With all news feeds fixated on SXSW and barbecue right now, Impose’s Week in Pop continues to provide you with breaking coverage about all the new media that matters. In some of the week’s biggest stories that extend beyond the festival circuit hype, Empress Of dropped the single “Woman Is a Word”; Kanye continues to update The Life of Pablo, also announced a pop-up shop; straight out of Tupelo, Mississippi, Rae Sremmurd’s SremmLife Crew collective dropped the mixtape Trail Mix ft. Slim Jxmmi, Swae Lee, Riff 3x, BoBo Swae, Impxct, and D-JaySremm, while Rae Sremmurd dropped the video for “By Chance” directed by Mike WiLL and Max; Baauer, M.I.A. and G-Dragon collaborated on “Temple”; Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Tomorrows Tulips’ Alex Knost dropped a new Glitterbust video with “The Highline”; Domo Genesis dropped the track “Go (Gas)” ft. Tyler, the Creator, Wiz Khalifa, and Juicy J; The Mountain Goats dropped “Going Back to California”; M83 dropped the track “Solitude”; Bat For Lashes dropped the video for “In God’s House” directed by front woman Natasha Khan and John De Menil; former Majical Cloudz artist Devon Welsh released the Belave album Indigo, Streams, Lash; Grace Jones’ album Warm Leatherette is being reissued; Purity Ring announced their spring tour; Radiohead announced world tour; 50 Cent announced the “50 Cents Presents” variety show for A&E; Drake might have interfered at a Bulls v. Raptors game; an arrest has been made in the murder case of Future’s former bodyguard, Michael Tanner Phillips; Hudson Mohawke claimed Kanye and Drake haven’t paid him for beats; Washington D.C. versus PJ Harvey’s “The Community of Hope”, PJ also dropped the subsequent video for the song; our best thoughts are with the Wrens’ Charles Bissell and his fight; and Jack Lowden is to play Morrissey in Mark Gill’s upcoming biopic Steven.
Looking forward and saluting our own set of heroes, it is an honor and privilege to present the following exclusives, interviews, insights, and more from Big Eater, Eureka California, Gurus, Las Piñas, Bloody Knives, Confident Hitmakers, Soda Shop, Vein Rays, featuring guest selections by The Veldt, and more—in no particular order.
High off the heels of the much beloved El Perro Beach EP—La Plata, Argentina trio Las Piñas return with a tour and SXSW run in progress and news of their forthcoming album Espanto Caribe arriving April 8 from Yippee Ki Yay Records. A group that began with guitarist Sofia Cardich, percussionist Antonela Perigo, and later would include Celina Ortale who joined as a bassist and touring around the South American circuits around Argentina, to Brazil, Paraguay, and so forth. With their US tour running through April 14 (see the flyer below), Las Piñas are currently taking on SxSW before moving toward the west coast before circling back through the midwest, the eastern seaboard, and back down through the south. Extolling an unabashed love for Hinds, La Luz, Las Robertas, and more that are reflected in their energy and subtle musical tributes; Antonela, Celina, and Sophia join the newest voices in the Latin woman lead revolution movement in global art cultures that the entire world is taking notice of now more than ever before.
Premiering the video for “Panteras”, Las Piñas set up their gear in a college gym and are met by a group of dudes who proceed to play basketball on their same shared court & claimed turff. Not entirely thrilled by the gang of bros who have invaded their performance space, the trio proceeds to play as the show must go on. Just moments after starting their much beloved single “Panteras”, Sofia Cardich, Antonela Perigo, and Celina Ortale soon begin to unleash their inner panthers on the bumbling boys club, who proceed to bump into the gals and their instruments while both teams are in play. Sofia wields the weapon of her guitar, Celina wacks the offending ball players with her bass, while Antonela fends them off with cymbals, drumsticks, and more, all the while sporting their collegiate tees that read “Las Piñas University.” After the end of a very decisive battle, the beleaguered and vanquished jocks lay in a pile at the feet of their triumphant victors—the La Plata trio.
