now. The Pizza Punx crew are killing it in Santa Rosa right now, putting on great shows. The Last Record Store is the greatest place on earth. And it’s summertime.
 
Who else are you all rocking out to these days?
Our friends the Down House just released a 7 inch called “Low” and it is flawless. The new records from Angel Olsen and Cloud Nothings have been on heavy rotation. And I’ve listened to a Sonic Youth record maybe every day of 2014 so far.
Get “b l o vv n” via Bandcamp.

We are pretty excited to hear a new track with word of a new join from Has-Lo & Castle, dropping “D.L.S.” ahead of the forthcoming album, Live Like You’re Dead, available July 29 from Mello Music Group. Has calls it, “the shit starter on the album. If the mission isn’t clear by the time you reach this track, it’s crystal afterwards,” while Castle spells it like, “D.L.S.’ is produced by our man Arcka. Has and I went crazy when we heard the beat. It was just a matter of rolling with the energy. This song is what this album is all about.” Live it, and love it like you got nothing to lose, nowhere to go, and everything to gain.

Not sure how we missed this, but check out COLLEAGUES’ Jona Dahl’s video with art curations by Joakim Derlow, and acting from Bo W. Lindström for the lush single, “Tears”. Future pop arrives today.

Slow Magic has made the big signing move to Downtown Records, and we got the new melodic banging bunch of beats that align within the glaze of solid hooks. Find SM on tour from July 27 through October 17. Date specifics can be found via Facebook.

With Lizzo getting ready drop LIZZOBANGERS June 30, check out pop’s new rightful queen taking it over and putting in work with Lil Buck in the Snow Rowe video for “Bus Passes and Happy Meals”.

With their album Eight Houses slated for September 16 on Future Gods, dip your toes into the new warm waters, compliments of D.C.’s She Keeps Bees, with “Is What It Is”, featuring Sharon Van Etten. Keep an ear out for more from D.C.s bee-pop keepers, and home-recording enthusiasts.

Soft As Snow gives us the ice cold with something warm inside on the Michael Crowe video for “Halo Heart”, off the Glass Body EP available July 21 from Houndstooth.

France’s ISSUE’s “Ten Monks” cut is fresh off the new compilation America 3 LP available now from Kitsuné. ISSUE mixes it up even more with a mixtape of some of his faves.

Cheerleader dropped the Gardens And Villa remix cut of “Perfect Vision” fresh off that lo- meets hi-fi trip from the single b/w “Waiting, Waiting” 7″ available now from Bright Antenna (US) and Young & Lost Club (UK).

The Gospel Gossip, Is/Is, Heavy Deeds, and Robust Worlds super group Web of Sunsets recently talked to us, and released the gorgeous video for “Wildflowers” off their album, Room of Monsters from End of Time Records. With a tour running from now through July 3, find Web’s dates here via Facebook and let Sara Bischoff and friends lead you out from the Midwest, to the Northwest, rocking you through the Southwest desert corridors to the Southern, and Eastern States of unlimited wonder.

We got the Ossie remix of “Mansions” off Anushka’s full-length album Broken Circuits, available July 30 from Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings.

Off his upcoming Only The Poets EP, available July 29, Bay-by-LA’s boy on the rise, Marc E. Bassy bums a drag and puffs up a cloud of smoke for you to float on for a few minutes. Marc’s approach to the delivery has that all night conversational chatter quality of stepping outside for a minute or two from an underground event in the full swing of an all-hours rager.

From Daniel Nellis, check out The Proper Ornaments video for “Magazine”, off their upcoming album, Wooden Head, available July 8 from Slumberland Records. Max Claps and Veronica Falls’ James Hoare write songs through the television tubes and the mentality of a million jingle-jangly velvet mornings.

Elephant Stone’s upcoming album, Three Poisons, drops August 26, and we have their big kicking bass and drum tower tipper, “Knock You From Yr Mountain”. Knocking you off your pedestal, or cutting you down to size, “Yr Mountain” goes ahead and lets it out with a song that is primed for its own weird, wild, and exotic adventure video.

