Week in Pop: Brøthers, Cool Ghouls, Rita J, Western Lows

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Counting the indie stars and kicking it with the coolest ghouls around.

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Sjimon Gompers | April 4, 2013

Kicking it curb side with Rita J and her boom blaster. (VIA )

As spring begins to cycle into summer, we look to our trend-streaming leaders for entertainment and thrills of any sort. We saw Tyler the Creator taking selfies with Letterman on their televised performance of “Rusty“, Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires Of The City release date delays on account of “unanticipated delays” gave time for front bro Ezra Koenig to reflect and compare N-Dubz to The Beatles, while Rick Ross's “U.O.E.N.O”-rape-lyrics-gate scandal has the Maybach don in the hot seat inciting Reebok protests over their endorsement of the rapper, and the Biebs is in hot water over tattooing his lame phrase “swaggy” on ink artist Bang Bang who probably should have known better in the first place. Make of all of this (any of this), what you will as we move the lens to the makers of sights and sounds that grabbed our eyes, heads and hearts in no particular order.

News has it that the mysterious Brøthers are in the studio recording their first full-length, while they have teased us with the singles “We Are Pushing On” and most recently “Is This The End” that have us listening and anticipating further electric arrangements. On “The End”, they capture not only the attention of the human senses and beat programmed nerves but we will be damned if you are not chanting along with closing refrain of, “cause everytime you sing I wonder if you mean it, and every time we sing it, we don't always believe it”.

And in case you missed, get a listen to Brøthers' “We Are Pushing On” which captivated attentions late last year as we await further information on the group's identities (other than the band of brothers from various bands press line) and news on that full-length expected later this year.

We should have known when Tim Cohen told us so. We should have known when they made it on the Noise Pop bill. It was the Alright Cassette that first grabbed my attention and made me realize the mission of getting cozy and acquainted with San Francisco's Cool Ghouls, a band on the rise and come up. Meet Pat Thomas, Ryan Wong, Pat McDonald, Alex Fleshman, who take their sound from the template when rock was young and first made while paying tribute to those pioneers and taking their visions to new places. We chatted briefly with Pat McDonald about those modernist concerns, working with Fresh & Onlys co-frontman Cohen, and their hot new featured single, “Grace”.

“Grace' is about a fleeting moment with a woman, drawing influence from the likes of Sam Cooke and Donny Hathaway. Working with Tim Cohen was a blessing; he was entirely receptive of the sound we were shooting for and fully capable of getting it down on tape. The album is a dream come true. There are 9 songs on it other than 'Grace', all of which offer a different sound from the next”.

From the classic opening that finds the band waiting for a train, their thoughts and hearts dwell on lost moments while sonically channeling a special feeling from the memory of a special someone's “touch that remains”. In between the band's back up vocals and brass background buttressing; Pat, Ryan, Pat and Alex mix up all the modern music tricks they have hidden up their sleeves, while the masterful magician and producer Tim Cohen enables and encourages the band's music with no need for era specifics while still drawing from a vast pool of iconic era specifics. Cool Ghoul's self-titled will be available April 23 on on digital and vinyl from Empty Cellar Records, and on cassette from Burger Records.

Dandy Teru wants you to “Wake Up Now” with a new single that features Chicago's self-described 'nerdy wordsmith', Rita J spitting some the most head twisting rhymes you have heard all week. Rita provides a labyrinth maze of characters and unknown outcome varieties with a poetic flow like, “world traveler, from Gotham City where my mind unravels the big dreams, the streets scenes, the crime things, my heart sings a different tune, the screams start, feel ripped apart at the seams but I remain calm, composed, clean,…my imagination roams even into danger zones where I end up alone, back to the skill I own”. Dandy Teru's Adventures will be available April 23 from Ubiquity Records.

Western Lows brings you their new single “Icicles”, described as the ones that “hang from a cave, leftover from some dark age”. Further cavernous formations are described like lost personal details, left in crystalized forms like ancient natural structures that date back to the sands of recorded and carbon dated time. Fronted by Jack Burnside with a little help from Julien Bellin and Michael Orendy; the trio personify and thaw the feelings forged from musical mines, and mother nature's tombs into the strums of string and synths that are overseen by Athens, Georigia's own Andy LeMaster( from Azure Ray, Now It's Overhead, R.E.M. fame). Western Lows album Glacial will be released June 4 from JAXART Records.

