Week in Pop: Dead Soft, Is/Is, Lazy Knuckles, Pretend, Pre-Willy

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EROK, Mall Walk, Preston Spurlock, Workman Song, ft.  guest selections by Dâm-Funk.

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Sjimon Gompers | September 4, 2015

The persistence & proliferation of Portland's Is/Is—featuring Sarah Rose, Sarah Nienaber, & Mara Appel; photograph courtesy of the band.

Here to guide you through the seasonal transitions of falling into autumn, Impose’s Week in Pop brings you some of our favorite artists who are changing the world right now. Sifting through the mountains of VMA hype to bring you some of the week’s top stories, Kanye West “announced at his Video Vanguard Award that he has “…decided in 2020 to run for President.”; Nicki Minaj versus Miley Cyrus continues; Dâm-Funk and Nite Jewel return as Nite-Funk with cool cut “Can U Read Me?”; the regal reign of Empress Of; Beko Disques launched Scandinavian Crush imprint for DIY Swedish artists; Rick Ross just dropped the Black Dollar mixtape; Animal Collective just released a June 12, 2013 Washington, DC performance, Live at 9:30; Janet Jackson dropped a new song featuring Missy Elliott, then shared title track, “Unbreakable” off her new October 2-slated album; Prince discussed the state of pop music; Swans’ Michael Gira provided details on the live album The Gate that will fund the forthcoming studio album (and last with the current lineup); Kelela dropped “Rewind” with her Hallucinogen EP available October 9; Evian Chris versus Reading and Leeds fest organizer Melvin Benn; GZA canceled his upcoming tour dates to record his new Dark Matter album with the legendary Vangelis; Big Boi and Phantogram collaborative outfit Big Grams made their live debut at LA’s Epic Fest; lots of hype surrounding news of Run the Jewels and TV on the Radio playing together September 9 on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”; Panasonic’s popular Technic’s turntables to return in 2016; Tyler, the Creator elaborated on the UK ban situation; Zac Effron’s EDM box-office bomb; Chrissie Hynde’s controversial rape commentary; Black Sabbath’s final, final, final farewell tour announcement; and Keith Richards’ epic Black Sabbath, Metallica, & hip hop diss.

With a new season afoot, we are honored and thrilled to bring you some of the week’s big breaking exclusives and interviews featuring Dead Soft, Is/Is, Lazy Knuckles, Pretend, Pre-Willy, Mall Walk, Workman Song, Corina Seas, Devereaux, EROK, Howth, Preston Spurlock, Sinless, featuring guest selections by Dâm-Funk & more—in no particular order.

Is/Is

The radical return of Is/Is; photographed washroom-side by Jud Muir.

The radical return of Is/Is; photographed washroom-side by Jud Muir.

The rise of Portland by Minneapolis trio Is/Is has been well-documented here in the pages, articles, and features of Impose. The self-proclaimed cult of the trio’s “witch-gaze” is larger than Is/Is itself (with various sides and an equally influential offshoot Web of Sunsets), releases from their Manimal album debut, singles, Shadow Days for Moon Glyph, and more; their ethereal mystic-majesty dream-world continues to turn. We are proud today to present the world premiere listen to Is/Is’s Return to Zero cassette ahead of it’s September 22 release. Recorded at Jackpot! Recording Studio, Sarah Rose, Sarah Nienaber, (reunited with original drummer) Mara Appel blend their harmonies, melodies, and wistful rhythms into further intimate and intricate textures of pure earnest expression.

As Is/Is complete the trail of creative and personal growth from their Minneapolis to Portland trek and regrouping; they have not only gotten settled in the northwest but are now a band that cannon be ignored. Moments from throughout their repertoire and other projects contain chemistry and organic sound chemicals that can reduced the toughest egos to tears if caught at a particularly vulnerable feeling moment. More than this special power and secret weapons of songcraft find Sarah Rose and Sarah Nienaber switching guitar and bass duties during the creative process that allows for fuller, and more immersive environments.

The all encircling and mind mesmerizing is heard from the moment Return to Zero commences with “Midnight Blue” that recalls the full engulfing of night and moon reflected rays of an azure luster. The interplay between the steady atmosphere machines of the understated guitar progression enjoy a beautiful dalliance between the sky-skiing keys that create the entrance and enchantment when combined the omnipresent harmonies. Alluding to 4-track tape rewinding buttons and switches, “RTZ Baby” brings Return To Zero to a full Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights traumnovelle unfolding at a late night roadhouse where Is/Is are the band performing while the moving torn struggles of affection unfold. And like the most moving of arc peak moments in a novel or film, “Disappearing” depicts the divergent paths between two warm bodies where one slowly fades into the wild winds instead of into one another. Every chord, every note, and Mara Appel’s seamless heart beat evoking percussion together with the trio’s closing refrain of “I think I’m disappearing, baby…” leaves you all choked-up and full of familiar emotions that surface throughout the imagination and senses like moments and lost loves whose presences and memories never actually leave. Right after the following debut listen to Return To Zero, read our candid roundtable interview with Is/Is’s Mara, Sarah N., and Sarah R.

First, describe for us what summer in Portland has been like for you all.

Mara: Challenging but cool. Unusually hot. New practice space. We have a band house now, just the three of us.

Sarah Rose: Summer started off with a west coast tour in June. We played really great shows but while driving down I-5 one of our rear wheels flew off the van and we crash landed in the median. It was a real blow to our spirits and wallets but we got it fixed and finished the tour, only missing one show. Since then we have been writing and playing lots of shows including a Northwest mini-tour we did with an amazing band from Seattle, Dræmhouse.

What are you all most excited about for the upcoming fall, winter seasons, and your upcoming tour with King Khan & The BBQ Show?

Mara: Excited to play to people who have never seen or heard us before…playing those crazy rooms with King Khan! Excited to keep hashing out new and crazy jams that I really love and am freaked out by…a great feeling.

Sarah N: I’m looking forward to grey days, cold days, and everything Mara mentioned.

front cover of Is/Is's 'Return to Zero' CS.

front cover of Is/Is’s ‘Return to Zero’ CS.

From your self-titled, to Shadow Days, III, etc; tell us about what set the stage for creating Return to Zero. Is this like a back to basics kind of vision?

Sarah R: I wouldn’t say it’s a back to basics vision…Return To Zero is intended to be a preview of what we’ve been working on the past year and what we are becoming. Since reuniting with Mara last year we have worked really hard on honing our sound while still staying true to ourselves. We’re trying to do our own thing naturally without questioning. Hopefully these songs showcase that.

Sarah N: Mara was our first drummer when we formed the band back in Minneapolis in 2009. Mara moved to Portland about a year and a half later. After playing with other drummers for a few years and then recording Shadow Days by ourselves, Sarah and I moved to Portland knowing that if the band was going to continue, it had to be the way it was originally intended to be, with Mara. So, Return to Zero is of course about that. Back to the beginning, almost like nothing happened but of course everything happened. We lifted the title from the Tascam 4-track we’ve been using to record demos. To rewind the tape to the counter zero point you hit a “RTZ” button (Return To Zero).

All three tracks are all gorgeous tunes what sorts of evening time luster, memory reflections, absences, and adventures informed all these beautiful songs?

