Week in Pop: Anais Aida, Barbarian, Reighnbeau & BK Beats, Saskwatch

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Featuring Au.Ra, Calypso, Isaac Rother, Jack Name, TWMTH, co-curated by Heems.

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Sjimon Gompers | January 16, 2015

Anais Aida, premiering her new single, "Recover", and more. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Giving you a glimmer of hope amid the humdrum troves of hype, Impose’s Week in Pop presents the greatest and latest from a handful of today’s upstarts. But first giving you a brief rundown of the top stories you may have missed, Caribou’s Dain Smith dropped a 1,000 track mixtape for the fans; Waxahatchee announced the new album Ivy Tripp; Future dropped a mixtape that features Zaytoven, Juvenile, and Young Scooter; while Death Cab for Cutie announced a new forthcoming album called Kintsugi; plus there really is a Dev Hynes x Carly Rae Jepsen x Ariel Rechtshaid collaboration in the works; or how about Marvel’s Run The Jewels inspired comic book covers; watch the Girlpool documentary, Things Are OK, about their recent epic tours; and be sure to watch 2 Chainz versus Nancy Grace, duking it out on the weed issue; ponder Rick Springfield’s strange “butt-injury” lawsuit controversy; as surviving members of The Grateful Dead are reuniting for final “Fare Thee Well” tour; Ryan DeRobertis declared that Saint Pepsi will be rechristened Skylar Spence due to some obvious legal reasons, and we mourn the passing of Kim Fowley.

Now switching gears and riding into the diamond lanes, we present the following exclusives and interviews with Anais Aida, Barbarian, Saskwatch, Reighnbeau & BK Beats, Isaac Rother & the Phantoms, Tomorrow We Move to Hawaii, Au.Ra, Calypso, Jack Name, & more, co-curated by Heems — in no particular order.

Anais Aida

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NYC based artist Anais Aida has been recording with Alejandro “Arca” Ghersi and Erin Rioux heard on her first single “Love Can Burn”, and the follow up, “True (Fire In My Bones)”, and now debuts the winter time piano inflected single, “Recover”, to help melt the January ice, and layers of snow. Taken off her upcoming Out In The Waves EP available in February, Anais’ Toulouse by Senegal by Ireland by LA by New York sense of stylistic fashion brings a kind of moody, melodic pop that strikes with the same intensity and poignancy no matter where in the world it is heard.

The snowbound days of winter are heard in the introspection of Anais Aida’s lyrical ruminations, and the productions that build around the piano, and even in the crevices between the notes. Through the song composition form, Anais creates the kind of therapy that helps any artist let go of their infatuated musical inspirations to hone in on an autonomous voice. Built off the patterns of the piano keys themselves, the movements of thought and song move from reckoning to resolve with a recipe that calls for additions of subtle but potent electronic percussion productions, with an assemblage of strings that break through on the chorus, and increasingly saturate the mix by the arrival of the song’s climactic finale. From the stubborn denials of, “I keep holding on but for what I can’t recall,” to the closing commitment to limitless styles of the self the conclude with the overdubbed harmonies that sing, “and when things fall…just let them go…” Join us after the premiere of “Recover”, for our interview session with Anais.

“Recover” is such a bare, beautiful, and evocative track…tell us about the recovery roads that contributed to this beautiful piano note and sparse beat laden song.

Thank you! The time during which I made the EP was quite a dark time. Often on the brink of depression, imbued with fear, and on the verge of losing a person that I was musically in love with, I was struggling a lot with self worth, specifically in relation to my musical identity. “Recover” helped me unravel the knots which had me tied and paralyzed, it helped me believe in myself again, and to let go of the past. Writing this song has been incredibly therapeutic for me, its introspective nature reflects upon those tendencies we have to hold on to the things, whether it be habits, beliefs, or people that are so detrimental to our well being. In this song I sought out freedom, from myself and my shadows.

Before you became an NYC popstar you already had a vast experience of being brought up from Toulouse, France, to Ireland, Senegal, and so forth. For you, how did these international heritages and experiences inform your own voice as an artist?

Definitely an open-mindedness, traveling so much really gives a unique perception on the world and on human nature. I’ve always been an observer, and that translates in my art. I tend to write from a very introspective and curious place, wanting to understand more about mankind. I also think the worldliness comes out in melodic writing, since many of my influences aren’t solely rooted in American soul/rnb music. I think these differences will become more apparent as I grow as a person and an artist. I’m still crafting my sound, which is audible in the EP; where each song sounds different from the others.

Very excited and interested in your forthcoming Out In The Waves EP. Tell us about what the songwriting, and recording sessions were like for you.

Making this EP was an interesting process. I didn’t necessarily see it come together until I wrote the last song “Out In The Waves”. We spent a few months with each song, they were written and then produced. I prefer to write songs this way as opposed to writing to a pre-made production which somewhat limits where I may want to take the song. I learned a lot about myself during the recording process of the EP; about my perfectionist tendencies which countless times delayed the completion of the project as I would often re-record a song numerous times just to go back to one of the first performances. I’ve learned that it’s important to stay true to your vision, to trust yourself, and to see things through. So essentially, I’ve developed a better work ethic and I believe my next project will be completed at a faster pace.

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Outside of the new forthcoming EP, what else are you working on?

A few covers, acoustic versions of the EP tracks, hopefully a music video, my live show and just becoming a lot more proficient and disciplined at my art.

