Week in Pop: Jay Som, ORB, Wy

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Big Bend, Genuine Parts, Island Boy, Kinkajous, Nicholas Fisher, guest selections by Japanese Breakfast.

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Sjimon Gompers | May 27, 2016

The unstoppable rise of Jay Som, aka Melina Duterte; photographed by Marissa Carpenter.

In our weekly salute to some of our favorite artists, Impose’s Week in Pop delivers the latest breaking media exclusives with a quick look at the biggest, buzziest headlines. First up in the news, Gucci Mane is now free from prison, dropping the Mike WiLL Made-It single “First Day Out tha Feds”; Thee Oh Sees to release their new album A Weird Exits available August 12 via Castle Face, & dropped the single “Plastic Plant”; Joey Bada$$ dropped the single “Devastated”; Unknown Mortal Orchestra dropped the single “First World Problem”; Radiohead present another artist interpretation for “Desert Island Disk”; The Kills dropped the video for “Siberian Nighs” directed by Giovanni Ribisi; The Range remixed Empress Of’s “Icon”; Kevin Gates dropped the Murder For Hire 2 mixtape; a new Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album & film will be available in September; The Strokes dropped “Drag Queen” off the upcoming Future Present Past EP avaialable June 3 via Cult Records; Bat for Lashes dropped the video for “Sunday Love”; Eminem reportedly is selling bricks from his childhood home; Neil Young versus Trump cools down; Matt Mondanile departed from Real Estate to focus his “creative energy” on Ducktails; Troy Ave arrested after shooting at T.I. concert; Car Seat Headrest’s legal debacle with the Cars has allegedly costed Matador Records upwards of $50,000; Hillary Clinton likes Beyoncé’s Lemonade; Classixx dropped the video for “Whatever I Want” that remakes The Smiths’ “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” starring T-Pain as Moz; Morrissey stated that he will not be playing Riot Fest, & then later confirmed that he will indeed headline the Chicago chapter of Riot Fest this September 17.

Switching gears, it is our pleasure & privilege to proudly present the following insights, interviews, & exclusives from Jay Som, ORB, Wy, The Big Bend, Genuine Parts, Island Boy, Brandon Locher, Débruit, Grammar, Kid Moxie, Kinkajous, Kristoffer & the Harbour Heads, Magic Potion, Nicholas Fisher, Sarob., featuring guest selections by Japanese Breakfast and more—in no particular order.

Jay Som

The rapid rise of DIY pop's new leader—Jay Som, the vision of the Bay Area's Melina Duterte; photographed by Polaroid Jay.

The rapid rise of DIY pop’s new leader—Jay Som, the vision of the Bay Area’s Melina Duterte; photographed by Polaroid Jay.

It all began with a single called “Forget About It Kid”, a teenage dream-pop symphony that was picked up by Beech Coma and heard around the world. And from here the entire international music media erupted into excitement, adoration and intrigue, praising the Bay Area artist Melina Duterte who performs under moniker Jay Som. Also a member of the buzz band Summer Peaks, Melina would release the definitive solo statement with the anticipated and beloved album Turn Into (initially called Untitled described by Melina as “finished and unfinished songs written and recorded from March 2014 to November 2015,” and later released on cassette via Topshelf Records) that was released out of the blue on Bandcamp during Thanksgiving weekend, 2015.

Today it is with great joy that we announce the latest chapter with news that Jay Som’s new upcoming I Think You’re Alright 7” b/w “Rush” will be available June 24 from Fat Possum Records. With the following premiere of the a-side, we return to Duterte’s sonic audio fields where introspection of items pertaining to the human condition and connection are illustrated through aspects of emotion and though that resound like a late phone call confessional of the most devastating order. With word of Jay Som’s North America tour with Mitski and Japanese Breakfast happening this summer; Melina’s brilliant brand of heart striking pop prepares to find an even larger and eager audience that has been awaiting more since the release of her first solo single.

“I Think You’re Alright” picks up where Melina’s debut album Turn Into left off where the feelings of pensive reflection rise forth from the wellsprings of thoughts conveyed through chords of pure universally understood emotion. The song is built on the foundation of high pitched party-talk vocal samples and a steady drum beat that begins an odyssey of desires, wishes, wants, and more that all revolve around the most heartbreaking of incomplete connections. “When I wake up in the morning, I’ll make you some coffee, we’ll lay about and let the day pass,” Melina begins in a lyrical poetic-prose reminiscent of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” catapulted forward for the post-millennial age. “I’ll wipe your blood off the concrete, take you to the party, we’ll drink until our brains black out. Oh god you’re so pretty, you’re smile’s unforgiving, I’ll place it where nobody can find. I’ll play all your favorite songs and shake when the lights go off and hide us in the warm night…” The chorus recitation of the title describes the romantic subject as being just “alright”, as every chord & note hinges on even greater unseen/unheard subtext and underlying feelings at work. These complicated sentiments are later expressed through some of the most heartbreaking lines like “I’ll be your old broken TV, your stuttering baby, your puppy when nobody’s home. I’ll be your cigarette ash tray, come back when it’s too late…” The brutal romantic nature exhibits the aftermath of leftover feelings that still remain in the reckoning of a relationship that has set sail for new harbors. Melina illustrates those moments and notions that meanwhile still flourish in ways that are not cut and dry, where the desire to make it work and those ideas of self-sacrifice and compromise still ruminate long after the fact. We explored these concepts further, along with news of Jay Som becoming expanded into a full-fledged band in our latest interview with Melina Duterte featured immediately after the following debut “I Think You’re Alright”.

From all the singles leading up to the much beloved Untitled album last year to your work now—tell us about how Jay Som has further expanded into a collaborative band.

The full live band is fairly new and all of them are my closest friends I’ve been playing with for years. We got together in January so we’re still figuring out how the music translates in a live setting. They’re all wonderful musicians that bring their own sound and ideas to the table. Dylan, Daniel, Oliver, and Zach are the best and I love them with all of my heart.

You have been playing and hanging with all the whose who of cool lately…any cool stories or collaborations of late?

All of the shows and bands we’ve played with so far have been amazing! A big pet peeve of mine at shows is the cool guy attitude, luckily most people—audience and band members—are supportive and respectful.

Cool stories? I don’t know—last month we traveled to LA to play this unorganized festival for 15 minutes.

Meet Jay Som, aka Melina Duterte, of Summer Peaks, photographed by Austin Cook.

Meet Jay Som, aka Melina Duterte, of Summer Peaks, photographed by Austin Cook.

What are you most excited for with your upcoming dream team tour with Mitski & Japanese Breakfast?

I’m extremely nervous for the tour, mostly excited to see both of them perform. I know it’s across North American and we’ll be traveling to all these awesome cities, but I deeply admire them both as artists. I’m going to watch 20+ free Japanese Breakfast and Mitski shows. Also, I’m still reeling over how important and rare it is to be in a lineup that consists of Asian American women. I never thought I’d be able to see it, let alone be a part of it.

Incredible to hear that Fat Possum is putting out the cult singles “I Think You’re Alright” & “Rush”. I love how “Alright” has this whole hopeful, doting, soft stream of feeling lyrics while “Rush” sounds like some of your latest sonic directions. Thoughts on the making of both of these tracks?

Yeah, I’m a big fan of the music Fat Possum puts out and they’re super nice! This 7″ is funny to me because it has my favorite and least favorite song I’ve written. “I Think You’re Alright” is a very personal song. I wanted to write about giving your all to someone you shouldn’t – it’s basically a cheesy I Love You song, but I want people to feel any sort of connection to it. I have mixed feelings about “Rush” because I wrote it for myself and it was a fast writing process that was ultimately just fun to make.

