Week in Pop: Asante Phenix, Happenin Summer, Sara Z, Wildfront

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Cruzie Beaux, Future Twin, Holly Waxwing, Jackson Boone, guest selections by Show Me The Body.

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Sjimon Gompers | May 29, 2015

Getting to know Brooklyn's Asante Phenix.

Getting to know Brooklyn's Asante Phenix.

Dropping the highlights of your week—each and every week, Impose’s Week in Pop gives you a brief highlight reel of the week’s big stories, with profiles of tomorrow’s top players. But first, a quick news rundown: We saw how Lil B’s James Harden curse helped bring a Golden State Warriors victory all over a dispute involving not crediting the Based God with his infamous, signature cooking dance; as Jack White talks about everything via Third Man Records’ Vault; and you too can also get deep with Julian Casablancas via his new website redux; while Beach House announced new album/world tour; Social Experiment, Chance the Rapper’s group with Donnie Trumpet, Peter Cottontale, and Lido released the album, Surf; Christopher Owens dropped his new solo album, Chrissybaby Forever on Bandcamp; Kendrick Lamar reportedly does his own stunts in the upcoming video for, “Alright”; Mogwai now have their own brand of skatedboards and shirts via Focus; Rick Spicer of the Ponderosa Twins Plus One has settled his suit with Kanye West over the “Bound 2” sample; and lastly Tyler, The Creator’s nostalgic tweets hint that the Odd Future collective may be “no more”, with Earl Sweatshirt seemingly corroborating the rumor as well.

But as we now embrace the present moment, along with the near future; we are pleased to bring you the following exclusives, interviews, and insights from Asante Phenix, Happenin Records presents Happenin Summer (featuring Drew Price, Eleven Year Old, Dommel Mosel, & Plains), Sara Z, Wildfront, Cruzie Beaux, Future Twin, Holly Waxwing, Jackson Boone, Jordannah Elizabeth, Invader Ace, Lykanthea, featuring guest selections by Show Me The Body, and more — in no particular order.

Asante Phenix

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Silver Spring, Maryland by Brooklyn’s Asante Phenix emerged on our radars with the poignant audible atmospheres of ambient r n’ b of “Baptism“, and today we bring you the music video premiere for the single that brings an endless string of dormant corridors as a vessel for Asante’s stream of recollections. Shot on location in a nebulous setting that could pose as an abandoned hospital or lab, the passages and infinite outlay of hallways provide a kind of sanctuary of solace to sort out the mirages and truths in a reality check croon that takes a moment of reflective pause when life and love move too fast. The semi-lit industrious locale provides a labyrinthine citadel to contain Phenix’s smoke rising production that gets lifted in thought and rhythmic motion like the lyrical allusion of, “steam that arises from inside the pavement.”

The church organ opening of “Baptism” cues Asante’s slow motion walk down the hollow halls of quasi-dilapidated utility tunnels, and eerie warehouse spaces. Phenix recounts the ways and progressions of how intimate moments become initiated, and spring out of the reins of control, requesting the awakening cold pail splash in the sobering refrain, “can someone get the water…” The deeper involved Asante gets in the song’s search for understanding, and glimpses of clarity; the more, and more they become dramatized visually, as the various sections, corridors, rooms, and industrial environments vary in degrees of lighting, and states of disrepair to heighten the pensive inner-zone baptismal metaphysics of the track. After the following the music video debut of “Baptismal”; read our interview with Asante Phenix for a deeper look at the making of the video, and song.

Tell us about what sort of redemption songs and sentiments that lent various influences for “Baptism”.

I can’t necessarily name on specific song that influenced “Baptism”. Rather, I’ve heard a lot of music about either the beginning, or ending times in a relationship. Most of which cover a wide range of emotion, from love at first sight to the solitude that comes with a break up. I wrote “Baptism” to capture the inevitable push and pull that is omnipresent when two people are romantically involved. Unlike the static start and finish, I tried to make the song dynamic to match the ebb and flow of real love.

What was the making of video like, in adapting the solitary feelings in a hospital like setting full of long hallways, double doors, and all the things that make a person feel very humbled?

Shooting the video was a stimulating experience. It was literally me and two other people exploring a semi-abandoned warehouse. The building was equipped with empty laboratories, striking industrial design, and other eerie environments. It was perfect for shooting the song as we wanted to capture a feel that was akin to being lost in a maze or a time loop. The variety of lighting textures and scenery were the perfect parallel to the variety of textures highlighted in “Baptism”‘s intense instrumental.

How have your experiences and upbringing between Hartford, Connecticut and Silver Spring, Maryland contributed to your creative and musical sensibilities?

To clarify, I was only born in Connecticut. I was raised in MD my whole life until after undergrad. That being said, growing up in Silver Spring greatly shaped my creative and musical sensibilities. I was fortunate enough to grow up in an atypical environment where I was surrounded by an incredibly diverse group of peers. At a very young age I was able to experience a lot of different social situations, that illuminated how different types of people react to various life events. This made my mind develop in a way that allowed me to always ‘look at the other side of the coin,’ so to speak. To this day, I try to make my music boundary less in order to capture a full and diverse range of human experience.

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Having gone through your own rollercoaster of ups, downs, and tribulations; how do you transform difficult life experiences into meaningful works of art?

Love this question. Obviously, during trying times, artistic expression can sometimes fall to the wayside until one has a chance to cleanse their heart & mind of their ills. During the final stages of this cleanse, I find the most motivation for creating a potent piece of art. I think it’s important to live with extreme emotional events as a ‘regular person’ in order to convey relatable human emotion into music. I’ve often found that rushing into a concept too soon after a dark period results in an audible therapy session. Instead, I would rather create a poignant audible allegory.

With our country and the world caught up in the grips of so much injustice, and pain—what is your own global prayer, and meditation for better states of understating, consciousness, and peace?

This sounds like a question for the Dalai Lama but I’ll give it a go [laughts]. I won’t subscribe to a global prayer per se, as I don’t deeply affiliate myself with one type of religious sect. Although, a common thread that unites most faiths revolves around solidarity in the human race. For all our differences on the surface level, everyone has the same red blood flowing through their veins. I hope to provide music that moves that blood. Music that makes it boil with intensity, music that makes it cool with tranquility, music that brings individuals together in awe. With that said, I think I’ll let the people pray, while I provide the musical sermon.

Check out more from Asante Phenix via Soundcloud.

Sara Z

Sara Z, photographed by Kelly Lee Barrett.

Sara Z, photographed by Kelly Lee Barrett.

We were introduced to Sara Z with her Jereome LOL collaboration track, “All That I Am” for FoF‘s compilation, Five Years of Friends of Friends, and now we are delighted to premiere Sara Z’s cover SBTRKT’s “Hold On”. Collaborating once again, Jerome LOL provides the instrumental of xylophone dotted rhythm machines, as Sara dissects the coldest stares in the game while holding on, and pushing forward, and reaching toward a golden coronation of her own tiara in the vocal pop game.

Jerome sets the stage by arranging a chime sequence, and percussion undercurrent to provide a luxury like residence to house Sara Z’s take on SBTRK’s “Hold On”. The looping acoustic key hook provides a tense, contemplative quality as the ensuing immediacy is brought by the heart pounding (yet understated by a wash of subterranean levels of bass pulses) drum sequences that illustrates further the subtext of frustrations, and struggles expressed by Sara’s center stage quest in the song. The heavy, low-anxiety intensity of the track illustrates a drive to embody a divinity that rises above the naysayers, haters, critics, and judgmental fools for a chance to steal the spotlight once and for all. Right after the following debut of “Hold On”, Sara Z caught up with us to discuss her collaboration with Jerome LOL, solo projects in the works, and more.

Describe your synergy with Jerome LOL.

From the start I think the music Jerome and I create has been largely based on trusting both each other’s creative intuition and our own, respectively. It’s interesting…having worked with other artists both remotely and in sessions, there is often a different experience, or an adaptation of the process based on format, environment, circumstances, etc. With Jerome, the process seems completely based on our ability to understand each other musically regardless of the variables. I attribute this to an innate creative trust and ability to embrace fluidity.

What ways do you both influence, inspire, and push each other?

