Week in Pop: Baseball Gregg, Elijah, Rachel Mason, Warm Deltas

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Dreamboy, Foreign/National, Go Dark, Lucky + Love, Reduction Plan, Ronnie Heart, guested by MUNA.

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Sjimon Gompers | April 29, 2016

The infinite aesthetics & pop art talents of Rachel Mason; photographed by Matthew Spiegelman.

The infinite aesthetics & pop art talents of Rachel Mason; photographed by Matthew Spiegelman.

Helping us to better enjoy our own communities & selves, Impose’s Week in Pop brings you all the breaking buzz you have waited all week long for. With a host of new media coming at you, we bring you all the hype-overdrive news of the week with Beyoncé the talk of the world as she dropped the titanic Lemonade HBO special & album & full-on phenomenon of the same name; Grimes’ collaboration with Stella McCartney for the designer’s eco-friendly POP fragrance; Drake dropped some revealing insights, new album now titled VIEWS (fka Views From the 6), also announced Summer Sixteen tour with Future; In the Red Records to celebrate 25 years in LA for a three night bash at the Echo / Echoplex; Tegan and Sara announced tour dates; Braids announced the upcoming Companion EP available May 20 via Arbutus/Flemish Eye; Future Twin—fronted by the visionary activist Jean Jeanie—has joined the WWNBB collective family, dropped “Are You Rested (Enough Yet)?”; Charli XCX dropped the “Vroom Vroom” video; Matt and Kim dropped their new EP, WE WERE THE WEIRDOS; D∆WN (oka Dawn Richard) dropped the Kingdom produced cut “Honest”; Rihanna & Calvin Harris dropped “This Is What You Came For”; B.o.B. dropped the E.A.R.T.H. mixtape on Earth day; Yeah Yeah Yeahs returned at a Tribeca afterparty; Bonnie “Prince” Billy dropped the song “Most People” off forthcoming Refugee comp to benefit Migrant Offshore Aid Station in Malta, available June 3 via Brainfog; further details on the upcoming Twin Peaks reboot were revealed; FORM Arcosanti announced their three-day schedule May 13-15; Local Natives dropped first song in three years with the new single “Past Lives”; the Mountain Goats announced tour & upcoming new music; Equipto’s hunger strike protest versus SF’s mayor & police chief; Bob Dylan covered Frank Sinatra’s “All The Way”; Michael Stipe of R.E.M. wrote an op-ed for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to veto the “campus carry” House Bill 859; Paul Simon dropped “Cool Papa Bell” off the upcoming album Stranger to Stranger available June 3; the late great Prince’s band The Revolution will play reunion shows; an authorized Whitney Houston documentary directed by Kevin Macdonald is in the works; Kesha’s mom Pebe Sebert dropped her counterclaim suit against Dr. Luke, & Kesha dropped the Zedd collaboration “True Colors”; Afrika Bambaataa denied recent allegations of abuse; Buenos Aires has effectively banned EDM music fests post-Time Warp catastrophes; Jay Electronica apologized to Kendrick Lamar & 50 Cent; and Missouri Democratic Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal filibustered legislation by reading 50 Cent’s self-help book, The 50th Law.

Moving on to this week’s first order of business, we are proud and privileged to present the following insights and exclusives from Baseball Gregg, Elijah, Rachel Mason, Warm Deltas, Foreign/National, Go Dark, Reduction Plan, Ronnie Heart, Dreamboy, Hezen, Lucky + Love, featuring guest selections by MUNA, and more—in no particular order.

Rachel Mason’s new project—Das Ram

The inimitable & unlimited talents & visions of Rachel Mason.

The inimitable & unlimited talents & visions of Rachel Mason.

Queens, NY by way of LA artist Rachel Mason remains one of the most creative forces in the world, continuing her multidisciplinary pursuits that are never strictly committed to one singular medium. From her work in sculpture, filmmaking, stage-craft, song-craft, constantly pushing the conceptual envelope in the hopes of discovering new threads and fabrics of fascination and limitless intrigue. Known from her solo musical output, her group Little Band of Sailors, last year’s critically acclaimed musical film feature The Lives of Hamilton Fish, et al—Rachel is proud to present her new pop project Das Ram, in collaboration with LA artist Jeff Hassay. Presenting the premiere of the self-titled Das Ram EP, Rachel invites you to a strange new world full of human-animal hybrid characters (also being brought to visual life in the coinciding music videos created by Mason, along with Matthew Spiegelman) that materialize through the songs found via the Das Ram vessel. The following is but a prelude to the forthcoming album that will be debuting via Practical Records June 18 at LA’s LTD Gallery (also known as the site of Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco). Here the worlds of sounds, visions, and imaginary animal-people will be brought to life by Mason’s own creative narratives and Spiegelman’s corresponding visual pieces.

The Das Ram experience begins with the epic ballad of “Roses”, that sweeps into the audio frame like an opening intro to a great rock opera. Fans will definitely be able to hear Mason soaring high off the buzz from last year’s Hamilton Fish as she demonstrates a prolific and vast sense of the performing arts that edge into the terrains that haven’t been explores. This is everything from how Rachel arranges and embodies an ensemble of beings that spring from the imaginative ether in all sorts of forms and presences. Breaking the life and death continuum construct on “Roses”, Rachel’s world is further enriched from Hassay’s contributions as “Love Explodes” sends out a gigantic beacon of hope and happiness that raises higher than the rafters that bridges the points between your favorite best conceptual pop records to the most elaborate off-Broadway arrangements. But this is not to reduce the work between the polemics of showtunes and buzz-artist pop performances pieces as the following song “Sandstorm” rings as it rides off into wind-storming sunset of a feminist western-opera feature film. The warpath becomes trickier as the electronic decay elements turn up the rhythms for the stand off of “Tigers in the Dark!”, where fears of the known and unknowns are confronted in a tense duel held in a dim, torch lit arena. Join as after the following first listen to the debut Das Ram EP for a candid interview with the one and only Rachel Mason.

Tell us about how you first struck up a creative and collaborative bond with LA’s Jeff Hassay.

Jeff Hassey and I met in 2006 via an art exhibition curated by Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer his partner who is a great art writer and curator. She curated the first showing of a project called The Ambassadors Project, a series of miniature porcelain busts and to coincide with the show, I made an album in which I asked friends to imagine stepping into the minds of world leaders. Jeff mixed all the tracks. Over the years Jeff just continued to make really interesting and experimental mixes of my songs. We had this on-again, off-again collaboration which was always really fun and casual, but never made a full blown album or project until now. In some ways, we both cut our teeth together over the years improving on music in different ways. Jeff also works with tons of really interesting artists. Two of his regular collaborators are Cath Bloom and Imaad Wasif.

What can you tellus about the forthcoming album that will be debuting via Practical Records in June at LA’s LTD Gallery (the site of Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco)?

LTD gallery is located on the site of what was formerly Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco. Bingenheimer created this amazing space where some of the bands that had the biggest influence on me actual got started, bands like Depeche Mode and of course David Bowie. Shirley Morales is the gallery’s owner and she invited me to perform at her recreation of his space—which is really amazing to me. I get to launch this new album on the site where so many of my musical heroes partied!

I met Peter Hernandez aka Julius Smack when he did a brilliant performance at Teragram Ballroom, opening for Holly Herndon and Colin Self—and Peter later told me about his label, Practical Records which seemed like a perfect fit for what I do, as many of his collaborators area also visual artists, or have non-music backgrounds. The album is going to be exactly 30 minutes so that it fits perfectly onto a 30 minute cassette. It was actually a great thing for Jeff and I to have these tight parameters because we have so many songs that we play around with endlessly—this really reigns it in.

Latest and greatest things from the NYC and LA scenes and elsewhere that are inspring you right now?

I recently relocated back to Los Angeles from New York. And I have to say, LA feels so magical right now. I keep re-meeting friends who are doing so well with their projects. I’m not sure if its just that I’m at a time in my life when people are really in the zone with their work but it feels like an amazing creative time for my home city. One of my favorite spaces is Human Resources—its an art gallery / performance space which is run by artists. They are always doing totally unique shows that have a very specific Los Angeles flavor to them I think. I also love KChung radio—another local, artist-run radio station with DJ’s who run the gamot from focusing purely on drone music, to noise, to folks just talking about exhibitions, to playing pop music.

I’ve been somewhat casually hosting shows at my parents two stores, Circus of Books, which is also a local landmark of a store. Its a cross between a head-shop, magazine and thrift store and hardcore porn shop. Carla Bozulich, Larkin Grimm, Nora Keyes are some of the folks that have played. Its really been fun.

