Week in Pop: The City and I, DRIFT, Giungla, Phyllis Ophelia

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Barleaux, Blasteroid, Dia, Paul Meadow, There’s Talk, ft. guests The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

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Sjimon Gompers | November 20, 2015

NYC's rising star Phyllis Ophelia.

With our hearts and thoughts with those in Beirut, Paris, Mali, and everywhere; Impose’s Week in Pop continues its campaign to champion universal understanding with all of our creative neighbors with whom we share a collective residency here in our increasingly small world. Delivering the latest and greatest breaking exclusives, interviews, and more; we first begin with some of the biggest buzz-headlines: Eagles of Death Metal issued a statement on the Paris attacks; Lil B made a cameo appearance at the end of A&AP Rocky and Tyler’s tour at SF’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, A$AP also freestyled over Tyler’s “Yonkers”; meanwhile the Odd Future disintegration continues with Tyler versus Hodgy Beats at Camp Flog Gnaw; Savages dropped “TIWYG” from the upcoming album Adore Life available January 22; Palehound’s Dry Food will be available March 4 on Exploding in Sound/Heavenly Recordings; iLoveMakonnen announced iLoveMakonnen 2 will be available November 20, shares DJ Mustard produced track “Second Chance”; Pinback’s Rob Crow returns with new band Gloomy Place, dropping You’re Doomed.Be Nice, available in March from Temporary Residence, shares “Business Interruptus”; Alex G dropped the animated video for “Brite Boy”; David Bowie dropped the “Blackstar” video; M.I.A. dropped the single “Borders”; Arca dropped the video for “Front Load” off Mutant; Bon Iver announced a tour; Brandon Flowers divulged that he is in the “early stages” of making a new Killers album; Ween reuniting for two shows February 12 and 13 President’s Day Weekend at Broomfield, CO’s 1st Bank Center; Phoenix, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Paul Shaffer, and Buster Poindexter on one holiday single; Joanna Newsom instructed Larry King on how to play the harp; Tom Scharpling versus Google; Apple Music head Jimmy Iovine’s controversial “problem” with women in music; and we mourn the passing of P.F. Sloan.

Moving forward together arm in arm, hand in han,; it is our honor and privilege to present the following showcases from The City and I, DRIFT, Giungla, Phyllis Ophelia, There’s Talk, Dia, Paul Meadow, Barleaux, Blasteroid, Butterfly Child, The Casket Girls, featuring guest selections by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart‘s Kip Berman, and more—in no particular order.

Phyllis Ophelia

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NYC’s Phyllis Ophelia via Instagram.

Phyllis Ophelia is New York’s new rising tunesmith, penning pop vignettes that cast the cares of today and yesterday through the creative canons of tomorrow’s new micro-genres yet to be titled. Having recently collaborated with producer Oscillator Modulator on the two-song wonder EP Unbuilt, the result is something of the strength and might of an album’s worth of real feels from real places that is absolutely flooring. Discovering the artists through the social friends of friends channels, the discovery of Phyllis Ophelia’s songs stirs familiar reactions from the most revered sections and corners of the heart and library archives of memory.

Phyllis’s solo acoustic works on their own are powerful, consider gorgeous dreamland wandering “lost in dreams“, the heart wrenching tear-jerker of “seen a cross various distances”, the breakup folk-like blues of “how I loved you”, and more that arrest the consciousness and speaks to the inner soul in a beautiful range that makes a variety of unexpected key changes and note progressions. The EP’s title track “Unbuilt” even has an acoustic counterpart that exhibits the emotion wrought lyrics like “my heart was a house until the roof caved in,” in terms and a cadence that is bare and isolated. The further production contributions from O/M spring an entire electronic arrangement of atmospheres that spring off Ophelia’s chord strings with a voice that sings straight the heart, mind, and spirit.

The double a-side EP projects acoustic sketched journal drafts that grow in mood and sonic stature into the most ambitious billowing blossom sound plumes of grandiose expression on the largest scale. The emotive boulder weights of “Monument Apologetic” and “Unbuilt” mount in manners that break new grounds on the collaborative EP Unbuilt made between Ophelia and Oscillator Modulator. The brutal majesty of “Monument Apolegetic” is a monument unto itself, where Phyllis’s ruminations are expressed among glittering , flashing tarmac lined lights-like synths and overdubs of her voice that drives the apology home to the intended party. Phyllis writes and sings music of unrelenting and brutal emotion in lyrics like “my love was a boat, it’s a boat no more, my love was a boat, now it rots on the shore” forever searching the landscapes of love and deep felt affinities like a pop heroine taking to the nebulous night with lantern in hand. The O/M treatments open up further sensory dimensions implied in Ophelia’s sub text and her own affectionate and unique delivery. The c’est la vie shrug of surrender and ambivalence within the sentimental chaos can be heard in Phyllis’s reiterations of “it’s alright”, with a parting request to inform her when the “storms subside.” And then that is when Bob from O/M hits you with the big promised storm apex that crashes in a mushroom cloud sized release of feelings surrounding seeking shelter from situations of separations.

You can also check out the video for “Unbuilt” that gets up close and personal with Phyllis.

We also had the opportunity to chat with both Phyllis Ophelia and Oscillator/Modulator in the following interview session about their Unbuilt EP and more.

Describe for us the paths that brought you to start penning your self-described ‘haunted pop.’

Phyllis: I’ve been making music since I was twelve. I used to write straight ahead pop rock, had a little jazzy pop moment, took a break from songwriting, and came back to it through these meditative, mournful acoustic ballads. I call it “haunted pop” now because even when it isn’t actively sad, it insists on noticing the prickly heft regular things take on once you learn what heartbreak and trauma feel like.

I’m interested in hearing about how you write music that originates from living between what you describe as ‘designated spaces,’ and the hope for growing into new “odd non-architectures, embracing all the awkward and wrong. more intentionally dissatisfied, less moody than informed about melancholy, more reflective than reaching, more invitation than declaration.

Phyllis: I used to be really obsessed with trying to fix the feeling that I didn’t fit in most social spaces, but that was damaging, and a black hole in terms of emotional energy. So I made it my MO to describe my view from the edges and joints of things; that suits me better. It makes me happy to name and honor the things that used to make me feel wrong.

phyllis ophelia week in pop unbuilt_cover

Your recent singles “Monument Apologetic” and “Unbuilt” on the EP are like emotive monuments that bring about these deconstructionist-destructive moments and movements in a kind of paused dream state perspective. Tell us about how both of these songs were inspired and developed from heartfelt sentiments into minimalist acoustic synth pop operettas?And also how did you all go about creating the post-structuralist worlds on this powerful double single cycle? What was the secret to making songs that begin so humbly and then evolve into larger than life entities of audio and emotion?

Phyllis: Thank you for these beautiful reads! “Unbuilt” is about dissatisfaction with inappropriately civilized, utilitarian metaphors for romantic love. It’s self-critical in that it sets up and then breaks down those metaphors to narrate a romantic collapse. I was curious about what would happen if the song went to a place as sonically dramatic as the one the lyrics described. Since I didn’t know how to achieve that, I asked Bob (O/M) to build me a storm. Working on it with him also allowed me to shape the acoustic version the way I wanted it.

O/M: Phyllis came to me with a song she had been working on (“Unbuilt”) and said she wanted it to be something that gave into some sort of degradation as it went on while also getting bigger and more chaotic. When I was arranging my parts, I wanted to preserve parts of the experience I had when I had heard simply an acoustic guitar and Phyllis’ voice — simple and massive and beautiful. It was important to allow the listener to hear it come together and then to fall apart at the end.

