Week in Pop: Lade, Lowland Hum, Panthar, starRo, To You Mom:

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Deep Fields, The Greatest Hoax, Oulipo, POW!, Woolbear, WRLM, co-curated by Hop Along.

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Sjimon Gompers | February 6, 2015

Meet LA's Panthar. From left, Colin Ambulance, Lauren Kop, Shelina Louise, Jared Caldwell, and Douglas Hargrave, photographed by Amy Darling.

WEEK IN POP

First Week in Pop Heading

Global anarchy, blizzards, and the seemingly endless and inescapable parade of album/tour/reunion announcements; Impose’s Week in Pop presents the freshest exclusives from the indie stars of tomorrow and today. Keeping you up to date with as many of the breaking top stories that as have time to cover; big news about Detroit legends Death to release their first album in forever with N.E.W. on April 21 through TryAngle Records/Drag City, sharing “Look At Your Life“; Gorillaz return; Missy Elliott’s return via the Super Bowl halftime; all while Katy Perry channeled the fashion sensibilities of Bam Bam Bigelow; Katy Perry also may have ripped off Tacocat during said performance via her dancing shark costumes; Sasquatch! festival lineup buzz; waffle house post-party double date with John Legend & Kanye; Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga collaboration; real “Barbershop Talk” with Run the Jewels; Kim Gordon dishes out the details in memoir, Girl in a Band; Danny Brown dropped the theme song for “Fresh Off the Boat” for an ABC series inspired by Eddie Huang’s memoir; Alan McGee on consumerism and more; TV on the Radio canceled their Europe/UK tour; Suge Knight charged with murder; and we continue to mourn the loss of The Jacka.

But as our hearts and minds carry on, we are proud and privileged to present world exclusives from Lade, Lowland Hum, Panthar, starRo, To You Mom:, Deep Fields, The Greatest Hoax, We Roll Like Madmen, POW!, Lightning Bug, Oulipo, Satellite Jockey, Woolbear, Roses, co-curated by Hop Along, and more — in no particular order.

Panthar

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Taking their name from a ferocious taxidermied bob cat; LA’s sci-fi pop rebels Panthar premiere the dive bar devastating B-side, “Space Lies”. Off the upcoming New Professor Ghost Rocket 7″ the band is lead by the anarchic riot grrl visionary, Shelina Louise, whose Kyoto by Canada by LA upbringings and influences, a collaboration with Bratmobile’s Allison Wolfe in Cool Moms, Kat Kong, and more has carried over into the kind of over the top, tight, slick, and glamorous prowl that Panthar steps with in the sound of ultra indulgences that bridges the Echo Park mentality, with a Sunset Strip attitude. The b-movie rock, bop and boogie is brought by Shelina, with guitarist Douglas Hargrave, boyfriend & drummer Jared Caldwell, with fellow seekers of spaced-out new waves, Colin Baz and Lauren Synthz.

On “Space Lies”, Panthar move on the forward offense with sense of emergency like a martian invasion straight out of Mars Attacks!. Douglas and Jared maintain the premonitions fueled by the chord to percussion connection, as Shelina takes front and center with attitude and the following fist clenched lyrical action. “You perceive it, you run away, you believe it, they take away, you can feel it, it gets away…” The eerie and fun chord progressions recall a frenetic movie scene of flying saucers and UFOs soaring around downtown Los Angeles, causing the kind of hysteria and pandemonium reserved for green screen Hollywood sets. Rumors, fictions, alien invasions, and other urgent fight or flight responses are entertained like a punk rock matinee that revels in everything bold, brash, beautiful, and imaginative. Discussing the Panthar project further, we talked with frontwoman Shelina Louise in our interview after the following debut listen to the b-side, “Space Lies”.

Tell us how you all found a way to re-jet 80s anarchy for the space age of today and tomorrow’s future as Panthar.

We gleaned a lot of inspiration from the end of the Cold War and applied it to our own individual idiosyncrasies and psychological maladies. We have all been certified by NASA to both use and carry a pocket knife with a compass built into the handle. The rest was just basically, living an unhealthy lifestyle and not drinking enough water.

How did the five of you found Panthar together?

Panthar consists of five entirely separate bi-pedal earthlings: Shelina, Jared, Douglas, Colin and Lauren. The band was founded when Jared and I convinced Douglas to play guitar for us. Jared had just moved here form Austin the summer before last, and we were spending a lot of time hanging at the lake and Doug’s apartment. Doug’s apartment is an Echo Park institution we like to call the Cat Pad. It’s sort of a museum for all kinds of found cat objects and ethical taxidermy and such. So anyways, I was doing a lot of drinking at the Cat Pad that summer, which was helping me get over a band break-up — I was just getting out of a short-lived, but much loved project, Kat Kong, which was an angular, 80s art punk band in the vein of Delta 5 or the Au Pairs. I knew I wanted to do something different, something darker… Jared had the idea to start a goth-ish, glitter-ish, new wave band, cause he’s really into the Cure and Missing Persons, Jane’s Addiction… I said I would do it as long as we could cover at least one Pylon song. We named ourselves after a particularly menacing taxidermic bobcat that’s featured on Doug’s wall. And so PANTHAR was born. We went through a couple bass players before we tracked down local bass guru Colin Ambulance at the Church of Fun one night. We made him a permanent band member before he had even heard the songs, so it’s a good thing it worked out so well. Lauren Kop is a super talented local keyboardist and songwriter, we were really lucky to have her come on board and help us fill out our sound. We’re really lucky to have such great players in PANTHAR. I feel like we pulled together a real Echo Park supergroup.

Tell us about how you all made the spaceship crashers of “Ghost Rocket”, and the awesome flip-side of “Space Lies”.

We used foresight, planning, and weapons-grade panache. We selected engineer, Mark Rains (of BRMC fame) to harness and coax out our noises. Mark has a great analog set-up and he knew how to get a really great 80s tone all around. I don’t think my voice has ever sounded so good. We cut “Space Lies” in a few takes. “Ghost Rocket” was a lot more intricate. We went through a lot of different mixes until we found the perfect balance. Mark was super patient with us. Jared and I are extreme perfectionists, and I think it took us a few months of trying slightly different approaches before we had tracked everything and gotten it sounding exactly the way we envisioned it. The final mix involved Mark leaning a guitar against an amp to get the opening feedback on “Ghost Rocket.” The mysterious intro feedback really made the song magic.

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How has LA inspired your sound, in creating Panthar’s post-romantic, space age/tomorrowland, sci-fi kind of phenomenon?

In 1942, LA was the site of an intergalactic showdown between the US air force and a giant hovering space craft. It was reported as the Battle of Los Angeles. The military were shooting at this giant hovering monolith for hours, and their bullets bounced right back. People say they don’t believe, but have you ever looked up at the sky? I see shit everyday. Take a look around, the visitors are everywhere.

Fellow like-minded indie/underground artists in LA that you all feel need more attention?

We are super lucky to be a part of an exceptional scene. In no particular order (all of these bands are amazing): Egrets on Ergot; LA Drones; Pop Heart; Cellars; Minibear; Terminal A; Tulips; Cigarette Bums; Native Fauna; LA Font.

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Favorite 80s artists, singles, EP, and LPs that have impacted the Panthar vision?

Missing Persons, Spring Session M

The Cure, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me

Pylon, “Gyrate”

Au Pairs, Playing with a Different Sex

Jane’s Addiction, Nothing’s Shocking

What else is Panthar working on?

Laundry. And lots of it. Some dishes too.

2015 game plan for Panthar?

We’re stoked for our release show Feb 18 at The Satellite. Kevin Bronson got behind it and wrote a super nice review of PANTHAR in his LA Buzzbands blog. We’re joined by our friends Part Time and Terminal A. Couldn’t ask for a better line-up. After our release we are going to SXSW to promote the single. We have some great shows in the works at Hotel Vegas and Beerland, and a slew of house parties around town. We’re really hoping to find a sugar daddy in the crowds. We need to get back in the studio this spring to record a full album, and we also need some new duds.