Kilkenny, Irish producer Peter Lawlor is Replete who offers the best encouragement you will ever here in a world of lies, urging you to be somebody you're not with “Be Nobody”. Get into the technological arrangements and breathy vocal adornments now while the self-titled EP release date is still yet to be announced and Lawlor's re-envisioning of George's Romero's Night Of The Living Dead soundtrack here. Peter is also finishing up his masters degree in music and technology.

Peep our boy Oh No's video for “Boom” from Wandering Worx Ent off his album Disrupted Ads available through now from Kash Roc Entertainment and Fat Beats Records. Worx and Oh No give tribute to classic car bust ups or any vehicle that goes boom where the instrumental track provides tense atmospheres for alll the vehicular explosions you can handle or hope for. Stay tuned for the vintage doctor approved pro-smoking ad.

Richard Cupolo, previously of The American Dollar is back with City Society, preparing the self-made, self-mixed and proudced self-titled record on the way May 15. On the featured opening track “Riot Bloom” you get to hear the chillest musical backdrop for a revolt where Cupolo frames the action in a kinesthetic slow motion synthesis of analog and digital bots rising up and maybe becoming closer, mutually inclusive friends.

Dangerous Boys Club (that's the DBC to you) are releasing their album Pris on April 9 from Dais Records and give you a limited time, advance taste here. Following up the fearsome Vril from the Fast Weapons imprint; members with checkered pasts from the likes of Antioch Arrow and Get Hustle, and Heroin dabble in the kind of synth pop your mother warned about and the town's outsiders speak of only in hushed tones.

The Blank Tapes take it “Coast to Coast” in the Brendan Vaughan and Zac Adams video for the digital single, also featured on the Tapes' upcoming Vacation LP available from Antenna Farm Records May 14. Join Matt Adams and the gang, kick it with them as they change with the weather, wake up to smell the coastal coffee and recognize that this kind of sunshine pop couldn't get much better than this. You could not make more perfect California pop if you tried.

On constant repeat, spilling from our office and car speakers is emcee favorite Dizzy Wright with his new single “Killem Wit Kindness”, produced by AF $upreme with an o.g. Rappin 4 TayPlayers Club” sample of a sample cut of that vague and serious guitar riff. Catch Dizzy representing values and shedding some light on being a good example and giving that rare thing called kindness while kicking it family styles, all captured by Geeezy Productions. This single is slated for the still yet to be titled full-length coming soon from the Funk Volume hot bed.

After long last, the wait for RxGibbs full-length is over as Contact is available now from Cascine. The tracklist alone reads like a introductory primer to contemporary electro production from 1973-2013 with titles like, “Red Connection”, “Pulse Code”, “Macro”, “Empire”, “Honey Dub”, “Temptations”, “The Low”, that only begin to describe the contents of Ron Gibbs master craft. For those that missed where contemporary dance productions are going and the places where they cross with experimentation to conscious lifting sky-highways; then this is especially for you. And even if you've heard all the dopest so-called labeled 'chill dance' cuts, you ain't heard nothing yet.

Owiny Sigoma Band dropped one for the dancefloor with the video for “Nyiduonge Drums” presenting Charles Owoko getting things lively in footage taken from a plethora of gigs from 2012. Making something that will remind you of the way that dancehall gave birth to the drum and bass movement, the limited edition Owiny Techno 12″ is available now while the Owiny Sigoma Band's second album Power Punch is slated for release April 9 from Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings. Watch and listen to some serious dance culture with roots that harken back to the dawning of life's existence.

Florida's Chris Hess and Adam Winn are SWIMM, who keep the theme of the contemporary ocean currents of aqua bound and nautical motifs spelled with purposeful misspellings to stand out amongst the surf and tide. Listen to their wave busting guitars and passionate vocals on the single “Too Old” off their forthcoming Feel EP available April 23.

Gobby's video “Slick boi Gel” dropped this week ahead of the full length Fashion Lady forthcoming release April 16 from UNO NYC. The Harlem percussion demon takes you on the lost freeways, utility lit roadways and the night glow from Boston city lights as the oncoming freeway illuminations begin to work on your mind in the same way the drums begin their ear worm burrowing.

Get a look at Curly Castro's video for “Cocaine Blues” that updates Johnny Cash's classic, with footage from the Kung Fu Necktie release party for the cut off of Castro's album debut FIDEL on Man Bites Dog Records.

Wax Idols dropped the Hayden Shiebler video for “When It Happens” off the post-punk dreams held over from the 80s full-length, Discipline & Desire available now from Slumberland Records.