Sarah R: Thank you! “Midnight Blue” and “RTZ Baby” were actually written during our time in Joshua Tree two years ago. We spent a month there to write and record. I had writer’s block and then these songs came out of the blue. They’ve taken various shapes since then, so there are lots of memories in them. They sat on the back burner while Sarah and I recorded Shadow Days which gave them time to change and turn into what they are now-more focused than they might have been two years ago. “Disappearing” was one of the first songs we wrote together where Sarah and I trade bass and guitar. We’ve since been writing a lot of songs that way.

Sarah N: Right. I was used to playing guitar and singing in other projects back in Minneapolis. Moving to Portland and leaving that behind was kind of a blow to my heart. I felt pretty devastated and panicked most of the time, if I thought about it too much, which I did. I asked Sarah Rose and Mara if they wouldn’t mind trying one of my songs…that was “Disappearing.” I was nervous. I didn’t want to bring it up, but I had to and when I did they were both into it. I think that switching it up like we’ve been has made us a better band.

back of 'Return to Zero' CS.

back of ‘Return to Zero’ CS.

Tell us what the experience of recording at Jackpot! Recording Studio was like.

Sarah R: All of our previous albums were recorded a few songs at a time over the course of months, whenever we were able to get in the studio. This time we spent those months demoing on our own, working out parts and getting sound ideas. We flew out our good friend Neil Weir from Minneapolis’ OId Blackberry Way to record us. We got to spend eight days straight in the studio and created our own world there. It was the best recording experience we’d ever had.

Mara: Magical. Spending the week there was actually psychedelic. Coming back to reality was a real challenge. We did really good work everyday. What stands out: The “Rolls Royce” reverb plate! Getting the harmonies together and the tones so dialed. The ability to take time in such a heavy historic place and of course to be able to do that with Neil.

Sarah N: There were so many tools and instruments that we don’t usually have access to. The Moog Voyager, for example, on “Midnight Blue”…we would never have sought that out but it was sitting in front of us and we tried it and it was perfect. It’s like the studio itself knew what each song needed and just kept passing us these perfect tools…Neil too. Neil did a lot of that too. That place is definitely haunted by the spirit of freedom and imagination. It was moving.

There is a kind of mysticism that seems to surround Is/Is and Web of Sunsets; if you all could attempt to encapsulate the philosophy for your collective work what would it be?

Mara: We like all kinds of things and we aren’t trying to really be genre-y. What turns us on is stuff that is honestly itself and melodic…real goooood stuff that comes from all corners of the world and all times. I think we tap into real ‘feeling’ or ‘vibe’ when we are at our best. I think that’s true for Web of Sunsets too! It’s a vibe-scape that isn’t formless, it’s got integrity. I hope that’s what we are doing anyway. Groove.

Sarah N: Mara explains it well. What unites us more than anything is a love of songs and all of the stuff in them. Harmonies, melodies, feelings, vibes, truth, lies. The whole thing, all of it. It’s nebulous and difficult to describe and we love it and it’s why we do it, and maybe that love shines out as something mysterious, because it is.

Other artists from PDX and beyond that have moved you all lately that everyone should be listening to everywhere?

All: Our buddies Talkative and Ah God from Portland and our new favs Dræmhouse from Seattle.

Parting words of wisdom and inspiration for us?

Mara: Freak freely, feel your feelings, and stay away from other people’s debilitating limitations regarding ‘what matters.’

Is/Is’s Return To Zero will be available September 22 via Bandcamp, pre-orders available here.

Catch Is/Is on the road with King Khan & The BBQ Show via the following dates with further west coast tour dates listed as well:

October
23 Seattle, WA – Chop Suey*
24 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
25 Portland, OR – Dante’s*

November
01 Portland – Rontoms
04 Los Angeles – Harvard & Stone
05 San Francisco – Make Out Room
06 Oakland – TBA
07 Arcata – The Alibi
13 Portland – Doug Fir

* w King Khan & BBQ Show and Milk Lines

Lazy Knuckles

Beat-meister Lazy Knuckles, aka Brandon Klaiber.

Beat-meister Lazy Knuckles, aka Brandon Klaiber.

Heralding from Ironton, Ohio; meet Lazy Knuckles, aka Brandon Klaiber who just signed to Gold Robot Records, and premieres “Sudser” today in anticipation of his forthcoming album Bucolicavailable September 11. Klaiber’s passions for 90s and early oughts hip hop phenomenons would find him venturing into the worlds of rhythm back beat and electro productions post 2009 high school graduation. Spending the past half-decade meditating and marinating his own styles that float halfway between the streets and space (not to mention the sun, moon, air, and everything in between) after cutting his teeth working on productions with Aaron Cohen, Dyme-a-Duzin, Mas Fresco, Stro, and more. Bucolic finds Knuckles painting rural life portraits out of samples, stems and rhythms that provide an autobiographical audio atmosphere of narratives where Brandon projects for all to experience a little bit about where he’s from while highlighting the heights his deep cuts are moving toward.

Lazy Knuckle’s “Sudser” douses soap opera tripping Latin guitar romantics in an electro-beat bath of bubbling suds. The instrumental track whispers drones that create the valley-like expanses of land and fall burnt amber air, as the guitar strings wrap wooden porch humility around vocal-edit flips and MPC step-skip kicks n’ punches. The accomplishment here is how “Sudser” creates a sense of home and place that fits into the motif of Bucolic where Klaiber crafts a signature in brush strokes birthed out of experience with a thrill for the search, futuristic growths, that naturally bloom like bountiful fruits of labors harvested as dope rhythm tracks. After the following debut of Lazy Knuckles’ “Sudser”, read our interview session with Brandon Klaiber.

Describe for us how your influential obsessions and infatuation with early millennial and 90s hip hop informed you during your Ironton, Ohio up bringing.

It really all started with my brother, Ryan. He wouldn’t admit it now, but he was into early 90’s gangster rap. NWA, Public Enemy, groups like that. This was around 05′ and none of our friends were listening to anything like that, nor did they like it, so we were on our own.

I remember hearing Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” in his car for the first time. I was hooked. I started listening to jazz influenced hip-hop, which eventually led me to artists like Doom, Madlib and Dilla. So as far as music goes, we’ve always been different than people here.

We both stopped listening to hip hop a few years back though. He’s a metal head now and I usually listen to mostly alternative/pop bands and your occasional instrumental acts. I’ll listen to the hip-hop songs I produce and what the rappers I know, personally, release. That’s about it, as far as hip-hop goes.

Ryan and I still like a lot of the same music, but other than him, I haven’t found too many people who have a good ear for music, in Ironton. But it’s all good, I really enjoy living here.

Tell us about how you got into the game, your journey toward music experimentation, while producing cool cats like Stro, Dyme-a-Duzin, Aaron Cohen, Mas Fresco, and more in the process.

I’ve been producing music since 09′. I started making beats for my friends to rap on and was in a rap group called Wlf Pck with my cousins Andy & Taylor. I would make the beats and they would write super provocative, but hilarious raps to them. They’re actually pretty good rappers though. There’s probably a few songs still out there on MySpace or something from 09’-10’.

After that, I started working on an instrumental project, but couldn’t get any attention by bloggers, or anyone at that. So I decided to get some production credits to build a name and started sending beats out to rappers. I remember selling the first beat I sent out to an artist named Mick Stillz for like $50. I don’t think the track ever surfaced.