Any other awesome artists/producers you are currently collaborating with or planning to collaborate with?

I plan to work with Tolu Adeyemo whom I’m a huge fan of, my beloved songwriting partner Luigie Nunez, I’m also looking for producers to collaborate with, really interested in working with Felix Joseph and Royce Wood Jr.

Is there also an Anais Aida full-length album in the works?

Yes, definitely. I have been writing for it since the EP’s been done, but as of now I can’t say if there will be another EP preceding it.

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2015 hopes, dreams, and plans that you care to share?

Since this is my first project released into the universe, my biggest dream is to get a beautiful response from the world. I truly hope this project will help take my music to the next level, I would like to have more opportunities for growth and exposure, to meet the right collaborators with whom I can create my first full length project, traveling a lot, having more financial freedom so that I may be an artist full time, and becoming a better student of life.

Also any tips on how to make the best of this cold 2015 winter season?

I spent the entire fall season creating a master plan designed solely to escape the winter in NY but while conversing with one of my friends he made a good point that winter is the perfect time to hibernate and become a master at something! So I’ve given up my scheming and decided to spend my winter becoming even more of an introvert; staying warm at home reading, studying, singing, and developing my skills. And drinking a whole lot of hot chocolate!

Anais Aida’s Out In The Waves EP will be available in February.

Barbarian

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Barbarian is back. That skronky, scrappy, gritty, grunge-y group with big time aspirations has finally done it, and made their big pop opus, Nightblooms. We have kept up with the band over the years, chronicling Andrew Mills and company’s releases from Chromatose, Daze of Youth, City of Women, and now welcome the forthcoming album, Night Blooms, available January 27 on Barbarian’s own label, Creature Beach Records. Presenting the world premiere of “Pheremoans” shot BY Chris Hill and edited by Derrick Acosta; swaths of analogue digital magic provide psychedelic VCR altered, moving images to stoke the imagination while you marinate on the newest audio breakthroughs at work in the Barbarian camp.

On “Pheremoans”, Andrew brings Barbarian’s classic breathy delivery of brooding and bravado met this time with a dance pop arrangement. Images of Andrew and the band are seen in the overlays of footage that mixes arid landscapes, warehouses, abandoned areas, and graffiti sprayed backdrops with funky silhouettes of the band enjoying themselves. The film overlaps colors, scenery, close ups, guitar solos, scenes of fancy footwork, rail yard ruins, and effects that give the video a microwaved VHS dance-party feel. The images blend and blur, as Barbarian bops to the funk of hormonal hedonism met with a big beat sound, and copious amounts of succulent saxophone.

Also essential listening is “Last Call Withdrawal”, the lead off track from Dark Bloom that further presents Barbarian embarking on their largest sound to date. The band that has been on the tour with Bat For Lashes, Depeche Mode, Arcade Fire, and others are showing the world that they have a sound worthy of being heard in the largest, fanciest stages of the most lucrative festivals. And yet Andrew still keeps it real, mixing human expressions of end of the evening doubts that plague the psyche through the deep early am hours that should be reserved for deep REM revolutions, and visions. We had the opportunity and pleasure to catch up with our old friend Andrew, immediately after “Last Call Withdrawal”.

Following the adventures that have spanned across the past year’s Barbarian releases from Chromatose, Daze of Youth and City of Women—Night Blooms feels like a whole new band almost, with sound that is even crisper than before….what was it about the departure from previous sounds to create the big polished ambitions of Night Blooms?

I’ve always had a ‘big sound’ ambition but never really had the means/funding. We also had the convenience of time on our hand, the album was actually recorded over a year ago at Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree. It was mixed about 6 months later which gave us time to work with an awesome mixer, Ben Moore (Pinback, Hot Snakes) And then Gavin Lurssen mastered a couple months after that.

How has everything been in the Barbarian camp since we last reconvened around the release of City of Women in the late summer of 2013?

The last two years have been an emotional roller coaster, more like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. We parted ways with our label Manimal Vinyl and our management, which were both completely amicable. We did a U.S. tour with Bat For Lashes on their tour with Depeche Mode and then supported Arctic Monkeys in San Diego. Name drop son!

How do you think the group has grown since that time?

We have a new bassist and drummer and we sound better and tighter than we’ve ever sounded. Lucked out finding two amazing musicians to fill some big shoes. Jon Greene our current bassist has recorded everything we’ve done, he’s an amazing engineer and has worked with Dum Dum Girls, Crocodiles, The Soft Pack, etc. Great having him on board.

Barbarian has always experimented with the balance of heavy undercurrents, and a dreamy type of levity…how did you go about achieving that particular balance of heavy weighted sentiments, sounds, and the more ethereal pop techniques that abound in songs like “Brainbows” and throughout Night Blooms?

I think my songwriting has matured and scope has broadened. I still love reverb and wall of sound so that hasn’t changed, it’s just expanded.

The VHS psychic romanticism on “Pheremoans” operates too on a real big, four quarter dance motion. How did these dancier developments come about in the repertoire of the Barbarian sound?

I love David Bowie, Roxy Music, Talking Heads, Pulp, and stuff like that so I didn’t feel afraid to throw in those dance-y elements; and it felt very natural. Everyone likes shaking their asses, and if someone tells you they don’t like saxophone they’re probably lying.

What was the recording process of Night Blooms like for you, and how do you feel it was different than previously?