7" single cover for "I Think You're Alright", b/w "Rush".

7″ single cover for “I Think You’re Alright”, b/w “Rush”.

What can you tell us about what you’re recording right now, what it sounds like, and what other new creative developments that we should know about?

Most of the songs on Turn Into were written when I was 19 and 20, so it was a different period of my life. I can’t listen to it without cringing or finding flaws in my songwriting, musicianship, and recording/mixing techniques. I currently have most of the demos done for the next album. It will be different but not in a crazy way—I’ve had time to focus on honing my writing and musical skills. I’m experimenting with the way I approach structure and arrangements so I think it will show maturity. I’ve also picked up the trumpet and other instruments again after stopping 3 years ago, so I’m super excited to play around with that!

Other artists & bands you want to recognize that the whole world should be hipped to?

Mal Devisa, Kiid

Plush, Please EP, they are the sweetest people on earth

Faith Healer, Cosmic Troubles

Sonny & The Sunsets, Antenna To The Afterward

Happyness, Weird Little Birthday

Finally, Carly Rae Jepsen’s new album Emotion has been on repeat I love her!

What are you stoked about for this summer & fall?

Besides tour, I’m excited to come back home after to work on the next record. I also want to do more karaoke.

What’s good with Summer Peaks right now?

We finally finished our album Color In The Shade and it will be released June 8!

Jay Som plans for 2016/2017?

Without getting into too many details—I’m joining a record label I’m happy to call a home and we’re going to re-release Turn Into. There will be new music and touring in the fall and next year. It’s going to be busy but I’m incredibly excited.

Jay Som’s I Think You’re Alright limited edition 7” b/w “Rush” will be available June 24 from Fat Possum Records in both baby blue and black vinyl.

Catch Jay Som on tour with Mitski & Japanese Breakfast from June 20 through July 27 via the dates on the flyer & below:

jay som japanese breakfast mitski tour week in pop flyer

JAY SOM TOUR DATES:

May
28 Davis, CA @ Sudwerk Brewery

June
04 San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall w/ Trails and Ways
10 Los Angeles, CA @ Resident w/ Florist + Mutual Benefit
11 Pasadena, CA @ Make Music Pasadena Festival

JAY SOM TOUR W/ MITSKI AND JAPANESE BREAKFAST:

June
20 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
22 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
23 Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
24 Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA
25 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
26 Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
28 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade: Purgatory
29 Birmingham, AL @ The Syndicate Lounge

July
01 Houston, TX @ Walter’s Downtown
02 Austin, TX @ The Sidewinder
03 Dallas, TX @ Three Links
05 Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge
06 Santa Ana, CA @ The Constellation Room
07 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
08 Oakland, CA @ Starline Social Club
09 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill
11 Portland, OR @ Analog Theater
12 Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt
13 Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
15 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
16 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
19 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
20 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
22 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
23 Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz
25 Portland, ME @ SPACE Gallery
27 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

ORB

orb week in pop 1

From Geelong, Australia; meet ORB who proudly present their new chunky/crunchy rock single “Reflection”, taken from their forthcoming album BIRTH available July 1 from Castle Face Records / Flightless / ANTI-FADE. Working with Total Control leader/icon/wizard Mikey Young, the trio are able to angle & channel their riffs and distortion treatments towards the reflective realms of imagination that moves aspects of the ordinary into the arenas of awesome, and supernatural born skronk.

ORB’s “Reflection” takes a drink from the 70s-Sabbathian doom metal tropes to provide a mirror spitting image of another in conjunction with rallying riffs that further song’s own narrative arc. The song moves toward superstitions, as notions of cracked mirror views are observed without worry as the grueling, grunting grumbles of guitars begin to take over. Like the old cliche of seven years bad luck over a shattered glass reflector; ORB glows with the observational glances that plays a game of dry ice-smoke & mirrors like the feeling of attending a concert that takes place in a carnival fun house. Running over six minutes strong, the lyrics are sparse and sporadic as Mikey & the ORB-three create a composition where the chords steal the show like an eternal stoner jam. Immediately after the following listen, check out our discussion with ORB.

Tell us about the founding of ORB, and what the scene is like out there in Geelong, Australia.

ORB started out of convenience, the three of us lived on the same street and at the time none of us were working. We’d been playing in bands together previously but wanted to try play music that we’d never really played before. It was just really fun to make something a little heavier with more parts, still is!

We really want to know about what the super heavy sessions working with the always awesome Mikey Young making rippers like “First and Last Men”, “Reflection” and more on your new records.

Mikey lives on the opposite side of the bay to us and he’s always been keen to helps us out with recording, he recorded our very first record when we were all teenagers—nearly 10 years ago now—so it’s comfortable doing stuff with him. He was also pretty excited to make the ORB record for the same reasons we were, just something a little different than what we were used to. He’s really easy going and did a great job. Check out his remix of the ORB song “Migration”, it’s better than the original.

orb week in pop 2

Who are some other Australian and elsewhere artists that you three feel need more attention?

First band that comes to mind is ‘Krakatau’. They’re a three piece instru-prog kind of thing, but with a focus on minimalism. Just too good. Here’s a few more good Australia bands…School Damage, Nathan Roche, Empat Lima, The Stevens, BENT, The ‘Moontown’ tapes/records label is always good.

Other things you are pretty stoked about right now?

Pharaoh Sanders is coming to Australia next month.

Parting words of wisdom?

Those of you who eat peanut butter toast without butter, I urge you to try again with butter. I was once a stubborn fool like you, but now I’m awake.

ORB’s upcoming album BIRTH will be available July 1 via Castle Face / Flightless / ANTI-FADE.

Wy

Michel & Ebba of Wy; press photo courtesy of the duo.

Michel & Ebba of Wy; press photo courtesy of the duo.

Introducing south of Sweden by Stockholm’s Wy, the young duo of Ebba Ågren and Michael Gustafsson present the world premiere of their single & video for “In Bloom” that revels in the experiences the two have shared since the early days of their youth. With word of an upcoming EP available this fall from Hybris, the 19 years of age twosome draw upon the feelings, adventures, disappointments, and raw emotions translated through their evocative dreamland melodies.

Wy’s video debut for “In Bloom” was made by the duo’s own Ebba Ågren, accompanied by the bunny-masked pair of Johanna Sjöstrand & Ida Brodahl Fors as we witness our Scandinavian heroine strolling from country to town. With cinematography from Frida Kärvegård & Sofie Hederstierna, Ebba & Michel’s coming of age expressions entertain the bookending passages that chronicle the paths where adulthood begins and childhood ends. Musings on fake friends left behind, conversations recounted like movie scripts read in the mind highlight the chapters and scenes where wishing isn’t enough and youth is observed like a fleeting phase. Faces in the crowd, slips of the tongue, and other inner over-thought dialogues spill out the sadness and intimations of self-loathing and other growing pains in a restrained combination of hopeful chords and subtle electronic arrangements. Ebba & her bicycle riding rabbit-faced friends reside along the roads that represent the worlds left behind and the new dawning & days that await to fill the forthcoming pages of tomes in the great literature of life that is still yet to be written.

Hear Wy’s single “In Bloom” on its own.

We had an opportunity to catch up with Wy’s Ebba Ågren and Michael Gustafsson in the following interview exchanged over long-distance cables:

Tell us how Wy began between the two of you.

Ebba: We met when we were thirteen and fourteen, and I guess there were some sort of inspiration between us because we started writing songs for each other, and at some point we started writing songs together. As teenagers we and a friend had a punk band together and we had a couple of bands after that, but we always ended up as a duo.