I started getting serious about music in 2012. All I wanted to do was sit in my room and make beats, so I had zero social life. I would Google ‘upcoming rappers’ and start cold emailing those artists. That’s how I met Aaron, he was the first to actually reply. I’ve been working with him ever since. That opened the doors to work with other New York artists like Hefna Gwap, Dyme and eventually Stro. There are still a lot of tracks I produced that have yet to release with artists, Cj (Mas Fresco) being one.

But essentially, I met most of the rappers I work with over the internet. I went to few of Cj’s basketball games when he played for the Cavs and met Aaron at a show in Columbus.

I didn’t start sending out “Bucolic” until this year. I felt like I had some good momentum with the production credits to start my experimental career. Gold Robot was actually the first label I emailed, so it was awesome when Hunter decided to take chance on it.

How have all these culminated experiences impacted Bucolic?

It’s all been huge for the LP. Especially working with the artists I’ve been lucky enough to work with. Though I planned to build a name through production, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. A lot of stressful nights trying to get in touch with artists, while making both hip-hop beats and instrumentals for my LP.

My home has been the biggest influence on the album. The landscape is beautiful here and very inspirational in all seasons. I’m outside when I’m not making music, so the creative process has been very peaceful.

I practically isolated myself from everyone for the past 3 years, and just made music. It was awesome.

What else have you been working on, and who have you been working with lately?

Honestly, I haven’t worked on too much experimental music lately. I’ve been trying to get a few side projects started in the pop and alternative genres. And maybe a folk project also. We’ll see.

I have a good bit still to be released with a few rappers. 8 or 9 with Mas Fresco, a few with Cashius Green, a few with Black Zheep Dz, 1 or 2 with Black Dave and new tracks with Aaron, Dyme and Stro. So it’ll be cool when all of those release. I still have an overload of hip-hop beats that are just sitting on my laptop, waiting to get sent out. Like, 100-125 unheard beats. It’s ridiculous.

I’ll start making more Lazy Knuckles music this winter/spring and play some more gigs. Maybe get out to LA for some sets. I’d really like to get on a bill with Monster Rally. That’d be awesome. I’ll try to release an EP or something next summer.

But I’ll be working on these side projects, at least until the end of October, beginning of November. We’re all avid hunters out here, so I’m sure I’ll be spending most of my fall/winter in a tree-stand.

What are some of the most amazing things you have heard lately that other folks have been creating sound wise?

Mostly everything that I’ve been stuck on lately was released a couple of years back. My brother told me about a lot of them. Just really, really great stuff.

Smoke and Jackal, Fall Around

Broken Social Scene, Sweetest Kill

Ferrein, Meeting Sea

Lapalux, Puzzle

Phosphorescent, Songs For Zula

Tame Impala, Eventually

Beach House, Depression Cherry LP

Lazy Knuckles’ Bucolic will be available September 11 from Gold Robot Records.

Pretend

Introducing Topshelf Records new signing; Pretend.

Introducing Topshelf Records new signing; Pretend.

In big breaking news, Pretend have just signed with Topshelf Records as they prepare to release their album Tapestry’d Life in October, premiering the single “Record of Love” with us here today. The quartet of Joel, Luke, Tim, Mike have had these songs in various stages of development and incubation over the years before signaling hints last spring that a full-length album was well under way. The band was kind enough to provide us with an in-depth introductory look at their new album with the nu-rock romanticism that illuminates like a chorus of infatuated string chords as heard on “Record of Love”.

The narrative storyline arc of a romantic experience to recollect is played throughout the vast wing span on “Record of Love”. In a song that hosts many expressive doors and chambers into the calculated principles of new constructs for the post-structural appreciators and rock intelligentsia. Every chord and note is placed and strummed with reason and purpose that gathers real floral lily lyrics of earnest love and affection, with star gazing deliveries with lines like, “…’cause I love you with your eyes closing to the sky….” Floral love-stories are retold and relayed through the dearest downpours of gushing sentiment where the gardens bouquet of natural harmonies are grown surrounded by glimmering guitars that the rustle a trove of melodies like reeds, branches, trees and leafs swaying and singing their own sublime song. But it is the smart assemblage of arrangements that make the entire experience feel like you were falling in love for the very first time over and over again for the duration of nearly eleven minutes.

Luke from Pretend was as kind to reflect for us on “Record of Love”, and what we can expect next from them via their new home at Topshelf:

It’s 2009—”put yourself in Thousand Oaks”. This song was part of a small accumulation of songs written amidst the culmination of finishing Bones in the Soil (the first time) “Over the underground, senses undone—to become one.” Days and nights in the garage…days and nights together…songs coming just so easily. Not part of any particular thing; our choice. Mostly all of Tim’s initial ideas, I remember his beginning loop and just writing forever to it; Joel’s in the living room taking a nap and will return sooner or later…later…”Song 20″…November 2009. Song 20 demo (no vocals ).mp3, February 26, 2010. “I can see the obvious effect, as she descends the steps aligning with the edge.” El Matador beach, hazy some summer in 2011…Live in Thousand Oaks, September 6, 2011…thinking this song has something to do with the expansiveness of summer, or it is hopelessly tied to the promises of summer. I am sure we wrote it in the summer—I guess I decide now that it is a summer song. Played for Arlan and a couple friends…early version; Later finalized, never uploaded. For some reason it didn’t make it to “live garage demos”—hastily made for the Daniel Johnston show. We probably wanted to save it.. The irony of course, being it’s just now seeing the light.

‘Over the surface we lay, alone at the end of the day…’

We definitely have been writing a lot lately and we plan on playing shows/touring, if we are so lucky!

Watch the following teaser trailer for Pretend’s forthcoming album Tapestry’d Life available in October from Topshelf Records.


Pre-Willy

Introducing Pre-Willy, aka William Smith.

Introducing Brooklyn newcomer Pre-Willy, aka William Smith.

Keeping an eye and ear out for folks that have been recording lately at Salvation Recording Co. such as Diet Cig, Porches, PWR BTTM, etc; we discovered William Smith, aka Pre-Willy who presents to us his world premiere of “Call It Whatever”. Working with engineer/owner/DIY guru Chris Daly to make the sweet sounds of whatever, William employs a lo-fi ethic with a big sound aesthetic that allows the analog-treated vocals to dwell within an expansive arrangement. You can hear where home recorded sketches of songs and sounds drafted on bedroom penned demos are set free in a mix of bright guitars, drums, and synths that sparkle and bring about a jubilant sound guaranteed to make you smile. Smith here as Pre-Willy can be heard trying his hand at composing a catchy cluster of pop hooks and succeeds with creating an earworm that continues to wriggle about the mind long after the song’s duration of two minutes and forty-five seconds.

“Call It Whatever” is an exhibition of the Pre-Willy pop blueprint where slacker and derelict styles are taking to the maximum hilt of execution and production. William, Daly and friends turn up the wattage where rhythmic lyrical nursery-like rhymes bounces about a busy-box/jungle gym of poppy vibrance. The Pre-Willy wonder at work here is that William and friends meld together so many clever particulars of studio magic with a high riding demeanor that makes “Call It Whatever” resound with the sound of now. And yet weirdness is all around, where the elaborate mix is built around Smith’s warbled vocals and weird lyrics of which the entire sound celebration is wrapped around. Lines that sound approximately like, “keep you awake with the drugs that you took, while you keep me alive with the torture in your hook” resonate with a hedonistic holler that pens a poem of the absurd while taking the everything and the kitchen sink approach that makes for memorable single and promising signs of further recordings. We had the opportunity to talk to frontman William Smith right after the following debut of “Call It Whatever” from Pre-Willy.

