Starting off your Halloween 2014 festivities, Impose’s Week in Pop presents a party that requires no reservations, no RSVPs, no start-up app gimmicks, wristbands, or flashy laminates. We are thrilled to bring you a host of world exclusives from today’s rising indie stars with first our obligatory rundown of the week’s biggest buzz chills and buzz kills. First up, we heard that Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon is reportedly starting his own music festival in his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin from July 17-18, 2015; while a Yeezus demo emerged; Mac DeMarco made a comedic appearance; Weezy’s Tha Carter V release has been pushed back; Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 is writing a comic book; Gucci Mane’s inspirational letter direct from the pen; as The War on Drugs / Mark Kozelek back and forth continues; Future dropped a Monster mixtape; Adele versus Phil Collins tabloid row; with Theophilus London and Kanye West’s titanic-like collaboration on the forthcoming Vibes! album; and we learn to cope with Alex Zhang Hungtai laying to rest the Dirty Beaches moniker for newer pastures.
Keeping our heads held higher than the sun, we present exclusives and interviews with Jesus Sons, Lykanthea, Deadphones, Feather Revs, Fox and the Law, Lady Lazarus, Switches, The Harrow, FORE, StarBenders, co-curated by Captured Tracks new signees MOURN, and more—in no particular order.
Rome by Chicago’s Lykanthea is made from the inspired imagination of Lakshmi Ramgopal, premiering the sonic synth solace video of “Telos”, from the recently released Migration cassette. Directed and filmed by E. Aaron Ross, and styled by Laura Prieto-Velasco as part of collaboration with Hunter Gatherer Jewelry; “Telos” takes the philosophical conundrum and quandaries of purpose to the intimate places where aesthetics and internal volition meet in congress.
As part of the narrative fabric of Migration, “Telos” begins Lakshmi’s odyssey by taking inspiration from the tribulations and revelations that the goddess Inanna contends with according to the 4,000 year old Sumerian myth. The electronic ebb and rush of ambiances turn like the travels of the swiftly spinning globe, as Lakshmi sings hymns of the ancients in a tale that breaks against oppressive hands to expressions and emotions that emerge from beyond the pale, and behind the veil. Lakshmi gave us a tour on the evolving environments of Lykanthea, her capsule collection designed in collaboration with Hunter Gatherer, her previous band Love and Radiation, the making of the following video “Telos”, and more.
Tell us about your own personal and creative connection to Carnatic, or Karnāṭaka saṃgīta music, how it has influenced, and continues to influence your music.
My childhood training as a Carnatic vocalist is fundamental to my approach to music. The scales and notes I use are often derived from the Carnatic, rather than Western, tradition, sometimes deliberately but often instinctively. I also sing with gamaka, an embellishment of individual or multiple notes that creates an aural palette with a broad scope for improvisation in the live context.
What was it like for you, taking the ambient “Telos” and turning it into a dark, atmospheric visual piece with E. Aaron Ross?
Challenging. The album version of “Telos” is over eight minutes long, which we decided was too long for a video. Rearranging the original for a video edit forced me to make difficult choices about which elements of the song, lyrical and otherwise, to cut. Imagine vivisecting your baby! We also struggled to get good footage of me underwater. I’m terrified of drowning and avoid anything that resembles swimming, so the scene took forever to shoot. I kept inhaling water and surfacing sooner than Aaron wanted. I’m glad he pushed me, though, since the footage came out beautifully.
How do you describe the synergy between collaborations between yourself and Savage Sister’s Michael Tenzer, to Laura Prieto-Velasco, and your previous work in Love and Radiation?
Co-writing sundrowned with Michael Tenzer of Savage Sister helped me transition from writing short, beat-heavy songs in Love and Radiation to composing complex, slow-burning pieces. Working with Laura has been different, since she’s a designer and was contributing to the visual aspects of Migration. Our projects included two photo shoots in addition to the video for “Telos.” Her work is stark and brutal, and its contrast with my softer, prettier aesthetic leanings is very productive. She also put me in touch with fantastic independent designers like Hogan McLaughlin and Helen Costello. They went out of their way to contribute to the record’s visual world by loaning incredible pieces that we used in our photo and video projects.
How have you observed your own sonic development from the releases of the “Naked” single, to sundrowned, Aphonia, and now the Migration EP?
I’ve grown increasingly interested in incorporating orchestral instruments, like the violin, in my work. My songs are becoming longer as well, probably because the ideas I want to convey are growing in complexity.
What was the recording process of making Migration like, and what sorts of physical and metaphysical migrations do you feel impacted the EP’s name?
I’m interested in the journey-like qualities of personal change. This is a theme in Migration, which is loosely inspired by a Sumerian myth about the goddess Inanna’s journey to and from the underworld. I also wrote and recorded the EP between the last half of 2013 the first half of 2014, when I was traveling alone extensively. The experience was isolating, which surprised me because I usually enjoy solo travel. So the EP has ended up reflecting a personal experience of feeling lost without being directly about me.
In what ways do you describe your own various approaches to the song craft? Is it a regiment that you abide by, or do inspirations just come via a natural whim?
My approach to songwriting is a combination of deliberate action and improvisation. I write some of the lyrics first and then set them to music. But I do a lot of research before I even put pen to paper. For Migration, that involved reading translated Sumerian texts and spending time at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute looking at Mesopotamian art. Later, when I write and record, some of the words change spontaneously and give birth to new lyrics. Sometimes I edit them and rerecord. But I often keep the lo-fi vocal demos in the masters without changing them. They have a mysterious quality that the formal studio setting can’t reproduce. I improvise extensively live with my midi instruments, guitar, vocal intonations and even lyrics.
What’s next for Lykanthea?
I just released a capsule collection with Hunter Gatherer Jewelry, which features powder-coated copper cuffs stamped with words inspired from Migration. The collection experimented with the idea of music as a material object of adornment, and I’d like to pursue similar projects in the future. Right now I’m developing a sound installation with an American composer who also lives here in Rome and started planning a European tour for spring 2015.
Other local Chicago artists that you would like to give a shout out to, who we should be listening to?
Rasplyn and Tyler Etters.
Reports on the Chicago indie scenes?