We have been having a good chuckle at the ambiguous, controversy-nudging name of Truthers, seen recently at The Brooklyn Night Bazaar performing with OUGHT and Pictureplane. Below, stream their 7″ single “Calm Canaries”, available July 8 through their own Big Cartel site. The first side features “Most Ghouls Agree”, which switches up the sciences of the twentieth century for the modern world preserved in tapes and rediscovered for today’s audiences. “Calm Canaries” throws up some subdued vibes that will reinforce why Truthers are one of the Brooklyn bands to keep your eyes and ears glued on this summer.

Painted Zeros follow up their previous video premiere of “Jaime” with the intoxicated fury of “Too Drunk”, off the upcoming Svalbard EP available July 15 from Black Bell Records. The “too drunk to function”chorus from Kati Lau is reinforced by the drum and bass section from Jared Kaner and Nolvan Eley, contributing to a level of disorientation that will make everything around you wherever you are when you hear it just…plain…weird.

Our old pals Brown Shoe dropped the video for “Nightwalker”, off their Lonely Beast Part l EP, where the brothers set out on their own nature vision trip. The Shoe continues to take their sounds to larger arenas, giving it all the gusto that the Bagaley brothers have. Read our recent interview and premiere piece here.

Cool Kids’ Sir Michael Rocks slaps out something bossy with “Bussin” (ft. Casey Veggies & Iamsu!), ahead of Rocks’ solo album debut, Banco, available July 29. Let this be a little something for that long commute to or from work/school.

Flutronix flutists and vocalists Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull provide their own rendering of “Candy Candy,” by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. While the flutes push all moods toward the outer layers of the earth’s high-rising atmospheric ceilings, Nathalie’s voice, enthusiasm and smile show the global relevance of one of Japan’s biggest hits.

Moderat remixed Jon Hopkins’ “Abandon Window” from last year’s Immunity,where the drum kicks and hits break the glass with a rhythm suite that was built for your ears, nerves, and heart’s fascination.

Danny Krug gives us the Total Slacker video for “Super Big Gulp” that pops in a Sega Genesis cartridge for a 16-bit adventure of their very own (think Paper Boy and Adventure Island fusions), off their album, Slip Away from Black Bell Records. So jam out to one of our o.g. faves and find that special 7-11 to get that semi-contraband “Big Gulp”.

Lowell drops something to shuffle your shoes, shoulders, and clap your hands to in a materialist toast to that almighty scrilla on, “I Love You Money”, off the album We Loved Her Dearly available September 16 from Arts & Crafts. Money hey, money woot.

Postcards From Jeff brings the tensions between town and country just a little bit closer together on the melodic vocal pop claustrophobia of, “A House,” of his self-titled debut EP. Working class Springsteen-ian ballads with a UK heart.

Peep the Medhi Alavi video for The Fresh & Onlys’ epic mini-B-movie film for, “Animal of One”, flying forth off their new album, House Of Spirits, available now from Mexican Summer.

That Sacramento by North Oakland team of Tynethys x Main Attrakionz dropped a loosie to get you caught up in that fog that you want to keep on drifting and floating on all day every day with, “Alphabet City”.

Our pal Emmy Wildwood dropped her latest single with the electric boom-boom-bap of “RVR LVR”, and you can peep our debut of her video for “Mean Love” here. Emmy’s delivery and vision exudes something whimsical, real, spouting from a fun and instantaneous series of responses backed up by her pals Greg Mayo and Zach Jones.

Get “Cool” with White Reaper’s video off their Polyvinyl self-titled, where the endless basement scuzz party never ends. Follow our coverage of the Reapers here.

Get wavy in the gravy, with Mexican Slang and their new vision quest seeking single, “Halcyon”, off their upcoming album, Velvet Castle, available July 15 from Buzz Records.

Also fresh from remixing Mariah Carey on Cascine’s chief Jeff Bratton curated, “So Goddamn Guilty Mix” for Impose; UK popsters Sun Angels give us a little triple-step-set action from the illustrious singles imprint, CSCN, titled, S3TEP. “Nirimu” picks up on all the spacial Japanese leaning pop movements found between the recent recordings from Craft Spells and Bilinda Butchers, moving into the slow-pitched dance experimentalism of “As We Walk”, while “A Drink Before The War” is the ultimate EDM final kiss before surrendering to the battle of something larger than all the progressive house techno tropes imaginable.