I think we both have a mutual love and respect for the dance floor, for the underground community, and the power and potential of that space to move and connect people. I think that’s where our musical tastes tend to intersect most. One of the best experiences I’ve shared with Jerome was performing live last year in LA. I come from a place of being very comfortable with live improvisation. I spent several years singing live with friends playing sets at large, underground parties and in that space you definitely have to be available to the moment, not knowing what the next mix will hold. For the show with Jerome, we had a rehearsal, and a basic sense of where we were going with the live versions of the songs from the EP. That said, though, I think the inspiration came from jumping in together, headlong, and trusting our ability to communicate through the sound. That kind of creative communication is one of the most inspiring and dynamic facets of our exchange artistically for me. I also really respect and support what Jerome, Samo Sound Boy, and the entire Body High team are doing for the underground community specifically and the musical community at large in Los Angeles.

Artwork for Sara Z's 'Hold On', by Jason Burns.

Artwork for Sara Z’s ‘Hold On’, by Jason Burns.

What about SBTRKT’S original of “Hold On” first moved you?

As a listener, I experience each song I listen to as a story, with its own themes, archetypes, and lessons. I tend to be most drawn to the story of redemption, and I find that a lot of very soulful music is born out of the experience of overcoming. That’s what I connected to most when I first heard this piece, both sonically and lyrically there is a parallel expression of that energy.

How did you approach adapting it yourself?

With covers I’m typically of the mind that you either have to take a song somewhere completely different or stay predominantly true to the original. I think it’s important to pick a piece you feel responsible for doing justice to. Being a big fan of both SBTRKT and Sampha, that was certainly the case here. I definitely felt the need to come correct. I made the decision to mostly follow Sampha’s path but took some subtle turns to imbue the piece with my own emotional experience because that’s how I get my bearings in a song. Also, I got to work with my friend and an amazing Engineer, Kellen Balazy in LA, and having his ears on this really helped develop the piece and finesse the sounds in the right ways.

What other recordings do you and Jerome LOL have in the works?

I’m excited to have worked on new music with Jerome and Samo for their second DJ Dodger Stadium record. I spent some time with them in LA writing and recording for that project after the new year which was an amazing experience and very fun!

Sara Z’s 2015 Summer Preview?

I’m cultivating right now, harvesting a lot of new material both for my solo project as well as for a number of features/collaborations, some of which I’m really excited to share in the near future. I’m headed to London in August/September to work on new sounds with some friends, which is exciting since it will be my first trip there. Summer is my favorite time of year, and it’s absolutely the most beautiful time of year in Oregon, where I currently live, so I’m looking forward to the inspiration that comes with the season. Thanks so much!

Wildfront

Introducing; Wildfront (left to right), John Corlew, Krista Glover, & Josephine Moore, photographed by Gabriel Max Starner.

Introducing; Wildfront (left to right), John Corlew, Krista Glover, & Josephine Moore, photographed by Gabriel Max Starner.

Get to know Nashville’s Wildfront, made up of John Corlew, Krista Glover, Josephine Moore, and Devan Kochersperger who follow up the strange magic of their Strange Gold EP with the world premiere of their snow-bright shining single, “January”. The experimental harnessing of the tempests found on their debut become refined to a more pointed production that organizes every instrumental contribution, and note for an effect of maximum efficiency to evoke the utmost out of every utterance. Moving from the band’s Tennessee pastoral approaches to pop construction; John, Josephine, and Krista set their sights on re-shaping, and entertaining the power and punch of their hooks to stir instantaneous responses and reactions from their listeners.

The cold spell/snap of “January” rekindles those recalled feelings of the long winter season as a backdrop for the duet between John and Josephine that depicts the back and forth pendulum swing of desires, and the sparks (or lack their of) that binds hearts tightly together in unison. John describes failed flashlight lit flames gone dim and dead, as Josephine counters with a statement of unchangeable desires, complicated feelings of guilt, and the fight for a certain sort of peace and silence. The cross-wired communication channels are heard between the two in their verses, the “oh well” surrender that illustrates the rift wedged between a pair of distant lovers struggling with their needs, wants, and goals that cannot be reconciled in a shared, common ground of congress. As Wildfront lets the dramatic exchange unfold before your ears, the instrumental rhythm remains tight, and addictive in a way where the audience feels like the are privy to a lover’s spat during the ennui of overstayed seasons. Following the debut of “January”, check out our interview discussion round with Josephine Moore.

Tell us the Wildfront story, how did the four of you all connect, and did this entire front begin?

Thank you, Sjimon! We started in 2013 as Krista, Josephine and another friend of ours. We found Devan the following year on Craigslist, which is pretty funny considering we’d never done that sort of thing before. He is from Pennsylvania and moved to Tennessee for grad school. We never would have met him otherwise, so the internet can be a cool thing in that way. John came along much later in the process. We met him through our college town’s music scene, and he had been in several local bands with whom we played and were familiar. We ended up narrowing the band down to the four of us.

Give us the progressions and developments of your sound from the single, “Thunder”, the Strange Gold EP, to the most current, Cruel Tides / January.

The Strange Gold EP was definitely a different world from where we are now in many ways; beforehand, we were very guitar-heavy with lots of shoegaze-y reverb/90s dream pop. We’ve since shed live drums from our recordings, and writing process altogether. When John joined, we decided to head in a more new wave direction, and we started playing to drum machine tracks that he would program. Devan took on a more producer-like role (he records/mixes/masters all of our material) and we most often perform as a three-piece of Krista, Josephine and John to the programmed tracks. It was definitely an interesting adjustment, and like a lot of artists we were being heavily influenced by our tastes at the time. Both new singles, Cruel Tides and January, are a reflection of this change we’re experiencing into more 80’s influenced synth pop. The song Thunder came somewhere in between; it marked the beginning of the progression.

Wildfront captured live by Caroline Bowman.

Wildfront captured live by Caroline Bowman.

The latest sound developments take your former dream audio weapons, and sharper them for something that is really analog, organic, and yet retains the benefit from today’s recording technologies. Behind the scenes thoughts on this phenomenon?

These new songs feel like our most concise and organic ones to date, however, they ironically represent a fundamental shift in our recording process to embrace the digital realm. We ditched our mountains of analog effect pedals and vacuum tube amplifiers in the studio and instead recorded and mixed almost entirely digitally. This forced us to sever the sounds and settings we had subconsciously become attached to. Instead, we had to really listen to our music objectively and find the 0’s and 1’s that suited it best instead of the circuits and capacitors.

Nashville is forever a resource for so many musical minds. Thoughts on the ever expanding scenes out there?

There is definitely a lot going on. When we tour and hear in other cities that scenes are sometimes isolated and musicians aren’t abundantly common, it is a bizarre thing to wrap our heads around. Here, music is everywhere. It’s almost uncommon to meet more than a few people at a show who aren’t in bands or musicians in some capacity. Genres and crowds overlap, and with the selection of great indie (and major) labels based here, people move from all over to contribute to the constantly changing landscape.

Nashville artists that you all want to give a shout out to?

Oh, well Dolly Parton, of course.

Listen to more from Wildfront via Bandcamp.

Happenin Records’ Happenin Summer

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Montevallo, Alabama imprint Happenin Records has been preparing for their annual Happenin Fest (headlined this year by The Black Lips), expanding the label’s repertoire, and more are readying to release four new albums from Birmingham cult legends Dommel Mosel, Drew Price, Eleven Year Old, and Plains. Available June 13, we are about to give you an advance listen of all four releases from artists and groups who have been playing together, encouraging one another, influencing each other, and more for years with their latest collections of recordings. Happenin co-founder Chris McCauley wrote the following introduction to the following four albums of which you are about to get a first listen:

Over the past six months, we’ve worked with several artists outside of Alabama. It’s been incredible, but, about two months ago, we realized that many of our friends in Birmingham were in the process of recording amazing albums on their own. As they started to share their work with us, we quickly realized that we needed to focus our distribution efforts on the local scene. Creative expression doesn’t require big producers and studios and investors – instead, many truly creative voices just need the freedom to explore and record in their own spaces on their own schedules. That’s exactly what Eleven Year Old, Drew Price, Plains, and Dommel Mosel did – they either recorded on their own and/or worked with close friends to record their albums. The results are pretty staggering – four unbelievably unique records that present four distinct musical visions. It’s overwhelming really. It’s unencumbered rock music. I’m just so thrilled to be a small part of what they are doing.

Dommel Mosel

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Birmingham band, Dommel Mosel is the brainchild of Adam Measel, with a little help from John Paul Foster on drums and Plains’ Travis Swinford on bass, prepare to release their upcoming album, Crybaby June 13 via Happenin Records.