For “Monument Apologetic,” I handed a roughly mixed track off to Phyllis for her to work on tracking the vocals thinking there were parts in the arrangement I needed to add, but her additions filled out the parts I thought were incomplete.

Phyllis Ophelia & Oscillator/Modulator.

Phyllis Ophelia & Oscillator/Modulator.

Phyllis: We decided to do a second song, which became “Monument Apologetic”, and which was worked the other way around. Bob sent me a track, I wrote lyrics and recorded vocals, sent it back to him, and we decided on tweaks jointly. For that song, I worked on that really bad-feeling thing that sometimes happens where someone ghosts abruptly, and your attempts to lower the stakes are met with silence. Silence is the message. So where you thought you were doing something with someone, you suddenly find you’re alone but also somehow in their way. How do you tell someone you understand and you’re out without transmitting a message? That’s probably why there are thirteen of me singing on the track, oops.

Describe for us your creative song craft approaches, any rituals, methodologies, etc that might be involved.

Phyllis: I keep notes, usually single sentiments or images, which I pair with things I compose on guitar and work on till I have a coherent moment to build a song out of or around. I’m used to performing solo, so I write songs that can get a lot done without production. These days I’m playing electric guitar to get into different ways of thinking and playing.

Tell us more about the forthcoming ‘Oblique’ project you’re working on.

“Oblique” is a song on a solo album I’m working on. It’s also the first song I’ve ever written entirely on electric guitar.

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Favorite movements and inspiring things happening in NYC right now that you dig?

Phyllis: I don’t know about movements, I just find people whose points of view I love and see them over and over again: Escarioka are an infectious cumbia punk band, Zetetics are a visionary rap-rock collaboration, everything the Budo Kiba Collective does is rich, forward-thinking, and moving, Patio make inspired, self-aware post-punk, Bombrasstico are a raunchy dance brass outfit.

2016 hopes and wishes?

O/M: I hope to finish and release my next LP in early 2016. Unbuilt really energized me and I’m hoping to include some “Feat. Phyllis Ophelia.” I’m also planning to get into the studio with my West Coast based band, Ascend//Ascension to release our second LP.

Phyllis: I want to finish my album, tour, and ignore most things about the presidential race.

DRIFT

DRIFT., aka Nathalie Bruno, styled by Zhana Medvesh, photographed by Wanda Martin.

DRIFT., aka Nathalie Bruno, styled by Zhana Medvesh, photographed by Wanda Martin.

Italian independent imprint of high art and high esteems Avant! Records continues their dark mascara streaked reign of impressionable valor and vanity of the tallest order. They have given you King Dude, Lust For Youth, Qual, Lost Tribe, Phase Fatale, Cult of Youth, The Black Bug, Scorpion Violente, and tons more that has comforted the post-apocalyptic nature state of things that we all collectively endure. Providing winter warmth with the sweet saturation of icy synthesizers, welcome to the devotional synth pop of DRIFT.

London’s Nathalie Bruno, currently in Leave The Planet, and previously in Phosphor, rises as a synth lord as DRIFT, presenting the world premiere of the synth-scepter spectacular of “Hard to Accept”. Off her Devotion EP available November 26 from AVANT!, Natahalie shepherds us into the winter fray with some of the best cold crystal music gems to shine darkly onward and into the new 2016 era. Electric images appear and disappear into the audio on tracks like “Mirage”, to the nu-goth art vision pop of “Dreams in Silkscreen”, the insistence colloquial demands of “Say It Right”, to the codependent dark clad questions that linger and softly simmer on “Never Let Go”.

On the debut of DRIFT’s “Hard To Accept”, the synths arrive swiftly with hooks and body shaking rhythms that hit sharply on point and on cue. Nathalie’s trailing echoes of “denied” and “my heart” are cast like caution to the wind tunnel siren swell of synth streak like tear streams of smeared makeup the hue of the sky at midnight on a moonless night. The reactive response from rejection and having your feelings torn apart by another are met with a vengeful and confident sound that depicts the act of being denied in a profound and potent arrangement. Every earnest lyric of vulnerability is protected from a supernatural-like force of keyboard notes that serve both as Bruno’s shield and sword. The real pain at the heart of the track lies at the eponymous chorus that grapples with the struggles of accepting the most impassioned of desires that go unrequited and unconnected, like the recording received after calling a former loved one only to find that their number has been disconnected. After the following premiere of “Hard To Accept”, check out our interview with DRIFT’s Nathalie Bruno.

How have you found that Phosphor and Leave The Planet inspired your work as DRIFT?

I think DRIFT. is mash up of both styles of music I like to make. I take the ‘dark’ elements from Phosphor and combine it with the fresher, dreamier more pop elements of Leave The Planet.

London has been on the the cutting edge of so many styles of maximalist and minimalist grooves right now. What about London and the scenes really inspires you?

The weather, the people, the fashion. All of it really inspires me. We have quite a few venues around east London which put on nights and bands regularly from the underground scene which is also inspiring.

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Describe what the making of Black Devotion was like for you, and describe the sorts of devotions, and what you call “devotional synth” at work that inspired and gave rise to this 12″?

I call it devotional purely for the fact ‘devotional’ to me is such a beautiful word and I guess I like to make beautiful sounding music with dreamy synths and guitars.

How do theses sorts of electronic focuses and devotionals further express and hon in on what you want to convey in sound?

I want to convey a floaty, melancholic dance track where you lose yourself for a while.

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What are you listening to obsessively right now?

Beach House, Part-Time, Bowie, David Lynch.

Devotional focuses for 2016?

Working on the album, tour, buy more synths.

DRIFT’s Devotion EP will be available November 26 from AVANT! Records.

Giungla

Introducing Giungla, the solo outfit from Emanuela Drei; photographed by Giulia Mazza.

Introducing Giungla, the solo outfit from Emanuela Drei; photographed by Giulia Mazza.

You already know her work playing bass with Jonathan Clancy in His Clancyness, and now Emanuela Drei presents with the world premiere of “Cold” that kicks up a storm of granulated digital beat diamonds and dust-devil disco whirlwinds. The Bologna, Italy based artist arms herself with a guitar, a drum machine, and pedals aplenty to creates sounds that extend beyond the reaches of control and reason with an attitude that allows these ecstatic happy places to spring to existence. Choosing a moniker that means ‘jungle’, Drei delves into the Italian word’s metaphoric connotations that revolve around chaotic situations of confusions as they pertain to living within the scope of society and the modern world at large.

Delivering the first listen from Emanuela’s recent Giungla recordings, “Cold” breaks out of the binary mode in a tight knit assemblage of loops, uncompromising beat slams, and plenty of blistering distortion everywhere that makes every decibel sound electric. Drei begins with the “why are you so cold?” inquiry that begins the song’s switched-on tour of snark, sass, and conquering attitude that shakes up the squares in an amplified universe that is the entrance into the world of Giungla. Emanuela’s economic prestige allows her to a handful of rudimentary instrumental essentials to create something that is in your in face that spins dance like components of drum and bass rhythm physics into new mutations and syntheses that crowns Emanuela as the queen of her own jungle. The song’s investigative line of questioning and fast paced progressions is executed at an accelerated rate as Drei creates a well timed sequence of glitching electrical notes, percussion, and chopped vocal edits that exist in a snow globe of chaos that is completely under her command and control. Join as after the following debut listen to “Cold” for our interview with Giungla’s Emanuela Drei.

Give us all the details on all the particulars in forming Giungla.

At first, I wanted to put a band together. Long story short, things didn’t work out as I expected and that just made me feel bummed ’cause I was simply trying to make something I love, and instead I felt like the whole thing was no longer about the music, but more about bad timing, logistics and being money-less.

And yet, the moment I felt I was wasting time I also discovered the chance to improve and question myself about what I really wanted.

