Week in Pop: xCephasx, Krystle Warren, QOQO ROBOQS

Sjimon Gompers

The persistence & ever-evolving proliferation of Vancouver's xCephasx, oka Cephas Munga; photographed by Mescondi, aka Conor Cunningham.

Week in Pop

Paperman photographed in telekon green by Jillian Dudley.

Keeping up with the latest recordings from Morro Bay-based artist .paperman (aka Bryant Keith Bayhan); we present the artist’s foxglove summer EP that highlights items soon to appear on other releases down the road. The opening number “foxglove” fascinates in all sorts of manners of dazzling brilliance, as “gloom natalus” combines back-up beeping vehicle sounds with future grooves that lead to the ambient reflecting pools of “kiss harder”. Phasers & other electronic effects of the analog variety buzz, hum & zap on “pheyser”, whereas “laureline” illuminates with a host of new romantic doused production elements that makes 2017 feel closer to a stray shooting star from 1987. Further electro-birthed concepts take shape & flight on “cactus para”, that guides the listener down to the meditative waters of “oa”, to the wild pop painting of “whenwillyoubethere” that serves as a waiting room segue into the astonishing ambiance of “promise” that descends into “nearbliss” that will show you wonders of the ear that will certainly expand your consciousness. Bryant introduced the foxglove summer EP with the following reflective thoughts:

I’ve always been heavily inspired by cinematic music and films as a whole, the visuals and stories…everything—and they are consistently the most meaningful non-musical art to me. I actually arranged “gloom natalus while I was watching The Martian with Matt Damon, I wanted to make my own personal soundtrack for the film. [The song] “promise” I wrote as a response to the opening scene in Fellini’s film 8 1/2, complete with claustrophobic breathing and pounding sound and some lyrics taken from snippets of script that I messed with. Michael [of Certain Futures] really encouraged me on “whenwillyoubethere”, he’s told me that it’s his favorite of my songs right now and the guitar solo was very much my response to working so much with him. The three more mellow ambient pieces on the playlist; “oa”, “nearbliss”, and “kiss harder” are drawn from memories of my trip to Islay and Glasgow in Scotland earlier this summer. The Oa was an irresistibly mysterious sounding part of Islay that we spotted on the map and my family knew we had to visit it before we left. “kiss harder” is the first song I wrote with a new synthesizer that I was able to play at an amazing electronic music shop in Scotland called Rubadub which is run by several huge, ginger, Glaswegian, drum and bass DJs.

Off the forthcoming Gentrified Snacks EP; take in the 7God animated video for Passport Rav’s “Delayed Flights” that offers up some heavy introspection while queuing in the layover section of the airport. Notions of developments arrested & stalled are taken toward a higher level of consciousness with pensive & gorgeously orchestrated back beats as PR spits some hazy gospel of self-empowerment—even when it feels like your idly waiting about to grow wings & fly toward your next desired destinations.

Kristeen Young presented the Jenn Alva video for “You Always Win” from the upcoming album Live At The Witch’s Tit available September 29. A modern day showdown of dangerous dames & deadly dons—all messed up in some state of distress—filmed this past March at San Antonio, Texas’s Presa House Gallery sporting artwork by Suzy González & Allison C Valdivia that sets the scene for Kristeen’s dueling pop opera standoff between gamblers, ramblers & the gangs of rarely-do-wells who think they’ve got the game ringed (and everyone fooled).

Team Tremolo’s Intruder EP will be available August 29 through Air House Records & the Wichita, KS group presents a listen to the single “The Waif” that tackles the notion of frailty with iron clad chords. Co-produced by Micajah Ryan, the Midwest group creates a dream machine weapon fashion from the fodder of your favorite underground underachievers that set the slacker bar higher than all the tremolo-laden hooks could ever express.

Lina Tullgren presents a listen to “Fitchburg State” off the upcoming album Won available September 22 from Captured Tracks where distant dissonance is met with organic/analog folk pop penned from the heart & mind. Lina’s rustic sound is weaved through a utilitarian & minimalist instrumental order where repetitions of dreams are met by reflective chords & rhythms that revisits those funny recurring visions that sometimes arrive with evening slumbers.

