Week in Pop: Hills Like Elephants, Long Faces, Sun Voyager, Tattoo Money, Trak Joy

Sjimon Gompers

The latest from Track Joy's (from left), Shane Dinet, & Kile Atwater.

In the winter of our discontent and constant state of protest, Impose’s Week in Pop provides some headlines of inspiration featuring exclusives and insights from artists in the name of better tomorrows. But first scanning the news stories of entertainment buzz, we shrug our shoulders at the nominations for the 2015 Grammys Awards; applaud Killer Mike’s op-ed in USA Today regarding the issues with the way hip hop is represented in the American courtroom; John Maus’ Freudian psychological assessment of Ariel Pink finds that he is a nymphomaniac (and not a misogynist); A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord clothing line making exclusive Syracuse University apparel via partnership with Virgina Mega’s ‘Trap Lord Takeover‘; Grimes dropped the demo for “Go”; Courtney Love & Lana Del Rey’s “Endless Summer Tour” is on; Mac Demarco appeared on “The Eric André Show”; Andre 3000 revealed insights behind his motivations for a recent OutKast reunion tour; Meek Mill is now out of prison (but no tour gigs or traveling just yet, via the conditions of his release); Lil Wayne versus Cash Money label’s Bryan Williams over delays involving the release of Tha Carter V; despite an internet hoax, Axl Rose is in fact alive and well; Apple has allegedly deleted mp3s from competitors’ services; and we mourn the loss of Rolling Stones’ saxophone player, Bobby Keys; and Small Faces/Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, along with the loss of Gravenhurst, aka Nick Talbot.

But joining us today, we are honored and privileged to bring you world exclusives and interviews from Trak Joy, Tattoo Money, Hills Like Elephants, Long Faces, Sun Voyager, Girlfriends and Boyfriends, SmCity, Captain Supernova, Death Records, Little Envy, The Blind Shake, Holly Waxwing, Heavy Drag, Workman Song, co-curated by Surf Club, and more—in no particular order.

Trak Joy

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When the rising talents of Kile Atwater and Shane Dinet joined forces as Trak Joy, the world was filled with the unifying dance floor hit, “Skin“. A track designed to make all listeners feel all right with their own selves and in their own skin; the joy track gifts keep on giving as we premiere Trak Joy’s “By Your Side”, emboldened, and embodying the bold pop of pure commitment, unbound. As heard on Kile’s solo work like our premiere of “Low“; Atwater works the vocals along different expressions of harmonic appeal with the insistent promise from his “I’ll be around” refrain.

“I don’t think there is a secret recipe at all,” Kile explained to us in our interview from earlier this year, upon asking him and Shane how they created the audio essences of joy and bliss on a Trak Joy cut. “Make them sound as true to the person you think you are at the moment, while filtering through your influences and trying not to be your influences, but using them as tools instead,” Shane shared, as Kile elaborated by describing the mentality behind their process that enables them to creates tracks like “By Your Side”, or the previous single, “Skin”; “I just try to approach every song idea with a sense of openness. We aren’t really worried about anything but making good music and I think that comes across on “Skin” and in future tracks as well.”

Those future tracks in question get an answer on the dedicated display of Dinet’s adept production skills matched by Atwater’s unwavering honest and real harmonic song. “By Your Side” features Shane experimenting with applied keyboard and BPM effects and measures that both connect and knock against the devout delivery expressed in Kile’s soothing and sweet call of a timeless commitment. At a time when indie artists are writing more and more songs about honest, un-ironic stories of friendship and genuine companionship, Trak Joy explores these endearing terrains of amicable earth by re-inventing the down-tempo modern ballad to be spiced with copious amounts of pep and rhythms that echo into the air of drum kicks, hand claps, and friendly snares. We caught up again with both Kile and Shane to discuss their latest singles, and more in the interview following our premiere, of “By Your Side”.

We loved Trak Joy’s earlier single, “Skin”, and are wondering about what Ableton expansive additions came into play for both of you on the making of “By Your Side”?

Shane: By Your Side was an older track I made in FL Studio before I met Kile and started working with him. I go back and forth between Ableton and FL Studio all the time. With “By Your Side” I used Ableton to really compliment the melody. You’ll hear it a lot towards the end of the song.

You both have hinted to us before on an upcoming EP. What is the progress report on the extended player?

Kile: We have been working very hard on it this whole fall/winter and we are definitely expecting a January release. We will let you know the specific date very soon!

Kile, what sort of solo recordings and projects do you have in the works?

Kile: Right now I have tunnel vision and my head has been completely involved in Trak Joy. However, I have been writing constantly and I’ve been talking to a couple of rappers about writing and recording hooks for their respective projects. Solo stuff for me is further down the line though.

Shane, what’s the latest these days from Ether Teeth?

Shane: Ether Teeth has been recording, but it’s been a crazy year overall. Recording has been a bit hard here in NYC, I feel I need to find a cabin full of instruments and lock myself away for a bit. So no date in order for the next release.

How do both of you find that your other work informs what you all do as Trak Joy?

Kile: Shane knows a lot about underground music and all the music he’s shown me has made me dig deeper and do more sound research as a singer and songwriter. I’ve also been able to show Shane some great R&B music that I’m inspired by that he’s been able to take and mold into something suitable to his sound. Our collaboration has opened new worlds for the both of us.

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Words of joy and peace for this holiday season and the new year?

Kile: Love yourself more in 2015!

Shane: Jingle all the way!

Other artists that you can’t get enough of these days that the rest of the world hasn’t caught on to.

Kile: There’s this band called COMPNY that I’m a big fan of. Their song “Something Had to Give” is one of my favorites songs right now.

Listen to more from Trak Joy via Soundcloud.

Hills Like Elephants

San Diego's Hills Like Elephants are back.

San Diego’s Hills Like Elephants are back.

San Diego’s Hemingway loving sons, Hills Like Elephants, take us to the thrift shop in the premiere of the Eric Casas video for the notable-quotable precision of, “Misquote”. The So Cal band caught our attention with the release of The Endless Charade, devastating singles like “Fall Through“, to their second album, Feral Flocks, where the band grew to a quintet from a solo project started by frontman, Sean Davenport. Returning with a new visual and word of a new album titled, Tell Tales; we look further into the future with Hills Like Elephants.

Hills Like Elephants take over a second hand store, as Shane gets comfy in a vintage salon chair, singing about the effectiveness of word choices, and about the abilities, and difficulties that plague clear communication exchanges. While Sean leads the song from his stylist’s throne, the video’s plot pits the band against maniac thrift store employees who exact revenge on everyone that attempts to peruse through the back stock archives hoarded in the employees only area. As the band attempts to go searching for their lost brethren, a full war between the weirdo shop clerks and the HLE gang breaks out. As the action rises to a climactic body count, eccentric vintage wares, fake blood, funky attire, roller skates, and a rondo of wild histrionics bring the song of misinterpretations to a zany close. Keeping all weirdness intact, the conclusion of Davenport’s hair treatment leaves him with a shoulder length green mop top. Following the video debut of “Misquote”, check out our latest discussion with Sean in an interview after the jump.


It being almost a year since our last conversation, describe what you and the band have been up to.

Since we last spoke the band has remained busy as ever. We managed to self release an EP (Bedroom Colonies vol. 1) and are now releasing another LP (Tell Tales) while playing as many shows as possible. We’ve also all been trying to keep up with the rest of our lives, three of us got new jobs and one of our members had his first kid. So it’s been a wild year.

Following up Feral Flocks, what has it been like recording Tell Tales?

It’s funny how long ago it feels like since recorded Feral Flocks. The first album The Endless Charade was done as a solo venture and I put the band together after so when we went into to do Feral Flocks it was our first time in the studio as a band. Now we have spent a lot of time together and members of the band like Andrew contributed on the writing end. We also have a new drummer who came in while we were recording this (Michael Hams) and has been become an integral part of our outfit. We also spent a lot of time after going to Lost Ark Studios, editing and overdubbing ourselves. We wanted to be more critical and really take our time getting what we want.Our bandmate Greg Theilmann did a fabulous job mixing this and we are really proud of it.