Finally I decided to move on and trashed almost everything I had recorded. I borrowed a drum machine, bought a cheap synth and decided to cut it off and play with the only stuff I could handle with my two hands and feet: a few pedals and a guitar. That was it. Federico Dragogna, a dear friend of mine, recorded and produced the tracks and really helped me out trough the whole process. It has always been in front of my eyes: I needed limits and make the best out of what I had in order to kick off somewhere.
So here I am. And I feel that this is something that might take so many directions and turns. I like the idea of traveling light and hopefully touring a lot. I could even move to a different city or country one day, and maybe go for another instrument. I have always played in bands, and maybe, sooner or later, Giungla will be a band, too, and I miss being with my friends like hell, with all those “roles” and stuff, and yet I sort of love this sense of freedom as it is totally new to me and also scares me a bit.

Giungla's Emanuela Drei; photographed by Giulia Mazza.

Giungla’s Emanuela Drei; photographed by Giulia Mazza.

How have your adventures playing bass with His Clanyness impacted or informed your solo work?

I have been playing with His Clancyness for a whole year and everything was so intense. I had the chance to tour a good deal of Europe (sharing the stage with some amazing bands like Deerhunter and Widowspeak) and play the US too, while seeing what’s really like out there, meeting a lot of great people, and growing up day by day. The greatest lesson I learned is that to make music is a choice of life.

Describe how the metaphor of your chosen moniker, ‘Giungla’, or jungle, impacts your vision of the sound, and instruments of audio chaos and more.

I like the fact that this word is mostly used as a metaphor for chaotic situations, and commonly addressed to modern times, but also reflects something very natural and wild.
My music is at times distorted or tangled with riffs and textures, but still everything goes to the point pretty fast in a simple, very instinctive way. I believe Giungla hides a sort of double nature and its core is all about finding the balance between the apparent chaos and sharp rhythm, between loops and diversity.

Enter the DIY Euro pop jungles with Giungla; photographed by Giulia Mazza.

Enter the DIY Euro pop jungles with Giungla; photographed by Giulia Mazza.

Please describe further the creative methods that you employ as Giungla.

Basically I try to focus on songwriting before anything else. So when a song sounds OK with just vocals and guitar in it, it usually means it’s a good point to start with. I enjoy writing with bass and synths too, as it kind of keep my mind open.

But there are times when it all starts with a riff, and in such cases I have already found the arrangement the very moment I write.

Then, I come up with tons of ideas when speeding up behind the wheel. My phone is full of funny recordings of me beat-boxing and imitating instrument sounds.

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What are a few of the most obsessive things you’re reading, listening to, watching, etc, right now?

My favorite is Simone De Beauvoir at the moment. After ‘Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter’, I’m now reading ‘Prime of Life’ and planning to put my hands on pretty much everything she wrote.

Lately I’ve been listening to El Perro Del Mar, Warpaint, Beach House and Empress Of.
My one true obsession is trying to go out for a run at least three times a week, but I can’t do that without my guilty-pleasure-pop-music playlist that there’s no way I’m gonna share with you!

2016 hopes and wishes?

Touring and traveling the world, meeting great people to work with, snatching a green card.

Giungla’s tour is being planned for early 2016, check out Emanuela’s site for further details.

The City and I

Introducing The City and I, aka Colins Bear Regisford.

Introducing The City and I, aka Colins Bear Regisford.

Philadelphia’s Colins Regisford has been playing in Mannequin Pussy since last August, and today we bring you the premiere advance listen to his new album Downer under his solo moniker The City and I that promises plenty of thrashed out scuzzy stoner jams. Available November 27 as part of Infinity Cat Recordings‘ cassette series, Regisford has made the perfect home-baked fuzz-pop to keep you entertained for the bulk of the ensuing winter. Best enjoyed at obscene headphones volumes while partaking in sneak-a-tokes during the holiday season while hiding away from the troves of extended family, The City and I’s Downer is an uplifting anti-depressant in it’s own right that is not to be missed.

As soon as the tape begins you enter Colins’ realm of embracing the ennui on “Bored People”. The hazy-lazy chords sort of float in while channel panning buzzes of squelching radio static surfaces with the sporadic and erratic bliss of boredom. Fuzzy focuses and frequency buzzes shifts the entire experience into the full fidelity frame of the audio spectrum. This becomes a precursor of wild sounds to come with the natural mystic divinity of “Divine Lorraine” bursts onto the scene thrashing out a bunch of distortion
right before the gentle genius of “Geordie”, that feels like a warm forgotten CD of alt-angst late-90s romanticism left between the seat and e-brake in a mid-80s hatchback. Heartbreak reflections are strummed out in a minimalist man and his electric guitar fashion recorded real quick to whatever cassette happened to be near the recorder. Found sounds of youthful park banter make you feel as if you were sitting next to Colins playing his guitar and singing song of honest sorrows on a park square bench. Experimental fun with backwards tape makes up the “Untitled” interlude, right before the title track “Downer” brings anything but downer-vibes with it’s furious pace of progressions, chugging rhythms, and punk-poppy deliveries. The cassette concludes with weird eastern Halloween martial arts like production slowed to a syrupy viscous pour; Regisford takes to the mic in full emcee fashion that delivers half-awake thoughts on lives of the young and bored on the half-baked conscious slip-trip of “Are You Up” that suddenly takes a Sgt. Peppers like turn. You are going to have to hear it to believe it. After the following debut listen to Downer, enjoy our recent discussion with The City and I’s frontman Colins Regisford.

From your bass duties in Mannequin Pussy, tell us about taking the time to nurture your solo work as The City and I.

Well i joined MP just this passed august. Its been great hanging and jamming with them! its been a great family that added along with 3 other projects (Ghost Gum, Kids, Albondigas) i only give my self time for music. I work two jobs and do 4 band practices a week. Ive always wrote songs to myself. Sometimes just humming ideas at work and just going straight home and making some shitty recording of it on my voice recorder. i party when i can but typically im back in my room working on a song or watching Master Chef. I love making and playing music. So i try and practice and write songs anytime im not working or eating.

What is the story and meaning behind your metropolitan solo moniker?

The name is kinda personal in meaning, and that I’ll never tell, but came from a time when I was actually still living in the Poconos (Brodheadsville, PA). I was born and raised in Brooklyn ny but my parents moved me from bedstuy, to rural middle of nowhere pa when I was just approaching my teens. What was perfect about it was my grandfather told me, ‘ain’t nothing out there, so you might need this,’ and gave me my first guitar. He was right, there was nothing to do. So I bought a 10 CDs for a penny scams and got into punk and rock and roll. What sucked was I had started falling for all these bands that were from this beautiful city that I just moved away from not knowing about this whole other side of it. I felt removed too soon, but I’m thankful I was. The name was also inspired by one of my favorite artists.

Talking tunes and getting deep down with Colins Bear Regisford of The City and I, Mannequin Pussy, etc.

Talking tunes and getting deep down with Colins Bear Regisford of The City and I, Mannequin Pussy, etc.

Describe the ups and downs that played out during the recording of your addictive album, Downer.

This whole project was a bummer for a long time. I suffer from manic episodes and anxiety. I’m too self reflective/critical at times that it becomes crippling. I self medicate heavily to combat these thoughts and feelings. Over the winter I stayed locked in my house trying out songs and getting wasted trying to make songs I liked, but I couldn’t come up with the confidence or motivation to actually want to finish it or even ask for assistance. The ups was luckily I had some good friends who had seen me play and were totally down to just help and push me to try. My best friend Chelsea pushed me to just try at all and Casey Weissbuch heard the album and actually believed in it enough to wanna put it out on the cassette series. Pat Conaboy, of Spirit of the Beehive, was the first one on board with just learning songs. He learned the songs and knocked out the tracks in one night. The days when I was into making the album, recording with Dave Sampson (engineered/high tide hotel) in our house, I would be jumping all over the place trying out new ideas and adding parts. Other days I’d be ready to press the delete button on it all. So it was more a battle with myself than the actual recording process.