Yumi Zouma cast more vibes & textures of sophisti-pop treats with “Depths (Pt. I)” featured off the NZ group’s anticipated second proper album Willowbank available October 6 through Cascine. Those evocative edges & dimensions of understated desires spring forth from wells of memory where the reckoning of the past meets the moments of the realized present.

Neaux, made up of Sierra Kay from Versa Emerge & Nick Fit from Trash Talk present the stunning, gravity smashing new single “Stuck Like A…” featured off their anticipated second album Chain Up the Sun available October 13 through The Native Sound. Sierra & Nick’s amplified arrangement means business as they carefully shape every chord progression to rage forward to break through the barricades & blast past the stumbling blocks to create actualized audio that ain’t messing around at all.

Featured off their upcoming second album Unheard, Unseen; Portland duo Small Souls strummed some banjo & philharmonic strings to make for an expressive event on the single “Existential Midlie Crimes”. Intimate portraits jangle along with a host of introspective anecdotes thats are bookended by electronic effect additions that invites all the orchestral accompaniment to join the gallery of the grandiose sound-scape.

Get wild with Wild Ones synth-serenity single “Paresthesia” featured off the upcoming album Mirror Touch available October 5 from Topshelf Records. Exchanges & questions of extreme pertinence careen together in an electric harmonic convergence of feeling & unguarded expressions.

Gang Of Youths presented a look at the valley running visuals for “The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows” featured off the new second album Go Farther In Lightness available today through RED MUSIC. Illustrations of liberated spirit incentives & impetus are seen sprinting across fields that feed the fancy of an untied soul.

Engage in the enduring electro-waters of Zerowe’s “Heart Away” featured off the new Shade of Blue EP available August 25 from Yebo Music. The UK artist takes a round of inner-reckoning & reflections upon previous situations & exchanges met with all the different ways you would have wanted a previous meeting to have gone. In Zerowe’s own words:

It’s about the stupid invisible force field that stops you from saying what you really want to say. Some of the words came from a conversation I had with an old friend but the more I look at them now, the more they look like a conversation with the little voice in your head or on your shoulder. That Jiminy Cricket character or something.

Sariah Mae makes the music that can catch you entirely by surprise. There you are, minding your own business, going about your day when suddenly “Somethings” bursts onto your stereo-player & makes your day one awesome scene. Songwriters & wonder-wizards Sariah Wong, Matthew Schwartz with producer Peter Gonzales have given us one of the most beguiling & beautiful pop gems of 2017.

In case you missed it, take in ACTORS’ new visual, fiery piece for “L’appel Du Vide” off the single of the same name, b/w “Crystal” via Northern Light Records. The Vancouver group takes their industrious dream sound toward those tenebrous territories where the feeling of careening down some futuristic highway on the edge of humanity leads toward some sort of supernatural of bonfire of infinite intrigue.

Fever Dream delivered a look at their Sarah Lippett edited video for “Youth (is Wasted on the Old)” found off the forthcoming album Squid available September 29 via Club AC30. From the fan & friend-sourced visuals sewn together into a fun-spun house of sonic delights; this group continues to make some of the loudest & most self-assured sounds in London right now. Keep a close ear on this group, they are poised for potential grandeur.

From the Animal Instinct EP, The Lovepools present a listen to a song of urges & courage called “I Should Be Fallin’ In Love With You”. The band cycles of practicing, recording & touring that often get in the way of romances are illustrated in amplified rhythm chords of angsy & emotion that courses through the complicated sentiments involved. Group leader Anthony Shea channels his own reflective experiences & the lessons learned from colleagues & more that illustrate the twisted routes of star-crossed desires.

Offering up their own personal twist to the visuals for D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel)“—Tight Fright present the Jericho Davidson & Noah Therrien video for “I Can’t Stop Being Hungry Today” featured off their recently released album Hotel Metal. Fun with fast-food & corresponding condiments turns into a gross baptismal where the line between artistic avant-garde & just plain gleefully disgusting & straddled like a college comparative studies course attended by heshed out bros.

Leeds’ own AUTOBAHN rocked our worlds with their new single “The Moral Crossing” found of their second album of the same name available November 3 through felte/Tough Love Records. Ready thyself for six plus minutes of pure catharsis where industrious winds spiral about an angry sky where decisive action feels imminent & the stakes are higher than the extents of the stratosphere.

