Week in Pop: Boyfriends, Dirty Ghosts, Foreign Resort, Pangs

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Dylan Williams, Risley, Sharks in the Deep End, Throws, guest selections by Kristin Kontrol.

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Sjimon Gompers | March 4, 2016

Nashville's Pangs rising up from the undergroun & hanging in a cemetery; photographed by Jeremy Bennett.

With SXSW buzz clogging our collective media feeds, Impose’s Week in Pop continues to deliver showcases of your favorites weekly. In big breaking news, Kendrick Lamar dropped the new album untitled unmastered.; Larkin Grimm dedicates new single “I Don’t Believe” to all survivors of abuse; Azealia Banks dropped “Used to Being Alone”; Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” played at the beginning and end of the Oscars, Chuck D shared his own thoughts; Speedy Ortiz announced tour with with Hop Along; get to know Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bundick a little bit better with Harry Israelson’s documentary Chaz: in Parts; Explosions in the Sky shared “Logic of a Dream” off upcoming album The Wilderness available April 1 from Temporary Residence; Iggy Pop posed as a nude model for New York Academy of Art drawing class organized by Brooklyn Museum under Jeremy Deller’s direction; Kanye claimed that “as of now” his next upcoming album will be titled Turbo Grafx 16; M83 dropped “Do It, Try It” from the forthcoming album Junk available April 8 from Mute; Flight of the Conchords returns with new upcoming stateside tour and new material; Candace (fka Is/Is) releases their new album New Future March 22 via Found Object Records, shares title track; Tidal hit with a class-action lawsuit, Tidal issues a statement, and Hov is also now DJ Khaled’s manager after a deal signed with Roc Nation management; Big Freedia runs afoul over government funds; Lil B apologized to The Weeknd for saying “Fuck The Weeknd”; Charli XCX dropped clip of “Paradise” ft. Hannah Diamond; Rick Ross pleads self-defense over last summer’s entire fracas; the Obamas will be keynote speakers at SXSW; Yeezy trolled Deadmau5, hinted at 2 Chainz & Weezy collaboration dropping today; meanwhile Tyler, The Creator rapped over Kanye’s “Freestyle 4”; Earl Sweatshirt delivered a DJ set as DJ Earl Fletcher; Nina Simone biopic that stars Zoe Saldana will be available April 22; Mindless Self Indulgence’s Little Jimmy Urine remixed Grimes’ “Kill V. Maim”; Foo Fighters breakup rumors, band issues an official announcement; Crystal Castles not playing feminist SXSW showcase 79 Cents; and Jimmy Page defended the originality of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”.

But as we move on to today’s top stories, we are proud and privileged to bring you the following exclusives, interviews, and insights from Boyfriends, Dirty Ghosts, Pangs, Risley, The Foreign Resort, André Obin, Sharks in the Deep End, CrushnPain, Dylan Williams, Kind Turkey Records, Oyinda, featuring guest selections by Kristin Kontrol, and more—in no particular order.

Pangs

Nashville's Pangs (from left, Peace, Duane, & Michelle) return; photographed by Sarah Plotkin.

Nashville’s Pangs (from left, Peace, Duane, & Michelle) return; photographed by Sarah Plotkin.

Pangs blew up on our radar as Nashville group NUDITY’s deluxe luxury pop offshoot with the singles “Already Dead” & a cover of Wreckless Eric’s Whole Wide World. Pangs retains similar hook note traces heard from NUDITY as Lindsay “Michelle” Johns, Nick “Duane” Bennett, & Peace further refine the DIY scuzz & fuzz of their flagship band for bigger and brighter indulgences that push their own audio arrangements, depths, & dimensions of their sound into greater degrees of definition.

Today Pangs presents the world premiere of their singles “Audio/Visual” & “Rubicon” that illustrate Michelle, Duane, & Peace breaking through with audio gems geared to takeover all radio and musical channels dedicated to the glossiest of jams. Its sounds as if the trio studied every technical pop structure handbook of both modern and retro day compositions, as everything here is angled as a series of hooks, and every instrument and utterance of attitude contributes to a grand audio spectacle. Pangs here prove to the world that they can turn anything into the brightest audio aura heard ever, sequencing together the highest stem definitions that could provide other artists with endless remix opportunities (not to mention opening the door to the possibilities of what other artists might sound like as remixed by Pangs).

“Audio/Visual” establishes from the get go that Pangs (not unlike NUDITY) are artists who desire and revel in creating a series of well crafted and calculated hits. Like the insta-appeal of the lauded single “Already Dead“, Michelle’s punchy prosodic delivery matches Duane’s production heard in catchy lyrical rhythm sequences that spill in sections like, “Sunglasses and medicated, everybody’s getting jaded, in monotone and unison, I wanna voice that’s all my own.” A barrage of pop signatures abound everywhere, where Pangs cleverly arranges tough & sassy bridges of “got a problem, got a problem” in between lyrical couplets like, “What do you do when you watch tv? What’s on your mind if it’s not movies? You’re no good when you’re comfortable, but wait a minute you don’t have to go.” The manic bond of togetherness here is exhibited in arguments, rhetorical questions, fragments of conversations, criticisms, and demands for a vocal autonomy. The turnt up feels here is the sound of Pangs & friends starting their own backyard party on the budget while reaching for the stars delivering an assemblage of memorable ear-worms leaving you with poetic pop quips like; “Catch phrases, skinned up knees, bad credit to infinity.”

“Rubicon” examines the emotions and feelings that surround departures and movements that strive to make as clean of a break, while being still being completely honest with the self & former beloved. The circular maneuvers and reasoning move past the point of no return heard in the chorus commitment to cutting the chord heard in Michelle’s delivery of, “Don’t wanna keep in touch, I don’t wanna make up, or keep on keeping on”. Though the shiny pop appeal distracts with myriad hooks, and sections; where the entirety of a relationship is examined along with the things that change between a pair of lovers with the passing of time and personal growth. “Spaces change, lines are drawn, Honey tell me whose side are you on? Nothing ever lasts forever, so long, so long, so long…” This is the song for all broken and mended hearts who seek to hear that resolve that reminds us that all things work out for the better ultimately somehow down these erratic paths.

Pangs’ own Lindsay “Michelle” Johns & Nick “Duane” Bennett were kind enough to take the time to chat this past week about everything from the new singles, to NUDITY playing Happenin Fest, with insights into future events, & more:

When Pangs was launched last year with the single “Already Dead” b/w that Wreckless Eric cover “The Whole Wide World”, it was like the debut single that was buzzing throughout the states and all the way across the otherside of the pond. What was all that praise like for Pangs, and what have you all been up to since we last talked?

Lindsay: Yeah that was a really nice thing, having NME pick up our singles. It really came out of nowhere. Like, that NME is actually walking the beat on some level looking for new music is a revelation. Apart from that it kind of introduced us straight off to some fans which is just the best.

We’ve been busy at home in Nashville recording and rehearsing to have new songs and figure out how to do it all live. We hunkered down in our (very chilly) basement this fall and winter writing, recording and playing. The first of those efforts are these singles. That they’re finally out of the basement is exciting for us. And we’re starting to pop up with shows here and there beginning this month.

Feels like the production is turned up further on the new singles “Rubicon” & “Audio/ Visual”. Tell us what’s been happening behind the scenes and mixing boards here.

Nick: We’re figuring out better how to record. We work at home and there are limitations to that approach but they actually force you to maybe come up with something unexpected. I think innovation in sound comes from people not necessarily knowing how to do something “properly.” Skipping the instructions, etc. Over time we’ve pieced together methods and accumulated little tricks. It’s mostly been trial and error to get there but now we get to pick the best approaches and eventually got pretty good at getting the sounds we’re after. And knowing when to leave accidents alone. That’s been a slow process but we’re always turning corners and finally have a lot of control.

Pangs frontwoman Lindsay "Michelle" Johns; photographed by Hunter Alexander Dixon.

Pangs frontwoman Lindsay “Michelle” Johns; photographed by Hunter Alexander Dixon.

What experiences and interactions informed these new singles?

Lindsay: I was a bartender for a long time, and these people from my past kept coming in to the bar and every time I had that really awkward feeling in my stomach of not wanting to do the small talk thing, or pretend I don’t know somebody thing, or let’s talk about high school thing (absolute worst) and I thought to myself “I don’t want to keep in touch, what’s the point?” Just let these relationships die where they are. And then I wrote Rubicon and it felt like a weight off my shoulders. Audio/Visual was a culmination of a lot of different inspirations, one being the the kind of distracted or flighty tendencies of young people and what kind of love and admiration grows from living in a time like we’re in.

Nick: Yeah, “Rubicon” is like this melancholy triumphant break-up and “Audio/Visual” is so different; a summer song about young love and straight up drug-like infatuation. Complete accident but they’re sort of bookends.

Heard your sister act NUDITY is playing Happenin Fest 2016 on April 1 at Saturn, Birmingham, what are you all stoked on the most for Happenin Fest this year?

Nick: Yeah! NUDITY put out a 45 (“Supernatty“) with Happenin Records and this is the second of their annual festivals we’ve been able to play. I remember we all agreed immediately after the first that is was easily our best ever show. Such a good crowd and scene there.