Chicago’s local scene is vibrant and welcoming. And, while the scene continues to favor guitar-based music, it has a strong community of experimental musicians. One criticism, however, is that the scene is as segregated as the city itself: artists of color are scarce in the independent shoegaze/experimental circles. On top of that, people who document it usually overlook genres that aren’t traditionally associated with white musicians. A major exception is Radio One Chicago, which routinely invites musicians of color and, for example, members of the Latin scene, to the studio.
With your recent move to Rome, how has it affected you creatively and personally?
It’s been inspiring and challenging. Moving from Chicago’s music scene to a new country and joining a new community has forced me to re-frame my sense of self in ways I can’t articulate just yet. I’m also learning about how to create sound installations for the gallery setting. It’s a steep learning curve, since I normally share my music on digital or physical media or as a live performance onstage. Putting together an installation is going to shape my approach to sound in ways I can’t imagine.
What prompted the geographic move for you?
I was awarded a Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome. Recipients of the prize live at the Academy for a year to complete a project of their choice, and I’m here finishing up my dissertation and Ph.D…and working on music!
Favorite local artists in Rome?
Lykanthea’s Migration cassette is available now via Bandcamp.
When we proudly debuted the self-titled from Jesus Sons, it was like a revelatory clearwater revival-revolution of the most relentless and restless characters of the Americana spirit. Former Spyrals man Brandon Wurtz saw the light and let us all sip from the golden goblet, entertaining audiences with their traveling roadshow style performance, and today debut a first listen to the forthcoming, “Better Times” 7″ as part of the Mock Records‘ single series that follows the recent Froth release. Available November 11, Brandon and the Sons have a video and 7″ release show at LA’s El Cid— but first set out to make you a born again barn-stomping believer with, “Better Times”.
Like the Southwest coast’s take on holistic rural music from the American primitive schools, Jesus Sons set their sights on bigger game, brighter days, and improved elevations of attitude. Brandon takes the pulpit as the old electric steels and electrified strings pluck against the hop along rhythm that moves onward and upward toward the shining marquees that read out in illuminated letters, “Better Times”. Jesus Sons can take hosts of “The Bottle Let Me Down” blues and turn them into the art of edifying the down and out arts that scream, “These Days I Barely Get By“. At the rate the Sons bestow these kinds of commiserating gospels; we can expect them to be canonized to grittier sort of sainthood. Brandon Wurtz joins up with us again, immediately following this premiere:
For one of our first questions for Jesus Sons we asked if they could invent an App, what would it be, and what would their pitch sound like to whatever nebulous start-up firm, to which Brandon responded with; “Allow me to rephrase this question. Do you love tacos? Yes.” Read on, dear listeners.
The Jesus Sons self-titled and riveting live shows has been making new believers, and born-againers from sea to shining sea. What has all this time since the release of the self-titled to touring around and recoding new material taught ya’ll?
This year has been insane for us. We released our self-titled record in January and our plan was to just lay it down and show everyone how fucking serious we are. Its been pretty surreal taking the ride that we have this year. We shot a video at Salvation Mountain in the desert with our buddy Carey Haider in January, played a ton of crazy hometown shows here in LA, we made it to South by Southwest in Austin and had a serious week of debauchery touring through Tulsa, Kansas City, Denver, Salt Lake on our way to Treefort Music Fest in Boise. We played Bandit Town in the middle of California for 4th of July and made a ton of trips to San Francisco. We shot another video in the mountains near LA with our new bud, Olivia Jaffe for Better Times and we worked on and rode our motorcycles a lot. We spent quite a bit of time stretching ourselves thin, working hard and having a hell of a time doing it. I think everything we’ve been through this year taught us how to live on the road, get loose, rough it when we needed to, party hard and get everyone at our shows to take that ride with us. More than anything we learned how to goof off but also keep this band working, writing and recording.
Can you give us an idea of what kind of good times, best of times, and “Better Times” that went into the mix here to make this righteous roller a-side?
Better Times is about bringing it on home. We wanted to take this band in a real early rock and roll, rhythm and blues direction and we found that with this tune. This band has a damn good time every time we get together and thats what Better Times is about. We moved to LA and life got pretty fucking good. This single is one of the first songs we wrote together with the new line-up and there was a pretty equal contribution from every dude in the band writing and working out the groove. I wrote the lyrics the first time I sat down with the new tune and it flowed out real easy like it was just waiting to be written, and it doesn’t always work out like that.
How have you all adapted to LA living and lifestyle?
We’re all pretty stoked to be here. Two of us are originally from LA so they showed the rest of us the ropes. Its a rock and roll town. If you’re into it, LA has a good ZZ Top vibe (babes, hot rods / motorcycles and good tacos) minus a little bit of Tejas.
Thoughts on the LA scenes versus the Bay Area scenes?
LA’s scene is full of super talented bands and musicians. It can be overwhelming trying to keep up with everything thats going down. Its a big city here so people don’t fuck around. San Francisco and the Bay are small and way too expensive for a bunch of hair farmin’ musician types. Although I’d say the LA scene is currently made up of at least 1/3 former Bay Area people that got fed up with all the same shit we got sick of. Don’t get us wrong though, we love San Francisco and all our friends up there that are still roughing it. SF is like a crazy ex, the lovin’ is good but you probably don’t wanna stay the night.
What else are you all recording?
We just laid down our new LP in mid-October with the man himself, Rob Good. This one is definitely a road record. Its like any of our favorite records from the past, good for driving, partying and gettin’ down to. We had one full week to get it done. We took over my buddy’s house, set up, and laid down live takes with two guitars, bass and drums and then layered vocals, slide guitar, Wurlitzer, organ and a lot of soul on our 8-track Tascam 388 reel to reel tape machine. It’s fully recorded and mixed so we’re working on the details of the release for next year and getting ready to start writing the next one.
What’s on your stereos, tour van tape players, CD players, pods, phonographs, 8-tracks, etc?
Always: Jimmy Reed, Little Richard, Allman Brothers, Link Wray, Howlin’ Wolf, ZZ Top, Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, JJ Cale, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, Gram Parsons, The Stooges, Wilson Picket, Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Nazareth, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Natural Child, Thin Lizzy, Willie Nelson, Parliament, Waylon Jennings, Bob Dylan and Richard Pryor.
Parting proverbs and/or parables from sermons on the LA mount, or the gospel according to Jesus Sons?
You wanna get loose? Get loose.