Michel: It wasn’t until a year ago that we really tried to write something that felt real. We moved to Stockholm in January and were picked up by an indie label two months later. Seems like Stockholm was the place to be.

Describe the sorts of blooming phenomenons that informed “In Bloom”.

Ebba: As an artist, people have always tried to tell me to stop doing what I’m doing, but it has been impossible for me to stop. I can’t stop writing, singing and showing people the things that I’ve created. I see no point in creating things for just myself. So even though there has been a lot of people in my life holding me back I’ve never stopped, which has made me so much stronger. That’s what the song is about.

How do you two find that Stockholm, Sverige inspires you both creatively?

Ebba & Michel: We actually just moved to Stockholm five months ago, but the city has already inspired us in many ways. We have never wrote this much music anywhere else, I don’t really know why. I think the city is a little bit intimidating, which is good, because it makes us work a lot harder on everything we do.

A sketch rendering of Wy; press photo courtesy of the artists.

A sketch rendering of Wy; press photo courtesy of the artists.

What else is good right now in Stockholm? Always seems like you all have something wonderful happening there.

Ebba: Right now there’s a lot of female producers emerging, which is about time. It’s really inspiring to see how the music scene is changing, and it’s cool how a small country like Sweden can be so influential.

Describe how the two of you write, draft, practice, record, etc your songs.

Michel: Since we’re both producing and writing, our process is different every time. Sometimes it starts with a melody, or an idea, or some guitar chords or a beat, but we never finish a song if there is no feel to it. We want our music to be emotional so the right emotion’s got to be there.

Ebba: I would say our process is a lot more artistic than structured. We’re both kind of DIY-people and a couple of years ago we bought a crappy microphone and started recording in our parent’s bedroom. We’ve continued doing everything ourselves—writing, producing, recording, mixing—and we love to do it.

Summer plans & fall/winter desires?

Michel: We’re planning on traveling to Marseilles for the summer, where we’ll probably write a lot. We also have some shows in Stockholm that we are playing.

Ebba: We have no idea how the fall and winter is going to look, but we’re hoping for big things. Hopefully a lot of live shows. And new music of course.

Wy’s new single “In Bloom” is available now, with their EP available this fall from Malmö imprint Hybris.

Genuine Parts

Introducing the Bay Area's Genuine Parts (from left), Layla Cooper, Dani Aggie, Analisa Six, & Rakal Rose; photographed by Mark Murrmann.

Introducing the Bay Area’s Genuine Parts (from left), Layla Cooper, Dani Aggie, Analisa Six, & Rakal Rose; photographed by Mark Murrmann.

Bay Area’s Genuine Parts readies their upcoming Southpaw Records EP for release on June 10, presenting the following premiere for the highway reclaiming rager “Road Angel”. The quartet of Layla Cooper, Dani Aggie, Analisa Six, & Rakal Rose formed back in 2014 with a dedication to the sounds and inspirations that guided yesterday’s heroes & icons from Suzi Quattro to The Runaways with a modern day appetite for mayhem & mischief while taking on the open roads. From the opening chord blasts, Genuine Parts immediately put forth the take no prisoners modus operandi as they rev up their engines for the freeways of the 101, 80, 280, and more that take off for new towns & saloons to takeover.

“Road Angel” updates the outdated binary king/queen of the road constructs for a new kind of rebellion. Genuine Parts’ Layla, Dani, Analisa, & Rakal make music to brawl to, ripping licks & riffs that make for instant DIY dive bar jukebox hits to play on repeat before last call. The rebel motorcycle gangs of the Bay find that the tables have been turned (and turned over that matter), as Genuine Parts write anthems for rocky, rough, & tough liaisons of both the romantic & adversarial that are edified here on “Road Angel” as one in the same. Genuine Parts set their sites for a new kind of hog-hauling biker with a heart of gold who is cool & creative enough to join their gang. We caught up with the band in an interview round featured right after the following debut listen to “Road Angel”.

It has become common knowledge that the Bay Area is forever in a flux, constantly in a state of ever-changing landscapes, arts, communities, and so forth. What do the four of you deeply appreciate and love about the Bay right now?

We appreciate the badass organizers fighting the displacement of the communities and places that have made the Bay Area what it is. We also feel really appreciative of the nature we are surrounded by in Oakland and Santa Cruz. We take as many hikes and beach days as possible.

Give us the story on what sorts of chewed up, heavy, revved up riffs and more informed the upcoming Southpaw EP.

When we first got together and started playing, we were all coming from bands that had a more of a punk, powerpop, and surfy sound. We still love all of that music, but we all wanted to try to do something different.
So we did what any band would do: we smoked a lot of weed and listened to a lot of KISS, Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest and started to find our own sound. Honestly, watching Glenn Tipton and KK Downing play guitar in early Judas Priest is so mind blowing we probably have a lifetime of inspiration just off of those records and videos. Our Drummer is heavily influenced by Rat Scabies and likes to practice along to the Damned in her free time and before sessions…

The sum of all Genuine Parts; press photo courtesy of the band.

The sum of all Genuine Parts; press photo courtesy of the band.

What sorts of freeway riding adventures and more inspired “Road Angel”?

Dani: Technically, a road angel is someone who saves your ass when your car or bike breaks down. They just sort of emerge out of nowhere like an angel and get you back on the road. The song is about falling in love with the unsung mechanic hero and riding off into the sunset together. It’s our only love song, AND it’s a true story.

What was the catalyst that brought you all together to create Genuine Parts?

Dani: I knew Rachael and Layla for a while from our previous bands. I always wanted the chance to work with both of them on a project, so when all our bands fizzled out around the same time I knew it was meant to be. Layla suggested Analisa for bass, who turned out to be a total shredder and a great songwriter. Everything just sort of fell into place naturally. It’s great to have the opportunity to play with musicians who I admire so much!

Cemetery hangouts with Genuine Parts; press photo.

Cemetery hangouts with Genuine Parts; press photo.

Upcoming summer & fall plans?

We have a few shows coming up here in the bay and we are focusing on writing material for an album.

What has everyone been watching, listening to, reading, etc lately?

We all have pretty eclectic tastes and each tend to be off in our own worlds listening, watching, and reading all sorts of things – anything from punk to classic rock, heavy metal, oldies, pop music, you name it. As for watching—we are all pretty into Game of Thrones right now. A band from SF called Queen Crescent has been something we have been hyped about as of late.

Genuine Parts’ new Southpaw Records EP will be available June 10.

Magic Potion

Hanging out with Magic Potion; press photo courtesy of the band.

Hanging out with Magic Potion; press photo courtesy of the band.

Magic Potion’s new album Pink Gum is available today on vinyl via PNKSLM and Beech Coma and for a limited time we present you with the following album stream & interview with the band. The Swedish group begins the gooey & gummy action with a drink of “Milk”, washing it down with the lo-fi fun of “Cola Boyys”, before taking things to the subterranean circuits of “Deep Web”, keeping the flavorful motif alive on “Yummy 1”, or the gilded glistening “Golden Power”, to the warbling wonder of “Gemz”, that joins the lackadaisical “Jelly” for a trip down the cheesy spreads and schmears of “Cheddar Lane”, the boredom ennui action (and/or lack thereof) on “Boored”, right before leaving you with a toke on the ol’ “Peace Pipe”. Learn more about this delicious new album in our interview with Magic Potion featured after the jump.

Give us the latest and greatest from Stockholm. One of my good mates just came back from there and said it’s pretty marvelous in spring.

Humane environmental conditions usually arise in the spring, with non-lethal temperatures and actual sunlight during the days. It’s quite a godsend except for the fact that zillions of silver birches bloom and 99% of swedes suffer from pollen allergy.