JEFF and PUJOL are obviously great and our local heroes. We’re really into finally seeing Deer Tick play. And White Reaper has our attention. Happenin Fest is just a great party and we’re really looking forward to seeing our pals at Happenin Records and what new plans they’ve cooked up for the festival. Every year gets turned up a bit more.

Give us the latest goods, stories, gossip, and more from the streets and subterranean sectors of Nashville.

Nick: I’m maybe the least qualified person to answer this since I’m always in the studio. Lindsay is working at another Nashville studio called Welcome to 1979. It’s primarily analog format and they cut lacquers and will be plating records before too long. Pete Townshend was just there doing something or other.

Lindsay "Michelle" Johns & Pangs live; press photo courtesy of the band.

Lindsay “Michelle” Johns & Pangs live; press photo courtesy of the band.

Who and what are inspiring Pangs at this moment in time?

Lindsay: The state of politics. Social injustices. Grimes, the country of Norway, and David Attenborough.

What else are Pangs working on right now?

Lindsay: Some bangers, some ballads.

Pangs new singles singles “Audio/Visual” & “Rubicon” are available now.

Dirty Ghosts

The indelible & illustrious haunting of Dirty Ghosts; photo courtesy of Liz Caruana Photography.

The indelible & illustrious haunting of Dirty Ghosts; photo courtesy of Liz Caruana Photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Francisco’s Dirty Ghosts have triumphantly returned from a national tour, a month plus European run with Kelley Stoltz, and have returned home to the Bay to premiere the flights of fancy filmed road film short “Tour de Floors” along with a listen to the title track anthem “Let It Pretend”. Taken from the album of the same name available via Last Gang Records; our heroes Allyson Baker, Erin McDermott, & Tony Sevener present the result of synthed-out recording made with Trans Am’s Phil Manley where the reverberations of synths and emotion striped shuddering riffs flicker like an incandescent vacuum tube bulb. A ballad that toasts the decline of a failing relationship, along with the freedom flight of their following road video finds Dirty Ghosts making music that rides forth for celestial highways that liftoff from the earthbound roads.

Dirty Ghosts’ Go Pro shot road move “Tour De Floors” serves as a music video that documents their late 2015 tour of the States and Canada in support of Let It Pretend. Watch Allyson, Erin, & Tony traverse the landscapes from Denver to their old stomping grounds of Ottawa having a ball, roughing it by living it up, making new friends, food, caffeine, and shenanigans. “Tour De Floors” is a song that celebrate that road warrior life crashing a new floor or couch (if lucky) every night in a song styled after a band van motor rhythm. Dirty Ghosts edit together a dizzying array of visuals that follow them playing a series of performances, from various venues, road grub gorge sessions, playground pauses, souvenir stops, and more dizzying arrays of stage lights and shots of the road that underscores the frenetic feeling when Allyson sings, “I hope you know the way out, because I don’t.” “Tour De Floors” road visuals depict Dirty Ghosts living up to the tough-as-nails sound and attitude aesthetic that the trio waves like a flag that asks to bring on the good times, while also reserving very human emotional elements in musical motifs and lyrics. Dirty Ghosts show us that while the touring circuits can be draining, there are rewards and excitement that exist out there in the world in the most random of places that you have yet to explore.

Title track “Let It Pretend” is everything you love about Dirty Ghosts. Allyson & company’s in your face honesty that lays out emotion on the line, facing tides of changes and breaks with the head-on confrontational apprehension heard in the chorus of, “Pretender, let it pretend until one of us surrenders.” Echoing the great women who rocked arenas in the 70s & 80s; Dirty Ghosts illustrate a righteous sound that gives us the impression that they really have only just begun. We had an opportunity to catch up with our friend Allyson Baker in our featured right after the jump.

Give us behind the scenes anecdotes from the collected tour Go Pro footage that makes up “Tour De Floors”.

This tour was different than any other tour we’ve ever done. We really embraced the vacation and travel aspect of it. Tony (Sevener, our drummer) couldn’t do the tour so I called one of my old high school pals Andrew from Toronto, who was really excited about going.

The prospect of being with him for a month straight, combined with the all food tour he had mapped out within our tour meant an onslaught of laughing and snacking. We were all about seeing the town, sampling their eats and playing a high energy show to burn off the cals.

What do you feel are some of the top five most important survival necessities, tips, & tricks for touring?

If you don’t like the idea of being on tour for a month, think of it as a road trip. Thelma and Louse, Fear and Loathing etc… Bring a small dog, to drop off at your mother’s house in another country 10 days into the tour, so you don’t have to worry about your pet. Invite a couple of your friends along and try to do cliche tourist activities to trick your brain, like going to Bourbon Street post show. If it’s a bad show, there’s always Bourbon Street to look forward to. If you’re going to enjoy fine cheeses and spreads in on tour like we did, ya gotta bring a cheese bag. Everyone knows you need a designated driver, but on tour you need a designated driver for the morning after. Every minute of hangover driving feels like an hour, so multiply that by 10 hours that’s a 600 hour drive.

dirty ghosts week in pop 1
Dirty Ghosts from left, Tony, Allyson, & Erin; photographed by Jenn Hernandez.

After a very eventful 2015, tell us about the making of the new big single “Let It Pretend”, and much the music of The Pretenders might have inspired it, and more.

The Stranglers were probably the band that inspired the album the most. Not being shy about using a four on the floor beat more than twice, having a tough bass sound drive the album, using keyboards for the first time, stuff like that. What I like about the Pretenders, although they weren’t a huge influence musically, is they wrote such great songs and that was something we tried to focus on this time around. Working on writing more honest lyrics, trying to map out songs in a more pop format, all of which was new territory for this band. It was a good learning experience.

Dirty Ghosts' 'Let It Pretend' LP cover; illustrated by Shayde Sartin of The Fresh & Onlys, as well as a prolific visual artist.

Dirty Ghosts’ ‘Let It Pretend’ LP cover; illustrated by Shayde Sartin of The Fresh & Onlys, as well as a prolific visual artist.

What other new directions of sound and styles have Dirty Ghosts been exploring?

Since we made Let It Pretend, we’ve acquired more gear and more production experience. Right now I’ve been having fun playing with synths and drums machines, which takes my brain into different places creatively. We completely abandoned the sampling that we used on Metal Moon, the first record, and there’s something about that I’d like to revisit, but differently, just working on the how and what of that right now. I think with “Let It Pretend” we said what we had to say musically with that one, and now we’re ready to try something different and new.

Next items on the Dirty Ghosts itinerary?

A bunch of west coast dates with LA Witch in March. A split 7″ Converse and Amoeba Records are putting out with our song “Witch Hunt”, which sadly never made it on to our album, so we’re happy its finally seeing a release on vinyl. And a remix coming out soon by a band we love that we’re really excited about, but can’t announce yet.

Current favorite things about the Bay Area right now?

This city’s got a good energy. I definitely feel it when I step outside in the morning. Maybe that’s because I’m living in the Mission for the first time in a really long time so there’s something still new about that to me. Also the burrito to home proximity is unbeatable. And a pile of great bands around right now, Cold Beat, Swiftumz, Cool Ghouls, Genuine Parts, Once and Future Band, too many to name!

Dirty Ghosts’ Let It Pretend is available now via Last Gang Records.

Catch Dirty Ghosts on the following tour dates:
March
24 Tempe, AZ – Time Out Lounge (w/ LA Witch)
25 Las Vegas, NV – Beauty Bar (w/ LA Witch)
26 Reno, NV – Holland Project (w/ La Luz)

April
02 San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop (w/ Night Beats)
09 San Francisco, CA – Amoeba Records, Converse 7″ release
16 San Diego, CA – Hideout (w/ LA Witch)

June
11 Sonoma, CA – Huichica Festival (w/ Silver Apples, Cherry Glazerr)

Boyfriends

Getting all glamorous & stuff with Seattle's Boyfriends; press photos appear courtesy of the band.

Getting all glamorous & stuff with Seattle’s Boyfriends; press photos appear courtesy of the band.

Featured recently in the video for “I Hate the Weekend” from their local friends Tacocat—of whom the band refers to dearly as their girlfriends—Seattle’s Boyfriends premiere their single “I Thought We Had Plans” with news of an April tour with Tacocat. Proclaimed to be Seattle’s newest pop sensation, Boyfriends follow-up last year’s DEMOS with even groovier DIY jams that promise to keep you moving, and charmed. Avowed worshipers and fanatics from the church of Freddie Mercury superstar-the glamorous messiahs behind the buzz are vocalist Michael McKinney, guitarist Sergio Mirazo, bassist Shawn Randles, and percussionist Ian Dugas who also entertained us this past week with an entertaining roundtable interview.

“I Thought We Had Plans” is full of the fun spirit that has overtaken the northwest increasingly as of late. It’s no secret that there is always a cornucopia of new earth-breaking sounds consistently spilling out of Seattle for as long as this sleepy writer can recall, but Boyfriends can be counted in the ranks that embrace the awkward hero of everyday misadventures and other relatable short stories. Think about the way output from like-minded luminaries like Chastity Belt, Childbirth, Lisa Prank, Pony Time, Snuff Redux, So Pitted, Tacocat (naturally), Wimps, and so forth has made you smile even on the greyest of overcast days. Boyfriends continue this tradition of delight in the face of all obstacles where peppy angular guitars, intriguing tonal choices, fashionable thrift-store aesthetics (in sound, vision, & textile choices as well), and the ability to find the enthusiasm in everything that would probably be an otherwise letdown.