Gentlemen, stay incredible and awesome. We love ya’ll, ya hear?
Oh my God, we love you too.
Jesus Sons’ Better Times 7″ will be available November 11 from Mock Records. Catch them on the following November dates.
01 Mt. Hood, Oregon at Solera Brewery w/ W.I.B.G.
02 Portland, Oregon at Rontoms w/ W.I.B.G.
11-3 Seattle, Washington at Lo-Fi
11-5 San Francisco, California (secret free show)
11-7 San Diego, California at Till Two Club w/ Amerikan Bear & Moonshine
11-8 Los Angeles, California at El Cid (Better Times 7″ record release) w/ Isaac Rother & The Phantoms
From their Waaga self-titled album, Deadphones premiere the music video for “On Being Psycho” —directed, shot, and edited by Jackson Milgaten and Jeremy Scott. The band formerly known as Cuckoo Chaos re-branded and rebanded in what Milgaten explained to us earlier in the year was a “very fluid evolution” toward a “completely collective creative effort” made through an “incredibly painstaking and disorienting means of writing.” Tempering their penchant for chaos and cuckoo clock craft-creations, Jackson and the group crack the code of conventional school of synergistic bonds to tighten the math equations of their own science experiments.
On Deadphones’ self-made video debut of “On Being Psycho”; Jackson dons some lipstick framed by a five o’clock shadow as an eerie game of masks face off. Arriving on time for Halloween, watch the low-lit candle flickers, strange signs, symbols, dried roses, and rituals that take you through creepy hall ways, haunted pathways, and into the alabaster pools. Red and white masked individuals appear, amid freak out sequences where the instrumentation resounds like the runes being written and recited in a simultaneous unison. The candles form around odd landscape portraits, shrines that summon the unsettling red masked mystery man that disturb what appears to be an underwater ad model getting possessed. Deadphones build the video around the occultic air of “On Being Psycho” in a suspenseful midnight matinee set-up that allows the San Diego band to indulge their inner auteurs. Jackson Milgaten joins up with us for a behind the scenes peak, immediately following the video:
This is the second video for one of the tracks from the Deadphones album and my first foray into the visual realm. My goal is to end up with a mini anthology of videos all created by different artists each accompanying a song on the record. The first of which was directed by light painter and photographer Darren Pearson (http://www.dariustwin.com/) and can be seen here:
Writer and comic artist Don Cheney is working on the next one and my brother Keith Sweaty aka Keith Milgaten is doing the one after that. Fellow Deadphones guitarist Jeremy Scott co-directed this video with me.
We wanted to make something that felt as dark and perverse as the song’s erie mood and lyrics. Lines like, “Just want to smack you around. Bite down and punch that clown. Just want to make you deserve. Can’t stop the iron giant,” come off as so aggressive in some beautifully malevolent way that I find strangely alluring. Scott’s cold croon seems to be speaking to the part of me that wants to do the wrong thing. For whatever reason that feeling translated visually into images of rituals of the macabre and the occult. We used that as a jump off point and made a mini horror flick.
Deadphones’ self-titled is available now from Waaga Records.
Regular Impose readers and listeners are probably familiar with our reporting on the music of Melissa Ann Sweat, otherwise known to the world as Lady Lazarus. Her recent single “Rabbit’s Road” debuted on our pages, sharing the car radio cadence that recounts Melissa’s travels to San Jose, San Francisco, Savannah, Georgia, LA, and Joshua Tree like piano dotted breadcrumb trails. On the heels of the gorgeous album, All My Love in Half Light re-issued on LebensStrasse Records; Melissa brings us the following update on all the latest developments, recordings, and all things Lady Lazarus, followed by an exclusive inside the studio teaser.
It’s a good time of year for me, and perhaps, I think, in life, too.
It’s been about one full year since I sat down and started writing a new batch of songs. Several new, a few reworked from older ideas; another from a very old scrap of a song I had written years before. I remember where I was when that one came to me, even four, five years ago… I was in my car parked next to a local university. I got out and started walking on the campus and singing into my phone to record it, walking into the campus gardens, trying to avoid people and the inevitable embarrassment of being caught singing out loud where maybe you shouldn’t be.
There was no embarrassment, though, in my studio apartment in Koreatown, L.A. last fall, when I began to compose these new songs and rework those older snippets that seemed to fit into my life so perfectly now. Songs that all made sense with where I was, in a place of gratitude and love, understanding and resolution.
I composed them in my kitchen on an upright piano, my very first one, given to me by my boyfriend and his family. I’ve been immensely inspired by this love in my songwriting and in my life… And this piano, too, has informed my songwriting tremendously.
It’s one year later, and I’m in a new town, Joshua Tree, Calif. in the Mojave Desert. I’m looking forward to and preparing for what’s next. The piano is still here, and so is this love.
…I’ll have these new songs I’ve mentioned to share with you soon. For now, a snippet of one I’ve recorded in the studio… (the one from the university campus.)
The much lauded Lady Lazarus album, All My Love in Half Light has been re-issued via LebensStrasse Records, with more material soon to be announced.
From Edmonton, Alberta; we bring you a premiere listen to Switches upcoming album, I Just Wanna before it’s release date on November 4. Tara McMahon and Tamar Diner founded the group, enlisting talents like keyboardist Stefan Opryshko, and bassists Angela Mason, Caity Fisher, with Marlaena Moore currently handling the bass duties. Operating on a minimalist mode of making an album about everything Switches want out of life—or at least everything and anything they want to do on an idyllic afternoon.
“15 Beers” is the idle sound of summers where every day is a hops, barley, and wheat holiday with best friends, while “Stole All My Stuff” is an aggressive ode and angry later to selfish, thieving, and filching perpetrators. Stefan’s organ peppers ballads like “Ma Cherie” that growls melodic modern romanticism, before Tara and Tamar unleash their title of wants and demands that blazes through the fast living speedway on, “I Just Wanna”. Keeping their code of values and pacts firmly in place, Switches raise a can of cold lager on “Best Friends” with posi lyrical thumbs up on the chorus that goes, “best friends, they rule, best friends, so cool.” Fast times, fast living, and more factors in on, “Fast Car”, where the band takes you from the open road of the drag strip to the city grid of lights, busy streets, and bustling sidewalks. “Super Eight” is about a date with an extra-terrestrial alien lover with “brown hair,” before “Ppp’s” pays an affectionate tribute to a beloved pet dog that past away whose memory is toasted with the utmost respect. As Switches keep the action switched on, “Push Pull” throws out the instructional manual and courtesy signs for a visceral final punch to leave your head buzzing. After the following stream of I Just Wanna, check out our interview with Switches after the jump.