How did the four of you first connect, and what sorts of potions, sorcery, etc were involved in founding Magic Potion?

We got together one and a half years back to hang out, share a six pack and play around with a tape recorder. Some of us had played together before in other bands while some were acquainted from being in the same yoga class. The potions involved were consumed much earlier during our bud daze in the early 90s playing the video game Prince of Persia. The effects haven’t worn off since.

Tell us how in the world that you all are able to make such seemingly carefree & easy sounds….we can’t get enough of that “Jelly” single too by the way…

Through studying eastern philosophy we have developed a sense of acceptance of the reality that we can never be in control. Instead of total quality managing (TQM) our music, we embrace the imperfect traits of things and focus on achieving inner piiz™.

How did bubble gum of a pinkish hue become the titular marquee for the debut album Pink Gum?

We came up with the album title while passing Dragon Gate, Älvkarleby, on the way back home from a gig. Dragon Gate is an eerie and sick place, with a strange story, so maybe our brains got fuzzy and somehow we ended up feeling like a gum is the perfect symbol for how the album sounds. Also, we like the color pink.

A rendering of Dragon Gate, Älvkarleby, Sweden.

A rendering of Dragon Gate, Älvkarleby, Sweden.

Other local and international artists that you all love right now?

Chris Cohen, Cate Le Bon, The Modern Lovers, Boys, Holy

Summer dreams and wishes?

We hope for the birch pollen to forever dissipate and for love to prosper in eternity.

Grammar

Introducing Grammar's Barrie Lindsay; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Introducing Grammar’s Barrie Lindsay; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Introducing Grammar, heralding from around the Boston lands & featuring the visions of leader Barrie Lindsay, her brother Jack Lindsay on percussion, Sammy Stewart on keyboards, Chris Hemberger on guitar, with Ryan Boyer on bass. Their upcoming EP was engineered by Billy Pavone with mastering from Josh Bonati, as Grammar deliver some substance for syntax in the electric journeys heard on “Americana”. These are culmination of American primitive dreams held like lullabies heard from childhood and realized together in the company of family & friends. Keep a close ear on Grammar this year. Barrie describes the new single with the following thoughts:

“Americana” is a dreamy American road trip, a long night drive. The heart of the song is a synth keyboard run through a massive Leslie speaker, giving the song a blend of full, clean synth and whirring, roughed-up analog.

The Big Bend

Chet Vincent & The Big Bend; photographed by Leslie Vincent.

Chet Vincent & The Big Bend; photographed by Leslie Vincent.

From the talents of local rock dude Chet Vincent, we present you with the latest from The Big Bend, heralding from the Pittsburgh circuits who premieres the smoking ripper of “Chain Smoking” featured off the upcoming Misra Records album Celebrate available July 22. A mainstay of the Pittsburgh scenes for a hot minute now, Vincent brings that big bold, dust kicking, dirt stomping, cigarette breath wheezing sound that made both you & your parents a devout believer in the church of rock & roll.

“Chain Smoking” brings that hard toking style that puffs away on that heavy suppy of Marlboro reds, Camels, American Spirits or whatever brand the bar keep has on hand. Combining that beautiful blend of dissonance of wailing guitars, and mystical piano plunks—it brings to mind the skronkier moments enjoyed on The Stooges’ Fun House & Raw Power records respectively where attitudes and audio gone awry are the order of the day. “Chain Smoking” blows forth a vapor stronger than whatever is being offered up in those e-cigs of late for what is a full on battle between the piano progressions and the grizzly guitar notes that add a combination of Southwest/Midwest anarchy for that pissed-up & pissed-off Pittsburgh sound. Chet Vincent took the time to chat with us a for a bit in an interview session featured after the following debut or “Chain Smoking”.

Describe for us the evolution of the Pittsburgh scenes through your eyes from now to back in the day.

The music scene in Pittsburgh is really special; there is so much energy and genuine talent in this city. Recently a number of the musicians I’ve known over the last few years, particularly those from the open mic scene, seem to be really coming into their own as artists. It’s been really fun to see everyone starting to get the attention they deserve.

Apart from talented people, I think it’s just as important that Pittsburgh has a number of very dedicated non-musicians. Whether it’s long time music bloggers, or people setting up local music festivals, or the local radio DJs, we have so many people that are selflessly dedicated to supporting music in this city. It’s pretty remarkable.

What sorts of mighty bends & breaks informed the founding of The Big Bend?

If there is any break that informed the founding of The Big Bend it was the economic crash of 2008, conveniently timed for the year we finished college and formed the band. Truthfully I didn’t realize at the time that my job prospects were pretty grim. Fortunately I never had to face that reality because I had the band to focus on. Instead of worrying about work, we learned to be musicians.

Can you describe for us the sorts of celebrations of life, loss & more that inspired Celebrate?

I’m not an expert yet, but it’s increasingly clear to me that happiness is tied to self-acceptance. We can make ourselves better, certainly, but at a fundamental level it seems like we can’t change who we are. We all have insecurities, we are all gonna get old, not everyone finds love, not everyone is successful. I like to think Celebrate is about coming to terms with this aspect of life and learning to love it.

Like the name of the song “Chain Smoking”, are you a proponent of this excessive nicotine-tobacco indulgence?

Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

Best ways to help ween a friend or family member off chain smoking?

People only quit smoking when they are ready to. It seems to be a very personal thing.

Best ways to NOT help ween a friend or family off the chain smoking train?

Don’t hang out in smokey Pittsburgh dive bars.

Other big things & big names from Pittsburgh that we got to know about?

Too many to list! Some of our favorites with stuff out/coming out this year are Meeting of Important People, Morgan Erina, Wreck Loose, Emily Rodgers. Also check out: The Commonheart, Andre Costello, Grand Piano.

Summer & fall plans for The Big Bend?

Some touring, some recording, figuring out what we’re gonna do if Trump becomes President.

The Big Bend album Celebrate will be available July 22 from Misra Records.

Kid Moxie

Kid Moxie's Elena Charbila; photographed by Efi Gousi.

Kid Moxie’s Elena Charbila; photographed by Efi Gousi.

Greece by Los Angeles artist Elena Charbila makes beautiful pop tones under the name Kid Moxie, who talked to us today about her new electronically imbued single “Dirty Air”, taken from her forthcoming Perfect Shadow EP available July 3 from West One Music. With her work heard previous remixed by the likes of Astronautica, Marsheaux, and known for her collaborations with Angelo Badalamenti (reworking the David Lynch/Badalamenti/Julee Cruise classic “Mysteries of Love“), and The Gaslamp Killer; Elena’s new single “Dirty Air” re-appropriates the Grecian-Balearic electro-pop atmospheres to match the smog-filled skies of LA. Kid Moxie urges everything here to the edges of her refrain of “tonight” as the dark skies gather like unnatural, human enhanced overcast clouds of exhaust & dust kicked up the going-ons of earth. Elena Charbila initially teased her new single with the following introductory video:

And without further ado, we deliver the single for “Dirty Air” immediately followed by our recent discussion with Kid Moxie’s own Elena Charbila.

Describe your Greece by LA adventures that would contribute to your pop alter ego, Kid Moxie.

I usually don’t tend to create from experiences I have had, but more from imaginary scenarios that play out in my head. If I have lived something, there is usually no need to write about it. It’s the experiences that I have not had that fuel my music. It’s the imaginary, the surreal, the unattainable. Being from Greece, means that we have mythology embedded in our DNA, which is something I tend to incorporate a lot in what I do.

The myth of the Minotaur and the myth of Narcissus are my favorite ones.

Describe how collaborations with The Gaslamp Killer and Angelo Badalamenti have left a lasting mark on your sound.