Panthar’s Ghost Rocket 7″ will be available February 17 from New Professor.

To You Mom:

To You Mom's Luca Lorenzi & Massimiano Santoni. (press photo courtesy of the artists)

To You Mom’s Luca Lorenzi & Massimiano Santoni. (press photo courtesy of the artists)

Italian duo Luca Lorenzi and Massimiano Santoni make up To You Mom: who premiere their first listen to the single, “On A Friday” before release February 9, taken from the forthcoming album, We Are Lions available March 16 from Ghost Records.  To You Mom: began when the two met at the International Conference on Cartography and GIS Mapping in Italy, and then after a realized connection the two found a synergy in sound. The principle sound of TYM is centered around Santoni’s percussion and production, met with Lorenzi’s natural and untouched vocal delivery. Their forthcoming album We Are Lion follows up the I Am Ian EP (based on a fictitious space man named Ian Coleman), where Luca and Massimiano hone in their synergistic syntheses that translates musically like a trove of sincere letters written to family, friends, lovers, and beloved acquaintances.

That weekend feeling of “On a Friday” becomes immediately initiated by the opening synth sequence that imitates the ebb and flow patterns of warm waters intersecting gracefully with the sandy shores. To You Mom: specialize in the type of reflective sound that imagines the mirrored conversation between the oceans and sky, where Massimiano applies and programs sparse elements of digital audio paint designs to create the ecstatic visions that dovetail with Luca’s hushed intuitive expressions. “I’ve seen a miracle in a very blue sky, for a moment heaven has come down…” To You Mom:’s Lorenzi and Santoni joined us for an in-depth and candid roundtable interview about their upcoming album, We Are Lions, and more, all after the debut listen to “On A Friday”.

Take us back to the chance meeting between the two of you that began at Italy’s International Conference on Cartography and GIS Mapping, to creating the I Am Ian EP about a fictitious astronaut named Ian Coleman, and how his project became a bigger phenomenon for you two.

Luca: In 2010, things were not going well with my previous band so I decided to stop playing music. At the time, I had never really considered how much music filled up my life and my soul. I was feeling very empty so I decided I had to find some new interests or inspirations to keep my creative balance. A few months later, I was reading a national newspaper in Italy and I saw a big article about the Conference on Cartography and GIS Mapping, and I thought “why not? this could be cool”. So, two weeks later I went to Milan to enjoy this meeting but – it will sound odd – in a moment I realized that I was a fish out of water. The topics covered were much too technical and complicated for my artistic desires. To be honest, I’m much more interested in the artistic side of cartography, rather than the technical aspects. Anyway, my decision to attend the conference was not all wasted because it led to the birth of To You Mom: …while wandering around the area near my hotel looking for a bar, I met Massimiliano when I asked him for directions. We did not know each other at the time, but we quickly got talking and discovered our love of music production. So if had I not gone to Milan, I would never have had the chance to meet him. It all started that day with a long exchange of ideas. I think it was fate.

What attracted you both to titling your duo To You Mom:, somewhat of a ‘this is for your mom’ maternal dedication? It is very warm, and evocative of cherished feelings and the like.

Luca: you can consider two different ways to interpret the name: the first one, more personal and intimate, is exactly like it is: a “thank you mom, you gave me life so now I want to dedicate this opera to you, because you made it possible”. But the principal idea is that ideally all that comes after the colon (in the name) is what we create, and ‘Mom’ represents Mother Nature. So, in this perspective, all that we create together becomes our thanksgiving to Universe. It’s our way to give back the energies that Universe constantly gives us.

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So give us how you began outlining, and writing song compositions and ambient, ghost like orchestrations for the upcoming We Are Lions album for Ghost Records?

Max: For “We Are Lions”, when we started writing the songs there were no plans about the style, the kind of sounds or anything. It just happened. We had some similar past experiences and the same ideas about what we wanted to express through the music, but nothing very specific.. We started working on a song after another, sending the files via mail and comparing notes. It was surprising how our separate vocals and music matches those ideas we had in our heads. We spent a lot of time working on arrangements, sounds, or little details, but the majority of the songs just came together for us like alchemy.

How do the two of you synthesize your talents and process together?

Max: Usually we start with a vague idea, which can be a beat, a riff or a simple sound. From there, we work like painters, layering colours one after another. At some point, the alchemy happens and we suddenly have a piece of music with a structure and a bigger idea behind it. This alchemy can be best defined as the sum of both our energies: one oriented to a melodic attitude, the other to a more experimental one. These two impulses act freely and complete themselves in a surprising ways.

As we debut “On a Friday”, what is it about a certain (or any given) Friday that lead to the origins of this spirit lifting song?

Luca: Friday is a magic day to me, it always comes with a pleasant, peaceful feeling. It always represents the day people start anticipating their free time (the possibility of being themselves and cultivating their passions). So I just think Friday is the right day to get that good feelings you need to remember your dreams are something you absolutely cannot put aside. This song wants to inspire people into remembering the importance of our dreams and desires. I think we should constantly fight to be coherent. And I just wanted to suggest the best day to start this process!

That latest on the Italian indie scenes lately? Seems like there is always something percolating via the Bad Panda Records and We Were Never Being Boring collective.

Max: it’s always difficult to properly locate a “scene” and understand what’s happening around it but we can say that what this scene is producing it’s really cool. M+A, Populous and our soul brothers Casa del Mirto are just few examples of a music approach which went beyond of some paradigm of a classic idea of “Italian indie scene”. It’s nice to see so many projects comparing themselves with such a vast horizon.

Future ghost trails to expect from To You Mom:?

Max: the album will be out on March 2015. In these days we are making the video for the second single (out on February). But in the meantime we are also working on a live set and on some new remixes and songs. We can’t stop writing and experimenting. To You Mom: is a project which has a lot of things to say and, clearly, we hope to find many people interested on listening to what we have to say.

To You Mom: will release their album We Are Lions, available March 16 from Ghost Records. The single “On a Friday” will be available February 9 from Ghost Records as well.

starRo

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My introduction to starRo’s Emotion EP found me entranced with all imaginative faculties affected by the evocative atmospheres that permeates throughout. Born Shinya Mizoguchi; the Yokohama, Japan by LA artist reinvents his passion for r & b guided approaches for a venture into the emotional response based feeling streamed audio physics, using technological tricks and effect addled patterns to create designed results of reactive sentimental affections. “I wanted to pursue a more electronic accessible vibe that emphasizes the pieces as ‘songs’ rather than just the ‘tracks,” staRo describes, “As the title suggests, this EP creates a portrait; a symphony of emotions and can take you back to moments of intimacy that never escaped your lips. Put on your headphones, close your eyes and enjoy your own imaginary film.” Available February 10, the Emotion EP is here to make you feel things you haven’t felt in a long time, featuring appearances from vocal brass Christian Crow, Greg Greese, Jarell Perry, and Vib.

The Emotion EP begins with the tidal rising flood of all the things, memories, vague recollections, questions, and lost thoughts that travel to the surface in a hazy deluge. The feelings of short-frame / long-frame and short-term / long-term are ghosted into life with reflective words of meditation by Greg Greese over washes of pensive production. That departure from the convention rhythm and blues (Mizoguchi has mentioned in previous conversations that an r & b based follow-up EP is on the way soon) can be heard on “Secret”, where “waiting so long” sample snippets appear and disappear in the clandestine cloak of keys that gently coast with a natural motion and tempo. The emotion is brought from the most dramatic keys in the house on “It’s Over” where Jarell Perry drops that lover’s power ballad rock over the emanating audio ripples in the mix that starRo pours all over Jarell’s croon where frame rates and frame works of consciousness slip between the piano and synthesizer keys. And as you might expect, the title song “Emotion” continues the experiments in fusing daydream lullabies with further heart felt vibes brought by Christian Crow, as you are brought to the future gospel testament, “Closer To You”, ft. Vib that transforms candid confessions into a testimony given from the stage of the pulpit. The spiritual healing emerges from the emotional aura and into the sexual carnality that is delivered through a digital array of ragga and dance hall drum techniques, while the entire audio assemblage flickers through wavy channels and systems of transcendental transmission. Jarrell Perry joins starRo again for “Tainted”, that turns up the mood, amps up the complicated expression of sentiment in an ode to overriding jaded cynicism in order to open your heart once again. Following the listen to “It’s Over”, enjoy our interview starRo himself, Shinya Mizoguchi.