Made in the spirit of the let’s make a break & escape from the hospital style of run for it; ALKE’s “All Night” video from Logan Meis is a testament to that spirit of forever pushing to beat all the odds in all of life’s increasingly uphill climbs. ALKE’s ultra-bright radio rattling style beams a ray of hope home that seeks something exciting in the evening hour when only the night watch is standing guard.

Conner Youngblood & Nylo returned with the new single “Higher” that finds the duo moving the momentum, the vibes, the feels & all manners of being upwards toward new levels & electric stratospheres. Available now through Counter Records, the LA by Dallas dynamic twosome nurtures together a transcendent sound that soars as high as both Conner & Nylo desire in both sound & spirit.

Guantanamo Baywatch’s new album Desert Center is available now from Suicide Squeeze Records & the trio takes us out to the arid areas outside of Phoenix, Arizona for a sun & moon soaked happening via the Shelby O’Neal video for “Video”. Living up to the track name, GB makes a video that is dedicated to having as much fun as humanly possibly where everything feels exciting, hot (yet cool) as they summon those Pacific coast wavy riffs that have become a staple of their cartwheeling-chord aesthetic.

Prince Fox along with Chicago’s Quinn XCII delivered the single “Space” about the absences that make the heart grow fonder (or more indifferent) once the great divide between two parties is initiated. Available now from DIM MAK, the Los Angeles producer Prince Fox provided the following insightful introductory words about the new track:

Everyone’s been told at one point or another by a significant other that they need some space. It’s a tough thing to hear. You have this person in your life that loomed so large…and then you just kind of have to fade out of each other’s lives.

Featured off their upcoming album Blood available October 6; The Roseline offers some softly strummed narratives & melodies to sweetly sing you back home (wherever that may be…). “Maze of Glass” winds & wails with serene strings that spell out the ins & outs of the rat race are relayed in ways that rehash the cobwebs & sentimental reflections that reminiscing often brings.

Those looking for the perfect club pre-game jam for that special mix; take a listen to MAXIMALS, Bout & Sovth’s new jam “Fall In Line” ft. Nino Lucarelli that will give you something to fist pump too while queuing away in line for that exquisite VIP section (complete with the fancy velvet ropes & all).

Athens, GA’s own Oak House presented us with a look at their video for “Cut That Out” featured off their second album Hot Or Mood that takes the audience on an adventure with the ear buds firmly inserted & the sound cranked uup to the max. Upon sharing headphones with a mystery woman found in nearby waters; circumstances of the inescplicable & the surreal unfold as if it were something straight out of a series of scenes from either Twin Peaks, Stranger Things & the like.

TyC dropped the track “Get To Know Ya” ft. Nerose that engages in the acts & arts of getting to know someone better in a duet set to east meets west production. Knowledge between both T & N plays out in an exchange that is further emphasized by the electronic beat-stew that brews, bubbles & boils with feeling.

Partner has been causing a bit of a buzz with word of their forthcoming album In Search of Lost Time available September 8 from You’ve Changed Records & we have their new single “Gross Secret”. The Canadian duo of Josée Caron & Lucy Niles make 2017 feel more like 1997 in a world where the Y2K hype feels relevant again, Bill Clinton is in office & hacky sack still rules. Keep a close ear on Partner, as they’re poised to be your new favorite band. Catch them on tour between now & October 1.

Seattle’s Seapony are returning with their new EP Be Here Again & we are elated to present the lead-off title track that will instill a feel familiarity & more. Invoking the vintage DIY orders from your favorite 80s/90s obscurity; Seapony continues to be one of Seattle’s greatest groups that never ever gets the respect or coverage they deserve as every single strikes with a sense of sincerity from a group that is truly the genuinely article (even beyond any & all twee signifiers).

5j Barrow strummed us the radio edit for “Seagreen Dress” featured off the upcoming EP The Journey, Vol: 1 available October 6. 5j Barrow taps into that classic Greenwich Village sound where the tried & true passions of world weary troubadours are moved by the hustles & bustles of their surroundings as that spirit of an unquenchable romanticism springs sincerely to life.