What inspired you to create Pre-Willy, and in what ways if any has Free Willy inspired your adopted moniker?

I had been recording songs by myself for a while, they were really starting to pile up so I decided it was time to get some of them out of my computer. I had played in bands before, but this is my first shot at solo songwriting/recording.

Ha ha no, not any connection to Free Willy. Someone jokingly said Pre-Willy and I thought it was funny, that’s about it.

Describe for us your experience of recording you forthcoming album at Salvation Recording Co., where the likes of Diet Cig, Porches., PWR BTTM and more have cut their teeth, and some rad sounds as well.

Recording there was really fun. Super relaxing, we got all of the tracking done in a couple days. I worked with Chris Daly, he’s the owner/engineer/everything over there. A few of my friends knew him and suggested I check it out. It was a great environment to record in. My two friends Ian and Rami came with me to do the tracking. Cool place, Chris is the man.

prewilly week in pop 2

What kinds of calls, and whatever sentiments informed the single “Call it Whatever”?

Oh there’s nothing there. Chris asked me, ‘what’s this one called?’ And I replied with the track title. I guess it just stuck. The lyrics are about meeting my girlfriend, falling in love, blah blah blah.

Tell us what else we should be expecting from your forthcoming album.

An elegant batch of dark disco songs. I’m half kidding. All the tracks are pretty dance-y, lots of keyboards, and some gentle bass lines.

prewilly week in pop 3

Currently, what is getting heavy replay and rotation at home and on the go in your world?

I just recently got into Electric Light Orchestra, so that’s been consuming me.

Other than that, Chet Baker, Barbara Mason, Lightning Bug (really good), The Yardbirds. The Sound of Music soundtrack has been helping me wake up in the morning.

What else is next for Pre-Willy?

No idea. I just moved to Brooklyn so I should probably try to play some shows right? Gonna keep pumping out the tunes. Other than that, just trying to survive in this god forsaken playground for addiction.

Listen to more Pre-Willy via Soundcloud.

Dead Soft

Introducing—Dead Soft; photograph by Megan-Magdalena Bourne.

Introducing—Dead Soft; photograph by Megan-Magdalena Bourne.

Catching us by surprise with the near perfect electric execution of pure power pop beauty; we introduce you to Vancouver, BC’s Dead Soft who present the premiere of “The Wind” that blasts and howls on accord of the band own natural force to be reckoned with. The trio of Nathaniel Epp, Keeley Rochon, and Graeme McDonald are gearing up for a September 5 through October 25 fall north American tour kicking off tomorrow (featuring select dates with Bully) to share their grunge-y garage glossed gospel with the surrounding states.

The immediate thing that is striking about “The Wind” brings to mind how much impact and influence that northwest cliques and scenes clusters have upon one another. Whereas California has it’s post-dream pop experimentation and mutations; Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver have shifted their perspectives to toward a tight economy of composition, performance and productions that still retains a forestall, ethereal, and somewhat rural at heart component. The Dead Soft three demonstrate this very town & country marriage as “The Wind” provides a conversational/confessional power chord riff fest that surveys self-destructive explanations in a brutally honest fashion like the unapologetic weather cycles of wind, rain, fog, and ice. Dead Soft’s snow globe of sound contains all these very storms encapsulated over the course of two minutes and twenty-seconds that makes for one of the best power-garage-pop genius you have heard all year long.

We’re stoked to hear about your fall tour featuring dates with Bully. What are the three of you the most excited about for the upcoming road dates?

Keeley: We have never played a show in the USA before so we are extra stoked for this tour. Very much looking forward to shorter drives, beaches, deserts, big cities, cheap beer, seeing tons of new bands, the list is endless! We are in for a super adventure to say the least.

Nathaniel: So much of the ground we’re covering is totally new to us, and we’ll be seeing a good portion of your fine country, so we’re really excited to find out where our favorite place in the USA is! Will it be the big apple? The city of angels? Thermopolis, Wyoming? We shall see!

Graeme: I’m really looking forward to seeing what each of the places we’re visiting are like, especially places close to where I used to live. I grew up around the Bay Area, South Dakota, and Montana, so it’ll be interesting to get back to these places that I haven’t been to for a long time. It’s also going to be pretty nice to be able to play shows most nights for two straight months!

Dead Soft; photographed by Spencer Jenkins.

Dead Soft; photographed by Spencer Jenkins.

For those of us outside of the Dead Soft Vancouver scene; please walk us through your recent releases through last year’s self-titled, to what you all are cooking up next.

Nathaniel: We formed in the summer of 2011 in Victoria, BC where we played our first handful of house parties before moving to the mainland. We put out a couple of tapes and some digital releases via Bandcamp, toured Canada pretty extensively, and then recorded and released our self-titled LP about a year ago. We will be heading in to finish the next record sometime in January.

“The Wind” is such an epic power rocking piece of pure garage breathed gold. What sorts of wind like forces of nature lent credence to this super rhythm driving jam?

Nathaniel: It may have been inspired by some good old fashioned weather combined with whatever was going through my head at the time. To me this song is like being caught in a whirlwind and then stepping outside of it for a second, having a moment of peace, and admiring the insanity of the whirlwind before you hop back in. There’s something about detachment and acceptance. There are no repeating lyrics which is kind of different for us, it just passes by.

Can you give us a preview of what the forthcoming tour van traveling soundtrack might entail?

Keeley: As a band I think our musical tastes are a pretty mixed bag! Which is good. It is always fun to listen to rap because it keeps the mood on the lighter side, Drake, Jazz Cartier, and Run the Jewels have been recent favorites. Lots of Rock n Roll in all it’s forms. And we will probably listen to some Woolworm and Pinner when we start feeling homesick or something. Podcasts and audio-books are sweet, too. It is easy to get music’d out when playing so many shows so it’s nice to break it up with some chatter from time to time.

Graeme: Nat and Keeley are going to have to be ready to listen to a lot of J. Cole, who I’m just getting into. also, some krautrock and some Zep and lots of other stuff. Gonna try to cover as many bases as possible.

Fall and winter goals for Dead Soft?

Nathaniel: After tour we’ll be getting into the studio to record our next batch of material and then hopefully put out another record soon after that and then hit the road again and again.

Keep up with the band via their site.

Find Dead Soft touring the states from September 5 through October 25 via the following dates:

dead soft tour dates

Mall Walk

Bay Area's Mall Walk; photographed by Raynie Vratari.

Bay Area’s Mall Walk; photographed by Raynie Vratari.

We had the pleasure of debuting the self-titled EP from Oakland’s Mall Walk via the Vacant Stare Records label (operated by the band’s own Rob I. Miller), and today we have the world premiere of their “Pales in Comparison” video of trans roadways of reflective transitions and more. Directed by Drew Pearson and starring lip-syncs and vanity screen tests aplenty from Gay Henry the band’s Monte Vallier blessed and mixed striking guitar chimes are given a glamor sophisto-vanity visual treatment.