This is the anthem for anyone and everyone that has ever been stood up by anybody, anywhere. Boyfriends fully without any sense of overt self-consciousness or irony turn and face the strange of situations that don’t go as planned, and everything from there takes on the histrionic farce of a Fellini picture. The opening lyrics of “I Thought We Had Plans” sets the stage for chaos, with the impending possibility of calamity, catastrophe, and more already about to fly off the hinges. “He threw a lemon at her head, and must have broke a lamp instead, ‘what are we doing she screamed, we are undoing it seems…” This is the song that has it all for everyone, from Boyfriends’ accordion harmonizing intro that then shift-kicks into a high gear that is the sound of everything you have loved about the DIY and independent scenes now for forever. This is the sound of your favorite kiwi band from the Flying Nun catalog being channeled through the dorm rooms, patios, shared garage spaces, dives, pop-up party venues, and the bouncing bedroom pop of underground Seattle. Keep an eye out for more big things happening with Boyfriends, and be sure to read our interview with Michael, Sergio, Shawn, & Ian featured right after the following debut of “I Thought We Had Plans”.

Give us the lesser known story about how Boyfriends became a band.

Sergio: Michael and I have a mutual friend that insisted we would be great friends, and that we should play music together, but I dismissed that because everyone’s friend says that. Anyway he walked into my place of work one night right as I was re applying my lipstick and we fell in love. We messed around with a book on black magic one night and accidentally summoned Shawn to a dance party at michaels house.

Michael McKinney: We all met as members of the Freddy Mercury’s Teeth Official Fan Club. This led to the formation of Boyfriends.

Shawn Randles: We met later that week to play music for the first time, we played to a drum machine and wrote like 4 songs that day. we played at a party at Spruce Haüs that night under the name “Hotdogs”. Ian came a few days later when he sent us this enthusiastic Facebook message; Hello, I am interested in playing drums with ya’ll. Let me know when you practice. I hope to be a suitable fit. we hired him instantly.

Valley of the Boyfriends.

Valley of the Boyfriends.

How has Boyfriends grown together as a group from your demo batch to the new 3 track 7″?

Shawn: The three songs from the 7” were taken from the same session. Being in the studio together we leaned some choreographed dances. one of them is called “the new shoe dance” we have some video of it that may make it into a music video one day.

Michael:Our individual places in the band have been fully realized; Sergi is the sweet one, Dugi is the savory one, Shawny is the creamy one, and Mikey is the tangy one.

Describe what it was like making the new 7″?

Shawn: We recorded at The Vault in Seattle with Ian lesage. the studio is in an old bank vault underneath an operating bank of America. you have to shut the huge vault door each time you go in and out of the recording studio. But the studio has a really great vibe, its always the best feeling when you get to take a few days off work and make some songs with your friends!

Michael: Like being in a warm bed full of kittens.

Sergio: Hot fun. Like spicy pork with hot link.

Getting all meta & creative with Boyfriends.

Getting all meta & creative with Boyfriends.

Can you tell us what sorts of plans, and/or lack of plans inspired “I Thought We Had Plans”?

Ian: BuzzDaddys, Bongo Jams, and planned spontaneity.

Sergio: I’m not sure. We were listening to a lot of Blink 182 and New Order at the time. It seemed like a nice song to write.

Mike: Actually, it was inspired by some graffiti that started showing up in bar bathrooms around our neighborhood. A simple scrawl, I thought we had plans, accompanied by a sad face with a tear drop. Simple, obvious, sad, and soooo good. So we borrowed it for the title of the song and invented a little story to go along with it.

What are you all the most excited about for your tour with Tacocat? They are old school pals and heroes of ours, do send them the best from Impose!

Shawn: Going on tour with our girlfriends will be sweet fun!!! Cuddling with Bree in the tour van.

Michael: Pillow fights, spa days, hook-ups and drama.

Sergi: Looking at all the tall buildings! Never seen one of them! Also, hanging out with my girl squirrel Lelah. :B

Ian: WeedMilk!

What else have Boyfriends been working on behind the scenes?

Ian: Fresh Honey, my son Epsom, and Yankee Dandy.

Sergio: Leather and lace. 😉

Michael: Well, we’re getting ready to record our first full length album! And, we’re starting to work with someone one our very own line of Boyfriends lipstick for boys and girls.

Shawn:our very own brand of lip stick colors and herbal tea blends to sell at our shows. you can pick which color your favorite Boyfriend wears or you can collect them all!

Best bit of Seattle gossip that Boyfriends have heard recently?

Sergio: I heard Reuben Mendez is making graham crackers with Jeff McDonald in his apartment. Delicious. They’ll probably be selling them at Pike Place Market obvi.

Shawn: I don’t want to name any names but I’ve heard that a certain Seattle based, high profile, glass sculpture artist is in fact a reptilian.

What should we be excited about this spring, and summer?

Michael:We are touring the US this spring with Mommy Long Legs and then Tacocat!

Shawn: we are excited to record an album. you should be excited for beach blanket cat naps, summer solstice, and night swimming at the lake.

Ian:flowers and fresh honey.

Sergio: Jet skis, mesh body suits, make out sesh at T-dock.

Boyfriends are touring this month of March with Mommy Long Legs & in April with Tacocat. Check out their Facebook for further details.

Listen to more from Boyfriends via Bandcamp.

The Foreign Resort

The Foreign Resort (from left), Morten Hanzn, Mikkel Borbjerg Jakobsen & Steffan Petersen; press photo courtesy of the band.

The Foreign Resort (from left), Morten Hanzn, Mikkel Borbjerg Jakobsen & Steffan Petersen; press photo courtesy of the band.

Copenhagen, Denmark’s The Foreign Resort released their EP The American Dream in fall of last year via Moon Sounds, and today they premiere the André Obin remix of “Suburban Depression” complete with a video from Modshift‘s Arian Soheili. Presenting the track home hills of medicated ennui, the Copenhagen trio of Morten Hanzn, Mikkel Borbjerg Jakobsen, & Steffan Petersen prepare to embark upon a US tour including a stop at SxSW March 16-17. The Resort prepare to embark upon a tour of the country that is the object of their affectionate infatuated where they seek to understand a world of diversity obsessed with perpetuating the ubiquitous dreaded suburban sprawl, and it’s various effects.

Arian Soheili’s video for The Foreign Resort “Suburban Depression” (AO Remix) brings out a kind of seedy-underbelly world that exist beneath the surface of the cookie cutter homes, and bored-Stepford housewife cocktail parties. Among the hillside ranks of conformity is one woman’s secret life as a burlesque dancer is seen escaping into an underworld outside of the strip-malls, and duplicated rows of what appears to be the same home repeated over and over. Soheili caters the video’s intensity to the new rhythms and synths introduced to Foreign Resort’s original, sporting ominous backing vocals from Nightmare Air’s Dave Dupuis. All together the combined efforts provide a dark electric post-industrial portrait of suburban women escaping the private hell of imposed groundhog days competing with one another beyond the idle happy hour chatter to squaring off in the sordid settings of strip club. The combination of spiraling sentiments stirred by Obin’s remix, the Resort’s original observational delivery, and the tense video make for a full on suspense thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The Foreign Resort “Suburban Depression” (AO Remix)

André Obin

The legendary André Obin; press photo courtesy of the artist.

The legendary André Obin; press photo courtesy of the artist.

André Obin shared with us the following thoughts about remixing The Foreign Resort’s “Suburban Depression”:

I was drawn to remix “Suburban Depression” because the original is great shoegaze. Once I listened to all the parts individually, I could hear post-punk bubbling underneath all the beautiful texture. I wanted to make the remix more menacing, particularly to coincide with Arian’s vision for the music video. I sampled Morten’s live drumming and cut it up many times to create a motorik feel. I then added leads from a Nord and a Korg to mirror the main guitar theme, and there are bits of guitar shrapnel scattered throughout for sonic sustenance.

Mikkel Borbjerg Jakobsen from the The Foreign Resort talked to us about the remix, the EP, hitting up SXSW, the upcoming tour, and much more in the following interview:

Tell us about the inspirations behind the original version of “Suburban Depression”.

The idea for the title came up when Mikkel took a photo of the back yard, when visiting a friend in Michigan while on tour.

The words “suburban depression” made us ponder over what we are seeing when driving across the United States on tour. To us Europeans, American suburbia looks the same all over the country, from California to Michigan to anywhere. Shopping malls, fast food chains, motels, hotels and houses in residential areas that look exactly the same. A stark contrast to a country that has such a diverse nature and such diverse people. We love touring the US because of the many nice people we meet and somehow we feel that the Americans we know are not represented in the general image of America. This is a theme going through most of the lyrics on The American Dream EP.

What are your thoughts on how André Obin’s remixed impacted the track?

