Week in Pop: IS/IS, LUST, Satan Wriders, Scraper, TRAAMS

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Coastal crystals, Billy Idol-based, Stockton rebels, SF skate skronk, & notes from West Sussex.

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Sjimon Gompers | July 26, 2013

Brown bagging it with SF's Scraper, IS/IS Nirvana fake-outs, LUST for synth lifes. (photos courtesy of Scraper, IS/IS, & LUST)

It being the end of July and all, we bring you a list of headlines, news, artists, and music you may have missed. First up is the sad news of Youth Lagoon's Webster Hall cancellation July 29 (rest of tour dates are still on), the tabloid spectacle of Amanda Bynes' 5150 hold, Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova got denied parole, The Strokes' Fabrizio Moretti parted ways with former SNL-gf Kristen Wiig, Miley gettin' naked for Marc Jacobs, Frank Ocean might be dropping a remix rap verse on this Migos and DrakeVersace” Summer hype craze, and Musformation published this investigative feature on Goldmine Sacks. We will leave you to your own deductions, as we continue to celebrate who, what, where and why loved this week-in particular order.

Fresh off the Manimal Vinyl release of the single of the same name, the IS/IS crew of Sarah Rose, Sarah Nienaber and Ronnie Lee dropped upcoming tour dates and chatted with us about Ronnie's video for “Hunter”. The trio already has their sweet sound of thick surrealistic dissoanance down pat, only to get you to look through the many many faces of a magical crystal that brings about altered visions of fractured, fearless forays into alternate views. Like strange idol patterns that bring to life the mystic forces from the archaic books of the dead; the trio of Sarah(s) and Ronnie continue to bottle a sound that is like catching the dry ice fog from your favorite concerts and keeping it preserved in a mason jar, unleashing a little bit of their hexing/perplexing musical magic everywhere they go. The IS/IS West Coast tour runs from August 9 at Minnepolis's Hexagon Bar through September 5, ending at San Diego's famous Soda Bar. Catch the list of shows of here via their Facebook, and listed here after our following conversation and viewing of “Hunter”.

Was it intentional to create a kind of ghostly 'witch hunting' vibe for the song “Hunter”? How was it inspired?

Sarah Rose: 'Hunter' the song is about being over the day-to-day, complacency, stagnation, etc. Being tired of one place, people. We shot the video at a party we threw after one of our shows… wasting time.

We have been loving the “Hunter”/”Shine Down” single, any hints at forthcoming singles, EPs, LPs?

Sarah Nienaber: 'Hunter' and 'Shine Down' are both songs from an upcoming 8-song LP that is tentatively coming out this fall. We will have a VERY limited edition “pre-release” cassette of this album available on our upcoming tour.

And lastly, any further thoughts/prayers/projects/and/or predictions they might have for their forthcoming end-of-summer tour?

Sarah N: We're touring the West Coast and landing in Joshua Tree where we'll be staying for the entire month of September. We rented a house and are going to work on writing, demo-ing new material there. It will probably be hard to leave.

I like how the kaleidoscope effect appears to be done via that prismatic crystal, are you all tuned in to the healing power of crystals?

Sarah N: Sarah Rose says she's bringing her crystals to the desert.

Was wondering if you would all care to share some words on the making of the kaleidoscopic video, edited by Gordon Byrd and shot by Ronnie Lee and mastered by Matt Gangi [of LA's GANGI] for OOAD?

Ronnie: The concept for the video didn't come so much from the subject of the song but instead from purely an aesthetic standpoint. It does, however, relate to the song in the sense that it's a look into the lives we lead here. We threw a party at my house, a house venue called Metrodome2, after one of our shows and invited our close friends, and some strangers, over. We all partied until around 6 am and I wandered around shooting footage through the crystal. Through the course of the party the cops came 3 times and at 5am one of my roommate's bands decided to play an impromptu set in the basement. There was a great energy and I think the video did the perfect job of representing that. Also the concept may have been mine and I shot the video, but my roommate Gordon Byrd and I cut down the footage together and he was the one that added all other effects. He's done quite a few videos already and here's his youtube channel.

Catch IS/IS on the following tour dates:

August
12 Wichita, KS, Kirby's Beer Store
13 Denver, CO, Lion's Lair
16 Missoula, MT, Total Fest XII – Badlander
19 Spokane, WA, TBA
20 Seattle, WA, Heartland
21 Vancouver, BC, The Electric Owl
22 Portland, OR, Club 21
24 Arcata, The Facement
25 Santa Rosa, House Show
26 Sacramento, TBA
27 Oakland, Eli's Mile High Club
28 San Francisco, Hemlock Tavern
29 Santa Cruz, TBA
30 Los Angeles, Towne
31 Santa Monica, Almost Hidden Collective

September
5 San Diego, Soda Bar

Lust collaborated with Another to cover Billy Idol's infamous 80s ode to the Jean Redon's novel/French-Italian film, “Eyes Without a Face”. Dillon Morton's take on the 80s decade staple shows the length of where those anachronistic passions and technologies have passed and how they have grown. LUST's Morton covers the entire production with robotic components the mimic the organic and older electronic elements with a new paint job and fancier adornments that decorate Another's brooding ode to William Michael Albert Broad's original. Released from the online imprint AMDISCS, Lust and Another dropped the cover with the following press statement:

“Friendship lives of security, confidentiality and gentleness, Love of power, pleasure and horror.”