The Dommel Mosel Crybaby show begins with the call for all good acquaintances to come be seated at the table of, “Friends”, before wading into the ineffable waters of rolling stones and running rivers, “I’m Afraid I Can’t Stay”, while “Sunny Day” keeps the chords churning in summer soaked infatuated urges. Exhausted states and tip-toe games steadily trek about on the hell-bent stoned stepping, “Dead Asleep”, to the wistful “Mary, Mary” that desires a special someone to stick by through the drunk and sober storms, toward the more self-preservationist hyper ballad, “I Shall Be Well”, and sailing down the internal highways that question life’s quandaries with, “I Don’t Know What I’m Gonna Do”. That hot Birmingham summer vibe can be heard in the work of Dommel Mosel and formal contemporaries, heard in the sluggish, “Easy Come”, or the slick and sweet slacker pop, “Oh, Boy”, to the droning steady drive of tracks like, “Oh, Whoa”. Humor, weirdness, and confessional can be heard everywhere like the oddball strum along, “Hot Dog Song”, attitudes of appeals and attractions on, “I Dig This Of U”, toward the woeful drone fest of fuzz, “Oh, God”, right before the Dommel Mosel musical vehicle sends things out on a heartbreak wrought anthem with the title track, “Crybaby”, designed for anyone who has ever lost someone, and was left wondering for an amount of time longer than the relationship itself. Join us after the following full album stream for our interview with Dommel Mosel’s Adam Measel.

For you, what was it like making the big leap in production values and all from Live from the Bathroom with the T​.​V. on to Crybaby? The production, mixing, and mastering on this megalithic album is monumental, man.

So the chronology of all the Dommel stuff is a little weird. We started recording Crybaby about two years ago and the Live from the Bathroom EP was recorded about a month ago, so Crybaby was basically done when I made that EP. I was itching to put out something that wasn’t a “big thing” and I wanted to put out something where I was playing by myself because I play a fair amount of solo shows. I came up with the idea recording in bathroom with the TV on and just chose songs of mine that had lyrics about TV. So some of those songs are three or four years old and some I wrote a couple of months ago. I just recorded that on my iPhone in my parents bathroom in one take to make it seem like a live show.

There is one helluva force of energy and nature that runs throughout Crybaby, “Friends”, “Mary, Mary”, “I Shall Be Well”, the single, “I Don’t Know What I’m Gonna Do”, and more. Tell us about what the making of Crybaby was like for you.

Crybaby was recorded by me and John Paul Foster, who is also the drummer for Dommel, and he did all the production mixing and mastering. We recorded at the studio in his house in Montevallo, AL. He did such great job with the songs, he’s really good making things sound huge. Travis, (from Plains) plays bass for Dommel and plays bass on about half the songs on Crybaby, John Paul plays bass on the rest. I do all the guitar and vocals.

Recording it was great though. This was my first album and my first time going through the recording process, and it was really chill. It was mostly just John Paul and I hanging out and working on it. We were friends before we started recording Crybaby, but it was the first time we were hanging out on our own. We would just record, chill, talk about music and how we wanted the album to sound.

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The way we went about recording the songs was pretty straightforward. I had written all the songs well before we started recording and we just played the songs the way perform them live. What I wanted the most from the album was to for it to be minimalistic in instrumentation and composition, which both of those are more less my tendencies when writing songs, and I wanted the vocals to have some reverb/effects while still being able to understand the lyrics. I think over the course of making the album I gained more confidence in the way my voice sounds and didn’t want to rely on vocal effects as much as I initially did. I always tend to write songs that are repetitive and that build in intensity, and I think John Paul built on top of that. As far as writing lyrics goes, I think its one of the most crucial parts of writing songs and I always put most of my focus into that aspect. I always just try to be open and honest, and try to write about things I’m familiar with, and counterbalance heavy themes with lighter themes.

I like how the album kind of gets more and more heavy to toward the end. Was that done on purpose to provide some real emotive, and passion weights like the intensity of, “I Dig This Of U”, the closing title track, and “Oh God”?

To answer about the album getting heavier towards the end: When I was doing the track listing the only thing I knew from the start was that Friends to be the opener and Crybaby to be the closer. Outside of that, I just messed around with the ordering a lot and mostly tried to resemble the flow of one of our live shows. I felt that it ended up flowing the best with it getting heavier towards the end.

What sort of emotive inspirations were guiding your process here do you feel?

My emotive inspirations – I guess from a musical standpoint, most of my favorite music is overly-emotial. Stuff like Bowie and Talking Heads with over the top, kind of theatrical singing. But most of the songs are inspired by other songs I like not necessarily artists or bands. Its odd because I don’t think Dommel sounds like most of my favorite music. Outside of music though, I would say hanging out with my friends, working, TV and movies are probably the biggest emotive inspirations for me. I always try to sing about food as often I can too, I feel like its relatable.

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Thoughts on the current states of the indie Birmingham scenes?

I feel very good and optimistic about the Birmingham music scene right now. Theres a lot of good music coming out of Birmingham and several new venues that are really cool, like Saturn. A few weeks ago I went to see Alex G at Saturn and Metz was playing the same night at Workplay. It was a Wednesday night and both shows had a really great turnout and a few years ago that just would not have happened. Birmingham is starting to draw the crowds it needs for bigger bands, and they’re starting to come here.

After dropping such a massive labor of love, what can we expect next from Dommel Mosel?

So what I have coming up right now is all very tentative but I’m ready to get on it. I have a lot of songs written and I just want to start recording all of them. Specifically, I’m going to start recording another album with John Paul. Also recording another EP (maybe album) with Jake (From Eleven Year Old). Other than those things I just kind of want to release Crybaby, play at Happenin Fest, start trying to plan out short little tour, and write more songs.

Dommel Mosel’s album Crybaby will be available June 13 from Happenin Records.

Drew Price

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Drew Price’s intimate Heart Felt Candy was a release that made good on the promise of it’s title, and on June 13 the full extent of sincere sweetness can be heard via the release of the extended version. The Birmingham artist known for output under his name, and/or Drew Price’s Bermuda Triangle brings the home recorded bedroom-fi feelings in earnest brush strokes that blend subtle psych blazes with untouched, and non-plussed deliveries of journal entry-like lyrics that recall and recount meanings from the passing days.

“Lockdown” gets the party started like a house party placed in a containment house arrest hold, as “Green Taxi” recounts date nights out on the town with genuine passing thoughts and perspectives that simmer like a sunny day with minor inflections of electric guitar bursts. The subdued serenity that abounds on the album is expressed in full thematic form on the title track’s slow and sludged out song of “chances and romances,” that continues these motifs further on the tear jerking, “Sad Sound”, that softly, and swiftly drops you to the new suave Southern soliloquy style that looks beyond local legends & lore alone on, “Apart From This Town”.

Cranking up the party with some slippery 70s mechanical drum machine fun is the fuzzed up fun on, “Make A Joke”, keeping on his own strange hustle in the vintage NYC art-damaged underground ode, “Coolin Out” (think Alan Vega sitting on stripped down sessions for “Sister Ray”, and “Cool It Down” respectively), taking it back to the legacies of metal gurus and contemporary indie idols (where there is a slight lyrical-delivery nod to Girls’ “Lust For Life”), keeping the plugged in and switched on mode reverberating on the experimental interlude-esque blaster, “Slip Slam Crash Knot”. Taking things to the closing mark, Drew pours out his heart through tripped out mid wonder trove that is the sky-walking, “Let ’em Walk”, before you are bid adieu with the power pop distorted expressionism/impressionism found on the infectious, “Who Can Lock The Door?”. Keeping up with the multi-talented musician, we bring you our latest interview with Drew Price, immediately after the following debut listen to, Heart Felt Candy (extended).

Tell us about about this presentation of Heart Felt Candy (extended), and how this release is impacted by the new feature extensions.

Heart Felt Candy was originally a 4 song package I released for free download on bandcamp. I wanted to put out a cassette with my boys to make it a triple wammy bammy release from Happenin, so I added some other recordings I had lying around to extend “Heart Felt Candy” into a full length cassette release.

What’s been happening in your world since the last time we talked around the original release of Heart Felt Candy?

I’ve become a travel agent. I’ve also started working on some video projects with a good friend of mine, Wade Collier. We created a short film called “Buddy Rose”, and it’s been screening at some various art events in the region. These projects are in many ways musically driven, but it’s also very exciting to work with the other layers that video offers as a medium. You can watch our first short here 🙂 >>> https://vimeo.com/120979436

From the original sessions of these ultra-personal songs, what are your feelings, and thoughts hearing them now?