Having an LA by Tokyo reference of all things musical, cultural, artistic, and so forth; how do you see the creative evolutions between the two, along with the differences and similarities that you find interesting?

I think the music market of Japan is a bit isolated from the rest of the world, mainly because people do not use English so Japanese-based domestic platforms (such as digital distribution, music media) dominate the industry. A global music platform like SoundCloud, Spotify, Bandcamp is not popular there. So as an artist it’s hard to see what’s beyond the domestic market. Now I am in the US, start making use of more global platform, I am facing more towards the audience worldwide. I think it is a huge motivator. Honestly when I was in Japan, music production is not even something I considered pursuing seriously. Also LA specifically is the most exciting place for music right now. Just to be able to feel this big wave in my bones on the daily basis is a huge inspiration.

Give us some highlights on the making of the Emotion EP, and working with some cool folks like, Jarell Perry, Greg Gease, Christian Crow, and Vib.

This was the first project that I have worked with vocalists extensively, so I think it tested my ability as a music producer a lot. Before this project I just made music inside my comfort zone where I have complete control on my work. But with vocalists, you need to let go of yourself with where the chemistry takes you to, and at the same time you will still need to somehow get to desired destination. It is only possible with a combination of trust, communication, open mindset and musical talent to being able to ride with any type of unpredictable waves coming along your song making journey. And with all the vocalists on this EP I felt like we managed to ride this waves effortlessly.

It really feels like you worked on placing a focus on transferring an emotional feel throughout all the tracks here. What process do you utilize to accomplish this?

I think it is just natural thing to me. I mean I didn’t grow up in the hood or haven’t been through any hardship in my life. I am not really into using music as a way of expressing my political/religious belief. So emotion is the most and only real thing to me to express thru the music. Also growing up in Japan contributed a lot to my musical aesthetic because Japanese music has always been emotional (usually very maudlin). So it is natural process for me to visualize story and emotion with it when I make music. That’s why my music always ended up having many progression and intonation throughout the music.

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I like too that there is a push to feeling things as opposed to blocking out or denying these experiences. What do you feel is the importance of indulging in the yin and yang from all natural responses?

It’s interesting you brought the yin and yang concept up, because that’s exactly how I worked with vocalists on this project. You must accept the difference first and play with it, then naturally the things will makes the perfect balance. It is really effortless process once we understand that’s how universe always works.

Can you give us the scoop on the big tour plans, further collaborative plans, and more in the works?

I am already working on another album that I am hoping to release in summer. It has more funky vibes that are perfect for summer. As for the touring, US and Asia are already confirmed but also working on Europe and Australia.

I really feel that 2015 is going to be the huge year for me. Especially with management team working now, we are ready to take on any journey the universe might bring. So excited.

starRo’s Emotion EP will be available February 10 via Bandcamp.

Lowland Hum

Wading in the water with Lowland Hum's Daniel Levi & Lauren Plank Goans, photographed by Griffin Hart Davis.

Wading in the water with Lowland Hum’s Daniel Levi & Lauren Plank Goans, photographed by Griffin Hart Davis.

Declaring the April 14 forthcoming of their new self-titled album, Greensboro, North Carolina’s Lowland Hum premiere the video for “Four Sisters: Part Three” self-made by the duo’s own indie power couple, Daniel Levi & Lauren Plank Goans. The third video installment from their previous EP of the same name, Lowland Hum continues to draw visuals from the Prelinger Archives that features vintage film of aviator Katherine Stinson, known for non-stop distance record of 606 miles in her famous light between San Diego and San Francisco back in 1917. Daniel and Lauren’s stories of sisters are accompanied with sky soaring images of beauty, early flights, sun gazing, patchwork quilt aerial views, and the feeling of taking flight as the heart and mind sail upward like a helium, or hot-air balloon.

The stratosphere bound resonance brought by Lowland Hum’s sparse spaces that Daniel and Lauren maintain between their relation to their sung notes and narratives, the muted strings, and sustained keys is illustrated further with the visual accompaniment. Mind floating visuals of landscapes seen through that out-of-body experience that flight can afford are mixed with old film reels that document the aviation achievements of Katherine Stinson, constantly combining the historic footage with more modern (but still retro) analog flight reels. Lowland Hum’s Chaucerian ballads and odes continue to expand in their sonic form like a knight’s tale brought to twentieth century soaked visuals while a sustained folk hymn plays upon the heartstrings in unexpected ways. We recently had the pleasure to talk with both Daniel and Lauren from Lowland Hum, after the following video debut of, “Four Sisters: Part Three”.

Tell us about how these vintage visuals of aviation were constructed to accompany the song, “Four Sisters: Part Three”.

Lauren: When we decided that each of the three songs on our EP, Four Sisters, would be accompanied by a video, I began looking into public domain video archives on the internet. One of my favorite archives is Prelinger Archives, based out of San Francisco. It contains a wealth of stunning home movies that I could watch for hours and am always trying to weave into as many projects as possible. I came across some footage of Katherine Stinson, one of the world’s first women in aviation who broke the speed record from San Diego to San Francisco in 1917. I was drawn to the imagery and began to explore flight, ascent and descent as visual themes for the video due to their dreamy, slow movement and how that might pair with the song Four Sisters: Part Three.

Tell us about what the composition process was like for you all in the making of the song cycle of the Four Sisters EP.

Daniel: The songs that compile Four Sisters happened over about four months on and in between tours. The first song was written after hearing four short stories/vignettes that seemed to have the common thread of the power of the spoken word. Each of the four stories drew attention to the interesting effects of speaking about personal failure audibly. Starting at that point, we began to think about the unique and often beautiful relationship between sisters, especially sisters who are connected by open and honest communication with one another. From there the concept grew into an EP featuring four imaginary sisters and their stories and the way their stories inform one another. Composition happened in large part in the studio and, on this project more than any other before, the collaboration was more fluid and complete. Lauren’s vocal ability and melodic sense influenced much more than her own vocal melody on this recording. Additionally, I think the exploration of new types of melodies was enhanced by our collaborations with Edd Kerr. Using reversed piano and something we call ‘frankendrums,’ Edd and I would create textures unlike any on Native Air, and singing over these textures pulled very different things out of us vocally.

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How was Four Sisters a shift for you both since the making and release of Native Air?

Daniel: Writing the songs for Four Sisters was very different than previous processes because it happened in between and during tours. For example, we started “Four Sisters: Part Three” at our home in NC, but then finished it at a friend’s apartment in DC on a night off. Additionally, we approached the Four Sisters recording sessions with clear and specific vision for each song, but once we started laying down the parts, the songs changed shape and sound almost immediately. Using another example from the third song from the EP, we had envisioned the tune having just guitar, two voices and light strings and by the time we finished recording, we ended up with cello, rhodes, drums and electric bass underneath our two voices. We ultimately removed the main guitar part that the melodies were written around. For our previous record, Native Air, we held the songs with open hands, but they didn’t shift so dramatically within the studio. I think the process of making the EP was so different because of all of the new experiences of performing in so many new places. In order to make sense of so much new input, change became necessary.

What else have you two have been working on?