Jay Arner dropped by some vintage power pop that kindly asks, “Don't Remind Me” again while the guitars chime off against the synths of restraint from the self-titled debut on Mint Records, slated for release June 25. Get your kicks in and shake some action now.

Neon Indian spun the Boyd Rice Remix of light bursing electrodes on “Halogen” from the ERRATA ANEX remix EP available April 9 from Mom + Pop.

Brooklyn quartet Ferns gave a listen to their single “And It Looked Like This” from their Whatever We Plan mini LP. Ferns have a release show tonight, April 5 at Union Hall with What Model Citizens, Video Daughters, and Mark Normand.

Get a gander at the title track video directed by Jesselisa Moretti from the The Cyclist's debut LP, Bones In Motion, available now from Stones Throw / Leaving Records.

Rollin Hunt drops a listen to the organ breathed string songs that shines some light through a sky portal with, “In the Window” from his April 30 slated debut LP, The Phoney from Moniker Records.

SFV Acid, aka Zane Reynolds dropped the new single “Misto” with news of debut long player, The Dwell, available May 28 from UNO NYC. Listen to Reynolds' mystique of making haunted house cuts that rise like spectres from imagined boneyards and graveyards in a benevolent fashion.

San Francisco duo Seatraffic lift the synth lit veils for their Sean Kelly video of the new single, “Tempo of Regret” that places their live drum/keyboard careening thoughts and feelings along the arid pockts of Arizona. Look for Seatraffic's upcoming shows in SF, beginning on April 18 at the DNA Lounge co-headlining with Silver Hands, Short Circles, April 25 at The Knockout with Kingsborough, May 5 at Thee Parkside with Touché, and May 19 at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall with Gothic Tropic.

The Child of Lov has revealed himself as Cole Williams and drops the beat-bombtastics with “Fly” that takes it down to the river jordan and with wings up to the sky. Find this and more with collaborations from Damon Albarn, DOOM, and Thundercat on the self-titled debut dropping May 7 from Domino.

UK producer Eric Lau gives a listen to the chill twilight time groove and upbeat soulfulness his cut “Everytime” feat. Rahel from his second album, One of Many available April 8 from Kilowatt Music Limited.

Empress Of's debut EP Systems is available now from Terrible Records in the States and Double Denim worldwide, and chases away the sad feeling with the Spanish tongue electro rich synth patterns of “Tisteza”. Be prepared, as many have found themselves transported by Lorely Rodriguez's vocals and kebyboard collections that rise and descend like shooting stars and celestial, falling craters.

Cavalier's video “Get Use To It”, from the New Aeon single, is directed by Shux Wun and MuGadu between NYC and Tokyo, Japan; taking you to school and breaking all the rules. Watch as Cav takes things around the world, making new fans go postal over the ziplocked synths from Spills' production.

Formerly of Australia's Devastations; Conrad Standish's bass and vocals combined with Tom Carlyon's guitar and electronics comprise the duo known as Standish/Carlyon whose single “Nono/Yoyo” gets put through different analog color filters by Aurora Halal. From the 80s model head shot in the opening to the fun with VHS negatives, your ears, nerves fall into the state of a slow flying metal bird to Tom's synth work while your brain melts to Conrad's delivery of; “If you don't want my love, why are you talking on the phone?” Sung in the halved pitch level of the new romantics on methylmethaqualone. Standish/Carlyon's album Deleted Scenes will be available May 14 from felte.

Vandana Jain's “Ecstatic” dropped this week ahead of her debut album ANTI VENUS out later this year. The production works in the streetwalking cheetah ways where the ecstacy builds toward the Euro industrial underground chic of freak.

TEEN enlists guitar ace Ben Greenberg to assist with their cover of Rain Parade's “Prisoners”. If this cover and EP title track “Carolina” are any indication; the band seeks to find their inner harmonic balance between the slope falling synth sequences and the psych guitar driven elements. Having the talented Mr. Greenberg helping matters out with the paisley underground tribute track gives it a strong yet subtle element of serpentine, sky-sawing guitar. Teeny Lieberson, sisters and friends will drop their Carolina EP on May 28 from Carpark Records followed by a tour with Eleanor Friedberger beginning on June 4.

Dutch Uncles album debut, Out of Touch In The Wild is available now from Memphis Industries, and for a Record Store Day exclusive; grab a listen to the Uncles' blue eyed soul sides with their cover of Grace Jones' “Slave to the Atypical Rhythm”.