From playing in various other bands, how did everyone’s visions come together as Switches?
Tamar and Tara had been in bands with really experienced musicians who had the creative vision in the projects. Tara had just moved back from Victoria and we wanted to start our own thing to see what we could do ourselves and what kind of music would come out of it. Plus we like hanging out a lot. Stefan joined soon after and brought a 60’s feel with the organ and we rolled with that.
We’ve asked ourselves that a lot and don’t have a vision of what the band is supposed to be which leaves us a lot of room to create whatever music we want and like. Everyone is free to bring there own taste, vision and ideas. We don’t always agree but we always make it work and have hilarious discussions all the time, we are really into communicating! We come from all different genre backgrounds but we all want to make good times songs and have fun playing them.
Keeping that energy alive, honest and expressive from “Beers” to “Push Pull”; tell us about what it was like making the first Switches album, I Just Wanna.
The recording process was amazing. It wasn’t painful at all, I’ve heard all these nightmare stories of taking 50 takes of one song. We did it in two days and two takes probably on every song. We recorded it just the way we would play it on stage, tons of energy and not a lot of cut ins. I think we all had that vision and it worked out. We were a little worried about recording on analog tape but when we finally got to Rene Wilson’s super cramped basement storage room/recording studio we felt right at home. We had all the songs ready to go so we were able to burn through them like we were playing a live show. As a producer Rene really knew when to push us, give us suggestions, when to back off, when to go for Indian food or donairs and when to record fake car commercials for the radio. It was seriously so fun, we didn’t want to return to the real world when it was over. We really hope that comes across on the record.
Anecdotes and stories behind songs like, “Stole All My Stuff”, “Fast Car”, “Ppp’s”, etc? It feels like all of your songs are all connected and inspired by responses to observations, incidents, etc.
Ya? I’ve never really thought of that. I write the songs from feeling, lyrics always come after. If feels sad it ends up being sad. “15 Beers” — it was summer, and that song felt like summers full of drinking in alleys, river valley hangs, road trips, being a dumb ass. So that’s what it was.
“PPP’S” I wanted to write a real love song. PPP’S was a dog in my life that passed away, it felt like that kinda love song, and when I play it still feels that way. “Ma Cheri” is about Tara’s roommate [Sheri], we jam at their house and even though she has heard our songs 100,000 times she is excited every time we jam! It’s amazing! She is so awesome that we wrote a song for her.
What can you all report from the Edmonton, Alberta scenes?
It awesome! Its big enough that you can consistently have people at your shows, being sweaty and fun. But small enough that you know the people in the audience and are friends with the people in the other bands. Its not competitive everyone is supporting each other.
All of the scenes are connected and support each other, it may not be your jam but you still support the fact that people are making music and art.
As a band, I can’t believe how supportive Edmonton is. The venues here like Wunderbar and Empress that go above and beyond to help local bands out consistently blows me away. More then than that the venues communicate and support each other and the bands too. I mean for our last tour I had so many bands, promoters, venue owners help me out with cities and contacts; it’s inspiring to see and be part of.
Shout outs to other artists and bands that haven’t been getting the publicity they deserve?
To be honest two of the most amazing musicians I’ve seen in a long time have played bass in our band, Marleana Moore who is our new bass player and Caity Fisher and the Final Frontier who recorded the album with us. They deserve all the respect! Jom Comyn is incredible and deserves to be on the same level as any big Canadian act. Jessica Jalbert is releasing a new album right away and I hope it blows up cause she is amazeballz. OH and Rene Wilson cause he’s wild and super talented and is so fun to watch!
What’s next for Switches?
SEX PARTIES hopefully in a town near you.
Switches’ I Just Wanna will be available November 4 via Bandcamp.
Stockholm’s Feather Revs debut their new sky-smoothing single “Roller” ahead of their upcoming album, Whaleforest. Like their name that imagines an engine made entirely of downy soft bird based materials for flight; Feather Revs design their sound to echo the ephemeral stratospheres and soaring winged creatures that inhabit them. Every song is it’s own adventure, an expressive Iliad of creating the earthy sounds where earth and sea crash into one another.
And here it begins, with the ever spinning steam-rolling wonder of “Roller”. Holy rollers rocking rolling pins and other odd items emerge from group’s mix of echoes and phasers. The single operates on a concentrated and pensive state of mind that keeps it’s head both above and below water, as delivery become absorbed by the oceans of effects at work amid twisting guitar dirges and hypnotic, dizzying loops. “Misty X” continues the Feather Revs tradition of opening strange doors that can never be properly closed again, coupling the most shrill and biting guitar shrapnel into the piano based rhythm center. The engines keep turning in the disorientating and droning journey back to the womb of “Utero”, to the quiet cataclysm of “Control”, to the dramatic passage corridors on, “Found A Way”. “Lean” sends more guitars into the Feather Rev’s self-made wind tunnels, turning up the incandescent wattage on the hedonistic, “With The Sun”, and brilliants Scandinavian experimental pop blizzard that leaves you with the request to, “Give Some More”. The Feather Revs subscribe to a school where every sung is cut from an unusual cloth, and must have an average, experiential time mean of a six minute running length minimum. The Stockholm band corresponded with us from overseas to further describe their work, right after this listen.
How did Feather Revs ﬁrst begin?
In 2011 while ge-ng into an old untuned piano in a cellar of Stockholm I put together Feather Revs with the aim of making something together based on good friendship. Vox/piano, base, drums, and guitar. Because our work is wholly collaborative, we had to start over a couple of times, as we had numerous trials of ﬁnding the right guitarist. In the summer of 2013 we were all set and made a recording, now still producing and ﬁnding ways to get closer for a transcendental ﬁx.
What inspired the airy and ephemeral name of Feather Revs?
Airy and ephemeral, yes, like a hovering machine we try to evolve.
There is a combination of nature inspired elements that collide into the more electric and amplified touches… what is the connection of capturing a natural feeling and feeding that through electronic processors?