Right before we did that U.S. tour last year, we put down a deposit for the recording studio and were set to stay in Joshua Tree a week after we got back. Our drummer that time didn’t feel comfortable and I feel wasn’t totally into the project so he bailed us right before we left. We were scared shitless but our keyboardist can also play a bit of drums and he really made it happen. We didn’t let the departure of our drummer get us down and we had an amazing adventure.

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Describe for us the updates in composition and recording methods.

A lot of tequila, beer, BBQ and desert vibes haha We rented a house down the street from the studio and pretty much recorded from abut 10am-midnight everyday, or whenever Dave Catching would kick us out cause he needed some sleep. He is a bad ass sweet dude. We were basically working with my home demos and hoping for the best. Pretty much three of us played on the album and Jon engineered. Someone would be in the live room, someone would be learning a part or making a better one in the living room and someone would be cooking or making Squirtles (our concoction of Squirt and Tequila).

Tell us too about the Creature Beach Records imprint.

After we left Manimal, we decided to self-release so Creature Beach is our own Barbarian imprint. We will be doing super limited hand cut vinyl, CDs, cassettes tapes with local label Grizzly Records and digital through Bandcamp. It’s been very empowering.

Give us the state of the indie San Diego unions.

There’s some amazing bands and camaraderie in San Diego right now. I think we definitely party harder than any other music scene, that’s for sure. Well maybe not Norweigan Black Metal or New Orleans Sludge.

Best new obscure San Diego groups you have discovered lately that you want to tell the whole world about?

Some of my favorite bands are Mrs. Magician, Buddy Banter, Idyll Wild and Mystery Cave. Plenty of variety going on.

Parting words about the nighttime worlds and night vibes of Night Blooms?

I think the album is great off the bat, I am a bit biased haha but it is also a grower album. I think 7-10 times listen through and you’ll get hooked by the ambience, cinema scope and digging into the lyrics.

Barbarian’s new album, Night Blooms will be available January 27 via Bandcamp and Creature Beach Records.

Saskwatch

Saskwatch, photographed by Greta Parry Photography.

Saskwatch, photographed by Greta Parry Photography.

From their album Nose Dive from Northside Records / Remote Control; Australia’s ambassadors of upbeat sounds—Saskwatch premiere the SPOD made music video for “Give Me a Reason”, that recalls the vintage Euro Beat-Club styles of editing and performance. Nkechi and Liam McGorry lead the band through a fun assemblage of energy, cheery emotions, while visuals are overlayed through a medley of digital and analogue AV tricks. Even the foggiest, dreariest of days, and toughest of dilemmas are turned lighter than feathers in Saskwatch’s big band style and sound working on overtime.

Like a German television broadcast, images of Saskwatch are introduced through edits and effects, that take full advantage of green screen capabilities. Close ups of Nkechi and company can be seen singing and playing in the background, just as much as the foreground, duplicating images, copying images, and pasting them in the name of justifications and the continued insistence of valid, logical reasons and rationales for all involved actions and attitudes. Saskwatch’s bandleader, and songwriter Liam McGorry talked with in the discussion following the debut of “Give Me a Reason”.

What do you all over at Saskwatch have in store for us this year?

We’ve got a new album that’s being mixed at the moment, and we’ll be touring that as well, and hopefully again coming back the states and the EU!

Tell us about the making of the fun with VHS/VCR cut-up that is the video for “Give Me a Reason”. Seemed like you all are having a ball!

It was made late last year with SPOD on a 40 degree (Celsius) day in a warehouse with no air conditioning. We were all just flailing about in front of the camera at SPOD’s request playing to the song. I love the chaos he arranged us all in…

What’s the latest from Melbourne? There always seems to be something or other happening there.

It’s awesome. It’s such a great city to live in, especially as a musician. There are always gigs on and always new bands popping up that are really great.

Saskwatch, photographed by Greta Parry Photography.

Saskwatch, photographed by Greta Parry Photography.

Any lesser sung indie Aussie artists that you care to share that the rest of the world needs to know about?

Totally, Jacky Winter has got a new album coming out soon and his work is criminally underrated.

GL – amazing.

The Harpoons too.

Also, Hollow Everdaze are one of my favourite bands going around at the moment too.

Saskwatch’s album Nose Dive is available now from Northside Records / Remote Control.

Reighnbeau & BK Beats

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Meet the new collaborators on the block, Reighnbeau & BK Beats who premiere their new track of percussive sample and beat fusion, called, “That Look”. Reighnbeau is the project of Bryce Hample who brings his synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, and harpsichord to the proverbial table, alongside BK Beats, aka Shey Mertz’s synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines. Combining powers and forces to be reckoned with, the two indie electro beat arrangers and shapers forge together a foundry of atmospheric head-space pressure that is provided with a heartbeat and  nervous system aligned by the relationship between the sampled selections and percussive sequences.

On “That Look”, Reighnbeau’s Bryce and Shey of BK Beats translate stares and glares into laser sharp production glances that send beams outward from the speakers. Vocal samples make high and low pitched circles around the mix, as viscous samples of UK dance hall sounding emcees are heard lathered in the electric audio acrylics that Hample and Mertz apply liberally. With the two artists cooking up a collaborative EP on their Nothng Forevr imprint; we can expect further audio synthesis from the two artists in the coming weeks and months. Following the premiere of “That Look”, Bryce and Shey joined us for a unique look inside their collaborative/creative process.