I don’t know. I try not to think about that too much. I hope it’s good.

What is it about that 70s stomp & clap drum machine dynamic that you love to fuse with your fuzz so much? It’s a dynamo combo to be honest.

Ha, I agree. It’s just style to me. You know, shout out to Mike Leander. I think he’s responsible for that. Gary Glitter, Marc Bolan. Even Kanye knew it was cool. He does it in Black Skinhead.

What have you been working on that you are really excited to bring out in the world?

The new me!

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It’s always cool hearing what you’ve been playing on your stereo, and was just wondering what top three things have been in your regular rotation?

MOOD HUT!!!

Also, I’ve fallen back into Randy Newman, A Tribe Called Quest, and Miles Davis lately.

Drew Price psychic insights into what the future might hold for music, pop culture, and more?

Pure insanity, virtual realities, the singularity, meta meta meta meta meta.

Drea Price’s Heart Felt Candy (extended) will be available June 13 from Happenin Records.

Eleven Year Old

Eleven Year Old, photographed by Neil Jackson.

Eleven Year Old, photographed by Neil Jackson.

Birmingham trio Eleven Year Old have been making some of the noisiest sounds around, that spins garage nugget nostalgia on it’s head for something scuzzier, scruffier, and drenched in blessed (and blissed) distortion. A trio made up of guitarist/vocalist Jacob Hethcox, bassist Sam Reynolds, and dummers Max Andrews; they see their Happenin Records debut with the turnt-up, American Lizards, available June 13. Wake up the family, call up all the neighbors, and point your speakers out the window as EYO brings you sonic freak-out-fest for the senses.

American Lizards begins with the lunarian watching guitar howler, “Half-Moon Sight”, that shreds into whirling merry-go-round ride whims of, “Black Door”, before knocking the roof of with blinding fury and quick paced fight on the title track. Turning up the action and everything just a few more notches on the dial, “A Hermit’s Blues” busts out of any sign of seclusion, before switching gears to the warbled, wah-wah jumble valentine, “Love Savant”. Playing it strange, and stranger, while having fun with all kinds of tonal dissonance, “Poochie” keeps it weird, paired next to the equally succinct pet-store song and squall, “Box Turtle”, continuing to explore the various inherent aspects, and avenues of unbound expression on, “Dissolve”, to surreal stew of sound & scents that linger about, “Smell Human”, and all the while continuing to press ahead past any sign of creative limitation through an originally etched kind of alchemy as heard on, “With Spell”. The parabola like shape of “Music To Sneak To” is reminiscent of a transitional sequence from a classic spy film, right before firing on full meter blast on the bright burning hope for burnouts and more with, “Permanently Stuck Faded”, right before leaving you with haunted candle cut that is guaranteed to melt both your mind and heart in one fell swoop. Eleven Year Old’s own Jacob Hethcox joined us for an interview featured right after the following debut listen to, American Lizards.

Tell us about the beginning of EYO, that brought us the amazing indie single “Spitting Contest” to your latest and greatest, American Lizards album.

Sam and I have been playing music together for almost ten years now. We started recording a few years ago, after I showed him a five-song bedroom-demo from 2008. We recorded a few songs, but ended up scrapping that first album because I wasn’t satisfied with the sound quality. That’s when I got a tape machine and recorded Harakiri Krishnas. At this point, we kept busy recording and weren’t playing any shows. Eleven Year Old started performing live in 2013 and I wrote maybe half of the songs on American Lizards during that first year.

While having stayed true to your sound, what have you noticed about how the band has grown up while remaining steadfast to the original blueprint/battle plan?

I feel I’ve become more open to suggestion. We’ve started writing as a group, which wasn’t the case before Max came in on drums, last year. Mostly I think it has to do with finding the right ‘fit.’ I think we’re also just becoming better musicians.

EYO, photographed by Tyler Essary.

EYO, photographed by Tyler Essary.

American Lizards feels like one of your tightest, most polished executions while remaining so raw and faithful to your sound that has been around for the past half a decade. What was the secret to this sonic trick?

Travis Swinford, ha ha. He let me borrow his microphone and gave me some tips for recording digitally…which I’ve been wary of. The mix is by his loving hand as well. Another friend, John Paul Foster (of No Cool Studios), mastered the tracks and gave them a nice sheen. It was a heart-breaker when our tape machine died on us, but honestly this sounds better than anything we’ve recorded in the past. A lot of what you’re hearing on American Lizards is me navigating digital recording for the first time. It’s pretty much how it sounded in the room I recorded in, so I guess an amateur’s intuition might also play a role in the sound.

Walk us through some of the favorite moments from releases like A Hermit’s Blues, Waste Me, M I L D C H I L D, and Harikiri Krishnas. Also too, a lot of your fellow Birmingham colleagues, fellow artists, friends, and so forth have referred to EYO as one of Birmingham’s best bands around. How do you all respond to such high praise?

I’m not really sure what you mean by favorite moments, just a simple thank you! We’re glad our friends and peers enjoy what we’re making!

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Top three releases, or songs that you all have been digging lately?

I know Sam has been listening to the Birdman soundtrack and some Paul Simon. Max says he’s been on The Melvins’ weirder material and also revisiting Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime.

I’ve personally been locked into a Willy Nelson trip, since my friend Derek turned me on to Phases and Stages. A lot of Sabbath too, but that’s all the time. Wand is currently my favorite touring band. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to their two albums.

Summer plans? Fall plans?

We’re excited about this summer, since American Lizards comes out in June. We’re also playing Secret Stages, a festival here in Birmingham, and hopefully hitting a few nearby cities we’ve yet to play, specifically Mobile and New Orleans. In the fall we may be finishing up writing our third album, who knows.

American Lizards will be available June 13 from Happenin Records.

Plains

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We have kept up with Travis Swinford’s Plains with releases like the Drew Price collaborative split, The New Love Crowd, Stone Cloud, and now presents an advance listen to the forthcoming Happenin / Lolipop Records cassette, Delicate Living. Joined by Eleven Year Old’s Jacob Hethcox on drums, Travis thumbs his nose up in the face of conformity and the comforts of complacency for an autonomous lifestyle that runs with one of Birmingham, AL’s coolest packs around.

Travis Swinford starts the new Plains album off with the riff ripping rocker, “Pink Teardrops”, that crashes it’s freight train engine into the DIY ballroom dancing etiquette of, “Candy Waltz”. Like a date night gone awray and downhill too early; “Lonely Heart” continues the narrative of Delicate Living that follows the weirdness, strangeness, and coolness of the world through the peculiar corners of Birmingham. The title cut takes a subterranean turn down the lo-lo-fi rabbit hole that sounds like a claustrophobic cut while buried beneath the covers of sheet linens, and a downy comforter. The home recorded touch shines with some of those B-ham signatures that keeps one foot set in Southern DIY psychedelia and the other dedicated to the city slicker swagger of yesterday’s NYC heroes. The snarky and disaffected deliveries that Travis delivers are kept in jovial, playful spirits as heard on, “The Fun”, to kicking it up a bit with the big man on campus attitudes on, “Like a Man”. The ways of romance rise up toward the end of Delicate Living as heard on the soft shoe dance ode, “Oh Camina”, before keeping the freakshow rolling for just one more with, “Freakyteen”. We got a chance to catch up with Travis to discuss the new Plains album, immediately following the debut stream of Delicate Living.

Feel like Delicate Living has been in the works for a while, long since before your joint Noumenal Loom/ Happenin Release a while back ago. Tell us about the delicate process of making this album.

Delicate Living is actually the full name of DL Hugley lol. No but in some ways, this album had been in the works for a hot minute — other parts just fell together. “The Fun”, for example, is a song that I had written and recorded a version of a couple of years ago. Most of the songs on this album have been in the works for some while. I decided to spend more time with lost lines and unfinished riffs to build tighter songs. It was a balance between throwing in new ideas and molding earlier material.

What did you learn about yourself as a musician, and artist from the experience of making Delicate Living?

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Maybe it was having recorded a few albums, but I became more careful and patient with my process. When I first started revisiting older lines and melodies, I felt kind of lazy—as if I wasn’t actually writing new material. But it doesn’t matter if it’s new or old. Building off old ideas feels like I’m ripping someone off—but who, me? If it’s me, it’s mine and maybe I should just spend a little more time with it. These songs are just slow cooked! Delicate Living taught to be more patient with my songs.