Dillon discussed with us further both the space and fragile synth tones of the original, ideal Summer sounds and more.

Everyone loves Billy Idol and the 80s for one reason or another but what is the 80s and Billy Idol's original “Eyes Without a Face” for you guys?

The thing that pulled me to this song is that it is one of the more intimate tracks out of Billy Idol's discography that utilized both space and fragile synth tones. For me, the song combines vulnerability & aggression in a swelling ballad that seemed like a great fit for the both of us, musically.

How did the collaboration with Another come about for the AMDISCS release?

About a year ago, I remixed one of Douglas's songs off of his debut album and we have been in contact ever since. When the idea for a cover was early in the works, I asked him if he was interested since it was an obvious fit and everything came together from there. We also are currently finishing up a new song together, which will be on the upcoming LUST full album.

What LUST productions have been in the works this Summer?

We've spent over a year writing and recording our full length to follow up the Dark Water EP and I couldn't be more excited to release everything. With ten songs and two featured artists, I feel that this will truly define LUST's new sound while utilizing Italo swells, haunting disco licks, and sensual synth tones.

How does LUST describe the perfect Summer?

Spending the mornings writing songs & nights in secluded hot tubs drenched in red lighting and surrounded with ferns.

What is the perfect Summer sound for LUST?

The latest album on repeat for me is Opale's L'incandescent.

What else should we be vibing to right now but aren't?

Pretty much the whole Not Not Fun roster.

Stockton space lords Satan Wriders released their Blacked Eyed Kids album this week via Bandcamp, and we had to know more. A buddy trio of Eli Wengrin, Sam Regan, and John Steiner, the 3 learned to how to play their instruments together to make the kind of 'no-expectation' type of sound where all you can do is expect the unexpected with every song, every turn of the way. Album opener “Freeway” is the best bit of stripped down garage I have not heard coming from the Bay Area, followed by “She's Not Right”, a minimal punk piece of “she's not right in the head” poetry, coupled with the reality byte rawk of, “Reality's a Bitch”.

“Hot Sidewalk (CVS Dub)” is a stroll through your local drugstore with a head full of psychotropics, with another serving of shambolic skronk on the coast careening “Goes to the Beach”. “Wriders” journey takes you on the ride your mother warned you about, the title track, “Black Eyed Kids” gets ominous and garbled before “Dead Children” gives something for the kids in the streets with a rising anthemic finale, closing out with the desert ride of the deserter, “Therapy”. But the track we're focused on today is the future legend, “Sun Coma” that really shows what these Stock-town slackers are capable of, made of, and what kind of garage damage they can do. Taking a gutter graph of dirt and distortion, they pull off an infectious cut that sounds easy, effortless and worthy of multiple plays. If this particular home brewed brand of California garage gives you a case of sun stroke where you crave nothing but, “cigarettes and RC Cola”, don't blame us. Read my conversation with John Steiner about the Stockton scene, the making of the album, and the ballad of the band.

So we know you recorded part of Blacked Eyed Kids at your parents house, half in a Mister Space storage unit on Pacific Avenue all in Stockton; give us the making-of-the-record dirt and inside.

Half of the songs were recorded in our practice space in early 2013, during which we drank lots of Modelo, which was probably a bad idea because there is no bathroom in the storage facility. The other half we recorded in June when Sam, our drummer's parents went outta town for a week. The three of us spent the week together, some of it laying down tracks and a lot of it drinking Budweiser American Flags and drawing weird pictures. Sometimes our buddies would stop by and distract us for awhile. While we were mixing our buddies Hausu came down to play Stockton at the end of their tour. We took them to the side of the freeway where I beat both Santi and Frankie from Surf Club at bloody knuckles. In Portland, I was beat out by Sam, who has to have the toughest knuckles I've encountered. Recording at your folks' house gives the songs real homey vibes, I think.

Everyone must ask this, but tell us about the wordplay with the name Satan Wriders instead of the motorcycle gang moniker of Satan Riders.

To be honest, We've never heard of the bike gang Satan Riders! We don't watch Gangland or anything, and we're more of an ATV band.

To the Satan Riders: We know lots of classic rock numbers such as “Boys are Back in Town” and “Rock n Roll part 2”, and we would love to play your biker party, wedding, and/or child's birthday party!

Are all your folks cool with 'Satan' being a part of the band's name?

I'm pretty sure that Eli's folks don't know. My mom gives me a hard time about it and my uncle thinks I'm into some messed up stuff. Sam's mom usually reacts to his shocking behavior with a universal, 'Oh, Saaam!' so it's all good. We're really just normal boys.

The new album Blacked Eyed Kids, where did the album name from? Play on the name, Blacked Eyed Peas?