Daniel: In addition to touring to support Four Sisters, over the past few months we finished writing, preparing, and recording our next full length album. We are incredibly excited about the new album and feel that Four Sisters opened us up to many new sonic possibilities that we can’t wait to share in 2015. Lauren is designing and laying out the album art for the new record, new lyric books and a new installation for the tour. The band is also in the midst of a kickstarter project to help with some expansions that will be a part of the album release tour. And, lastly, a project Daniel produced last year is being released this week (Nettles, Locust Avenue) and he is producing two more records (C.F. Watkins in February and Look Homeward in March), so he is in the middle of doing some preproduction work with those bands.

How do you describe how you both write and work out songs together?

Lauren: “So far the process has proven to be a mysterious one. We have found that it rarely happens in a predictable or routine way. Sometimes it starts with one of us coming to the other with lyrics in mind, or a guitar part or melody, and we work together to refine or redirect those lyrics or melodies. Other times we will start from scratch together, either deciding a topic that has recently intrigued one or both of us, or using a line that has come to either of us as a starting point. Sometimes Daniel will start writing something and before it becomes too cemented he will bring me into the process so that I can help shape it. I think our favorite accidental ‘method’, and the most mysterious one, occurs while rehearsing other songs that we have already written. Occasionally Daniel will play something on the guitar that he has never played before, and we will allow ourselves to go with it down a rabbit trail. He’ll start by tinkering with the chords and eventually, we take turns singing the first things that come to us. Sometimes a lyrical direction will present itself right away, and other times the lyrics will be nailed down over multiple writing sessions. It almost always feels though, like the song is already out there somewhere and that we are uncovering it together.”

2015 dreams, hopes, wishes, and wisdom?

“We hope that 2015 brings lots more new experiences in new places. We will be touring to support our new full length album with a backing band for the first time and we are excited to share our music in this new way. Additionally, on the heels of Four Sisters and a solid year and a half of constant touring, we felt uniquely prepared for our time in the studio and we are more excited about the new songs than any we have recorded to date. I wake up many mornings since we finished the project with the good kind of stomach ache. As for wisdom, a wise person once said, ‘where words are many, wisdom is lacking.’ I think I’ve shown where I fall on that spectrum.

Lowland Hum’s self-titled album will be available April 14.

We Roll Like Madmen

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Columbia, South Carolina based duo, We Roll Like Madmen premiere their mythological, Lord of the Flies like horror/suspense video for, “Samsāra”, directed by Alice Aaron Wyrd, with cinematography by OK Keyes. Off their Post-Echo release, The Kids Must Die, the kill your darlings approach is employed by WRLM’s Chris Tollack and Jordan Young who cook up club-footed narrative through loops, and abstract edits and sequences. “Samsāra” focuses on a family’s outdoor camp excursion that becomes a show down with menacing, pig-headed adversary.

A day of hiking and backpacking about parks, forests, and streams finds abandoned wonders off the path, and the pursuit of a malevolent force. WRLM’s loops are set to strange discoveries, and metaphysical interferences, with an epic showdown executed like a fireside cautionary tale. With the title alluding to the notion of the eternal cycle of birth, life, and death; “Samsāra” provides an electronic microcosm of these components and elements depicted through creative rhythmic decorum. WRLM joined us for an interview, immediately after the following video debut.

How did the two of you begin the project, We Roll Like Madmen, and what sort of mad tales are behind the name?

We were both audio tech students and radio DJs in college. Through the station we were exposed to a lot of new music together really quickly. With WRLM we set out to make a synth-pop project, but it evolved into something more reflective of our appetite for dance genres and experimental production.

Our name was given to us after a spiritual awakening in the deserts of Texas accompanying Tommy Lee Jones on a peyote fueled hike. There was a moment when an eagle flying overhead let out a loud screech. Tommy looked up, and I happened to overhear him whisper, ‘we roll like madmen’ to no one in particular. Liking the way that sounded, we promptly stole it.

Give us the play for play on your releases that count, Who is Heady Crystals?, The Kids Must Die, to the upcoming, Hermetic series for Post-Echo. What has the creative-developmental process been like for you both, and how have you all found that you have grown as artists, music makers, and the like?

2012’s Heady Crystals was an experiment in melding some of the club oriented music we loved at the time with a more traditional song structure. The Kids Must Die found us kind of rebelling against the EDM wave by stripping back our approach to its hip hop and house foundations. We featured Fat Rat da Czar and Believe of Grand Prize Winners From Last Years, and the tone was general apocalyptic destruction. Hermetic Vol. 1 is an attempt to analyze the void in the wake; it’s our first step towards being constructive instead of destructive.

Artistically, we’ve learned to breathe more. Our sound design has gotten sharper and more purposeful. Jordan’s vocals can be used more as an instrument. Our professional lives draw inspiration from other stage and media disciplines which is important to our artistic drive.

Describe the creative synergy between the two of you, and how it translates musicwise.

Being a duo strengthens us in a lot of ways. We both grew into music production through a love for sequencing. We come from fairly different musical backgrounds, but we recognize the commonalities between them. We both enjoy sampling weird shit and tinkering with software instruments. We each have reign of the sound design, so there aren’t definitive Jordan songs or Chris songs. It’s a very natural process now that we’ve been performing and writing together as WRLM for 5 years.

Give us the whole scoop on the video for “Samsara”: The premise tag line reads something like, “Two sisters wander among the ruinous landscape of a collapsed society, inadvertently awakening a primal spirit that threatens both their innocence and survival,” and is even crazier than that—how did this whole myth/visualization spring to form from the song?

We wanted to capture the push/pull of Samsara’s lyrics and music. The song has this circular, self-fulfilling arch, and the The Kids Must Die as a whole is demanding consequence for one’s actions. Drawing on some of the motifs from Lord of the Flies, the video explores the forging of a future from the remnants of the past. It’s about coping with loss while simultaneously beginning anew, which we think is evident in both the song and the video.

Tell us about making the move to Columbia, SC and what the local scenes are like, and other favorite local artists you all dig.

Columbia has been good to us. Coming from a super small college town with almost no resources for a music scene, it was fresh air to have venues with built-in sound systems. South Carolina can be a difficult place for original music no matter the city, but Columbia nurtures a small but loyal scene. It can be hard to get that scene to care about original electronic music at times, but there’s lots of great acts making innovative music like our fiends Callosum and the Moas Collective, The Lovely Few, Sandcastles, Autocorrect, and the indomitable Isaak Pancake.

What else can we expect from We Roll Like Madmen in 2015?

We’ll be finishing our Hermetic series and releasing another video or two in the coming months. We’re also working on the next incarnation of WRLM’s live show —it’s a collection of things we’ve been plotting for some time. We can’t wait to share.

WRLM’s Hermetic series will be coming soon via Post-Echo.

Lade

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Following up the single “Asleep”, we are proud to premiere Lade’s monumental and megalithic epic, “Open Water”. Part of the aspiring new indie graduating class that have been taking over the scenes of the greater Los Angeles area; Lade frontman Ethan Edenburg has been readying his EP for release in early March, and continuing to build upon his sound. In between enjoying the ever-exciting displays of new sounds and arts in his LA community, Ethan’s track, “Open Water”, presents the heaviest, and largest arrangement from the artist yet.

On “Open Water”, the journeys and sacrifices are led through a wide-angle scope that marks the search for solace, and a settled tranquility. Developed and recorded with Mark Hadley, Ethan developed a dramatic work that touches on struggle, betrayal, and survival inspired by his own frustration over the treatment of U.S. veterans. The song’s four minute march is delivered like a therapy session of talking out feelings, sorting out senses of abandonment that are scored in cinemascope where the tension and living testaments are left to swim out in a derelict sea. The questions to the higher orders, and powers remained unanswered but, the succinct chorus remains the same: “You lured me into open water, and you let me drown,” The storming waves, and roar of uncompromising weather is relayed through an elaborate production that orchestrates all available instruments to contribute the call of all causes. Lade mainman Ethan joins us for an interview, right after the following debut of, “Open Water”.

