Week in Pop: Babewatch, Cheshires, Dev Dapree

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Blood Moon, Corey King, Empathy Test, Natural Child, guest selections by PWR BTTM.

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Sjimon Gompers | September 9, 2016

Get to know Dev Dapree; press photo courtesy of Dev.

Bringing you a privy view into the fall frenzy of buzz, Impose’s Week in Pop has the latest breaking media exclusives & some of the biggest stories from the week. Big news as our heroes PWR BTTM announced that they have signed to Polyvinyl with a new record & an upcoming epic tour in the works; Beyoncé’s Formation tour postponed on account of doctor’s orders for “vocal rest”; Kanye’s casting call for Season 4 & cameo’d & joined Puff Daddy onstage at MSG during the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour & appeared on a new remix of Desiigner’s “Timmy Turner” & signed Tyga to G.O.O.D. Music; Mykki Blanco dropped “Loner” produced by Jeremiah Meece & news of tour; Molly Burch signed to Captured Tracks & dropped the video for her debut single “Downhearted”, 7″ available September 16; Against Me! dropped the Ione Skye video for “333” ft. Natasha Lyonne off the upcoming album Shape Shift With Me; Cakes Da Killa announced the debut album Hedonism available October 21 from Ruffians/Thirty Tigers & dropped the Nico directed video for “Talkin’ Greezy”; NOIA signed to Cascine & dropped “Nostalgia Del Futuro” off her upcoming Habits EP available October 14 from Cascine/Galaxxxy Sandwich(Spain)/Buen Dia Records(Mexico); Oakland’s Religious Girls announced the new album Pure Energy available in 2017 via Porch Party Records; Common dropped “Lovestar” ft. Marsha Ambrosius & PJ; Nick Murphy ditched his former moniker Chet Faker; Bat For Lashes covered Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy”; clipping. made their big television debut; Anohni dropped the video for “Crisis” ft. Storm Lever; Lady Gaga dropped “Perfect Illusion”; Butch Bastard, aka Poor Moon’s Ian Murray & Fleet Foxes affiliate, dropped “Magnolia” ft. Father John Misty on drums; Röyksopp dropped “Never Ever” ft. Susanne Sundfør; Grandaddy returned with the songs “Way We Won’t” & “Clear Your History”; CRX, the new band from the Strokes’ Nick Valensi dropped “Ways to Fake It”; upcoming Biggie & Tupac thriller Labyrinth will star Johnny Depp, also a Tupac pop-up restaurant is in the works; Twin Peaks dropped the GOONS animated video for “Holding Roses” & word of tour; Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds dropped the video for “I Need You” off Skeleton Tree; Shirley Collins dropped “Cruel Lincoln” off her upcoming new album Lodestar available November 4 from Domino; Basilica SoundScape lineup hype; Justin & Aaron Dessner announced Eaux Claires III in 2017; Green Day announced tour & dropped the title track from their upcoming October 7 slated album Revolution Radio; Peter Gabriel dropped “The Veil”; Oasis dropped “Don’t Go Away (Mustique Demo)”; the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid Freddie Mercury to help celebrate the late icon’s seventieth birthday; Young Thug participated in New York Fashion Week; Thom Yorke is tired of his eccentric approach to releases, revealed Four Tet & Burial collaborations & a remix of MF DOOM’s “Gazillion Ear”; another swatting call made to Lil Wayne’s estate & Kendrick Lamar is not having the rumors of Weezy’s retirement; SZA versus a Philly cop; Die Antwoord dropped “Fat Faded Fuck Face” producdd by DJ Muggs & are allegedly splitting in September of 2017; Desiigner busted by the fuzz in NYC; Bobby Shmurda sentenced to seven years in prison via a plea bargain; o.g. N.W.A. manager/Ruthless Records co-founder Jerry Heller passed (Ice Cube claimed to have “no emotions”); and we mourn the loss of Prince Buster.

Looking ahead now we are proud & privileged to present the following interviews, exclusives & insights from Babewatch, Cheshires, Dev Dapree, Natural Child, Blood Moon, Corey King, Empathy Test, featuring guest selections by PWR BTTM & more—in no particular order.

Dev Dapree

Florida by Maryland boss Dev Dapree; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Florida by Maryland boss Dev Dapree; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Sooner than later, Dev Dapree could be a household name. Twisting up the hip hop game with rhythms, blues, bars & beats; the Florida by Maryland artist is following her own path that intersects re-imagined boom bap tropes with the hypnagogic post-modern production that couples the hypnagogic with the classic cadences that come complete with surface noise & all. The recent Smoke & Mirrors EP immediately grabbed our attention where Dapree delivered styles that defied definition or a particular sound that could be attributed to a specific region. Dev presents production from collaborator & creative coach/mentor DJ Whudditdew from Columbia, Maryland along with Tyler Ambrosius & Enrichment who create an illustrious and vast range of eclectic soundscapes for Dapree & guest vocalist Joan Monroe to say & sing epitomes of both real life struggles, conflicts & beauty.