When did you all begin collaborating together?

Bryce: We were in school together years ago, but we began to work together last fall. We had traveled separate paths in music, (Shey producing Hip-Hop and Bryce playing in various groups ranging from experimental to pop) and ended up reconnecting. We realized our styles could work well together, and were excited that we had similar ideas and taste.

How do you both describe your collaborative method?

BK: Living in the same city helps us immensely, but we get just as much collaborative work done via email haha; I find that’s a little easier as I’m pretty private when I work on tunes.

Bryce: It’s a messy balance of deconstructing and rebuilding ideas, experimenting with structure and swapping material to help clean up the edges. So many ideas I would never come up with alone have blossomed out of our collaborations, and it’s refreshing to do something in a different context.

Give us the scoop on how you all created the synth atmospheres and sensations on our premiere of your guy’s awesome cut, “That Look”.

BK: This track started with a 90’s Brit rock sample [that will remain nameless] that I found and chopped up, which we cradled in an eclectic mix of synthesizers and acoustic instruments, like harpsichord and voice.

Bryce: I really like the concept of sampling from my own projects and archives to create new things. Some of the vocals on the track come from a session I did with my friend ‘Twig Palace’ in Oakland, and some of the drum samples I recorded myself. The song went back and forth three or four times until it was complete. I think it ended up being nicely ethereal yet immediate? We both work intuitively and it somehow all fell into place.

Releases in the works that you all are working on?

We have an EP in the works that will be finished soon!

Other up and coming artists and projects you care to give a shout out to?

We are both part a collective of New Mexico producers by the name of Nothng Forevr. Check out our tunes and upcoming live shows here.

Bryce: Also keep an eye out for a new Reighnbeau album that will be out very soon!

Keep up with Reighnbeau and BK Beats.

Isaac Rother & The Phantoms

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Starting a riot like a good old fashioned gospel tent preaching revival; LA’s wild ones Isaac Rother & The Phantoms got plans to release an EP with Mock Records, premiering their single, “Heeby Jeebies”, along with the flip-side, “One Ain’t Enough”.  Ring leader Rother began his music obsessions as initially a big fan of rocking to the oldies, later overtaken by the draw of punk, and more; presenting his own strange brew of the modern constructs that make up the meanings of how the classics of yesterday shape the modern and future taste palates.

Giving the world a first listen to their “Heeby Jeebies” single; the roots of everything you, your parents, and grandparents love about rock rings louder than a blown out PA blaring out of an American Legion hall. The pure energy showcases Isaac as some kind of shape shifter born out the wildest dreams of the past masters, where Rother & The Phantoms channel the Chess and Sun Records rock rule books, and write in some of their own contributions. “Heeby Jeebies” is one to get crowd started, the song that pulls you right out of your seat, rudely interrupting anything you’re doing to demand the attention of their audience. “One Ain’t Enough” is a trippy tale about addictive behaviors following each other, mashing a tale of the munchies with a shred-fest fashioned from vintage Sunset Strip sounds and style. We had the pleasure of conversing with the great Isaac Rother, after the following debut:

What first got you into this throwback, rock and roll tent revival sound?

It’s the stuff I was born listening to. I used to love oldies radio when I was a kid and I assumed that was the music everyone was into. When I got a little older I realized that was not the case. As a teenager, punk rock was all that mattered to me, but I was into the old the stuff from the 70s and 80s. Then I heard Muddy Waters and that took me in a whole other direction. But I was already digging music that was way older than I was. I never thought to myself I want to be throwback or revive anything. It’s just an amalgamation of the stuff that I’m into.

How did you you get the Phantoms together?

I put the word out of that I was looking for, some top notch cats to be in a band with, and it fell in to place. We’re a six-piece band so organization is key, but we’ve got a great group in The Phantoms.

What is the secret to making boot-scooting, hip-shaking tunes like “Heeby Jeebies” to “One Ain’t Enough” like the millennium never even happened?

Be true to yourself, because if you’re not naturally feeling the music you’re making, how can you expect other people to? Aside from that, learn from people who were great who did it before you.

How do you all The Phantoms go about song construction and the like?

I usually get a melody in my head. I don’t know where it comes from. That’s the magic of creativity I suppose. Then I figure out an arrangement for it on my guitar. After I have it to where it’s presentable, I bring it to the rest of the phantoms and we’ll play it awhile until it feels right.

Who designs your attire, and/or what thrift-stores do you frequent to don such sleek styles?

Our backup singer Michelle Jupiter designs some of it. The rest comes from various places. I bought a pretty snappy, sophisticated coat at American Vintage in Echo Park recently. I tell everyone in the band to look sharp but also evil. Like Bella Legosi in Dracula.

What else is shaking around LA that we don’t know about?

Well that depends on what you do and don’t know about. There’s a monthly rock n roll night at Footsies Bar called Cretin Hop. They play the good stuff. And we’ll be playing at Cretin Hop in February. Do you know about that?

Give us the goods too on your upcoming EP for Mock, those guys got some cool cats are on their roster.

Mock is great. We’ve got a two-song EP coming out on Mock and it’s going to be a real good time.

Other LA artists we should know about that few outside of LA are hipped to?

Well you know about Jesus Sons right? They’re good. I wish there was more stuff coming out that I was excited about. I’ve always got my ear to the ground but to be honest most of the music I’m really excited by is made by people who could be my grandparents.