Nature is all, and the purity of organic sounds is the important base of our music, the processors make it more trippy, relaxing, dreamlike ﬂoaFng and perhaps a feeling of some epic future outer-space ambiance.
Releases in the works you can share?
The recording we made last year, in a live situation on an eight track reel to reel became an album, and is called Whaleforest, to be released in 2014.
Favorite artists out of Stockholm that the rest of the world doesn’t know about yet?
Beverly Pills — beautiful minds with good ears.
With Stockholm and so much of Sweden full of so many great artists, how do you feel your own music is informed by your environments, inspirations, etc?
Inspirations tend to be sounds, fresh air, motions, people giving love, and with a good connection to world news we´re hopefully moving on trying to give pleasure for all horror.
Feather Revs’ Whaleforest will be available soon via Bandcamp.
FOX AND THE LAW
Having just finished a massive UK tour and celebrating their third album, Stoned to Death; Seattle’s Fox and the Law premiere the Ryan Alexander Davis voodoo video for “Cheap Talk”. A guitar found in a dumpster brings about a shamanic curse and ensuing escapades that are prime for your Halloween listening/viewing experience/schedule. The band of Guy, Sweet Pete, Patrick, and Dan trade superficial lip service for supernatural encounters with spirits, exorcist-enthusiasts, and a cast of eccentrics.
A discarded Fender that gets found brings a host of malevolent baggage. As the guitar gets a test run with the band, a voodoo dolls are utilized to hex what becomes an event of menacing paranormal activity from pseudo-demonic-possession, gratuitous sputtering of blood, and a cool exorcist priest on a mission. As the sound of “Cheap Talk” guitar squeals overhead, we see image of the witch doctor delighting in the calamities caused, as a band of the dedicated seeks to put everything back in it’s right place after a rogue, charmed Fender wrecks all sorts of havoc. Following the video premiere, join us for our interview with frontman, Guy Keltner.
What are the latest and greatest things happening in Seattle lately?
Lots of killer rock music starting to pop up. Also, legal weed is pretty fantastic. Definitely played a role in the making of Stoned To Death. We had it delivered by one of those cool new services in town throughout the sessions. We’re also throwing a big party/festival in town this December called the Psychedelic Holiday Freakout. A bunch of our buds from Seattle and Portland play throughout the weekend, party together, get to know new people, band bonding, etc. Last year’s was a blast so we are pumped to do it again.
Favorite lesser sung Seattle groups that you all dig?
Some of these acts are starting to get more national attention, but we are all big fans of Hobosexual, Night Beats, Sandrider, Constant Lovers, The Spits, Nacho Picasso, Jarv Dee, Graig Markel & The 88th St. Band. Portland has a great scene too, we have a ton of friends down there playing some amazing tunes.
What was the filming process like turning “Cheap Talk” into a b-movie thriller in the video from Ryan Alexander Davis?
Chaotic. Everyone involved is a super close friend & also really busy with their art, so we strained at times in terms of coordinating our schedules. The budget was also paper thin so we literally shot that whole thing at my house and in our home studio. However, the whole experience was still a total blast. We got to play around with each other’s makeup and spitting fake blood is about as fun as it gets. I also loved that bit with the milk at the end. We had to shoot that about 20 different times because I couldn’t stop laughing. I was soaked in sweat, milk and corn syrup.
Having recorded your third record with Stoned To Death, what wisdom and insights of interest have you all earned at this point?
You can easily do your best work at home. We tracked drums in my living room and about 80% of those takes are live and uncut. That doesn’t work for all bands, but a lot of rock groups spend too much time in the studio wasting their money and then the record ends up sounding overproduced. It’s important to us to know what we want our songs to sound like, have them rehearsed and as tight as possible, and be ready to WORK when we are with the producer. Whether we are stoned to death or not, we hustle our asses off in the studio and we pay attention to each other. Communication is key when you are refining your songs, so it’s important for us to be very present and open-minded when we create our music. Our producer, Graig, really understood that about us so he managed to put together an awesome final product. Definitely the most fun we’ve had in the studio thus far.
Halloween party and costume plans for you all?
We are playing this spot in Portland called Dante’s with a bunch of sweet rock bands. We’re going in drag. The plan was originally to be the New York Dolls but now we are kinda just getting weird and messing around with different dresses and makeup. I’m excited to smear my makeup all over someone’s face in the crowd. Maybe I’ll be a geisha and spit sake at everyone.
Fox and the Law’s album Stoned to Death is available now via Bandcamp.
Keeping the Halloween party going, NYC group The Harrow dropped their cover of “Mouth to Mouth”, originally from Siouxsie and the Banshees / The Cure side project The Glove. Released from Everything Is Chemical b/w the maudlin moods of “Ringing the Changes”, “Mouth to Mouth” kisses off like an episode that imagines the cold connections between synthesizers and their consoles, mixed by Automelodi’s Zavier paradis. The olden days of dark mascara are picked up out of their make-up kits to be applied toward the fashions and trends of today’s new faces and talents. Joining us after the listen are The Harrow’s own Vanessa Irena, Frank Deserto, Barrett Hiatt, and Greg Fasolino for a lively discussion roundtable.
Like the story that shares the namesake of The Harrow; what other Kafka stories and books are your favorites, and what was it about the author’s work that inspires you all?
Vanessa: I was a ways a huge fan of The Trial, because it is both a critique of totalitarian government as well as essentially a horror story. What I’ve always loved about Kafka is the way he explores the human condition through subjecting his characters to extreme and often absurd adversity.
Frank: There was always something beautiful about In the Penal Colony, despite its brutality. It’s incredibly bleak, but seductive, blurring the edges around an otherwise ugly facade. It’s the sort of dichotomy we like to explore with our music and lyrics. We all come from a very literary-influenced background and are always drawing on authors for inspiration, sometimes even more than we do from other bands. “Ringing the Changes” (the B-side of this single) is based on the Robert Aickman short story of the same name. Other literary influences include William Blake, J.G. Ballard, Charles Baudelaire, Clive Barker, Shirley Jackson, and Harlan Ellison.
The “Mouth to Mouth” cover is a cool, shadowy take on the original. What attracted you all to this song, and what indication does this bear toward future recorded sounds from The Harrow?
Vanessa: It’s just a great song, and we are all huge Robert Smith and Steve Severin fans. Also, the lyrics are fantastic. It was a fun song for me to sing.