Proudly presenting a debut listen to Dev Dapree’s fresh new single “Baby”, DJ Whudditdew provides a sparse but earnest & dramatic atmosphere that reinforces the realness of homesick blues displayed by swing & sway of the keys. Dapree provides a unique look at how the work life too often interferes with one’s love life that genuinely works toward seeking a solution to ratify both. The confident & dedicated delivery on the topic of commitments has Dev stating honest game on balancing the chase of the dollar while maintaining & nurturing the needs of significant others. The checks, balances, checkbooks & attention to intimacy are all examined according to each individual merit & purpose while ultimately emphasizing the importance of taking some time for a pause because “money come & go, baby.” In a recent conversation, Dev Dapree shared the following exclusive introduction to her new single “Baby”:

I was lucky to meet Martin [DJ Whudditdew] in 2011. Crazy thing is he found me and I still to this day have no idea of how. He called me and said he loved my music and that he had some great production for me. The first day I heard his work we connected. I love soul and he love soul so the beats he was bringing to me just hit me in the heart and I knew I was meant to meet him. He taught me how to fully use my love of soul to blend with hip hop in a way where the integrity of the music is there. He taught me how to truly study my craft and those before me to understand how to build today.

He sent be the beat for “Baby” bout a year ago and it was like a lullaby to me. When I heard it the beginning gave me the feeling of the old soul tracks in the 60s/70s just more upbeat but I saw guys singing and crooning when closing my eyes. Hooks are always the easiest thing for me. I heard the beat and started singing I don’t want to go baby… and it carried on from there. I heard it like a lullaby, like an old church two-stepping to it, if that makes sense.

The definitive Dev Dapree; press photo courtesy of the artist.

The definitive Dev Dapree; press photo courtesy of the artist.

We had the chance to delve even deeper with Dev about her new works, with insights on the forthcoming follow-up to her Smoke & Mirrors EP in the following interview:

With attachments to Florida and Maryland, how have you found your environments & experiences from both locales have shaped your perception of music?

I’m from St.Petersburg in Florida and they love soul growing up. You listen to a lot of down south artist and that slow ride music. Thats when I remember growing up in church the most and hearing those old southern folks. When I moved to DC in 1999 everything was faster. The city was hustle and grind, not that the south wasn’t, but that you can hear it. Hear it in their tones of voices and see it when they moved. I moved around to prince georges county (Capitol Heights, Maryland) and late 2010 Baltimore. Gogo was the thing I fell in love with when I moved from Florida. It sounded like HipHop at church. There was singers who sounded like gospel singers with their deep vibrato and instruments everywhere. That transformed my soulful style, mixed that slow sound with some hardcore east coast beats. Its truly the reason behind my love of HipHop-Soul.

What do people need to know about both Maryland & Florida that they don’t hear about via the national & international media cycles?

When you see Florida or hear about it you just hear about Miami or that old people love to go there. Florida loves its people, there is like another different universe in their diverse communities and in their black neighborhoods. The southern hospitality is vibrant and has made my character what it is. The DMV, DC/Maryland is just a small New York to me. Its a grind , its chocolate city, there is so much culture here. So much pride here. The struggle can be seen but so can the success. DC has so much talent thats just waiting to be heard.

There is a real time-warp type of timelessness that abounds on the Smoke & Mirrors EP, where the classic throwback of the boom-bap and even further beyond that is mixed with this hypnotic ghost trap approach. How was this sort of time tripping effect done?

Honestly that’s just my sound. That’s what my ear clings too. When I choose beats I go by what makes me feel, if I, don’t feel it automatically its not for me. I love production that makes you feel. I need the bass to hit your heart, I need strings, piano chords live drums. I found what related to my soul. When everything you spit is real life its easier to portray when the production matches.

What can you tell us about the follow up to Smoke & Mirrors EP?

We working, we working, we working [laughs]! I’m actually in the process of working on the next EP, in the meantime releasing songs here and there while studying my craft more. Trying to learn more ways to get it heard and network with creatives. The next one is a complete transformation. I felt like Smoke & Mirrors was me turning the page and opening up doors for me to be more open minded.

We all know you love the classic hip hop & r & b heroes, but what are some current artists & acts that have your full attention right now?

I love Medasin & Masego, Jill Scott, Erykah still in the game killing. J.Cole, Bas, Kendrick Lamar, Oddisee, Kanye & BJ the Chicago Kid. I try to listen to a little of everything but find myself resorting back to the legends.

Listen to more from Dev Dapree via Soundcloud.

Babewatch

Babewatch & #doge left, Peter Kegler, Eli Lyons, Callum Luís Beals & Chase Eiseman; press photo courtesy of the band.

Babewatch & #doge left, Peter Kegler, Eli Lyons, Callum Luís Beals & Chase Eiseman; press photo courtesy of the band.

Oakland’s are readying to release their debut album Wasted Time via Astro Lizard Records on cassette & Some Weird Sin Records on wax, presenting us with the following world premiere of a first listen. Rising fixtures of the west coast, Peter Kegler, Callum Beals, Chase Eiseman & Eli Lyons gift the world the promise of their new album that is the culmination of the hard work they have put in during these recent tough years in the Bay Area. Continuing Oakland’s undefeated streak of limitless proliferation, Babewatch are the band here to save your faith in the systems of DIY rock & roll as the East Bay quartet executes & unleashes an affectionate collection of quick witted chords & hooks from the shores of heaven. The band mythologies their own existence (with an album cover title typeset & layout that alludes to Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home LP) crystalizing their progressions, regressions, stories & swirls of sound like a future classic destined for greatness & grandeur.