Isaac Rother & The Phantoms’ EP from Mock Records will be available soon.

Tomorrow We Move to Hawaii

Norway's Tomorrow We Move To Hawaii, all press photographs by Andrea Gjestvang.

Norway’s Tomorrow We Move To Hawaii, all press photographs by Andrea Gjestvang.

Premiering their new single “The Wall” from their Red Eye Transit album Independance; we bring you Norway’s own Tomorrow We Move To Hawaii, the duo of Eyvind Brox and Marianne Stranger who deliver an early listen to their wall of digitally drenched sound ahead of the February 10 release date. The follow up to their Still Life EP finds Eyvin and Marianne forging their own fantasy islands in the sun by supplanting the mix and production techniques for a rich experience of a soundtrack for the perfect Polynesian vacation. TWMTH creates electronic fantasies for the blue lagoons, and volcanic paradises that remain close to the heart and spirit of sunny, electronic holidays under the sun.

On the premiere of “The Wall”, Marianne Stranger provides a voice of compassion and steadfast companionship. Dropping flurries of electronic samples, synthetic bass line systems, and jagged percussion; TWGTH manages to keep the action and execution swift, and cunning as Eyvind and Marianne rise up against it all, climbing above all obstacles even if they’re up against a stone wall. The Nordic schools of electronic advancement and creative achievements in experimental pop culture are well at work here to create the experience of perseverance for times of battle, and times of peace, and rest. We talked with Marianne in our interview immediately following the premiere of, “The Wall”.

How did the two of you first discover your creative connection as Tomorrow We Move To Hawaii?

I actually asked Eyvind to join my rockband as a drummer, which he did. Eyvind then asked me to sing on a small new project he had been working on. After recording a couple of rough demos and sending them over, Eyvind was intrigued enough to really try it out. The first rehearsal was just a pure joy. After that night we just continued to create lots of new stuff every time we met. With Eyvinds clear and calculated mind, and my unpredictable craziness, it ended up being a super combo.

What is it about Hawaii that you both find so attractive? All artists from Elvis to Blue Hawaii surely have their own affinities for those magic islands.

Yes everyone wants to go to Hawaii! Well, the reason for the name, is that we passed a gigantic piece of graffiti in Berlin with that writing. It felt perfect with the way we made music, something utopic, dreamy but also dark and hopeless. And thats the point, everyone wants to go but its the longing/striving for it that gives the most. It was a girl in Austin SXSW who said “oh, no! are you moving to Hawaii tomorrow?? I just met you!” Funny.

What prompted the two of you to move from the grittier rock side of things to your worlds of electronic atmospheres and more?

We both started off playing in rock bands, Eyvind as a keyboard player mainly, and myself as a guitarist. The attitude of rock and punk will always be part of our vibe, especially live. The transition was very subtle at first, it’s just a matter of changing format, the music you create comes form inside you anyway. We also discovered it was super nice to rehearse in the morning. More quiet, just the two of us and lots of coffee and some fun toys (synths). I still play in a rock band called Kookooo Kitchen, and both of us performed with that band on the first series of TV show Lilyhammer. Eyvind was on drums with a pink feather boa! Wohaah!

Tomorrow We Move to Hawaii, photographed by Andrea Gjestvang.

Tomorrow We Move to Hawaii, photographed by Andrea Gjestvang.

Give us stories on your experiences in recording your album, Indépendance with Ådne Meisfjord of 120 Days fame, and Bjarne Stensli of Oslo Klang/Harrys Gym.

Ådne is a really ‘way out there’ kind of guy, you never know whats next. He goes off on wonderful paths of creative spirit, playing like a scuba diver in an underwater cave, finding all the treasures hidden inside. We have been working a really long time on these songs, and to have someone ripping them apart a bit is great. Bjarne, on the other hand, tightens things up, makes whats supposed to spark -spark! He also worked closely with me, pushing me constantly on the edge of the knife where i needed to be.

Bjarne studio is a magic place in itself, hosting great Norwegian acts like Dum Dum Boys, and Sivert Høyem. Listening to Bjarnes stories is like hearing tales from grandpa, just a bit more wild haha. We had both of them together in the studio at the end, respecting each others points, and making it all come together.

We’re in love with this single “The Wall”, what is the story on its creation and inspiration?

That synth riff made me feel weightless, even though I was in a period of trying to keep my feet to the ground and head out of the clouds. Sometimes music makes you feel how you want to feel, not how you should feel. This was like this.

The song is about trying to break through a wall, changing your point of view, but realizing it’s possible to let go, and see above clouds, not always through them.

(We actually played a very early demo of this for Tommie, our current label director at Red Eye Transit. I remember feeling we had good times ahead, not knowing what the future would bring. It was a great timeless feeling.)

What is the latest from the Norway scenes?

Kuuk is really amazing live. Love seeing two unpretentious gals on stage in American swimwear! Its growing madness. Haven’t heard so much recorded stuff from them yet, and it might just be a great party. But sometimes that’s all we need.

Other Norwegian artists on the up swing that you two want to give a proper shout out to?

Nils Bechs is such a completely thrilling honey covered sharp diamond. Dancey and vulnerable, honest, a good contribution to the self centered world we live in.

Todd Terje has now reached the status of Cultural Heritage of electro 2015, he just made a really solidly beautiful record.

