Week in Pop: Cool Calm Chrys, Lemuria, Yared Kiflai

Sjimon Gompers

Claiming it & kicking it in Los Angeles with the city of angels' own icon in the making Cool Calm Chrys; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Week in Pop

The return of Greg Dalton’s beloved alter-ego Gary War; photographed by Clementine Nixon.

Greg Dalton, oka Gary War is back. With recent endeavors that have included playing with Bobb Trimble & playing in the duo Dalthom; Dalton announces the first Gary War album in half a decade with Gaz Forth available February 9 via Feeding Tube Records. Returning to his home of Massachusetts from years spent working on tunes in the Isles of Kiwi; Dalton presents the single “Windows and Walls” that exhibits a timeless economy that blends twentieth century psych tropes into the electric ether indicative of the current day’s era of accelerated audio mechanics.

Zenizen presents the visceral visuals for “Expanding” courtesy of Opal Hoyt, filmed by Bienvenido Cruz, that stars inspired dance moves from Leslie Williams of the Martha Graham Dance Company. Featured off the essential album Australia from Don Giovanni Records/NuBlack Music Group; the mind & spirit evolving sound/aesthetic of Zenizen can be heard, seen & felt in expansive terms like the song’s namesake where the world feels found in a new & beautiful evolution.

Available now from San Diego’s beloved DIY imprint Volar Records; Los Angeles trio Susan returns with their new TV Girls 7″ available now. Bobby B., Jessica O. & Katie Fern cast aside the fallacies of propped up realities & stereotypes as observed through the idiot box screens, to re-visitations of letters & quips left behind by others on “Little Notes”, right before rounding the 7″ off with a Violent Femmes covered with their take on “I Held Her in My Arms” that elevates the anthem of affection & identity to levels not even previously realized by the original.

Introducing WTCHS’ offshoot Sinister Bodies of Water who present the solemn Kitchener & Torin Langen visual for the maudlin moods discovered on the title track “When The Knife Calls” featured off the album of the same name available December 21 from Out Of Sound Records. Intimate meditations on the life continuum that we all exist within pushes past the clutches of the life & death double helix that alludes to a greater calling & gravestone wonderland inhabited by curious creatures. In the words from Sinister Bodies of Water & WTCHS’ own Jag:

This is a song about fear, fear of oneself, fear of thoughts, fear of loss, fear of the knife and fear of everything.

Introducing Brooklyn’s Antagonista who present their single “Speedy Anejo” that abides by an original array of unexpected progressions & clever arrangements. A band that started out in California, to Boston, then Minnesota, to Seattle before settling in BK; Antagonista’s Sean Davenport, Michael Alan Hams & Andrea Monorchio channel feeling through unusual & ever-shifting rhythm & tempo structures that work to convey new conventions of channeled expressions by way of innovative audio experimentation.

Avalon dropped the ghost coast atmospheric track “Deadbeat Boy” via Metropolitan Indian. This is the song to shut down all the dudes blowing it, wielding lo-fi weapons that manufacture a fortress stronghold that posses well-scrutinized guestlist to keep the bastards out (as heard in the reiterations of you can’t stay with me).

Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Miles Coleman, oka Wing Vilma, offers up a listen to the organic rhythm sequences of “rb III” featured off the debut album Safe By Night available February 2 from Young Heavy Souls. Collecting found field recordings & home-brewed productions; Coleman makes intricate song suites that expand & contract according to inspired inclinations to make epics that are at times as mighty as bedrock mountains to minuscule molehill dirt mounds.

Behold the Brian L Tice Jr video for Toy Cars’ single “Cold” featured off the upcoming debut album Paint Brain available January 12. The minimalist video is shown in a series of camera pans that presents the New Jersey band wearing a plethora of random masks (as if Halloween was happening in December) and acting out the emotive edges from the song in visual expressions.

Oakland’s Meernaa brought some warmth for the wintry season with the single “Good Luck” that is delivered in an understated & organic glow. The earnest delivery dovetails brilliantly with the strings & restrained keys that collect like insects of the evening to the draw of the light where Meernaa entertains a harmony of all natural thing where blessings & luck are exalted on a mind expanding level.

Edinburgh’s Fuzzystar presented a look at the OnRed directed performance visual for the sweet & sentimental new single “Superhero” courtesy of Satellite Sounds. Featured off the album debut Telegraphing, the group abides by a power-pop aesthetic regiment that questions who can save my world that seeks out those real life true superheroes that extend beyond the comic book universes seen on the silver & smaller screens.