What sorts of feelings and moments gave rise to songs like, “Pink Teardrops”, or the title track, the White Fence-esque west coast revival freak pop on, “Like a Man”, and how maybe California indie pop music has perhaps informed your own sound?

Those three songs revolve heavily around the central theme to Delicate Living: the tightrope acts of going hard vs. living too soft, of dropping old knowledge, refreshing beliefs, and practices. “Pink Teardrops” is about taking music experience too seriously. I think it comes from shows being where a lot of people became socialized into their cliques and styles. It’s hard to shake those baby fears (those pink teardrops) of acceptance.

Delicate Living is about the ‘strap in/sit down/get soft’ attitude I’ve fought against growing up. It’s about how actually gross a cushy life can be — of feeling very restless in excess softness. Being too chill can be a trap. “Like a Man” takes a more angst-y approach to this feeling. The line ‘dress like a man, dance like a monkey’ really sums it up. I was hesitant to use “Man” but in this context it really is a poke on what it means to “be a man” to so many; the idea often means being someone’s circus act. The trade off for being a circus act is a comfy life- but that’s sedating, not fulfilling.

I never thought I was influenced specifically by west coast sounds. I think what’s going on over there is rock n’ roll touching back on its basic instruments and vibe, as well as being a source of positive, fun energy. Rock n’ roll doesn’t have to be aggressive. Aggression just breeds more and is such a bummer. Don’t like hearing people bitch like it’s their fashion.

Speaking of California business, how did the alliance with the Lolipop crew come about as well?

Plains played a couple of shows with Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel here in Birmingham, AL. Tomas and Wyatt from Lolipop are in the band. They dug it and wanted to release a Plains tape. I’m really happy they were into it. I love that people in other scenes and circles are sharing and finding the music.

Top three artists that you feel deserve more recognition in the international music communities?

First I would definitely say Horrible Houses out of Sweden. Daniels Johnsson, the maker, is constantly peddling out touching, strange melodies. The music sounds like it comes from nothing anywhere or anything lying around. It’s pop and so much more. Daniel is a true artist.

Second, I would have to say this groovy band Tops from Montreal. I happened to see them at a show here in Birmingham and was blown away. They were nothing but posi vibes, playing catchy pop tunes, but slaying their instruments.

Also must shout out to Les Halles from France. The last cassette came out on Noumenal Loom, but it was their Invisible Cities that really caught me. Their meditative loopy flute tracks sound like Les Halles is putting new messages into the sky — new laws of sound.

What else continues to move you about the Birmingham tight network of scenes, artists, and imprints?

The scene here is encouraging. All of the albums coming out right now on Happenin are made by best friends who are all completely doing their own thing. I think that’s pretty cool.
I think the B-ham scene is also getting to a point to where all of the little imprints and music cliques are beginning to merge together — seeing more of each other. It’s a good thing, because now there are so many musicians here, we don’t have space for small sects.

Plains/ Travis Swinford plans for summer?

I’ll be with Dommel Mosel and Drew Price at their album release show (along with Eleven Year Old) on June 13 at Seasick Records. The Delicate Living album release show is June 19 here at the new (freaking bomb AF) music venue Saturn. I’ve already got some new songs in the canon for another album. Hopefully will be ready to release by September.

Plains’ new album Delicate Living will be available June 13 from Happenin/Lolipop Records.

Holly Waxwing

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The recent weeks, and months were populated by credible rumors between credible parties and sources about Holly Waxwing’s forthcoming Peach Winks EP available on via Cascine / Noumenal Loom, and we can finally share the shear xylophonic-ultra-harmonic splentor of, “Vibe”. A continuation from the recent narrative heard on the CSCN single, “Chalant”; the Noumenal Loom label co-founder Garrett Crosby draws from an assortment of bright sounds that find their own logical habitats according to note, tone, and rhythm that determine where they fit within the Holly Waxwing electronically enabled bio-system menagerie of sounds.

“Vibe” begins with the polyrhythmic cornucopia of percussive elements and note drops that sound like a hive of digital creatures all communicating with each other according to their own set of sciences. The series of seemingly abstracts of audio edits burrow their own abodes and niches within a world where the eastern leaning chimes strike punctuated cadences that confers with the current movement for making the most precise pop imaginable. The wonderful universe of Holly Waxwing can be heard throughout the sporty track where all the combined components disparate sounds find a certain natural harmony and order that only points toward more exciting things to arrive with the Peach Winks EP, and beyond. Read our latest Holly Waxwing interview, right after the following listen to “Vibe”.

First up, give us the latest report on what’s good in Birmingham, AL all indie everything these days.

Birmingham has a lot of exciting stuff going on at the moment. First and foremost though, the neotropical birds just finished migrating through the Southeast — I got to see a molting summer tanager, a common yellowthroat, a black-crowned night heron and an indigo bunting for the first time. My friends and I are working on developing a really curated and special dance night for Birmingham, we should have something concretized by late summer. Birmingham seems receptive to all kinds of music, but we’re more hesitant to dance than we should be — I hope to change that while I’m here! I’m hoping some great southern producers crawl out of the woodwork as this project gains momentum. I’m really looking forward to Happenin Fest this year. My close friend, and previous roommate, Chris McCauley runs Happenin Records and their Festival is always one of the most joyous events in town each year.

In the time between your CSCN single, “Chalant”, and Teengirl Fantasy remix; give us the break down on the newer, more pronounced adventures that ring forth on “Vibe”.

“Vibe” started out as just a fun jingle, I liked it but didn’t anticipate developing it further. Here’s a fun little New Hive I made for the early version (http://newhive.com/hollywaxwing/vibe). Earthly, who my label is releasing a vinyl for in July, loved on Vibe from the start and encouraged me to develop it more. Vibe is the opposite of cynicism, vibe comes with open arms. This is what I want to bring to the table. Also, it’s a sort of avatar for the project. I hope this song is a universal ASMR trigger and brings people together. Nestle into a comfy color and close your eyes.

What sort of vibrations of your digitally sparkling wind chime style guided your thoughts, heart, and spirit during the creation of, “Vibe”?

An attempt to stratify and give contours to micro-postures, soft looks, discreet winks, skin tones, sleights of hand and the longing wet eyes of a Northern Lapwing.

Tell us more about the making too of your EP for Cascine.

Well I took a really long time to make it, hah. I think all of the songs kind of feel like singles and realms of their own. I definitely shifted my focus more towards percussion, MIDI instruments and began using fewer samples on this EP. I try to maintain a spaciousness and breathability throughout the EP even though its pretty crowded and relentless ;^)

Your label Noumenal Loom and Cascine both cater and appeal to your own sort of sophisticated, and forward thinking approaches that are encompassed in nearly every part of both your respective repertoires, and aesthetics. What do you feel is the importance implementing a sort of aesthetic ethos, or a decree, or demand for this bliss bathed approach that has one foot in the sound of now, and one in the world of tomorrow?

With such an onslaught of information I feel like a lot of people don’t make time for anything that’s not curated well. I know I can be that way, maybe to a fault sometimes. I want to make sure NL artists get the reception they deserve, and curation is a big part of that.

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What other sort of co-operations between you, your label, and other artists can you tell us about right now?

On July 24th our first solo vinyl release, Earthly’s debut ‘Days,’ will be available! We’re repressing 100 cassettes of my debut EP ‘Goldleaf Acrobatics’ as well as a cassette version of my Peach Winks EP for Cascine. Two other top secret vinyl projects in the works. Lastly, we have plans to release a Virtual Reality realm/album in late summer or fall!!!

Which artists for you have been having quite an affect, and appeal to your own musically minded heart?

Wishdasher, Holly Herndon, Lucky Dube, Rich Homie Quan, Jib Kidder, Earthly and all of Andras Fox’s mixes.

Looking into your own virtual crystal ball, can you tell us what the future of music, media, art, and culture looks like in the months, and years down the road?

Shifting the digital from a constant spiritual interjection to a safe haven & sanctuary. A retreat, not an evasion. A reconciliation, not a sleight of hand. Self-driving cars with artificial horizons designed by Sara Ludy, updating in realtime with a car’s motion, and a self-generating musical score based on your daily FitBit statistics.

Holly Waxwing’s upcoming Peach Winks EP will be available soon from Cascine/Noumenal Loom.

Cruzie Beaux

Cruzie Beaux, aka Kristina Reznikov.

Cruzie Beaux, aka Kristina Reznikov.