“Pales In Comparison” through the eyes of Gay Henry and Drew Pearson’s lens goes from staring at the spin of the ceiling fan, to pickup-truck bed moments of reminiscing and missing a lost dear friend. Gay Henry is seen singing along to Mall Walk’s song by the water, while laying in bed, in the bath, or lit by the orange glow from the sun’s setting rays. Sporting blonde locks, dolled up make-up outfitting attire; the eulogistic nature of the ballad “Pales” is brought to an even greater level of passions that pays tributes to the wild ones that away. Untamed memories remain and are retained in the big beat and bell clang of the chords, and descriptive lyrics like,”….drunk and high in his own car, singing CCR…”

Rob from Mall Walk provided the following brief thoughts on Drew Pearson’s video for “Pales In Comparison”, and how Gay Henry provided another dimension to the song:

All I can really say is after watching the video, I was left feeling like Gay Henry may have a better understanding of the song than we do.

Mall Walk’s self-titled EP is available now from Vacant Stare Records.

Catch Mall Walk live on the following dates:

September
10 Portland, OR – The Know
11 Seattle, WA – Victory Lounge
12 Seattle, WA – KEXP- In Studio
12 Olympia, WA – Le Voyeur

Workman Song

workman song week in pop 1

Workman Song, the project of Sean McMahon is readying a 49-minute, 1-track, 22 song lo-fi concept album modeled on AM radio gospel hours and George Norrey’s Coast To Coast AM, and we’re proud to premiere the single, “The Swineherd”. We were introduced to the Western Massachusettes by Brooklyn artist in late 2014 with his Ion Zelig Vol. III EP that saw the artist adventuring into creative solo terrain after playing bass with Streets of Laredo. The new conceptual work takes early organic live recordings that showcases McMahon continuing to add upon the building blocks from his song drafts into a larger conceptual body of work.

“The Swineheard” works as a piece of Biblical allusory fiction made created like a mystical trad folk tale told at big-top tent sideshows. A work that was originally recorded live by an audience member attending what Sean says was the first Workman Song show ever at Silent Barn in Bushwick; the chance of rediscovering and re-evisioning an early raw performance provides fuzzy feels and expansions/renovations of the aural architecture. “I’ve never performed it since [that first show],” McMahon explained to us, “I opened up the mp3 in the laptop and started painting on it, and it is what it is now.” Honing in on what could be called the Workman Song-sound; Sean stirs a slow rising hymn of strums, whistles, chimes, and megaton dropping percussion that sends the meters into the red. The ancient New Testament tale of demons cast from a man into a herd of pigs is given further expository considerations, a wife, and a deeper story that is told in a tale of many sections, suites, and an elaborate song house of many mansions therein. Sean further elaborated for us with the following thoughts:

“The Swineherd” is about the guy in the Bible known as “Legion” whose demons Jesus cast into a bunch of pigs who then rushed headlong to drown in the sea. I gave him a wife and a backstory: “Molly’s husband was a swineherd and he takes it on her, because they never behave. His mother left him on a steeple in a cradle made of pigskin. The demons got to him when he was young. His cradle fell into a grave.” At which point, the fat beat drops.

If I recall correctly, this was the first song of the first Workman Song show ever. Took place at the Silent Barn May 27, 2013. It was just me on guitar and Moses Eder playing a giant gourd which doubled as his pedestrian helmet. A small crowd of 30 friends sat cross-legged on the wooden floor. Moses’ laptop was sitting somewhere about 20 feet from us recording the whole thing. I recall magenta and blue-tinged lights. This was on the brain when, about a month later, I cracked this song open in Garageband and started layering vocals, extra guitars, blown-out bass drum, tinkerbells. Never underestimate a laptop microphone. I promptly forgot about the song, which is good, because when it came to mind recently for Open Source Agape Union Vol. I I was able to use my newfound mastering skills on it. Lord knows what damage I could have done to it if I had tried back then. Wilder Maker headlined that Silent Barn show—first time I saw them, and I was blown away when they played Invisible Order for something like 15 minutes. Legendary. I mention this because I would never be releasing this song, so deeply hidden in the vault, without Gabe’s encouragement to pursue every fuck-it-fuck-all instinct that feels right.

Listen to more from Workman Song via Soundcloud.

EROK

erok week in pop 1

LA’s EROK, oka Edmyr Barayang, dropped some last daze of summer fare and feels with “Summer Breeze” that features Pheo (of MAD Decent, and Soulection affiliation & notoriety) and Nikko Gray. Found off his forthcoming Reflection EP available September 23 from Voidshift Music, EROK continues the explorations of fusing order in anarchy as he follows up his previous EP Beautiful Chaos released earlier in spring of this year.

And while Labor Day weekend is upon us and all the signs of fall are in motion; “Summer Breeze” keeps that smooth sunshine serenity pushing. EROK’s sparse and soft pointed application of key sequences creates vistas and vacations for the mind, while Pheo and Nikko Gray’s vocals stream through the half awake whisper recitations of inner examinations and expressions exchanged between close hearts and voices in the late hours of those endless evenings and never-ending mornings. Check out our interview with EROK right after the following “Summer Breeze” listen.

Tell us about what the creative personal jump has been like for you from Voidshift with your debut Beautiful Chaos to the upcoming Reflection EP.

For Reflection EP, I wanted to create something with a different sound and approach to the craft. As producers, our job is to create music that define our feelings we go through in life. Beautiful Chaos was a project I created to convey my interests in alternative downtempo bass. My intention for Reflection was to creatively express my happiness for my newly born daughter Jazmarie.

Give us the story on shaping the endless summer stew of sinewy synths and contributions from Pheo and Nikko Gray.

My friend Nick Pacoli (keys and chords) and I were having a jam session at my house and we first started out with a drum beat. Nick has such a great R & b vibe to his style of playing that reminded me of how it complements Pheo and Nikko’s styles of singing. So then I brought Pheo and Nikko in after a basic beat was finished and wave Groove finished the structure and last additions to the song.

Can you tell us stories on what some of your other favorite collaborations have been, and maybe some hints on who else you have been collaborating with recently?

My favorite collaborations have been with my close friends (Nick, wave Groove, and Steeps) because we have good synergy with each other. Many of us have strong solo backgrounds that when we come together, we rarely disagree on creative choices. wave Groove and I are currently working on the next project together. I also have something cooking with Speak.

What are some of your earliest recollections about getting into the rhythm creating music game?

It started from digging a lot of records and loop/chopping my favorite parts of songs. As of now, I have a fond interest in making music with live instrumentation but approaching it with a DJ mind set, meaning I still have a loop/chop aspect to the music.

What has you excited about what’s happening in LA right now?

My crew (Voidshift) pushing new sounds and experimentation in production value. Beat Cinema and Low End Theory have been giving up and coming producers platforms to express themselves in the public arena.

Other artists you want to give a shout out to?

On top of the artists mentioned before, I’d like to give a shout out to my other friends in Voidshift—Triton Bloom, Blaue, Reply, Paul Elsewho and Brian Folk. Shout outs to Beat Junkies for making us part of their radio family.

EROK’S Reflection EP available September 23 from Voidshift Music.

Howth

Howth2
(Howth’s Carl Creighton performing live at Rough Trade NYC; photographed by Christie McMenamin.)

From Howth’s recent album Trashy Milky Nothing Town; we bring you Preston Spurlock’s video for “Tourist Town” that lampoons the resort town state of NYC yippie/yechie encroachment with a strong turtle motif. The headache pains and lifestyle cramping of “Tourist Town” living is accompanied by a visual array of ninja turtle animations that further highlight the consant wordplay in the title that makes the phonetic sound of something like ‘Tortoise Town.’ The “learn to swim or drown” adrenaline dramatics are doused in cartoon psych imagery and footage ripped straight out of a pet store.

