During these strange weather days of seasonal transitions, Impose’s Week in Pop rounds up some of the breakthroughs and standouts that kept us in high spirits this week. But first we take you through the headlines that weren’t football storylines and tabloids: We had plenty of Apple and U2 hype; McCartney made a video game theme song; Odd Future launched a radio network via Dash Radio; The Replacements played “Alex Chilton” on Fallon; Ryan Adams dropped an infomercial; Deadmau5 dukes it out in a legal battle with Disney; Mark Kozelek and the Hopscotch “fucking hillbillies“; the Grammy Museum mislabeled Daft Punk’s exhibit; Thurston Moore said more weird stuff about metal; Primal Scream guitarist Robert “Throb” Young passed away; and on top of all this, we’re losing one of the best DIY venues of all time, Brooklyn’s Death by Audio, as they are scheduled to close their hallowed indie doors in November.
But here to brighten up your Friday are breaking exclusives from GNTLMN, Hustle & Drone, Kiev, The Morning Clouds, FVLCRVM, Dada Plan, GYMSHORTS, Community Radio, co-curated by Face Tat, and more — in no particular order.
Human Touch (formerly GNTLMN)
Some super duo projects carry the kind of indie champions that need little to no introduction. Take Social Studies’ Natalia Rogovin and So Many Wizards’ Nima Kazerouni who have combined creative crossroads with the world premiere of their collaborative synergistic duo developed out of the darker painted shades of chivalry, Human Touch (formerly GNTLMN). The project started with Natalia’s exodus of solace up in Northern California. Music made from the sincerest expressions of the heart’s personal dialogues found its way to Nima when both were performing at SxSW, where the collaboration between the worlds of Social Studies and So Many Wizards began.
“Black Tongue”, debuting today, is a song made for estranged couples to dance apart to in an inner communion of reckoning, realization, rebuilding, regaining a grip on oneself, and understanding into the complex psychology of others. Natalia’s minimalist drum machine beat soliloquy of sorrow is met by the emotional space from Nima’s soft applications of guitars, while sweet synths shine a light on the inherit beauty beneath the veil of sadness. The last call barroom by ballroom night call rings with, “words are not match for your black tongue,” like the irreversible and unerasable conversations that hang in the balances between regret and resentment. Human Touch highlights in bold the break between bonds turned vicious, where the complexities and complications found in the mix can even be found in the sequential sections of the song. At the 4:15 spot where Natalia sings the alliterative closing lines, “you’ve been high, you’ve been low, feel the weight, let it go,” Nima breaks down the mix to the closing bend. We recently had the privilege of catching up with them both, in an interview feature that follows this premiere of “Black Tongue”:
Natalia, with your Nor Cal retreat from the LA beach coast, and Nima bouncing between AZ and LA, how did you two old friends brainstorm and begin the GNTLMN/Human Touch project?
Natalia: Human Touch (formerly GNTLMN) started two summers ago when I was in the midst of a deep depression. I just had my heart broken, I wasn’t happy at my job, and I was over the city. I went to stay for a while in a place called Heartland in Northern California. The house ran on generators and solar, and my nearest neighbor was a mile away. I was surrounded by rolling hills and oak trees. Deer and rabbits would hang out in the yard, and I just started to write a bunch of songs — experimenting with programming drums and different recording techniques. I had no specific notion of what it was all for. A year later in Austin, after a crazy all-nighter at SxSW, I shared the songs with Nima. He loved what he heard and asked if he could lay down some additional arrangements. The first track he sent back was “Black Tongue” — he had written these perfectly placed and beautiful chorused guitar leads and vocal falsettos. I listened to the track, picked up the phone, and said, ‘Yeah, you’re in. Let’s do this.’
What lead you both to choose the former moniker, GNTLMN, gentlemen sans the vowels? And what is it about the antiquated terms like gentlemen and ladies that are so old school but still prevail in the current contemporary lexicon, despite the post-gender, post-sign/signifier movements?
Natalia: For me, the term Gentlemen evokes this nostalgia for a sense of virtue and honor that has been somewhat lost in today’s world — a time when virtue and morality were incredibly important to the way people conducted their lives. Gentlemen have fierce moral codes that they live and die by, and I think our music contains a tension and interplay between that nostalgic, aching quality, and a very modern, electronic aesthetic. So GNTLMN just has the right vibe. We initially had it all spelled out, but found out that there were already couple other bands with similar names. We thought about changing the name, but nothing was as good — it was so clear that GNTLMN was the name of the project. We just decided to misspell it so we could keep it!
From the carpe diem of “Living Young”, to the devastating “No One Wants To Dance”, and our debut of “Black Tongue” — what sorts of interiors of self and societal reflections inspired the personal places of depression and redemption of “Black Tongue”?
Natalia: “Black Tongue” was inspired by this feeling I had during a breakup fight. I had dated a guy who was particularly sharp tongued, and right in the middle of one of our last fights, I had this sudden thought. What was the purpose of fighting if we already knew it wasn’t working out? Why go out guns blazing? It’s easy to see the bad in someone when they aren’t giving you what you want. I wanted to end our time together by just appreciating the good things that had come from the relationship, like what we had learned and experienced — the connection and the love we had shared. We knew it was over, and neither of us was ever going to ‘win,’ so why fight?