André Obin’s version first took us by surprise, but we still loved it from the beginning! Usually a remix ends up being more electronic, but this remix sounds more analogue than the original. André quickly came up with the main beat and a new expression of the song—a more post-punk feel that he sensed was hiding underneath the layers of beats and programmed synths. The chopped up drum beat and getting rid of the synths turned the song into a more stripped down version. Along with the change in arrangement the remix is more to the point and also has a faster feel even though the tempo is exactly the same.

Standing in the sun with The Foreign Resort; press photo courtesy of the band.

Standing in the sun with The Foreign Resort; press photo courtesy of the band.

Describe for us your thoughts on Arian Soheili for Modshift’s video for the remix that depicts the lesser known lives of bored suburban women.

Basically Arian took our view upon suburban America a step further and let us peek into a home that is the product of American society. Arian, being American, obviously has a closer relationship to the subject but he totally agreed with our view. In an initial conversation about the video, Arian put it like this:

I really hate the whole suburban sprawl in America, it’s gotten so much worse in the last 20 years. Every new suburban city looks identical to the last. The houses all look the same, the shopping centers look all exactly the same, all the same stores, the parking lots are so big it makes me sick.

So even though the video is about bored suburban women, the message is broader and actually applies to Europe as well as America: We’re trying to live up to society’s norms and other people’s expectations, and in that process we are living lives we don’t even like. We’re bored. See the video as our encouragement to at least try and do something different with your life. Break out!

What is good right now in the Copenhagen scenes?

Favorite Danish band right now is The Entrepreneurs:

Other than that, we’re listening to US college radio. They are more diverse than Danish radio and online you can pretty much treat the many stations like streaming playlists that bring you cool new music you didn’ know about. Total college radio fans here!

Next resorts and plans for The Foreign Resort?

We are currently touring Europe and The United States on-off in support of our new EP “The American Dream”. In the US this March we will tour our way from Chicago via Texas to California with shows at SXSW, 35 Denton, Treefort Music Fest in Boise, ID and Part Time Punks in Los Angeles.

At home in Copenhagen we have begun writing new music for our next release. We have a lot of demos that we are trying out. Just to see where they will take us. We don’t know yet. Could be more like “The American Dream” or we could try something new. Its all still pretty open.

Catch Foreign Resort on the following tour dates, including SxSW appearances:

March
10 6pm: Shuga Records, Chicago, IL (in-store show)
10 9pm: The Burlington, Chicago, IL
11 Foam, St. Louis, MO
12 Nitro Lounge, Tulsa, OK
13 35 Denton, Denton, TX
14 Josey Records, Dallas, TX (in-store show)
15 The Double Wide, Dallas, TX
16-20 SXSW, Austin, TX
17 9pm: Official SXSW Showcase @ Tap Room at The Market, Austin, TX
21 miniBar, Kansas City, MO
22 3 Kings Tavern, Denver, CO
23 Diabolical Records, Salt Lake City, UT
24 Treefort Music Fest, Boise, ID
25 Part Time Punks @ La Cita Bar, Los Angeles, CA
26 The Ken Club, San Diego, CA
27 Sama Sama, Santa Barbara, CA

The Foreign Resort’s The American Dream EP is available now from Moon Sounds Records.

Sharks In The Deep End

Introducing Austin's Sharks in the Deep End; press photos courtesy of the band.

Introducing Austin’s Sharks in the Deep End; press photos courtesy of the band.

Austin’s latest big pop fuss makers are Sharks In The Deep End, whose album Killin Machine will be available April 22, and we present the big disco ball busting premiere for “Crash Test Doll” that delivers a big top sound set for any sort of festival. Made up of frontman Tucker Jameson, accompanied by compadres Chris Konte, Sam Thompson, Matt Shearon, & Clayton Lillard; these Sharks are on the quest for concocting the largest imaginable sound that they can muster with any and all instruments left to their disposable.

“Crash Test Doll” is Tucker & the gang bringing down the whole house with a unified sounds where all keyboards, guitars, and atmospheres soar like wings of eagles & doves flying feather to feather in formation to new horizons. Sharks In The Deep End bombard the listener with catchy collections of progressions and chords that are tightly cued and programmed in a unison where Jameson’s spirited delivery is further reinforced by a sound that both swims and flies between the spaces of sea, earth, and sky. The crash test dummy simile sends up the sentiment of impact when it feels like everything in the world is colliding into your world. But what could have been a song that wallowed in anxiety, pain, or frustration provides something of a big bright release into an ecstatic sound dimension of the band’s own devising (courtesy of an assist from Mark Needham’s engineering). Sharks In The Deep Ends’s own Tucker Jameson took the time to chat with us in an interview featured after the following debut of “Crash Test Doll”.

Give us the story about how you all met, and then formed a band under the name Sharks in the Deep End, and perhaps what other stories are behind said chosen moniker.

The band name actually comes from an old childhood memory; some of the very first experiences I had of being in a pool and learning how to swim as a young child. In the pool, I would avoid the deep end. Why? Because I was certain there were sharks lurking in the depths. Looking back, it was just the pool floats casting their long shadows across the bottom of the pool that triggered these visions. Eventually though, it became a bit of a child’s game. You were safe in the shallow end, cause the sharks were too big. So, how far could you wade into the deep end and how long could you stay there before the sharks got you?

Years later the topic came up in conversation with someone who had a similar childhood experience. It was then that I realized that “sharks in the deep end” could be used as a pretty apt and relatable metaphor for what one fears lies just below the surface. There are always the parts of us that we hide away from others for fear of hurting the ones we love or being hurt ourselves–in the light of day they are often silly. But, in our own minds they lurk and linger and can often cause us to build up walls and push people away.

As a name, it was memorable and as a concept it was compelling. If these sharks are what we fear most about ourselves, then naming the band after our inner demons, almost reverses the effect, owns it and lays it all out there, honest and true.

How the band met:

For me, it all started with the fine arts, sketching and painting—I was that kid in school, the artist, and that was fine by me. Eventually music caught my ear and yanked me in. I had dabbled in piano for a while but at the age of 13 I struck my first guitar chord and that was it–my fate was sealed. Stringing as many chords together as I could, I wrote my first song and I’ve been writing them ever since. After high school I attended Berklee College of Music, the first place where every soul around me felt the same passion and same reverence for the arts as I did. There I met up with some folks who hailed all the way from Texas. Next thing I knew, I found myself living in Austin, TX… drawn there, once again, by the music.

I met Chris Konte about four years ago, when my then project, was looking for a keyboardist to join us on the road. He had just moved here from Anaheim a few days before I came ringing and only 1 week before we were set to hit the pavement, he hadn’t even unpacked yet! He flawlessly learned all the keyboard parts to all the songs in less than a week, on guitar no less, because his keyboard was still packed away! Ever since, Konte and I have been making music together. When we were looking to form Sharks In The Deep End, Konte and I reached out different musicians in the area.

First, Matt came on board—a Craigslist find if you can believe it! The key to a great band is a great drummer, and Matt has that feel that just can’t be taught. Plus he’s got a sparkling, warm, go-getter disposition that makes playing and making music with him a blast…next up was Clay, who was actually in the same class as I was at Berklee. We actually ended up meeting though, through mutual friends here in Austin. He adds the extra magic sauce wherever it needs to be added. He’s a multi-instrumentalist and jumps between all sorts of toys during our set. Then we have Sam; born and raised in the ATX area, immensely talented. Konte knew him through a friend and found out he was looking for a new project right around the same time we were looking for a lead guitarist, and so, as they say, the stars aligned.

A chat with Sharks in the Deep End.

A chat with Sharks in the Deep End.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us about the inspirations and motivations that informed the making of your album, Killin’ Machine, and a bit about you all go about the creative process of writing/drafting/recording.

Before jumping into writing and recording the album, we all decided that it’d be best to remove ourselves from our daily routines and completely throw ourselves fully into the creation of the album. So, we uprooted our lives here in Austin and traveled up to CT where we stayed above my parents’ garage for three weeks. Immediately following our three week experiment, we hopped over to DeGraw Studios in Brooklyn to cut the tracks. The engineer of the studio actually stayed with us in CT too and had a little makeshift recording rig set up so we could jam through different song ideas and go back and listen to what we put together. One of the recordings from above the garage actually ended up on the record!

The whole experience was a first for me, usually I have the songs written and ready to record before we even think about booking studio time. This time we threw caution to the wind and put ourselves in an environment away from our daily routines where we could totally dive in and focus on the music, all with the hope that we’d have enough material at the end of the first three weeks that we could cut in that fourth week of studio time. It was exhilarating and in my opinion, incredibly fruitful. The band was firing on all cylinders, really trying all sorts of ideas, all around the clock. We were writing together where usually those duties had fallen upon my shoulders. Here, the band was involved from every song’s conception.