I have been deeply inspired by women in music lately—in particular women coming forward about abuse—like Ke$ha and a dear friend Larkin Grimm. Their bravery is so powerful to me—and I have just been moved by the outpouring of support—but also angry about the typical internet backlash. I wrote a piece in Huffington Post last week about it.

Rachel Mason live at HM157 in Los Angeles; photographed by Jon Alloway.

Rachel Mason live at HM157 in Los Angeles; photographed by Jon Alloway.

Describe the sort of synergy that informed the EP, and give us some insights into the writing, rehearsal, and song sketching process.

I usually write the basic elements of songs and then send them to Jeff, or go over to his studio and play the parts on keyboard and then he goes into his studio-world for days, playing with them. Often we go back and forth. Recently we’ve started where he writes riffs and I work with those. It sometime feels to me like throwing a penny into one of those coin-crushing machines at an amusement park. After Jeff cranks on the songs in his studio, they are almost indistinguishable from what we started with. Sometimes I freaking out with joy, and other times, I feel like it doesn’t quite work. But where Jeff and I are similar is that we both seem to be okay with total failure. And at hitting our heads against the wall, giving up and then starting something else. Because we both know that sometimes you have to plow through a song for days and throw it out just in order to write that one songs in 20 minutes that comes out perfectly. I’ve worked with a lot of musicians who get attached to various ideas—and get very precious and feel unwilling to change a chord, or a riff—but one of Jeff’s greatest qualities is his willingness to scrap an idea and try something else without getting too hung up. We work really well together for that reason but we also do end up with songs that are in various states of development but don’t know what to do with—Jeff has a pile of these that one day we’ll figure out what to do with them.

Rachel Mason introduces the world of Das Ram; visuals courtesy of Matthew Spiegelman.

Rachel Mason introduces the world of Das Ram; visuals courtesy of Matthew Spiegelman.

Tell us too about the weekly music videos involving human animal hybrid characters, and what is it about the these species dichotomies that you find astounding?

The first nonhuman-human hybrid character that started everything off in this way was called Terrestrial Being—back in 2001, while I was a student at UCLA I was doing lots of performances and writing songs in this character—and in one performance, I scaled an eight story building with no ropes. [see the following video below] When I enter into the space of music and songwriting, it feels so sacred to me—as though I’m going far outside of myself—and meeting new characters who literally introduce themselves through the songs. I make hybrid-animal-humans, monsters, clowns, and other creatures in performances but for the first time I realized how right it feels to make a whole series of characters who exist just for their songs and Das Ram itself is the vessel to hold all of them. I am ecstatic about the videos that are forthcoming. The first one is for the song “Tigers in the Dark”.

Other various creative endeavors that you have in store?

The Lives of Hamilton Fish, my musical feature film is being adapted for stage by playwright Pia Wilson and producer Cindy Sibilsky. They are doing a reading in the coming weeks at the Public Theater in New York. Additionally my film is being released via Gravitas Ventures on May 24! Artforum will be hosting the video on their site- and I can send a link to it when its up. Also, I am developing another narrative script in which Das Ram plays a central role as both a character. Finally, I completed a film script which is another rock opera—and all the characters are stars, in the cosmic sense. I’m working with a producer to develop it further into a feature film. And finally, as always making art never knowing where it will lead.

The Das Ram album debut via Practical Records will be held in Los Angeles on June 18 at the iconic LTD Gallery.

Baseball Gregg

Baseball Gregg's Sam & Luca walking down the beautiful streets of Stockton, July 2015.

Baseball Gregg’s Sam & Luca walking down the beautiful streets of Stockton, July 2015.

Without question, spring is here. Which means a few quick things; baseball & more new material from your favorite Italy by California group, Baseball Gregg who release their new album Vacation available tomorrow, April 30 via La Barberia Records. Luca Lovisetto (based in Italy) and Samuel Charles Regan (California) continue the chronicles of their friendship pop that bubbles with a glow of classic sophisti-pop that create holidays out of thin air to be enjoyed anywhere at anytime—for all time. Following up their self-titled EP debut, Baseball Gregg asks you to pack up your glove and mitt for a trip around to world to discover new parks to play in, and making delectable pop diamonds that are strictly fun for fun’s sake.

The premiere of “Palace” takes cues from all the right galleries, and academies of making smooth as butter sounds of pure elation and utter decadence. Sam confessed to Bryan Ferry affectations, where Baseball Gregg steps up to bat as some kind of late 70s DIY rendering of what would happen if Luca & Sam stepped in as the core members of Roxy Music. What you is an exclusive ticket to a private resort and mansion, with plenty of pool, spa, rec, gym access where bottle & room serve are as complimentary as the continental breakfast. It’s the dolce vida of today with an ear for emulating the aspects and facets of yesterday’s models.

On Baseball Gregg’s grand premiere video for “Pneumatic Girl” you are invited to get a sneak peak into the life of the green suited man who proceeds to guzzle Korbel, Pacificos, and more. Once our vaudeville-Verde protagonist with the Hawaiian shirt gets a good buzz, he goes bouncing around a big blue exercise ball about the neighbor hood, partaking in herbal refreshments, and keeping a good groove even while enjoying a good soak in the bath. Weirdness abounds. After the following video debut of “Pneumatic Girl”, read our interview with Baseball Gregg’s Luca & Sam.

Describe for us the making of the house of many—mansions “Palace”.

Sam: I made the instrumental for the song, and then tried to imagine Bryan Ferry in a big palace making eyes with a beautiful model, and then wrote the lyrics and vocals.

Luca: Once we were driving in Sam’s dad’s car and we saw this showy edifice in Brookside Stockton and Sam pointed at it saying, That building is what inspired me writing Palace of Luxury.

Baseball Gregg in SF, August 2015; photographed by Gwen Johnson.

Baseball Gregg in SF, August 2015; photographed by Gwen Johnson.

Tell us about the pneumatic inspirations and pneumatic adoration behind the single “Pneumatic Girl”.

Sam: Well, when taken literally the song is about being in love with a blowup sex doll, who is pneumatic because she is actually filled with air, but it’s sorta more about being okay with being alone and trying to ignore/overcome the social stigma against solitude. At the time I wrote the song, I was spending almost all of my time completely alone, and was really enjoying it. But at the same time I felt like I should be spending time with people, not for my own personal well being, but due to some weird feeling that it was wrong to be so detached from human contact. I realized that was dumb and that it’s okay to feel a wide range of emotions while you are alone, and that you don’t always need to share everything with other people, much like a person could share a sexual experience with a doll.

I’ve also always liked the way the word pneumatic sounds ever since I read Brave New World in high school, and have been pretty into spheres for a while, which is maybe the most “pneumatic” shape.

Describe the making of the ‘green man’ starring video for “Pneumatic Girl”.

Sam: I’ve been super into Zentai suits every since John from Satan Wriders showed me this video:

At this time when I wrote “Pneumatic Girl”, I was watching this video a lot while listening to the song “Arc of a Diver” by Steve Winwood.

The intro sequence for the video was shot in December, the night that I graduated from school. I went to the directors house (who, for the time being, wishes to remain nameless) and wanted to drink a bunch of champagne and make the video, but then a lot more people ended up coming over and we stopped right before the video becomes springtime-y. We kept meaning to finish the video but kept putting it off. Finally in late March we finished filming the rest of it in one afternoon. It sorta worked out well how the video showcases two different times of year, because I think the album as a whole is very seasonal.

Other pneumatic items of influence?

Sam: As I said, Orbs/Sphere’s are important or visually striking to me. Exercise balls like the one in the video are super cool. 3D-Inflation video’s are really cool.

Baseball Gregg live in Oakland, August 2015; photographed by Eli Wengrin.

Baseball Gregg live in Oakland, August 2015; photographed by Eli Wengrin.

What’s new in the Italo by California worlds of Baseball Gregg since we last talked?

Sam: We wrote and recorded the whole new album, “Vacation” which will be out tomorrow, April 30th! I’m very excited about the record. I really identify with the Beach Boys lyric “I just need something to put my heart and soul into,” and feel like I sorta did manage to put a part of my heart and soul into this record.

Luca: The previous EP was more felt as an urgency to both of us. In 2014 Sam was living here in Italy and we used to spend a lot of time together in my apartment or hanging out, and so it became natural to start playing something together. This album, instead, had a different gestation: first of all we were more conscious of doing an album this time, and I guess you can tell listening to it. It basically happened that I was about to quit my job and Sam had his last summer before graduation totally free, so I moved for a month to Stockton and we started working together on some demos we recorded by ourselves in the previous months. There was a great production effort, which is something that was totally missing in the past release, and also the aim to make it sound as a unique thing.