Frank: The idea was to cover something that was both obscure and well known at the same time, and this seemed to strike a perfect balance. “Mouth to Mouth” also features the same sort of dreamlike sensuality and menacing bite that we’re exploring on our own terms. As for the next steps, both tracks on this single point towards the diversity of our new record, which we will release in spring 2015. It also marks our first outing with the brilliant Xavier Paradis of Automelodi, who will also be mixing the album.
Greg: Learning and reworking another band’s composition can inspire your own sonic creativity. It gave us a chance to work on something that was more groove-oriented, which in turn influenced some aspects of the full-length we are presently completing.
Other favorite bands in NYC that you all have recently discovered, met, etc?
Vanessa: Dead Leaf Echo are great pals of ours, as well as Azar Swan and Tamaryn. Our friend Jane Chardiet has a new project called Appetite that’s very cool.
Frank: Infinite love to Bootblacks, Dust, Tiers, and Void Vision (Philly) as well!
Greg: Most of my favorite NYC bands are ones I’ve been listening to for at least a couple of years, like the ones Vanessa and Frank mentioned plus Diiv, Weep, Autodrone, White Hills, and Mahogany. The ones I’ve discovered this year are Glass Gang and Shana Falana.
If The Harrow ever wrote a collective dystopian crime and punishment opus; what would it be titled, and what would the premise be, plot, other details?
Vanessa: It would be called The Longest Bath, and be about a woman who drowns to death in a different way every night and then wakes up in her bed the next day with no memory of it.
Frank: It’ll be a pop-up book.
Halloween report, 2014 edition? Costumes? Trends? Ins? Outs? Ehs? Mehs?
Vanessa: I’m dressing up as Jesus.
Frank: I’ve spent the month watching an endless stream of horror movies. For the evening proper, I will spinning Belgian new beats and French coldwave records in Brooklyn in the company of friends and strangers. Costumes – yes. I will be dressing as a slutty dinosaur.
Barrett: I think it’s safe to say that it is collectively our favorite time of year. I personally will be eating everything in sight on the streets of New Orleans. Great town, and Halloween is the best time to be there. I will be dressing as everyone’s favorite nerf herder.
Greg: I am the odd-man out in being more of a summer person, but I do enjoy Halloween. This year, all that’s on my agenda is a stack of unwatched horror flicks.
FORE plays Brooklyn’ this Friday at Black Bear Bar for UNCOMUN fest and November 14 Branded Saloon with NorvisJr, Landisles, and Knife City; the Harare, Zimbabwe by Brooklyn producer/emcee lent some worldwide blessings with, “Blessed” with Carolyn Malachi and Papa Ghana. The east and west clash of cultures reverberates in a sound that collects far away samples of world sourced instruments that get tripped into a world hazy-malaise. Find this joint off the upcoming album, The Stranger, coming soon, and read FORE’s exclusive words on the new track as he described it for us:
Bringing together Carolyn, Papa Ghana and our friend Shiv on Sitar basically covered all of the cultural bases of the album and my life: Carolyn represents America, black America specifically, Papa Ghana representing Africa where I was raised and Europe where I was born, and then the Indian sounds of the sitar representing that part of my life and background.
I think in a sense this song doesn’t “work” but that’s the point; a transcultural identity doesn’t “work” in a single culture, and being stuck in one culture at any time can be very restrictive for me.
On The Stranger: It’s a concept album about my relationship with America, starting with me arriving here as a college student, and rolling out from there. Lyrically, it was written with a strong focus on a narrative through line, and without giving too much away, certain songs are linked together. Sonically, we experimented with a lot of rare analogue sounds (live sitar, live strings, mellotron, optagon), listened to a good amount of Tribe, Bjork, Maurice Ravel, Joy Division, Refused, Robert Fripp, and Cam’ron, and then made a mess of all of that.
Wishing you and all a Happy Halloween, Atlanta ear and head breakers StarBenders release their self-titled on Institution Records, featuring a stream and subsequent interview with frontwoman, Kimi Shelter. From the ATL’s notorious crew The Biters; StarBenders shoots down the skies twinkling planets with an assist from Nico Constantine, Jeff Bakos, and Jeff Golden. These are the rioting runaway rock your parents warned you about.
“Naked, Famous, & Dead” kicks off the EP with some tabloid post-humus/post-famous snarling rage. The riot doesn’t stay too quiet with “Touch” that is the best thing that Suzi Quattro and Joan Jett never thought of. as “Bitches Be Witches” takes a psych-dipped breather to read the tarot cards, breaking it down to the altered states of altar pigeons on, “Alter Boy”. Turning nativity scenes into haunted houses and bone-yards, “Bat On a Leash” is a funny vampirical vignette about treating these winged weird ones like everyone’s favorite new pet, closing it down with the prom dance crushing “Enchantment Under The Sea” flushes more cherry bombs down the school gymnasium toilets than that one Problem Child 2 scene. We got caught up with all things related to StarBenders in our following conversation with Kimi, immediately following the stream of her self-titled.
What the latest from Atlanta and the Biters crew down there?
The Biters are doing awesome. They just released a 7″ with a couple amazing songs. The band is about to head back out on tour, so look out for them!
Fellow ATL indie artists and bands that you’re into?
Dasher; Kylee Kimbrough is out of her mind! She’s cool school for sure.
Shehehe from Athens, GA. They are a huge band to look out for. The rhythm and three part harmonies they deliver is virgin sacrificing material.
James Hall, the true immortal punk rocker. He’s a personal hero of mine. I got the chance to collaborate with him for a few of the songs on this record and he threw down the craziest trumpet solo on ‘Alter Boy’.
Best things about Atlanta these days?
Atlanta has the benefits of a metropolis while being nestled in a forest. The Fall is an incredible time of year down south with tons of festivals and great parties. There are also a bunch of cool artists coming out of our city.
Worst things about Atlanta these days?
Everything is so spread out that if you don’t have a car, you’re fucked. Not to mention, we have traffic that easily rivals Los Angeles.
What was it like recording your record with Nico Constantine, and how did that experience create the vision you had for the StarBenders self-titled?
Nico is a madman in the studio. He really has a contagious work ethic that makes you feel like you’re doing something to change the world. I think that feeling really carried sonically onto this record.