Wasted Time wastes no time in hitting the ground running with world quaking track “Kelp Monster”—immediately followed by a tribute to an unfortunate friend on “Brian” that sings of his misadventures, incarceration & bad luck with a scuzzy & scrappy approach to balladry. “Darken my Door” busts out the big golden hooks that run at the speed of a revved up motor that drives deep into your psyche, with chords that continue ring & rattle the entirety of your consciousness. The exhausted yet still exhilarating “No Sleep” is the simply the greatest & most triumphant song that Weezer never wrote that could easily have found a home among the troves of 90s flannel-clad slackers. “Country Pavement” brings a rural & rustic approach to twangy-guitar garage, bringing out their wild glistening golden era steez on “Doc Holliday”, to the gnarly & gritty howl-along torn & frayed rock & roll aesthetic featured in full display on “Dog Days”. Babewatch ride audio surf waves on “Mel’s Garage”, advocate ideas of togetherness & super tight riffs on “Get It Together”, or a hymn for all the patriarchal dudes out there with “Single Dad”, over to the most-triumphant single along title track, leaving you with the insomniac hymn of “No Sleep” that makes this not only one of 2016’s best albums, but Babewatch themselves are one of the Bay Artist’s best local treasures. These songs showcase the talent from Babewatch that instinctively have a gift for creating connected chords that paints portraits of shear beauty that lingers & echoes in both the mind & heart for nearly an eternity. Babewatch introduced us to their new album Wasted Time with the following exclusive insights:

Our new album, Wasted Time, is our first full length release. The album is being released on vinyl by Some Weird Sin Records in Texas and on Cassette by Astro Lizard Records in LA.

The new album is a lot different than our first EP. The first Babewatch release, Guys Hanging Out, was made up of songs we had played for a long time and had written while we were in school. They were created while we all still lived in Santa Cruz and captured the surf sound that we first started playing. When we moved to Oakland, the music we played changed and became more influenced by the post punk, garage, and psych bands we were playing with. The new album, Wasted Time, reflects these Oakland and Bay Area influences.

babewatch-week-in-pop-2

Wasted Time was written over a few months. Most of the songs were written specifically for this album so it was definitely more focused. We moved away from surf rock and drew from the sounds of Oakland and the bands we play with up here. We also recorded the album in LA with a friend. So we were making trips down south to record and it became a more serious push to create something. The album still has some surf at the core of some songs, but we think it reflects more of our post punk, garage, and psych influences. The album is 11 songs and It’s about a lot of stuff like being transformed into a dog, a little league basketball team in Indiana, a garage, our friends, a pool house, and a guy named Bong Rip Brian. Hope you enjoy it!

Catch Babewatch on their following album release tour dates:

September
09 Oakland – Record Release @ Eli’s Mile High Club
10 Portland – @ Crush House
12 Olympia – @ Westside Lanes
13 Vancouver, BC – @ Astoria Hastings
14 Seattle – @ Lucky Liquor
15 Boise – @ TBA
16 SLC – @ Kiilby Court
19 Tucson – @ Flycatcher
20 San Diego – @ The Hideout
21 LA – @Ham & Eggs Tavern
22 SF – @ Bottom of the Hill

Natural Child

Natural Child @ Baby's All Right_3 copy
Natural Child live at Baby’s All Right; photographed by Rafe Baron.

Over the years it has been a pleasure & thrill to champion the organic, holistic & down-right-honest sound of Natural Child. The Nashville trio of Seth, Wez & Zack endeared themselves initially in their local hometown scene, becoming part of southern DIY denizens at Infinity Cat, to Burger Records and now are readying their new album Okey Dokey for release September 16 via their own imprint Natural Child Records & Tapes. These three horsemen pride themselves on a storied sound taken straight from the musical history books that recall a sound that stemmed beyond the digital era that harkens back to a time well beyond the days of the Grand Ole Opry.

Natural Child @ Baby's All Right_2 copy
Natural Child performing at Baby’s All Right; photographed by Rafe Baron.

Presenting the world premiere of “Juanita”, Natural Child embody that quintessential scrappy saloon band banging out the best bars & antique-Americana attitudes like stumbling into a honky tonk from another time & place. Natural Child once again prove to be seasoned masters in their own right of keeping the gritty Americn drifter sound alive & well with a Nashville flair where they defend their title as truly one of Music City’s best bands around. The classic sound, styles & sentiments that echo like the progenic spawns of the Allman Brothers shines big, bold & bright on “Juanita” that provides a genuine glow of comfort for all derelict wanderers & destitute barfly who live their lives day by day—whiskey by whiskey. Seth from Natural Child provided the following words on the new album & the following debut single “Juanita”:

Okey Dokey represents a lot of what the four of us have gone through in two years of winning and losing. Just like everything we’ve ever written, all of these songs are true stories. As for “Juanita”, well I still love her.

Natural Child’s new album Okey Dokey will be available September 16 via their own label Natural Child Records & Tapes.

Cheshires

The cult of Cheshires; photographed by Paul Stula.

The cult of Cheshires; photographed by Paul Stula.

Introducing Cheshires who present the world premiere stream of their debut self-titled album available September 16. Comprised of band members previously of Remy Zero, including Remy Zero himself (real name since 1990, fka Shelby Tate), with fellow RZ veterans Louis Schefano & Leslie Van Trease who resurrect their original intents & purposes with reinvigorated energy & focuses. Having been some 16 years since the previous Remy Zero record; the three collaborate again in a reunion to make the record they always wanted to since the 90s that shines with a strange allure like the cryptic, psychedelic smile of the cheshire cat (as depicted on the of their self-titled).