Then what was the creative process like in writing, developing, arranging, sequencing, and then working with Lewis Pesacov?
Natalia: We did a lot of the work ourselves before going to Lewis. The songs had been fully recorded and rough mixed by us when we brought them in, so we were really looking to take something that was just a bit black and white and bring it into full color. We re-recorded all the vocals in a vocal booth with a much better microphone and re-tracked all of Nima’s guitars to get the perfect tones. We also added some organic and percussive drum elements. Lewis had an incredible set of custom toms that he had never used before and that were perfect for the songs. Lewis was really creative throughout the process, but also respected the core ideas of the original mixes. We didn’t want to fix anything that wasn’t broken. It really felt like the perfect match.
Excited to hear about your the live debut show September 23 at Bootleg HiFi, what should we expect from the live rendering of Human Touch/GNTLMN?
Nima: We’re pretty excited to share these songs in a live setting. We’re both also a little nervous — it being our first show with GNTLMN but the live set is coming along nicely. It’s definitely going to sound big.
What is it about the synth spheres and analogous but next-level illumination of GNTLMN that you feel your work in your respective groups—Social Studies, So Many Wizards, Crown Plaza, etc—has informed, and inspired Human Touch/GNTLMN?
Nima: I am absolutely incorporating a lot of what I’ve learned recording and writing in other projects. You can hear it in my falsettos and guitar tones. But at the same time — and I’m sure Natalia agrees — GNTLMN is a beast of its own. It’s unlike anything I’ve worked on before. I love getting a track from Natalia and having to think outside of the box to bring out certain elements and movements from within the songs to make them hit harder. Sometimes it calls for something super subtle and for some, bigger changes. Regardless, it’s really fun and special to collaborate with each other.
Can you give us any more previews of the what future EPs and LPs from GNTLMN might sound like?
Natalia: The 80s are knocking, probably want to grab a tissue box.
Can you leave us with parting words of wisdom, intrigue, introspection, etc?
Natalia: Live like a Gentleman, but stay young.
Nima: Do what you want to do in living color.
Stay tuned for more coming soon from GNTLMN, like them on Facebook.
THE MORNING CLOUDS
Denver’s The Morning Clouds are the brainchild of Josh Wambeke, who debuts new song “Lumen” off the upcoming album Wayward Summers that has been years in the making. First arriving into the indie pop global consciousness with the Lefse release of the Wasted Youth Blues EP back in 2011, Wambeke along with the group’s former percussionist John Fate began to lay down the incandescent foundations that would later become the Wayward Summers album, coming September 16 from Jaunt Records. Not concerned with the conceits of thematic constructs or conceptual hubris, Josh lets the music guide the mechanisms of memory to bring back faded and disjointed points from the past. These fragmented recollections return in the form of reverb-drenched scenes from rebellious summers of youthful indulgence and idle behaviors.
“Lumen” is the track that broadsides the mind like the rolling bursts of sun heat that summer enjoys in its twilight days. The luminescence of the song works in different stages, and from different points of perceptual shifts. The guitar work and vocals from Josh Wambeke provide a cadence throughout the piece, as spondaic progressions return while the song works in manners like the way the air feels turning from midday to the night’s quiet whistling prelude of breeze. Through the many mansions of “Lumen”, the expansion of spacial audio effects are performed gracefully by keyboard and organist, Lanette Walker, with guitar reinforcement from Spencer Alred, creating sky scraper summers made of crystal windows, and a palm tree framed autumn. Josh talked to us about recording album Wayward Summers, and the single “Lumen”, following the song’s debut here:
Can you describe the stream of consciousness thread that shed light and illumination on the incredible track, “Lumen”?
I remember writing “Lumen” at a time when I was struggling to find direction for the album. The song basically wrote itself. I sat down in my living room on the floor with a guitar and practice amp. The first thing I played was the verse riff, and everything else just flowed after that.
How do you feel the breadth of work from your other projects has informed The Morning Clouds?
Every project I have been in has focused on atmosphere and texture, and trying to create a certain mood. With The Morning Clouds, I wanted to focus more specifically on the songs, but also keep it spacey.
You have eschewed the particulars of themes and experiences as not being the creative foundation of your work, but how do you feel that feelings of nostalgia shape what you have been doing with music over the course of the past 20 years?
I’m not entirely sure why I focus on nostalgia in my writing so much. I don’t try and revisit my past purposely. But for me, music and memories come hand in hand. Any time I am writing a song or listening to something, it takes me somewhere I’ve been before, or reminds me of people I used to know. I feel like I need to understand and sort it out. It’s inspiration I guess…
What have these 20 plus years taught you?
It’s taught me to keep experimenting, as it’s easy to become complacent after time has lapsed. I think just learning multiple instruments and being able to self-record has been a gift to me. It’s allowed me to release music for the last 15 years of my life.
Your favorite unknown artists that everyone needs to hear right now?
Mike Marchant, Emerald Siam, Ned Garthe Explosion.
Can you leave us with perhaps a prelude to the endless conscious stream of summers on your upcoming album, Wayward Summers?
These songs are all fragments of those rebellious summers in my youth, faded and disjointed. It’s like time travel through my memory with lots of reverb.
The Morning Clouds’ album Wayward Summers will be available September 16 from Jaunt Records.