What else can you tell us about the new recordings you all have in the works?

Luca: While recording we were listening to a lot of Japanese 80s city-pop and in retrospective I could say those listens really influenced the whole record’s vibes. Also, before coming to California I was really into Bruno Martino’s classic Estate, that is a song someway linked to an abstract idea of holiday and summer, which is the main concept, if we can say it, of the album, but in a very sad and melancholic way.

Sam: Umm, well I can say we wrote, arranged, recorded, and mixed them all ourselves in my bedroom. We didn’t master the record, but asked the Seattle recording wiz Dylan Wall to help us out with that.

Baseball Gregg with pop star Kehlani in Sacramento, July 2015; photographed by Eli Wengrin.

Baseball Gregg with pop star Kehlani in Sacramento, July 2015; photographed by Eli Wengrin.

What else are you all listening to, watching, reading, etc?

Sam: Recently I’ve been very obsessed with the musician Hiroshi Yoshimura and reading The Brothers Karamazov.

Luca: In the last few months I’m afraid that I only listened on repeat to infinite different versions of this gorgeous Mexican standard called “Perfidia“.

Summer hopes?

Sam: I recently found out I got a job at this summer program in Hong Kong, and am hoping I can stop by Italy on my way back to hang with Luca and maybe work on some more Baseball Gregg stuff!

Luca: We’ll do a bunch of spring and summer shows here in Italy, thanks to our really tight label Barberia! With my friends in Italian Baseball Gregg live band to bring ‘Vacation’ around, so I hope Sam can join us for some of them hopefully!

Baseball Gregg’s album debut Vacation will be available April 30 via La Barberia Records.

Warm Deltas

Warm Deltas' Cyrus Shahmir; press photo.

Warm Deltas’ Cyrus Shahmir; press photo.

Cyrus Shahmir of Warm Deltas has made the grand trek from his home in Atlanta, Georgia to the western Pacific shores of Los Angeles to gift the world the new Rex Virginem EP available May 20 from Psych Army Intergalactic, premiering today the meditative psych span of space and time—”Hiding”. The artist who has given us nuggets from The NEC & Night Cleaner who we last talked to with the release of last year’s impressive mind-melting Grabbing Clouds wonder, Burning Paisley, continues to make music for folks seeking a choose your own enlightenment vision quest. Also preparing for some local Los Angeles dates with Shawnthony Calypso May 26-29, Shahmir continues to bring the Warm Deltas-trip from out of the mouths and praise of the obscure blogs and word of mouth exchanges to provide a thinking person’s brand of psych to audiences that maybe wouldn’t be so include to imbibe such esoterica. We could someday soon see the wonderful world of Warm Deltas become something of a California household name in the near, and present future.

“Hiding” is the emergence of all the surreal, and lesser known and sung southern DIY heros for new audiences. This is Warm Deltas reaching forth from the nooks and crannies of the ATL reaching vapors of Cyrus’s vocals that move like westward wafting waves of fog that traverse and tease the Eastern leaning influences that have influenced the canonized legends and forebears. “Hiding” brings about the counter culture components and truths of heady sound waves that move through concrete chord progression hooks that rope in all the effects, oscillating effects and other oddities that appear and disappear from the song’s hallucinogenic atmosphere. One imagines “Hiding” being a gift to the west coast, a gift to soccer/yoga moms looking for a new transcendental sound, blurry beacons for the Silicon Valley big wigs to get weird to, to soundtrack Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Pier, to anywhere, or wayward direction the Warm Deltas sound may go. Stay with us after the debut of “Hiding” for our following interview with Cyrus Shahmir.

Tell us what the journey from ATL to LA has been like for you personally & creatively.

It’s been probably the most challenging and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, hands down. At a real low point in my life, I wrote myself a check for the amount of FREEDOM. I made cashing that check my goal. I feel like my life is now very much on track to what I’ve envisioned for a long time. It was a big deal for me to pack up all my stuff, studio equipment, guitars and go to another place. It basically took a year from when I said I was going to move to when it actually happened. I think some people thought I may not actually do it. But it always felt like something I had to do and wanted to do, and I was fortunate that some things worked out to facilitate making it happen. Creatively, there’s no doubt it had a big impact on me. In a lot of ways, I feel like I’m learning everything again but better with all these skills I didn’t have before.

How has the adjustment been?

The adjustment has been pretty seamless since the initial move. It was pretty hellish driving out to LA in September. But seeing the whole country like that definitely changes you for the better. I got a huge kick out of New Mexico and Arizona. I’m definitely into the LA thing. I like living here.

What substantial differences & similarities have you noticed as a compare/contrast between ATL & LA?

Well, the West Coast and the South are truly different places. That’s a difference that’s hard to quantify, exactly, until you spend time in both. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. I see LA in a lot of ways as a place like Atlanta but ten times bigger in all respects. The biggest thing to me, personally, is there is no comparison in the world for studios. LA has the best studios, the most gear, etc. For someone who does recording professionally, LA has what you need. It’s actually mind-boggling how many amazing studios there are and the amount of excellent gear there is all over the city. Culturally, I’m new to LA, so everything is fresh and I’m open to anything. But I do miss my friends and the good spots in the A.

Take us through the Warm Deltas catalogue from She Went To Japan, Burning Paisley, to the new Rext Virginem EP (not to mention your previous works with The NEC & Night Cleaner); what sorts of progressions & evolutions do you notices with that reflection on how your own work has grown along with you?

I think fundamentally, everything I’ve tried to get out of those other projects is becoming encapsulated in this project. It may not be apparent quite yet but there’s definitely a progression musically on all fronts. I think the N.E.C. was and always will be a growth experiment. Sometimes things go dormant to re-emerge. If you look at the history of that band, we’ve had quite a number of members but we always seemed to maximize what we could do with the line-ups in the studio. But we always had line-up problems. But that’s being bands, that shit happens all the time. The thing with the N.E.C. was, even though we might have been on the fringe of everything at all times (isn’t there a beauty in that?), we always managed to record ourselves and take that snapshot, so there’s a lot to mine and it never feels like it was a futile endeavor. So, I kind of see Warm Deltas as starting back at square one, like being back in high school. I recorded a lot of music in high school. Going back and listening to it, I’m amazed that with no frame of reference and very limited resources, I managed in a lot of ways to get to that psychedelic place I was trying to get to but at that time I had no idea what was up or down, so it felt like wash. But with some growth and perspective, I can see that getting to where you want musically is about truly listening to what your soul wants to make and ONLY worrying about that when you’re in the studio or your writing a real song. She Went To Japan was me (metaphorically) recording songs in between classes, figuring out stuff, trying stuff once, moving on. Burning Paisley was maybe after graduation, freshman year of college, getting weirder, getting a little darker…o now, Rex Virginem is more fleshed-out and has more focus but to me it’s the stage inside the egg before true life emerges. The main thread that ties it all together is a deep love of psychedelia and drone mixed with a respect and fascination with songwriting. I’ve always wanted to do music that spanned the spectrum from pure abstraction to pure songwriting form.

Rex Virginem cover.

Rex Virginem cover.

Describe what the making of the Rex Virginem EP was like, and what inspired the name?

I actually booked a small West Coast solo tour in Aug of 2015 about five months before doing it. Eventually, it turned out that I was going to move in Sept, so the trip was kind of a pre-game for the real thing. Instead of couch-surfing with my girlfriend, Rachel, we ended up being able to stay in our current house. So for those two weeks, I stayed at the new house and started recording on my studio partner and roommate, John Armstrong’s, rig. The first two songs were Hiding and The Shamans Say. I finished the rest when I moved out. The name relates to the subjects of the whole record. The idea is that there’s something we’re all looking for and it’s hiding. Where it’s hiding is that place we’re trying to get to, that’s the Rex Virginem. Sort of an elevated state.

What are you looking forward to the most with your upcoming May 26-29 dates with Shawnthony Calypso?

Aside from seeing my good buddies, Reid and Josh (Jovontaes), I’m most excited to debut the full-band incarnation of the band with the addition of drummer, James Dedakis. We’re getting ready to go into the studio after that to cut a full-length and I’m truly can’t wait. It will be a marked advancement I think on all fronts.

Should we expect any upcoming collaborative endeavors between you all?

I do a synth-based project, Soundtrack, and I frequently collaborate with people on that. Most consistently, I work with Harvey Leisure of Nest Egg. We’re really close friends and we always find a way to work with each other. I also recorded the new Nest Egg record in Asheville, NC before I moved and we just recently went into a wonderful room in Hollywood for three days and mixed it. Can’t wait for that to come out.