Off their self-titled, get ghost like on that Houston-syrup slow down with SOS on the following hymn of urban decay and digital disintegration, “Youth in Decline”. The trap-y things snap, slap, and clap; keeping that whole low-level fog ambiance snaking through metropolitan caverns to new subterranean paradises.

RUANE MAURICE

ruane maurice week in pop 1

(Birmingham’s Ruane Maurice, captured by Marcus Daniel Hart Photography.)

Star & Letters new signees Ruane Maurice from Birmingham, UK are releasing their self-titled September 9. Until then, we get to marinate on the new breaks, beats, and lyrical battles off their single, “Nomenclature”, as they curate a Week in Pop of their own design:

So our week in pop has been quite a wild one. Matty had just returned from Berlin, Sam had shot off to Turkey for a holiday and Chrissy was back home. Sam is still living the good life and, despite limited contact, we have just received this:

ruane maurice week in pop 2

(Photo courtesy of Becca Morris [unless this is a bizarrely well timed selfie])

Dude looks happy though!

We also played with Mount Kimbie on a boat in Bristol which was fun, but on the return journey home ended up in a pretty severe car accident which definitely put a lot of things into perspective. That said we are all okay! Here are Chris and Matty on said boat, the guy to the far left is our trusty photographer Marcus Daniel Hart. You can check his work out here.

ruane maurice week in pop 3

(Photo courtesy of Theo Cottle)

So on a more positive tip, it’s Glasto this weekend. Here are three tracks from three bands that we dig on and are playing the festival,

ESG have this amazing rhythmical driving force and make the bass and drums the real focal point of their records. They play the park stage and are 100% necessary to check out.

Also on the park stage is Four Tet. He is always a staple in our DJ set and this song has kicked off a ton of shows for us. His ability to put so much atmosphere into dance music is almost unparalleled.

Finally, the car we use to tour has no way of connecting an ipod so we have to create mix CDs. The joy of those is that no one else knows what has been put on, and one of us always throws a wild card in. This song by is Matty’s guilty pleasure, but every time it comes on the stereo, everyone doles out a moan and angry eyes, up until the chorus kicks in and everyone ends up loving it…. up until the next time.

Another recent CD that is on constant rotation in the car is Blood Orange’s “Cupid Delux”. Matty was shown it by a friend out in Berlin and ever since, it’s been on a nonstop loop. So much of our time now is spent going up and down motor ways, but with records like this the journeys get a ton easier. “Chosen” is a serious choice cut off the record!

Also, a good friend of ours, Ashley Holmes, runs a really awesome night & blog up in Sheffield called Plenty Vibes, and it turns out, not only is he wildly talented, but so are his siblings. This song by his brother is out of control in all the right ways.

Moving a little further from the music spectrum and over to world of noise, Merzbow took to the Boiler Room stage this week. Matty’s formal studies were in Sonic Art at UAL London and there was a lecture based in noise music and noise art, which left a lot of the class either outraged or loving it. Anyway, this piece was shown at a pretty severe volume and left everyone super startled. But on the noise spectrum, this song is killer.

The other thing that creates a lot of unity within the Ruane Maurice camp is the group-watching of sporting events. When we were in Brooklyn with Stars and Letters, the super bowl was on.

That said, one sport we do know a little bit more about is currently reaching its pinnacle with the World Cup. We were repping England so hard but they gave us two pretty stinking performances and are now out.

This was Matty out in Berlin just before it all came crashing down in front of us. Word to the wise, never watch an England match hanging on a hangover and using it as a way of getting light relief from the perpetual hell you’ve put yourself in through alcohol. You will be left disappointed (that chicken was crazy good though).

ruane maurice week in pop 4

(Photo Courtesy of Jessicarcarcar Young)

That said, in 2018, we’re sure we will bring the cup home.

To give us some sporting hope back, Wimbledon is on and last year a British man did rather well. So big up Andy, here is an excellent gif just proving what an intense man you are.

ruane maurice week in pop 5

Finally let’s bring it back round to music. There’s gonna be a lot more time spent on the road in the coming months, so keeping the mix CDs coming is imperative. As a way to show you what’s going to be on rotation in the trusty Toyota Yarris (possibly the only band we know foolish enough to travel in such small transportation), we have created a YouTube playlist of the new CD we will burn. There are some absolute smashers in there and potentially some new stuff to check out too.

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