The trio bring the new day of Cheshires with the opening electric strumming “Drugz-I Love This Feeling” that takes off on a gorgeous arrangement that borders on near perfection. Like a jumbo jet blasting off on the runway for a holiday in the sun somewhere, Cheshires bring a renewed vibe of romanticism that rides high on their own mighty wings on ore adorned pop of “You’ve Turned (To Gold)” to the reflective & conversational musings of ennui & the pangs of longing that boredom inspires found on the power pop nugget “Wish Something Would Happen”. The three wisemen take on nightmares & fears with flying colors & confidence as heard on the addictive “Bad Dreams”, the gives rise to the serpentine chutes & ladders games of life on “Snakes” that crash lands into the melancholic ballad of “I Failed” that sings out from the bottom of the abyss crater reaching for a new chance of redemption & new opportunities for new realizations. These dramatic pleas & prayers are answered with the hyper-hymn of “Hollow Head” that is certain to turn more than a few noggins, to “Tell Her Everything” that watches the sun rise up in the early morning with the contemplation of intimate & privy expressions displayed in a lavish musical suite that finds the three reminiscing on where they’ve been & where they want to go next. Tate, Schefano & Van Trease show off their seasoned chops in every song on the album, while maintaining a fresh audio fragrance that is a sign of something more than a cult act that has yet to even reach their proper apex. Cheshires is Remy Zero re-born in a new economy of illustrations that captures the heart of our collective imaginations. The flicker of hope is everywhere on “Lamplighter’s Parade” that leads the Cheshires processional up to “Elixir” that cures what ails with a lavish mix that guides the listener to the perceptive look-out deck on “Watchtower” right before the closing nightcap tearjerker caboose of “Kry-War Out There”. Cry along with Cheshires while absorbing the various feelings and newfound frequencies from what is the next chapter from the band previously known as Remy Zero.

Remy Zero, aka Shelby Tate wrote the following exclusive introduction to their new era as Cheshires & more:

I started writing some songs as soon as I returned to the USA from Cambodia…All of a sudden I was in a very alien situation—I really felt like Cambodia was really my eternal home, that I would be there forever—so when I found myself back in the States I started just playing guitar again to try and re-acclimate—I hardly had even thought of the guitar in many years. I really just became just a listener. But it gave me some sense of familiar things, to be writing songs again. A few of the songs on this record are from the years before Remy Zero really was a band. We have hundreds of pre-Remy Zero songs still around, so we found a few that seemed to fit with what we were trying to do together…I hope someday we can re-master and put out some of the oldest songs, stuff I did before we ever thought of making Remy Zero, songs I hadn’t even heard in so many years, all in a bag of old cassettes….well, maybe they got transferred to something better by now…but Amiel [Morris], our producer, still had copies of them and it was really inspiring to listen to that stuff. Just full of so many memories…It really re-awakened my desire to make music again…

Cheshires stepping out of the shadows; press photo courtesy of the artists.

Cheshires stepping out of the shadows; press photo courtesy of the artists.

I hope these songs will be cool for the people who loved Remy Zero. Even though my brother [Cinjun Tate], the main singer in Remy Zero, is not on this—he just had a son in NYC and is taking a little respite from the madness of making records and touring…I always sang a few songs on Remy Zero records, and Remy Zero is my legal name, so I guess I see this as really the same thing. And, man, I really miss my brother a lot; I am trying to convince him to at least come and sing with us live sometime. But there were always so many people and issues to consider in Remy Zero, so it’s pretty nice to be able to make decisions as fast and easily as we are able to do with Cheshires. I wrote a song at the very start of RZ called “Cheshire’s Nostalgia” which we recorded for Capitol Records. But it was never released so we just used Cheshires as a name for this group. Louis was RZ’s first drummer, and Leslie played with RZ a lot, so this is just a little different assemblage, not a whole different thing…but I hope people who like RZ will be interested in these songs, too, even though it is a bit different.

Cheshires’ self-titled, self-released album will be available September 16.

Corey King

Catching up with Corey King; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Catching up with Corey King; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Corey King just released his album Lashes via Ropeadope that blends blues, jazz, classic & current rhythms together in an enlightened brew. Currently touring with Esperanza Spaulding, King eschews the pretensions of the aforementioned jazz labels who sets out to blaze his own trails while mapping out his own networks of creative paths. Corey commands the directions of vocals, the way of the Wurlitzer, arrangements, program sequencing, synths, tambourines & more while working with Matt Stevens on guitar, accompanied by a massive rhythm section that counts contributions from Alan Hampton, Vicente Archer, Jamire Williams & Justin Tyson.

Lashes materializes with the introductory “Ibaraki” that leans east, before channeling into the experimental ether of “IF” that floats up stream to the interlude “Midnight Chris” that serves as a sly intro to “Botched Farewell” that sounds like a lover’s rock ballad reconfigured for a cinematic soundtrack. Corey keeps the aspect of adventure alive & well all over the album as heard on the atmospheric & heady stroll in the park that is “Parisian Leaves” that blends forwards & backwards sequences that fuse together new fascinating audio sensations. “Uncle Richie” continues the story that King weaves where ambient spaces are created through subtle approaches that allows all emotive elements of instrumentation to adequately breathe throughout the mix. The altitude continues to increase in height as heard on the high-rising hiking “Climb” that ascends into a blaze of electric guitar chord bursts that descends with an electronic grace on “Lucky Grey” that lands slickly back on the tarmac with a smooth & sweet finesse. Join us following the listen to Lashes to read our recent conversation with Corey King.

Describe how your adventures in Berlin and touring with Esperanza Spalding, Takuya Kuroda & Erimaj impacted the making of Lashes.

Berlin was a place I had only heard about right before I arrived. A lot of my friends in Europe said I would love it but I really didn’t know how I was going to feel about it. I have to see things for myself to believe it. When I got there, I instantly fell for the place. The people I met and hung with were just open to everything and down for whatever. There was always good music, good conversation and a good dance happening but at the same time there was space where I can disappear and work without any distractions.