Sandra Kolstad just came out with a new record, she really has a fine balance between pop catchyness and out of reach spacious rhythms and riffs. A beautiful vocal that makes you feel whispered to even when she shouts.

We will forever admire our friends in the no wave no slut duo Deathcrush. The way they plow their way through the big mud of noise no wave stuff like a tractor with glitter is pretty admirable. See them live!

Calypso

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You may remember Jackson Scott when he released his album Melbourne last 2013 on Fat Possum, and now he’s back with a new posse called Calypso. Forged out of the Appalachian mountains, Scott returns with the crew of Samantha Richman, Sheets Tucker, amongst other collaborators that are making some of the greatest things that the grunge era deprived you of. For further evidence of these bold claims, listen no further than “Isn’t Now”, that we have you re-listening to, and relishing in an alternate world lo and hi fidelity constraints have no meaning. The journey continues on January 27 with the release of Calypso’s Oracle EP, from the good people at Atelier Ciseaux. Once again, we had a chance to catch up with Jackson Scott in the interview after the jump.

 



Give us the scoop on the progression from your solo album, Melbourne, to forming Calypso, and recording the Oracle EP.

I had recorded something with Sam for fun while I was on break from touring and we dug it a lot. We started playing music a lot more together and started jamming with Sheets. We thought it would be cool to make a six song album.

Tell us about the key to making such catchy, lo-fi, glammy grunge pop.

Just have fun.

How do you all collaborate and compose together?

Sometimes we all kind of write a song together, other times someone has a specific idea and we go from there. Sam and I usually write the lyrics together.

The latest from the Asheville, Appalachian scenes?

Lots of goodness happening down here. There are some really awesome new venues and bands. We all love to play music in the mountains.

Other indie local artists you all love?

Nipple and the Boobs, Egodeath, Scrap Randi, ER Airplane…

2015 plans?

We want to play tons of shows and record some more. I have another solo album coming out this year as well.

Au.Ra

Au.Ra's Tim Jenkins & Tom Crandles, photographed by Mitchell Grant.

Au.Ra’s Tim Jenkins & Tom Crandles, photographed by Mitchell Grant.

Welcome Sydney’s Au.Ra to the Felte fold. They are the visionary duo of Tim Jenkins and Tom Crandles who will grace the world with their forthcoming album, Jane’s Lament on March 3. A full-length that was in development for two years, Tim and Tom work to develop a certain kind of spontaneity in the composition process. The effects of dissonance from the more electrically amplified means are inextricably intertwined to conjure up the thought tags of “emotive soundscapes.” But even then, more visceral landscapes await the ears and the mind’s eye on the following motorik-trans-euro-express of “Morning”, to the gamma-ray twinkle glow of “Sun”, the restrained psychelic world of wonder that is “Pyramid”, leaving you with the sweet-scuzz spaceship takeoff of, “Spare The Thought”. Indie Australia has done it, yet again, as Tom provided us with the following insights on the beginning stages of Au.Ra’s musical career, beginning with the song “Pyramid”:

“Pyramid” was Au.Ra’s first ever song. Conceived in Tim’s bedroom, we made an hour’s or so worth of loops and drones, then picked out the parts and pieced together a pop song.


Jack name

jack name week in pop 1

White Fence guitarist Jack Name recorded an album of absurdity, irregularities of interest, and oddities called Weird Moons, available January 20 from John Dwyer’s Castle Face imprint, plus a tour with Ariel Pink in toe in February. The artist shared with us some exclusive insights into the making of the album, along with a listen to the full LP that runs through the weird bop of “Werewolf Factory”, through the curtain closer, “Something About Glenn Goins”. Strangeness, weirdness, and all of its associated adjectives and signifiers run amock on “Under The Weird Moon”, the electro undulations of “Running After Ganymede”, lo-fi mistifiers like “Lowly Ants”, crescent watching “Waiting For Another Moon”, whirlwind blizzards on “Watcher Talk”, and outsider experimentation of, “lo”. Jack Name responded to my inquiries into his approaches of fusing mortality, earthbound concerns, and cosmic sci-fi, collided together as inspiration and impetus for his Weird Moons.

Recently I’m working on a trilogy of concept albums that combine autobiographical allegory with the outlining of a hermetic fictional universe. Light Show (2014) confronts what I call “the educational drug trade”, while Weird Moons (2015) overlaps this esoteric mythological system with a nightmarish but enlightening personal experience I had with lymphoma. Each metaphorically discusses society’s anxious relationship with dystopic realities such as cancer and the pharmaceutical industry using the pop/rock song idiom in a folkloric, sci-fi landscape. Light Show details the extermination of a nebulous gang of Shadows in a turbulent alternate cosmos. Reborn as shape-shifting Werewolves in Weird Moons, the album’s eight songs recall a night in their afterlife on Jupiter, a conflicted heavenly destiny controlled by the push and pull of the planet’s 67 alien moons.

Jack Name’s Weird Moons will be available January 20 from Castle Face Records.

We have kept you up to date with all the developments and insights leading up to the new Lady Lazarus album, Miracles, and now we give you a glimpse of a new song, set to footage from Christopher Schoonover of Melissa Ann Sweat at home in Joshu Tree. The piano notes rock like the desert’s wild winds, whispering notes that rock like steady rolling tumbleweeds to Melissa’s sky bound delivery. Miracles will available March 3 via Queen’s Ransom.