What sorts of tales of have inspired these musical tellings?

The majority of ‘tales’ so to speak, that make up the lyrical inspiration of this particular album are reflections about getting older. I always try to be reflective yet not too serious, something that people maybe can relate to but also being somewhat satirical at the same time. I guess turning 30 will do that to you, the whole “What does it all mean”, while acknowledging the humor in life.

Hills Like Elephants kicking it, SD style. (courtesy of the band, single cover by the legendary Bob Carlos Clarke.)

Hills Like Elephants kicking it, SD style. (courtesy of the band, single cover by the legendary Bob Carlos Clarke.)

Give us the lowdown on the making of what looks like a fun time in the second hand store in the video for “Misquote” from Eric Casas.

We’ve had the privilege of working with Eric Casas a couple of times now and we really always have a fun time doing it. In our latest video it was kind of a comical evening all in all. We had this elaborate plot scheme going into the filming and then when we got to the actual location, we realized our initial idea was a little to complex and we came up with something ridiculous and goofy that we could do. It’s also a celebration to our love for B rated horror movies.

What else is new in San Diego, LA, So Cal, and so forth these days?

San Diego remains to be as beautiful as ever weatherwise and what not, the music scene seems to be growing by the day and we’re really excited about that. There’s a lot of support here especially for local bands , it’s really warming to be a part of.

What else can you tell us about the upcoming Tell Tales album, holiday plans, and more?

We are hoping to have the album officially released sometime in mid to late March. There will there will be a release party surrounding the date. Afterwards we will probably be doing a series of small tours in support of the album also we will be releasing another music video along the way.

Hills Like Elephants’ new album, Tell Tales will be available soon via Bandcamp.

Tattoo Money

Introducing Tattoo Money—also known as Peter Armour.

Introducing Tattoo Money—also known as Peter Armour.

NYC pop artist Pete Armour performs under the moniker Tattoo Money, who debuts his latest pop single, “Melt With You”. Returning from his recent “Inked America” tour, Pete has been recording a slew of  songs to comprise his album, The Brain, The Mind, The Heart. A concept album of sorts, the three components from the title comprise the facets of being that work their way throughout the album.

“Melt With You” fuses angular guitars with the modern old soul school of pop, where Tattoo Money puts his cards and dollars down to describe attributed combinations of near perfection, and losing conscious control to the overwhelming urges of infatuation. Pete paints the pictures of fantasy with a dream lover role play that is some kind of amalgam of J. Lo, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, etc. As Tattoo Money fixates on the mixing and matching of a supermodel type of superstar; he conveys the illogical operation of the heart’s fleeting desires that trump brain, and mind activity and objectivity in cognitive practice. “I tell myself, it’s mind over matter, but when you’re on my mind, you’re all that matters.” Dance along and melt away with Tattoo Money’s debut single “Melt With You”, as we explore his album, The Brain, The Mind, The Heart in closer, conversation detail in our following interview.

The images of combining the symbols of tats and cash together as Tattoo Money is a bold and brash flaunt of images. How did you dub yourself according to the order of body ink and dollars?

The name Tattoo Money actually really just means minimalism, even though it sounds like the opposite. I love making music, I’m compelled to and I have to do it to keep me sane. so the name tattoo money means I don’t need to be a multimillionaire as long as I have a roof over my head, food ,clothing and money for tattoos I’m happy. It might be trivial to add tattoos into those other essential needs, but screw it! Tattoo Money sounds cooler than ‘Food Money.’

I love the concept of The Brain, The Mind, The Heart; this whole dissection of the three central facets of human nature. How did this whole conceptual framework become your own thesis for an for an album?

The philosophy came to me the way most inspiration does: “A Girl.” I was seeing a girl and I knew she had strong feelings for me in her heart, but because she was living a certain alternative lifestyle, I think she tried to fight the feelings in her heart, with the power of her mind. And we were talking one night, it just all started coming out, and I remember saying something along the lines of “you want to be with me, in your heart, you know you do, but you have it set in your mind for whatever reason that you shouldn’t want this or couldn’t want this,” etc etc. Then I explained to her how the mind and the brain are two different things and she’s like “what!?!?” and I just broke it down and made it up on the spot. I have a bachelors degree in philosophy so I guess I was finally putting it to use!

“Melt With You” is a catchy song with a celebrity name checking similes, that provides a real big production that conveys the way heart and attraction thwart all mind, and brain over personal, intimate matters. How did this track about being sprung for the ideal pop star babe come about a pop single epic?

You totally get where the brain, the mind and the heart come into play on these songs! That’s dope!

“Melt With You” is a love song, to a girl I haven’t met yet. The verses are a lyrical composite sketch of my ultimate girl perhaps. I think we all have had times where we thought to ourselves based on previous people we have dated “if I could take this piece of “blank” and put it with the looks of “blank” and the kissing skills of “blank” that would be the perfect person” and although I haven’t dated those celebs (yet), I figured using names people are familiar with would take them to that same place of making that composite of the perfect person. And the “Melt With You” concept is just going based of the fact that sometimes when you meet someone you really dig, you just fall to pieces and become an idiot, ha.

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All of your singles are pretty eclectic, do you consciously incorporate a bevy of styles into your songs when they’re in production, or is something that is just unconscious for you?

It’s a little of both. Mostly unconsciously we all channel our influences and are made up of our influences. I think the fact that my influences range from John Mayer to Avenged Sevenfold and/or Arctic Monkeys to N.E.R.D is what makes my music so different. And then there is also a part of me that wants to honor and show my influences but that goes more into the gear and equipment use. Incubus is a big influence of mine so some of the guitar pedals I have are ones I’ve seen Mike, the guitar player, use. the synth I use has sounds choose by the Chad Hugo from the Neptunes. So it’s things like that that may shine through. I love to sit back and hear people try to describe my music based on other artists. It’s like when you see someone who is mixed race and you ask them ‘what are you?’ and they say, ‘guess’ knowing they are like four, different races in one.

What is the post-release plan for Tattoo Money? World tour? Collabs?

The main plan is touring touring touring. I make music to perform it live! It’s what I live for, and I spent and continue to spend a lot of time, putting together a show for people that they should leave feeling like they underpaid for. I would just travel and play shows for the rest of my life and meet new people and new girls and get into trouble and write more songs about these adventures.

Now that I am done with the album, I do have a ton of other artists I want to collaborate with, like some awesome New York artists, like We are the Wilderness and A.sarr so that should be super fun!

I’m working on a video for “Melt With You” soon which should be really fun! Then I’ve got a couple of other videos I want to make, but for the most part it’s gonna be focusing on getting on the road and staying on the road.

Listen to more from Tattoo Money via Soundcloud, with the album, The Brain, The Mind, The Heart available December 9.

Long Faces

Long Faces, photographed by Shervin Lainez.

Long Faces, photographed by Shervin Lainez.

New Jersey’s Long Faces have recently released their debut Old Friends LP via iTunes, presenting us with the world premiere of their video for “Leave It There”. Recorded with Chris Badami at Pompton Plains, NJ’s Portrait Recording Studios — the four piece of singer/ guitarist Matthew Condon, drummer Michael Neglia, bassist Lou Panico, and guitarist Andrew Milea have banded together a bond built around a creative kinship that turns the accumulation of world concerns, and cares, into a heart conscious craft. Playing the Jersey Rock / WRAT 95.9 showcase December 10 at Asbury Park’s Wonder Bar with Hodera and Those Mockingbirds; Long Faces present humanist poetics to bring about smiles to sullen faces.