I was and continue to learn from Esperanza everyday. She’s checked out so many things and she’s always down to share her ideas. Also, seeing her perform at such a high level every single night is inspiring. She continues to raise the bar for me. Erimaj is just like my family.

Once you’ve become so close with people, it’s hard to have a bird’s eye view on the operations but I will say that inside it always feels good and really inspiring to know that I can call on these guys to play my music. Everybody in the band constantly has something brewing and are really unique individuals. Takuya is my man. Whenever I hit a wall compositionally or with anything, he helps me talk through it.

He’s such a badass instrumentalist too. All of these people not only musically pushed me but spiritually pushed me to the end of Lashes. Tell us about bringing your visions to life, and how contributions from Jamire Williams, Alan Hampton, Matthew Stevens, Justin Tyson, Vicente Archer enhanced the cycle you committed to back in Brooklyn, 2014, winter.

I don’t really like to plan much. I didn’t go into this thinking, I want to make an album and I want it to sound exactly like this”. I knew I had some living and learning to do after the first installment. I was hitting walls left and right and there were also things outside that effected the flow.

I wanted to pull from everything I saw, heard and smelled. Some songs came out and some didn’t. For me, if I haven’t experienced and gone through it then there is nothing to say. I wrote all of the parts with each of these guys in mind. They’re always listening and willing to search.

You’re known for playing with the best in the industry, can you tell us any particularly treasured anecdotes from any of these collaborations
or meetings?

I remember when Robert Glasper called me to play with Yasiin Bey/ Mos Def. I was on fire. We did a show with Yasiin and Gil Scott-Heron at Carnegie Hall that year and man that was one I’ll never forget.

What for you guides your own intuitive & creative approach to composition & song drafting / crafting / sketching / realizing?

There has always got to be a search. This is something I see or hear in all of my favorite artist.

What else beyond Lashes have you been working on or focusing in the development realm?

Studying more counterpoint and incorporating that more into my next compositions.

What are you playing/reading/watching right now on repeat?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Steve Reich, Paul McCartney and David Bowie lately. I’ve also been on Mark Pritchard’s latest album, Under the Sun. Schoolboy Q is a beast. Michel Gondry keeps me on the edge on my seat. I’m always seeing new stuff every time I watch his films.

Corey King’s album Lashes is available now from Ropeadope.

Blood Moon

cover for Blood Moon's Future Nostalgia EP.

cover for Blood Moon’s Future Nostalgia EP.

An artist that truly needs little to no introduction, we bring you the latest from Brooklyn’s Blood Moon, aka the multi-talented Jesse Brickel who has entertained us for years as Young Yeller & plethora of many musical movements. The ubiquitous Brickel was formerly a live keyboardist for Chrome Sparks, has been seen subbing in the orchestra pits for Broadway musicals and is currently the drummer for Skylar Spence’s live band, and solidified his Blood Moon moniker with 2014’s Cosmic Sands EP for Imaginary Friends Records. With news of his forthcoming debut album Future Nostalgia available September 26, Brickel presents us with the new synthesizer spectacular “Parallels”. From the shimmering & shining synth & guitar glittering surface, Jesse jump-starts the time machine effects & mixing approach that delivers us to an alternate but familiar new romantic/new wave era.

The smart 80s emulation that Brickel employs on “Parallels” resurrect ideas, concepts & notions of other worlds that are created from the sequences & sensations exhibited in this neon-lit audio odyssey. “Parallels” represents one of the fundamental cornerstones of the Blood Moon project where Jesse shows off a swift understanding of everything your parents & older siblings would play ad nauseam by updating the anachronistic essences of the vague re-collective radio hits for new modern meanings & messages. And while you become enticed & enraptured by the catchy bubble machine of hooks, Brickel sends out some very powerful cryptic items to ponder in particular on the addictive chorus where Jesse sings; “Oh you don’t know what you have, and darkness comes through if you don’t give a damn, and no you don’t care about that, but dreams don’t come true when you waste all you have…”

Jesse Brickel aslo shared the visuals he created for the Blood Moon single “Parallels” that gathers nostalgic media clips from the web and arranges them in a nostalgic sequence that seeks to understand it’s influence & relevance on the current day. From vintage games, analog electronic demonstrations, commercials, to “Double Dare” & more; Blood Moon offers a showcase of the “Parallels” found between the remembered worlds of yesterday observed from the perspective ears, eyes & minds of the present day. Essentially the concepts hinge off the questions of what items will be remembered in the future that looks to the nostalgia from the events of the now.

Jesse Brickel shared the following insights with us about the video for “Parallels” & the anticipated Blood Moon album debut Future Nostalgia:

I made the video over the long labor day weekend with footage that matched the sentiment I’m going for with Future Nostalgia. video editing is a very feel-based endeavor—a lot of trial and error. I’m a noob in Final Cut so I’m really just trying things out and seeing what works.

As far as the album is concerned, its my first since 2014’s Cosmic Sands EP and my second under the Blood Moon moniker. I’ve been taking a much more active role as a producer in my own work, which gives the recordings a more personal feel. While it may not sound as glossy as my releases as Young Yeller, it’s certainly true to my voice as an artist and true to the sound world I gravitate towards. I worked with longtime collaborator Alexander Almgren for the mixing of the record and Alex Deturk for mastering, and am planning on releasing this fall.

Also don’t miss the flashy & fancy special effects via the Michael Lukk Litwak, Matt Morgan, Yacht Club & Senior Post video for the Blood Moon epic “all u got” that provides a wild pop spectacle to awaken & entertain the senses & spirit.