Is there an album in the works that you can share any details on?
I’m writing constantly and can’t wait to get back in the studio come 2015. Our second release will be out before spring.
Halloween plans for StarBenders?
We’re playing a Satanic BBQ in Athens at the New Earth Music Hall with our friends, Shehehe. I guess I’ll eat me a hot dog and worship the Devil.
StarBenders’ self-titled is available now from Institution Records.
Mixed by mOma & Rich Knight, dive into Alsarah & The Nubatones Silt Remixed from Wonderwheel Recordings that features reworks from Captain Planet, KCRW’s Jeremy Sole, Djeff, Boddhi Satva, Clap! Clap! Wonderwheel Recordings head Nickodemus, and others. mOma & Knight kick their mix outside of the dimension that serves as the boarder between the confining genre tag-lines and dividers that breaks down all the walls in a nature flood of earth felt informed techniques.
Aaron Holm & Matthew Felton’s Hours is available now, and we present you with piano touched ambient chamber works to lift your rest spaces and ambient work worlds accordingly. The featured first disc, “Sacred Muse” provides meditative escapes that engrained themselves among whichever environment they are played in, before the entrance into the fantasia of, “My Beautiful Monsoon”.
K Records are releasing the hip-hop comp All Your Friend’s Friends on November 11, and we got the video for “Jump Kick The Legs,” that features Twelve Northwest-Based MCs & Samples from Chain and The Gang’s one and only Ian Svenonius. It’s the whole Northwest springing to top form, thanks to Epryhme, Smoke, New Spin, and the dedication of K Records.
Stickers delivered their video for “Sacajawea” as they kick off their tour with Pissed Jeans on November 1. Directed by Emily Denton, band close ups are interspred with footage of futuristic tunnel chutes, straight out of space odysseys and such. Their album Swollen is out now on End of Time Records, and you can read our continuous coverage of Stickers here.
It’s that time again when NYC darling Betty Rubble herself goes wild for the night with a new tape, new raw lyrical execution, a batch of “New Feelings”, and a new smashbox with, Mykki Blanco presents Gay Dog Food. The basement doors drop open on “Runny Mascara”, the vapors, vehemence and reflections on the super-ego with “New Feelings”, electric current cuts like “For The Homey’s”, the horrorshow hell-fire of “Baby’s Got Big Plans”, ghost and gore galore on “Self Destruction” (sampling the 16-bit wonder, Earthbound), more weirdness with “Fulani” feat. Ian Isiah, to surprise guest appearances and contributions from Cities Aviv, James K, Kathleen Hanna, and more. The new directions show Mykki moving in the newest subterranean routes while paying tribute to the heroes, expressing the gamut from anger, humor, rage, dystrophic separations, and edges of the surreal that are not for everyone, but make for some of the most original attitudes heard around NYC as of late.
Slim Twig’s A Hound At The Hem sees a lively re-release from DFA Records, and we got the sheet shrouded absurdist video for the tape goth masquerade of, “Maintain” The Charade”, directed, shot, and edted by collaborator and U.S. Girls captain-in-chief—Meg Remy, with performances from Alicia Nauta.
South Florida by LA’s Kin Cayo keeps those lingering summer festival vibes drum circling around the beach bonfires on the sun-pop vacation vibes of, “Our Ship”.
Hot Flash Heat Wave dropped the hanging on the telephone reluctance of “Hesitation”, that plays with the game of hang-ups, busy tones, dial tones, and all the kiss and tell games that get caught in the wires and wireless connections and disconnects of phone-fueled relations. The track itself sounds casual, guitars glimmer with hope and hesitance toward making the next steps to something that resembles anything looking like the big ‘c word’ called, commitment.
Brooklyn’s Lemonade gets the flashing-neon-frame rapid hedonism on the Lil Internet video for “Orchid Bloom”, from their Cascine album, Minus Tide. From the subways, the flashy clubs, beach-side beauties, psychedelicized water slides, and Go Pros-going about town; Lemonades hot new single is given an appopriate fashioned visual companion-counterpart.
Available November 4 via iTunes; LA’s Spelles, aka Kathryn Baar breaks free from the bars that contain wanderlust heart with a listen to the single, “Bird In a Cage”. The cooped up sentiments are cooked up with organic percussion, as Kathryn sings her song of freedom that yearns to be set loose from her jail trapped pedestal. Kathryne wrote us the following reflections, and thoughts on her own musical alchemy:
I write about personal experiences and try to translate them musically in a way that makes me feel inspired. I wrote a handful of songs when I was younger, but I got really into songwriting when I moved to Los Angeles about five years ago. That was a really difficult time in my life. I felt a perpetual feeling of deadness around me, and a deadness within me. I had such a hard time connecting with LA, and I felt very isolated and anxious all of the time. Those feelings, and my experiences, really shaped the sound and vibe of the music that I make.
LA band of buds StaG dropped the upward marching track, “It Worked for Him”, sending out energetic beams of inspired resolve in all directions. The band’s follow up single to the album released earlier this year, Difference; the trial and error methods and lessons from the past coming drummed up in the strummed out jubilation of finding what worked and didn’t work for the past greats, and notable masters and matriarchs.
Our buds Oddisee, yU, and Uptown XO are the Diamond District, fresh from releasing March on Washington on Mello Music Group. All three craftily interweave their verses that brings food for thought in a kind of chemistry that the best of friends share, spilling thoughts on life, paradoxes, and more, with Oddisee keeping that forward level production on the move. Keep up with all of our DMV coverage of the Diamond District-three here.
Benedict from Field Guides was singing the praises of Ben Seretan’s just released self-titled; so we had to indulge our curiosity further. “Ticonderoga” begins like a wandering freak folk vision quest journey, the eye opening peaking sun of “Light Leaks”, stoned pastoral lonesome walks through “Meadowlark”, the personal and intimate horned interiors of “Blues for Ian M. Colletti”, the math drawn poetics of “the Confused Sound of Blood in a Shining Person”, the psych hymn signals of, “Two Black Wings”, the stripped down “My Lucky Stars”, to the closing redemption road crossing of the spiritual, “Swing Low”. Seretan sings what springs forth from the soul, with an outside sort of weirdness that is not sung enough amongst his fellow Brooklyn musician denizens.