The video debut for Long Faces’ “Leave It There” from James Nuzzo and Dylan Schley plays about through the framed picture memories of an elderly gentlemen who looks to the photographs to ignite memories, mixed, with the band’s staged performance by overpass, and field. While the man watchs as the pictures come to life, forgotten memories and lives comes back to the conscious light where Long Faces, with the help of James and Dylan’s visual, carry the living, and moving portraits all around town and country with them. And just like the way Matt ends and begins the song with the lines, “it was a dream,” the video captures the liveliness of everything from freeways to forests in vivid colors, in a world where time goes in reverse as swiftly as it marches forward. Waterfalls become bathed in blue filters, as you watch the water move miraculously up in the hill, as the chronology of time, the malleable magic of memory, and the nostalgic act of reminiscing turns casually mystic.

We had the pleasure of having a roundtable with Long Faces’ Matt Condon, Mike Neglia, Lou Panico, and Andy Milea about the new video single, New Jersey, and more.

How did Long Faces first become established?

Mike: I met Matt back in 2005 when our bands played together for the first time. I really liked his song writing style, and I could tell he was a uniquely musical guy. When his band was going out on tour a few months later they needed a drummer to fill in for them, so I joined. Since then the two of us have played in three bands together, worked on six records, and toured the country. The two of us started Long Faces in 2013, and we asked Andy to sit in on our first EP. Lou and I grew up together and he helped engineer the project. After the record was finished we asked them both to join the band full time.

What is the scene like out there in Northern New Jersey?

Matt: The music scene in North Jersey is really eclectic, and it keeps churning out great artists. We are lucky to come from any area with a lot of talented musicians and songwriters. Though a lot of NJ bands have branched out into the NYC scene, or have begun to tour the country/world, no one looses sight of the fact that we all started out here in Jersey. It makes for a nice little music community.

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What was the process of writing and recording Old Friends like at Portrait Recording Studios?

Lou: I brought up the idea of recording some of their new material after seeing them play one night – I wasn’t actually in the band at the time. We worked on pre-production for about a month, then recorded live session demos and started going through all the tracks, picking out the best ones. Since we didn’t have the means to track the drums ourselves in our studio space, we opted to do them at Portrait Recording Studios with our good friends Chris Badami and John Ferrara. Mike and I have been recording with Chris for years, and we all work extremely well together. Chris understands how crazy we are, and we’ve always walked out of there with a great product. After our sessions at Portrait, I took the drum tracks back to our space and recorded all the guitars, bass, vocals, and percussion. We finally went back to Portrait for a few days of mixing, and after we sent the tracks out for mastering we had ourselves an album.

How did you all turn “Leave It There” into a stream of dream consciousness video?

Mike: None of it would have been possible without the help of our very talented friends, James Nuzzo and Dylan Schley. They filmed, edited, and story boarded the project with us. In the context of the video, “Leave It There” is supposed to represent something forgotten. In this particular case, an old man reminisces on the life that he has left behind. As he looks into the photos of his past, the memories are so vivid that they literally come to life. This combination and application of universal emotions, over-saturated aesthetic, and surreal happenings bring the landscape of the alternate reality where the video takes place to life.

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Are there any other recordings or projects in the works from the Long Faces camp?

Matt: We only recently released our debut full-length album, Old Friends. We were very excited for the release and we are really trying to push these songs right now. We’re constantly working on new material and we do have a decent amount of new songs in the works, so another release shouldn’t be too far behind.

2015 projections for Long Faces?

Andy: I’m sure that we will be touring and recording, but I really hope that we continue to draw inspiration from the bands that we listen to and share the stage with. We try to experiment in a wide variety of styles, while maintaining a pop sensibility. I believe and hope that we will manage to push our creative boundaries in a way that will appeal to a wide variety of listeners.

Long Faces ‘Old Friends LP via iTunes.

Sun Voyager

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Heard on the recent King Pizza Records compilation, Surfin’ On Pizza Lightning; Orange County, NY’s own cosmic warriors Sun Voyagers debut the rip roaring monster thrills on their brand new single, “Let It Ride”. Carlos guides the band by guitar and voice, with Stefan on the bass, and Kyle kicking it on the drums, creating the classic, home rooted rock of ages, for all time, and all ensuing eras.

Previously heard doubting the pulse of deity on their “God is Dead” single; Sun Voyager takes you even heavier, and higher than before on the radical, riff-steamroller, “Let It Ride”. From here the garage doors are blown right off the hinges and roll-up tracts as these New Paltz galactic Voyagers navigate the this two minute, and twelve seconds blistering wonder deep into the high decibel void, and then back again. Carlos carries the song with the recited chorus line of “she’s a monster”, keeping the chords snarling while Kyle and Stefan’s rhythm section proves themselves as a fortress to be reckoned with. With everyone looking for where to find the next greatest phenomenons in garage rock culture; Sun Voyager is the DIY answer to those prayers. Stay with us after the song debut for our interview with the band.

Give us a little taste of what the world of Orange County, NY is like.

It’s full of apple orchards, wineries, and small towns and the scenery is something else in the fall. It’s close enough to the city for the commuters but far enough out so that you can take advantage of the mountain ranges. There’s a lot of great hiking and lakes everywhere. The Hudson River isn’t that dirty up here either. If you’re a band, you practice in a garage or shed and for shows you travel up and down the thruway a lot.

Any scenes out there of interest for you all?

New Paltz is a great town. Lot of great people up there and Snug Harbor always treats us right. The Wherehouse in Newburgh is an excellent spot, great for burgers and psychedelic vibes. There’s Quinn’s in Beacon which is another up and coming town on the other side of the river from Newburgh. We’ve been playing the Tuscan Cafe in Warwick for years. The Half Moon in Hudson is always hopping and the Brazenhead in our hometown of Monroe is a notable up-and-comer. We’re doing the pre-release show for our split there with the official release at Big Irv’s in Brooklyn.

Indie artists you want to give a shout out to?

Linear North from Albany are great dudes who know upstate well. It’s Not Night: It’s Space from New Paltz are great instrumental psych-rockers that bring the house down every time we play with them. Dead Channels from Warwick deliver some the punchiest hardcore in the Hudson Valley. We’ve been playing in Brooklyn and Manhattan a lot lately though and Greasy Hearts makes rock and roll too good not to mention here. The Mad Doctors have become great friends of ours. Seth records us and Greg, the big cheese at King Pizza Records, puts out our stuff. There are way too many to name but every artist on King Pizza really deserves a good listen. There’s something brewing and it’s great to be a part of.

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How did you all first meet, and who decided that Sun Voyager would be your name?

We met back in high school. Actually, we played hockey together before high school but we started playing in bands together in high school. The three of us were in a band for 5 years that didn’t pan out. Carlos started writing some songs after that and Sun Voyager was born. He came up with the name and we all loved it.

Also too, what is the story behind the name? Somehow it reminded me of Star Trek’s Voyager series…how strong is the sci-fi contingent amongst you all here in the Sun Voyager camp?

Carlos saw ‘Sun Voyager’ on an RV and the idea of living on the road is easy to connect with. Also, the name really speaks for the music we play. We love everything sci-fi but don’t talk about it very often. Stefan’s a big “Battlestar Galactica” guy, though.

First of all, the song “Let It Ride” is an absolute monster; like one of those songs that are created with the most honesty by being incubated in shared, crowded garage spaces in the sprawl of suburbia, burying the vocals in the bedroom-pedal-board effects set ups, with gurgling, and shredding guitars like laser-rays that point toward the cityscapes. Tell us a bit on how this devastating riff-rider was made.

“Let It Ride” was actually the first song we wrote after our last release which was sort of heavy but way more relaxed. It’s one those songs that came about by jamming on a riff, finding a groove, and building around it. When you write music, there are so many songs that get tweaked and re-worked after you play them a couple times. Sometimes something doesn’t sound or feel quite right. This wasn’t the case for “Let It Ride” at all. We wrote it in the garage last spring and nothing has changed. Sometimes you get things right the first time and just let it ride.

This feels like a sound of further things to follow from Sun Voyager; what releases do you all have up your sleeves?