The debut Blood Moon album Future Nostalgia will be available September 26.

Empathy Test

Empathy Test's Isaac Howlett & Adam Relf; press photo courtesy of the artists.

Empathy Test’s Isaac Howlett & Adam Relf; press photo courtesy of the artists.

Longtime readers & loyal listeners recall London’s Empathy Test from their releases Losing Touch, Throwing Stones, various remixes & now the duo of vocalist Isaac Howlett & Adam Relfare return with a listen to the new EP Demons / Seeing Stars. A first listen of things soon to follow off the forthcoming debut album, Isaac & Adam take the sci-fi allusions of their Philip K. Dick/Blade Runner moniker and put them into living/working practice in their songs that feel like pop hits heard from a near future era.

“Seeing Stars” takes star-gazing to astronomical & astronautical levels. Empathy Test entertain the concept of people projecting perfectly manicured images of themselves via the net and the surficial & futile nature at hand. “Everything we do is falling snowflakes, it will all have melted by the dawn,” Isaac sings about the temporal nature of life and the strange disconnect & self-removed process that obfuscate the convoluted lines between the URL worlds & IRL realities. The confusions, illusions & delivers are stated like the reiterated title in the chorus where the dizzying extents society goes to portray flawless images of themselves are cast into the correlating cosmos of those very constellations that we also share a host of other complicated connections with. Isaac Howlett of Empathy Test share with us the following exclusive thoughts on their new single with the following words:

I played Adam the idea for “Seeing Stars” on an acoustic guitar at a party. He was like, it’s perfect, we have to record that. When I got home I put down what I’d got and sent it to him. The next time I went to his place he’d almost finished it. Lyrically, “Seeing Stars” is a reaction to internet culture and the way we create finely-tuned projections of ourselves. It’s a call to quit trying to be perfect, stick your neck out and do something real.

Also check out Empathy Test’s recent angelic sparkling single “Demons” that makes the heavens, hell & earth all feel a little closer together.

Empathy Test’s Demons / Seeing Stars EP is available now.

Peter Nichols as Grape Room schools us on the cause & effect events that are something between a science lesson & a PSA of the absurd executed like a piece of performance art. We’re talking of course about the Brian Echon & Kevin Luna video for “Instant Flame” that features Nichols with Louise Chicoine (Nicey Music co-operator/founder, Banny Grove fearless leader), Luke Csehak, Gracie Jackson & Hannah Thayer. Found off the recent critically acclaimed Heart of Gum album available via Nicey Music, watch as Louise & Peter lead us all in an instructional & educational adventure through some of the best GR guitar & keyboard tones you have heard yet.

Featured off the forthcoming Pr0gress1ve EP, Dos Global dropped the single “Crashtest” that provides something of a litmus test that ain’t for dummies. Produced by Global with The Ex’s; “Crashtest” seeks to “find out if your love is true” that begs the beloved to question their own affections and their legitimacy divulged over some of the most head-twisting arrangements that bump, scan & slither like ghosts in the digital console machines.

Anil Sebastian, known as the founder/leader of London Contempary Voices Choir presented the world with the epic & soaring single “We Both Know” from the forthcoming album Mesonoxian. Sebastian captivates the heart & mind as if one of the same in the following beauty of a cinematic sound that awakens & enlightens all available senses.

Introducing Beauty who caught our ear with the lit-up electric energy of “Grown Up” that pulls out all the pop stops of fancy production & more. The song observes the passage of time through digital synths that zig zag in neat & elaborate orders that recall the reckless abandoned found from the foggy memories of years past.

Weirdo returns with more whirlwinds of guitar wailing ruckus & revelry with “Attitude”. This track explores all that in ways like whoever your favorite 90s Brit alpha star was in a haze of pepped rhythms & progressions that storm forward like a roadrunner.

Featured off Fresh Outta Space 3, NEF The Pharaoh keeps the Bay Area classic hyphy movement pushing repping South Vallejo with shout outs to Oakland & a privy view into the “Dumb Life” of NEF. Classic Sick Wid It style production is a spring-board for trippy synths that give you a listen at the latest developments in the Bay & word that hyphy is far from dead.

Showing respect to everyone that couldn’t make it today & all whose freedoms are denied; Ralo dropped the pensive & meditative prayer off “Survivor” featuring Young Scooter from Diary Of The Streets 2. Tales of hustles, heists, deceit, truths & consequences comes together in a contemplative brew that makes you think & feel.

Austin’s BOTANY (oka Spencer Stephenson) shared “Burning From The Edges Inward” from the forthcoming album Deepak Verbera available October 14 from Western Vinyl. BOTANY abides by nu-jazz approaches through lo-fi channels where flutters & flurries of keys egg on the choruses of woodwinds and sustain hums that rumble & resonate.

Behold the 360° Culture Sport video for “Houzzfunction” & “Airdrop”from Motion Graphics’ debut album available now from Domino. The visuals provide a multi-dimensional visual component that you can observe from all angles while MG’s electro-artifices of uplifting inspiration keeps your attention on the progressions and neon displays onscreen.

Da Dreak & Rahzil Blackwell’s collaborative joint Love-N-Drugs is available now and we present you the Rihanna Mack visual ffor “DWI”. Dreak pours that lover’s remorse production syrup on Rahzil’s melodic pleas that are put to beats that straddle the space between turned up & hungover.

In case you missed it, groove to head-swimming synths & bouncing beats to Mutemath’s lyrical video for the title track “Changes” found off the upcoming album of the same name.