Badalamenti along with David Lynch have been an immense influence since I was a teenager, way before i actually got to meet them and work with Angelo.
What they created rocked me in so many ways, but if I was going to narrow it down to one, It made me look at the world as a more magical place. Badalamenti’s hauntingly beautiful sound is probably responsible for the fact that when I make music, I tend to merge the darkness with the light, love with fear, the ethereal with the ominous. I feel like everything has two sides and I find myself striving to express that.

Gaslamp Killer is a long time friend and collaborator. He and I tend to make pretty dark, cinematic tracks and our biggest joy is whistling on them.

The glamorous life of Kid Moxie; press photo courtesy of the artist.

The glamorous life of Kid Moxie; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Describe what sorts of shadows and tenebrous inspirations informed the foundation for your Perfect Shadow EP.

In my last album I was obsessed with the year 1888. This time, I m obsessed with the time 4am. Some people call it The Hour Of The Wolf. Others call it The Witching Hour. Shakespeare had a lot to say about it. I discovered that there is a whole 4am subculture if you look for it and that fascinated me. It is simultaneously the latest and the earliest time of day, so it carries that duality that I am always very interested in.

Other influences for the album were Caravaggio’s paintings, Mahler, long distance relationships and the view of downtown L.A rooftops from my window.

Other Greek, LA based, or artists from elsewhere that you admire greatly right now?

Don’t ask me why, but I am currently only listening to Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains.

Keep Shelly In Athens is a great band out of Greece and so is Ocean Hope.

Can you give us the Kid Moxie summer preview?

My album is coming out in July and after that I will be writing some original music for a European indie film. I am planning to also spend some time in Greece, I am in the mood to explore some new islands.

Kid Moxie’s single “Dirty Air” can be found now via iTunes.

Kristoffer And The Harbour Heads

Catching up with Kristoffer & The Harbour Heads; press photo.

Catching up with Kristoffer & The Harbour Heads; press photo.

Taken off the forthcoming album EX/EX available in September via Klangskivan / INgrooves; we present the David Campesino video for Swedish group Kristoffer And The Harbour Heads’ “When You Say Stay”. Lead by Kristoffer Ragnstam, the notions of going, leaving, & staying make criss-crossing paterns in the video that features enchanted-looking lands of mystery, wonder, surprise, and stoic characters. From forest fantasias, storybook villages, magical zebras (running about the woods of tres that are painted with similar stripes); a modern day Brothers Grimm style story is unveiled to Kristoffer’s own electrically enhanced expressions of the push & pull between arrivals, departures, and the power of the phrase, “get out of my way”. Kristoffer shared some insights with us on the song & video featured after the following video for “When You Say Stay”.

Tell us the story about what sorts of stay put sentiments and more contributed to the making of “When You Say Stay”.

This Song was the first of many I wrote for this album. I had the bass-line in my head. and programmed some beats.
the chorus line “When you say stay, you mean get out of my way” came up pretty natural. But I didn’t know if that sentence would make any sense to people who actually speak English. (pretty often I go wild with my “Swede-nglish”). ANYWAY!that sentence of got me started to write about a couple who where sort of done with each other.

Okay, I stole the story from a friend—they are divorced now.
To release a 5 minute long not so much radio-shaved song. felt in theory like a stupid idea. But theory never been my strongest suit. And for James (producer) Emil (keys/vocals), Joel (bass/vocals) and me. It felt like perfect move to say: HELLO WE ARE BACK!

So tell us how the imaginative & adventurous video from David Campesino came about, and how do you feel it has impacted the song?

David ideas and visions are just amazing. He came up with a script and I just said. Go-go-go. Love working with that guy. he will do our next video as well. Extremely proud to have him and his crew in our team.

Give us the story on what sorts of musical and personal inspirations went into the creation of EX/EX.

lyrically the album is about people who split up. Somewhere during the journey of writing this album I found my falsetto again.and that gave me more to work with vocal wise. I had a lot of fun singing while recording the album.

Soundwise I wanted to record an album with not to many overdubs and edits.what you hear on the album. thats how we play and sing.
there some pretty blue notes and time issues here and there. but thats how this band sounds. I’m very proud of that sound.
Its so easy to fix tracks and almost change the identity of a song. Im often listening and adore tons of music been computer-sculptured. just don’t want to be in a band making music that way. my flakes turns often to be my superpower after many listenings. I took me a long time to get to this point where not personal performance is the most important thing.
Now Its me And The Harbour Heads playing/singing a song together that makes most sense. Have to say. I like that feeling a lot.

What have you been listening to non-stop lately?

Thanks to the amazing label Light In The Attic. I´ve got a new copy of one of my absolute albums.
Im talking about Digable Planet and their album “blowout comb” (1994). Remember when that album came. back then it blew my mind and it still inspires me. that album alone intoduced new way of playing drums. more or less the first chapter of what turned out to be my ”grove”.

I like the new Iggy Pop (Post Pop Depression), The new Tricky (Skilled Mechanics) album really surprise me. its very good. These albums plus the one only Lee Hazlewood ” Love and Other Crimes” (1968). Been on my player for the last two months.

Next creative endeavors in the works?

can’t wait to tour. And I honestly think thats the best way of promoting this album.
besides that. keep doing stuff that feels challenging for the band and me personally.
If people like audience, reviews and album sales tag along with that challenge. that would be a huge bonus.
but thats nothing I take for granted. as long as I feel like we did a great album. I’m able to sleep at night.

Parting insights & words of sound advice?

Wow! no idea if I’m the right person to ask about sound. But first of all. Don’t try to sound like your idols. work with limitations. Don’t make the brain smart-out your heart and genitals. Make sure to not just close miking the sound source. Your closet, kitchen, garage etc. sounds way better than all the sample libraries in the world. just add an ambiance microphone. So we all can hear your unique room. Dr John sort of nailed it with the album Gris-Gris (1968) But The Walkmen album ”Lisbon” (2010) and The Fugees ”The Score” (1996) might end up on my list of the top and inspiring sounding albums.

Nicholas Fisher

A dashboard selfie courtesy of Lathrop by the Bay Area's own Nicholas Fisher.

A dashboard selfie courtesy of Lathrop by the Bay Area’s own Nicholas Fisher.

Keeping up with Stockton by the Bay’s own kitchen-trap lord Nicholas Fisher, we bring you the new Soft Touch style with the instrumental “like minds”. The track moves with a rhythmic synergy that attempts to capture the unseen forces of magnetic fields that create scientific bonds between two individual forces of nature. The style pairs together the kind of spring fling / summer romance amour where you are privy to the sounds of feelings that represent the attractive spaces that exist in between two people.

Nicholas and longtime buddy/collaborator Sam Regan dropped by to share a few quick words on the new cut:

Nicholas: Like minds is a make-out song. The vocal sample is the shit you’d probably think about after watching a ton of that show “Cosmos”.

Tuning in to the latest from Nicholas Fisher; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Tuning in to the latest from Nicholas Fisher; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Sam: That vocal sample is hot…Oh nice! This is good. I like when everything cuts out except that funny bass sound for just a bit.

Island Boy

Island Boy's Richard Hunter-Rivera; photographed by Henry Lewis.

Island Boy’s Richard Hunter-Rivera; photographed by Henry Lewis.

San Juan, Puerto Rico by Italy by NYC wonder Richard Hunter-Rivera makes gorgeous music for new tropical horizons, and today presents the debut of his brand new album The Sea Between. Following up works Basic Instincts & the self-titled EP; Richard takes us on a treasure trip of discovery to the isles and straits of formerly unknown sentiments and sensations.