Keeping the countdown to the December 17 release of The World Is A Beautiful Place; Carl Creighton shares the minimalist wind-power video for “God Bless the Ruby Breasted and the Sparrow”. Made by his brother Craig, the natural folk hymn from Carl is given a green, eco-friendly pasture to roam about in. In his own words:
I was listening to a bunch of Bert Jansch and Pentangle when I wrote this song. I loved their cool acoustic jazz sound and their lyrics about baskets of light. And I thought it might be a nice little game to try and write a song with jazz chords and lyrics that aren’t about dying. Although I still threw in a line about people being bested by their sorrow. Like, suicide. Oh well.
Angelo De Augustine’s Spirals Of Silence will be available November 18, along with an appearance at San Francisco’s The Chappel on November 22; and you can experience the intimate home recorded beauty of, “You Open To The Idea” for yourself. The closed door recording creates a sparse and rusting experience that everyone responds to differently, like being privy to an acoustic set that affects the heart in numerous, inexplicable ways.
Check out Wil$on’s switched-up remix rendering of LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yrself Clean”. The LA artist equips audiences with what his world is all about in a lyrical free fall flow of objects, places, events, subjects, predicates, nouns, verbs, and adjectives that fall like rain.
From Clementine & The Galaxy’s upcoming Midnight Machine EP (slated for release in early 2014 on Feel Up Records, which is owned by Jillionaire from Major Lazer), check out the mountain-massive single, “When The Night Is Over”, that is the sound of the most triumphant night that you never ever want to meet with the warm turn up of the dawn’s incandescent light.
Mode Moderne dropped the footage mashup of oddities and weird wild strangeness on the Indoctrination Film video for, “Times Up” from the album, Occult Delight to celebrate the single’s global release. From pumping iron scenes to banana mashing gloved fists; the jangle jam of “Times Up” gets it’s own visual score of the absurd.
Following up 2012’s Rigmarole, Hiero’s Pep Love dropped the Dolla Daily EP from The Hieroglyphics Imperium / General Organic Sound. “Y.O.L.O.” brings the Drake popularized carpe diem slang back and lives it up west coast wise, the everything green and free on “Evergreen”, the round and round / up and down of “Parasail Ferris Wheel”, featuring appearances from LB Select on the underdog ode of “Bah Blacksheep”, Opio meeting up for a bite on “Macaroni and Cheese”, a “Chilley Lime” drink with Tajai, plus reflections and blazed up blessings of “Stargazin'”, and “Just One”. This is the sound of lifelong friends meeting up for a session on a sunny day in the Bay, raising a glass to great tomorrows.
Deerhoof’s new album La Isla Bonita will be available November 4 from Polyvinyl Records, and we present the Todd Chandler video for “Mirror Monster” that depicts a car wrecking yard. The beautiful, new-choral artscapes from the band provide the soundtrack what appears to be the next best thing to a ‘monster truck rally,’ as it’s tractor versus car in a surreal sight of automobile crushing and stacking.
Populous’ Night Safari is available now from Bad Panda Records / Folk Wisdom; and you can check out the Blue Hawaii remix of, “Fall”, featuring Cuushe. Andrea Mangia’s sounds that already connect all corners of the globe in influence and collaboration gets a lift into trippier, more abstract atmospheres, and faint vocal utterances.
Mesogia, Athens Grecian group, My Drunken Haze are readying their self-titled for November 3 on Inner Ear Records. Produced by Baby Guru’s King Elephant, the quintet spins the world’s globe like a floating helium, “Yellow Balloon”. The pop strums that summons traces of yesterday are catapulted ahead into what haunted global garage pop is all about, regardless of what era you might be living in.
LA’s Kissing Cousins will release their In With Them EP on December 9 via Velvet Blue Music, and we have their video for “Cover Me” here. Dive into the b/w world of intensity and atmospheric airs of tension, and find them playing LA’s The Satellite on December 1, 8, 22, & 29.
Celebrating Halloween, SPC ECO dropped the 16 minute track and video for, “Nocturnal”, filmed by The A-B Collective. The late after hours drive endlessly through the night, washed in lens filters of green, red, and blue that create the hypnotic feeling of falling asleep in the passenger side with too much on your mind. SPC ECO’s album Sirens and Satellites is available now from Saint Marie Records, with their forthcoming The Art Of Pop scheduled for November 10. Prepare for an experience that simulates what being underwater in space must feel like.
With his Weird Moons LP available January 20 from Castle Face, Jack Name gets weird with the synth looping brood and tension boiler, “Running After Ganymede”. Look for more analog meets 90s keyboard oddities as a February 2015 tour is in with works with Jack, Ariel Pink, and Thee Oh Sees. Strange, cool times soon to ensue.
Directed by Ben Fee, peep Greylag’s video for, “Yours To Shake”, off the self-titled album from Dead Oceans. Watch as star-crossed, wayward lovers meet up deep through the thickets, and deciduous forests of deception, and mystery.
Keeping that Halloween vibe jam and Streight Angular party going; watch them covering Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” in Salem, MA. You’re welcome, everyone. Keep up with all things Streight Angular, here.
Should you need more thrills, chills, and spills; let Jonathan Toubin rock you right with his following 2014 NY Night Train Haunted Hop Halloween Mix.
Off their November 4 slated self-titled album from Autumn Tone Records; boogie along to Springtime Carnivore’s b/w video for, “Name on a Matchbook”, that makes a chance encounter the possible, wonderful, chance of a lifetime.
Icelander Anton Kaldal Ágústsson, aka Tonik Ensemble released the beautiful, “Until We Meet Again” chamber pop, from the album Snapshots available February 10 from Atomnation. The mood-commanding mellow single will be available November 18 with remixes from Applescal, Olaf Stuut, and Snooze Infinity, with an appearance at Iceland Airwaves festival, November 5-9.
MOURN’S WEEK IN POP
We recently reported the news of Captured Tracks’ latest signing of the Catalonia, Spain quartet MOURN; sharing the heavy metals of “Silver Gold” and news of their full-length (recorded in two days we heard) available February 17, 2015—and it is now our pleasure and privilege to present to you their following co-curation of Week in Pop:
Sunny Day Real Estate, “Snibe”
Fantômas, “Experiment in Terror”
Cursive, “Mama, I’m Satan”
PJ Harvey, “Big Exit”
Follow MOURN on Twitter.