Tell us what your current favorite things are these days, as far as leisure, listening, reading, watching, whatever.

I’m really into gardening and plants. It’s nice out here for that. I also like to go hiking when possible. I’ve been reading about Ed Kienholz recently and always I’m reading some sort of esoteric literature. Musically, I’m always most into what my friends are up to. I’m lucky enough that when I need something new, nine times out of ten, one of my friend’s projects will have something new to either work on or listen to. Most excited about Psych Army homies, the Difference Machine, and their new album dropping June 24th. I play a bunch of stuff on there and recorded a large portion of that before I moved. Nest Egg’s new LP, All the Saints have a new 7″ I’m pumped on, Harry Talin, Primitive Ricky, Bary Center, and ATL buds, Omni, are picking up steam, so I’m happy for them. As for old stuff, I have recently been listening to The Raik’s Progress. Super-good 60’s psych garage. That and Bruce Palmer’s first record. There may be some influences from that one on the next record.

And always and forever…Session Man…

Warm Deltas’ Rex Virginem EP will be available May 20 from Psych Army Intergalactic.

Catch Warm Deltas playing in LA May 26-29 with Shawnthony Calypso, details on the flyer below:

Warm Deltas_Shawnthony Calypso MAY TOUR 2016

Elijah

Woodstock's begotten son Elijah; photographed by Shervin Lainez.

Woodstock’s begotten son Elijah; photographed by Shervin Lainez.

Elijah Wolf-Christensen—or just Elijah if you will—is the latest signee to the DIY imprint of good will & good times Old Flame Records, readying his forthcoming EP for release in June, premiering the title cut,”How’s Annie”. Taking cues from arguably one of the most frightening moments in the entire “Twin Peaks” series (the climax-cliffhanging-closer that ends the final episode of season two, episode 29 that is never to be watched unless you have already digested the other 28 episodes plus the obligatory pilot), Elijah comes from the Music Conservatory of Purchase background (among luminaries like Mitski, Photay, etc); the artist’s Woodstock, NY youth further provided an unprecedented connection to nearly every great iconic artist and group you can dream of.

Synths and cymbal taps mark the introductory cue to Elijah’s “How’s Annie”, where the catchy synth hooks come in, as the bass keys expand and contract in the foreground. Cascading stair steps of notes while penning city bright tales of romances past, romances that remain to realized, and more culminate together in narratives that wrap stories from the summer to soften the cold winter spell bummers that freeze forward into the second, and third months (extending their season, while summer remains forever brief & fleeting). The refrain of “down the river, down the mountain” brings about the Woodstock/Purchase sunny sound where the discovery of new loves, new lives, and more makes everything new. Another great accomplishment of Elijah’s title cut “How’s Annie” is how the heart guided inspirations move the disparate points and places of town & country a little bit closer, and more snug together. Elijah joins for an insightful interview round right after the following debut listen.

Describe how your Woodstock, NY upbringing impacted your outlook and creative perceptions.

Woodstock is a place where tons of the greats come to live & create. Living in Woodstock I got to witness some of this. You could walk down the street & run into David Bowie on any given day. I use to help out at the Levon Helm studios so I got to watch him drum and create with his band. I also helped out at an awesome studio I went on to record material at, called Dreamland, where I got to witness Beach House, Yeasayer, Dr. Dog & so many others create the albums I love so much. Besides all of the great music connections, the Catskill mountains are also an incredible & lush place to create music. Those mountains & rivers will forever influence who I am & the music I make.

Also how did your attendance of The Music Conservatory of Purchase further enhance your creative vision? Seems like many of your contemporary luminaries have also come out of there.

Purchase was an incredible place to train for me. I got to tour & collaborate with people like Mitski & Evan Shornstein, aka Photay, as well as watch them grow into the incredible artists they both are now. You could go to the campus venue and see bands like Porches play. My fellow classmates and friends consistently kept me on my toes, and were so inspiring to me. Attending recitals, studying with some of the best composers and musicians, witnessing this was something I am so thankful for. Purchase is a magical place for creating. Even when we went out on the road last summer, we would meet someone on the other side of the country at a show who went to purchase at some point, or worked with someone who went there.

Describe how you first came around to discovering Twin Peaks, and how did that series impact the single “How’s Annie”, the penultimate final rhetorical refrain that closes out the second season/season series finale?

I had been a huge David Lynch fan for awhile now, but it took awhile for me to take on Twin Peaks. Since then I’ve watched the series (& follow up movie) four or five times now. An old friend I was romantically involved with kept telling me to watch it. This past winter I found myself home from tour, experimenting with new sounds & song ideas. I needed inspiration desperately, so I decided to see if I could pull any influences from it. I began watching it & fell in love. It was the perfect combination of folklore and experimentation. Dark & light. To me this represented the greater questions I have in life, as well as exploring new ways to tell stories. Everything about it inspired me; the music, the reoccurring melodic themes, the reoccurring imagery, etc… The last phrase of the second season “How’s Annie” to me was less of a question & more of a statement. It came to me at the end of a romantic chapter in my life & inspired me to write the song. Not only is it a good way to end a chapter, it’s also a damn good way to start the next one. I have so much music & inspiration that has come from this. So yeah, this represents the beginning of this chapter, which is really exciting.

Tell us too about the making of your forthcoming Old Flame EP?

This was an incredibly enjoyable process. The first two songs were recorded right here in Brooklyn, where we all live. We all got into the studio & just played the songs over and over again, during one of the few snow storms we got here this past winter. This was a cool place for us to experiment with some cool synths / sounds. Wild Child, the oldest of them all, was recorded back at school last spring. Everything I know was recorded all over last fall after we had finished a long tour. We had actually recorded much more material in various locations, and threw most of it out. These were the songs that made the cut. My dear friend & fellow collaborator Trevor Fedele then worked on mixing & mastering the EP out in LA. We definitely kept the creation of this EP in the family.

Other big things in your world that have you inspired?

Growing up with members of the Bad Brains was a huge inspiration for me. I love those dudes & their music. Recently I’ve been incredibly inspired by Arthur Russell, Blood Orange, Drake, Car Seat Headrest. & most importantly right now: NYC. Living in New York City is the biggest influence in my music. I love this city so much. I love all of the talent here, the excitement, the energy. I can’t get enough of it, I love this city & all of the crazy industrial sounds that help inspire me to want to find new timbres to create with.

Elijah’s How’s Annie EP will be available in June from Old Flame Records.

Reduction Plan

Reduction Plan's Dan Manning; photographed by Stephen Bogdan.

Reduction Plan’s Dan Manning; photographed by Stephen Bogdan.

We bring you the premiere for “An Act of Self-Isolation” taken from Mansfield, Connecticut’s Reduction Plan, who are celebrating the release of Shade from Maladjusted Records. Filmed on a Canon 6D and Hitachi VM-S8100A, the Original Romance Production casts it’s focus on the leading dude Dan Manning, dwelling in the confines of a posh, low-lit space. The lens moves from performance visuals, contemplative moments, layered frames, and instances that really accentuate the lonely and introverted introspection from Manning as we feel as if we are virtually sharing a seat next to the artist.

“An Act of Self Isolation” brings the super removed moods and agoraphobic sentiments of an individual that wants to be left alone to their own peace. Through placements of rectangular frames over Dan, Reduction Plan presents the various head spaces, stoicism, and alienated emotion in a tense moment where the camera pans from Manning to a nearby mantle, or furniture object. The video for “Self Isolation” brings about a series of feelings, where we are moved from empathizing the with sentiments that Reduction Plan is putting forth, as the Original Romance directed video gives the environment a cold character where the audience feels like a privy partner to Dan’s cathartic contemplations and emotions. Dan joins us to discuss the new video and more further in our interview session featured after the following video debut.

Describe for me the story behind taking on the moniker Reduction Plan, and what sorts of reductive schemes inspired the name?

Reduction Plan as a moniker has sort of existed in the background of a number of different musical projects for a few years now, incorporating different ideas and scraps of songs but never releasing anything or forming any concrete identity as a project. This past summer, going into my senior year here at UConn, I decided to sit down and refine some different songs I had written over the past year or so, and expand on some of the musical ideas that I had been trying to work out. It was intended as a way to create more basic, simplistic songs completely on my own, but has since grown way past that initial concept. While there are some simpler, more stripped down songs on the first record, the ones on Shade definitely don’t fit into that same framework; they’re a lot more flushed out and developed. So, I guess it’s not entirely reductive anymore, but it certainly started that way.