Preparing to join the King Pizza Records stable, meet New York’s The Rizzos, who dropped the following three track piece of golden, garage fun with No Parents, No Rules!. Made up of guitarist and vocalist, Megan Mancini, drummer (and King Pizza operator) Bettina Warshaw, and bassist/vocalist, Justin Ferraro, the group gives us nothing but attitude, confidence, and pride on “Worth It”, thrashed out licks and hooks of “Vomit Kiss”, to the after hours of afterpartying aftermaths on the addictive, “Late Nights”. We’re gonna call it, and say that The Rizzos are a band to watch out for in 2015.

LA based Pictochat released his album leaving that was 4-6 years in production, featuring gems like, “trooli” ft. Yasmine Wilde, the chill down-tempo sparse nature of “giving to you” ft. Eric Nakassa, and much more. The artist moves his bedroom-spun productions into larger rooms, stirring a sound designed to be heard in small and large areas, and in higher states of consciousness. Covering Spazzkid and Sarah Bonito’s “Truly”, remixing Girls generation’s “Kissing You”, and more; the title track alone featuring Miel Bredouw showcases some of the most illuminating key tones and vocal edits you have ever heard.

Currently touring the States through February 7, watch Weyes Blood’s video for “Bad Magic” off her album, The Innocents, available now from Mexican Summer. Filmed by Joey Frank, the video presents a panorama of land, earth, and isles for Natalie’s sound to inhabit like the fowl and wild reeds of the land and water.

Dropping us a taste of the forthcoming title cut, Fort Romeau’s new album Insides is slated for release March 31 from Ghostly, promising more deep burrowing beats. Once again, Romeau reminds the world why we fell in love with house music to begin with, while remarking on the limitless directions and resources of endless possibilities.

We recently conversed with Coultrain before the release Side Effex Of Make-Believe from Fresh Selects, and now bring you the self-directed video for “Kiss Of Death”, that features slow-motion temple dances, courtesy of Kat Simone. Main man Aaron M. Frison said this about the video:

Here in a ceiling-less temple of worship, the alchemist transcends to a place where he’s able to watch his own soul dance. As Sun Ra says, “If death is the absence of life, then death’s death is life.” It is the kiss dancing in between, soaked in wine.

Having just talked to Captain Supernova who recently released his Visions of the Unknown project performed on LA’s KPFK 90.7FM program “Soundwaves Radio.” Behold the live beat orchestrations of, “It Begins”, and “The Captain’s Theme,” that take off before your ears and eyes.

Iceland’s Kaldal Ágústsson is Tonik Ensemble, who released the track “Landscapes” that features vocals from Ragnhildur Gisladottir of Tricky’s Maxinquaye fame. The pensive, anticipatory tones of the Tonik production wraps high-rising soundscape that provide electronic structure’s for Gisladottir vocal contributions, along with atmospheric airs of horns and other ambient devices.

Faith Healer presents a listen to the single, “Again”, off the forthcoming album debut, Cosmic Troubles, available March 31 from Mint Records. From Edmonton with lots of ecstatic energy; Jessica Jalbert leads some of the catchiest guitar hooks, replete with hand-claps, catchy sing along choruses, and some of the most sincere sonic tones that forever make Mother Canada one of the world’s perpetually great breeding grounds for creative visionaries.

Dorthia Cottrell of Windhand sent some cold December sentiments of recollected reflections on “Kneeler”, off her solo album available March 3 from Forcefield Records. From Cottrell’s desert echo delivery and acoustic string strums; the passages across windy plains and narratives move out of the narrow street ways and into the ever expanding wilderness.

Joanie Wolkoff, aka Her Habits brought an illuminated bouquet of electro gospels with “Truth”, off her Northerner EP available January 27. Catch our interview feature here.

Spazzkid’s Cascine single “Daytime Disco” ft. Neon Bunny got remixed by the UK’s Kero Kero Bonito that brings out the bright pop theatrics of the track by breaking it down to its essential pop partitions. From here you can begin to take in the collective UK x Japan x US mesh of big minded maximizations of production elements individually converging together.

Get yourself familiarized with Los Angeles by Tokyo producer of interest, starRo, otherwise known as Shinya Mizoguchi. We’ve recently been enjoying the single, “Particle of Silent View”, that features Minneapolis rapper Greg Grease, spilling perspectives on heaven and mortality perspectives, taken from the forthcoming Emotion EP, available February 10.

Releasing what are the greatest soundtrack scores never heard, John Carpenter unveils atmospheres of endless “Night”, from his February 3 slated Sacred Bones album, Lost Themes.

From Citrus City Records’ upcoming 2K15 compilation, we present you with the new Jade TV song “Wild Days” from dream pop’s new hero, James Allen. As heard on his recent Jurassic Pop release, Jade TV creates a new kind of television that exists outside the world of cable, dish, and DSL attachments in favor of a completely different kind of media connection.

Nights In The Dark is available now from Don Giovanni, as the Western Massachusetts group California X drops the video for “Hadley, MA”. Championing their hometown, you are let into the band’s inner sanctum full of of candles and charms, with a sub-plot about a mysterious, mystical, otherworldly lurker wandering about the woods.

Doomtree releases their upcoming album All Hands January 27 on their own imprint, and you can check out the track, “Final Boss”, that faces confrontations and final countdowns without any Game Genie enhancements.