Reading, PA’s Demetrius Profic, oka Triumph Over Poverty, aka T.O.P. delivered the Mateo visual for his freestyle over the hypnotic Young Ma track “Ooouuu”. Demetrius spells out inspiration while spilling out stories about where he’s from where the message is repeatedly directed at you the listener with the wavy production in full effect.

Weyes Blood’s new album Front Row Seat To Earth will be available October 21 from Mexican Summer and you can bask now in the awe-striking single, “Do You Need My Love”. Natalie Mering summons the tides & far off storms to arrive in an expansive arrangement that is some of the most stunning & captivating work heard to date from the Santa Monica artist.

New UK duo Punctual just presented us with their debut single “Eva” that illuminates the dance floor with tones that feel natural, neon, & kinetic in a fancy free kind of mode & motion.

Turkey’s new pop dreamers The Away Days brought us a listen to their single “World Horizon” available September 30 from Pasaj Müzik with news that their album will be available in early 2017. Feelings of claustrophobia & unrest are spelled out in relaxing chords & percussion arrangements that finds some kind of peace & solace in the places where we see the sun set & dissapear within that shining glimmer of the vanishing point.

Run like the wind with WILD & their free-galloping single “American Love” that points toward all the points in the map where their bond has been strengthened with some of the poppiest sing-along festival pop opps around.

Chrome Sparks gifted the world with their new Counter Records single “All Or Nothing” featuring Body Language’s Angelica Bess supplying some electro-haunting vocals that are stitched into the rhythmic range of synths. CS keep their plugged-in party bumping with creative arrangements & percussion patterns that will keep your ears & brain happy while we await further audio gems to follow.

Melbourne’s Tiny Little Houses gave us the anthem for the affectionate yet somewhat apathetic with “Song Despite Apathy”, found off their forthcoming Steve Schram produced Snow Globe EP available October 7 from Ivy League Records. The electric skronk fuzzes & hums that provides a hymn for all the underachievers out there that are doing the very best they can despite whatever their respective & individual circumstances. In Caleb Karvountzis’ own words:

“Song Despite Apathy” is a contemplation of faith, fear, sin and death in a world increasingly out of control. It’s about the limitations to human empathy and how frustratingly powerless we are in a system which seems to doom us to repeat the same mistakes both personally and throughout society.

Split Single, alt rock vets Jason Narducy & Jon Wurster present “Leave My Mind” that moves to break out of the mental cell featured off their forthcoming Metal Frames album available November 18. The traces of perception & reflection run vapor trails in a sound that reverberates like those best poetic notes left in the heart.

Shy Grey, oka C Dot Castro of Maryland’s Rattpack crew has been venturing out into his own solo territory under the Grey moniker who dropped the track “Addiction” featured off his Black album. Currently based in LA, the artist describes the different phases & stages through different song suites that tells a rollercoaster of a story about the struggle & paths of greater glories & success tales.

Toronto’s Casper Skulls recently sent word of their debut EP Lips & Skull available October 28 from Buzz Records and sharing the communion cup of “Devotion” with the entire world to partake in & of. “Devotion” illustrates a wild controlled cacophony that is one of a kind that is like stumbling into a thunderous electric guitar choir church ceremony that commits themselves to only the most insane & devoted & distorted chords you have ever heard in your life.

Latin America by Chicago’s Divino Niño brought their passionate cover of Hurricane Smith’s “Don’t Let It Die” where the band transforms 1971 song construction for 2016 audiences with all emotion kept intact. Readying their second album The Shady Sexyfornia Tapes via The Native Sound, Divino casts their divinity further by experimenting with their own capacity of creating some of the entrancing & intriguing new sounds you’ll hear being played these days.

Mannequin Pussy’s second album Romantic will be available October 28 from Tiny Engines & you can catch the following previews from the Philly band’s latest with the following listen to “Romantic” & “Emotional High”. “Romantic” brings all the pure at heart sentiment right before “Emotional High” turns over all the tables with a smiling rage of wonders. MP are forever one of the greatest bands in the world.

Take a road trip with Ethan Burns in the video for “Homeward” that takes you through all the long & winding roads that lead you back to those familiar doors of heart. Available off the California artist’s upcoming debut available later this year from Fairfax Recordings, Ethan plays classic modern pop styles to help provide a car-light lantern for your feet while traveling today’s uncertain paths.

WTCHS returned with their first single in the past few years with “You Own Your Bones” full of doom casting trepidation and big abrasive production. Found off their upcoming album She Walks She Creeps available October 28 from Sonic Unyon Records; WTCHS share new spells from an alchemy that has been brewing now for well over two years.

Off the forthcoming The Grey Notebook EP, hear Samuel Proffitt’s new single “Drown” that features vocal styling from SKYLR. The underwater feeling abounds in a slow motion sort of sentiment with Proffitt’s restrained production & SKYLR’s siren like song.

Hear EXES’ new single “Dear, Home” that delivers the comforts of finding that peace of mind in your own abode off the duo’s debut EP The Art of Saying Goodbye available October 7. Inquiries that work to discern truths between dreams & awakened life flood the senses like feelings & emotions through electric sound waves & earnest lyrics.

Nils Bech brought a reward for all the fans for their patience as the artist unveiled the intriguing & choral-beat entrancer “Waiting” featured off Echo available October 14 from DFA. Nils crafts his productions in the most unexpected of ways where sequences take shape according to Bech’s visions that combine the classically minded accents of the symphonic with the technology & musical currents of today’s most celebrated underground rhythm makers & shakers.