The name itself actually comes from an Unwound song, “Lowest Common Denominator”. The line goes “I’m working on a reduction plan, it’s something I just don’t understand”. Within the context of the song, it deals with trying to get a grasp on parts of your life that you don’t really understand, trying to reduce the number of problems you have. So, thematically, it seemed to make sense with the purpose of the project on a personal level. These songs are sort of expressions of me working out different parts of my life.

Take us through the creative process in making Shade. What sorts of shadowy, low-lit approaches did you employ?

Shade was recorded this winter at my parents home in Bethel, CT while I was home for break. Believe it or not, I actually spent most of the time recording in a sunny, well-lit room, in stark contrast to my first record which was recorded in my basement here in Mansfield. The whole record speaks to this sort of balancing of light and dark, both in musical elements and themes, which is a result in part of the environment it was recorded in.

Reflective moments with Reduction Plan; photographed by Scott Hoffmann.

Reflective moments with Reduction Plan; photographed by Scott Hoffmann.

Interested in hearing how the dark, self-removed ballad “An Act of Self Isolation” was turned into this eerie, odd, posh environmental video from Original Romance, captured on Canon 6D and a Hitachi VM-S8100A.

At the same time that I’ve been developing and growing as a musician, my roommate and good friend Joseph Rosen has been growing in the same capacity with film and art video. We’ve been living together for two years now and in that time have been playing off of one another’s creative tendencies, pushing each other to get better at what we do and supporting one another in our various artistic endeavors. In terms of visuals and aesthetics, our tastes line up incredibly well. So, when it came time to get things together for the release of the record, working on a video with Joe seemed like a completely obvious decision. I worked with them on creating the album cover of Shade as well.

In terms of the video itself, it was shot by Joe and our other friend Stephen Bogdan, who is the other half of Original Romance. We shot it in Gales Ferry, CT at the home of Joe’s mother. Joe is much more experienced with VHS tape, and is able to do some really cool stuff in terms of manipulating and messing with the tape on a physical level. Steve on the other hand is all about digital, so it was really cool to have both of those different elements present in the video, I think they compliment one another really well.

What’s good right now in Mansfield, Connecticut?

Outside of UConn, Mansfield is actually a pretty quiet place, which is really nice. I live about halfway between UConn and one of the neighboring towns, Willimantic. There’s a really great record store there called Willimantic Records that hosts a lot of shows and has a really unique selection of records. That spot played a really important role in my involvement in music. There’s also some great food spots over in Willimantic. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot going on, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This area is called the Quiet Corner for a reason.

Spring & summer plans for Reduction Plan?

I’m going to be recording a short EP of some stuff over the summer and am trying to iron out a short tour sometime in July. Things are kind of in flux for me right now since I’m about to graduate college, so I’m not sure what sort of impact that will have on the ways I go about working on Reduction Plan. It’s always been important to me to be as productive as possible with the project though, regardless of circumstances, so I’m hopeful I’ll be able to continue to do so.

Foreign/National

Melbourne's beloved Foreign/National; photographed by Tim "Friendby" Fenby.

Melbourne’s beloved Foreign/National; photographed by Tim “Friendby” Fenby.

From the land where it seems like almost everyone is super chic, nice, talented and all around awesome; we return to the Melbourne, Australia sector to premiere Foreign/National’s dance-pop-deluxe jam, “Tristesse”. Working with their buddy Joey Walker of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard in what are told was a quaint, weathered cabin; the Mornington Peninsula based gents traded their more methodical electro edge for something sunny, summery, a hint of sadness, boredom, but cloaked in atmospheres and essences that never leave the consciousness. The following listen a sound of things to come that showcase the five piece’s latest breakthroughs from their work with Walker.

“Tristesse” finds Foreign/National’s Mark, Rhys, Sean, Tom & Sam brings about a cool headed stepping confidence that trades appeals, swagger, sentiments, exchanges, paradoxes, and so forth. The Melbourne band keeps the beat going, stringing through a synth sustain to bring the angular riffs closer together. Foreign/National mixes the pride with doubt, where the upbeat tones give way to over-explanations, and exposition ripped from the narratives of communication/relationship breakdowns. With motions to “treat you better” and brutally honest self-deprecation, Foreign/National turn the inner monologue of questions and doubt into something that sounds like the most exciting activity anyone can ever participate in. We had the opportunity to chat long distance over cables with Tom from the band, in our interview featured after the following debut of “Tristesse”.

Describe how Foreign/National was first formed, and the domestic and imported intimations behind the name.

Mark arrived home from a few years living in France and the UK just as the rest of us happened to be finishing up with old bands. He’d been working on several tracks—most of which came to be on our first EP—and brought in Sean, Rhys and myself to help flesh them out and bring them to life. The lyrical content of those songs are oriented around displacement, homesickness and nostalgia, and we wanted a name which reflected those themes.

Tell us about the making of the album, “Tristesse”, and how Joey Walker from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard informed the making of the record.

“Tristesse” is the first song we’ve released from the album. We’re all massive fans of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and we worked with Joey on our last three singles—”Always Blue”, “The Hedonist” and “Pacific Cruise”. The recording process was a bit different this time around: we tracked everything live in the space of a few days, using minimal overdubs to try and capture the essence and vibe of the songs. Joey has a ridiculously strong musical mind and really contributed to the album in both a creative and technical sense.

What were some of your favorite moments during the recording?

For the album, we retreated to an old farming shed on the Mornington Peninsula so we could buckle down and focus on recording. Having no time restraints was a liberty, allowing us to experiment with sounds and throw around ideas until we were truly satisfied with the songs. The area itself was peaceful and serene—in a few tracks you can hear dogs barking, birds chirping and the old next door neighbors ride-on lawnmower softly in the background. It was a three-day cycle of recording, beers and backyard footy.

Whats sorts of sad/sentimental inspirations informed both the album, and the title track?

When Mark arrived home from overseas I think there was some unresolved heartbreak hanging over his head. Tristesse traces the beginnings, the struggles and inevitable demise of a long distance relationship, and reflects how that experience embitters one’s memories of the other.

What’s good in Melbourne right now, and what can you tell us about the tranquility of your Mornington Peninsula?

Our keyboardist Sam is an Adelaide boy, but everyone else grew up on the Mornington Peninsula. It’s tucked away on the fringes of southern Victoria, about ninety minutes drive from Melbourne. There’s barely any culture, entertainment or public transport, so we spent most of our teenage years playing music in our garages and living rooms for fun. When we moved into the city it was massively inspiring: art everywhere, music everywhere, bars everywhere. Melbourne pours a significant amount of funding into the Arts in comparison to other Australian cities, so it’s a wonderfully vibrant and creative place to live. Now that I’m a bit older though, I feel very lucky to have spent my childhood in a beautiful part of the world and love visiting the Peninsula.

Everyone’s favorite things to listen to, watch, read, etc, right now?

Lots of university assignments]lately, so Boards of Canada’s Music Has the Right to Children, Julia Holter’s Loud City Song and Max Richter’s Infra have been my go-to albums. Currently reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and slamming through the new season of House of Cards!

Foreign/National’s upcoming album will be available TBD.

Dreamboy

Dreamboy's Esther Isabel; photographed by Robert Alfons.

Dreamboy’s Esther Isabel; photographed by Robert Alfons.

You might already know Montreal’s Esther Isabel as the keyboardist from TR/ST, or by her solo handle Dreamboy where visions cast from experiences and alternate states of consciousness are mixed together as she prepares to follow up her debut Negative Feelings with the Endings EP. Available in early May via self-release in North America and May 24 on cassette everywhere else in the world via Atelier Ciseaux. Isabel continues her own personal trajectories and narratives where the coldest synths and most atmospheric sequencing highlights the warmest sentiments that are often the hardest to convey.

The Zoe Koke video for Dreamboy’s title track “Endings” captures Esther strolling about from roads, through parks, fields, parking lots, & going for a swim while entertaining inner stream sessions of feelings and thoughts. Notions of time and connections are reflected in ways that observe the departures, arrivals, beginnings, endings, and more. Esther’s utilizes a very sparse approach to electronic-minimalism that allows the atmospheric & breathy arrangements to allow her feelings to shine forth further where the production further underscores the emotive underlying layers that may speak to you when you least expect it.