HUSTLE & DRONE
Fresh off of Hustle & Drone’s album Holyland, we bring you the video premiere of “Bhikshu” performed live in an old church, directed by Ben Lyerly. The Northwest synth pop dance enthusiasts bring their preacher kid electronic undercurrents front and center to the pulpit, paying an homage to the Jainist monk, Acharya Bhikshu of the Svetambar Terapanth sect. Performed in a de-sanctified chapel, the sanctuary becomes an electric vessel like a sarcophagus ark to contain the global values and ever enduring ideals of equality, generosity, non-violence, and tolerance through song.
With the light beaming through the stained glass shining bright behind the Portland three, fog machine spirits play around Hustle & Drone as they craft keys, consoles, electric bass, issuing posi edicts of eternal enlightenment. The approach to evolved, plugged-in instrumentation is adhered to as if the modern day advancements and developments of music machinery were as primitive as paleolithic, minstrel tool objects used to convey concepts of abstract metaphysical notions. Following the live performance debut of “Bhikshu”, H&D join us for a discussion about their new album Holyland, and more.
How did the church performance of “Bhikshu” come about?
It’s actually pretty awesome. Our buddies are in a band called Adventure Galley and they run a label called Internet Piracy Records. They actually live in an old church that hasn’t been used as an actual church for quite some time. It has the giant stained glass window, as is evident in the video, and they still have a working bell tower. It is just a really cool place to hang out. They hit me up asking if we wanted to film and record a couple songs in the church as the first band in a series of many performances by Portland acts that they will be recording and shooting. So this is the first video they have actually done at the church and I think it looks great.
Were the acoustics different from the other venues for performance that you all are used to?
Well, being that six dudes were living there and it was carpeted, it didn’t quite have the reverb or characteristics of an empty cathedral, but it was really all about the atmosphere and visuals of the sun shining through the stained glass behind us while we performed one of our very personal songs about death. I think it was really quite a magical moment and I think the friends of ours who attended would agree with that.
What was the process of arranging, writing, and recording your full-length Holyland like?
It was a really intense but enjoyable process. It was different from anything I had ever done because it took place over the course of a year and a half, 4 different recording sessions, and about 60 demos cut down into 12 songs. We started writing the new record pretty much right after we released our self-titled EP in July 2012.These were all practice space demos that we took with us to a friends beach house the following December where we spent two weeks polishing our top 12 songs at that time. We then followed up with about 50 instrumental demos to see if any parts stuck out or were worthy of becoming songs for the record.
Not long after that I hired Sonny DiPerri to engineer, produce, and mix the record. Having an outside ear around to help shape these songs and provide ideas I just wouldn’t have thought of was amazing! After spending two weeks at my house in Portland, we went out to another beach house for two weeks to really focus on tones and structures and eating rad dinners, I personally love escaping Portland to record. We plan on doing the next record with Sonny because the experience was so positive and motivational for me. He believed in me and we both trusted each other so we were able to work together to craft a cohesive album from start to finish. A couple of the songs even came into play months later that I wrote and recorded alone in the basement and with the full band. There was no point when we said, “The record is done,” until the very final mixes were printed. We allowed ourselves space and time to finish a product and that is so important.
What else do you all have in the works?
We have a couple more music videos in the works at the moment and a few collaborations with Portland artists, but our main focus right now is writing and recording our follow-up to Holyland. We have about 50 demos from our practice space that we are ready to flesh out and explore. It is a really fun process to sort through old songs and relive some of the excitement, and spend a few weeks making them even more exciting, then taking a short break and doing it all over again. It’s just great for me to see how songs progress with time.
Other artists that we should be listening to?
I will use this opportunity to rep a few of my favorite Portland bands at the moment:
Shy Girls, Minden, And And And, Aan.
All these bands either have already or are on the verge of breaking out of Portland and you will be hearing a lot about them in the coming months.
We present the video premiere of Kiev performing their album title inspiring track, “Falling Bough” captured by Tony Corella. Found on the Orange County band’s debut album Falling Bough Wisdom Teeth, the natural cycles of impacted molars and fallen branches are brought out through the precision pointed performance given by Kiev’s personnel of Andy Stavas, Brandon Corn, Derek Poulsen, Alex Wright, and Robert Brinkerhoff.
Kiev’s “Falling Bough” visuals from Tony Corella focus in on everything from the arranged instruments, band portraits and intimate views of the artists in concentrated action and timing cue applications. The mood and craft of Corella’s video follow the song’s instinctive autumn fall of leaves, boughs, wisdom teeth, and pensive modes of reflective and decisive responses. Kiev’s live rendering of “Falling Bough” also showcases the shared wavelength that Robert, Alex, Derek, Brandon, and Andy inhabit as every note, rhythmic consideration and atmospheric addition flows into one another in a seamless stream of extra sensory perception that a group cannot gain by obsessive practice sessions alone. Guitarist and singer Robert Brinkerhoff gave us some insights on the live performance of “Falling Bough”, and how that song became the titular centerpiece of their album, Falling Bough Wisdom Teeth:
We realized really early on how lucky we are to have a primo group of filmmakers and creatives in our tribe. We started making performance videos long before releasing a proper album and it’s always been the best representation of what we do. The video’s director, Tony Corella, really wanted to approach “Falling Bough” differently from the others – trading a well-lit multi-camera documentation approach for a moodier, more manipulated feel. What we ended up with is definitely something that bends between a performance video and a music video. The song itself takes its name from the album cover’s painting by Walton Ford and is a key turning point in the chronological flow of themes where lyrics shift from observance to action.