!!! dropped the single “One Girl/One Boy” that features Sonia Moore, who you may remember on the “hey, heys” from MC Hammer's legendary “2 Legit 2 Quit“. Together, Sonia and front dude Nic Offer duet over house inflected rhythms dropping confessions, lies, and keeping secrets where they keep their danced up promises.The new !!! album, THR!!!ER will be available on Warp April 29.

Dial your antennae to Mouse On Mars' Technopromisis remix of Brandt Brauer Frick's “Broken Pieces ft. Jamie Lidell” off the Miami full length available from !K7. The Mouse encourages the beat to get weird, like the sound of bouncing bass bomb basketballs on a woofer trampoline that batters around Lidell's vocal utterances of “promises”.

Mark E is dropping a little something, something for those “Fake Bitches” off the forthcoming House Slippers compilation available April 23 from Young Adults. Lazy Brow and Deep Body blare the early 90s house klaxons for friends like Grown Folk, NYCPARTYINFO, Permanent Vacation, Suzanne Kraft, and more to give you something to dance to after the scuzz leaves your caffeinated spirit empty.

We almost forgot to tell you that our boys Antwon and Nocando are playing with the almighty DJ Shadow tonight with residents Daddy Kev, D-Styles, and Gaslamp Killer for Low End Theory SF at Mighty. Should be quite the happening.

Jesse Ruins turns up the dark fade on “Laura Is Fading” from the upcoming debut full length entitled, A Film slated for release May 21 from Lefse. Nobuyuki Sakuma has enlisted Nah and Yosuke Tsuchida to examine the Noughties nu-rave approach to electro synth arranging and programming to see what it all meant for future pretenses, while looking over their shoulders at techno's earlier global structures as well.

Get a look at Polly Scattergood's NYSU Films made video For “Wanderlust” from the full-length Arrows available June 18 from Mute. The video plays out like a naturally made and staged multimedia installation piece, where theatrical flats of different rooms are assembled with different poses, dance moves, costume changes, actor/actress changes and more. Think of it as an artier, Mad Men set to electro pop and elaborate repitions.

Saturday Looks Good To Me hits the play button on their new single “Break In” from the upcoming One Kiss Ends It All, available May 21 from Polyvinyl. Listen as Carol Catherine and Amber Fellows sing the album title in the psyched out twee-tinged chorus while Fred Thomas with the help of bassist Scott DeRoche and drummer Ryan Howard throw every musical pop instrumental rhythm in your immediate direction.

Grab your favorite trad instrument, get some good sleep, roll over on every side and join Last Good Tooth with their single “What's What I Do” as they play their parts from the upcoming Not Without Work and Rest available May 28 from Team Love Records.

Listen and enjoy the T.H. White remix of André Obin's “Enjoy”. Get zapped with more ultraviolet meteor jet rays, while Obin's album The Arsonist is available from Sky Council Recordings.

(photo by Leia Jospe)

Aaron David Ross of Gatekeeper operates under his acronym of initials ADR and gives us the big-butt shaking funk of “Stray Dog Strut” from his second album, Chunky Monkey available April 16 from Hippos In Tanks. You don't even have to be a fan of the infamous Ben and Jerry flavor to get addicted to this skanking plump-rump shaker.

Tokyo experimentalist Masaki Batoh from GHOST has released his Brain Pulse Music from Drag City and reveals spring US/CA dates for his live instatllation and performances here.

In case you ever wondered, Liars show you what “The Exact Color Of Doubt” looks like in their Markus Wambsganss video, from the track off their WIXIW album available now from Mute.

“I don't want to dance around your good times, I just want them good times to be dancing around me”, sings The Mohawk Lodge frontman Ryder Havdale on the single “Hard Love” ahead of the May 7 release of Damaged Goods. The Vancouver group deliver on shredded up sentiments and working class woes where the once tough love times turn to hard love in the heartbreak hotel lyrics of, “oh, you're the one I want, but I know you got nothing left for me”.

In case you missed it, indulge in the Ian Perlman animated sacrilege video for “Jesus, He's Alright” from ex-Passion Pit bro Ayad Al Adhamy's Team Spirit, who drop their self-titled next Tuesday, April 9 from Vice/WBR.

Nomadic Firs have wowed us with their self-titled record, their excellent tape hiss and spun loops from the single “Starfish Kids“, and this week give us the Noughties-NYC-alt-lush-dream-punk of “Lavish Hush“. This track will be featured on the upcoming B-sides compilation that frontman Ryan Boos is releasing this summer. Spanning the more conventional and traditional corners of rock to the subversive soundspheres that seek out what tomorrow never knows; Ryan described his eclectic output in humble terms; “It seemed fitting to offer up a B-sides [comp] to put a stamp on this period for the project, and essentially move on to the next phase”. And for this next chapter and forthcoming curtain call we will keep our ears and yours peeled, dear listeners.