On the video for “On That Dark Cold Morning” the Dreamboy vision train takes a detour into the nightmare trap zones imagined and realized by Esther & Bryce Cody. Recounting the morning of a breakup, Esther breaks our hearts with the chorus hook of “when you said you loved me, I knew it wasn’t true,” as video images of hunters and trappers scoping out their prey are depicted with the visual overlay of Esther airing the events of an unfortunate morning. The mood is exhibited through very austere synths that murmur and lurk like hounds on the trail of a deer or duck as the unsettling images and the Dreamboy tone runs through some sordid dreamland captured in S-VHS where are our heroine seeks the exit to make her escape. Join as after the viewing and jump for our chat with Esther Isabel.

How did Dreamboy first begin, and what for you inspired the name?

Dreamboy as a concept most likely began when I was about seven years old. I was watching Cry Baby by John Waters with my cousins. It was then that I realized what sex was, and Johnny Depp represented sex to me then. He was maybe my first Dreamboy, secondary to Freddie Prince Jr. of course.

From Negative Feelings to Endings—describe your creative narrative thus far, and the feelings & experiences that have informed both of these releases.

Negative Feelings was for the most part a cut and paste sonic experiment. I made it so that I could get into Pop Montreal and make $200 [laughs]. In Montreal, sometimes you have to get creative to make ends meet!

Endings is in every respect the most earnest and sincere collection of songs I have produced thus far. The lyrics and melodies came first, and seemed to flow right through me. Some were even painful to write. It was a very cathartic process and taught me a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as a singer/songwriter.

The dreamy world of Dreamboy; photographed by Sarah Ød.

The dreamy world of Dreamboy; photographed by Sarah Ød.

Can you share any fun/funny anecdotes from touring with TR/ST?

We like to make up fake lyrics to popular radio songs. We made up a whole set of lyrics about peas and gravy to Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”. One time, we walked into a gas station in Switzerland and the song was playing. The man behind the cash turned it up really loud for us and we were scream-singing our lyrics about peas and gravy to it and just being weirdos. That’s a fond memory.

Latest and coolest events happening in Montreal right now?

There have been a lot of amazing dance parties put on by some friends of mine. They find the strangest, most unique industrial spaces and throw these all night raves in them and serve yerba maté and fresh pressed juice! They are wicked fun!

Secondly, I work at a restaurant in town called Bethlehem XXX. It’s a conceptual anti-restaurant with it’s regular rotation of characters and drama. I work alongside Montreal’s finest musicians and artists there, and it’s never a dull time. It’s safe to say that whatever happens at Bethlehem, stays at Bethlehem.

What are your top three biggest obsessions right now?

Country music, old fashioned cooking, homesteading.

The new Dreamboy Endings EP will be available in early May via Bandcamp stateside and May 24 on cassette through Atelier Ciseaux.

Go Dark x Loden

Go Dark bathed in blue and pink; photographed by Luke Judd.

Go Dark bathed in blue and pink; photographed by Luke Judd.

Go Dark and Metal Mother are playing select southwest dates together May 25-31, and we have the world premiere of GD’s “Hood Good” getting a whole new look/re-work with a remix from Loden. The original from the elusive Oakland duo Go Dark (rumored to be lead by Anticon main-man Doseone) gets turned into some kind of hedonistic, hyper-reality overdrive where events happen in spit-split seconds like a Run Lola Run action runner.

Loden’s rendering of Go Dark’s “Hood Good” depicts a whole kind of street-smart attitude that feels like a wild jog through west Oakland’s industrial boat yards as the tough spitting boasts are pointed like arrows that fly into the vortex of the candy-core pop maximalism that takes the entire track over. Go Dark’s “Hood Good” gets turned into some kind of a surreal side-scroller Sonic the Hedgehog run-through where the clock is ticking in the tough surroundings of warehouse rows and slippery situations. Loden re-loads “Hood Good” into a thizzed-out urban odyssey of dazzling danger and unrelenting self-assurance on all sides.


Through inquiries made by middle-men, Go Dark said this about about Loden’s remix

The mysterious Go Dark shared the following words with us about the Loden remix over email:

Loden brought the raw out of hood good and let it glow, he built a whole new adventure in the 808 around our vocals. Its a thick, Syncopation heavy yet minimal vision of the original, nightclub meets Fight Club, getting some Belgium in our Oakland and vice versa.

Catch Go Dark and Metal Mother at the following May shows:

go dark metal mother week in pop 1

Ronnie Heart

Ronnie Heart, photographed by Karlo X. Ramos.

Ronnie Heart, photographed by Karlo X. Ramos.

Ronnie Heart brings the big-time sensuality in the smokey/dance-y premiere of the Chip Tompkins video for “Smoovie” off Ronnie’s new album you(r)mine via New Media Recordings. The South Houston artist who was a guitarist for Neon Indian and VEGA shows off his own solo chops that got all the right night moves, where Heart takes the crown as the new smooth crooning/dancing disco-king for the new era. The End of The River Productions crew’s video sets out to capture Heart in his element; embracing a sleek & chic night club romeo, busting moves, and constantly striking a pose for the camera’s eye.

Playing opposite model Jana Renée, Ronnie Heart’s exuberance and pizazz marries together the groove with the smooth. Ronnie’s sing’s his heart out as fancy lights bath him in starry effects, blues, purple, or sometimes Heart is only in the spotlight of three small boxy windows. Jana and Ronnie pose beside each other and apart, as Ronnie reckons with a world that just wants to see his smoov-moves. We had a brief chat with the artist in the Q & A after the following video debut for Ronnie Heart’s “Smoovie”.

How did Ronnie’s Heart begin and what’s the story with the hopeful leaning name and approach to sound orchestration/conceptualization/etc.

The title “you(r) mine” falls into two categories: sensuality & inspiration. First, I have a deep urge to win you over with musical pleasure—therefore I’m your pleasure man—therefore, you’re mine baby. 😉

Second, when I started writing songs for this project I wanted to have a simile between a goldmine and a sea of ideas. Not all ideas are golden but if you keep hacking away at the quarry, you will find a few good nugs! That’s “your mine” for ya!

Describe for us what sorts of anecdotes you took away from recording you(r) mine, and how it has informed future works perhaps in progress?

My process is simple and fairly consistent. I start off with a motif. I’ll hum or beat-box a melody, bass line, or drumbeat and record it into my phone. I then transfer it into Ableton and build off that until I have a song that I’m pleased with. This has really streamlined my creative flow.

Ronnie’s Heart’s album you(r)mine is available now from New Media Recordings.

HEZEN

HEZEN; the sci-fi dystopian realms of Sarah Hezen; press photo courtesy of the artist.

HEZEN; the sci-fi dystopian realms of Sarah Hezen; press photo courtesy of the artist.

HEZEN, aka Sarah Hezen dropped her dystopian med-tek video from Alice Seabright for “The Girl You Want” that turns desire into a biologically modified organism. The questions of what other people want from their desired individuals (versus who their individuals of attraction truly are) becomes a sci-fi strange-land dance between doctors and the sci-fi treatment of a human specimen. HEZEN brings an emotional intensity to some of the coldest electronic hooks and loops you have ever heard, while you strive to questions which is more intense-Sarah’s devastating lyrics or what bizzarre, glamor horror show is about to unfold in the following video frames.

Sarah Hezen shared some insights with us, both about the making of the song and her EP:

I remember finishing the track quite late at night, and going to bed. While my mind was drifting, I started hearing the song in my head, over and over, and a very detailed film played at the same time, without me having any kind of control over it. The next day I contacted Alice Seabright, who’s a film director and my friend and collaborator, and we started working on it. She brought her own sensibility and vision to it, and together with an incredible team they literally made my dream come true. The shoot was probably one of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever lived.

The song and the video revolve around the theme of the gaze, as a metaphor for the expectations women face as objects of desire. It’s a very sad song, but there’s also an element of hope and resilience brought by the video at the end. That’s what I tried to express in the 4 songs of this EP: they are very intimate attempts at exploring the female experience. There is violence into it, but also ideas of strength and catharsis.

Lucky + Love

Introducing Lucky + Love; press photo.

Introducing Lucky + Love; press photo.

Meet LA’s Lucky + Love—the duo of LorenLuck and April Love who contribute to the Southern California canon of deep-night driving synth pop. April’s voice materializes in a digital world of bass, synths, keys, and dashes of dark midnight moods—the two control their own super-modern world of unlimited neon-moonlight that brings to mind nearly every futuristic Los Angeles-based film thriller that is centered on the world of cars and infinite open, urban-lit roads.

Their new single “Venus” takes April & LorenLuck’s metropolitan mode vanities to galactic new levels. The oscillation between the asphalt synth streets & interstellar outer realms feels closer than ever, as Lucky + Love ride out their Ryan Gosling film fantasies like a science fiction rocket of building emotions out to outer reaches of our galaxy & minds.