Las Piñas toast up their idols and yours in ways that rewrites the end of the twentieth century’s obscure underground output by way of alt. culture revisionism. “Panteras” rings, rocks, and roars like a “Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio“-alarm clock that awakens in the twenty-first century to answer the donde vas call. Delivering some of the world’s best DIY kicks en Español, taking on the Hardly Art canon that counts Colleen Green, La Luz, Tacocat, etc with the holiday surf minded “Hawaii”, to the coastal haunts and echo howl of “Costa Este”. That summer motif continues on the beach bound locomotive rhythms on the wave machine of “Olas Asesinas”, to the gender club games of cards and semiotics on “Los Chicos Y Las Chicas”, to the ultra addictive and hunger urge triggering song “Pizza” that praises one of the best food items in the world in a song for everyone and all to sing for all time. Things take a noir-ish detour on “Pesadilla”, right before flipping the radio dial to an alternate station, place, and time on “Tormenta”, a song that torments by sounding like the AM international radio heard poolside at your grandmother’s house years ago. The three close it all out with the surf rolling rocking riffs of “Tiburón” that will keep the listener patiently listening to sounds that skate and skim off the sea’s surface that feel as if they were summoned from a whole other sort of dimension. Join us now for our recent interview with Las Piñas:
Describe how the three of you all wrote and recorded Espanto Caribe.
We recorded Espanto Caribe in 4 days during July of 2015, so we knew we had one day each for guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. It took a while to refine the sound of these recordings in the mixing process, and we’re excited with how they came out! As for how they came about, we just happened to be listening to a lot of surf bands and California artists when we wrote our first song, Costa Este, in Sofia’s basement in January of 2015. It was a song we liked, and the sounds came from that! We’re actually recording new songs now in Sofia’s home studio, minus the drums. It’s less of a rush, nice not having to worry about the studio time, and it’s cool to have more control over the process.
How do you all feel about the shift at work with the sound of the group as a full trio versus the sounds of the debut EP El Perro Beach.
We started as [a] duo, yes! All the songs on this album were written for drums, guitar, and the vocals from both of us, which is how we started playing live. Sofia felt like a bass would grant her more freedom to move up and down the fretboard at shows, and we knew of Celina from another band playing in La Plata! She came to a rehearsal, and voila! We’re placing much more emphasis on Celina’s bass parts on the new songs we’re writing.
Can you all share some insights on what the La Plata scenes are like? Other local artists/bands we should check out?
There are lots of bands in La Plata! It’s a student city, so many folks are from other parts of Argentina. This leads to a lot of new bands, and there are a ton of places to play! So it’s a really exciting community to be apart of. Reales Kimones, Hojas Secas, Myte y Sus Linternas Verdes.
You all have a big March 11 through April 14 US tour with stops at SXSW, Burger Hangover Fest, KXLU 88.9 FM live sessions, and more; what else are you all looking forward to on your north America adventures?
Yes, those are awesome, and we’re super excited to be here! We like to meet new people, bands—learn about the other bands we’re playing with, find inspiration from them, and really grow! And of course we’re just very excited to be visiting new places and learning everyday. Playing a lot is rad too.
What is everybody listening to right now?
Antonela: Las Robertas—They’re one of my favorites. Mercedes’s voice is really awesome, and they’re super nice. They also gave us a lot of great advice for the tour.
Sofia: Belle & Sebastian—On the plane I listened to Belle & Sebastian’s “Dear Catastrophe Waitress”. I really love the lyrics, composition, and the sound overall.
Celina: La Luz—When I started to play with Sofia and Antonela, I hadn’t heard of them. But I absolutely love their sounds, and the basslines are just awesome along with their harmonies. On the plane, I listen to a lot of Rolling Stones as they’re my favorite band ever!
Las Piñas’ Espanto Caribe will be available on CD & cassette April 8 via Yippee Ki Yay Records.