Kiev’s debut album Falling Bough Wisdom Teeth is available now.
Meeet Pišta Kráľovič, who operates under the name FVLCRVM, heralding from Bratislava, Slovakia with productions that channel styles by way of Houston’s historic Fifth Ward; riding pretty in a candy-bucket chromed, chopped, and with a cherry sprayed screw. Known for his work in the band Nvmeri, and connected to the Slovakian DIY imprint, Gergaz — we present to you the debut listen to FVLCRVM’s rework of Brandy & Monica’s “The Boy is Mine”.
Pišta picks up the late 90s hit and hits with a new arranged structure, arrangement, and altered pitch-shifted vocal loops. Brandy & Monica’s original vocals are dunked in that lean, slowed down viscosity, where the quicksand-trapped rhythm settings reach toward the entire globe with a whole new MPC-mapped series of routes and regiments. Sure to inspire arbitrary, out of the blue-inspired moves on the nearest polychromatic dance floor near you, the absolute moment of shining, shimmering brilliance is when the FVLCRVM remix turns into a suspended diamond containing many facets, sides, faces, and sounds. Join us following the premiere for our interview with Pišta Kráľovič.
When did you first hear Brandy and Monica’s 1998 classic, “The Boy is Mine”, and then when did you realize that you were going to slow it down in an oozing synth bubble recipe?
I used to watch MTV with my sister in the mornings before we were heading to school. Kind of a ritual. Albums were horribly expensive for us and we had no internet back then so yeah, this was the only encounter with the music like this. I started to dig into those days’ hits a little and found this so I had to make a tribute. But the original music for this track is pretty rad so I had to change it somehow. Sometimes it’s hard to remix a really good song.
When did the FVLCRVM title first stick with you, and why? How did you first begin the composition/production game?
Before I got my first Stratocaster I was all into jet fighters. I’ve spent hours watching them from my window and building plastic model kits. Actually sometimes I watch a documentary about some of these machines now and then. FVLCRVM or fulcrum is the NATO code for my favourite one – the russian MiG-29. I just can’t explain why things built entirely for function can have such a strong aesthetic value.
Tell us about Gergaz Records, and how the imprint came about, and some of your other favorite artists on the label.
Gergaz is [an] absolute phenomenon here in Slovakia. They formed a small community of producers, DJs and music enthusiasts and became visible more in the world than their own country. I work with some of them in a local TV [station] and it really sucked me in. It’s totally a different thing having some people around pushing you. I like most of their acts but Jimmy Pé is also my dear friend and I like what he’s doing and how he’s doing it, because he uses completely different approach from what I do.
What is it like in Bratislava, how has it impacted your music, what kinds of scenes are there?
Bratislava is a typical post-communist little city. Most of the people came here just because of work so for a long time it was strictly money oriented. But I guess that is slowly changing these days. Because of its location (80km from Vienna) most of the Slovakian talent is moving here if it isn’t abroad. I think hip hop, drum&bass and tech-house are the genres most of the people react to. But there is a also an underground scene of noise and experimental music in suburbs. The quality of music is growing overall but I think it’ll take couple of generations to hit the world with something original.
Can you give us the scoop on any releases in the works?
I’m working on some last remixes and starting to collaborate with some of my friend-producers from US before I move to another EP which I’ll start to work on next month and should be done by the end of this year.
Other things you’re excited about?
Yeah I got some nice gigs as FVLCRVM and my band nvmeri ahead. Italy, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary. Really looking forward to seeing new people react to what I do. It’ always exciting. And yeah, video is my weaker part although it’s my day job, but I’ll find some time to give some of my tracks a visual side.
Introduce yourself if you haven’t already to Dada Plan, who bring the infectious outsider attitudes of oddball songs with titles like “The Hanging Mirrors of Life-Skype”, off the album, A Dada Plan is Free produced by Black Mountain’s Josh Wells. The project comes from Vancouver’s panoramic vistas of Great Bear Rainforest. Dada Plan gives you more than some cheeky cell phone word play on ‘data plans’ and the dadaist art movement, as every moment provides a new sound, a new piece of an increasingly strange puzzle. Here the strings and horns work to reign in the arsenal shelling from an army of vintage organs, synths, noise makers, and a delivery that intrudes into the comforts of the listener’s complacency. The artist known as Dada Plan joins us for a talk, following this listen to “The Hanging Mirrors of Life-Skype”.
How in the world did Dada Plan first come into existence?
By chance and by birth in one case.. We’re part of a community like any band, but for Dada Plan the idea of doing something 100% reflective made it effortless. We were restless so we decided to start something without having to discuss what.
Explain to us how the dada movement first informed your work…and how it continues to…
The word Dada symbolizes the most primitive relation to surrounding reality, a relation with which Dadaism in turn establishes a new reality. The word encouraged and reminded us of how we could work: now music is no genre.
There are some weird classic strings incorporated with synth-keyboard obsessions, how does this all happen mixing strings with the emulation of algorithmic knowledge?