We’re releasing a cassette split with label-mates Greasy Hearts this Saturday night at Big Irv’s in Brooklyn and by the end of next month we’ll have a full length ready to go. You can hear one of the songs from it on the latest King Pizza compilation.

2015 game plan for Sun Voyager?

The full length will be out by late-January, early-February. We’re going to keep writing while playing out as much as possible. Hopefully we get a bunch of chances to play places we’ve never been and have another full length ready by the end of the year.

Sun Voyager and thoughts on the possibility of if and when this whole space tourism thing will ever get it’s program off the ground?

You asked us about sci-fi before and I think the three of us connect way more on the subject of space. That show Cosmos was great and it seems like something new gets discovered almost every day. Now we’re sending people to Mars to see if we can live there and we’re sending astronauts to an asteroid to see if there’s water inside that maybe we can use to go even further into space. The universe could be a road and we’re on the brink of discovering it. Where does it go? How do we get there? There’s got to be some kind of “road” we can use in order for there to be any kind of tourism. We probably won’t be using RV’s but once there’s a “road,” we’ll be on it for sure.

Sun Voyager’s split with Greasy Harts will be available December 6 from King Pizza Records.

J£zus Million

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Last week we featured J£zus Million’s remix of Cheerleader’s “On Your Side”, and this week we focus our ears attention on Million’s Error EP, with a listen to “If You Forget”. The Boston artist that recently remixed Tomas Barford’s “Pulsing“, and today we marinate and trip to the rollicking and chopped and fluttering edited key stroke samples, and glitchy-cut rhythms on the EP track, “If You Forget”. Million flips through the brainwaves to get the inner archival core that stores the recycling bin of scrambled, forgotten memories, and attempt to decrypt them using a musical language that sounds like algorithmic mode for a biological program interface. Having the pleasure of catching up with the rising producer J£zus Million over the Thanksgiving holiday, we present our interview following this listen.

What was your approach on tricking out Cheerleader’s “On Your Side” remix?

My approach was admittedly frantic and hectic. I was trying to manage a full time job whilst making it. So, I would take stabs at it whenever the time was available. Mainly early in the morning and late at night.

What was the story on how you came to adopt the working title of J£zus Million?

It’s a silly story really. I was maybe 16, getting my haircut. I had the usual teen angst, specifically for the high school I was attending and its religious values and structure. I perceived the world around me to consist of only two things, religion and money. Most wish to reach that penultimate state of nirvana, but also would love that much romanticized million dollars.

What was the creative process like of trial, error, agony, and achievement that is your upcoming Error EP?

I had created a sloppy version of the EP at first. It involved me taking a stab at singing over my own production. It was filled with uncertainty. I was advised to scrap it and take another stab at it. Over the course of a month or two I recreated the EP that comes next Monday. I had little to no inspiration, living in the suburbs after living in New York for a brief stint. I had to make up my own sonic world for which my EP would live in.

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How has this EP arrangement and recording experience different for you versus previous efforts?

I was using studio monitors for the very first time. Any prior productions I monitored with only my headphones.

What sort of production considerations go into “If You Forget” and “Taught to Run”?

Obsessive compulsive disorder.

Thoughts on where this kind of kinetic, quick-flashing sound-byte production is headed?

Hopefully to a state of togetherness. I’d like to get better at arranging tracks and making them sound more engaging.

Winter plans for J£zus Million?

Staying warm. Hopefully some DJ sets here or there. Working hard on another project involving more of a group/band setup.

2015 plans?

Nonstop work on three completely different projects.

The Error EP will be available later this month on The Full Hundred.

Holly Waxwing

Catching up with Holly Waxwing, otherwise known as Birmingham, Alabama's Garrett Crosby.

Catching up with Holly Waxwing, otherwise known as Birmingham, Alabama’s Garrett Crosby.

Fresh from the world of Break World Recs, Teengirl Fantasy’s “U Touch Me” gets the official Holly Waxwing “Pocky Spliff Retwist”-remix. The utterances and breaths from the light petting  samples run from soft to heavy, making out in the sparkle of golden copulations from the bright keyboard’s xylophone sheen. The elements of all melodic samples go from the thinly sliced processed modes of dissection, digital digestion, to demonstration. The display of stems like floral varietals packed in a bouquet are brought out by the colorful keys that pour sunbeams down trailing vocals into a drainage pipe.

A feat of this complexity is not for the novice of audio auteurs, as the savvy man behind Holly Waxwing is Garrett Crosby, also one half of notable imprint, Noumenal Loom, of whom he operates alongside with Isabel. A label that has given us releases from Giant Claw, Caroline Says, Seth Graham, and an impressive 28 song compilation; Crosby’s own material as Holly Waxwing broke ground with Goldleaf Acrobatics, and the allure of the eternal beauty of “Chalant” for Cascine’s singles imprint, CSCN—Garrett joins up with us again to talk about the remix, and whats next in the wild, wonderful, world of Holly Waxwing.

How did you dissect “U Touch Me” into an assemblage of vocal-edit samples and windchimes?

I started out with this really trance-y vocal phrase that reminded me a bit of Four Tet. I don’t listen to much Four Tet now, but his influence seems to creep into my music at times. I’ve been really into the production of late 90’s R&B that uses a lot of slippery MIDI guitar and bell sounds (e.g. Faith Evans’ “Stay (Interlude),” Whitney Houston’s “Heartbreak Hotel” and Janet Jackson’s “Runaway“) and late 90’s pop with skippy/tinny drums (“Genie in a Bottle”), so I’ve been synthesizing MIDI plucks and bells a lot lately.

The method of digitizing and transforming creative words into glimmering key exercises?

Long nights in loose, translucent mauve and taupe ~ extricating the tasting notes of Eaux de Vie, Nigori and Amari — soft, peach winks — bass lines side-chained to basketballs or white marble.

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Thoughts on the importance and challenges of making remixes, and what remixes tell us about our favorite pop songs?

I enjoy remixes which strip all of the stems from a particular track other than its vocals and compose an entirely new track around the vocal…that’s what I did for the track “Shy Mimosa” on my first album. Lilangelboi is a lot of fun to me for that reason, he takes pop song vocals and candy flips them…lens flare 100% Remixes like his remind me how nice the core of songs like Taylor Swift’s “Treacherous” can be … remix coming soon?  If I’m going to listen to a remix album, I usually want each remix to be more like an original song from each contributing artist. I pulled minimal vocals, keys and an arp from the Teengirl track, but I wanted it to mostly feel like an original song.

Hints at current Holly Waxwing happenings in the works?

Late spring split LP, late winter release for a London singles label, and a Sabrina Ratté music video.

Girlfriends and Boyfriends

Girlfriends and Boyfriends, from left; Grant Francis Minor, Pete Pan and Adam Fink.

Girlfriends and Boyfriends, from left; Grant Francis Minor, Pete Pan and Adam Fink.

In the spirit of the recent free-wheeling pop coming from Vancouver, check out Girlfriends and Boyfriend’s new single and video for “Without Me” that depicts how absence make the heart continue to ponder. Suited up in the best winter fashion to withstand the chill of the Northwest and the coastal storms that play about the season, “Without Me” shines from under the recorded auspices but Felix Fung with the bottle glamor and glitz that the new romantics set out to establish. The gents wrote us this on the new single:

“Without Me” is inspired by personal experiences.It’s about the futility of trying to maintain a friendship with someone after breaking up, and how people seem to inevitably drift apart. It’s never the same when it’s over, and that can create an undercurrent of self-hate. There’s a nod towards some of the early 80’s radio rock hit makers, both in the singing and instrumental approach. The whole thing comes off as a little over-the-top, but that’s what we wanted to convey.