Prince Paul x Ladybug Mecca x Rodrigo Brandão x Don Newkirk are BROOKZILL! who brought us “Mad Dog In Yoruba” featured off their upcoming Throwback To The Future album available October 7 from Tommy Boy. Featuring appearances from Fafá de Belém & Kiko Dinucci, the collective brings your favorite Brazilian & South American fusions from yesterday closer to the pulse of today’s current vibes.

Those looking for some electronic escapism, indulge your sense with LA’s Robots & Balloons with the single “Make You Mine” that presents dance floor maneuvers for the dawning of the singularity.

Get to know the beautiful & endearing styles of Those Willows who stitch a sound that sweeps you off your feet with an honest & human approach that makes you smile & skip-stroll through your day. “Some Kind of Love” is an infatuated walk through the park on the sunniest of afternoons where exchanges & dramas take place beneath the shade of a willow tree.

And in case you missed it from last week, watch the Yumi Zouma’s video made with Jer Robert Paulin for “Keep It Close To Me” featured off the New Zealand darlings’ debut album Yoncalla available now from Cascine. The visuals are a blend of the band in performances edited with various transition effects that showcase the pop art aesthetic that group has established for themselves.

PWR BTTM’s Week in Pop

PWR BTTM.

PWR BTTM live; all photographs appear courtesy of Impose Magazine.


PWR BTTM announced their aformentioned Polyvinyl signing & news of a new record with an upcoming tour (dates listed below); we are proud to present the following exclusive Week in Pop guest selections from Liv Bruce & Ben Hopkins:

gobbinjr, aka Emma Witmer, “firefly”

Emma Witmer is a genius. This new song is the sign of things to come, as soon we will all be humble Gobbin Jr stans. Bow down, ye mortals.

PWR BTTM.

PWR BTTM.

Oshwa, “Ultrafluorescent”

The truth we all can’t handle is that Alicia Walter is the best tapping-guitar player in America right now, and she is able to do it while serving Carly Ray Jepsen and that is truly, truly unfair to the rest of us.

PWR BTTM.

PWR BTTM.

American Football, “I’ve Been So Lost For So Long”

If you have ever needed a song to stare blankly at the wall of a shower contemplating all facets of your weird, weird life to it is this (NEW!!!) banger from emo wizards American Football

PWR BTTM at Webster Hall

PWR BTTM.

Joey Nebulous, “Taylor Swift”

Joey Nebulous from Oberlin, Ohio are the queer keyboard band that you and everyone you know in your god damn life need to listen to right now and demand ANGRILY that they release a full length because they are TRULY, TRULY SO GOOD.

PWR BTTM.

PWR BTTM.

Carly Rae Jepsen, “Higher”

Because sometimes the otherwise cruel God who rules above us is kind, Carly Rae Jepsen released the b-sides to Emotion this week, and you should probably quit your job, leave your partner and only listen to this record from now until the end of time.

PWR BTTM.

PWR BTTM.

Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes, “Sometimes I Doubt Yr Commitmet To Sparkle Motion”

Pittsburgh is a really good city, and one of the best things about it is the UNRELENTING SHRED of Yes Yes, a Thousand Times Yes who’s record on Broken World Media inspires me to scream, “USA, USA, USA” till hoarse.

PWR BTTM.

PWR BTTM.

Kississippi, “Dogmas”

If Six Pence None the Ritcher chugged half a bottle of rosé and then wrote beats it would be this song by Philly’s Kississippi, who, if you don’t already know are true perfection.

PWR BTTM.

PWR BTTM.

Palm perform “Untitled” on Audiotree Live, May 6, 2016

I have often times found myself bare chested on my roof smashing a guitar screaming “HOW IS PALM EVEN REAL, WHY DO I EVEN TRY”, and this cut from their audiotree proves them to be the BEST BAND.

Catch PWR BTTM on the following tour dates:

September
30.16 – Ithaca, NY @ State Theater of Ithaca #

October
02.16 – Camden, ME @ Camden Opera House #
20.16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right %
21.16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Market Hotel %
22.16 – Portsmouth, NH @ 3S Artspace ^
24.16 – Toronto, ON @ Silver Dollar Room ^
25.16 – Lakewood, OH @ Mahall’s ^
26.16 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen ^
27.16 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry ^
28.16 – Omaha, NE @ Milk Run ^
30.16 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge ^

November
01.16 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court ^
02.16 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux ^
03.16 – Walla Walla, WA @ Billsville West ^
04.16 – Vancouver, BC @ 333 Clark ^
05.16 – Seattle, WA @ The Vera Project ^
06.16 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios ^
07.16 – Eugene, OR @ The Boreal ^
09.16 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop ^
11.16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater ^
12.16 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge ^
14.16 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk ^
15.16 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada ^
16.16 – Jackson, MS @ Big Sleepy’s ^
17.16 – Nashville, TN @ The End ^
18.16 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade ^
20.16 – Durham, NC @ The Pinhook ^
21.16 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel ^
22.16 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA ^
23.16 – Somerville, MA @ ONCE Somerville ^

December
03.16 – Brighton, UK @ West Hill Hall &
04.16 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Games Room &
05.16 – Glasgow, UK @ Hug & Pint &
06.16 – London, UK @ Shacklewell Arms &
07.16 – Amsterdam, NL @ Sugar Factory &
08.16 – Cologne, DE @ Blue Shell &
09.16 – Berlin, DE @ Lido &
10.16 – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow &

PWR BTTM
# = w/ Lake Street Dive
% = w/ Vundabar, Lisa Prank
^ = w/ Bellows, Lisa Prank
& = w/ The Spook School

Follow PWR BTTM via Twitter.

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