The real strings on our record are made by bowing a double bass, and the emulated ones are produced with a Juno 60 and a prophet. It was a conscious conceptual decision to blend analog and digital sounds to create an atmosphere where anything can co-exist, it’s a reflection of now: there’s no sense in choosing between ‘old’ and ‘new’ sounds when everything is immediately accessible.
What is life like out in the Great Bear Rainforest, Vancouver?
It’s relevant and tight. Communities stick together and keep their traditions sacred even in a modern sense. We’re inspired by the energy coming from the central coast, the controversy over pipelines, the sprituality embedded in the land, and the way that feeling can affect people through music.
What else has been shaking out in both the GBF, and Vancouver as of late?
Dada Plan is lucky that we’re involved in a new live music venue call The Lido in Mount Pleasant that also has a recording studio we work out of and a band hostel attached, so for us that kind of feels like the center of the universe right now.
What was it like working with Black Mountain’s Josh Wells on A Dada Plan is Free, and as a response to the title, is a Dada (obv word play on data, yes?) Plan truly ever free beyond the existentially entertained conceits?
Working with Josh was perfect, he had a lot to teach us and in turn I think he felt pretty liberated by our approach…He dove right into our vibe and made so many vague ideas we had possible with his wizardry.
…Compared to a data plan, yeah. A dada plan is free. Obviously we chose the band name cause we thought it was a clever pun, but the album title, a Dada Plan is Free, is meant inspire: The modern ritual is expensive, the alternative is free.
Are data plans interfering ultimately with the dada plans and designs of a perpetually sporadic and dissociative stream of art movements? Is digital truly the ultimate destroyer?
Data plans, or whatever they represent in this case, distract people from chance encounters, which, in terms of sporadic art movements, are pretty crucial, so yeah, it’s just something worth considering. Digital itself is no destroyer at all really, but habitually being glued to instagram while you’re at the bar, etc, is boring, and boredom is the opposite of creativity.
The life-and-death continuum hangs solemnly in a weird and eccentric balance on, “The Hanging Mirrors Of Life-Skype”, mixing our greatest questions with the internet medium of digital relationship maintenance and development?
The setting of “Mirrors” is a sort of dystopian church hall where strangers gather to sit across from each other in front of a two-sided hanging mirror with holes cut out from it where the eyes and mouth would be. Each person confesses to the other their deepest secrets, seeing the other persons eyes and mouth appear on their own face as they react to the confession. It seemed to me like there could be no weirder idea for someone who’s spent a lifetime editing what they tell people in texts and emails.
What is about this idea of IRL manifestations of events and urges brought to life from the URL binary forces of Skype?
Skype is a reflection of the age of self, so Life-Skype is like Life-Self, a post-digital idea about a mind that’s totally conditioned for online life suddenly forced offline. We’re not a folk band, these are just things you can write songs about.
Keep up with Dada Plan via Soundcloud.
GYMSHORTS take all the bank notes of debts and fellow debtors, crumble and shred them up metaphorically in the thrashing video for “Owed To The Bank”. Off their No Backsies album from Wiener Records and dropping September 16 on Manimal; the Rhode Island peace disturbers rip up the rules, conventions, restrictions, regulations, tariffs, status quo in song that toasts to “being broke forever.” GYMSHORTS are the band for everyone that feels let down by the state society or the world. GYMSHORTS bring some genuine, no holds barred affection for the disaffected, and bring some of the rowdiest and realest backyard rock that propels neighbors to call the cops and landlords to retain security deposits. GYMSHORTS are Sarah, Devin, Faulkner, and Nunz—the school ditching slackers your parents warned you about how got suspended for smoking in the bathrooms, wearing whatever they wanted to during gym class, and P.E. They currently are on tour, and sent us the following dispatch about No Backsies, and the video for “Owed To The Bank” from the road:
We recorded No Backsies in our practice space in an old mill right outside providence. Our roommate and good friend Jared Mann recorded us and we just took a day or two to bang it all out since we all pretty much hate recording. Once it was done our good pal Taylor Warf made this video for us. We just thought it’d be fun to get hammered and fuck around with a green screen plus Taylor does some really cool editing and has a hilarious sense of humor so we really wanted him to make it. Providence is cool like that — there’s a ton of really creative people — lots of artists and musicians and there’s a pretty awesome sense of community and support going on!
Sydney’s Community Radio caught ears this week with the catchy single about motion spurned nausea, “Sick In The Car”. Available now as a 7″, released through Tenorio Cotobade, the band has been busying themselves working on a new album for release later this year, etching out new ear-worms that demand and deserve repeated listens for maximum merriment. Days in the life, charged objects, weather, travels and more are chronicled throughout “Sick in the Car” as the band’s rhythmic power chords keep everything moving as the strums imitate the excitement of both butterflies and puke fluttering out of the stomach. Community Radio’s main man Cameron Emerson-Elliott was kind enough to talk to us over long distance wires, featured after this following listen.
What prompted you to begin Community Radio, and what is about the concept of public radio outlets, citizens bands, alt-subversive-podcasts, pirate stations and the like that brought you to adopt the name Community Radio?