Recording the album was all about discovery, all about self-exploration. We tried to push ourselves to tweak sounds and do things unconventionally and still find sounds that moved us. One of the centerpieces of the recording and writing process was the Juno60 synthesizer. It has a very unique sound and from it we drew much inspiration. We didn’t necessarily play it like it would normally be used, instead we crunched the signal through all sorts of guitar pedals, distortion, delay, octave pedals, anything that we thought might be exciting. We put guitar pedals on all the keyboards, warping the sounds to something less common. The guitars themselves weren’t even recorded traditionally. I remember at one point we had the guitar signal going into three different amps all mic’d up differently–we got some big sounds. We would stomp and whistle, clap and sing; these melodies would be twisted and warped until they were something entirely new. There are a lot of layers to all of these tracks, a lot of discoveries. On “love in reverse” we created a wall of distorted Juno’s. On “Cherry Blossom” we built a hook out of a lo-fi “ahhs” routed through delay, reverb and distortion pedals. On “How Many Reasons” pick taps on the pickups create rhythmic punctuations. The list goes on and on, we were kids in a sandbox transforming the sand into castles. After the album was cut, we went through several mixing stages. First we tried to mix it up in Brooklyn, which proved difficult because of traveling and time limitations. Next we brought it down to Austin with us where we mixed and recorded a few more parts at a great local studio called Public HiFi.

Finally, once we had the songs really laid out and the vibe on point, I reached out to Mark Needham in LA. He’s mixed some my favorite albums of the past decade one of them being Hot Fuss by The Killers. Mark was amazing, he dug the tunes and brought that extra magic to the mixes; bringing to it the clarity of sound we were going for while maintaining that vibe we had pinpointed. Overall this was an experimental and eye opening experience, the approach was wholly new to us and I think it resulted in a sound that’s deeper and more layered than your average record.

Talking with Sharks in the Deep End.

Talking with Sharks in the Deep End.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us about what events and notions gave rise to the creation of the single “Crash Test Dolls”, and how you all went about making such an epic jam.

This was the one tune that wasn’t initially part of our Brooklyn sessions; it actually came out of a week we spent in Nashville. We wrote the song and cut the initial demo pretty quickly. From there we brought the tracks to Austin where we rerecorded some elements to try and bring the style of the song more in line with the other tracks on the album. Initially there were lots of mixes and different iterations; the track was definitely something we had to wrestle with a bit. It had a great hookiness to it but the vibe was different than the other tracks, eventually I think we found a great spot for the sound that suited our indie pop sensibilities. While the music is bubbly, the subject matter is actually pretty dark (which I think makes for a compelling blend).

Being in the music business, unfortunately, you see a lot of friends go down really destructive paths. It’s often like watching a train wreck or in this case, a crash test doll, in slow motion. You hope that you can help and reach them but their fate is ultimately up to them. Just like anything else in life, we are the stars of our own show but merely spectators of everyone else’s.

What’s good right now in Austin?

FOOD! Not only is Austin a great music city, it’s also become a wonderland for foodies. At every turn, there’s a new great spot opening up with some delicious twist on your classics, that you absolutely must try. It’s a good time to be hungry in Austin.

There’s also a really cool art scene, there are a bunch of local artist and street artists in the area that are beginning to make a name for themselves. One of my favorites, is a talented painter named Ian Shults, whose work we are actually featuring on our album cover. Many of his paintings draw inspiration from Warhol, but he add a darker realism to them that breathes fresh air into the medium.

Spring and Summer plans for Sharks in the Deep End?

We drop our debut album Killin’ Machine on April 22, and then… we hit the road! We have dates all over the US in the works and can’t wait to have the opportunity to share the new songs LIVE.

Sharks In The Deep End’s album Killin Machine will be available April 22, listen to more via Soundcloud.

Oyinda

Oyinda; photographed by Eric White.

Oyinda; photographed by Eric White.

Nigerian by London’s Oyinda follows up her debut EP Before The Fall with the thundrous, earth shaking new single “Never Enough” that presents the producer, singer, writer, illustrating a ballad dedicated to the insatiable. The recitations of “you can never get enough of a good thing” are pointed like sharpened darts to an offstage adversarial formidable opponent. Utilizing a plethora of styles that span the evolutions of hip hop beat sequencing, where minimalist utilitarianism creates a maximum punch that resounds in after-shocks after the single has concluded. Oyina introduced her new single to us with the following exclusive words that hint at the song’s own complexities that exceed beyond the intricacies of the deep production:

“Never Enough” summarizes the new music I’ve been working on. There’s a constant baiting throughout it; not one particular vice.

Throws

Throws through the rippling water reflection; photographed by Jennifer Pattison.

Throws through the rippling water reflection; photographed by Jennifer Pattison.

We have received news that Throws will release their self-titled debut in June 10 via Full Time Hobby / Thrill Jockey, and present you with the eccentric inverted-ski-freeing video for “The Harbour” from Warren Miller Entertainment, edited by Antoine Corman. Throws are made up of the Reykjavik duo of Mike Lindsay (of Tunng) and Sam Genders (of The Accidental, Tunng) recorded their debut album in Iceland where special guest spot cameos are made from notables such as múm and Sigur Rós. Together the two along with a little help from their friends provide a little winter time reflections of thoughts and loves kept waiting, wanting, and wishing at a lonely, cold pier.

The video for “The Harbour” takes the melancholy aspects of the synths, guitars, and solemn strings for a ride down the slopes with the mind twisting helmet ski. Throws echo traditional English style hymns that take a lot inner critical thought streams about interpersonal connections and more while you watch a very brave, and innovative skier tackle the upside snow shredding maneuver that will somehow provide a glimmer of hope for all the downtrodden and heartbroken. Upon watching and listening, Throws will have you feeling like anything truly is possible if you believe it in your heart, mind, and emotions. Throws’ own Sam Genders & Mike Lindsay were kind enough to chat with us just the other day in an interview session featured right after the following viewing of “The Harbour”:

How did Throws form? Give us the whole story.

Sam: We were sitting in a London pub a year or so ago and realized it had been well over ten years since we first started working together and would soon be ten years since our last record together. We decided we should get together and try something soon just to see what happened. Mike was living in Iceland at the time and not long after that we both had a few weeks free so I booked a flight and went to stay with him. We ended up having an amazing month of writing and recording whilst Mike showed me Reykjavik by night.

Mike: When Sam got to Iceland, there was a of of catching up , talking and drinking our way through each others stories over the past 10 years…there’s something about Iceland that brings out the one to one heart to heart chats…they call them “Truno” in Icelandic… these late night ever light Reykjavik summer conversations became the Throws album.

How has influences and events from both of your respective time in Tunng impacted approaches currently as THROWS.

Sam: The way we work in the studio hasn’t essentially changed but maybe we’ve both developed in our roles since back then.

Mike: I think we definitely re-captured the same joyous creative flow that we had when we were working on Tunng…the spontaneous choruses that would spill out, and the cheeky twists of a song that only seem to happen when working with Sam…I have realized that these moments don’t exist with other people ive worked with…and it was immediate! we have both been busy with other projects over the years and I think what we have learned from those projects mixed with our history all came together in a jump about the studio kinda way!

Describe the feelings and emotions behind the making of the song, “The Harbour”.

Sam: It’s about a few things including being all about accepting yourself and those around you just as they are and seeing the perfection in imperfection.

Mike: Think Phil Collins…we have to love everything about Phil, and any imperfections or oddities that he has had over his career we must embrace! And we can all find our inner Phil Collins…

Describe how the ski sporting video came about.

Sam: Mike found that footage during some late night googling and our friend Antoine Corman at our UK label spliced it together with the track. Headstand skiing man doesn’t care that everyone else thinks he’s doing something pointless. He lives for being himself and is a hero of ours.

Mike: It was Eureka moment at about 4 in the morning, this footage of head stand skiing man appeared in front of me and my flat mate…and I could just hear The Harbour when i saw it! So we just wanted to keep the video simple..its more of a teaser really for the album…

Alright, tell us everything the world needs to know about what we should be expecting from your upcoming June slated debut album.

Sam: People should probably judge for themselves – For me it’s really exciting music to play and it takes me on a roller coaster of highs and lows. It’s the most fun I’ve had in a while so I hope people like it.

Mike: Songs and sounds that are alive and free, drunk and sober, violent and calm, beautiful and beastly…its great! and we had no idea that it was gonna sound like this…its natural…

Top 3 things you two are excited about right now?

Sam: These are mine…
1 – playing High Pressure Front live at festivals
2 – playing electric guitar
3 – getting my first proper early night in a few weeks tonight!

Mike:
1. seeing the Opera “Norma” last night in the ENO Theatre in london… blew my mind… my first opera..
2. getting the Test pressing of throws back yesterday… and it sounds sooo splendid on my 70s Trio deck..
3. Jaakko Eino Kalevi …. he’s pretty special

Throws’ self-titled debut will be available June 10 via Full Time Hobby / Thrill Jockey.

Dylan Williams

Southeast London's rising emcee-Dylan Williams; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Southeast London’s rising emcee-Dylan Williams; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Meet Dylan Williams who dropped his single “Vibe” this past week providing hints of sunnier seasons yet to arrive that feature some of that clap & slap production from R-Kay. “Lean with me, if not leave me be,” Dylan croons on the chorus hook, “if you’re trying to bring me down I’d rather be by myself…” A track that dropped on Williams’ birthday, the track exhibits the artist’s attitude of happy autonomy that finds a kind of peace and harmony making music and nurturing a sensation that finds a warm beach complete with cold beverages even thought current weather conditions might indicate otherwise.