Catch them on the dates featured on the following flyer:
Seattle by Brooklyn’s Big Eater released the album In Between on cassette last fall on Help Yourself Records, and it is our pleasure and privilege to present the Adam Gundersheimer video for “Lazy Days”. A force founded by Matt Bachmann (formerly of iji & Mega Bog), joined by the equally talented presences and contributions from Derek Baron and James Krivchenia drum offerings, saxophone supplied by Lucas Ellman, with additional vocals by Mega Bog’s own frontwoman Erin Birgy; their album In Between was made to be the perfect companion for those late and long nights where midwestern dreams spring from the imagination and heart (largely recollections that recall the artist’s own Chicago upbringing). In Between is the album for our era, where all the vulnerable intimate details are opened up and placed on display in ways that are intimate (hear “Insideout“), the perfect twee pop pedestal of expressed embarrassment over assessments (hear “Wrong about Everything“), to the “nothing ever lasts” thrashing (“Parked the Car on Union“), to the moving portraits of bedroom rock reflections on coming of age concerns and more (such as “Growing Up“). In Between is the album for all of us, it reminds us all in different ways of where we’ve been, what we’ve gone through, with notions of where we want to go in this world.
The other big single from the album we haven’t discussed yet is the mighty “Lazy Days”, the crown jewel in Big Eater’s trophy cabinet that bridges the northwest vibe from the HYR set with a skilled DIY pragmatism found back east across the Don Giovanni, DDW imprints and more. The Adam Gundersheimer and Vanessa Haddad video takes you on a time elapsed day in the life of Matt’s side job as a vegetable courier, making his way about NYC, making deliveries, & making friends. All the while animated drawings and designs in various hues are drawn onto the video that provide’s a privy view to one of Mr. Bachmann’s regular work day. Cameos from folks like Dylan, Hanna, Pete, Sophia, & Vanessa are seen throughout the course of the artist’s busy schedule of coordinating & connecting veggie logistics. The experience and random moments are highlighted with playful animated drawings of airplanes, skyline outlines, apples, to sequences of a wondering dog, a skeleton, to the shapes of random individuals. The joke of this video that chronicles the sequences of a hectic work schedule is shown with a certain smiling serenity to contrast the busy matter at hand, highlighting the song’s gentle and lackadaiscal style. Right after the following video for “Lazy Days” be sure to read our latest interview with Mat Bachmann.
Interested in hearing about how the album In Between was written and then subsequently recorded.
I wrote and recorded In Between two years ago when I moved to New York. It was the first record I did all on my own for the most part and I totally obsessed over it. I was an opportunist recorder—recorded with the instruments/gear I could borrow from friends when ever I had the time. I basically thought about it nonstop for a year. Learned a lot from doing it!
The elapsed time and plethora of effects that make up the Slopehouse video for “Lazy Days” is transfixing. Can you describe for us what the video translation was like?
My buddies Adam Gundersheimer and Vanessa Haddad shot and edited the video. They’re work is so inspiring and I love them so much as friends and artists. I told Adam I wanted to do a video of me at my veggie delivery job and he had the idea to speed up an entire work day. We planned out funny things to do/people to meet along the drive which proved to be quite a task! Vanessa did the animating which took the video to another level. I literally cry every time I see the dog animation—it’s so amazing! They worked on it for almost two years!
What else does Big Eater have in store for us in 2016?
Brewing kombucha, recording a new record and going on a lil’ tour in the summer. Band stuff [laughs].
What should people be paying attention to right now in 2016?
The people they love.
Biggest causes right now that everyone should be paying attention to?
Whatever is calling to you! I’m trying to be more aware of what’s happening around me, but I could definitely act more. Climate change, women’s health rights, the fucking poisoning water in Flint, and police brutality have been most present on my mind. But I have no right to tell anyone what they should do– I need to act more first.
Big Eater’s In Between is available now on cassette from Help Yourself Records.
You are about to be clued in on the best kept open secret out of Athens, Georgia. Duo Jake Ward & Marie A. Uhler are Eureka California, who are readying their third album Versus for release March 25 via HHBTM Records, presenting the premiere of their confetti raining video for “Sign My Name With An X” directed by Jordan St. Martin-Reyes & edited by Thomas Bauer. What first began as Jake’s solo project became expanded to include Marie right before attending Athens Popfest, where the two tapped into a synergistic force wielding the strength and audio force of a band 10, 12 members strong.