Lucky + Love’s April Love shared the following insights into the duo’s synergy:

Our songs are channeled quickly, and usually take a few passes to get the song structure just right. This song had the usual magical chemistry, but then we took several months working on the getting grinding bass syncopation the way we envisioned. Since Loren rides a Triumph bike, I imagine the song being sung on a back of his motorcycle, trying to communicate with wind and turbulence is in our ear drums. In the end, we just communicate with audible telekinesis and through our vibrating simultaneous Little Phatty & OP1 solos.

Off the recently released Still Livin Proof album available, peep the LostPoet video for “Livin Proof” ft. Sunset Brown paying tribute to Gang Starr Foundation’s Group Home & DJ Premier. Featuring Drop City Yacht Club’s THXbeats dropping re-envision Premiere productions, Zoo & Sunset share real life testimonials with a lush beach-side backdrop to match the vibraphonic sound & feel.

Andrew from Chalk And Numbers and Stephanie from Souvenir Stand are Fascinations Grand Chorus who are committed to making some of the most infectious and hi-fi sounds around, heard on their new single “Growing”. Reveling in that golden modern era of sound and style, Andrew & Stephanie bring about that inspired organ & surf guitar pop met by their ya-ya rhythm progression. FGC makes everything vintage sound new again, while everything new suddenly seems a little more dated.

Touring now through June 9 (ft. appearances End of the Road Fest September 2-4); get cozy and get down to the chill jazz with Chris Cohen and the band with the mellow video for the super, super mellow single “As If Apart”. Shot & directed by Mike Stoltz, relax and let the warm after sun’s glow cast a beam on you as you mellow to the sounds featured off the forthcoming album of the same name available May 6 from Captured Tracks.

After losing their Glasgow flat and moving out to Berlin, Acting Strange return with their new glam-tinged single, “Sharp End”. Their new single basks in the glory of the sharp end of the stick, that finds the band making the most out of all of life’s obstackles and challenges with hand-clapping/foot-stomping flair & form. Look out for further world on an upcoming Acting Strange album available later this year.

From Warsaw Recordings, hear the new single from Stockholm synth-sensationalists The Ghost Of Helags who present more paranormal presences with the single “Hiding Ourselves From Love” that deals with the dances of obfuscated our hearts when we don’t want the truest affections to be seen (or felt).

S’Express’s new release Enjoy This Trip will be available May 27 from Needle Boss Records and we have the “Superfly Groove” (Reuben Wu Ladytron Remix). The classic dark-dancing new wave wiles return in full form featuring Reuben Wu’s additional effects and applied rhythms.

Hear Parcels’ “Herefore” re-twisted by Finland’s own lord of the dance grooves, Roisto that decks the single in new insatiable sequences of warm spring nights and late evening moments that swing on the gate hinges at the entrance into a beautiful infinity. Find this on the upcoming Herefore remix EP available May 20 on Kitsuné.

Watch the throwback-styled video from Ramon Zubia for Boulevards’ “Move and Shout” that keeps the beat bouncing like 2016 is the new funky-1986. Found off Boulevards’ debut Captured Tracks release Groove!, the kinetic styles from the neon eras of yesterday are re-animated with a new twist and a new lease on the old school style of groove.

In case you missed it through the buzz-wire and media-feeders; hear Jerry Paper’s new single “Ginger & Ruth” from the forthcoming new album Toon Time Raw! available June 17 from Bayonet Records that delivers what sounds like psych-lounge with some summertime harmonies to charm any and all for all seasons. Performing with an anonymous jazz group operating under the name Easy Feelings Unlimited, JP creates some of his riches works to date where his alternate realities sound even more lucid and organic than ever before.

From your dark synth breathing buddies Odonis Odonis—prepare your soul to enter the thermo-nuclear network of synths, ominous feels, like being caught up in some kind of present day pandemic of paranoia on the new single, “Nervous”. More synth-pop odysseys like never before arrive June 17 on the album Post Plague via felte.

Hear the new single “Waiting”, a musical psalm & proverb on the act and art that patience was made for from the debut EP Bones by the New Orleans trio, Frail, available May 13th on Fleeting Youth Records. The Louisiana three break it down the skeletal basics busting out all the blistering sweet chord licks and chorus riffs that is the sound you have been “Waiting” all along for.

Danish three piece Baby In Vain presents the expressions of the underlying feelings that lurk beneath the surface of the skin on “The Urge” found off their debut EP For The Kids available today from Partisan Records. The intensity of the track hovers between the helicopter whirling synth loop, ominous guitars, and the powerful presence of Andrea Thuesen’s delivery that takes on the noir character of a femme fatale singing of potentially serious and complicated situations.

Those looking for something cathartic and heavy to welcome in the weekend, get loud & rowdy with a listen to Wilding Incident’s Prey For The Wolf Pack EP that delivers sacrificial hardcore rippers like lambs & calves brought forth for a ceremonial & head splitting slaughter. The quartet goes for the jugular from the take no-prisoners title opener, the jail bars smashing “That Cell”, the eff the police rapid action attitudes on “Stop And Frisk”, to the cyclonic showdown/beatdown of “Billy Club”. Visceral inspiration delivered on demand.

Outer Spaces sent out the romantic-inflected single “Words” off the upcoming debut album A Shedding Snake available May 27 from Don Giovanni Records, touring on select dates from May 20 through September 21. The Baltimore groups shares an affection and earnest approach of depicting inner emotive underpinnings through semantic vehicles that spell out the feelings that are often hard to convey, expertly delivered by the group’s starring lead Cara Beth Satalino.

The Nite Jewel saga continues as the LA DIY pop icon delivered the single “Kiss the Screen” from Ramona Gonzalez’s forthcoming album Liquid Cool available June 10 from her imprint Gloriette Records. Catch Ramona playing her Tuesday DJ residency at West Hollywood’s The Standard, and listen now to her latest offering of some of the most vivid and affectionate pop that materializes from the television and vacuum tube amps.

Preparing for their spring tour, Peach Kelli Pop dropped the daydreaming strums of “Stuck In A Dream” found off their just released Halloween Mask 7″ available today from Lauren Records. These are the songs for all dreaming of sweet rest or all those living in some kind of dream and longing for an awakened and enlightened realm to exist within.

Blu & French duo Union Analogtronics drop their forthcoming LA Counting EP May 6 through Fat Beats Records, and you can check out the video for the title cut from Ruffmercy now. With word of their forthcoming collaborative album Cheetah in the City available TBD, watch LA’s Blu spitting bars, purveying the crossroads of life’s choices, paper chases, and more to some snazzy production styles.

Introducing Promise Keeper, the latest new beat groover coming out of London who gave us the single “Side Decide” that moves the rhythm to both sides of the aisle. It’s the game of picking sides through Balearic disco hall dimensions, that dance in grooves that point to new horizons occurring the electro worlds of UK pop.

From your friends at Miscreant Records, rock about with the Jurassic Punk steez of T-Rextasy with “Chik’N” that brings about a new kind of self-assured grrrl power that retains a soft spot in their collective hearts for the cult of Marc Bolan.

Audion (oka Matthew Dear) dropped Mouth To Mouth 10 today via Ghostly that celebrates 10 years with remixes from Dense & Pika,Scuba, Guy Gerber, Dubfire, etc, sharing the Dense & Pika remix of “Mouth To Mouth”. Listen as Audion’s rhythm sequences are hurdled into hyper-drive. Mr. Dear described the new release with the following insightful & introductory words:

The original single came about during a very productive week for me. I made 5 songs in in 7 days right before one of the early DEMF festivals in Detroit. There was a great energy being shared by a lot of artists then, and I had just returned from a two week tour of Europe where I was ingesting so much new music. I sat down at my studio in Detroit and tried to recreate what I was hearing in the clubs. Mouth to Mouth was the stand out track of that session, and I made the entire thing in a few hours. I recorded it mostly live, tweaking and building the synths and muting/unmuting the channels in real time and just recording the result. I cleaned it up a little bit afterward, but left the length and overall arrangement intact. I remember playing it for a few people right away and it was clear something special was happening. There is something meditative in the simple repetition and slow build of it all.

For this remix package, I chose every remixer. I went to my close friends, favorite remixers, and people I have always respected. There is such a diverse spread of talent with these artists, I knew every remix would be completely different. Each remix represents a different side of techno, which is where all of these artists come from. Everyone put a piece of themselves into this, and I’ll forever be grateful to them for contributing to the project.