The London emcee follows up his previous single “Changes” that moves the narrative from his hometown digs of southwest London for a holiday in the sun somewhere far away, or just at his own home studio setup. R-Kay’s mix kicks it back to the old school with a live house party kind of feel that you want to hear in every home spun DJ set. Dylan over a few long distance cables shared a few of the following exclusive insights with us on the making of “Vibe”:

I found the beat online and recorded it as a voice note over my phone.

It’s got that nostalgic J Dilla feel to it. I love that shit!

I reached out to R-Kay, the producer, to get his blessing (I found out he was Ugandan like myself). I went into the studio and recorded it properly, and it felt right to give it to the world on my birthday. Another dimension, I hope listeners enjoy!

CrushnPain

CrushnPain's Austin Gallas; photographed by Jen Meller.

CrushnPain’s Austin Gallas; photographed by Jen Meller.

Featuring members of Stronger Sex and Br’er, meet CrushnPain who premiere the single “What Ur Doing” taken of the compilation Blight. Makes Right available March 8 from Blight. Records. Guided by the vocals of Austin Gallas, together the two respective power houses bring about electro-instrumental intricacies of atmospheric productions that ghost about in ways that exceed outside of the material realm.

“What Ur Doing” takes it’s time to set up a dark world of what feels like a realm of perpetual night. The inquiries of what someone else is doing happen like a haunting, as the opening establishes the foundation and air space that the track inhabits. As various electronic elements collect together in their respective proper places, Austin’s vocals echo through the digitally enhanced sound sweets to create for a full paranormal experience. Closer to the two minute mark, CrushnPain creates their own convention of dance inspiring music that moves between dimensions of angels and demons in search for some type of common, shared ground.

Austin Gallas shared the following introductory words about the questions, feelings, and thoughts that inspired this super subdued single, “What Ur Doing”:

I wrote the first version of this song some years ago in the hopes that the exploration of some new sonic territory might help me mitigate the paralytic effects of an acute emotional fatigue. Knee-deep in the dark waters of unrequited love, I wondered why my romantic relationships pathologically followed clichéd storylines plucked directly from the popular myths perpetuated by Hollywood, the cosmetics industry and the like. Seen from this perspective, “What Ur Doing,” is about the internal struggles that erupted within me as I came to recognize articulations of banal, violent, and impersonal mass narratives within the boundaries of my own individual experiences of pleasure and care.

Yet in spite of its explicit focus on physical and psychological burdens of having to manage contemporary life’s contradictions and ambiguities, the song is also implicitly an affirmation of the vital creative processes which have taken shape around the CrushnPain project over the past few months. While the structure of the piece revolves mainly around some basic vocal and drum elements that I initially introduced, it has since been subjected to a wide variety of strategic interventions by Ben Schurr and Erik Sleight, whose careful treatments and provocative experiments consistently push the boundaries of this project beyond the scope of any genre or point of origin.

And so, while the song’s simple repeated lyrical elements in a sense memorialize the sour memories of a particularly depressing time in my life dominated by jealous individualism and paranoiac nightmares,“What Ur Doing” demonstrates above all else how new horizons of possibility can sprout from the dead flesh of old dreams.

Risley

Riding the bus with Risley; photographed by Nicole Knutson.

Riding the bus with Risley; photographed by Nicole Knutson.

Portland’s Risley is the vision of Michael Deresh, who recently released his self-titled that features contributions from members of Paper Brain, Poison Beaches, The Priory, Sunbathe, Typhone, and more. One of the standout tracks features Maggie Morris, where the collaboration came out of Deresh producing her band Genders. “The vocal part for the chorus had been written but I was having absolutely no luck with parts for the verses,” Michael explained, “At the time, I was producing an album for the band Genders. Maggie heard the track and quickly came up with those amazing verse vocals. After I heard her parts, I knew it couldn’t have been anything else. It was magic! She’s just so talented.” Deresh further explained the song’s inception:

Musically, this song ended up 180 degrees from where it began! The foundation of the song was the rhythm guitar part. Alone, it sounded like a proggy riff on Led Zeppelin’s “Achilles’ Last Stand” or something. I never imagined it would end up a dancey track with female vocals but that’s exactly why the song is so interesting to me. I had originally recorded the guitar part along to an electronic beat in Pro Tools as a temporary sketch. It really worked though. After adding some synths and keys, its direction toward a hybrid dance song was cemented. I blended in some real drums as well to keep a more organic feel.

This song is about taking chances, knowing yourself, summer romance and all of the possibilities and permutations of life. Feeling okay in a metaphorical wide open place that’s filled with possibility (aka the open ocean or a post-relationship era) is not at all easy to do. It’s usually terrifying and feels like it will swallow you whole. It’s like a 20 page menu at a Chinese restaurant! In the end, there are most certainly silver linings to these predicaments. Anything can happen. There are no confines and no restrictions. You can go anywhere and do anything if you can just get over the crippling fear and indecision. There’s something very overwhelming and at the same time exciting about the open ocean! It was a great creative jumping off point.

Joining forces with Genders’ Maggie Morris on “Open Ocean”, the expanses of the northwest coast open up to the vast expanses where it feels like anything can happen. The electric collection of keys, drum machines, and guitars shine forth like the bright bulbs that cast beams upon the waters and steadfast shores. Maggie, Michael, and company stand at the precipice of the great Pacific waters that are here represented by washes and waves of chords and keys that find a connective pop melodicism together through the subtle lenses of dissonance. After the following listen, be sure to read our interview with Michel Deresh.

Give us the story on what moved you to start Risley?

It really wasn’t so premeditated. After Tea for Julie came to a close after 7 years, all I wanted to do was take a break and focus on writing music. A lot of weighty things had transpired in my personal life and I was exhausted from the grind of endless shows, etc. I started building a studio and disappeared there for a while. There was no plan except to mine my potential, realize a bunch of ideas and not be confined to any style or sound for once. After a number of years passed and 138 songs had piled up, I suddenly felt the urge to have some of them be heard and to perform again. That urge was all I was waiting for.

Describe for us how contributions from members of Typhoon, The Priory, Sunbathe, Paper Brain, Poison Beaches, and more have affected the sound?

Well, I never wanted or intended to make music alone. My bandmate Travis Stanek, in particular, has really brought me some incredible canvases to paint on. So many people have been involved. It’s been amazing, I’ve always been really inspired by most of the talented friends and musicians that I’ve gotten to work with. They make me better and spawn reactionary ideas creatively from me. Every person brings a unique palette and set of flavors. Hopefully, they’ve collectively made the sound more dynamic and brought a breadth and depth to what’s going on throughout the record. I feel like they’ve all sprinkled a little magic on top.

I’m very interested too in hearing about how producing Genders’ new album lead to guest vocals from Maggie Morris on electro-vast oceanic expanses of “Open Ocean”?

I’ve been working with those guys and we’ve all been friends for 3-plus years now. They’re my favorite Portland band and some of my favorite people. I played some synth parts on ‘Get Lost’ and some bass and a little drums on Maggie’s upcoming Sunbathe album as well. With that particular song; I was stuck on the verse vocals and really couldn’t come up with anything I was happy with. Maggie took it home for a night and wrote those amazing vocal parts. The other songs that she sang on just seemed like they’d really benefit from the collaboration. With any of these songs or people, it’s simply a situation of knowing that a friend can do something better than you can at the right moment. You can just tell that someone will “pinch hit” a part. I’m super lucky to have such super talented friends around.

Risley on the fence; photographed by Nicole Knutson.

Risley on the fence; photographed by Nicole Knutson.

Might there be further collaborations with Maggie in the future? She sounds like a natural counterpart to your compositions and conceptual music?

I hope so. I love everything she does and we love hanging out together. So, I’d say that that makes it likely. She’s a busy gal though!

Other things you’re working on right now?

Currently, Maggie and I are finishing mixing her solo project, Sunbathe. We’ve been recording it slowly for the last year. It’s really wonderful. I’ve also been recording a handful of covers for fun. One, a Karen Dalton song, may see the light of day soon?

Further plans for 2016?

The main objective is to get this bunch of songs heard and out there to the world. It would make us really happy to know that anyone’s listening and connecting to material that we’re proud of and worked really hard on. It means something to us.

Risley’s self-titled is available now via Bandcamp.

Kind Turkey Records

kind turkey records week in pop 1

Presenting the latest from Bobby Hussy’s Kind Turkey imprint out of Madison, Wisconsin; we give you Digital Leather’s new album Whack Jam. From the imagination of Shawn Foree, this batch of 11 recordings were recorded and mixed in an Omaha, Nebraska attac between August and December of 2015. For those that love their ‘fi’ served hot, hi, low, cold, up, down, sideways, and diagonal; Whack Jam is the ultimate wacked out jam trip to take.

Also from Bobby & friends at Kind Turkey, we bring news of the Saytan album reissue that has happened on account of a gracious assist from Rare Plant Records. With the initial 100 tapes having been sold out during their June 2-11 tour for debut album Cement Tomb Mind Control, the limited re-release is made up of 50 numbered pressings, original stock j-cards from the first release, and six previously unreleased studio recordings that showcase the early beginnings of The Hussy.