Pere George, Caracas by Mexico & based in LA artist presents a lively & lyrical look & listen with “fLAky” ft. BeYoung & Wrexa. Known for work with Latin American artists & groups like Jenny & The Mexicats, RUZZI, El David Aguilar, Natalia Lafourcade & more; George’s 1920 Records single celebrates the vibrancy of Los Angeles & all the oppullent adventures you can enjoy while on an extreme budget. The verse assists from BeYoung & Wrexa further enforce the mentality & SoCal states of mind that are eclectic & unique for each individual. These celebrated differences (not to mention the stated flaky indifference offered by many LA denizens) are enjoyed like a hundred hot summer nights that Pere George introduces in the chorus bars that state:

People say they’re gonna do a certain thing, but I don’t expect them to do anything. Been here for a day or two and seen the truth, people in Los Angeles are flaky too.

Feature off The Safes’ Tasty Waves via Hidden Volume Records; take in the Patrick Oleksy video, based off the concept inspired by Kathleen Dorff & starring Rebecca Bulnes, Jaclyn Barker & Mitch Heffernan with the visual for the jangly-down-home-loving “Hometown”. Creative performance visuals blend environmental film footage with cool cartoon work that involves bust ups & all the ins & outs of townie matters that continue to dwell in those places where we’re from.

Fresh from pulling off the most ridiculous & ludicrous publicity stunt in a minute—Portland, Oregon’s own resident aspiring merry pranksters The Domestics shared the loving & longing wrapped up in the single “For the Last Time” featured off the forthcoming album Little Darkness, produced by Tucker Martine & available September 1 through the gracious folks over at Tender Loving Empire. Intimate & privy expressions build & swell in those conversational/colloquial manners where reiterations of “someday things will be better” provide some hope for thought where for a moment it will feel as if the pull of entropy will truly be reversed (somehow…).

Presenting the Lou Daprile & Zoe Rain video for “Supernatural Powers” from Shenandoah Davis’s new album Souvenirs available September 8 via Plume Records/Home Alone Music. Featuring some visceral & energetic interpretive dance moves from Kellie Epperheimer; Davis completes her symphonic/baroque pop number by graciously carrying her exhausted dancer to her quarters to get some sound-full rest.

H. Hawkline presented the entertaining Casey Raymond visuals for the single “Impossible People” featured off the album I Romanticize available now via Heavenly Recordings. From dyed-bathtub singing, extended phone calls, puppetry, & dance interludes; H. Hawkline exhibits the amour involved with only the most incorrigible of eccentrics in fun head-bopping song with harpsichord aplenty.

Russia’s Pinkshinyultrablast shared their new single “Find Your Saint” ahead of it’s release September 1 through Club AC30 that is rich with ethereal wonders to ignite your consciousness. “Find Your Saint” is the sound of seeking out that certain someone or place of solace in the world where keys, vocals, chords & bass lines underscore a transcendent feeling that extends beyond descriptors alone. Lead singer Lyubov introduced their new single with the following insights:

It’s strange to think that the memories we cherish the most are in fact the ones that with time become most distorted. The process of recollection is not only an act of reconstructing an image or an event but also to a large extent a product of imagining and perceiving. “Find Your Saint” takes its inspiration from the notions of memory and imagination and considers various ways those become intertwined so closely in an act of recalling. We often retreat to our most darling memories to seek comfort in a moment of desolation, but could it be that even those are nothing more but the ever-improvised beautiful stories we tell ourselves to lull ourselves into sleep and out of lonesomeness?

Whispertown presented us with a down home listen to their new single “Born To Ride” featured off the upcoming Jake Bellows produced release I’m a Man available August 25 through Graveface Records. Morgan Meyn Nagler strums some whiskey-town soaked sentiments that makes the world weary wandering trail feel a little more comfortable.

Vancouver by Montreal by way of Toronto’s Adrian Underhill announced the upcoming album CU Again available later this year with a listen to the smooth & sleek new single “Cruel”, produced by Kindness & featuring a rhythm section of the incredible percussionist Damon Riddick (oka DāM-FunK), bassist Keith Eaddy & guitarist Blue May. The track works in the most understated ways of expression where Adrian emphasizes a quest for understanding the actions & intentions of others in a world of obfuscated & deceiving expressions & exchanges. In Underhill’s own words on the new single & album:

This song means a lot to me. It comes from a place of honestly trying to listen and hear other people’s experience of the world—particularly those whose voices are often silenced and shut down. I think those are the voices we need to be listening to and raising up right now.

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