Cruzie Beaux, aka Kristina Reznikov (formerly of Drop Electric, Blanche Has Friends) introduced her new sounds to the world with, Demo 1, and now gives us a fresh listen to the new single, “Mrs. Dick Van Dike”. Headlining DC9 tomorrow, May 30 in Washington DC; Kristina cruises her Cruzie project toward new found expressions of dance floor delights, designs, and adventurism.

The new track, “Mrs. Dick Van Dike” demonstrates Reznikov building upon drafts, and sketches of sound work from the past and present. The tension and moods play like cinematic soundtracks that echo the electro chamber atmospheres heard from her work in Drop Electric, Blanche Has Friends, to the exploded new realized avenues brought by the new cult of Cruzie Beaux. “Van Dike” finds Kristina raising up all those earlier notions to manifest those preconceptions to literal higher stratospheres of pop consciousness that brings to life the best of IDM influenced pop madams and misters from the decades past, slammed forward to the near, and dear present.

Kristina lent some words on the making of “Mrs Dick Van Dike”, the Cruzie Beaux headlining DC show May 30, with a few hints at what’s next:

“Mrs. Dick Van Dike” started out as a song that I wanted to be a lot harder than my usual stuff. There was a lot of screaming and heavy guitars. As tends to happen when people write by themselves, the track became more and more electronic; I started to feel like Dick Van Dyke in the classic one-man-band scene from Mary Poppins. I was flailing around a bit with all the choices I had for the direction of the song to go in. Hence the lyrics, “I am dressed in all the songs I write.” The song ended up being a very uplifting, but lyrically sparse song. Maybe even a little bit electro-post-rock. I’ve always really loved that kind of sound; hopefully other people might like to relate it to the hypnotic kind of feel I love in a lot of Orbital or Future Sound of London tracks. The track was mixed by Mat Leffler-Schulman at Mobtown Studios and he said it reminded [him] of Apollo 440.

By the way the track title spells Dick Van Dyke’s name as “Mrs. Dick Van Dike” on purpose! Just to change it up a little.

DC9 is going to be off the chain. I’m singing and DJing my set, with my friend Jay Nemeyer (Color Palette) on guitar. What I’m most excited about are all the additions that we’ve added to the already released tracks from “Demo 1”, and of course some new live tracks we’ve added. Parts of the set are going to be pretty trippy.

I’m planning on playing a lot of shows from here on out. Hopefully Cruzie Beaux will be playing a lot around the east coast. I’m also going to start on a full length album that might be more on the catchy side; it will involve a lot of acoustic guitar work mixed with electronics. Hopefully that will be done sometime in winter ’16.

Jackson Boone

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Delivering some insights of wonder and exposition of inner workings, it is our pleasure to present the world premiere of the mini-documentary that chronicles the recording process of Jackson Boone’s second album, Natural Changes. Captured by Ryan Bell of the sessions produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Riley Geare out in a beach house on the Oregon coast from October, 2014 that illustrates of Boone’s own style of sea faring cosmic folk. Recording again with Radiation City bassist Randy Bemrose, and a quintet band made up of members from Coma Serfs and Sinless; they congregated on the release heels of Jackson’s debut album, Starlit, in the orange modern comforts of a beach side residence owned by Boone’s grandfather. With the new album Natural Changes available in September, watch as Jackson and friends derive a kind of cosmic energy from the rolling waves of the Pacific ocean.

Ryan Bell follows the band from the first day of tracking, to mini-market runs, gear set-up assemblies, and plenty of sessions taking place with a back drop of limitless sea. Here you can watch and listen as Boone and the band puss toward psych bathed folk in sessions for the sonic coast home chemistry of “Moon Beams”, acoustic resonance on “Runaway”, slurry surreality of “Strawberry Vibes”, the earth awaking audio quake of “Open”, and more. Moments of playful banter, serious focus times, and even family times paint a candid, and endearing portrait of the artist and cohorts. Jackson Boone shared the following thoughts with us on the making of a documentary, about the making of Natural Changes:

the Oregon coast in October of 2014 for a two week recording session in an ocean-front, ’70s-mod, beach house. Most of music was recorded while we looked out over the Mystical Pacific Ocean. There was a full lunar eclipse ten days in, but the best parts of the record were made in the beautiful ocean twilight, between three and whenever the sun finally decided to dip below the horizon. There were nine or ten musicians involved in the session, and a friend of mine from LA was there shooting a documentary to capture the process. My final cut of Natural Changes is a cohesive and cosmic nine tracks—straight from Cannon Beach. It’s hard to know how these things are going to turn out when you’re making them, and exciting when you feel they came out right.

Natural Changes will be available in September.

Jordannah Elizabeth

Jordannah Elizabeth, photographed by  Breck Omar Brunson.

Jordannah Elizabeth, photographed by Breck Omar Brunson.

Having spoken to us recently about her album, A Rush, the Al Lover remix of “Prayer For Black America”, and more; our hero on the rise, Jordannah Elizabeth shares her acoustic demo, “How Hard Can It Be (Bedroom Recording One 2015)” that counts her surroundings in a happenstance manner of thought. The various objects observed by Jordannah contain a charged quality that takes account of books, things, diamond rings, and prohibitive ice cream that all collect in the casual inventory that awakened life to a new day brings. With a three track single coming this August, Jordannah also has a book deal in the works with Zero Books featuring essays, music journalism pieces, and essays on music journalism, and more coming soon. But more on all this in a moment.

Jordannah Elizabeth was also so cool and kind to break down her new single and more for us with the following exposition:

“How Hard Can It Be (Bedroom Recording One)”

The recording was a total freestyle. I had just handed in a very challenging feature article that I’d been working on for nine days and took a very satisfying nap to celebrate. I’m not the strongest sleeper, so I when I woke up from experiencing great sleep I felt awake and energized. This led me to feeling a bit restless since I had done all my work and it was late in the evening. I remembered I’d been going on and on about writing new songs to my band mates and some musicians I hoped to collaborate with for a new late summer single. I recorded “How Hard Could It Be” because, well, I’d promised like five people some demos.

It was an intrinsic freestyle. I just let the words flow from my mouth. I recorded the entire thing in about 22 minutes. The minimal guitar riff I played was something I’d been developing so I fell right into it and sang vocals at the same time. I threw a quick second guitar riff over it and some back up vocals on the hook and for the intro.

What is the song about?

It’s an ironic song. I’m in no way wealthy but I don’t struggle like I used to. So, I was kind of looking at myself like, “Yeah you work hard, but you’re safe and warm right now.”…which is still something I struggle to get used to after many years of being pretty poor.

Lyric: “I’m surrounded by books and things and diamond rings and ice cream I can’t eat” – My room is lined with book shelves, I’m reading a couple of books now, and I sleep with them. They stay in the corner of my bed. I had been collecting little pieces of jewelry for a photo shoot I had coming up and had just traveled to the Berkeley flee market to hang out with my bff and visit the booth she had set up there the day before. I invested in a necklace to support her…and ice cream I can’t eat? I lay off the sweets to stay in shape. I love sweets so I’m a little upset about not getting to indulge like I want to.

I was just singing about the little things in my life. The little things that make up my life. None of my songs are the same, a number of them aren’t about me at all, but…I don’t know, I just had some energy to drop a cute little track. It’s free to download.

I’ll be releasing a three track single of folk-soul inspired songs in August 2015. The single will be for free. I just want to make art at this point in my music career. I’m not concerned about making money or touring.

Also, the UK based book publisher, Zero Books will be publishing a collection of my music journalism articles, essays and interviews. The book is called: “Don’t Lose Track Vol 1: Articles, Essays and Q&As by Jordannah Elizabeth. Keep an eye out for it!

Future Twin

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As a longtime of SF art-activist heck raisers, and all DIY everything enthusiasts; I had the pleasure of working production on Future Twin’s video for “We’re Here”, along with Aaron Bray, Antonio Roman-Alcalá, Erin Feller,Yukako Ezoe, Naoki Onodera, Miguel Arzabe, directed by frontwoman Jean Jeanie and Sascha Schoberl. Originally from their Chillality EP, the video stars Daphne O’Neal, Andrew McKinley & Stephanie VanDerLinde breaking out of the bonds of their routines for a sporadic chance for colorful action, and magic.

Filmed in conjunction with Last Wave Film on locales from the Tides Theater & Shelton Studios, to the pastel neon paint splashed narrative arc apex in Clarion Alley and all of it’s mural visual richness. Eye and mind opening experiences occur to the lives of three individuals of disparate corners of the socioeconomic scales who go to find what they want on their own. It is this striking light bulb/lightning in a bottle moment where the knit masked presence of Jeanie (courtesy of Tracy Widess of Brutal Knitting) finds the three former strangers converging together down Clarion alley toward a common purgation of color, and unrestrained ecstatic energy. Right after the following video for “We’re Here”, read our recent interview with Future Twin’s Jean Jeanie.