Taking a pause for a puff with The City and I's Colins Regisford; photographed by Jessica Flynn.

Taking a pause for a puff with The City and I’s Colins Regisford; photographed by Jessica Flynn.

Describe for us the musical chemistry that is at work over there at The City and I between you and fellow Philly friends helping out from the Spirit of the Beehive, Ghost Gun, Gunk Idiot Forever, and more.

To be honest most of these people are just great friends to have. All talented and fun to smoke weed with. Pat was by far the most fun to work with even though we spent the least amount of time recording together. Josh Mackie (Gunk, Idiot Forever) is a regular at our house and hangs. Travis gaston and Arik Dayan are both In ghost gum and the track we worked on was actually going to be a ghost gum song. The chemistry really isn’t “chemistry”, but more of a melding of the minds and the love of playing music with your friends. Were constantly showing each other projects and songs we’re working on and playing with, just to show our homies some real shit we got going on. I hope that on the next record I get the chance to work with more friends. Hell you could even say they are “the city.”

What is the secret to tapping into those instant mood and emotion-effect sensory triggers like on “Geordie”? It pulls the audience into a whole other environment upon initial listen.

No secret really. Each song on the album is made to put you in the different place with a similar idea. “Geordie” is the come down on Downer. The soundscapes are real parts of Philly and real life happening. The album is just a complete drug trip for the listener. I wanted to capture what I heard when I looked at Geordie. I wanted the listener to step into my brain and hear the world through my ears. I hope that listeners take the whole album in as silly, intense, revealing, infectious, dangerous and relative. None of the songs are similar to each other because the idea is to keep moving and change as you go. The last song “are you up” was the last song I wrote for the album and is a prime example of that. It’s probably the only song that has no live instruments and I hope to make more weird stuff in the future to keep you questioning, ‘what’s the next song gonna be like?’

Lighting up with Colins.

Lighting up with Colins.

What do you people need to know about happening in Philly right now?

Philly is growing. Right now it’s on a lot of people’s top list ‘best city for music,’ ‘most fun cities in America,’ ‘have you seen these cheese steaks?’ and it’s causing a lot of people to come here with there band with the hopes to make it somewhere I think. Whats great about this city is the humbleness and the realness. People will call bullshit really quick here if you’re just a band trying to make a buck from the scene. Moving here has been great because so many of my friends were living here and just to be apart of the scene and now they are figures in scene from promoters/photographers to session music. It’s a beautiful city and has a lot of great things going on here. I hope it stays that way but let’s be real: on a long enough time line, eventually nothing stays the same.

Holiday plans and wishes from The City and I?

The City and I will be going on tour for ten days Dec 8-17! The band will be me and a few friends getting into trouble. But when I get back I’m actually gonna pass on the holidays. I got a lot of plans for 2016 so most likely going to be at home working on the next album/split. My wishes is that this new year brings you even more music from me and other projects im working with (new Mannequin Pussy album, new kids album, the finished Ghost Gum album, and Albondigas debut full length) and hopefully go on tour with JEFF [the Brotherhood].

Smoke DeaF
Live 4eva

Colins Bear Regisford

The City and I’s Downer cassette will be available November 27 from Infinity Cat Records.

Barleaux

The cool-cult of Barleaux; photographed by Marvin Sayson.

The cool-cult of Barleaux; photographed by Marvin Sayson.

NY by LA pop queen Barleaux releases her wyld des!re LP November 27 via A f t e r n o o n s m o d e l i n g, and we bring you a first listen to “Say Goodbye” of kiss-off cut and dry cut-offs. Accompanied by electric piano touches, Barleaux blazes ahead on her bright pop bent that burns with the affectionate enrichment of serotonin soaked sweetness and the midnight oil burn of desires. Continuing our coverage of the artist’s continuing creative audio developments, Barleaux sets her arrangement sights on the biggest sounds imaginable while keeping her vocals minimally touched.

Tapping into the FM frequency of the transistor, tales of changed dynamics and the urge to leave quit and move forward are dished out with largest hooks that you can pump a clenched fist to. Working with Stone Cold Fox’s Graham Stone on production and mixing, the realized moment of needed departure is conveyed through an arena like audio spectacle. Fantasies of leaving tightly bound and wound situations becomes a narrative platform for Barleaux to unleash the larger than life chorus section that goes, “if the morning wakes you up and you still feel that heavy weight, this is what it takes—just say goodbye.”

Barleaux described to us the inception for “Say Goodbye” with the following thoughts:

I wrote Say Goodbye when I was in New York City in 2014, working a lot of odd jobs and having a hard time finding my identity as a writer and an artist. I felt it challenging to find my voice in such a noisy, concrete jungle. Writing “Say Goodbye” enabled me to approach songwriting more anthemic, subjective viewpoint. I remember being in the bathtub when the chorus melody came to me. The song was a big turning point sonically. When Graham Stone of the band Stone Cold Fox approached the song, it was a perfect fit for the sound we were going for. “Say Goodbye” took a while to really lock in in terms of mixing and production, but I also think his work really stands out on this specific track. Graham Stone also produced almost half of my album, out 11/27—which you can pre-order here.

Barleaux’s wyld des!re album will be available November 27 from A f t e r n o o n s m o d e l i n g.

Blasteroid

Blasting off with the three headless horsemen Jesse, John, & Troy of Blasteroid.

Blasting off with the three headless horsemen Jesse, John, & Troy of Blasteroid.

Following up our recent discussion with Brooklyn’s Blasteroid over their “Oaf” single, we join up with Jesse, John, and Troy again today for a roundtable discussion meeting about their new video for the single “Heater” (made by the band’s own Troy Chryssos with Sam Wolfson). Readying their upcoming Pretty Good EP for release December 3, the trio arrives today to be your personal scuzzy-space-heater to blast rains of electrically produced comforts.

The video for “Heater” presents fun with a/v effects and alterations that showcases Blasteroid placed in all kinds of random scenarios. From farm settings, forest backdrops, the galactic cosmos, and more; random animations are disembodied heads of the bands are thrown all over the screen in all kinds of arbitrary manners. Stay tuned for the lyrical portion at the video’s finale right before all the visuals go haywire. Join us after the video for our recent discussion with Blasteroid’s Jesse Bilenberg, John Shankman, and Troy Chryssos.

Tell us about what sorts of heating conductors and such inspired the song “Heater”.

Troy: The name comes from the heater in my truck back home. There’s this really distinct smell that comes out of the vents when you blast the heat on maximum; it’s this idiosyncratic experience that’s powerfully correlated with all of my favorite winter memories. No matter where I went or what I did throughout my childhood winters I always smelled that smell. The big picture of the song is about this short-lived romance I had heading into last December and how it sort of fell apart due to mutual negligence. For me, the chorus is this humanizing moment where that flirtation is destroyed, we all realize it isn’t working, life goes on, and I’ve still got my car heater smell.

Further more, tell us about how the Troy Chryssos and Sam Wolfson video came about and what was the experience like making tripped out visuals of yourselves?

Troy: Sam and I had been wanting to make a video like this for a while. We’re huge fans of the Eric Andre show, and after we watched the Bird Up! episode we knew we wanted to make our own fucked up, nested, shitty green-screen universe. We decided on “Heater” because we felt like it lent itself the best to our maximalist vision; it’s jittery, it’s a little silly, and it just made sense. The decision to forgo any real plot was informed by the “Let’s Groove” video from Earth, Wind and Fire. They proved to us that four minutes of RGB effects could make a great video.