Hans-Peter Lindstrøm's remixed Unknown Moral Orchestra's “Swim & Sleep (LIke a Shark)” and gives the indie cut a whole brand new alt-Norwegian-dance-beat spin, as UMO prepares for a massive US/CA tour through August. Look for the Orchestra coming to your town with their new album II available now from Jagjaguwar.

Is Tropical dropped, chopped, mixed and screwed up Darwin Deez's “You Can't Be My Girl” single that turns up the guitars, turns up the pop, and any and all rhythms up as loud as they can go. Deez's Songs For Imaginative People is available now from Lucky Number.

Royal Canoe drops the title track to their upcoming debut album, Today We're Believers slated for release June 25 from Roll Call Records, full of regal synth pop boats to go fishing for believers within the sextet's soul infused synth values.

Kacey Johansing spills some wine in the sugar-molasses vibed Amanda Marsalis video for “Honey” that ropes in Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat for the soiree affair, while Johansing's album Grand Ghosts available here and now.

Dauwd remixes Coma's “My Orbit” with some big bubbling bath salted bass synths and snare slicks off the 12″ and digital single ahead of the long player In Technicolor's release April 30 from Kompakt.

Touché is the combined duo of Alex Lilly and Bram Inscore who remind you with loud voices, sinewy synths and samples that, “Shhh! It's Quiet Time” off their album debut It’s Fate dropping May 1.

Hot as Sun’s debut album Night Time Sound Desire is available now from Last Gang Records, and as part of the celebration they got a fancy Jamie Wollrab directed video that features Shameless stars Emma Greenwell & Jeremy Allen White canoodling about in bed. Also from LGR, check the Rules remix of Dark Horses moody “Alone” here.

Casket Girls' Elsa and Phaedra Greene, with music and songs written by Ryan Graveface (Black Moth Super Rainbow, DREAMEND, The Marshmallow Ghosts) continue the festivities from the release of their full-length, Sleepwalking on Graveface Records with the video for “Heartless”. The Casket Greene sisters celebrate a party of their own choosing, hanging around at home, cleaning up the living room's cabin essence, setting up the decorations, partying it up to their own electro-disco-dance beats and dining upon the hearts of the heartless on a platter.

Explore the fancier products made from the manifest destinies of tomorrow with Factory Floor's keyboard careening tracer-lighted-rave remix of Vondelpark's “California Analog Dream”, off the fresh released full-length, Seabed available through R&S Records.

Adventure spreads some “Happiness” in the Mark Brown directed and Jen Mizgata shot video creation of bliss feeling representations. In the same way that Benny Boeldt soaks up the note-worthy electro developments of the 1990s, Brown and Mizgata's visuals place Boeldt in the middle of geoform video captures with rapid flashing red, orange, lavender layers of digitized distortions. This is not the forest stage or world map ambiance you might have been expecting for this level. Adventure's new album Weird Work will be available April 30 on Carpark Records.

Electro-imprint-fashion designer Ellen Allien has released her album LISm from her label BPitch Control and lends a listen to the beguiling, yet strange magic and beauty of “Gate of Light” (Ambient Version)”. Happy listening, but be sure to leave a night light on. Look out for Allien performing this spring/summer in Detroit, D.C., New York and more.

Tunng's album Turbines will be available June 18 from Full Time Hobby, as they give you the far reaching and organically expanding single, “So Far From Here”, where the UK indie darlings take you far away from anywhere you don't want to be and toward anywhere you would like to go.

Sophia Knapp combines her visionary post-folk-post-psych-post-anything-powers with Stockholm's AOP duo for a Record Store Day collaborative 7″ entitled, “Times Square” b/w “Sweet May” 7″, available April 20 from Electric Ragtime. All 45s shipped will include an 18″ x 21″ color foldout poster designed by Sophia herself while digital servicing will be available April 23.

We leave you with the new White Fence single, “The Boy I Jumped in the Hemlock Alley”, that features Tim Presley's gently-weaping guitar that will be sure to give your parents false-flashbacks from their deep receding, lo-fi hairlines and memories of those swinging late 60s. Look for this song off White Fence's forthcoming Cyclops Reap, available this coming Tuesday, April 9 from Castle Face Records.

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