Hark, and listen for our friends Bestial mouths return with the album Heartless available today from Cleopatra. Once again Lynette Cerezo and company create some of the coldest synth-spun lullabies for nightmares ever heard that is probably the darkest, and most daring resolution of wonder and unsettling weirdness heard from them yet. From the opening “Greyed” to the crashing tower pillars of the closing cut “White Eyes”—Bestial Mouths have never been this terrifying.

We bring you the Carlos Laylle video for Ex Norwegian’s single “On The Sidelines” that showcases the Miami band kicking it on the beach and elsewhere. Posting up in front of mural & artful graffiti backdrops for visual pieces of performance art pop, Ex Norwegian’s song & video pays tribute & homage to all who might feel left on the margins, on the wall, or on the shelf, to take that chance to move up front and center from the sidelines.

Catch Seattle trio Naked Giants touring with their local friends Dude York March 8 through April 7, and stand before the awe and might of their new single “Pyramids”. Like the barrage of great sound DIY sounds that forever stem and stream from Seattle from Tacocat, Boyfriends, Neighbors, Crater, S, Chastity Belt, Childbirth, Pony Time, Dude York (duh), Ubu Roi (RIP) Snuff Redux, and so forth that continues to expand the constructs of rock & roll form that makes the expressive platform feel forever new.

DITC crew dropped the new lifestyles of the rich, ill, & famous with the track “Caviar Dreams” ft. OC and produced by Motif Alumni from the NYC group’s upcoming compilation. Alumni keeps the fantasy motif falling like snow in the production while OC & the DITC company detail insights into that life while many are just idling.

Available now from Moon Glyph, Geist & the Sacred Ensemble presents their new cassette Within that illustrates further goth-steeped exercises from Seattle. “Ode To a Greay Sky” gets the adventure started across the cloudy northwestern trails, to the wind chime graced stratospheres of “Sunstruck”, the slow cold slog of “Through The Winter”, or the chanting gnostic mysticism on “A Hymn”, the strange fear on “Beyond This Vessel”, to the quieting and somewhat calming closing number of “Late Night Lullaby”. An experience not to be missed for all that prefer their music to err on the side of the cryptic.

Hear Phyllis Ophelia’s new band Catbus with the debut single “Fracas” that bring some frank lyrics to drop an anchor into inquiries pertaining to realities. With LP on bass and vocals, and Alice on drums; Phyllis & friends show off a super real and instantly addictive anthem that fires off musical dart notes of truths and resounding questions reinforced by a sharp and smart economic trio arrangement. Catch all of our Phyllis Ophelia coverage here.

From your friends at Stones Throw—NxWorries is Anderson .Paak with producer Knxwledge who deliver the Calmatic directed video for “Link Up”, featuring a cameo from the one and only Eric Andre. An altercation at a convenient store turns into a full on party put together by the always classic Anderson and the wavy mixes made by the ever-talented Knx.

Yung dropped the wild & young at heart sentiments of angst and anguish with “Pills” found off the upcoming debut album A Youthful Dream available June 10 from Fat Possum.

From their Summertime EP, hear White Glove’s song “Division Street” that provides a nice piss take on all the changes and upheavals that the PDX community has had to contend with as of late. Listen as the changes to the town you used to know happen in a real time sort of happenstance that is kinda un-chill.

Behold the Matthew Anderson directed and Caitlin Adams choreographed video for Miya Folick’s “Oceans”. Miya’s video takes on motions and gestures that emulate the behaviors of seas and other dance forms that look to encapsulate the foot and body work to convey messages of freedom.

Hang out with LA’s Dunes and friends in their Clare Kelly directed video for “Runner” off their new album Bitter Charm available March 12 on limited-edition cassette via London imprint Negative Space, with a release show happening the same night at LA’s Non Plus Ultra. Dunes create a song to inspire others to run towards destiny as opposed to the retreats of running away from things. Dunes forever.

Meet San Francisco’s Deerthrone, made up of vocalist/guitarist Grady Penna, guitarist Albert Que, and rhythm section lead Tyler Penna. Their new single “Shared Skeleton” exhibits a stripped bare bones dissertations that bulls through avalanche chords of thoughts, lyrics, and the connective tissues between people past, living, deceased, and present.

Athens, Georgia’s ace shredders Eureka California presented us with the Marie A. Uhler & Jake Ward video for “Eureka California’s Night In” taken from their new album Versus available March 25 from HHBTM Records. Run about the band’s local town digs to their thrashing yet endearing sound of anarchic sound with a smile.

Hospital Ships shared the metaphysical feeling single “You and I”, from their upcoming album The Past Is Not A Flood available March 11 from Graveface Records. Listen as harmonic loops create sacred sorts of sound that sound like excavated audio held over from some other unknown era.

UK artist DJ Insite dropped the nu-trap narratives with “Disrupt” ft. Nickelus F & J.I.D. found off his upcoming debut album Dimension_2. The production remains super subterranean and smoky while tales of disruption are told over a grimy digital camp fire.

Check out the Josh Morton video for FMLYBND’s single “Space & Time” taken from their Hearts On Fire EP that dazzles with flashing poly-chromatic stage lights that makes for a full audio/visual performance. With recitations of “I love you” and a whole lot of springtime fancy free sentiments; the Santa Barbara continues to extol their family band values and sounds that makes every day feel like a festival of some sort. Follow all of our FMLYBND coverage here.

Syvia’s awaited Silent Violence EP sees release today, and we present you with more passionate paintings and inspired portraits from Ruth Mirsky and the band. “Anxious Animal” breaks down the anxiety and nerves to a primordial level that feels freeing and empowering, with “Weight” bringing more sinewy electro synth mist, to the life affirming anthem “How I Feel Alive”, to the discontinuity dances of “Deaths and Disasters”, to the lights out closer “Bedtime Rules”. Check out our debut of Syvia’s “Unloveable #2” here along with our interview with Ruth.

Hear the rearrangements of “Plastic” from Howard’s forthcoming EP Please Recycle available March 25 on Fashion People, and made entirely samples from the previous album debut, Religion. The result is something mesmerizing ythat will leave you mouth ajar & astounded.

Catch the title track from Operators’ upcoming Blue Wave album available April 1 via Last Gang Records. Dan Boeckner arrives with the big electric pop knack that he has built a multitude of sounds from to stir new waves to splash into newly imagined digital waters.

Robbie Jackson and Gusti Escalante are Nashville duo Keeps who just released their Brief Spirit today via Old Flame, and we lend you the following limited time listen. Beauty here abounds everywhere from the opening song “I Don’t Mind”, to the following wavy worlds of “Translucent girl”, the ennui addled dissonance of “Idle Desire”, the day to day designs that sway forth on “Everday”, the strains and turns of “Cycles”, and so forth.

Young Kentucky emcee Jack Harlow’s new track “Ice Cream” has been making rounds about the media channels and on the net in the past week featuring production from Wonya Love. Harlow’s particular hubris boasts flaunt as if his swag was as tight and attractive as the allure of the classic school ice cream truck while Wonya’s mix flips a nursery rhyme synth loop into a viscous syrup like consistency.

Prepare to become paralyzed through Charles-André Coderre’s array of dystopian visuals for Suuns’ “Paralyzer” taken from the forthcoming album Hold/Still available April 15 from Secretly Canadian. If the song itself edged on the side of intense and ominous already, the video turns it into an artistic foray into dark futuristic places.

London’s Jelani Blackman continues a steady rise of works that continue to challenge the limitations of what electronically uninhibited r & b can be. Experience this and more with the low-lit moving video for “Submarine” directed by Peter Marsden from Jelanie’s local LuckyMe crew.

In case you didn’t catch it the first time around, we bring you some early spring sentiments with “Superego” from Leyya.

Come together and come alive with RJD2’s “We Come Alive” (feat. Son Little) to bring a little more bright lit life vibes for your weekend, found off the forthcoming album Dame Fortune available March 2.

Touring a plethora of dates May 12 through August 7; Fruit Bats shared the toy-time band video for “From A Soon-To-Be-Ghost Town” that makes commentary on the changing tides of the times through warm sounds. Find this and more on their forthcoming album Absolute Loser available May 13 from Easy Sound Recording Co.

Touring March 10 through April 14, hear Elephant Stone’s new single “Andromeda” that showcases the band continuing to expand their sound, and mind in ways that recalls the great aural canon catalog of vision quest casting classics.

Hear Young Magic’s gorgeous single of rumbling rhythms, steps, and breath on “Lucien” from the forthcoming album Still Life available May 13 from Carpark Records. Here the rhythms of the ancients and the saints run parallel and perpendicular plains of being.

Boston’s Burglary Years dropped the passionate singles “Votre Voix” (translated from French to mean “your voice”) found off their upcoming album 100 Roses available July 17 from Disposable America. The song brings about the fragility of life and all the inherent complexities that arise along the way.

Hear the John Agnello produced track from Alyeska with “EverGlow” that provides a soundtrack for those moments where you want to be alone and just mull about all the thoughts and feelings from within and have yourself a good little cry with the stereo cranked high.