Howth frontman Carl Creighton also shared some thoughts on Preston’s turtle motif video for “Tourist Town” and upcoming tour:

Preston’s keeping the tradition of art inspiring music inspiring art alive and it’s such an honor to be a part of that, especially because I admire Preston’s art so much. I love the part of “Tourist Town” where the turtle is walking on a turtle is walking on a turtle because it’s such a good representation of Preston’s wit and irreverent style all together in one image. He’s simply the bee’s knees.

As for the tour, we’re doing it with the best band in the world A Deer A Horse! Starting with a kick-off show at Aviv in Brooklyn on 9/10 with the other best bands/musicians in the world The Meaning of Life, Sodium Beast (featuring members of Shark?, The Teen Age and Parlor Walls) and Ben Seretan. And Preston Spurlock on live visuals!

Here’s the list of dates:

September
10 Brooklyn, NY – Aviv
11 Jersey City, NJ – The Funhouse
12 Purchase, NY – The Stood at SUNY
13 New Rochelle, NJ – The Street Fair (Day)
15 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie Upstairs
16 Harrisburg, PA – The Makespace
17 Saratoga Springs, NY – Skidmore College
19 Annandale-On-Hudson – Bard College

howth flier 5 week in pop

Preston Spurlock

preston spurlock week in pop 1

The aforementioned artist/director extraordinaire Preston Spurlock also makes music when he’s not making posters, films, and other visual multimedia projects. The South Florida by NYC art-experimenter released his his recent Chewing Ice Through A Shirt: Analog Tape Loop Compositions, we had the opportunity to discuss with Preston where his visual and audible approaches both meet and separate in our interview featured after the jump.

Tell us about blending images of turtles to make up the analog array of images for “Tourist Town”.

I’ve been favoring a real “everything-and-the-kitchen-sink” approach to video direction lately. My process for “Tourist Town” involved first gathering my initial materials – found footage, home videos, my own animations and video abstractions, etc. I then mixed down various combinations of these materials straight to VHS, and finally re-imported those mixes to use as the raw material for the video.

What for you are the differences and similarities in collaging video & sound?

Same same different. Elements like pacing, flow, theme, are always a consideration in both. I find that the margin for error feels much larger in video collaging, though, because there’s not as much stress on precise synchronization. When one makes a beat, for example, that beat usually needs to be timed to loop back on itself pretty tightly, so as not to sound jarring. But with video, so long as there’s a certain degree of fluidity and movement present in the image, the timing need not be as specific. Peoples’ minds are remarkably adept at finding synchronizations between the visuals and the music even when such moments are random and unintentional.

What audio projects are you working on right now?

Well, I’m currently sitting on about 7+ hours of unreleased home recordings from the past decade or so. It runs the gamut from twee pop to sludge metal. I’m still going through the process of digitizing my own archives, but once I do, I’ll most likely just dump it all online for free. More recently, I’ve also been making a lot of harsh electronic noise music, more or less for my own catharsis.

Other video projects that are in the works?

I’m working on a music video for folk-punk band Out Of System Transfer. A collaborative found footage project I’m in called Special Interest just finished a short; that’ll be on a soon-to-be-released VHS compilation. I’m also in the process of editing a video mixtape. And I have an unfinished feature film called “Destination Street” that’s become a real white elephant in my life.

Other artists the world should be listening to?

I’ve been enjoying records by The Caretaker, The Focus Group, and particularly Orchid Spangiafora, whose one album Flee Past’s Ape Elf is pretty perfect, I think. Stock music has been a big thing for me these days too. Compilations of it are remarkably easy to find. I got one of Christian muzak called Songs Of The Vineyard that I like a lot.

Corina Seas

corina seas week in pop 1

Introducing LA’s Corina Seas and her upcoming EP debut Flux available September 22 where she delivers electro heartfelt pop ballads as featured on the single “Crystal Cove”. Southern California sea shores are explored with upbeat synth-beat bathed sensations and earnest sentiments displayed like Polaroid snap-shots to retains memories of the best summer ever. Corina’s Flux EP will be available September 22, with a record release show happening in LA at Room 5 on September 11.

What Corina SEa implicitly demonstrates on Flux is a record made predominately of live instrumentation where bright bouncing electro-pop is created without the the aid of computer-generated apps and programs. “Drums, guitars, electric bass, percussion are all live,” the artist explained during our conversation earlier this week, “and many of the synth sounds came from a Mini Moog analog synthesizer. Even the parts that are software generated were performed by hand on a keyboard or MPC.”

Corina lent the following preface to her forthcoming Flux EP:

Flux is really a culmination of my experiences since relocating to LA. These past few years are the first I’ve been on my own, away from the safety net of familiar places and people. So in a sense, it’s about growing up and learning about yourself and who you really are. Each track is it’s own little universe and the record moves through all the different emotional stages of my life here – wonder and excitement, freedom and self-determination, nostalgia, spirituality, doubt and soul-searching, even sensuality. I feel like I’ve been through all these different phases in a short amount of time and that’s why I chose the title, Flux; I felt I was in a state of constant movement and regrowth.

Sinless

Introducing; Sinless.

Introducing; Sinless.

From the ashes of New Shouts, meet Sinless that brings the world some lovely sound-scapes to dream to with their brand new Ethereality EP. The fantastic trip all begins with the bedroom demo kissed “Trip the Light (Fantastic Sun)” where unexpected sounds, and sweet surprises beautifully lurk around every corner. The season of sun gets eulogized in memoriam on the beautiful “Summer”, right before all senses of weight and measure disappear dearly in to the ether of “Weightless Love”. The closing track “2 of Infinite Hearts” brings together the very essences of two shared hearts enjoying the infinite afternoon feeling of the most treasured moments, or most magnificent days, and joy never before felt, nor experienced until this very instance of glorious happenstance. Another bedroom-recorded EP will be available soon as Sinless is currently making their debut album with Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Riley Geare, available later in 2016. Frontman Core talked to us about the begginings of Sinless, and the transcendence of all transgressions with the following words:

Before starting this band I was playing harmonium for a Guru and he told me that “everyone is sinless in their true nature”. So I called this band Sinless. The result is a hazy reminiscence of lost loves which takes classic pop songwriting influences and bathes them in a glow of dream pop and analogue warmth.

Devereaux

Devereaux, aka W. Heyward Sims.

Devereaux, aka W. Heyward Sims.

From Devereaux’s recent Pineapple Flex album from Post-Echo, check out the sound and visions sunny summer memories manifested before your eyes and ears on the Taylor “Rotary Chicken” Kearns video for “Bikini”. Those that were deprived all season of a vacay spent idling by the ocean waves; now is the time to bust out your favorite beach sanctioned lawn chair and enjoy the video of seagulls, sea waves, and time slipping sea sounds that trip forward like the greatest arty house anthem you bumped and blared all spring and summer long. Kearns’ super minimalist take on the posh-sophisto jam truly gives everyone in the world the ultimate beach based vacation that weary, and overworked eyes have dreamed of all year.

Devereaux, aka frontman Heyward Sims gave us a few words on the making of the tripped out cut “Bikini” and Taylor’s video:

In that the song’s inspiration was derived from a sex-soaked week at Folly Beach in June of 2001 and the track’s title was “Bikini”, I kind of wanted the video’s aesthetic to be diametrically opposed yet somehow symmetrically aligned to the sound’s inspiring components.