How have you, Future Twin, your friends, and community been surviving?

I’ve been surviving by being blessed with good friends that I can count on when it really comes down to it. My band’s been surviving by being permeable so that people can come and go as they get displaced, or have a baby, or move to Los Angeles. Sometimes its all three. My friends are surviving by accessing and creating alternative living solutions. Some people call it a tiny home movement. Other people call it urban camping. There’s also an underground sharing economy, and not the bastard lyft or airbnb versions. Fuck Lyft, Uber and AirB&B. No, I’m talking about the real sharing economy. Where people put items on the street before the thrift or the trash. I found lights for this tour on the street outside my house the day I left. Or when people put you up when you need a place to crash, or you help a friend grow greens and they give you some of the harvest. My community has been surviving by vehemently opposing the circling vultures aka real-estate speculators aka modern-day colonizers. We survive by banding together, in solidarity.

What has you hopeful about the future of the Bay and the world, and the future of the new arts?

I’m hopeful about emerging ways of how to design systems. A society is a very complex system. There are emerging models of how to de-commodify space in urban centers, called community land trusts. I’ve been volunteering on the board of a housing nonprofit in SF, called the San Francisco Community Land Trust, for over two years. We buy properties on the open market, in San Francisco, and instate the current residents as resident owners, and provide ongoing education on how to cooperatively finance and steward these spaces, these homes. Our website is www.sfclt.org. There’s also an Oakland Community Land Trust, and a Northern California Community land trust. Creating more avenues of how people can engage and maintain autonomous space is key to so much, in terms of egalitarianism and quality of life. Of course there should always be some oversight, to ensure a balance of power. Autonomy is very powerful. La via Campesinos in Chiapas Mexico is also very exciting, and the liberation of the Gill Tract aka Occupy the Farm, in Berkeley, CA, is very exciting.

What do you mean by new arts? When I think of new arts, I think of ways to reflect. I think of a realm where people can all take part in leisure, enough to space out now and then, write a poem, make a painting, grow a garden….write a song. Sing it to your loved ones. New arts are realms where everyone can take part. Old arts are ones commissioned by monied interests where the content is controlled, the message is watered down…I’m excited to see more and more creations where people challenge the status quo, invite the audience to participate, blur the lines between performer and observer. I’m excited to see more art that uses conceptual practice as a method to challenge unjust laws that are still legal. I’m excited by projects like Mediengruppe Bitnik’s “Random Darknet Shopper,” and creating in the realms of “network critical media,” or what I might call, “prefigurative media and network design;” media that critically, experientially and authentically confronts the network on which it relies. I’m excited that SFAQ started a publication in Mexico City. I’m excited about getting away. And I’m excited about coming back. I’m excited to exist in this life. To help shape things, if I can.

Tell us what’s next for Future Twin post-Chillality?

We’ll be releasing a full-length album soon, our first. We’re planning to record another EP or maybe a full length depending how the flow is going, in New Orleans this Fall. We’re going to do some fundraising later this summer to hire musicians for their studio time, hire a producer and engineer….so keep your fingers crossed that we can pull it off!

Who are other fellow artists that you want to recognize who are doing great things these days, locally, and elsewhere?

For the first time in my life, about two months ago, I downloaded my first album from iTunes. Ha ha I know…I was mystified by how it showed up on my phone after I bought an album from my laptop. Anyway…I found myself exclusively purchasing music from emerging female artists. There’s a rad band out of Union City in East Bay, called Little Sister. They’re top notch. Then I made the leap and snagged some Soko, the Savages’ Silence Yourself (They have a great song called “Fuckers“). Will Sprott, who lives in Seattle now, just released an EP [Vortex Numbers] on Hairdo Records and it’s exactly what hits after a long day. His song about being a dog waiting on the porch for his love to come home, coz all he wants to do is roll around in the backyard together, is pretty touching and beautiful.

Favorite moments from the making of the video for “We’re Here”?

My favorite moments were definitely puking rainbows in Clarion Alley. Gotta love those real world tricks. And smashing laptops (that we got for free from Tech Collective’s trash pile, thanks Tech Collective!) over and over again…you know, for the film…..not to vent our city’s frustration with tech or anything…

Will there be a “Summer Song” video? Every version of that song ever made is so cool, and powerful.

Oh thank you! I’m not sure if we have one planned yet, do you have any ideas? Maybe we could film something while on the road to New Orleans…there’s lyrics about a road trip, and lots of hair references. We could get some good hair shots…

Future Twin 2015 plans?

Well, I’m playing with a producer and singer, Chelsea Muehe aka Charlie Cannon. She’s pretty awesome. Together we’ve built an even more dynamic entity that can swiftly roam about this vast continent. I also recently co-purchased a van with one of my besties Aaron Bray. So yea! More touring!! And the New Orleans trip. Hit us up if you want us to play your city!

Big causes in 2015 all activist artists should be aware of all around the world, and in their own backyards and front yards?

There’s a CA state law coming up this Fall called “Right to Rest,” that will allow folks to occupy public space when and where they need it. Since it’s a state law, it would override city laws like “Sit/Lie” that criminalize low income people who often need to take rest in pubic spaces. The United Nations recently deemed ordinances like “Sit/Lie” to be a human rights violation. That shit’s gotta go.

The world is a big place. Yet small. I hope to be able to hear more and more stories conjured up by the certain people living there, in that time and in that certain place. Again, let us know if you want us to play your city! You can always reach us at hello@futuretwin.com.

Invader Ace

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We bring you a listen to Scandinavian duo, Invader Ace’s DDIY EP that combines rhythm machines, guitars, and, uh, a tuba.The opening banger starts the glitz dazzling dance inspirations with “Hen Is Out There”, with the cautionary chill lounge plea for pause on, “Don’t Do It Yourself”, implying a movement to reach out for help, as the synths trip along the zapped frontiers lorded over by Luke Temple. Jet grinding skate boarding sensations kick flip through the contempoary futurism pop of, “Jet Set Radio Future”, closing out with a cloudy and wavy whirling homage to international nu-EDM dude, “Avicii”. The duo shared with us the following insights on the DDIY release, and the merits of not always doing everything yourself.

Usually modern dance music is made with computers. Invader Ace tries to create that precise machine timing and sound, but with our custom built rig of cheap electronics and vintage tube radios. Building that rig in order to write and rehearse was the first part of the process of creating the EP, and it was a very DIY thing to do. But when we were to record the EP we were tired of doing everything ourselves, and that’s how we came up with the title of the EP. DDIY. Don’t do it yourself. Pay someone else. So we did, by going into Strange Weather Studio in Brooklyn. And since we already knew all the music we could record the entire EP in a day virtually without overdubs or edits.

Using a DIY rig to emulate the sounds of computer made music, Invader Ace draws lines between vintage sound and modern dance tracks. With the help from a wall of 50s tube radios, they plunge into their own sonic landscape of gritty beats and club-tuba.

Lykanthea

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Having helped introduced the world to Lykanthea’s Migration in an epic interview/premiere feature, and now we bring you back to the elemental ambient worlds conjured up and curated by Lakshmi Ramgopal with the oceanic connections in Krist Mort’s b/w video for, “Parturition”. With a title that refers to the action of delivering offspring, Mort’s video chronicles a a kind of rebirth baptismal return to the sea that is traced from Lakshmi’s own movement from stone settings, to earth, sand, and the lapping, beckoning invitation of an endless cycle of tides. Proverbial reversions of returning to the womb are cast into a calming, evocative, and at times ominous entreaty to the enormous span of water, as a submission to mother nature is depicted as a sacrificial offering to the infinite expanses of ocean.

Lakshmi described the art of bringing the song, “Parturition” to life for us with the following insights:

We shot the video for “Parturition” in Italy at an Etruscan burial ground in Orvieto and the beach at Sabaudia. One of my favorite aspects of bringing “Parturition” to life resulted from Kristina’s request that I perform slow dance movements in front of the camera. As a child I studied Bharatanatyam, a dance form that originated in South India; the video gave me a chance to revisit some of the style’s movements in an unusual context. The result conveys the jittery unease and anxiety of the song’s lyrics in a beautiful, unexpected way.