The actual process was bizarre. We have a friend, Tracy, who has a photography studio with a green screen, and he let us film there for a day. We had this limited plan—’Yeah, for the prechorus we’ll go to space, and then something will start spinning and blow up!’—but we mostly dicked around in this studio for an afternoon filming whatever we thought would look funny. Once we actually got to editing, the video really diverged from the plan as we learned what we could realistically accomplish and what was too difficult. A lot of happy accidents.

John: I vividly remember seeing the “Jesse-ception” part of the video for the first time; that’s what sticks with me about the process. They showed it to me for feedback and I started uncontrollably laughing. I ran around the room yelling something like “that’s too good! I want this happening forever!” After spending most of my day at work staring at commercial web graphics and other bullshit like that, watching them make trippy visuals felt borderline therapeutic to me.

With your debut EP Pretty Good arriving in time for the holidays; what is the Blasteroid winter/holiday itinerary schedule/grand plan looking like?

Troy: The biggest thing is that we’re playing a lot of shows to support the EP release on December 3. It’s more shows than we’ve ever played in such a small amount of time, and they’re all really cool. We wanted to go pretty hard in December since Jesse, our bassist, is getting back from a month long tour with another artist, so we’re sort of making up for lost time in a sense. We’re hoping to carry that momentum into the new year in terms of bookings. We’ve gotten awesome feedback from our shows thus far, so playing out more and more often is a big priority for us.

We’ve got another music video in the works via our good friend and outstanding animator Malcolm Rizzuto that’s going to be stellar. That will be releasing sometime this winter, although I don’t want to say too much about it yet.

Furthermore, we’ve been writing a lot, so we’ve got a few new songs on the horizon, and I don’t expect that to slow down for us. We’re writing a lot faster than when we were writing for the EP, which is awesome; we’ve definitely gotten into a groove and have a better sense of who we are musically. I would expect to see a bunch of new songs crop up in our upcoming shows.

Lastly, as I do every holiday season, I will be listening to and spreading the gospel of Robert Goulet’s This Christmas I Spend With You record. The title track makes me cry. I encourage all of you to take a listen.

Latest Brooklyn scene reports?

John: The Brooklyn scene is as rad as ever.

Sharkmuffin, Thick, Nonsense, Plain Dog, and Fat Heaven are the bands I’ve been listening to recently. All of them fucking slay it and and we’ve had the good fortune to play with some of them. Thick in particularly blew my face off at Legion Bar recently. After their set a girl in the audience made what seemed like a spur of the moment decision to get on stage with them and they blasted out four other songs that kicked ass. Really cool.

A cool development has been this big influx of house shows in our circle of friends. People have been willing to throw lots of rowdy shows on their roofs or in their basement, and I think it goes a long way to getting more people involved in the community, whether its as fans or curators or inspiring them to make bands or whatever. It’s gotten to the point where when the cops show up to shut us down they’re like, ‘who’s playing tonight? They sound good.’ I’m also super stoked on the The Gateway which opened pretty recently. It’s got two floors and it’s so loud that you can hear it from the street. We’re playing a Bernie Sanders benefit there for the Bushwick Berners and No Smoking Media with a bunch of rad punk-ish bands and I’m so excited I might pee.

Further word on the Blasteroid full-length?

Troy: As I mentioned before we’re definitely picking up steam with the songwriting. We’ve been tracking demos for new material but I’m not sure we’ve decided on how to best distribute that material once it’s put together. I would expect more announcements on this in the coming months as we get a game plan together about our next release.

Blasteroid’s Pretty Good EP will be available December 3.

Butterfly Child

The pensive stare of Butterfly Child's Joe Cassidy.

The pensive stare of Butterfly Child’s Joe Cassidy.

Joe Cassidy and Butterfly Child return with Futures, available November 27 from Dell’Orso. The past scrolling trail stream of thoughts of Joe’s song are captured in the following video from Chris DeFord that follows Cassidy while driving about town with his sung perspectives and reflections. The “still we keep holding on” title chorus is carried forth on Joe’s drives that range from town and countries and candid cigarette break pauses enjoyed with the thousand yard stare.

From the artist who once upon time gave the world Onomatopoeia via AR Kane’s h.Ark! imprint, Cassidy continues his romantic pop portrayals that entertain the inner drives and volition that lies within the human condition’s configuration. The Belfast, Ireland by LA artist takes his latest reflective pastorals to the highways of the drive to continue and carry on toward new inspiring horizons and the possible thrill of new new discoveries and romances.

Joe Cassidy provided us with the following exclusive preface about the new Butterfly Child single:

After not having released a Butterfly Child album since Soft Explosives in 1997, I wasn’t quite sure that I would ever make another one again. It wasn’t like I had stopped writing or recording but…especially since the early 2000s, I was producing stuff that was very different stylistically over the course of hundreds of songs. Quite a few good EPs in there potentially but I wasn’t concentrating on a solid body of work as it were to release. At least regarding Butterfly Child. That all changed when I started working with Guy Sirman and the label Dell’Orso.

Initially we were just going to rework some unreleased material from the 1990s era. But while I was working on those older songs, it inspired me to write a whole bunch of new tracks that ended up having a similar tone. It helped that I was engineering, mixing and producing in my home studio. It helped to glue all the songs and the textures together. And that is when Futures really started to take shape.

The vision of the record was to keep things relatively simple in terms of the writing/ arrangements but to have the production relatively complex. It sounds intimate yet it has the Phil Spector thing going on too. A good headphone record. I literally had to put tape over my mouth a few times so that i would not be able to do another eight vocal parts. I knew that I wanted to have my voice loud and proud and at the center of things. It is the one constant thing on the album that ties everything together.

I ended up calling the record Futures because in a way I had to go back to the start of my music career to find the inspiration to actually write a new Butterfly Child album and make a step forward again musically/ creatively. And the songs have all been inspired by love and relationships. Whether broken or ongoing. As we all know, you never know what is waiting around the corner. Whether in life, creativity or otherwise. We might think we are going in one direction but the next minute…everything can change in a heartbeat. Hence Futures.

Futures will be available November 27 from Dell ‘Orso.

Dia

Introducing Dia, aka Danielle Birrittella; photographed by Koury Angelo.

Introducing Dia, aka Danielle Birrittella; photographed by Koury Angelo.

Introducing New England by west coast artist Dia, aka Danielle Birrittella who premieres the beautiful light bathed emotive atmospheres of “Covered in Light” from her forthcoming Tiny Ocean EP. Available February 5 from Heliophila, Danielle emerges from a series of LA recording sessions with Joey Waronker, Tim Carr, and Frankie Siragusa to create a cycle of new pastoral intimate oceans of sound. Trained for years in the operatic singing arts, Birrittella channels arias and odes to the frequencies of music made for Ojai cabin escapes, and personal moments of solitude spent listening to the therapeutic roar and crash of tides that lap the sandy and ricky shores.

“Covered in Light” is what happens when chamber ballads are brought to the sanctity of the seas, or the outer regions and expanses of the Southern California territories. The poetries of the past and the attachments to the present (and reflections on the future) pour together in tones of ukelele strums, ambient atmospheres, and electronic baroque touches beam like projected rays of reflected sun light on the collective surfaces of earth and elsewhere. The musical world of Dia finds the natural operettas that exist between the topography of land and the ever infinite skies and heavens of the unknown.