My main issue was that I felt it was way too easy to throw some boobs on it; thus, I consulted my friend, @rotarychicken. As the auteur gazed at me next to his glowing monitor enshrouded by a gossamer cloud of vanilla vapor, he whispered, ‘Put a bird on it, you fucking moron.’

A bottle of Patrón later, the erudite fowl and I had serendipitously stumbled upon the actual meaning of life within this petite yet tastefully jocular snapshot of coastal wildlife. You know, smooth like Reggie Miller in an airborne freeze-frame.

We present to you the wondrous baroque pop worlds of Bror Forsgren who delivered the ambitious number “In A Time When God Was One” that manages to create something that takes the listener’s mind, ears, and vision to witness something from the dawn of mono-theism. Taken off the forthcoming album Narcissus available September 25 from Jansen Plateproduksjon; listen as the artist most commonly associated with Jaga Jazzist, Silence The Foe, The Lionheart Brothers, etc steps out into something so striking, and so original that the doldrums and dull down-times of fall become seen as a needed time for self renewal through a song that strikes and soothes the psyche, and the inner natural mystic. To hear Forsgren explain the orchestral quality and influence, read the artist’s vision here:

I’ve always dreamed of making an album with grand orchestration, whilst managing to keep the music timeless. I’m a big fan of Scott Walker and l oves his ability to intertwine velvety pop music and modern composition. My vision for this album has be en to create a work where my natural pop habitat melts together with the classical and the modern.

Boddhi Satva’s album Transition will be available September 18 from Offering Recordings; and we present the Ancetral Soul founder joined by Oxnard, California’s Dudley “Declaime” Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow on the track “When The Lights” that provides a universal light and shine of perpetual consciousness. The convergence of these three prolific artists creates cause for the lights to be switched on and the nefarious darkness becomes scarce, and gone.

Watch Yassou’s Lilie Hoy and George Daly’s gorgeous fashion ritual video for “Fall Again” that stars the talents of Kelsey Rose, Leia Layus, Lilie Hoy featuring cinematography from Gary Yost and James Jackson. Lilie Bytheway Hoy and friends will be releasing further visual components through November 5 that feature more synth-visual sensations yet to arrive.

W-X is Tim Presley latest side project from the White Fence terrains, where he is readying a self-titled for release November 7 from Castle Face Records, and we have the single “Clean It Glen” for your ears. Like the muddied, lo-fi tenebrous undergrounds explored as WF; “Glen” continues to traverse those subterranean fields and corridors with the mentality of your favorite Nuggets b-side or freak-beat forgotten classic that has emerged in the soil of the earth’s musical surface. Continuing the side-project momentum that has also seen Presley collaborating with Cate Le Bon as DRINKS; Tim remains to not just be one of the DIY scenes most influential of dreamers and players, but certainly one of the most prolific as well.

Be one of the first to hear Woolen Men’s new album Temporary Monument available now from Woodsist Records. The Portland bred gang points their jangle inflected DIY anarchy arrows at the evolving face of the establishments that are transforming their worlds, ours, and yours in astronomical ways. Alienation rings out through numbers like “Alien City”, “Life In Hell”, “The Dissolving Man”, to the “Clean Dreams” that keep the vision and optimism somewhat alive and hoping for a greater tomorrow than the offerings of today’s quagmires and corporate/technocratic chaoses.

LAs’ Gardens & Villa dropped the video for the all inclusive “Everybody” single off of their new album Music For Dogs available now from Secretly Canadian. The “everybody wants the new you, nobody cares who you are” refrains are met with clusters of b/w visual vibes that collage together images of the band in performance with overlays of analog electric digital displays and interferences from the externalties of other people’s expectations.

Hang out poolside with Tarra Theissen and Natalie Kirch from Brooklyn’s Sharkmuffin in the psyched-out Rich Gold video for their title track, “Chartreuse” from their debut album of the same name available now from State Capitol Records. The Sharkmuffin post-surf sound of sweet, blessed scuzz is combined by performance footage, getting weird with a couple of dudes, and a whole lot of vision warping effects and lens filters to keep everything delightfully strange.

From Midday Veil’s August 28 slated album This Wilderness available now from Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records, hear “I Am The War” that mixes the chaos of the seas and the comfort of the wind and breeze into one big beautiful sonic paradox/enigma.

Field Trip just played with Ricky Eat Acid in the Studio at Webster Hall, and are playing Silent Barn September 17, and Shea Stadium October 1; hear their new single “Never” that moves in ways that moves past the finite and into the realms of the eternal and forever.

From their upcoming Service Industry album available October 16 from felte, check out Lushes’ “Circus” that brings post-apocalyptic twists on the post-post-modern landscapes where the serving class becomes the new working class norm and Lushes break you off some audio blasts that highlight and express the struggles in ineffable manners.

Astronauts, etc will release their album Mind Out Wandering September 18 via Hit City U.S.A. and we have the smooth grooving electric organ shaking/shimmering single, “Shake It Loose”. The notes, chords and harmonies from the band’s Anthony Ferraro, Scott Brown, Aaron Gold, Derek Barber, and Doug Stuart chill, mix, and mellow like a weekend afternoon with interludes of pause that spin like dandelion pinwheels blowing in the autumn breeze.

Brooklyn’s People’s Champs dropped the single “Hostages” from their forthcoming October self-titled release that brings a certain bliss like those early morning moments where you can see and hear the night transform into the sun breaking morning of a new day.

AM & Shawn Lee’s Outlines album is out now via their AM Sounds imprint, and this week AM dropped a mix to give a taste of the variety of flavors found in his own home wax stacks archives with the Proteus 1 ahead of their forthcoming October tour.

From the mind and talents of the one and only Travis Egedy—get ready to fux with the new post-post-post-techno tune (or just insert your most creative explanatory tag here) with “Technomancer”—the title track from Pictureplane’s now storied (and four years in the making) debut album for Anticon available October 27.

Meet New Jersey’s Kirsten Izer who sends us poppy waves of wonder with “Wave” from her debut EP, What If This Is It? available September 25. Classic crunchy rock riffs meet the kind of passion recalled by your new romantic heroes that break the old tides and ties for new waves cast by the oceans lesser known.

Check out the following Dan Black video of Sam Gehrke and the band live performing “I Want to Die” from Soul Low’s EP Sweet Pea EP that combines the thrill of a DIY performance captured as a full multimedia experience via multiple cameras of both analog and digital denominations.

Nora Karlsson from HOLY is Boys, the latest PNKSLM signee who lends the single “Ever Before” that provides the never before sentiment of hope and excitement of the upcoming Kind of Hurt debut EP available September 25.

Hear Unloved’s grand cinematic cut “Guilty Of Love” from the forthcoming EP of the same name that sports what they call ‘film noire’, that gallops like the most epic of introductory sequences from box-office based masterpieces. Find this and more October 16 from David Holmes’ own Unloved Records imprint.

Hear “Really” off the recently released B3SCI self-titled EP from Fine Print that brings some heart warming waterfall sensation fountain of youth sentiments. Reflections of what we see, and who we want to be are mixed together like the deltas where the rivers and streams meet the expansive oceanic swells.