Behold the blend of colors and nostalgia that ignites the flames in those lowly & forgotten corners of the mind’s eye on the video for “Memories That Glow” from the album Vacation from Photo Ops, available today (via Bad Friend Records). The lazy/hazy recitations of “leave me alone” bubble up to the song’s surface while the video continues to spin recollections like a subdued psychedelic zoetrope. And as the pangs from yesterday flash before your eyes and overall senses, Photo Ops virtually sneak in the Beach Boys-esque harmonies that softly from from the song’s swirly mix.

Yumi Zouma released the new single “Barricade (Matter Of Fact)” found off the upcoming Yoncalla album debut available May 27 from Cascine / Arch Hill (Australia) / Rallye (Japan) / Double Deer (Indonesia), that continues the NZ world of beauty that the Yumis command & control. This is a reminder to breathe in the face of infinite and ever-unyielding obstacles and stumbling blocks that fall before us all on our daily walk.

Tiny Moving Parts’ new album Celebrate will be available May 20 via Triple Crowd Records, you can rock & rage against the perils of the world on “Common Cold” that depicts the chaotic moods of claustrophobia in epic-emotive anthem sweeps.

Behold the southern rock cosmic odyssey of Nightfall in the Kali Yuga recently released by Louisville, Kentucky’s The Fervor that provides some fervent tracks to lift your spirit upward sky high. “Sweet Thing” finds spouses Natalie and Ben Felker & Mat Herron making their initial appeal in enduring manners, bringing the power & gusto on “Power of Friends”, before leaving you with “Fearless”, a taste of further adventures to follow.

In case you haven’t yet, feast your senses and mope to your heart’s content on the fun Pity Sex album White Hot Moon available as of today from Run For Cover.

NOTHING dropped their epic survey of numbness, the living, the dead, and plenty of epic chords on their new single “The Dead Are Dumb” featured off their upcoming album Tired of Tomorrow available May 13 from Relapse Records. This is the perfect for jam to play while stumbling home long after the bell for last call has been wrung and the arms of the night open up like the cold embrace of a former lover.

Peep the late evening video from Jake Nawas, aka NAWAS, for “So Low” that follows the producer/songwriter through the late evening parking structures and streetways to his electronic ambient aura.

Taken from Young Magic’s forthcoming Carpark album Still Life; prepare to have your mind dazzled by the subdued YM sound that sings to the dearest parts of the heart on the video for “Default Memory” where animated 35mm photographs (shot & collected from the world over) bent and turn and take many three-dimensional shapes-courtesy of Melati Malay.

Houston’s Chase DeMaster makes music under the moniker Children of Pop, presenting the night clubbing classic video for “Jealous Lover” featured off the outsider artist’s upcoming What Does 69 Mean? available May 6 from #veryJazzed (Frenchkiss/The Orchard).

Alev Lenz dropped the single”Eggshell” from her upcoming album Two-Headed Girl that uncorks all the bottled up sentiment that gets buried down deep since youth. Alev inspires the urge to break forth from childhood shells to step into a world of awe and discovery.

For all those looking for a power song to entertain that latent/slept-on new years’ resolution or whatever; then allow us to introduce you to Danae’s big massive pop-radio rager to soundtrack your workout, spin class, Jazzercise, pilates, etc.

From Rae Fitzgerald forthcoming summer slated album,Popular Songs for Wholesome Families available June 3, presenting “Jackal ii”. The Columbia, Montana artist sings stories of experience, tales of actions & consequences that reverberate like ballads of bonds between hunters & gatherers sorting out their collective grievances to electronically infused ballads.

Watch the Sofia Rosenzweig video for Howard’s “Glass” taken off their recently released EP Please Recycle available now from Fashion People that depicts rolling arrays of images that roll from station to station like one of the best trips around.

Watch the Zone Vision video for Tortoise’s “Ox Duke” video captured live at Chicago’s Thalia Hall found on the new album The Catastrophist available now from Thrill Jockey Records. Experience Chi-town’s own prog-everything artist John McEntire & company in their element bouncing notes, scales, and movements back and forth.

Behold the White Lung video for “Below” from Richard Bates Jr. off the new album Paradise available May 6 from Domino that depicts a very theatrical and moving performance from Nicolette Holman, Jill Jax, Christine Marlowe, Brenna Holler, Caroline Ryder, Nell St. John & Elizabeth McGrath that rocks loud to emotive undertones.

El Dusty dropped a little analog video vibe to help get your Cinco de Mayo started with “We Out Chea (feat. MLKMN & Happy Colors)” strictly as Dusty says is for locos only, and those that can’t get enough of that Cumbia beat and mindset.

Massachusetts three-piece And The Kids dropped the anthem of autonomy and antsy-wanderlust desires on “Kick Rocks” that seeks a new special someone in their lives, delivered by front woman Hannah Mohan found off their upcoming album Friends Share Lovers available June 3 from Signature Sounds. Catch the trio on the road from June 3 through July 9.

Say Anything along with mewithoutYou cover one another, swapping each other scuzz stories and sounds. Say Anything takes on disparate flames of mewithoutYou’s “Torches Apart”, with SA’s “Cleo’s Ferry Cemetery” delivering melancholic funereal strums & synth sustains courtesy of mewithoutYou. Catch both bands touring together through May 28, featuring special guest performances from Teen Suicide & Museum Mouth.

Semi Precious shared a listen to the synth-snazzy-sensualism found on the seductive single “Purple Room’ available on 7” square vinyl as the forthcoming Ultimate Lounge album follows up last year’s Accidental Records EP When We Talk, available July 22 via London imprint Squareglass. Listen as all the hushed tones of intimacy swirl in the most elusive and entrancing of manners.

Hear Ian Bern’s rip rolling b-side “It’s Not You”, from the artist’s debut 7″ available today from B3SCI Records. Ian’s riffs roll * rock as he dishes out the finger pointing/blame game dynamics that assures his intended that it certain is not them.

Filmed in Jakarta three days after ISIS bombings, Mhairi shared the video for the powerful, heartbreaking view into heartaches, loss, rehabilitation, and more for her potent single “Crystalline”, made with Yoad Nevo. All proceeds for the Bournemouth, UK’s artist new single will be donated to the filming location of the Yayasan Galan Institute.

Ravi Shavi dropped the bouncing rhythmic hop of “Hot”, off the Independent EP available May 27 from Almost Ready Records. RS makes the kind of fun, sunny, punk-ish pop that celebrates the spirit of high temperatures translated to energetic audio exercises.

Black Helicopter shared some time-out/tuning out rock with “Deadline for Deadbeats” about all the pressure for paying up dedicated to those who don’t pay their fair dues. Find this on their new EP available May 20 from Midriff Records, that also features an appearance from Mission of Burma’s Roger Miller playing the cornet.

Watch the Laura Weaver for Standard Films video for Club cheval’s “Young Rich And Radical” that tackles the chemically addled/addicted & obsessed worlds juxtaposed between views of healthy lifestyles all orchestrated to CC’s posh sound.

MUNA’s Week in Pop

LA's rising stars—MUNA; press photo courtesy of the artists.

LA’s rising stars—MUNA; press photo courtesy of the artists.


Los Angeles trio MUNA is made up of Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson who are readying their debut The Loudspeaker EP for May 6 and took the time to share with us their following Week in Pop guest selections:
D’Angelo ft. Princess, “Sometimes It Snows in April” (Prince cover)

This has been quite a sad week. The loss of Prince definitely rocked us emotionally. This tribute by D’Angelo and Princess (Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum’s cover band) is really moving. D’Angelo is a true gift, R.I.P Prince.

MUNA; photographed by Alexa Johnson.

MUNA; photographed by Alexa Johnson.

Beyoncé, “Lemonade”

Lemonade (which, unfortunately, we are unable to upload any of the full songs from because of the Tidal exclusivity) is amazing. Every time she drops something, it changes the game… this is more left of center than the self-titled record but often far more interesting both musically and visually.

Hanging out with MUNA; press photo.

Hanging out with MUNA; press photo.

White Lung, “Below”

This sounds like it could have been in 10 Things I Hate About You. White Lung rules.

MUNA; press photo.

MUNA; press photo.

Drake’s VIEWS

muna week in pop 5

We made this pic in 10 seconds using Drake’s meme website, so that was a fun thing that happened! #VIEWS

Kali Uchis, “Only Girl ft. Steve Lacy, Vince Staples”

A little more than a week ago, but this is a really great video and we love that it’s self-directed which is a sick bonus. Kali Uchis is the baddest.

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