Dia’s Danielle Birrittella provided us with the following introspective introductory words on her forthcoming Tiny Ocean EP:

Tiny Ocean is the first set of songs I wrote. I had just given up on years of training to become an opera singer. My great love had just had a baby, with someone else. I had no idea what I was doing. That Christmas, my brother gave me a ukulele. I played it in my bedroom, on my bathroom floor, in my car. It became my companion and I started writing the fragments of what I was holding onto. I went up to a little cabin in Ojai to complete them. I made myself write and write and write and I remembered this classical song I used to sing called “Pastorale” by Aaron Copeland; the text is by a 10th Century Kafiristan poet. There was a completeness in it that reached me —I felt like a tiny ocean, wading and willing to surrender to a love like that.

Since you love me and I love you
The rest matters not.
I will cut grass in the fields
And you will sell it for beasts.

Since you love me and I love you
The rest matters not.
I will sow maize in the fields
and you will sell it for people.

Dia’s Tiny Ocean EP will be available February 5 via Heliophila.

Paul Meadow

paul meadow week in pop 1

Sunset Park, Brooklyn’s Stirling Krusing and Chris Lee are Paul Meadow who present the premiere of their single “I Love This Town” from their forthcoming Cheap & Easy EP available December 10. Chris and Stirling struck a bond at a pub upon losing their jobs penning ad jingles for a firm to create the Paul Meadow musical vehicle. A song that arrives just in time for that special season where the city metropolitan districts are in a gridlock locked in the grip of all consuming hordes of shopping addicted zealots paying homage on credit card fueled worship binges to the department stores and corporate chains of retail commerce.

“I Love Love This Town” turns up the snark with an intro that features what we imagine to be our Paul Meadow hero running through the alleys and streets of every dense city imaginable. An ode to the city with a tongue-in-cheek humor of slight bitterness expounds on the confounded monstrosity of life locked into the grid with the chorus singalong call of, “I love this town, let’s burn it into the ground…” A must hear for all holiday misanthropes and Scrooge sorts who appreciate a good winter pub ditty. In Stirling Krusing’s own words:

“I Love This Town” was originally from a jingle called I Love {This Town}, “This Town” being a place holder for any two syllable municipality that we were pitching it to. Utility companies loved it. For legal reasons we shouldn’t disclose any of the cities’ names, but we can tell you they were all shit-holes. Naturally, we came up with the idea of loving a town so much you cleanse the filth by purifying it with fire. Never one to let a good thing go, we shilled it on Paul. He ended up thinking he wrote it.

The Paul Meadow Cheap & Easy EP will be available December 10.

There’s Talk

Olivia Lee and There's Talk return with news of a new EP in 2016; photographed by the No. 6 Collective.

Olivia Lee and There’s Talk return with news of a new EP in 2016; photographed by the No. 6 Collective.

We first fell in love with San Francisco’s There’s Talk a couple years back with the advent of the Tiny Strands EP and today we are pleased to bring word of a new EP on the way this spring, a listen to the new single “In Your Hands”, and our latest conversation with the creative mastermind Olivia Lee. “Hands” illustrates new directions that lift in ethereal and enlightened like ways. Imagine the personal passages found on earlier Youth Lagoon pieces, and then think an even floatier foundation and presence of warmth and you are approximately on your way to the new artifices of audio of There’s Talk.

What began as Olivia’s solo project has become with contribution of arrangements and more from Kellen Balla, and the new-new in nu-gaze guitars from Young Lee. Reclaiming the Bay Area as the premiere destination for dream pop (like it’s 2010-2012 all over again), the intimate kindred interiors heard on Tiny Strands are granted further room for observation, reflection, and deep inhalations and expansions of breath. Olivia’s voice emerges and materializes through the scuzzy Brillo scrubs that lend way to angelic lullabyes further enhanced by Kellen’s atmospheric considerations, applications, and the tones that grumble and bellow in the way in a manner similar to the sounds that the city makes upon slowly rising to the traffic rate of business, collective swarms of commerce, occupationalists, the estudious academics, and the dreamers that still remain steadfast.

Bring us up to speed on everything we need to know from Tiny Strands, to the airy-atmosphere ambiance of “In Your Hands”, and ultimately your upcoming EP. Describe the expansion of the group going from you solo project to a trio, and how that has impacted and perhaps further enhanced your visions?

The last EP was mostly a solo idea I recorded much of in my old apartment. I’ve since teamed up with some really good dudes and moved things over to a practice space where we can get loud, and not just awkwardly bother roommates in my headphones and acappella whisper singing. Kellen Balla’s the programming and sequencing and all around make-things-happen extraordinaire. Young Lee is the well dressed soundscape ambient guitar wizard that I take styling cues from. It’s much more fun with them around and I feel like I can finally make the music I’ve always wanted to.

Despite the rather dismal recent election results in San Francisco, what movements and grassroots kind of action still keeps you inspired?

The creatives won’t go down that easily. There are a lot of great things happening. Sofar Sounds house shows, gorilla dyke bar takeovers, poetry slams, optimistic graffiti, underground noise shows and the reviving shoegaze scene give me hope.

Tell us everything about what you’re reading, what you’re binge watching right now, listening to on repeat, etc.

I pretty much exclusively read technical product reviews. I knocked out the box set of “Friends” and “Orange is The New Black” earlier this year. I am perpetually listening to To The Wedding, Chasms, and Lauren O’Connell. The new Beach House records soundtracked my move to Oakland. I’m going to the Youth Lagoon show in five minutes.

2016 wishes?

I’d like to tour.

The single release show for “In Your Hands” is happening tonight (November 20) at Starline Social Club in Oakland with Yassou and Lila Rose.

The Casket Girls

080114_CasketGirls_SouthStreetSeaport_KassyBalli-5
The Casket Girls performing at South Street Seaport, photographed by Kassy Balli.

Hear The Casket Girls’ new single “Western World” from their split LP with Stardeath and White Dwarfs titled What Keeps You Up At Night available November 27 for Black Friday Record Store Day via Graveface. The synth pop that the duo are famous for shines in the most brilliant of hooks imaginable that are poured through the most beautifully and blistered filters of blizzard blasted distortion.

The Casket Girls Phaedra Greene lent the following words:

“Western World” is an anthem for the end times. Are we already in them? Would we even know if we were? As we medicate and plug in, the old ways change to new ways, and we are watching history unfold as if we are merely spectators. But if you take off the rose-colored glasses, you might find you need a new prescription.

Speaking on the collaboration, Stardeath’s Dennis Coyne shared the following words:

I’ve always been a fan of these kind of records…whether I’m involved in it, or if I’m buying a record that to other like minded bands made. I think it pushes both groups in a way that ends up positive for the listener.

Check out the Fake Guns’ remix of SWIMM’s cut “Belly” found off the Beverly Hells EP that is the sound of an eternal electric summer spent by the indoor pool in the lofty estates located in Beverly Hills. The synths surround like the sentiment of paddling about the deep end of a heated Olympic sized pond for swells. SWIMM said this of the remix:

Every once in a while, someone does more of a re-imagining of a song than a remix and you kind of wish you had imagined it that way the first time. This is one of those times.

LA quartet Dr. Boogie lends us a stream to their just released album Gotta Get Back To New York City from Dead Beat Records where every lick is a throw back Thursday to a proto-punk time probably before you were born. The group kicks out the jams with the eponymous title track that gets the party rocking and a rolling, getting gritty with the classic American noir glam pop of “Cut At The Knees”, the wailing rocker “Down This Road”, the good vibe craves of “Really Good Feeling”, to the gender bending crossroads crosswalk cock-pop “Queen Of The Streets”. Tender moments occur on cuts like “Together”, along with tales from living on the dole with “Life On The Breadline” and in the fast lane, right before giving you a personality crisis/personal panic attack with the finale “Personal Matter”. Dr. Boogie ever arrived to deliver you the sound of futuristic pop, eschewing all trends and order of today to take you in a time machine to the magical time right before bunk between the NYC and London scenes.