The awakening begins on the opening breaths of “She Breathes”, right before you are lead to the Olympic sized pool scale of the title track that invites you to jump right into the deep end with abandon; no regrets, & no looking back. Everything from minimalism & maximalism plays about on the restrained “Dun on Life”, taking you into the subterranean rabbit hole of “Chasers”, wading into the great wide Atlantic depths on the hazy-waves of “You Deserve It All”. Romantic sensuality is everywhere, heard on the steamy “Love Scene”, that takes it’s nu-gazing notions down the subtle streets of “Boulevard”, seeking that perfect word in Spanish on the lo-fi “La Palabra”, moving to the physics of civics & imagination on synth-saturated sounds of “Law & Wonder”. Invitations of BDSM behaviors and other aspects of restraint come to play on “Tie Me Up”, before leaving you in the cooling pool waters of “She Knows” that hints with synths at the knowledge known only by a beloved other.

Richard provided the following exclusive preface to the new album The Sea Between with the following introductory words:

As a creator of art, if you have any desire to be understood and truly appreciated, I believe that it’s important for your audience to relate personally to your work. So I typically refuse to force some pre-conceived notion of what I think my music is or isn’t about upon potential listeners. I’d prefer for them to discover their own meaning in it. That said, I know that for some folks, knowing the source of a work’s inspiration can aid in feeling connected to it, so let’s say that perhaps The Sea Between is a record about crossing barriers and breaking away, a tribute to the act of overcoming your fears and jumping headfirst into the unknown. Additionally, because I don’t create in a vacuum (does anybody?), my creative process is guided by some sense of who I am at the time and where I come from. Where I come from is something I have spent a great deal of energy contemplating the last few years actually. I want to understand who I am, and why I am. So maybe even more subtly, the record is about my own personal struggle as a Puerto Rican living in the US with at times acute cultural identity crisis, one I don’t think will ever truly be settled within my heart until I find a way to contribute substantively to the island’s greater well-being.

Ultimately, however, The Sea Between is a record for my friends and supporters, those that make the project’s existence possible and those that believe in my talent. I’m no prodigy but I’ve been a musician long enough to know what I like and how to make it and that is something to be proud of. I measure success differently now than I used to as a youngster and for me this album is a personal triumph. As a mere mortal on this crazy earth, the only thing that should motivate me is the alleviation of suffering, mine and that of those around me. There is no sense in worrying about competing with people that enjoy far greater privilege than you, but if you can aid folks that are less fortunate then that’s good. As my wife Jes so sweetly reminds me from time to time, just do your thing man and everything will fall into place.

Island Boy’s The Sea Between is available now via iTunes and Spotify, with a limited edition cassette also available via Bandcamp.

Catch Island Boy playing the following show dates:

May
27 Washington DC, The Pinch
30 Baltimore, MD, Jordan Faye Contemporary

June
01 Brooklyn, Don Pedro

Kinkajous

kinkajous week in pop 1

London’s Kinkajous presents us with the grand premiere of their Staring At The Odds EP streaming exclusively here in it’s entirety prior to the June 3 release date. Known for their atmospheric electro nu-jazz variations, the group creates new consciousness creations for all with ears to hear and feelings to feel. The quintet of Adrien Cau, Benoît Parmentier, Layla Kim, Rick Tipton and Richard O’Connor follow up their 2014 debut with an illustrious abandon into the dynamics of what new syntheses can be made from the modern paradigms of musical models that we already understand (as well as everything we don’t understand at the same time).

The call for all to congregate and experience is made on the opening number “All Kinds” that combines brass with fluttering electrics, understated percussion, and sustained keys that resonate long after. Tracks like “Intro” delve into vintage arsenal of dub effects that are coupled with the earthy sound of wind chimes, reverberating with further resonance and assonance on the brain expanding/nu-awakening of “Cloud Four”, where the orchestral elements of jazz are elevated to new states of elation and higher altitudes. The group gathers up glittering sounds that twinkle like a cacophony of controlled arcade sounds set to smooth & sweet jazz jelly that melts like preserves applied to crispy slices of toast. All the vibes, brass, woodwinds, and infused digital proponents take it to the very top to give you something to remember on the closing, shimmering bright star supernova burst of “Avahi”. For those looking for an EP of instant audio therapy, Staring at the Odds was made for any and all who are looking for an outlet or escape from the unbelievable odds that we as humans are up against on a daily basis.

The Kinkajous collective shared with us the following quick notes about the process of making their Staring at the Odds EP:

This record happened thanks to an unsuccessful first attempt. We had spent a few months working on a first draft, searching for new sounds and trying to delve deeper into our jazz influences, while having Flying Lotus and Floating Points playing in the background. We learnt a lot during this the process and grew as a band, but we found that once the EP was wrapped and ready to press, we had inspiration on a whole new level and didn’t feel like the initial record was a good reflection of this. So we started over. These tracks went back to the archive and “Staring At The Odds” was written in about three weeks.

From that point, everything happened very naturally. Virtuoso trumpeter Mathieu Haage joined us on ‘All Kinds’, bringing the final piece to the song. Brendan Williams (GoGo Penguin) came on board too. He mixed the record as if he understood the music better than we did. We are very proud of this EP and are very excited to bring it to you.

Sarob.

The latest from Sarob., aka Rob Tate; press photo courtesy of the artist.

The latest from Sarob., aka Rob Tate; press photo courtesy of the artist.

With word of Sarob. drumming up some new releases in the works post-college graduation, we bring you his collaboration with BAARD & Joey Aich on the track “jetblackweave”. The three muse over the URL & IRL approaches to courtship, titles, volition, and thoughts on academic persistence and perseverance. BAARD keeps the production & minimalist mix complete with surface noise and subtlety that provides a backdrop for Joey & Sarob.’s verses of accomplishments, works in progress, and assignments that are yet to be turned in to life’s teaches & elders of infinite wisdom.

Sarob. shared a few quick words with us about the new single & what is next.

Joey Aich and I connected with BAARD through a mutual friend; we actually haven’t officially met him yet, but he’s definitely the homie. And he has so many different styles. Without question, he and I will have more on the way.

BAARD sent us the beat almost a year ago and I worked on it over the summer as I was finishing the down. Joe and I finally recorded it together in the fall, and then we sent it to BAARD, who worked on the mix until maybe March.

For now, I’m preparing my next project, which I plan to release commercially, and I’m working on remixes and videos to the down. In addition, I have a documentary that should be out over the summer. So I have a lot to work on [laughs]!

Débruit

Débruit; press photo courtesy of SteytPeña Photography.

Débruit; press photo courtesy of SteytPeña Photography.

Available today, we invite you to enter the world of Brussels based artist Débruit who brings his adventures exploring Turkey in the electronic cycle of débruit & istanbul. From eastward progressions of notes, rhythms, & chants; Débruit brings the polarities between east and west concepts and constructs just a little closer together like disparate siblings separated at birth & reunited once again.

“Gelecek” follows along eastern echoing progressions of electric arrangements and boiling dance-hall riddims. With it’s title translated in English to mean “future” from Turkish, electronic advancements in audio production here serve as the catalyst to push traditional Middle Eastern melodies into new percolating paradigms. Eastward glances here provide portending possibilities of hope with meditations for a new found peace.

“Above The Bosphorus” finds Débruit taking the listener to the watery strait that connects Black Sea and Sea of Marmara located in Istanbul, Turkey that recalls the upper area through an environment-emulating electronic sound score. Débruit’s approach to arrangements allow the listener to feel that they too are vicariously exploring all the locales, places, people, and experiences explored by the artist.

Bring us to the moment in your life where you realized you were a musician, and what were your earliest recollections of audio-art-inspiration?