Death Records

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With four releases under their belt from Smiles, Fleece, Cole Lodge, and Dissolve; San Francisco indie label Death Records is readying their fifth release for December 11 that features new cuts from Tiaras, Michael & The Strange Land, DSTVV, Love Cop, Teenage Chain, and more. With SF coping with a dead rock revival scene (post-scene?), label operators Brian Wakefield and Colin Arlen present a compilation of what has yet to be heard and seen in the Bay, featuring groups from Arizona, Chicago, Portland, and New York respectively as well. Also coming with a zine that features work from Justin Hager, Tika Hall, Moses, Luke Mastney, Primo Preems, and more; Brian gave us the following lowdown on what Death Records has in store for everyone:

This is Death Records 5th Release as well as our most ambitious.
19 Track Compilation Features tracks by Dissolve, Tiaras (ex: Ganglians/Blasted Canyons), Healing Potpurri, Michael & The Strange Land (Members of Sam Flax), Cool Angels, Smiles and many more!!!! The Zine included has drawings / photos / etc from Justin Hager, Moses Rios, Primo Preems, Cole Lodge, Rikky Gage and once again, SO MUCH More!! The Zine inside as well as the tape are some of our favorite artists and we are ecstatic to share these with the universe. Check www.longlivedeathrecords.com for more info!

Stream the first four Death Records singles here:

Stream Side A of the compilation here:

Full Tracklist
Side A
Tiaras – “Cars”
Spraytan – “I’ll Never Change”
Healing Potpurri – “Laney”
Air Surgeon – “FRX”
Cool Angels – “She Is Dark”
Ole – “Brine”
Teenage Chain – “Flowers On The Run”
Smiles – “Please Don’t Let Me Down”
Michael & The Strange Land – “Radio Possession”

Side B
Friendless Summer – “All The Time”
Froogys Groovies – “Night Of Workin Man”
Stalls – “Song For M.P”
Fleece – “Sweat”
Todayshits – “With A Heart So Cold”
Cole Lodge – “Deep Inside (low)”
DSTVV – “Plural”
Love Cop – “Catching Feelings”
Clumsy – “Mother Ark”
Dissolve – “Where We Are”

Death Records’ zine and compilation release show will take place at San Francisco’s Hemlock Tavern December 11 featuring performances from Michael and the Strange Land, Dissolve, Fleece, Smiles, and Cole Lodge. Go here for more information, and peep the flyer below:

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SmCity

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Sharing a listen to the new album, Empire Falls Washington DC’s SmCity drops his third big album that boasts a collection of production collaborations from !llmind, Block Beattaz, Harry Fraud, just to name a few. The title cut produced by Klimatic emulates familiar terrain covered by the post-apocalyptic epic album rock of Deltron 3030, surpassing systems of scandal to identity buzzer “Who We Are” produced by Nave, the atmospheric metropolis mode on the !llmind produced “Homeland”, turning the ambiance of air to bouncier operation on the Block Beattaz blocked track, “Bounce Back”, to the soul western weaved “Riding Off In the Sunset” ft. Emanny and some fancy bells and whistles from Fraud. DJ Toomp keeps it moving on “MIA” ft. Maimouna Youssef, theatrical thrills on !llmind’s single “Cinematic Moment” that keeps the cameras rolling onto to the Statik Selektah orchestral soul style of “New Spiritual”, keeping it conscious in the game of strength and numbers on the Numonics designed, “Always Outnumbered”, tripping it chill wise with Cookin’ Soul’s “Cracks In The Pillars”, Nave’s sweeping strings and SmCity’s song of dreams and tears on “Price Tag”, to the closing moment of reflection on the Tone P vibes that make up “Reflect”. Going deeper into the DMV metropolis of Empire Falls; we we had the opportunity to talk to SmCity in the interview after this album stream:

The DMV has been alive and thriving on a really dynamic momentum, like that recent Diamond District album. What about the current times and heavy topics of today inspired this work of a fallen homelands toasted on this magnified, cinema level scope?

DC is known worldwide as a political HQ in a sense… interestingly enough the hip hop artists from our city aren’t really known for being very political so the void really inspired me to occupy that space and make it my own. And if I was going to take it there, I knew it had to be a big sound, vivid imagery, etc. People think “conscious” music is supposed to be boring.. but it’s really blockbuster level material if presented right…

What are the latest and greatest up and coming emcees and producers that you have recently discovered, or have repped forever that don’t get enough attention?

I love the records I have with some of the bigger named producers on this project…but honestly I think the lesser known guys like Nave, Klimatic and Numonics have my fav records…those were the producers that really set the tone for the project. Amazing talent that hopefully more folks will check out after the album drops.

Heard about that recent legalization of weed out there in the DMV, too. Thoughts on that? Good thing? Great thing? Peace increaser?

It’s a big deal and I think it was long overdue…I don’t smoke weed myself, but have many friends who do and have faced hard legal battles over it…its all political bullshit in my opinion as far as what drugs are legal and what aren’t… read all the side effects on many of the prescription drugs and tell me they shouldn’t be illegal, ha ha.

Shout outs to the great talents featured on here, great hearing new cuts from Block Beaattaz, Harry Fraud, DJ Toomp, !llmind, Cookin’ Soul, Tone P, Nomonics, along with Nave & Klimatic. What was the collaborative vibe like, did the rhymes or the production piece come first for much of Empire Falls?

Believe it or not it was a very inorganic process… catching up with all of these heavyweights was extremely hard to do and took me over a year with all the schedule conflicts…me, Statik & BJ was all over email, I met !llmind in a coffee shop in BK w/ Skyzoo & Antman wonder and we vibed over beats, talked concepts and finished over email.. come to think about it, ALL of my vocals were done at my home studio by myself…the internet is the great connector…ha, none of this would have been possible without it. The beats came first and every song we knocked out we used as the inspiration for the next song… to make it diverse, we would go in the complete opposite direction as the previous record, but still in the same vein to keep everything cohesive.

With the current state of the nation to the world in a kind of uprise and what have you; what is your own personal mantra or prayer for the people and tomorrow’s visions?

I think we need a bit of a purging fire to get us back on track, some structures need to fall, some realities need to be destroyed so they can be re-imagined without the corruption that comes over time… we need to go back to the drawing board on so many fronts… socially, economically, artistically, environmentally, etc.. we need new leadership, new ideas, new visions to take us into the future…the path were on leads us to an inevitable place we will have to address at some point, hopefully not too late.

Holiday SmCity plans post-release? 2015 hopes and wishes?

Man.. just to celebrate a long fought year and chill with my family… kick my feet up and not think about music or the mission so I can start off 2015 rejuvenated and pick up on this momentum were building… Hopefully you will see me on tour with some other dope acts and working on something way bigger than Empire Falls… take this thing to the NEXT level…

SmCity’s Empire Falls is available now via iTunes.

Captain Supernova

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Presenting Visions of the Unknown, from Captain Supernova. Here we are introduced to the tale about the mysterious artist named Hermenius, whose adventures begin on the dawning introduction of “Message from the Gods”, through 2001 sampled EP closer, “Space Odyssey”. From here we explore the rhythm routes of electronic blues of “The Unknown”, traversing the mind’s galaxy on chill cruising altitude, “Imaginary Voyage”, the disco stress release of “Let It Go”, mixing the lounge luxury of sound into the sweetest visions of sleep on, “Lost in a Dream”, to the anthemic thematic track, “The Captain’s Theme”. Over carefully guarded transmissions and exchanges, we were able to communicate with the elusive Captain Supernova following this listen:

What lead to the creation of Captain Supernova?

Captain Supernova was created to symbolize and inspire new beginnings. The Captain’s motto is “Let It Take You To Wherever It Begins”. His story and music was created to help inspire people to never give up, to accomplish your dreams, have new perspective on life, and to generally make people feel like they are flying away to better place.

This whole process and creation of this story and music has been an experimentation. When creating the music I wanted to give more to the audience. I wanted to create a whole new world and experience.

What sort of other super heroes would you say this character takes cues from?

I wouldn’t say it was so much based on any particular superhero, but more on the archetypes of the typical hero story. For instance, the story of Jesus, Hercules, Luke Skywalker, Osiris, and Super Man. It is the story of the hero facing adversity and finally achieving his goal or destiny. I think inspiring people like Stephen Hawking, Michael Jordan, and Steve Jobs etc have played a role in inspiring the story.