From Moon Duo’s upcoming Sacred Bones album Shadow of the Sun available March 3, check out the Richie Jackson video for the skate film-ready “Animal”, where Jackson attempts to turn any and every potentially mobile object into a skateboard.

Playing with Geographer February 27 for Noise Pop at Oakland’s Fox Theater, rising local indie stars Bells Atlas continue their inventive take on musical innovation as featured on their following cover of Future Islands’ “Little Dreamer”. Read our interview feature with Bells Atlas from some time back here.

Busting out a little dance floor fodder for your future mixtapes, get a listen to Django Django’s “First Light” to shine some further light on these truncated days of winter.

Nic Hessler’s shared the new-new in new romantic power balladry on “Hearts, Repeating”, off his upcoming album Soft Connections available March 17 from Captured Tracks. The the reciprocal conversations of like-minded hearts are exalted through a shimmering power-pop shower that praises a one of a kind, “see you in my dreams” bond for all time.

In further Captured news, don’t miss the Trentemøller remix of The Soft Moon’s “Black”, with the original found on the upcoming album Deeper, available March 31. Luis’ words are dragged out in the reworked production, as new industrial iron and metallic cloths ensnare the entire production into the grips of what feels like a malevolent deity.

From Generationals’ Polyvinyl album Alix, peep the Daniel Kaufman video for “Reviver” of motocross adventures that take a turn for the transcendental. Never before have motor sports been such an ecstatic, spiritual experience.

For those wondering what all the fuss is about over the pond with Reading’s Sundara Karma; check out “Loveblood” to hear the big UK pop sound certain to invade a festival near you soon, no doubt.

Chelan releases Equal Under Pressure February 17 through Echo Phone, and we bring you the track that sonically travels way up to the galaxies to witness cosmic supernovas, and the twinkling, and shattering of millions of stars on the single, “Before It All”.

From her upcoming album Dreamwalker, watch the fire-dancing earth dance from Kai Altair that blends together a pagan passion for the elements and couples electronic undertones with an acoustic aura of pop choral passions. Imagine if Madonna’s Ray of Light was a sub-genre, and you’re getting close.

In a push for peace and solidarity, check out Alge’s video for “The Spirit of St. Louis” from Benjamin Lang that documents the NYC protests against injustice and police brutality in the wake of the murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and Eric Garner in New York. The production takes a solemn tone, while Alge sends out vocals of hope, consciousness, frustration, and pleas for peaceful coexistences.

Mount Eerie delivered somthing new from the northern seas with the video for “This” directed by Peter J. Brant, off the album, Sauna, available February 3 from P.W. Elverum & Sun. The Microphones man Phil Elverum is joined by Allyson Foster and Ashley Ericksson for a sound that shudders between the surreal and that springtime state of mind.

Heems’ Week in Pop

DSC_0199
Heems, photographed by Edwina Hay.
As we await the release of Heems’ Eat, Pray, Thug, the one and only Himanshu Suri took over Week in Pop co-curation duties this week to give us the following Indian themed rundown:
DJ HVAD – HVAD X ØBRO 卐 HANDWORK PANDIT

Please take a minute to peep the brilliance that is my dude Hari Shankar Kishore, formerly known as Kid Kishore, out in Denmark. We may or may not be working on music together.

Shiv Kumar Batalvi Interview:

People might recognize this as the source of the sample on Swet Shop Boys’ “Batalvi”. Although it is an interview, Batalvi sings one of his poems before the host cuts him off. I’ve watched this thing countless times and I still get angry when he’s cut off. Without a doubt this is one of my favorite things on YouTube.

DJ Rizzla Soundcloud

DJ Rizzla (@rizzla_dj), reppin Fade to Mind, is one of my favorite DJs in New York. I originally met him at the top of 2010 in Boston when he DJ’d for Das Racist at our first gig out there. I like listening to his mixes while getting work done. He has no problem tossing Bhangra, Soca, or Chutney into a set of Reggae, R+B, and Rap. These are my favorite genres of music.

Meek Mill, “Monster” (Produced by Jahlil Beats)

MEEK IS OUT!!!!

DSC_0204Koushik, “Nothing’s the Same”


From one of the most slept-on artists to come out of Stones Throw Records, “Nothing’s the Same” sounds like an Apple ad waiting to happen. This is what happens when shoe-gaze meets some good old-fashioned drum pattern awareness.

Tu Meri, “Bang Bang”

This is classic contemporary Bollywood.

Camu Tao, “King of Hearts”

Another slept-on gem, this one from the Def Jux crew. It comes in the form of Camu Tao’s posthumous album King of Hearts. This isn’t really rap at all. Whatever it is it’s amazing.

DSC_0173

Sneha Khanwalkar, “Moora”, Gangs of Wasseypur Soundtrack

This is the closest to twee indie rock that Bollywood has ever come. Musical director Sneha Khanwalkar’s work on Gangs of Wasseypur made a brilliant, epic film even better. In addition to this work, I believe she has a tv show in India where she travels around different regions creating music particular to that region. I would love to work with her.

Sneha Khanwalkar, “Tung Tung”

I believe this is from the Punjab episode of that show. In that episode, Sneha uses sounds from the streets and works with two local girls to create this banger of a Bhangra joint. These girls crush it!!!

Eat, Pray, Thug will be available March 10 from Megaforce.

Follow Heems on Twitter.

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