It’s hard to remember, I don’t know really even today define myself as a musician, I say I make music but never I’m a musician. there’s a romanticism around the definition but it doesn’t define me fully. Also because I can’t sit at a grand piano and play something like I master the instrument. I can play a lot of instruments but none of them really really well so I compensate with ideas, I hope. I also remember recording, my parents had a microphone we could plug in the cassette player and early on I remember a recording of me singing an advert for yoghurt, that is my first memory, as a teenager I kept on recording on cassette the different instruments I was ok at, drums, sax, guitar, bass etc. I’ve always been interested in all the instruments which I guess brought me to produce all by myself with a certain angle, an idea, an opinion on every part. Nowadays once in awhile some musicians tell me about my time signatures or melodies or even harmonies more than I know about them myself when I’m the one who composed it, some teacher in Berkeley even got in touch to tell me about it and said she was playing it to some student.

As someone who has played around the world, really interested in hearing about your experiences in Istanbul, and how that environment, and working with folks like Okay Temiz.

Istanbul is a special city, it is unreal how pretty and cinematic it is. The heritage but the modernity also, the people… I had to find the musicians physically first and convince them to work on that album so my destinations and travels were organized around who I was going to meet, each time it led me into a mini-trip that I wouldn’t have taken if it wasn’t for that project. Transportation can be trams across the Galata bridge looking at fishermen and boats dancing or it can also be a boat to cross the Bosphorus on the way from Europe to Asia’s Kadikoy neighborhood looking at the Sultan’s Palace and the blue Mosque on one side and the Bosphorus bridge on the other side. So it’d be hard not to be inspired. Okay leaves in the Galata area and was hard to convince, he tested me quite a lot and had me come over to his percussion studio several times before we could record but then he performed in front of me with all his pedals etc it was quite magical and I had to really catch the moment. We also talked about where I’m from (Bretagne) and by a great coincidence he had collaborated with musicians from my tiny village when he came around in the 70’s, he gave me his thoughts on my culture and its music it was amazing, I was blown away to hear what he made of where I’m from. The women singing, the traditional clarinet, the seafood… it was now my turn to come to his city and do the same, like a dialogue lost in space and time.

When you’re not making your own sounds or collaborating with cool cats—what do you normally listen to when you’re on the playback side of the creative process?

A lot of things generally, depending on if I’m ‘free’ (not trying to understand a specific kind of music) or preparing for a specific project, in that case I’d be listening to a lot of music enlightening me on a specific style and feel from somewhere. Let’s say prior the Istanbul project I was nearly exclusively listening to turkish music from folk to psychedelic and modern so I could then be infused by it, I had to figure out the feel, the scale the instruments their sounds etc… that doesn’t mean I can play turkish music but I made a step towards it to me in between myself (what I would come up naturally) and this music, that goes with cultural and visual researches too as it helps the music for me.

What’s next for Débruit?

Too much for one person but in a good way, gigging a lot in Europe, traveling for projects, I’m going to spend July in Kinshasa in the République Démocratique du Congo for one of the most exciting project I’ve ever embarked on, I’m not sure I can tell too much about it but a really challenging one. I’m also starting my own structure/label called ICI / ICIyouare which will allow me to collaborate and release artists through various forms of art, through different medias or performances, I will also try to share more or organize the sharing of knowledge in the creative field. I also have some music charity projects I want to start, over ambitious ideas that I’d need help with.

Brandon Locher

The instrumental-instrument arts of Brandon Locher; photographed by Olivia Locher.

The instrumental-instrument arts of Brandon Locher; photographed by Olivia Locher.

In our continued state of marveling at the sound and visuals made by Brandon Locher, we deliver you something from both his audio side with the single for “Slow Steps”, complete with the artist’s own brilliant self-made labyrinthine visuals. Not only does Locher make visuals that enrapture the curiosity of the mind’s sense of depth and perception, but his organic ambient works continue to find organic and electronic bedfellows that continue the canon of audio artifices for all tomorrow’s newly envisioned environments.

The artist who has given us contributions through the musical endeavors of Stage Hands and The Meets, not to mention recent Ghostly International collaborations; Locher continues to prove to be a contemporary master of moving the audio and visual elements closter together. “Slow Steps” is styled to the tune and speed of life, where the frenetic world that we often complain about is depicted with a certain degree of pause where reflective & introspective elements softly bubble to the surface as if observing & hearing our world’s own progress & gears turning in real time.

In Brandon’s own words on the slow burn making of “Slow Steps”:

Since the New Year my studio practice of recording music has become much more introspective with my own individual journey. Producing music for the first time under my own name has allowed myself the permission to become completely honest with my new recorded works. From the very beginning my music has always been rooted in a self-produced vision and lately I’ve felt such an enhanced clarity and boundless freedom. I am currently working on finishing a full length and “Slow Steps” is a glimpse of the music to come.

Get experimentally awesome and free with Alex Wand, Steven Van Betten, & Logan Hone who are Desert Magic, presenting the fun with creative arts in their video for “A Commonly Observed Phenomenon” from Jessica Li. The band combines the very aesthetics of optical and audio artifaces where sheet music can been seen in conjunction with DIY-PBS special style instructive visuals.

Available today from Cascine, we are proud to present you with a listen to Maria Usbeck’s debut solo album Amparo, with lush lyrics delivered predominately in Spanish and co-production courtesy of Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek. Islands of magic and imagination emanate with a celestial sunny glow on “Isla Magica”, the tranquil me & you type of truths resound on the whirling romanticism of “Moai Y Yo”, name calling games of identity on “Llamame”, taking walks down desolation boulevards in search of better sidewalks, comforts, & more on “Camino Desolado”. Maria embeds various aspects of intimacy and more everywhere heard on “Uno De Tus Ojos”, to sensual city visions heard on “Ciudad Desnuda”, hidden & found beaches heard on “Playa Esondida”, more reflective-aesthetic moments enjoyed on “Lapislazul”, rain-forest re-visitations on “Jungla Inquieta”, before leaving you with spider crawling slow-waking sentiments of “Tarantula”. For those that adore Maria’s work formerly with Selebrities & Soda Shop; her solo album is everything and more you have desired in an album for years.

Bringing it all back home, check out the single “Homeward” from Ethan Burns that takes you into the time warp of smooth vintage radio classics. The old world blues carries on like tunes of wants and wills sent sailing through a hickory, summer breeze on a hot June night. Catch these desert pop wanderers playing tonight in Santa Barbara at Dashain Haus May 27 and May 31 in LA at The Satellite.

From rising pop star Alev Lenz, take flight on the single “Airport” that is sure to send your upcoming sunny holiday sailing high in the sky. The summer heat and excitement of anticipated conversations and revelry bubbles up with all the thrills and elation of a never ending vacation.

Featuring brain expanding visuals from frvshndg featuring additional footage from Paolo di Giacombo; Semi Precious delivers the sensual elements of sea, sky, and ethereal sentiments in the video for “Purple Room”. Featured off the upcoming Ultimate Lounge album available July 22 via London label squareglass; the brass inflected worlds of leisure, luxury, and transcendental moments all collide in a cross section of pure, unbridled ecstasy.

Behold the various a/v fun in the Frankie Broyles’ video for Omni’s fuzzy-rocker “Wire” featured off the debut album Deluxe available July 8 from Trouble In Mind Records. Matching up an array of vintage visuals that all involve colorful cross hairs, surveys of strangers and strange lands provide the perfect accompaniment for punchy post-punk pop.

Behold the dramatic Francesco Brunotti video for Traitrs’ “Witch Trails”, taken from From Rites and Ritual available now from Pleasence Records. The cold tribulations are taken to cold digital CGI worlds of pagan rituals and visual looks of engulfing, and all consuming infinite abysses of untold perdition.