Community Radio started, really, when a friend gave me a first-on support with Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun and The Sleepy Jackson) at a small venue in Sydney’s Southern beaches. At that point I had a bunch of layered bedroom lo-fi recordings that I was building a MySpace page around, but was told by his manager all the supports had to play stripped back at the show. That’s the point I decided to shift focus to honing the songs and a performance that could work in that simple bare bones environment. Community Radio has since grown into a proper band, but we try to keep that elemental nature to how we make music.
It’s great that the name Community Radio invokes good feelings in so many people we interact with. Mal (our drummer) and I both worked in a Community Radio station in Canberra when we lived there – and even just saying those two words out loud feels like an invocation for the good vibes and the adventurous, maverick, independent and inclusive spirit that lives in Community oriented stations and the people that work/volunteer for them.
The A-side “Sick in the Car” from Tenorio Cotobade is pretty rad, what is the story behind the imprint you released it on?
The label is strictly vinyl and run by this lovely guy Jorge from Madrid in Spain, who’s just such an enthusiastic music dude and really great to work with. So far they’ve put out two great records by Irish band “Ginnels” and another 7” from a great band based in Seattle called Zebra Hunt. Very much looking forward to seeing where in the world their next release comes from.
Do you actually suffer from car sickness?
Not really. The Sick in The Car I’m talking about in the song is more related to teenagerdom and social anxiety, and that period of your life where your spending time with your friends (a lot of it in cars), and having a gnawing in your guts for other reasons.
How did this song first begin from sketching stages?
Kinda ridiculously. I had a melody, which I played on a kazoo over some chords into my phone. Pat and I then kicked the song around in my kitchen one evening, and we figured out a structure and it seemed to work with these lyrics I’d been working on. The next week we were recording at a friends house, and we just gave the song a go. The third time we all played it through everything seemed to stick, so we kept the live tracks, I finished the lyrics, and we we overdubbed vocals and another guitar for the break down at home. Then we got Wayne (Connolly) to mix it, and make it sound like a million bucks.
What is the Community Radio method, is it more of a commune type of mentality, or is it democratic?
The day to day mechanics of organizing and planning for the band is on me really, but we’ve all known each other for years (Jen and I are a couple) – so no one’s gonna let me get away with being too much of a dictator.
Will there be an EP or LP happening soon?
We’ve got the next album written, and had planned to record it ourselves earlier this year, but this changed when our drummer Mal contracted Encephalitis. He’s been out of action since Easter — but he’s recovering really well and we’re now booked in to record in January. We’re planning now to go in with Wayne as a proper producer this time (not just mixing) and try to get it done in a more old fashion style — where you don’t end up spending bleary hours tinkering with overdubs yourselves at home.
How has Sydney and the Australian outback lands inspired or lent any inspiration for you and the band?
I always thought you could hear it in the bands from Australia that we love (Go-Between’s, the Triffids) — but a friend recently played me the first Tom Verlaine solo record that sounds like all those bands stole that stark, awkward wind-swept clanging sound straight from him.
Sydney bands that you think need more attention, focus, and ears?
We’re playing with Unity Floors to launch the 7” this Friday night here in Sydney — they are great fun. We’re also big fans of King Tears Mortuary, and Step-Panther — who both make great, skewed guitar pop.
Community Radio’s Sick in the Car 7″ is available now from Tenorio Cotobade.
Cleveland duo Nicole Barille, and Sam Meister, aka Mr. Gnome return to follow up 2011’s Madness in Miniature with their new ambitious album undertaking, The Heart of a Dark Star available November 18 from El Marko Records. In the land of Mr. Gnome, madness exists in minimalist to maximalist expanses; just like their new featured single “Rise & Shine” begins with a lo-fi taped introduction that then takes off into the night in a hand clap and kazoo fueled bumblebee flight. Nicole and Sam pack the force and ferocity of a 8 piece band where there is no telling where they will take you next on a new journey through time and space. The closing section of “Rise & Shine” is a collage collection of clock sounds that might harken to the band’s unabashed love for the chronometric systems obsessed over in the Pink Floyd catalog.
Last week we got some exclusive words from Chase Harris on Deep Cuts’ new video for “Serpents” and they just released the Love Grows EP. The Houston group takes their sound toward the tropics and leans toward the West African music movements of the past 50 years to South American sensibilities heard from the opening gates of the vivacious, “Cigarette Boat”, and the speedway cruising song of unusual and original time signatures on, “Causeway”. “Serpents” percolates and meditates to it’s own gravity of serpentine crawls through labyrinthine mazes. “Alchemist” keeps the Caribbean-Latin guitar creating ripples and waves, while “Arcus Cloud” jangles at full speed ahead on it’s own accord. The spacy emotive closer “Barely There” extends reach for the hand of another that is met with some of the gorgeous hooks that need to be heard in order to start your fall off on the proper footing. Deep Cuts’ EP Love Grows is the story of the band’s home in the Greater Houston-Galveston Coastal Corridor, where untold stories and sounds wait to unfold before your ears and minds.
Visual artist and co-founder of Orange Milk Records Keith Rankin is Giant Claw who dropped “DARK WEB 005″, from the 12” available in late September/early October from Noumenal Loom. The result is what could be the sound of musical production’s future, where the melodic pop paths are taken through unconventional utterances and edited sound bites that ultimately create the sound of human DNA intermingling within the mythologized TOR gateways to the sub-nets of worlds and parts unknown. The sequences takes steam into what at times seems like classical methodologies that embrace the styles that have yet to be named.