What has been the latest from the scenes out in LA lately that has captured your interest/attention?

I see such incredibly talented groups every week it makes me loco. Some of the dope junk I’ve stepped into lately has been a fuggin’ 10 piece live band for Nick Waterhouse at the Mayan, and just last night I saw LP in my damn face at School Night. Live shows are absolutely one of the perks of LA.

Describe how you first began your own solo music recordings.

When I was about 13 I began recording songs using a Tascam 4 track recorder to cassette tape. I loved it so much. (I should buy one actually…) I didn’t start seriously producing music until I was 18. That’s when I began trying to recreate sounds.

Take us through the making of the more subdued previous single “Asleep” to the grandeur that blooms on “Open Water”.

“Asleep” was the first song that I wrote and produced with David Pramik. He and I really went to geek-ville to complete that tune. It’s definitely a little nod to Zero 7, one of my favorite artists. Open water was a tune I wrote on guitar and began playing live with Mark Hadley. He brought me into his studio and helped evolve the song to the haymaker it is now. As far as explaining its grandeur goes, I’ve always had an overwhelming sense of empathy and frustration when I learn details about the difficult lives of veterans. This song is from a soldiers perspective. He feels betrayed by his country. Lied to and taken advantage of.

As many musicians so often use the element of water in their craft through inspiration, motif, etc; what for you is the significance of the water element for both this song, and for your own creative work?

Water is everything! We are made of water and the earth is mostly water. There’s even a strange emotion one feels when near the ocean. Water can be so entertaining and wonderful but it can also be absolutely frightening. I think that it reflects how something so beautiful, like devotion to your country, can be twisted into so much pain.

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Tell us more about the upcoming recordings and releases you got on the tables.

The EP will come out in early March and I’m crazy excited to begin playing live again. A few of my absolute best buddies from College have just moved here and we’re playing our first show at the Mint on Feb 26. It’s a different experience then the chill electronic vibes of the recording. There will also be a music video for “The Flood” which will be released with the EP.

Other LA underground artists you wanna give a shout out to?

Absolutely! There’s a dank funk band out of Long Beach called Turn the Trunk Up, and my buddy Tip is in a killer glitchy electronic group called, Rome till you Moan.

Winter hopes and spring dreams from the Lade camp?

Music festivals! Collabs with James Blake! Lunch with Sohn! UCB date with Seth Rogan! Honestly, I just want to make better tunes everyday.

Listen to more from Lade via Bandcamp.

Deep Fields

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Through the inner-connective buzzlines, we caught word of Deep Fields from out of the O.C. (that’s Orange County, Southern California, you might have remembered it from that one t.v. show), made up of Christian Peters, Emily Monnig, Jonny Higa, Timmy Higa, Brian Jackson, and Dana Maier-Zucchino who are making some of the most peculiar pop music coming out of So Cal these days. On the debut of “Salazar” off their forthcoming March 31 slated self titled EP; Deep Fields make outsider pop by continuing to rock according on their own accord, and to their own odd but intriguing arrangements.

“Salazar” takes fashion in the most obscure traditions of fringe-freak-beat [see Chris Lucey/Bobby Jameson] in a three suite song with distinct movements. The first movement sets up Christian’s inner thought zone of doubt, mild paranoia, ambivalence, that returns in the second movement with the lazy-lo-fi woe of; “don’t know what to do, wasting every day by sleeping in past two.” It’s the third movement where the suite becomes a fuzz spangled fortress of many mansions that champions the world’s home recording heroes and the past legends, all in under four minutes time. Deep Fields join us in a discussion, immediately following the debut of “Salazar”.

What’s the latest from the O.C. these days?

Bands everywhere. It’s a pandemic, all these projects are popping up out of the woodworks and the DIY scene is kinda going crazy. I hear about shows everywhere at the weirdest venues, I mean seriously anywhere from skate parks to vintage clothing stores to some kid’s grandma’s backyard. I’m pretty sure I heard about some dude setting up different shows along a hiking trail or something. Super rad… but just really strange sometimes. When you put people in a box they tend to get pretty inventive.

How did Deep Fields first begin?

Chance encounters; I was sortof playing in another project that ended up forming into Deep Fields over time. I met our other guitarist Jonny at a Girls show, because we had literally been at like 4 of the same shows that week and recognized each other. Right before his old band broke up he ended up playing tambourine for us as a joke before he was officially in our band, but everyone liked his dance moves so much that we kinda had to take him. His little brother Timmy was sort of part of the package, which was rad. Dan had just come back from Berkley at the perfect time to join. Then Emily and I met Brooke at the Satellite where we were seeing Cotillon and The Babies, now she’s managing our band. Brian is the most recent addition, he saw us play at Harvard and Stone a few months ago and ended up playing the Rhodes piano for us a week later. We’re pretty much building a small army of musicians.

Tell us about the sunshine sheen that went into the single, “Salazar”?

We all have super diverse musical taste, like seriously anything from Early Genesis to Slowdive to 90’s R&B, but at that point in time I was listening to a lot of Byrds and Zombies and felt like writing a simple Jangle-Pop jam. The song pretty much just wrote itself, and it was all written and recorded in like a day or two.

What was the processes and methods at work during the making of your forthcoming self-titled?

A lot of all-nighters, recording with ghetto/ makeshift equipment at our practice space in Santa Ana and 3am mixing and mastering with Dan in my 1988 Bronco II. Super high budget shit.

Other Orange County artists you all want to give a shout out to?

We gotta give a shout out to our buddies in Dhaga Bloom. They’re seriously rad and Manny is the most down to earth guy you’ll ever meet. We’ve played a few shows with them and they always kill it. Ultimate face melting Fuzz/psych/gaze.

Deep Fields’ self-titled will be available March 31 via Bandcamp.

The Greatest Hoax

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Washington, DC’s Taylor Jordan is the man behind the project, The Greatest Hoax, premiering the electronic fantasia for the senses, “Memoria No. 1”. Having released various classical piano focused releases on Bandcamp like Opus no. 21, Volume 1 & 2; “Memoria No. 1” marks a trade for more electronic, contemporary and experimental angle of the analog/electric variety. And like the symphonies, and choral movements, and operettas composed over the time; Jordan incorporates a similar inquisitive spirit of applying similar sophisticated and scientific approaches to the electronic medium and operative mode.

Using his own style of basing compositions after people Taylor Jordan knows, “Memoria No. 1” takes the empathetic journey that details a character, a bond, and an audio avatar that abides by idiosyncrasies that ultimately indicate the arrangement. Drum machines beep in rhythmic pitter-patter while the descriptive synths push impressionist characters from the head nodding slow simmer of drum elements. Keeping true to the memory code of “Memoria”, the song travels where ever the representative inspiration travels, making for a meditative portrait of an individual of whom is only known by the artist. The Greatest Hoax’s Taylor Jordan talked to us for a bit, after the following debut of, “Memoria No. 1”.

What led you first to take up the piano, synths, and so forth?

I have always been a musical person. I started piano lessons when I was eight. Played bass in orchestra. Picked up viola. Added guitar. And intermittent banging on drums. I’ve played in competitions, recitals, and concerts. Worked weddings and parties as background music. I attended The University of North Texas for music composition. That’s when I really became interested in synths. It was mind blowing. Here I am, this classical music guy, having these synthesizers make incredible sounds, and thinking, I wonder how it would sound to incorporate these into classical pieces.

How did The Greatest Hoax begin, and what sorts of hoaxes inspired the name?

Living in DC, I’ve had a front row seat to the way that language shapes politics in certain areas like climate change, with some calling the debate entirely settled and others labeling global warming, ‘the greatest hoax.’ My project was sort of born out of this thought that there are different perspectives on issues, whether you agree with them or not, and how much emotion and work goes into pushing these agendas. People get really upset about this stuff.

So maybe it’s a representation of my inability to dismiss information, or maybe I’m just poking fun at the issue.

Tell us about the process of composing the cycles of Vol. 1 & 2.