What initially began the foundations for the imaginary voyages that take the shape of different past and future rnb forms on the Visions of the Unknown EP?

Lots of experimenting with synthesizers and some outer body experiences. Synthesizers have been a key component to the experimentation and development of the Captain’s sound. Also, lots and lots of digging in the crates past and present. I have a been influenced by the likes of Herbie Hancock, Pink Floyd, Dexter Wansel, Air, Daft Punk, Prince, Snakehips, Lost Midas, David Axelrod, Adrian Younge and D’Angelo. The mixture of old and new sounds have created the Captains electronic, organic, cinematic, hip hop infused and upbeat disco funk sound.

“The Captain’s Theme” is pure boss gold, and I like how everything ends with the disco-space party of “Space Odyssey”. How many times have you watched 2001: A Space Odyssey and when were you first introduced to the world of sci-fi films?

2001: A Space Odyssey has been a huge influence to the creation of Captain Supernova. I think I’ve seen it numerous times and still couldn’t give you a complete explanation of what the film means. All of Stanley Kubrich’s films have been huge influences. His attention to detail, imagery, and symbolism played a huge role in creating this character.

I have always loved sci-fi films as a kid. I think the love grew as I got older and realized how much those stories and experiences meant to me.

How do these sci-fi book and film heroes translate into the auditory realm for you in creating a full on thematic sound universe for this all to live in?

I feel like the music allows you to imagine and create that voyage or story. The creation of the music for me was very visual and therapeutic. I feel like there are lots of changing moods and moments on the EP. There are times of anger, bliss, uplifting, excitement, and terror which create this thematic universe.

This EP “Visions of the Unknown” is all about a young Captain Supernova, Hermenius, looking at his future and seeing the visions of uncertainty, doubt and despair. But after being uplifted and changing his perspective he was inspired to reach for the stars to accomplish his destiny.

What’s good in 2015 for Captain Supernova?

I’ll be working on the LP “Imaginary Voyage”. There will be more “In Space remixes”. Hopefully some exciting collaborations and might have some in person live performances or DJ sets.

Visions of the Unknown is available now via Bandcamp.

Little Envy

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San Fransisco’s Little Envy released their self-titled full-length this past week from South x Sea, sharing a listen and some thoughts on the album with us. Made up of Joseph de los Reyes and Koosh Saxena, the duo release all the pent up angst, emotion, and feelings that normally gets bottled up, and set aside in the Bay Area. Moods are explained by the aura of “Colour”, taking the blame and trying to make time, “Worthwhile”, to the late evening / early morning lusts of, “3am”, the emotional out-pour of “Flow”, attempts to make everything alright on “Tell Me What You Want”, the hesitation insomniac pause of, “Sleep”, the unveiled emo core of the single, “Boy”, the lost routes and trails on, “Paths”, the chemicals and chemistry that are down to a “Science”, the love sick song of “Lucy”, leaving you with the parting indie-emotive of obstructions and moving onward of, “Your Way”. Koosh explained the emotional component of the album in the following words:

The strangest thing about writing a record is that you can be in a certain mood for an hour and the next do a complete 180. But at the end of it all, what you come away with is a mess that encompasses powerful emotions that we hope people can relate to.

The Blind Shake

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Minneapolis trio The Blind Shake shared their single, “Parachute” off their Chris Woodhouse recorded album for Goner Records, Breakfast Of Failures. The brotherhood of Jim and Mike Blaha, along with their buddy Dave Roper create music to skydive out of airplanes to. The aggression and energy is in ornery and in your face, as the The Blind Shake keeps a racket gong to keep indie Minneapolis leaning on, and over the edges of hardcore. Check out our conversation with the band, after the jump.

Chris Woodhouse and The Dock is the stuff of legends. Can you tell us about recording Breakfast of Failures with him in Sacramento, and how helped you all share a sonic vision?

Chris helped us capture the energy of our live show onto tape. He is a sonic sculptor. He is also a master musician and understands what bands want even they can’t communicate it. It was a blast recording with him. We worked over twelve hours a day but it was fun the entire time. He is like a hostage negotiator with the mixing board. There is no problem he can’t solve. We’ve been fans of his work for well over a decade and we were lucky that we were able to record with him.

What types of failures, breakfasts, triumphs, and challenges inspired the title?

To improve or do anything new as an artist, you face failure constantly. But failure is the antidote to complacency. It’s like a forest fire. New trees can grow after the current ones burn to the ground. Maybe the new trees will be the best ones yet! We fail constantly as a band, but we keep going and hopefully keep growing.

How has Minneapolis been to you all lately?

It’s always been great to us. Such a great arts and music scene….always inspiring, always something new. While it seems like a lot of cities have venues closing, Minneapolis is opening new ones.

Local underachievers of promise that you all would recommend that haven’t got their due?

Animal Lover deserves more national and even local attention. We first played with them when they were in high school and it’s been fun to watch them turn into a force!

2015 plans for The Blind Shake?

On January 27th we have a collaboration album called Modern Surf Classics coming out on Swami Records as John Reis and The Blind Shake. It’s an instrumental surf records we are very excited about.

We also have a 12″ 45rpm EP coming out on Slovenly in March called Fly Right. It’s 9 short songs recorded in our home studio. It was originally going to come out the same time as Breakfast of Failures, since our albums have always had a mix of home recorded songs and studio songs, but there were enough songs and the sonic concepts were so different that it made sense to release them separately. We can’t wait to get out to tour both of these releases!

Heavy Drag

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Get aligned into the cosmonautica [sic] psychotropic field where the inner experiences of when the sun hits are conveyed with a remarkable, straight forward and stoned brilliance on the Michael J. Ruiz-Unger video from the band formerly known as Lil Daggers—Heavy Drag’s “LSD”. Ruiz-Unger’s video goes from the isolated experiences of knocking on, and knocking down the doors of perception that manages to fool around with the typical time frame rates and even captured the confused-and bleary-claustrophobia of traversing through enclosed performances spaces whilst in a inhibited states of perceptive conscious. Heavy Drag wrote us the following piece on the psychedelic soaked video and song:

We are from Miami, a city that is fueled by tourism and everyone is running on an up-beat-turnt-up party mode all the time. We all work in the service industry and the band has been our pushback to the constant up beat flowing through the city. We pulsate on a slower, more dragged out thump, and that’s where the Heavy Drag sound comes from. It’s not sun, surf and good times but rather swamps, mud and hallucinogens for us.

Harrison Scott

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Brooklyn’s Harrison Scott dropped the video for his big electrified artifice extraordinaire single, “Silence Into Noise”. The big beat of neon bathed sensibilities are brought into a kind of high fashion setting of altered images, and sparse settings for the ambitious electronic pop to take over. The spaces and blank voids are become the vessels of silence that become filled with Scott’s vision of moods, and focused applications of sound and noise. We had the recent pleasure of catching up with the rising artist the other day in the interview immediately following the video:

Give us the story on the electric dance floor zapper “Silence Into Noise”.

“Silence Into Noise” was actually the first song I wrote for my upcoming EP “Spectral Evidence”, and it was created at a time when my life was in total flux. I didn’t really feel like I had roots anywhere; I was back and forth between trying to finish art school in Baltimore, traveling up to New York for jobs, and being back home in Chicago. I think Silence Into Noise is a reflection of that instability; that longing to feel bound by people and places when the only thing you seem to be able to do is move on.

When I started making “Silence Into Noise” it was just a bunch of loops of me making vocal sounds, then I would throw it all through a vocoder and just tune the life out of it to a point where it sounded robotic. I wanted the vocals to have a similar tone so I tried to sing them in a distant way that would sound removed from the emotional content of the lyrics. The beat just seemed to liven things up a bit…It’s funny because the word “dance floor” and “club” keep getting thrown around, but to be honest I’ve never really felt comfortable in those types of places. Don’t get me wrong I’m usually the first one in a room to dance, but “the club” is just an atmosphere that always feels a bit empty to me.