As heard the other night on KCRW, Austin’s Lonely Child remixed Henry Green’s “Shipwreck” where we Bryan Ray gets behind the operating control deck to turn and twist things around. A solo artist known for mixing personal and observational musings into delicate and sometimes sparse forms, Ray’s remix of Henry Green’s provides a powerful reconstructing weapon sure to sink the mightiest of Titanics to ever set sailing forth on the seven seas. Follow all of our coverage of Lonely Child here.
L’Orange delivered good on the EmaLee Arroyo video for “Need You” ft. Blu off the Mello Music album, The Orchid Dayshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-orchid-days/id808894976, that also includes appearances from some of our favorites like Billy Woods, Homeboy Sandman, Jeremiah Jae, and so on. The piano aligned key notes that gently careen courtesy of L’Orange’s production and Blu’s forever firm and immediate delivery are given a neo-apocalyptic visual affair that brings the end of the world to the mythological beginnings.
Brooklyn via Denmark’s Miss Marlow dropped the track “Something Special” to wake you out of your daydream spell to the constellation controlling delivery from Marlee Pfeifer (from the group Snatch). Special things, and too much of a good thing is written out in the guttural and glittering guitar rock twinkling of midnight star spun soirees. Find Miss Marlow at Arlene’s Grocery September 12.
Richmond, VA trio White Laces tied their trainers up in the presentation of the “Nothing Clicks” single off their Jeff Zeigler produced Trance album available October 7 from Happenin’ Records. The classic self-made artist persona that makes up the Happenin’ roster is on full display here, letting glimpses of the artist’s inner lamentations show, the looping new romantic guitars coast the dream scheme forward as the song becomes one beautiful chorus hook that fades with sustained vocal following the sonic directions.
Check out the sublte, sparse, and effective ethereal sing and dream along of Stuart Newman’s “One Big F”, available September 16 via self-release. It’s a strum about adventure where the guitars grumble in the background while loops of aligned beats and vocal cuts careen into the carousel of a perpetual rhythm.
J Fernandez has declared that he will release his upcoming Memorize Now EP October 14 on the beloved imprint; Atelier Ciseaux, leading us into the cosmic green and lush pastures of “Cosmic Was”. Justin takes his Chicago chops that combines his experience at the Rand McNally map company to playing in various acts into shimmering apartment-addled jazz with the home-cooked touch.
Megafortress harmonizes electric atmospheres of lives lived in a world of balances on, “Live in Grace” from the upcoming debut album, Believer, available November 4 from Driftless Recordings. The worlds that exist between the polarities of up and down are locked in two movements of a moment’s hesitation where the world stands still from it’s rotating access to observe an existence that finds a common grounded plane.
San Francisco’s own school of cool that rules; Cool Ghouls “The Mile”, ahead of their forthcoming album, A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye, available November 11 from Empty Cellar Records. The Bay Area quartet brings some of the craziest retro vibrations of psych-shop pure gold that we heard was recorded by Sonny Smith, and mixed by the exceptionally awesome, Mikey Young. Cool Ghouls are one of the indie garage groups that is keeping SF a wonderful place to be, all over again. For further listening, we highly recommend Cool Ghouls’ self-titled.
Amsterdam producer lo sé joined the CSCN family with the release of the Fantasma EP. The opening track “Fantasma” takes everything you once ever understood about electronic based music from the Netherlands and spins it into a new maximized phenomenon that trips over the contemporary cadences of current popular aspects that treats the understated attitudes towards creating new atmospheres with a reverent respect. “Quick Crawl” is lead by acoustic guitars, taking you through crawl spaces and new hiking paths to brand new destinations of discovery. The EP closes with the snappy chronological concerns of “Time” that does not waste a moment to continue to reshape as many parts of the mix as lo sé deserve to tailor, alter, and/or re-tailor. Not to be missed.
Also from Cascine, don’t miss Lemonade’s intoxicating video for “Durutti Shores” directed by Oscar Boyson that features the many gestures, glances, and exchanges between the band and every fascinating and beautiful person they come into contact with.
From the crux of the temporal paradoxes, Brooklyn’s We Are Temporary (fronted by Stars & Letters boss, Mark Roberts) covers Lana Del Rey’s “Gods & Monsters” ahead of the debut album, Gemini available February 2015 on Stars & Letters Records. The classic groupie groove dreams get dropped into the electronic adherences of the next wave channels that switch into the dreams of deities and derelicts alike.
Weird Womb rolls out the good life lived in the lap of, “Luxury Punks”, off the Laziness EP available September 23 from Midriff Records. Produced by Alex Bonenfant, get ready for Dakota Pollock to take the entire piss out of the rock and roll industry in a single swipe that follows up Ruined By The ’90s with entertaining tales of ruination, hedonism gone soured, and the sobering-asphalt-slapping reality of the excess-success continuum.
Pop-post-punk legends, The Pop Group are putting out a few collections of obscurities called are We Are Time and Cabinet of Curiousities on October 21 from new imprint, Freaks R Us label from Kartel and Amped. The lesser heard aspects of Mark Stewart’s vision can be heard via new remasters, with fresh ears, and never heard before late-70s gems, leaving you with this little time capsule visual for, “Where There’s a Will”.