Seattle’s Sean Rail (of Cabana) introduced us to his new band Pleasures that just released the Selections EP for Sure Nice Legs Records that contains all the west coast get-away pizazz you’ve been desiring. The mellow-good times vibes start with the opening cut “Snails in my coffin”, right before the therapeutic meditation continue to gently marinate on “Disco of Dream”, to the coastal leaning dalliances of “On the beach”, continuing the ascending sentiments of clear, golden chords that embrace the arbitrary occurrences of life lived in happenstance with “On the way down”. For those looking for an extended player to lower their blood pressure, Pleasures has the cure for you.

Hear DeltaFoxx’s recent remix of Tame Impala’s “Let It Happen” that dices up the Aussie’s original like a sushi chef sharing his culinary courses of cutlery talents in slo-mo style.

Featuring a listen from what will be Rockpie’s first release as a label happening December 11; check out a listen to the lazy coast side cruise attitudes of infinite high altitudes with The Migrant’s “Silence”, off their forthcoming album Flood.

In perpetuation of revolution against the demagogues that we’re all forced to contend with in one way or another; peep the new provocative icon-fuck video from Fine Print for “Snakes” that gives you a visual collage blast of every big messianic despot that runs every big intellectual power vacuum from ot the east and the west.

Lending some winter warmth with a dash of the outside draft, hear Unkle Bob’s “The Long Way Home” that reflects on the distances traversed and the lengths of travel still ahead to return to home. Musings on the departures and homecoming of kindred hearts carry on like walks in the wind, rain, or snow with the kind of sentiments that makes the loneliest souls feel comforted.

This song pushes through the side-door. It was meant as a b-side but hypnotised it’s way into the foreground and sounds like a kind of grown-up lullaby. The electric guitar was recorded the first time we ever jammed it in the flat and has that feeling of being played for the first time.

From Younghusband’s second album Dissolver available via ATP, watch the Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski video for “Waverly Street” that bathes the camera lens aperture capture of a mid-day’s park gathering in hues of blue, red, green, and more kaleidoscopic treatments that further accompany the psych sensibility at play in sound and style.

The iconographic reign of Lorely Rodriguez continues in the Eli Born video for “Icon” off her lauded Terrible Records album Me. Take a drive deep into the forest and NYC back-roads for juxtaposed collection of rural and metropolitan visual locales.

From their forthcoming self-titled EP available January 15; watch the retro-modern deco of the She-Devils’ self made video for “Come” from the group’s Audrey Ann & Kyle Jukka.

For those seeking cinematic strong female vocal pop, then indulge in the mega-pop majesty of LP’s “Lost on You” off the her upcoming album available on Vagrant Records in 2016.

Check out NightOwl’s “Stripped To The Core” that operates in the American pub rock traditions of building epic shred-fest power-chord-christened suites.

Fresh after dropping an EP on A Recordings (Anton Newcombe’s label), hear The Altered Hours’ thrashing passages of stylistic, rhythm chugging destitution and delightful despair on the single “Way of Sorrow”. The Irish band says to look out for an album in 2016, supplying the following chord churning fest of basement-based pop to tide you over until further information is revealed.

Off her upcoming album Language Barrier (available February 5 from Churchkey Records / SugarQube Records) that features folks from Amelia Meath, Indigo Girls, Meshell Ndegeocello, Heather McEntire from Mount Moriah, Hiss Golden Messenger, Phil Cook of Megafaun), and more; allow shirlette ammons to break the situation down to you with a few bars on the title track that features an appearance from sookee.

From Verbal Kent’s Mello Music album Anesthesia, peep the Peter Stepnoski video for “Feel The Power” that presents a montage view seen from the inside of Kent’s mind of all kinds of debaucherous behavior.

San Francisco’s Seventeen Evergreen dropped their Epiphanie Solaire EP via Spiritual Pajamas and we bring you the Bay Area group’s further realized psych-sough visions with the visuals for “Observatory Crest” directed by Brian Ziffer. Observations of natural night and day occurrences that exist in extended viewpoints beyond the vanishing point are unveiled in meditational like fashion.

Godmode’s Malory re-touches and re-programs the tek-tectonics of Autre Ne Veut’s single “Never Wanted” off the album Age of Transparency. New rhythmic resources find new path sequence recourses that push the techno switches toward an after-after-party meeting at only the most hush-hush of venue locations.

Hear Belle Mare’s “Dark Of My Evening” that manifests realities both real and imagined that brings to drama pop life the anxieties about those alleged monsters that lurk beneath the box-springs. The debut album from the New York duo will be available later in 2016.

Emily Yacina lends a listen to the ear sparkling soda like pop of “Loser”off her upcoming Soft Stuff available December 11 from Cascine. The artist picks up where her gorgeous Pull Through EP left off that brings more new-schools of productions and frequencies of emotive drawn expression.

Watch the Ian Gallagher video for South Korean artist Neon Bunny’s smooth viscous slick single “Romance in Seoul” from Cascine singles imprint CSCN. 1950s obsessions with the works of Ella Fitzerald and Dinah Washington push the golden age into the twenty-first century of nu-jazz impressionistic electro-inflected chill grooves for the future lounge soundtracks of tomorrow.

Nap Eyes’ album Thought Rock Fish Scale will be available February 5 from Paradise of Bachelors, and we have the super mellow Nova Scotia North Shore tape recorded vibes that provides sequences of thoughts from the profound to the day to day mundane put to vintage modern Brit pop.

Martin Crane dropped “Gadesco” off his just released album Physical Therapy available now from INSCAPE, echoing his work supervising music for films like High the Hunter, Cuties and the Boxer, among other various projects. This is what the new-new in current day pop sophistication is all about. Read Martin’s exclusive thoughts on the upcoming album here.

Michael Nau of Cotton Jones dropped the solstice savoring single “Winter Beat” off his forthcoming album Mowing available February 12 from Suicide Squeeze Records. Nau navigates the most mystic of woodwinds that haunt with home bound comforts and all the welcome warm embraced trappings of cabin essences to last an entire cold spell.

Yassou releases the video for “In These Summer Nights” directed by the band’s own Lilie Hoy that takes the group’s sounds and solstice dreams deep beneath an aesthetically pleasing sea. Don’t miss Yassou performing with our friends There’s Talk, and Lila Rose tonight November 20 in Oakland at Starline Social Club.

Dumbo Gets Mad dropped the inverted inviting pimped out pop worlds of “Youniverse” from their forthcoming album Thank You Neil available December 4 on Ghost Records/Bad Panda Records. You can envision the after-hours dico ball spin as an enchanted evening to last all and forever is unfolded in an adults skate only session moment on the track’s roller rink of dreams.

From the purveyors of new beats at Speedy Wunderground, get lost in the clandestine clubbed out dream scheme beat from BOSS on “I’m Down With That”.

Off DJ Soko’s album Domino Effect album for Left of Center; check out the “Ambassador Bridge” ft. Stryfe featuring stop-motion direction from Stryfe himself for the Newstalgia produced cut.

Off their recently released album You Can’t Always Be Liked from Kanine Records, Expert Alterations dropped the Tendrills performance video for “The Past and You” that brings to life your favorite C86 hero to presence in both sight and jangle pop sounds. Catch the band playing in NYC and Baltimore around December 9-30.


Hamilton, Ontario’s Junior Boys are releasing Big Black Coat February 5 and we got an early listen from the duo with a listen to the technicolor techo-pop of “Over It”. Synth rhythms punch while the vocals pour like viscous gelly and those synths shimmer like emerald caves of illumination.