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What for you is the art of transforming silence into noise in your own work, like pulling inspiration from out of the ether?

I think that’s the fun thing about music, and I guess most art forms, is that it seemingly comes from nowhere. Inspiration’s unpredictable, you can’t force it. I don’t think anything ever comes out of silence—you sort of have to just be constantly looking, listening, going to galleries, reading, watching films. I think amazing work can come out of amazing connections with other works of art. I remember the first time I watched a David Lynch film something clicked for me. Here’s this guy creating these deeply seated mythologies through strings of seemingly unrelated non-sequiters, but it all just works. Something doesn’t necessarily have to make sense to have power. As someone coming from a traditional art school background, for me the music is just one part of the equation. It has to be visual, and I have a lot of respect for artists who create a cohesive vision around their work.

Favorite 80s new wave cuts?

“Metal”, Gary Numan

“Winter Kills”, Yaz

“A Question of Time”, Depeche Mode

Other Brooklyn artists you dig?

Autre Ne Veut, MOTHXR, Wet, ASTR, Mykki Blanco, Twin Shadow.

Releases in the works?

I’ve just finished filming a series of live performance videos called the “Live Sessions” with tracks off the upcoming EP. Making the jump to playing live is really exciting for me. Hearing other musicians play material that you created in your own world on your laptop is still a bit unreal to me (It also helps that I’m working with some really talented musicians) I’ll have some live dates in New York really soon and my debut EP “Spectral Evidence” will be out early next year.

Workman Song

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Western Massachusetts by Brooklyn’s Sean McMahon makes music under the name Workman Song, who shares the video and single for “When People Are Better Than You” off the new EP, Ion Zelig Vol. III available December 7. His rustic releases that have counted Peak, The Way, and Lamb are have been his creative vehicle for observing, hearing, and understanding the human spiritual conditions in a clearer light. Known for his bass work with the band Streets of Laredo; McMahon’s songs like “When People Are Better Than You” indulge in the stripped down Americana styles that encourage the most primitive states and thoughts as a way to reconcile the gulf between ego and empathy. Sean wrote us some words about the upcoming EP , and all about creating song compositions from an American primitive type of style, and an upcoming month-long residency at the Ace Hotel:

I recorded Ion Zelig Vol. III in Bushwick over the last few years. I write and record constantly. This record represents the nuggetary [sic] shit that I do the least — these are the experiments. I usually don’t have a band, they’re hard to keep together and organized (I’m not organized). Which is how I ended up embracing, or actually being by necessity embraced by, the folk or ‘American primitive’ thing. I just had to write for myself, the only guy I could guarantee would show up to the gig. But the thing about these Ion Zelig experiments — there have been two before — they also reflect a new inspiration, still really raw and not yet cultivated, that will color my work until the next milestone. It’s a new direction, not necessarily the new direction. Which is why I make a point to release them. I want people to hear this and leave it with the feelings I intended to infect them with: peace, joy, courage. But I also don’t fully understand the feelings yet. There’s a lot of frustration, a lot of cynicism I have, that through this music I am making peace with and finding courage to be a soldier, a crusader, an advocate. Or at least a loving man.

This month, I’ll celebrate the release of IZV3 with a month-long residency at Ace Hotel in Manhattan. I have a history there with the Bushwick projects I’ve been working with in the past few years, Bird Courage and Streets of Laredo. So it feels like home. I’ll be there every Sunday night from 10pm, with some friends supporting each week: Relatives, Bird Courage, Wilder Maker, Silverteeth. I’ll actually have a band: a most excellent drummer named Pete, Cam the most tasteful guitar player I know, and my lil brother Griffin the organist.

Watch the Workman Song lyric video for “When People Are Better Than You”:

Here is the single itself for “When People Are Better Than You”.

Listen to more from Workman Song via Soundcloud.

Our buddy Jónó Mí Ló headlined here just a few weeks ago, and now presents the following big news encrypted into the following GIF:

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With the DMV’s representatives The Diamond District releasing March on Washington Redux on December 16 from Mello Music Group that will feature remixes from Diamond D, Large Professor, Jonwayne, Quelle Chris, Nottz, Paul White, Oh No, Apollo Brown, L’Orange, and more. Before then, check out Black Milk’s spin on “Ain’t Over” that keeps the centrifugal force turning.

Stemming from the same rehearsal space of folks like Iceage and Lower—check out the video from Denmark’s Communions for their song, “Love Stands Still”, the B-side of their new 7″ from Tough Love Records. The song found opposite from the a-side of “So Long Sun”; the video made by Lasse Dearman with the band features the band doing their own DIY-esque screen tests that involve their entourage of friends, making the very most of every moment as time, and feeling were standing in one firm, and static place.

London producer Memory Maze, aka Gavin Ellis will release his forthcoming debut album From The Outside In in spring 2015 on Infinite Jest Records, and we have his new single “Dollar Eyes”. We proudly premiered Ellis’s video for “Depth of Field”, and now follow the money trails through hungry eyes. With a steady back beat working like a well oiled industrial facotyr dream machine; the guitars glitter and twinkle into the night’s sky like a million, glowing suns.

Embrace your inner, “Animal”, with Moon Duo’s new savage single off Shadow of the Sun, giving us indication that their third album is about to be their harshest and heaviest yet. Available March 3 from Sacred Bones; Sanae Yamada and Ripley Johnson unleash their inner and utmost fircest and ferocious undercurrent of foreboding frontiers from the underground breaking through the crust at the surface.

Hear the new Teen Daze single “Reykjavik, January 2015” that takes us forward ahead to the near future where Jamison will release his new EP, A World AwayJanuary 13, 2015. Take a little trip and dip into the Iceland inspired atmospheres that provide inspiration for the what the new year will bring.

Check out the effervescent essence of Moritat’s new single, “Starry B”, off the upcoming High Plus Tight album available January 20. The star-gazing electric organ elegance provides a cozy orchestral offering that feels like what holidays bust be like on other planets, far, far away.

Directed by Jay Brown, check out The 1978ers’ video for, “Without A Clue”, off their recently released Mello Music album, People of Today. Championing the lesser sung heroes of the DMV, yU keeps it dapper while dropping some experiential truths and knowledge with Slimkat’s classic piano guided percussion that mixes smokey vocal samples with the bluesy pop of the trumpet touched air.

Counting down to the forthcoming release of Carl Creighton’s new solo album; The World is a Beautiful Place, we bring you two videos made by his brother Craig Creighton. The first involves a game of horseshoes between family and neighbors in the park on the intimate, and the inspiring, “I Was Tricked Into Thinking I Was Slick”.

Then on “I’m In The Wrong (Hallelujah!)”, Carl’s hymns of humanist observation and redemption are further illuminated by his brother Craig’s visual’s of fallen, massive trees in a forest setting that provides a kind of earthy, arboreal sanctuary for Carl’s songs to live in.

Lively pop abounds on the single “Moons In My Mirror” from H Hawkline’s upcoming Heavenly album, In The Pink Of Condition, available February 2. With a month long UK tour to celebrate the album release, H uses a clever, and fun arrangement to bounce around a bouquet of sounds jumping rhythm progressions.

Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders has declared the forthcoming album, Playmates for release February 24 from Fat Possum, lending a look at their video for “Come On Back This Way” featuring Sharon Van Etten. Directed by Alex Smith, the video presents Ladder as an electro lounge king, accompanied by a go-go dancing Sharon Van Etten, while draped in projected darkness while illumination awaits to be cast until the song’s harmonic, gospel-epiphany-finale.

Take a look at the video for The Ukiah Drag’s “Drip From The Fang” video off the album, In the Reapers Quarters, chocked full of psyched and spooked out images from Aaron Demuth/ZZ Rameriez. B grade horror film styles and performances mix a combination of fright with the Drag’s striking guitar dirges that clang like liberty bells striking ominous chords and hitting keys of the weird, doomed, speckled with delight.