Volume 1 and 2 came about during a difficult time for me. It might be super cliché, but they were the response to a bad breakup, they were my outlet. Sometimes when I couldn’t speak or say the right things, I let the piano talk for me. The pieces in these volumes are pretty intense for me even today. So it’s no surprise that the songs are melancholy. The songs are as close to the feeling I was going through that I could possibly represent. The pieces poured out of me. I finished each volume compositionally[sic] in a week, maybe two. I didn’t feel that the songs needed revising or rehashing. They were basic and raw, they didn’t deserve to be dwelled on. So I guess you could say the process was easy. I felt something strong, I composed the songs, and I released the music for people to hear.

How did the synthesis of “Memoria no. 1” come about for you?

“Memoria” is the beginning of a departure from my recent pieces. The evolution of my sounds has been fairly constant and smooth. I released the two volumes of piano solos, and then followed them by expanding the instrumentation besides just piano. Lately, I have kept the ambient and experimental sounds, but taken away the piano. In “Memoria”, the piano sounds have been replaced with an old Rhodes. The addition of the drums is something very new to me.

The concept of a “Memoria”, to me, is to compose a song based on the memory of a person. Not just a picture, but your interactions with the person, their character, and their energy. When you look back, what is your overall feeling about that person? It has been a bit experimental in my brain, but I think the idea has turned out fairly well. I have a whole series of these memorias in my archives.

It’s like my secret thing: If we get to know each other, I’ll turn you into a piece of music that represents who you are to me.

What other sorts of inspirations do you find inform your own creative compositions?

I have always been inspired by others. Perhaps it’s the jealousy inside me and my way of showing it, but if I hear something that inspires me, I want it, I want to play it, I want to create it. This was similar with my interest in piano at an early age. I never practiced unless I was inspired to play. I never played pieces that didn’t inspire me. I wanted to play pieces that I physically could not play, that I was not good enough to play. That is what drove me to learn, practice, become a better pianist, and ultimately to compose.

The latest from the D.C. scenes?

DC has an underrated music scene. Apart from the national acts that come through town, there is a pretty great DIY music scene that I haven’t even been able to scratch the surface of. Regardless, many different genres are represented in DC, which is really encouraging. I won’t feel too out of place playing.

What’s next for The Greatest Hoax?

The pieces I have released since October are part of an EP called ensō. I have released two piano volumes digitally. I would like my next release to have a physical presence, so I’d like to pursue some type of label representation for that purpose. I have been trying to work up a live set that incorporates the expanded sounds I have been using, but its taking a bit longer to accomplish. So in the meantime, I will be playing piano solos and re-imaginations of the larger works.

Listen to more from The Greatest Hoax via Bandcamp.

POW!

San Francisco's P

San Francisco’s P

When the nu-tech suburban-bridge and tunnel crowd encroached everywhere in San Francisco, signs of defiance were wheat pasted everywhere by culture jammers, and local band POW! sent one straight to the yuppie-scum-kisser with their album debut, Hi Tech Boom. Following up our own coverage of this album and previous discussions, we give you “Liquid Daydream”, the first listen from their forthcoming album, Fight Fire, available April 6 from Caste Face Records. In a spirit and style that is not at all out of line with the flagship band, Thee Oh Sees of their label operator John Dwyer’s infamy; “Liquid Daydream” hacks it’s way into those tubular time taps that Tim Presley, Ty, and numerous others utilize, but POW! combines 8-bit MIDI mods and machines that blare vocals into cosmic echo of warp zones. Recorded under the auspices of the revered over-seer of all things rock and roll these days-Chris Woodhouse; POW!’s Byron Blum took a moment to share with us the following exclusive behind the scenes insights:

Fight Fire was recorded and mixed in a week’s time with Chris Woodhouse at his studio, aka “the Dock” in Sacramento, July 2014. It was a real big pleasure working together with Woodhouse on this rec. We were able to dive deep and get completely lost in the moment. It felt really special. I feel like we’re sort of kindred spirits. This album is about finding peace inside a haunted house like the last scene in Beetlejuice with Winona Ryder. Cue “Jump In The Line” by Harry Belafonte.

Fight Fire will be available April 6 from Castle Face Records.

Satellite Jockey

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Having released the Surpise 2015 EP, Lyon, France’s Satellite Jockey are colliding ingredients from your favorite J-Pop melodies with a Euro leisure pop ethic as they prepare to release an album on the new imprint, Montagne Sacrée, and in partnership with AB records, Another Records& Kidderminster, providing a taste with, “Turning Into You”. Their garage-esque qualities found on the EP are finding sophisto roads that bring together the best feelings that celebrate the connective, invisible attachments that bring the closest of peoples, and feelings closer together. Check out our interview with Satellite Jockey, after the jump.

Give us the story on how Satellite Jockey was founded.

At the beginning I was on my own, I recorded my songs piling overdubs and overdubs and overdubs, and that was it. I was doing a kind of lo-fi pop despite myself (Trembling in the night, 2011). Then I met some people who offer to play these songs live, like a real band! And now we’re six.

Describe what the indie scenes are like in Lyon, France.

It’s quite abundant, there are a lot of different music styles, and some little places to hear them: le Kraspek Myzic, le Périscope, le Sonic (which is a boat), … and there is Grrrnd Zero too, that has been fighting for 10 years to organise the best shows in Lyon. I don’t think there is a unity inside the Lyon scene. I can give you the name of my favourite Lyon bands if you want : Sathönay(electric saz psychedelic music), Clara Clara (pop) & Balladur (new wave).

What’s the recipe and secret to your Eastern cadences that mesh into Euro dream pop?

I think I just try to make some “psychedelic” music, more or less… My notion of “psychedelism” changes through time. There were tones that sounded crazy to me some times ago that don’t have any effect on me anymore. Probably because I heard them too much. So you have to look for new ones ! Now I like the sounds of the early 90s digital synths because they seem exotic, new to me… and psychedelic.

Tells us about the experiences, and creative concepts that have been at work on your upcoming LP.

Falling will be our fourth record. Until then, our stated goal was to make albums as varied as possible, in which the listener gets carried from a musical style to another. We wanted to surprise him at any price. Like on the Beatles’ White Album. On Stars(2013), there is the krautrock track, the shoegaze part, the ambient, the 60s pop song… Today I find it a bit hard to listen… that was too much! For the new record, we tried for the first time to look for unity and coherence (as normal people do!). For the recording sessions, I had made a compilation of songs that went well together in order to have a goal while creating our sound. On it there were Cocteau Twins, the Lengendary Pink Dots, Julle Cruise, Enigma… a lot of reverb and digital synths! So we mixed this cold ambiance with our pop songs or post rock things. I like the result. I’ve always worked with references, to compose, arrange or record. Pre-existing music inspires me more that other things.

Thoughts on taking the garage elements of your sound and then polishing them into feather soft spools of audio silk, heard on, “Turning into You”?

We never meant to have a garage sound! Since the beginning of the band, we try hard to have a nice ‘produced’ sound, but with this next album it might be the first time we succeed in getting what we want. If the old discs sounded lo-fi, it wasn’t really deliberate at the time.

Other local like-minded alliances/artists?

Well, there are quite a lot of Satellite Jockey’s side projects : Kcidy, Collection Bernadette 3 and Youth Analog.Then feel free to check things on the website of our friends AB Records!

Lightning Bug

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Among the various clusters of buzz clamor and inbox overload, NYC band to watch Lightning Bug went and released their mesmerizing album, Floaters via their Bandcamp. One of January’s greatest releases (and frankly one from left field), get ready to hear how the time spent soaking in “Lullaby no. 2” and “Bobby” can possibly transform every aspect of your state of mind and disposition.