The modern funk keeps on dishing out the deepest grooves as XL Middleton presents the Brandon Mahlberg for “Psychic” off his recent MoFunk album Tap Water. Check out our recent feature with XL here.

From from their Rot Forever sessions with Matt Thomson at Ivy League Recording; Sioux Falls dropped the thrilled out power-shouting pop of the chord glistening cut “Dom” from the forthcoming album. Available February 19 via Broken World Media and Standard Brickhouse, Bozeman, Montana’s bad boys (who currently reside in Portland) Isaac Eiger, Fred Nixon, & Ben Scott spill out what they call “buttcore/YOLO-fi” in what we hope is what the garage spun power pop of the tomorrow sounds like.

Paddy Hanna releases his “Underprotected” single December 4 on Trout Records, and we have the Conor Steenson video that blooms from b/w evocative visual projections to firework spectacles of color.

Check out Alyeska’s new single “Lose My Place”, sporting production by John Agnello, that provides a theme song and them of purpose for all those who feel slightly or sorta, or very out of place in their worlds.

Peep the Yakir Avrahami video for FEHER’s “False Apetite” that features tattoos, strange body suits and more to correspond to the her restrained subtle synth vocal vibes. The minimalist pop approach about instinct and urges is done up here visually in eye popping color palates, costumes, and other accouterments.

Belgian artist Alice on the Roof recently released her Easy Come Easy Go EP and we bring you a listen to her own super styled electro pop with the “Mystery Light”. Winter ice princess icicles fall in perfect time with a snow fall wall of alt-Euro pop digital sounds.

The Playing For Change Fondation and Mochilla will host Dr. Dre tribute November 21 at LA’s Wilshire Ebell Theatre featuring compositions from Sly5thAve and will feature guests Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic legend & fame, N’Dugu Chancler, Steve Lindsey (Dr. Dre’s piano teacher) and more along with a 30-piece orchestra. Watch the following trailer for this one night event.

Hear the illustrious polar jungle dream grooves with dance sequence styled by tropical affinities on “Florahedron” Brazilian by Bergen artist Living (aka Lucas de Almeida) available today from the Norwegian singles imprint Diamond Club.

SF by Chicago’s Jenny Gillespie dropped the single “No Stone” that showcases expressions sung accompanied by piano key rhythm vignettes of thoughts and hope from the forthcoming album Cure For Dreaming available January 29 from Narooma Records.

Peep the David Dunham directed video shot by Stephanie Bell & Karl DiPelino for The Dirty Nil’s fun new video “No Weaknesses” that takes on the endurance challenges of showing that they are tough enough (sans any appearance of any potential weaknesses). Hilarities and satirical presentations of testosterone displays of aggression ensue to an amusing degree of caveman cartoon-like fisticuffs. The Dirty Nil’s album debut Higher Power will be available February 26 from Dine Alone Records.

UK’s Plaitum dropped the cut super digitized pop allure of “Carousel” that spins on it’s own self determined axis of ultra pop feels that continues to blossom as the track’s ultra-vibed narrative takes over.

Also vibe to the ultra-hyped extremities and bliss of Plaitum’s “LMHY”.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s frontman Kip Berman introduces the following new single “Hell” from his new EP of the same name with these words:

The song “Hell” is about how insufferable performances of sensitivity are when there’s a good song playing and someone you want to dance with.

The dances of sense, discourse, sensibility and more physics of courtly love, rules of attraction and engagements are spelled out in song in only the way that Kip can.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s Week in Pop

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart photographed by Jonathon Bernstein, performing at Bowery Ballroom.

The Pains’ frontman Kip Berman

This week The Pains of Being Pure at Heart dropped the single “Hell” (that includes a cover of Felt’s “Ballad of the Band”), and we are proud and privileged to bring you frontman Kip Berman’s following exclusive Week in Pop guest selections:

Beverly, “Crooked Cop”

I know in their press blurb I’m listed as a collaborator on this record. But I only worked with the incredibly talented Drew + Scott on one song, and this isn’t that song. “Crooked Cop” is by far my favorite Beverly tune to date. It has descending chords, chiming guitars, and a weary, California tinged vocal— not to mention a timely metaphor. Not since The Drums’ “Money” emerged at the height of The global recession has an indie pop (two words) tune seemed more wonderfully (if accidentally) relevant. And yeah, it’s not quite “Fuck the Police,” or if it is, it’s a more libidinal reading of that phrase.

Black Tulips, “Train Song / Roller Coaster” (track begins at the 2:30 mark)

Remember when every band would cite The Velvet Underground as an influence, and then everyone sort of stopped because of course all good music comes from The Velvet Underground? But Black Tulips, a new band from Japan’s Sumire Taya remembers that the VU are forever cool, but also that Talulah Gosh, Dolly Mixture, The Primitives, and many other female voices re-imagined primordial rock’n’roll and coupled it with a DIY aesthetic that allowed lots more young people to create noisy pop songs on their own terms without the permission and prejudices of the record industry. Sadly, the only online version of this split 7” with Satoru Ono is a youtube trailer. So pop in at the 2:30 mark to hear 2 songs of pure indiepop (one word) pleasure.

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Kip Berman at Bowery Ballroom, photographed by Jonathon Bernstein.

Homecomings, “Hurts”

Even the most DIY indiepop bands from Japan, like Homecomings, have a bit of the massive to them. It seems they can’t help but sing amazing harmonies throughout their expertly constructed songs. You wonder if mainstream Japanese pop is so omnipresent where they live that it’s just like, “well, even if you are an indiepop band and worship K Records, you can’t help but dream and sound big.” I like that idea – why limit yourself? Dare to dream (of your single blasting from a giant electronic billboard in Shibuya for 30 seconds). We had the honor of playing with Homecomings in Osaka recently, and they were super cool.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow, “Hey, You’re Mine”

Is this cheating? Jen Goma also plays in my band, so you can call bullshit on this if you like. But truly, we played a show with A Sunny Day in Glasgow (in my living room, ha) long before she was even in that band, and I have nothing but love and admiration for their circuitous and often dazzling take on pop music. “Hey, You’re Mine” is my favorite cut off their new double EP “Planning Weed Like It’s Acid/Life Is Loss.” I can’t begin to explain music like this: It feels misleadingly simple at first, and then explodes into this decadent, warped and mesmerizing collage of sound. Jen’s voice, layered upon itself like some abstract pop baklava, really shines. Things calling themselves “dream pop” should take a note of how disjointed, brief and rapturous this track is – the true qualities of dream – before using that term so loosely.

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The Pains’ Kip Berman, performing at Rought Trade, via Impose.

Cattle, “Somehow Hear”

Do you know how to say “Shoegaze” in Japanese? “Shoegazu”—yes it’s really that easy. Cattle is a band we recently played with in Tokyo. We went out to the audience to watch them play, and they are seriously loud. So imagine this incredible slice of noisy guitar pop played at a volume that causes great pain. I also like that they sing the chorus about 100 times, because it is good and uplifting, and you can’t really get enough of that.

Grimes, “Flesh Without Blood”

Everyone has an opinion on this. To me, that Talkhouse article Will Butler wrote was a lot of words essentially “granting permission” to Grimes to make music on her own terms. It’s well written, clever and acknowledges bias and generational misunderstanding, sure. But fuck that, in the words of the immortal Huggy Bear, “THIS IS HAPPENING WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION!” So yeah, this doesn’t need another dude in a band saying “oh, this is good.” It just is, whether I put my dick into the conversation or not. So FUCK YES, GRIMES.

And as a footnote to the above, here is Huggy Bear playing “Her Jazz” live on The Word. An awesome moment of TV:

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