Meet Matador’s latest signee Will Toledo, aka Car Seat Headrest, who is readying his release Teens of Style and offers up the Jason Reid video for “Something Soon” that involves, adventure, daring-do, and the high stakes of life and death swinging like a Sword of Damocles pendulum all the while. Electro fatalist hums and rumble bring a fuzzy-fi fatalist take on Brian Wilson and dance pop learned songbooks.

Atlas Jungle dropped the following live video for “Goa Nights” performed live from the green in Branford, CT by Victor Reznik and TJ Connors. Late nights, warm summer vibes and funky instrumental renditions fuse together like those evening/early morning jam sessions made by a focused group under the influence of an assortment of grooves. Multi-instrumentalist and producer Jeremy Spang from Atlas Jungle described with the following words:

The music we create is inspired by the energy that live concerts and the experiences around them have imparted to us. These experiences have changed the way our mind relates to our perceptions to the point where it is a daily occurrence to remember how music has changed our lives. Its always in our heads and so the wish to create our own music comes very naturally.

Cult album Cubist Blues will see a re-release from the good folks at Light in The Attic in time for the holidays on December 4 where a whole new generation can experience the killer experimental collaboration between Alex Chilton (of Big Star), Alan Vega (from Suicide) and tune-smith Ben Vaughn. Originally released in 1996 via Henry Rollins’ 2.13.61 label, experience the surreal nature of this supergroup that resounds like the greatest art-damaged underground get-together you might not have ever heard until now. Re-introduce yourself to the murky electric freak-form of “Fly Away” and all of it’s scuzzy underworld atmospheric underbelly architecture.

For those in need of absolute over the top stadium pop that is never “Not Enough”, then crank the ultra anthemic and sugar encrusted single from Rabid Young, comprised of former members of Most Thieves.

Tempers forthcoming album debut Services will be available October 23 from Aufnahme + Wiedergabe, and you are welcomed to ride Jasmine Golestaneh and Eddie Cooper’s railroad in the sky route that coasts of industrial vibes that connect NYC undergrounds in a direct flight to Berlin.

From Microwave’s forthcoming October 9 split with Head North from SideOneDummy, peep the Travis Lamb video for “but not often” that features power performances sessions and tour van exhilaration to match the group’s zapping power chord fest.

Norway producer Bård Aasen Lødemel, aka Skatebård dropped the cool acid house dripping snow-cone pop of “Farver / Flimrer” off his forthcoming CD III available October 23 from Balsa Wood. From the man also known for emcee work with cult group Side Brok, “Farver / Flimrer” is a track suite that at times feels like an elaboration on the opening dynamics and notes from the Roses’ “I Wanna Be Adored” that makes 1989 feel like 2019.

Watch the video for “Turnstile”, the 7″ single available September 18 from Bayonet Records from Lionlimb, where the artist Stewart Bronaugh is offering listeners a drawing of his (as featured in this video) in the first 100 pressings of the following cool cut.

Touring together from November 4 through December 20, hear the Slow Magic x Giraffage collaborative track “So Cute!” in all it’s charming, and adorable pop glory. Together the two can be heard blending together signature festival fazed and hazed grooves that is the collaborative collision of heavenly, and head twisting proportions.

Lianne La Havas’s “What You Don’t Do” just got the Maribou State remix treatment where vocals are sent through jet stream tubes and the mix signal wavers in and out of the conscious range comprehensible frequencies.

Lauren Watson is Little Fox who released the beautiful Samuel Bright video for “Edits” that moves with powerful vocal pop prowess that conquers the disillusionment of anything that isn’t the way it might seem. Her resolve through the medium of music has been a strength and motivation for Lauren who suffered partial paralysis after a 2000 car accident who continues to hon her craft as an extensive physical, spiritual creative form of therapy to rise above all obstacles. Watch Bright’s behind-the-scenes video that was entered into the Focus on Ability Short Film Festival here.

Toronto’s Young Empires followed up their Wake All My Youth EP from 2012 today with the release of their awaited album The Gates via Votiv and the following limited time listen. The three piece turns up the big poppy bright lights with the opener “Mercy”, the title cut banger, the cruel cool of “So Cruel”, the ghostly haunt of “Ghosts”, the strange radio ready footholds of “Stranglehold”, the vibes of “House Lights”, the anthem of “Never Die Young”, the go-getter big-pop glow of “The Unknown”, festival geared serenity of “Sunshine”, leaving you with the awakening essences of “Uncover Your Eyes”.

Built To Spill bassist Jason Albertini is also the lead dude in Helvetia who are readying their follow-up to Nothing In Rambling from 2012 with Dromomania available October 2 from Joyful Noise Recordings, and you can explore some of the green village psych-society trimmings with “A Dot Running for the Dust”. From here the arts of penning songs from the place of reflecting too closely on the atoms of minutiae that often make for the best lyrical fodder are messed with via all kinds of treated-instruments where Helvetia makes themselves sound like they were descending from the mind and time slipping slip-gates of existence.

UK’s Amateur Best, aka Joe Flory dropped the b/w Effie Pappa video of German expressionism vibes for the sentimental electro-bass-bop of “They Know” from the forthcoming album The Gleaners Out October 2 from Brille Records. Be sure to pop this crooning clubby jam on your playlist for the hedonistic thinking person’s dance party mix.

Introduce yourself to Odetta Hartman who delivers the organic nu-Americana rootsy radical rhythms and distorted howls of “Dreamcatchers” that fly like the particles that comprise our collective unconscious through the air in search of the circular knits founded and championed by our native founding forefathers. Discover Hartman’s new radical relics that straddle the point between yesterday and tomorrow with her forthcoming album 222 available October 2 from Northern Spy Records.

Get ready to get super, super heavy with Windhand’s “Hyperion” found off the the upcoming Relapse album Grief’s Infernal Flower. For those grappling with grief, obsessive thoughts of the mortal continuum, or just plain having a downer day—this is the antidote to transcend all of what ails and eats at you.

Watch the Sophia Peer video about fantasized livelihoods and domiciles for Air Waves’ intimate reflections of the interior, “Fantasy”, off the forthcoming album Parting Glances available September 18 from Western Vinyl.

We give you the following preview of Autumna’s Unfurl EP available September 14 from Shimmering Moods Records that rides off of ambient works that we were told by the artist were “written around the concept of human interaction failing,a displacement of needs; and a misinterpretation of wants.”


Stage Hands‘ Brandon Locher created this multi-pointed cool compass turntable slipmat design for Ghostly International that looks like a sundial sort of relic that future archaeologists and anthropologists alike might presume would have been used for communicating with deities of the sun and moon.
ghostly slipmat week in pop

Dâm-Funk’s Week in Pop

Dam Funk
The past six years of anticipation are over as Dam-Funk today releases the much-awaited follow-up to Toachizown with the glorious gem that is Invite The Light via Stones Throw Records. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we are honored and humbled to present the following guest selections from Dâm-Funk, aka Damon Riddick, with a unique listen to what his own personal Week in Pop sounds like.

Frank Zappa, “Yo’ Mama” (EMI/WMG)

DamFunk_TwilightConcerts_3
(Dâm-Funk performing at Santa Monica Pier; photographs by Leslie Kalohi.)

Mike Francis, “This Love” (Concord Records)

Mazarati, “Don’t Leave My Baby” (Motown)

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George Duke, “I Want Your For Myself” (Epic)

The Rappin’ Reverend Dr. C. Dexter Wise, “I Ain’t Into That” (Cooltempo)

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Straight Lines, “Everybody Wants To Be a Star” (Epic)

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