All Leather dropped the Dennis Bersales video for “An Insufficient Apology” off their 7″ from Three One G. When one “I’m sorry” is not enough or never enough, leave it to your friends at All Leather and Three One G to bring some bloodletting electric spurting violence of power and pain to the occasion.
Made up of members from Clockcleaner, Paint It Black, Ceremony, and so forth; Philly trio of might, Dark Blue, features John Sharkey’s deep delivery, inspiring you all to party until you’re, “Hanging From A Chandelier”, off their upcoming album, Pure Reality available October 7 from Jade Tree.
Sylvan Esso are playing the Bowery tonight, September 12, and we got the video for “Dreamy Bruises”, where the band has released the original stems from the track for those that want to entertain their own inner-Soundcloud superstar with a fab new remix. In the meanwhile, the NC duo gives some visuals of transits, and end of the world sentiments for their buzzy and infectious synth kissed single.
Adult Jazz recently released their debut album Gist Is and producer/composer Oliver Coates created a gorgeous cover of “Hum”, where the song is carried away by Chrysanthemum Bear’s vocals amid ambient worlds.
Check out the Hi Viz Productions video for the lo-fi pier-side kayak funk of Andras Fox ‘s “Pontoon”, found off the Vibrate On Silent EP from Mexican Summer.
Featuring the internet famous Taryn Southern, get a look at the Jeff Marlowe directed video for Jensen Reed’s festival stage style cover version of Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High)” that is the sound of a generation raised on JJ and the post-90s rave glowstick chemiluminescence runoff that has defined the new dance maximalism.
Producer and dude behind dios/dios malos, Joel Jerome lent some sunny psyched out vibes with “Everybody Wants Somebody” off his Manimal release, Psychedelic Thrift Store Folk. You have already heard his work as a production steward for favorites like La Sera, Cherry Glazzer, Froth, Happy Hollows, Mystic Braves, PISCES, and countless others; get ready for song about the universal importance of companionship and togetherness between everybody and that special somebody in their lives.
With Ejecta’s Dominae available now from Driftless Recordings, watch the sensual sun kissed beauty, and synth beat pop brilliance concoction of Emir Eralp’s video for “Silver”.
We got the Johann Rashid b/w video for Free Time’s NY homage for “Guess Work”, off the Esoteric Tizz 7″ available through Underwater Peoples. More NYC states of mind await, as Free Time makes some time for you with upcoming Brooklyn shows at Glasslands September 21 and Death By Audio September 26.
Deejay Deer is set to drop the Natur 12” October 6 via Numbers, where stories about a Bavarian wilderness upbringing brings the natural organic elements to life on the track, “Unnatural”.
Ripped from their Drag City release, Electric Brick Wall; get creeping with your auto-tuned gal Jennifer Herrema in the Jess Holzworth video for “Creeping the Line”. It’s a disco-pole-dance-party while Herrema gets cuddly with furry plush things.
Check out the following trailer for the documentary Records Collecting Dust from Jason Blackmore that features a whole bunch of your favorite icons that define independence of the spirit and soul.
FACE TAT’S WEEK IN POP
Face Tat just released a new 7″ vinyl single, and co-curates Week in Pop with Mike G. and Mark Pantoja’s current picks from the touring road. With the vinyl available in October, the duo follow up Dungeon Mistress with the electro-ghost trip, “Phantom Creeps”, accompanied by the B-side that features Al Lover’s “techno remix” that trips up and flips up the drums and sample stems in an even weirder order of operations. Check out the digital listen hosted here, and stay for Face Tat’s following Week in Pop selections.
We were already waiting impatiently for new stuff from Run The Jewels, and the one track from their second album that they’ve released so far, “Blockbuster Night Part 1,” only tided us over for about a minute. We want more. El-P and Killer Mike just have that fucking magic, son. Throw in the fact that Zach de la Rocha is guesting on RJT2 and, yep, we’re sold.
The newest Agalloch record, The Serpent & The Sphere, is still on heavy rotation even though it came out back in May. Not just one of (if not the) best metal albums of the year, but should rightfully be on every year-end best-of list regardless of genre.
Black metal is having a real moment, it seems. Lots of great bands out there are doing some amazing stuff, of which Agalloch is just one. SF’s own Deafheaven and this band Harakiri For The Sky from Austria are also getting a lot of spins from us.
This new track Deafheaven released as part of the Adult Swim Summer Singles Series makes us real stoked about any new album that might be in the works:
New Harakiri For The Sky album, Aokigahira, totally rips:
Grimes’ Visions still hasn’t gotten old to us, so the prospect of a new album is super exciting. Who knows when that’ll happen, though. In the meantime, she’s given us this new track, “Go,” which we were at first a bit dubious about. Any doubts were dispelled by her set at FYF Fest last month. Grimes totally killed it, and this song sounded great.
We just stumbled on Junior Kimbraugh thanks to a Pandora playlist, and now we’re hooked. In particular, his album Most Things Haven’t Worked Out. That’s just the bluesiest fucking album title ever.
And of course, we’re stoked to hear our boy Al Lover’s new LP, Sacred Drugs when it comes out October 1.