And that’s the warm up, the blaze of mind gazing vapor trails takes a whole otherworldly shape on “11 but not any more”, stirring the psych pop pot with “Garden Path Song”, keeping you caught in the ambient tractor beam via “Gaslit”, the chamber surface noise of “The Sparrow”, the psych suite of “A Sunlit Room”, to the towering citadel of thrash that is, “Labyrinth Song”, shooting you through the illuminating, “Luminous Veil”, the miraculous (and the track that deserves much discussion and dissection than we can provide here) “Luminous Veil”, as you land into the pastoral beds of grass, pedals, leaves, pollen, and the radiance of, “Real Love”. Not to be missed, truly one of the most beguiling, and one of the best albums of 2015. Immediately following the listen to Floaters, stay tuned for our exclusive interview with Lightning Bug.

Take us to the start when Lightning Bug first made a musical alliance, recording The Sunlit Room, Luminous Veil, to Floaters.

We actually started out as a group of best friends. When you hang out together that often, I guess you just start to make things together. “Lullaby No. 2” was the first song we ever made.

How do you all write, arrange, and produce songs together as Lightning Bug?

All the songs are born in a mysterious sleepy place, far from a real band mindset. More like a feeling that has to come out, rather than a laborious songwriting process. Does that make sense? Most of the melodies were actually lullabies Audrey came up with to help her fall asleep.

How do you attest to that conscious floating sound that permeates the music of Lightning Bug, and throughout Floaters?

I think that must be because we recorded and mixed the whole thing ourselves in our apartments, which meant that at any given time during the process, at least one person was half-asleep (e.g. the band name Lightning Bug comes from the text on a pair of pajama pants). Being partly in the dreamworld might contribute to a floating feeling in the music.

Other indie, lesser known New York artists you all are really into these days?

I really admire Mitski. Dunno if she counts as ‘lesser known.’

We love Mitski. Care to share Lightning Bug’s take on music, arts and more?

I feel like we haven’t yet earned the position to speak authoritatively on that kind of stuff, so I’m just gonna keep my mouth shut for now!

Floaters is available now via Bandcamp.

Oulipo

Introducing Oulipo; Raleigh, NC's Ryan Trauley.

Introducing Oulipo; Raleigh, NC’s Ryan Trauley.

Like a flying fleet of butterfly kisses descending on a lazy spring day, Oulipo’s “Dolphins” shoots out from the water to the heavenly skies. Off the forthcoming album, Kisses to the Sky; Raleigh, NC mainman Ryan Trauley sends big, bold expressive pop tones and sentiments up to the sky like a chorus of pyrotechnics. After sorting out the Oulipo cornucopia cavalcade of sound; we got the inside track from Mr. Trauley himself:

“Dolphins” begins as a vaguely German-sounding synthesizer opus, then morphs into a glossy, mid-tempo rocker in the vein of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”. With “Dolphins” and Kisses as a whole, we tried to make big, sincere pop music that’s unafraid of grand gestures, whether that’s harmonized guitar riffs or lyrics that verge on schmaltz (“I wouldn’t dance with another”). However, we were also interested in tinkering with the pop form a little bit too. More than any other track on the record “Dolphins” sits in that sweet spot between direct, pop music and something slightly more conceptual and subversive

Woolbear

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From Thessaloníki, Greece; a group by the name of Woolbear are readying their release, Lunar Operator, that zaps with that dance floor future funk styles of the suave and beautiful. So we bring you a taste with the dance-a-thon shoulder raiser “In Coma Berenices”, the cosmic chill voyage of “Hunter’s Game”, demystifying that radio squelch and static on the gentle beat coaster, “Radio Silence”. The band wrote us the following introductory foreword on the new album and more:

Woolbear introduce themselves through their ambitious debut LP, Lunar Operator. Striving over total creative control and experimentation, the Greeks opted to record mix and produce the album themselves, resulting in a dense multi-layered album, whose sound proves difficult to pigeonhole. Lunar Operator’s themes are mostly introspective. The songs are structured around laid-back vocal melodies complimented by lush synthesized soundscapes of an imaginary retro-futuristic Vangelis soundtrack, along with guitars that evoke the ambiance of Radiohead’s recent work. The rhythmic driving power behind the album though, lies in the counterpoint between an elaborate mixture of pumping acoustic and electronic beats with syncopating guitars inspired by funk and african music. Arguably, Lunar Operator is a testament to Woolbear’s will to boldly claim their own place in the vast realm of electronica.

Check out the Woolbear site for further details.

Roses

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Matt Scheuermann is Roses, who is readying the February 14 release of his self-titled EP for Stereophonodon, and we have an upcoming listen. The sound of Philadelphia solitude can be heard strummed out on the opening song “Boys”, flipping the pages forward to the reverent pulpits of “Preacher”, before leaving you with something to keep you warm all spring long with sun pop sung song; “Summer Sounds”. Catch our interview with Matt after the jump as well.

What prompted you to begin Roses, and why that particular varietal of flower for a name?

I’d been making music in various projects and under various names for the past ten years. It got to the point where I felt like I wasn’t making the music I wanted to make. I wasn’t spending the time I needed to spend on the songs. Roses is a new beginning for me. Changes were happening to me and I thought that a new musical endeavor was necessary and logical. I chose the name ‘roses’ because I wanted something relatively simple, but also something that does represent various things. It’s also just so common. I’d see the word ‘roses’ so many times throughout certain days. So I just decided on it.

What do roses signify for you personally?

I appreciate what a rose can represent. Sometimes a celebratory symbol, sometimes a symbol of death, of love. I also like the way it’s pronounced. The S’s sound like Z’s. And when it’s lowercased, it’s very aesthetically pleasing to me, visually. Gonna try to emphasize it in its lowercase.

Tell us the stories behind “Boys”, “Preacher”, and “Summer Sounds”.

Well, “Boys” is generally about my experience growing up and learning about the ways in which a ‘man’ perceives himself and other people. And how I think it’s very troubling and incongruent with my natural inclinations. Kind of just reflecting on how I consumed societal renditions of my supposed identity. And how they negatively affected my life and my perceptions.

“Preacher” is a song that I wrote after reading the Grapes of Wrath, which I only did pretty recently. I was fascinated by the character of the preacher. He was a person with a heavy religious past and had since began to abandon his practices. But there was still a lot of residual faith left in his soul. I related to that. And he seemed to still see the world and people and their experiences as meaningful. At least some of the time. I just liked the idea of a retired preacher. A veteran of organized faith. It’s kinda funny that I only recently read that book, and I don’t know how I feel about John Steinbeck entirely, but I enjoyed that book a lot.

I wrote “Summer Sounds” as a kind of sweeping look at a life, or my life. I mention a few monumental insecurities in there. From when I was growing up. And just how you discover your personality. How your humor is shaped. How discovering something like art can just explode you into another world. And just significance in everything. But it’s more or less just a simple pop song that’s satisfying to sing.

The latest indie Philly report?

I’m a newcomer to Philly, so I probably can’t analyze the scene here as well as other people, but it seems to be pretty awesome. Tons of bands and shows constantly. I’m discovering new bands all the time. Ask me in a year and I’ll give an in-depth report.

Next move for Roses?

Right now I’m just writing a full length. Definitely excited about the songs and the direction they’re heading. I’d love to really take some time with this one and try to record it with care and serve the songs as best I can. I’ve been enjoying not touring, but I think in the next few months, I’ll get the itch. Excited for it all.

The Roses EP will be available February 14 from Stereophonodon Records.

His album Let’s Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time is available now from Mexican Summer, and we got Torn Hawk (aka Luke Wyatt)’s own video for, “There Was a Time”. The artist’s self-made video combines a collage of imagines that placed and set into motions to mirror the electronic chamber enviornments that define his own mercurial modes of audio design.

With powers combined from select personnel from HSY and Egyptrixx; Anamai delivered the cut, “Lucia” from the upcoming Sallows album, slated for release March from Buzz Records. “Lucia” haunts like the choral atmosphere from an enchanted forested that springs forth hymns of natural and pagan orders of rites that commemorate the new day slow sun rise sparkle of sweaty, melting beads of drew droplets on a leaf.