Introducing Brooklyn by Chicago’s Given Names who brought the pop passions on the single “East to West” featured off their upcoming EP 2. Comprised of members from Hidden Hospitals & Sleeping Girl Drowning; the group angles an anthem that moves the points on the compass closer together in an electronic assembly of earnest feels guaranteed to melt the snow & sleet strewn by the gifts of winter.

Sweden’s own RAINDEAR delivered the shining atmospheres experienced on the new single “Diamonds in My Chest” that glitter & drip like the iciest of jewel adornments. The track channels feelings that exude inclinations of evening emotions with a rhythm section that rumbles like the exhilaration of endorphins that rage from deep within.

Arkansas duo joan brought the eastern alluding pop of “tokyo” that seeks the iconic Japan town that embodies the metropolises of the future. Like a Lost in Translation sort of love note, the two piece gets into jet-setting gear ahead of their January tour with courtship.

I, Alexander dropped the moving & sincere single “Sturdy Thoughts” featured off the self-titled debut album available January 12 via Susan Records. Brooklyn by Lisbon’s Pedro Barquinha taps into the aura of future baroque styles where chamber pop sweeps from the inmost of reflections that spill outward in songs that will strike the heart & spirit of all who hear.

New Jersey by Nashville’s Jess Nolan delivered a listen to “Mistakes”, co-written by Kyshona Armstrong, that shares sentiments that makes the bumps in the road of life feel a little bit better. “I’m learning to love my mistakes,” Jess sings with restrained rhythms, earnest chords & brass that revolve around approaching the uncertainty of it all while hanging on to the spirit of the self along the way through the myriad trials of life.

Runaway Brother presented a listen to the earnest & warm “Paws” featured off the upcoming album New Pocket available February 16 from Tiny Engines. The desire for good news during the ups & downs of our collective contemporary age are met with affectionate chords & rhythms that will stir a series of good feelings deep in your soul, deep down to your toes.

Amanda Mair presents the Sebastian Sandblad of Woodcoast visual for intense & immediate expressions experienced on “Empty Blockings”. Recorded on the west coast of Sweden at Tylösand; Mair reaches outward to the forests & oceans that offer a sense of solace & sanctuary away from the harbingers of emptiness & vacuous short-timing desires. In Amanda’s own reflective words:

In the music video for “Empty Blockings” I wanted to show the feeling of the continuously searchers desperation. The every day hope for running away from anxiety and sorrow but the faith is to weak and puts you in a circle of running and running until you don’t know what you’re running away from.

Lydia Ainsworth presents the grandiose Xavier Girard Lachaine video for “Open Doors” off the Arbutus album Darling of the Afterglow. Like if Ingmar Bergman shot the The Seventh Seal in Japan, Ainsworth’s earthy & ethereal song is elevated to a mystical world of international enchantment where the doors to infinity loom in all directions where inspiration is found.

Melbourne’s Divide & Dissolve dropped the Eves visual for the world decimating track “Assimilation” featured off the upcoming album Abomination available February 16 via Dero Arcade. Artifacts of the natural realm are clashed against industrial audio trails of symphonic nihilism that clash all together in a consortium of conceptual & construal confrontation that shakes the shape of things of today into the world of tomorrow.

Typhoon present a listen to the intimate & moody single “Darker” featured off the new album Offerings available January 12 from Roll Call Records. The sentiments that arise at the end of the day once darkness has fallen mull about in the chords & vocal delivery that wears bits of heart & feeling prominently on their sleeves.

Portland, Oregon’s own Fruition announced the new album Watching It All Fall Apart available February 2 via LoHi Records & brought a listen to the boisterous energy of “I’ll Never Sing Your Name”. With big chiming pillars of pure power-pop goodness; Fruition exemplifies everything their moniker suggests in how they execute & arrange a full shimmering & shining aura of sound.

Still a Great Night presents the Layton Tedrick, Emmett Sutherland & Brian Michael Henderson visual for the anthem “Still a Great Night” that stars Lily Mae Stewart that is set-up like a Max Headroom throwback from the 80s. Nostalgia is revisited through the track’s frenetic & humorist style that tackles the conundrum of the human condition amid the confusions of this contemporary era.

Also behold Still A Great Night’s Adrienne Levy & Toto Guerra video for “Merry Christmas, Melania (Still a Great Christmas)” that wraps up the absurdity of 2017 in a holiday vignette for the whole family.

Elan Noon presented a listen to the lo-fi lounge fare of “Could It Be” featured off the debut album Have A Spirit Filled available January 26 via Field Mates Records. The feeling of a lazy day spent sitting about in the easy chair will gently rock you back & forth in this five minute gem that at times will take you back to the cadence aura offered by your AM pop heroes.

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