From beautiful Victoria, British Columbia; meet the laid back sounds & styles from Jons who just released their new album Serfs of Today via Solitaire Records. Songs like “Sugarfree” resound with that Splenda/aspertame air, bringing that lo-fi love on “Don’t Complain”, coasting into those Mac Demarco/Drew Price-esque territories on “Last Minute”, more morning glory on “Feta Morgana”, the subdued “Orcachief”, that ride all the way out until the last bell rings on the parting cut, “Last Call for Buss”. An album best enjoyed on the brightest day, or on an overcast day that is about to be brightened up beyond belief.

Richmond, VA based band Avers reminds us through signs & sounds of scuzz that “these are the days where everything hurts” on the cleverly titled new single, “Everything Hz”. Look for this and other songs that tackle the alpha & omega of generation-whatever on their new album Omega/Whatever available July 29 through the imprint EggHunt Records.

Teen Body (made up of members from Hoop Dreams, Richmond’s own beloved White Laces) brings some night to our day with the single “daymoon”, taken off their debut Get Home Safe available June 17. Coastal recollections are gathered in the group’s DIY duets & harmonies that remind us that “when the day breaks and the sun stays, I’ll remember you in the waves….”

Seattle duo NAVVI are readying their breakout album Omni available May 27 from Hush Hush Records, and you are invited to step in sync with the synth-studded single “Simpatico”. NAVVI takes you to those future ambient pools and seas of unmatched tranquility where feelings between two people intersect in the most sublime and inexplicable of ways.

Austin Jones and Philip Anderson Edsel are New York Movie, who embrace their inner auteur sense by relaying them to the audio fields with the new single “Firecracker” taken from their forthcoming EP. The pyrotechnic sense of revelry & celebration rings forward like a Fourth of July holiday that has arrived early to champion the transitions from spring to the rite of summer.

From your favorite skronk-meisters BRONCHO, get down and grab a listen to “I Know You” taken from their upcoming album Double Vanity available June 10 from Dine Alone Records. The result is the sense of shared connections and knowledge shared between people played out with a riff hook that you want to ride out for a blessed eternity.

With Factory Floor’s upcoming album 25 25 available August 19 from DFA Records, we got the new single “Dial Me In” that request to be dialed into the electro loop of murmuring digital bass beats. This is that pre/post-party banger that you have waited for to illuminate your weekends & holidays with a new sense of shine.

Behold the Spencer Owens video for songwriter/turned solo artist Sam Fischer’s debut single “Lean”, that delivers rhythms, blues, & sun-rising desires further entertained by the slick dance moves by Nadine Olmo.

Wild Beasts present the glamorous evening attitudes of slick night moves and more in the Olivier Groulx video for cool-crooning-cruiser “Get My Bang” taken off their upcoming album Boy King available August 5 from Domino.

Chicago trio Health&Beauty’s upcoming album NO SCARE will be available August 5 from Wichita Recordings, and we give you some solace for “Wartime” conditions on the new single that finds a certain peace within the clusters of life’s chaos.

Prepare yourself for some smooth, pretty sitting you time with the luxurious new single “Sitting Pretty” from the iconic pop group Iconique.

Catch the new rhythm & electro blues from the UK’s SNE on the cut “SFTW”, oka “Sorry For The Wait” that features production by Penhouse made for tomorrow’s penthouses and patient spirits. SNE ghosts among the minimalist cloudy production that sends along best regards and apologies for any tardy arrivals.

Finland’s Mikko Joensuu dropped the hymn “Amen 1” as an emotive opening to his forthcoming trilogy, with the other parts available later this year, & early 2017. The amazing grace style at work brings a sense of home for all weary wanderers, because “sometimes you have to go far to feel you’re at home.”

In case you missed it, bask in the piano and string lead paths from Aukai on the gorgeous mood lifting single “Agua Azul” that lets you float downstream in clear blue waters.

Hear Zoey Lily’s debut single “Edges” that ruminates about the sharper edges of life in honest tones and notes that seeks a certain solace of mind & spirit.

For those looking for something to cater or kill the buzz; we give you the new Pink Mexico single “BUZZ KILL” taken off the new album fool available June 24 from Burger Records. The fuzz and buzz here collides for one heckuva skronky/crunchy high that you never want to end.

MOURN’s Ha, Ha, He. will be available June 3 from Captured Tracks, and we give you the group’s new single of blistering angst and attitude on “Irrational Friend”. Listen as the group recalls the album title with a host of laughs & other emotive outbursts.

Japanese Breakfast’s Week in Pop

Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner & mom; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner & mom; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Japanese Breakfast has released one of the best records of 2016 with the incredible Psychopomp courtesy of the good folks at Yellow K Records, and we are proud to present the following exclusive Week in Pop guest selections by Michelle Zauner:

Small Black, “Shook Leaves”

My buddy Josh in Small Black just found a cool fan vid someone made for their track “Shook Leaves!” It reminds me of the scene where Fern Gully dances on the water in a cave. Very romance.

Dance floor queen Michelle Zauner; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Dance floor queen Michelle Zauner; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Charly Bliss, “Ruby”

This video rules & this band rules & this song rules & Spencer rules, what a slayer! What a spicy hot chorus. Does Eva say “cheese curl” at :58?

Morning rising with Japanese Breakfast; press photo.

Morning rising with Japanese Breakfast; press photo.

Sufjan Stevens, “Death with Dignity”

I recently rediscovered Sufjan’s 2015 album Carrie & Lowell on the drive back from Philly to NYC. Just silently cried in the car for a good half hour. This album, I’ve read, is about grief and summers spent in Oregon. It just hits so close to home. I grew up in Eugene, a small college town he even titled a track after. I lost my mom a year and a half ago now, and I’m still learning how to grieve. I found myself really longing for Oregon when he mentions Tillamook, Emerald Park, Spencer’s Butte. What a perfect, beautiful record.

The glamorous realm of Japanese Breakfast; press photo.

The glamorous realm of Japanese Breakfast; press photo.

GUMI, “Catch You Catch Me” (Cardcaptor Sakura OST)

When I was young I used to spend all of my allowance on anime OSTs. I used to be really embarrassed about this, but now I am not, because these tracks have amazing production and are so damn catchy! I love this Cardcaptor opening theme so much.

Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner; photographed by Julian Master.

Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner; photographed by Julian Master.

Japanese Breakfast, “In Heaven”

Gotta rep my own vid! This came out last week and I love the way it turned out so much. Adam Kolodny of House of Nod is a phenomenal director/cinematographer and I feel so lucky I got to work with him!

Michelle Zauner stealing the show; photographed by Nick Dinatale.

Michelle Zauner stealing the show; photographed by Nick Dinatale.

Mitski, “Happy”

This is one of my favorite tracks off Mitski’s upcoming record. I just think she’s a phenomenal songwriter and I’m so excited to hit the road with her in June.

Japanese Breakfast.

Japanese Breakfast.

Beyoncé, “Sorry”

I don’t know how to get a video of this, but this is the absolute jam. Perfect video & perfect track. My husband made me play this song three times in a row the other day.

Hotelier, “Goodness”

My darling friend Christian released their LP Goodness this week. I love Christian’s lyrics so so much & they’ve always been so supportive of me. Here’s a video for the track “Piano Player”. I actually make an appearance! I’m in night vision trying to get someone to play chicken with me in the ocean in Florida.

Porches, “Braid”

I saw Porches at another SXSW showcase while we were down there and was totally blown away by their live set. Pool is such a phenomenal album and Aaron is such a talent.

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