Watch your hero and ours, Jenn Ghetto in her self-directed/home made video, “Tell Me”, off the super cool Cool Choices, album available from Hardly Art Records.

Keeping Alge’s “The Spirit of St. Louis” moving, check out the Starfox that shoots the deeply felt keys through the base in Corneria in a fearless, but perilous fight against Andross, who lurks somewhere on planet Venom.

From Jonathan Clancy’s Canada by Italy label, Maple Death Records, we bring you a listen to Havah’s “Meno Di Metà” from the 12″ split with His Electro Blue Voice (that features artwork and photography from U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy). “Meno” brings the kind of doom mood prime for any occasion, for DIY venues, secret venues, rooftop venues, underground venues, or right there in your very own living room.

Also off the Maple Death split, here is His Electro Blue Voice’s nearly 20 minute threat of real earth quivering perdition on, “Tartlas”. Must be heard to be believed, and understood.

Watch Melissa Ann Sweat’s title video for “Miracles”, off the March 3 slated Lady Lazarus album of the same name, available from Melissa’s own imprint, Queen’s Ransom. The choral resonance between the keys, Sweat’s voice, and strings soar into the infinite ineffable where all things are possible, and the possibilities of life and art are endless/limitless.

LA electro pop artist Kotomi will be releasing a new song on the first Tuesday of every month over the course of 2015, and we have the first listen with the infectious, “The Last Time”. Listen to more new-pop vibes via Kotomi’s Bandcamp.

Madegg has updated his name to M/D/G for his self-titled EP available March 23 on raum, the 12″ sister label of flau. We bring you the “sound of “?????” to provide you with a sparse but effective, and jolting botanical of body music that will be sure to quake your entire being into some kind of action or another.

And in case you missed it, check out the Virginia based Citrus City imprint’s Comp Tape Vol 1 that features tomorrows dreamers like Jade TV, Somerville Jack, Plum, Wakes, Strange Bodies, IBV, cityvswoods, and much, much more.

Catalan quartet Mourn’s self-titled will be available February 17 from Captured Tracks, and we present the Roger Guàrdia video of internal alienation and angst on, “Your Brain is Made of Candy” that involves an army of drummers that join in on the action. Peep their tour upcoming international tour dates here.

Diet Cig’s Over Easy will be available February 24 from Father/Daughter Records, and we go the video for “Scene Sick” directed by Christopher Daly. The enthusiasm and “don’t care” attitude is pushed to the max with the, “I just wanna dance” reiterations from Alex Luciano, along with Noah Bowman who eventually gets it on the spontaneous dancing action.

Found off the Creatures LP available February 10 from InFiné; Rone delivered good with the sound of heavenly places and celestial creatures with, “Sir Orfeo”, that features one of our heroes, Sea Oleena. Your day is about to become even better, and more beautiful. We promise.

Taken from Seven Davis Jr single Wild Hearts available February 9 from Ninja Tune; check out that new dance floor foot-steps and body action motions on, “Let Somebody Love You”.

Dick Diver dropped the new track “Tearing The Posters Down”, that tears down the old posters and posts up the new from their upcoming album, Melbourne, Florida, available March 10 from Trouble In Mind. Power-pop feel-good out with the old and in with the new vibes abound.

Featuring conscious pleas from Tumelo Khoza, Marquis Hill dropped some stream of jazz steeped thoughts on “Modern Flows Intro” from the EP of the same name, providing horn, rhythm and vibe sections to further your journeying of seeking and finding.

Dropping by a little psychedelic love song, Workman Song lent a little lazy day love note with the electric strummer of wayward wild spirits on “Crazy Girl”. Sean described the song to us with the following:

It’s about meeting the love of your life at a Salvation Army in Western Massachusetts and getting fired for it, but who cares. Love is love. There’s also some spanish in it, even though it’s about a Serbian chick.

Featuring extra production work from none other than Chaz Bundick, of Toro Y Moi & Les Sins; groove to the fresh future funk of Harriet Brown & Astronauts etc.’s chestnut of groovy gold, “Fiction”.

In case you missed it, hear Zola Jesus’s directional power gauging B-side, “Compass” the upcoming Hunger single available February 10 from Mute.

Dorthia Cottrell of Windhand shared American gothic slices of Americana with, “Oak Grove”, off her upcoming debut solo album available March 3 from Forcefield.

Sharing masked, slo-mo goth visuals for the title track, “Occult Delight” off their Light Organ Records album; Vancouver’s Mode Moderne present visuals of lost hall crawls, dubious outings, spray paint, puking, and hedonism seen like an addition to the canon of the extremity movement.

Tom Herman, aka Old Smile released the lazy, hazy, subtly psyched out album Over This Wall that provides tapestries for afternoons and evenings alike. Recording over the course of this past December and January, Herman has made some 30 limited edition pro-dubbed tapes with different photographs as the cover for each tape. Get “Carried Away” now.

With Revisionist available February 10 from Lost Tribe Sound; we invite you to a sneak peek listen to William Ryan Fritch’s baroque odyssey from “In Denial” through the curtain closing “Still” that feature Esme Patterson. For the long, dog days of winter, Fritch brings you a cycle of operatic proportions that follows the rises and falls, ebb and flow of all life’s towering heights and tides; and limitless plummets.

Hop Along’s Week in Pop

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Hop Along photos appear courtesy of Nik Vechery.

We are pretty excited about Hop Along’s upcoming album for Saddle Creek, and this week we are proud to present Hop Along’s Week in Pop co-curation courtesy of Frances Quinlan, Joe Reinhart, Mark Quinlan, and Tyler Long:

Rather than agree on 8 songs collectively, we sent our own individual picks.

FRANCES QUINLAN’S PICKS

Bjork covering Joni Mitchell’s “The Boho Dance”

If you ever listen to The Hissing of Summer Lawns, you can hear a lot of what must have inspired Bjork and Prince. And it was recorded in 1975! That’s crazy!! Honestly I spent a lot of last year listening to Court and Spark over and over. I just figured may as well have put two amazing songwriters together. Bjork executes the song perfectly.

Pavement, “Range Life”

I got into Pavement pretty late; and I hadn’t listened much to Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. When we went into the studio in November with John, I think the first morning while we were setting up, I put on “AT&T” from Wowee Zowee. John then put on this song and I became obsessed with it.

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MARK QUINLAN’S PICKS

Ryan Adams, “When The Summer Ends”

Ryan Adams finds an ideal balance between composition, melody and intensity. It is short and to the point with an amazing payoff at the end that doesn’t require a giant leap in terms of dynamic. He writes a lovely hook without indulging too much. I admire his ability to serve his songs. I’m not the biggest Ryan Adams fan, but 1984 feels pretty perfect.

Otis Redding, “That’s How Strong My Love Is”

No matter how many times I hear this song, my experience with it is visceral. I think of all the people I couldn’t bear to live without. Otis Redding takes me there every time.

JOE REINHART’S PICKS

Rancid, “Radio”

This whole record is way too long but the first handful of songs get me all wound up. I remember listening to it on the way to get my first decent guitar. My dad hated it. I’ve been listening to a lot of things that first turned me on to punk rock 20 years ago. This song is a good example of that.

Jenny Lewis, “She’s Not Me”

Am I getting old? Yes and it’s awesome. While this song is pretty safe, I’ve listened to it every chance I get. You can’t touch that beat, the whole thing is a hook, plus that thick dead snare? It’s like someone put all the things I like in a computer and this song came out.

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TYLER LONG’S PICKS

Beach Slang, “Dirty Cigarettes”

Uhh…that hook. Duh! This song hasn’t left my head for weeks.

Emmylou Harris, “Boulder to Birmingham”

Someday I’ll have a cabin in the woods with a nice rocking chair on the front porch but until then I’ll just pop this song on and dream away. To be honest I’ll still play it then too.

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