Minneapolis’ Pony Bwoy follows up their 2013 Totally Gross National Product album with their forthcoming när-kə release scheduled for December 9, sharing smoky wall of vapors of sound and nerve tingling vibrations. All the arranged instruments move according go the mercurial base of the track that resembles what we imagine the secret language of the everything between clouds and souls to sound like.

These Arms Are Snakes released their first song in 5 years with “Energy Drink And The Long Walk Home”, with the A-side featuring The Coathangers covering The Gun Club’s “Sex Beat” via Suicide Squeeze. Covering tracks and making up for lost time, TAAS kicks the energy and action into high, headbanging gear that is the sound of infectious, storming, thundering guitars.

Milwaukee synth sweethearts Canopies lend an advance listen of some sweet, shade, emanating off their Maximize Your Faith album available December 9 from Forged Artifacts. From the strong stepping pop hooks that connect, “Getting Older”, to the closer, “Deliverance”; Canopies deal in a tight psych-tinged-tact that makes for a full-length festival-ready hit parade.

For those in search of quintessential vibes to help lead you out to the greener pastures of your weekend, then we definitely recommend L ron’s remix of Sea Oleena’s beautiful song, “If I’m”. Oleena’s voice is processed through the consoles and gadgets that are smelted down into a new kind of electronic orr that emanates according to it’s own new designated rhythm sequences. The processed vocal sample of the lyrics of, “if I’m the forsest then you are the field at my feet” will haunt you forever.

Watch Young Statues’ Alex Henery video for “Run The River Dry” off their album, The Flatlands Are Your Friend, available from Run For Cover Records. Look and listen as Carmen Cirignano’s voice and moods are brought to the dark evenings waiting for the light, and inviting elements of danger and intrigue.

We heard this week that Mike Simonetti has left the Northwest imprint Italians Do It Better to begin new project with Pale Blue and start the label 2MR (Two Mikes Records), alluding to the collaboration between Simonetti and Captured Tracks boss, Mike Sniper. Readying a debut for release February 14, the first Pale Blue listen arrives in the form of the the single, “The Past We Leave Behind” that features a collaboration between the former Troubleman Unlimited founder and vocalist Elizabeth Wight of Silver Hands. Electric vibes of good times and bad past leave feelings of anticipation for the anxious aspirations that await down the roads ahead.

Get more of that rebellious and reckless focus, on the ghost house production from Shy Girls’ new single, “Renegade”. This here is for every fan of solo singer-songwriters who make great economy of electronic accoutrements.

Check out the decked out video from Andric Booker for Jasmine Jordan’s single, “Time Travel”, featuring a verse from Blanchard De Wave that takes life’s stories and tales from the future, back again, ponders on where it all began, to why it all went wrong, and what’s next.

South African’s versatile wonder Petite Noir dropped the creative, lo-fi analog video from Cieron Magat for the powerful and emotionally evocative expressions of, “Chess”, from his debut EP available January 20 from Domino. Sporting different styles in front of backdrops that include a pig’s head dinner, a green crotch rocket, regal settings, to just him and a beanie and a blank wall as a canvas. Get inspired, and lifted now.

Also from the Domino stable, check out the new song (and lyric video) from Queens artist, Jib Kidder with consciousness twisting single, “Appetites”. Featuring harmonized vocals with one and only Julia Holter, Jib’s vocals have the similar effect similar to The Man From Another Place where you can imagine Kidder singing the vocals in phonetic reverse in order to play his vocal track in reverse to get that effect. His album, Teaspoon To The Ocean will be available January 27.

With the Her Habits EP coming January 27, check out our recent interview with Joanie Wolkoff, and move along to the electro-motions of elaborate but precisely exacted audio-orations on the single, “Faster Than Sound”.

From Brazil with love, DeltaFoxx lends us new vibes to warm the winter. To keep the body moving, “Dancing Girl” keeps the dance floor warm and full of passion with a sound steeped in a cross between Euro and South American clubs.

Second up is a take on VÉRITÉ’s “Weekend” with the deluxe DeltaFoxx Remix that provides a new variety of sequences, sensations, and synths that swell like portals into world of pure, lush dance pop. You too just might fall in love for more than just the weekend.

Watch R. Seiliogs’s Casey Raymond directed video for “Peripheral Thermal (Left)” off the Turnstile Music album In Hz, that mixes abstract analog stock visuals to the Welsh producer’s own post-techno, electronic creations.

Off their Mess album for Mute, check out the arty video from Zen Sekizawa & Ernesto Lomeli for Liars’ extended version of “Mask Maker”. Watch what happens when the multicolored yarn takes over, creating formations in movements to the electric beat.

From an animation crew lead by Nicolas Ménard; Tourist drops some visual and audio stimulation and illumination on the cartoon trip simulated-emulations of the single, “‘Illuminate” ft Years & Years. Add some new illuminated frequencies to the channels of your weekend.

Featuring more from Queens; NYC rockers LTrain will be making a noise December 5 at the Paper Box in honor of their just released album Can’t Pay Bills, while also running a can drive in conjunction with NYC’s Food Bank. It’s head banging hedonism with a heart, and thrashed out pop primed to destroy the fabric of your speakers.

A Place To Bury Strangers is about to throw your eyes, ears, and entire head into the digital media-shredder on the Brook Linder, Ben Chappell, and Keith Kennedy video for A Place To Bury Strangers song,”Straight”, ahead of their new album, Transfixiation available February 17 from Dead Oceans. Listen as the noise distortion and squall is given it’s own animated-analog video/audio frequency of their own.

If you are in search of new atmospheric layers, consider In Tall Buildings’ single “Flare Gun” wotj the City Center remix treatment feat. Dina Bankole provides a series of calm progressions into alternate new chapters that makes every note and utterance sound like an early, new morning. Listen as the sampled sound of a skipping compact disc becomes lightly etched into your consciousness.

From Castle Face‘s Live in San Francisco recording series available January 26; you are invited to hear one of Ty Segall’s Manipulator tracks “Feel” live, loud, and full of life.

Sir Richard Bishop brings back some top notch chords and top shelf compositions self-recorded in an exotic, Moroccan locale with the note twanging new earths on “Frontier”, off the upcoming Tangier Sessions available February 17 from Drag City. Made from a guitar Sir Richard found during his travels in Geneva; what you are about to hear is some of the most fun, amusement, and enchantment you can witness with acoustic strings.

From the upcoming Where In Our Woods album available January 20 from Western Vinyl; hear Elephant Micah’s “Slow Time Vultures” that rolls down the hectic paces of time to a gentle, lulling, crawl.

Guts Club’s album, The Arm Wrestling Tournament will be available February 10 from Important Records, you are welcome to take a DIY ride on the “Weird Boat” courtesy of Lindsey Baker’s who shares the acoustic diamond gems of raw, weird, and real audio/visual sentiments.

Surf Club’s Week in Pop

Stockton's patron saints and indie sons; Surf Club, photographed by Brandon Getty.

Stockton’s patron saints and indie sons; Surf Club, photographed by Brandon Getty.

For this week’s co-curator, we pegged Surf Club’s Frankie Soto to co-curate this week’s edition of Week in Pop:

Bands/songs I’ve been fucking with lately

Number Girl, “Drunk Afternoon”

Yellow Magic Orchestra, “Kai-Koh”

Surf Club, photographed by John Sunio.

Surf Club, photographed by John Sunio.

Naked Eyes, “A very hard act to follow”

The Sugarcubes, “Birthday (English)”

Rae Sremmurd, “No Type”

Surf Club plays with Bilinda Butchers and Baseball Gregg December 12 at Stockton, CA’s Asia Palace. Check out the Facebook event page for more details.

Flyer made by Satan Wriders' Eli Engrin.

Flyer made by Satan Wriders’ Eli Engrin.

Follow Surf Club on Twitter.

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