“Black Eyed Kids” is a supernatural legend about demonic children that come to your door asking to use a phone. When you let them in you experience a chilling fear and the BEKs try to take you away to harvest your soul for their reptilian overlords. We are big fans of the Black Eyed Peas, but we did not make that correlation.

We know you guys are closed to Frankie and Surf Club, but what else has been happening these days in Stockton that we're unaware of?

Music-wise there are probably three or four great bands playing around town that we know of. Melted, Filbert, Surf Club, Monster Treasure, and I think my favorite is a band called Kismet Aura. We've been friends with Frankie since he was in Craft Spells; we played our first show together. Stockton living can be really bleak but the weirdos tend to find one another through the woodworks.

Today we are focusing on “Sun Coma”, the greatest track that Cleaners from Venus/Guided By Voices never made. What's the scuzzy, pop song making story?

“Sun Coma” is about embracing your outsider capabilities. Everyone feels outcast sometimes, and I guess the only way to deal is to celebrate it. The song sort of illustrates a freak's dream, or something. It's also about how dang hot Stockton gets in the summer. We wrote this song on a manic trip at 4 AM during finals' week, and it was one of those songs that just comes outta your brain.

Breaking down the broke us Victorian banisters of an old, beautiful, dilapidated upper Haight mansion; Scraper (formerly Scrapers, but the 's' has been dropped for reasons of moniker length economies and concision) get scuzzy and willfully (blissfully) strange, on “Alien Eyes”. From their debut self-titled EP for Ty Segall's Drag City imprint God? Records, these skate warriors of the derelict dirt attest to the realness of the extraterrestrial life with “it's real, it's real”. Fueled with the aggression of a skate video that pits thrashed out bros against the sit-and-lie runaway gutter crusties; the song's revved up second half couples the paranoia and rage with a humor about living in squalor rarely heard since's the days of Joe's Apartment. “I'm really getting sick of this place, we need a new house!” At long last we caught up with Scrapers in the following exchange that examines their wild world of Bay Area rock, Cheesy Gordita Supremes consumption contests with Ty, and all things skronk.

Having released a previous tape with the rad folks at Wizard Mountain, what has been brewing lately at the old WZRD MNTN home base?

SHOCKWAVE / WHITE PEE VHS, MANE cassette and Eddy'ss beef and beans and Shultz has pee crystals.

How did it come about that Ty Segall and Eric Bauer recorded your 7″? You all seem like gentlemen with FUZZ-y rock sensibilities.

Ty made a bet, thinking he could eat more Cheesy Gordita Supremes than us. loser had to record the winner's 7″.

How do you all feel about launching the new Drag City imprint, God?, along with the repressing of the White Fence self-titled?

It feels like we invented our own 7 layer burrito.

Are you all also tight with Tim Presley and company?

We'd have their back in a knife fight.

Speaking of which, what is up with Make a Mess Records these days? They always have had their finger on the skate DIY sound pulse.

I think Make a Mess is having a good time in LA.

What inspired the extraterrestrial eye-balling of your single, “Alien Eyes”?

X files and Jurassic Park or Home Alone 2.

What brought the name change from Scrapers (like those fly East Bay rides, ghetto fab hoopties, etc) to Scraper, sans the last (s)? More apropos for your skated out, knee-skin-scraping sound?

It takes too long to say Scrapers.

Current state of skate rock in SF?

Maybe like 3 bands

What is the secret to making the best track to skate to or to be used in a skate video?

The RZA, the GZA and OLD DIRTY BASTARD.

(Traams photo byJames Kendall)

TRAAMS gave us a skronky bouquet of “Flowers” that had us hopping up and down the hallways reciting the catchy chorus quip of, “I don't even know your number, and you don't even know my name”. The first thing that becomes clear from the onset is that this is not an excercise to stop and smell the pretty roses. Guitarist and singer Stu Hopkins screams out with the search & destroy fury and post-punk teeth grinding wit that brings the West Sussex bummers, reinforced by Leigh Padley's pronounced bass progressions and Adam Stock's intrinsic and intuitive percussion. Yet despite these allusory references and comparative approximations, TRAAMS remain committed to their own chemistry of hard, loud music they enjoy to keep their quaint surrounding townships carefree and cool. Their upcoming debut album Grin comes out Septebmer 16 in the UK/EU and September 24 stateside from FatCat Records. Leigh corresponded with us this week, responding to our fanatical inquiries regarding the world of TRAAMS, and their world across the pond over in South-East England, Sussex.

What is the TRAAMS secret to crafting hometown escapist values into great garage gold?

It's all quite on the spot really, I'd say it's very instinctive music. 90% of our songs are the result of a particular musical theme we develop at rehearsals. whether it be a beat, a line or a riff the songs tend to write themselves when the three of us let it run. We are seasoned music fanatics and we know what we like, we draw from what we listen to according to our tastes. Which is to some extent the way all writers must work I guess, so it's no secret with us.

Best things / Worst things about Chichester, West Sussex?

Best things, mainly just the people really, there isn't much going on in the way of original live music. But there are a lot of musicians that stem from around here. There is a mean n

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