Bür Gür dropped their video for “If I Was a Child” directed by Dustin Krapes, aka Cosmic Shrug from the band’s upcoming Have You Lost Your Faith in God? available April 2016. Watch what happens when a youth meets a talking corpse that provides an invitation to a surreal, analog world of weirdness and whimsicality all to the tune of Bür Gür’s own self-styled psychotropic sensibilities. Allow your weekend to get strange, now.

Peep the motel partying/trashing video for Old Flame‘s Cincinnati shit-disturbers Automagik present the video for “Fucked Up” where their revelry ready sound gets a DIY video to boot.

Your wait for the follow up 2012’s much beloved Overgrown Path is soon to happen with words spreading through the usual network of channels that Chris Cohen’s new album As If Apart will be available May 6 from the gracious and esteemed tastes over at Captured Tracks. The man who graced us back in the day with his contributions to Haunted Graffiti, Cass McCombs, and more continues on his own singer-songwriter path that finds more lush and ear expanding passages that will continue to keep CC’s work held in some of the highest regards around. Witness for yourself, dear readers/listeners/adventurers.

Hitting up SxSW and releasing the debut album Psychic Lovers April 1 via Captured Tracks; check out the video for Dinner’s new single “Cool As Ice” that takes you to an alternate 80s styled universe. Danish producer/vocalist Anders Rhedin brings his biggest slice of DIY Euro-pop flavors that he introduces with the following words:

Dinner’s music is about parties. And women. Late nights and early mornings in strange cities. But mainly it’s about magic and the communion with spirits. It’s like sexual Christian rock, really. But with out all the Christianity.

Also from Captured, check out B Boys’ enthusiastic new single “Seagulls” that is more fun than oceanic bird-spotting at the beach off the Boys’ upcoming debut EP No Worry No Mind available March 18.

Wolkoff dropped the new single “Kings Highway” off her upcoming album Without Shame available April 15 that presents both some of her most regal and maximalist production heard yet.

Amber Arcades presents the Jeroen van der Poel and Anna de Rijk video for “Right Now” where youthful military games are played with two friends in a greenhouse who try on their green-thumbs featured off Amber’s upcoming album available June 3 from Heavenly Recordings.

Jolly Mare has just signed to Bastard Jazz, and we deliver a bit of the temperament that the artist has been cooking up lately with the single “Temper” that will provide the panacea to your next indulgence of angry rage. From here the bad feelings become lighter than air, and are cast away with the sweeping sound sensations akin to a passing breeze. Look out for the Mechanics LP available soon.

Hear the new electronic slow-rising hymn “If Only Chords” from Morly’s upcoming EP Something More Holy available April 8 on limited 12″ via Cascine. Like all of Morly’s recordings, the artist seeks her own type of serenity in a lush rich electro-arena of smart and sensational synth rhythms that ride according to the heart’s own beat sequence.

Låpsley released her debut album Long Way Home today via XL Recordings, and we bring you some winter electro elements with the stoic video for the steadfast single “Cliff”.

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down’s new album A Man Alive is alive and out in the wold today, and to celebrate we present you with the following “Interview Day” discussion piece video directed by Stan Krolczyk featuring interviewer Mike O’Brien talking with Thao Nguyen about working with tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus, and much more over the course of an entire day.

Hear what everyone has been talking about with the moving new single “Island” taken from Fear of Men’s forthcoming Fall Forever available June 3 from Kanine Records. Jessica Weiss takes a plethora of thoughts, and previous dialogues shared between another that further a strengthen resolve about everything reiterated in the closing lyrics of, “I’ll be what I want, woman of wax forever more…”

Unloved’s album Guilty of Love is available today, and we present the video for “When a Woman Is Around” where you can witness the powerful and all commanding voice of Jade Vincent, performing with film score composers David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia.

The Pro Era movement keeps pushing as Kirk Knight dropped the Slick Jackson directed video for “5 Minutes” ft. Joey Bada$$ found from his recently released debut Late Knight Special. Knight relays tales, & rhymes of revenge, heated situations, shooting range hang-outs, with an assist from Mr. Bada$$ himself.

Watch the acoustic video for the soul-baring single “Nothing to Hide”, found on the new Hospital Ships LP The Past is not a Flood available March 11 from Graveface. Intimate aspects of solitude sing out from the piano keys that that present the more emotive sides of lonely notes.

Observe the fancy time elapse visuals of a flower blossoming as told through the lens of the lauded director Vlad Sepetov for T.O.L.D.’s “Return Forever”.

Peep the Sebastien Duguay video of emotion, action, and tension for IRIS’s new single “Follow Me” available now from Cult Nation. Sequences of adventurous escapades provide the perfect visual companion for the ultra-electro-pop soundtrack.

Kilo Kish dropped her album Reflections in Real Time on the leap year day of February 29, sharing the video for “Existent Crisis Hour” that takes on components of self-esteem, self-image, self-importance and quests for fulfillment done through different narratives co-produced by Ray Brady. Watch as the great pressing questions of the world that keep us up at night are thrown together in a morning breakfast session pastiche.

Hear the electro romantic HEIDEMANN single “I’m So In Love” from the upcoming Detectives EP available April 8 via Vienna’s Fabrique Records. Synths here are to express twiterpated emotions of elation that feel unmatched to anyone or anything else in the whole wide world.

Check out Johnny North’s performance video for Bird Of Youth’s tale of girls, boys, and generational narratives on “Sons & Daughters”, taken off their forthcoming LP Get Off available May 20 from Kiam Records.

Watch Summer Flake’s Geoffrey O’Connor video for “Shoot And Score” taken from the forthcoming album Hello Friends available April 8 from Rice is Nice. A minimalist performance video that features the Australian band performing in a completely otherwise blank space. This will be some of the best rock & roll you will hear all spring.

Dave Harrington’s debut album as the Dave Harrington Group is happening April 15 with Become Alive available through Other People. The result is instrumental adventurism that will take you places in under ten minutes time that words themselves can hardly begin to express.

For those in need of songs that work to suit a particular ecstatic feeling, then we offer you Postiljonen’s beautiful single “How Can Our Love Be Blind”.

Beth Orton’s new album Kidsticks available May 27 from ANTI- records was co-produced by Fuck Buttons’ Andrew Hung and we have the first single for your ears with the outer-space gazing “Moon”. Orton sings out bright lunar ballads that Hung helps inflect with further electronic accents.

Kristin Kontrol’s Week in Pop

Welcome to the world of Kristin Kontrol; photographed by Jimmy Fontaine.

Welcome to the world of Kristin Kontrol; photographed by Jimmy Fontaine.

Kristin Kontrol is Kristin Welchez, aka Dee Dee, Dum Dum Girls’ frontwoman who is preparing her debut solo album for Sub Pop available this spring, and was ever so generous in providing her own following Week in Pop guest selections:

FKA Twigs, “Good To Love”

I’ve followed her work since I got sucked into “Water Me” from her second EP. I don’t know how to explain her effect on me. I suppose wounding is close, in a hurts-so-good way. And her performances? Be it via elaborate live choreography or more minimal, straight into the camera stuff ike this video—she’s mesmerizing. Gives me hope for future music.

Business casual with Kristin Kontrol; photographed by Jimmy Fontaine.

Business casual with Kristin Kontrol; photographed by Jimmy Fontaine.

Them Are Us Too, “Marilyn”

I don’t even know where to begin. I think a Noisey article alerted me to them. Minimal and gorgeous, this song makes me feel like I’m in a float tank. In fact, later this month when I go to one of NYC’s weird sensory deprivation spots, I plan on listening to the full album, called Remain.

They are so young to be making such evocative and articulate music. Kennedy Ashlyn’s voice has one of the purest tones I’ve ever heard. And her melodic tendencies are refreshing. I remember hearing this song while I was recording and feeling a sort of abstract encouragement to (coincidentally) explore my high range more than I had in years.

I haven’t seen them yet (though I did just write them both on Facebook to see if they’d like to tour together…no pressure guys) but this live video does the trick:

Kristin Kontrol, in control; photographed by Jimmy Fontaine.

Kristin Kontrol, in control; photographed by Jimmy Fontaine.

Drab Majesty, “The Foyer”

Another DAIS Records band (like TAUT). I met Deb Demure in LA with my friend Hether Fortune (Wax Idols). I had an extra pass to Fuck Yeah Fest and she and I were going to catch My Bloody Valentine. They picked me up in a rickety old Mercedes Benz. Deb was sans ticket but hopped a fence. Then Hether defended me from a gross dude and we all three got a bit high for the set, which despite being plagued by sound issues, felt like such a privilege to see.

Anyhow, I could and do watch tons of Drab Majesty’s incredible videos on Youtube autoplay and this song is my #1.

The illustrious Kristin Kontrol.

The illustrious Kristin Kontrol.

The Weeknd, “The Hills”

Yep, I am firmly of the popular opinion that Abel Tesfaye is a genius. I can’t think of another (recent) artist who’s hit me so hard. This song in particular sucks me in. He has such a handle on lyrics. I fucking live for the bridge. It’s fragile; the prettiest bit on Beauty Behind The Madness (aside from my other more random favorite, “As You Are“)…

Follow Kristin Kontrol via Twitter.

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