Lykanthea’s Migration is available now via Bandcamp.

From the creative mind of London O’Connor, hear his new single, “Nobody Hangs Out Anymore”, from his upcoming debut album, O∆, available as a free download June 23. The chorus lightly trips like skipping steps throughout like a dazed day dream that slowly dances through the acknowledge valance layers of detachment that resonates in real ways, as heard on the verse:”All my friends are on the net, and all my friends are internet, and all of us are out of it, and none of us are into it…create destroy, make destroy, nobody kicks it, everybody wants it…nobody gets it.” That music box in slo-mo track title refrain drives home the alienation that so many of us feel in our shared (yet separated) URL altered reality of disaffection. This is a modern day hymn of contemporary observances for hearts, and minds that seek something beyond the allure of binary designed platforms and artifices.
Keep an ear out for more on this artist later this summer, and throughout 2015.

From her upcoming album, The Great Cybernetic Depression, available June 8 from Flying Nun/Lil’ Chief; we bring you Auckland, NZ’s own royal pop madam Princess Chelsea, and her Simon Ward video for, “Too Many People”. Bandmate Jonathan Bree (also from The Brunettes) who duts and co-produces makes an appearance in full vocoder form, featuring chill shirts from Daif King (of Golden Axe), dry ice atmospheres, and a throwback dystopian tale for today’s switched on/switched off sensibilities.

Lee Bannon takes you down memory-candy-cane lane on the bright western-ish, soundtrack stunner of the summer, “Disneμ Girls”, from the much anticipated album, Pattern of Excel, available July 10 via Ninja Tune. Also hear the following cut, “Artificial Stasis” which reminds us of a manufactured kind of stability that is replete with a sampled sporting instructional that appears between the atmospheric, and slowed vocal stew of stems.

Check out the metallic dripping visuals from the The Fashtons video that bring the visions from Maya Jane Coles alive for Nocturnal Sunshine’s “Believe”, ft. Chelou, off the self-titled album available May 26 from I/AM/ME.Check out the Nocturnal Sunshine video for, “Believe”, ft. Chelou, off the self-titled album available May 26 from I/AM/ME.

Hear The Orb’s swift edits from their forthcoming Moonbuidlng 273 AD available June 23 from Kompakt, bringing that UK electro banger soundcrafts closer to an ultra-galactic new world.

Introducing the duo Rööd, made up of Fredrik Forell and Sebastian Svensson Nylin from the Swedish group, Humfree Bug Art, who share the single, “Lugnet”, from their upcoming EP, Segersånger, available June 2 from their own imprint, TROPEEK. Fredrik and Sebastian hone in and zone in on the ambient approaches to chamber pop that utilizes a footstep-style rhythm that is blended with analog surface noise that steps carefully through the echoing corridors of puddles, and muffled vocals.

Jamaican Queens drop their album, Downers June 2, and right you are invited to put your phone on ‘do not disturb’, and kick start a keyed up insta-dance party, “Don’t Call Me Up”.

Frank Nitt’s Frankie Rothstein is available now from Fat Beats Records, and we bring you the video for, “Official Supreme”, ft. Botni Applebum handling matters on the vocals, and none other than the late great J. Dilla. Lives of luxury and officiality roll in the most leisurely of fashions, and confident vibes that keep on pressing ahead long after the tracks comes to a complete stop.

David Lynch’s music collaborator Dean Hurley dropped his own solo album, Thunder and Rain available here, and we present you with a short film that coincides with the soundtrack artist’s audio collage from Nicholas Wurz and William Renton.

Off Sunflower Bean’s July 24 slated 7″ for Fat Possum; hear the heroic harmony of dear, sweet heavy dissonance on Sunflower Bean’s “I Hear Voices”.

Check out the Michael Mongillo video for, “Anthropocene”, that mixes BMX bikes, boards, model babes, costumed ridiculous, spliced with performance footage of from Trans Am’s album, Volume X, available now on Thrill Jockey Records. You can find the band on the following dates listed below, followed by fun, fuzzy fare from the tried, and true trio you have loved for years.

July
05 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
06 Vancouver, BC – Fox Cabaret
07 Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
09 San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
10 Los Angeles, CA – Satellite
11 Las Vegas, NV – Bunkhouse Saloon
12 San Diego, CA – Casbah

Watch Mick Jenkins’ Nathan Smith directed video from his upcoming album, Waves[s], for the socio-cultural-economic-class decorum concerned song, “P’s and Q’s”. Catch Mick touring with Joey Bada$$ June 10-20.

Palmistry dropped their new single, “Memory Taffeta”, available from Mixpak, June 9. The London based artist shares emotive, treated vocals that are mixed with his muted dancehall understated tones that utilize an efficient, and maximized use of all instruments, presets, and consoles at Pamistry’s disposal.

Watch all the trembles, shakes, and jungle safari performance setting action in the Pete G.D. video for Django Django’s “Shake and Tremble” off the new album, Born Under Saturn, available now from Ribbon Music.

EZTV dropped the chord jumping, feeling bounce of the single, “Trampoline”, from the forthcoming album, Calling Out, available July 10 from Captured Tracks. The nostalgic air of summer holidays from future past come alive in the here and now.

Get ready to do a little scuzzy, fuzzy, and power chord casting of sinkers, lines, hooks, and more on “Ice Fishing”, from The Cairo Gang’s upcoming Goes Missing album, available June 23 from God? Records / Drag City.

Playing Philly tonight, and tomorrow night, May 30 in Brooklyn at Palisades (with the next tour dates running from June 11-20); watch the surreal animated Daniel Busheikin video for Grounders’ “Secret Friend” that matches the song’s American quilt style of lo-fi psych and circumstances, off their Nevado Records self-titled.

Seoul unveils the beauty of pure, genuine, true summer realness, and good vibes, “Real June”, off the upcoming album, I Become A Shade, available June 9 from Grand Jury. The sixth month of the year is celebrate through the channels of everything you love about sounds that take you to those places of alleviated burdens, and the moments where stress dissolves into the ether.

Hear High Wolf’s analog-electro mathematics of, “Maithuna”, off the Growing Wild album from Leaving Records available June 9. “Maithuna” rumbles like deep beat dish that kicks like the soundtrack from the coolest vintage martial arts film that has never been made.

Bruce Brubaker’s Glass Piano album will be available June 1 from InFiné, and we bring the following environ-chamber essences now with the following full album stream to inhabit, and interrupt your world with tapestries that spring forth from the keys.

Meet The Bats Pajamas, Toronto’s sweethearts who just released their new album, No Hello, on Fleeting Youth Records, and we have their video for, “T.V. Sheets”, that shows you all the many ways you can literally destroy, pummel, and kill your television in one of the best video comps you might see all year.

Catch Blast’s remix of Angelic Milk’s “IDK How” single from PNKSLM that presents vocals and keys that fall like snowflakes that descend, and dissolve upon contact with the sun’s rays.

From Louis Schwadron, formerly of The Polyphonic Spree; check out his neon gnosticism project, Sky White Tiger that dazzles the senses with the triangle symbol pageantry and restrained emotive delivery with the Frank De Leon-Jones video for, “Don’t Matter Much”. And though Louis swears up and down that the piano, and synth sustain alluded pains are nothing much; the execution of aural and visuals betray the idea of minisculity.

Playing this summer with Foxing, Lithuania, and Field Mouse hear mewithoutYou’s new passionate single of intense dramatics and situations retold on, “D-Minor”, from their June 16 album, Pale Horses, from Run For Cover Records.

From Weird Tree Records, hear the cool and collected tranquil punk pop big muff fun on the Dead Stars single, “Calm Punk”. The aggression associated with the over-macho spirit of rebellion rage set on overdrive is met by the pop, and power of real time garage believers.

Show Me The Body’s Week in Pop

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Having just released their self-titled EP via Letter Racer; we give you the exclusive guest selections with Show Me The Body’s Week in Pop:

Blast Murray and Afrofraktal, “Insurrection”

Show Me The Body

Show Me The Body

(The following featured photos appear courtesy of Walter Wlodarczyk, taken at Show Me The Body’s EP release party at SoHo Arts Club.)

DJ EFN feat. Don Logan (Gunplay) & Denzel Curry, “Lane 2 Lane”

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Remy Banks, “7th heaven (interlude)” (produed by MacKrule)

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DJ Nigga Fox, “Hwwambo”

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The Sediment Club, “B and the Electric Kill”

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Palberta, “Store”

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L.A. Carnival, “The Klan”

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