Keeping their DIY ethics, aesthetics, and antics properly aligned; the two and a half minute video for “Sign My Name With An X” captures the action and excitement of a Eureka California performance armed & adorned with home made decorations, buckets of confetti, and rolls of streamers. With moments of pause book-ending the start and finish of the video, Jake’s guttural guitars growl initiates the song’s rowdy riffs that trigger the descent of decorative tissue paper, the snow fall of ticker tape, and balloons to mark the occasion. With a minimalist stage set-up further illuminated by a few strings of holiday lights, Eureka California kick out an anthem of anonymity while making a name for themselves with one wondrous racket to remember them by. Jake’s chords churn like pistons in an engine block that are driven by Marie’s percussion axis that throws pails of petrol on the flaming fire that the two have started. Together the two work in tandem the way thunder and lightening co-operate together in conjunctive unison, sparking out bolts of sound perpetuated by drum kit gas tank barrel rumbles of thunder. Right after the following video debut for “Sign My Name With An X”, read our interview session with Eureka California’s Jake Ward & Marie A. Uhler.
Take us back some three albums ago and tell us how you two first formed Eureka California.
Marie: I joined the band in 2010 to fill in for one show and just never left.
Jake: The band started in 2009 as a bedroom project while I was living in Raleigh, NC. At the time I had never been to Eureka and really just thought the name sounded cool so I named the band after that. Marie joined the band about a week before we were due to play Athens Popfest.
As an Athens, Georgia based duo, what sorts of west coast, Pacific gazing connections do you two have with the golden state?
Jake: We don’t really have any to be honest. I love the LA Clippers and Pink’s Hot Dogs though.
Marie: I’ve enjoyed it immensely the times I’ve been lucky enough to visit, but we don’t have any other connection to it.
Please regale us with stories of recording Versus in Leeds with Hookworms’ MJ at Suburban Home Studios, and how you both feel MJ influenced the record.
Jake: Recording with MJ was fantastic. He was so patient and encouraging and really wanted to get the best possible performances from us. I can’t stress enough how much of a pleasure it was to record with him. I had a blast making the record but the off time we spent was just as fun. We got really into going to Morrison’s for lunch everyday and eating wraps. We watching a lot of great British reality TV—”First Dates”, “Ex on The Beach”. We recorded the record relatively quickly too, getting the whole thing done in about four and a half days.
Marie: It was really nice and fancy but he made us feel really comfortable there. We only had five days but we finished with plenty of time. It was all very efficient—friendly and comfortable, but quick to start each day. We went to a show one night but otherwise we just went for walks and then back to where we were staying and ruined Nash’s Netflix account (sorry).
How do you two go about creating that kind of big, bold sound that makes
it seem like there are more than just two of you?
Jake: Between the last record, Crunch, and this one, I started playing my
guitar out of two amps. I’ll run my guitar through a splitter and then into my guitar amp and then I’ll also run it into a bass amp with a fuzz octave pedal so it sounds nice and huge. This also let’s me have multiple guitar tones going at the same time.
Also how do you two go about developing your songs?
Jake: There are a few exceptions but usually this is the order: I’ll write out a rough skeleton of the song on my acoustic guitar (it’s a 12 string guitar but I only put 6 strings on it), then I’ll play it for Marie at practice and we’ll start working on it. From there I might go back and change parts or we’ll edit it as we’re playing together. Then we’ll start playing it live at shows and from there it may change again and then eventually we record it. And it still might change after that.
Describe for us the making of the celebratory video for “Sign My Name With An X”, from Jordan St. Martin-Reyes, and how much confetti & streamers were involved with this shoot?
Marie: We just tried to think of something we could do with as few people as possible that would be inexpensive. We spent about $40 on confetti and streamers and made some of the stuff ourselves and filmed it where I work. We only did the one take. Jordan filmed on a VHS camera and some of our friends threw all the stuff at us—they came up with certain times to do it to make sure they didn’t run out too early.
What’s wonderful right now in Athens? Feels like you all always got cool things happening.
Jake: If I’m going to be completely honest, to me personally, Athens is in a weird state right now. A lot of businesses are closing down or being moved so that we can have more student housing. More bars are opening up along with clothing boutiques which have caused other businesses to move out. I don’t know if it’s as much of a music town as it once was but it’s easy to have a sort of golden age reasoning and think that things aren’t as great as they were. There are a still a lot of great things going on though like Slopfest, Athfest is always fun and we’ve had some killer bands coming through town lately. I work at a local music venue and we just had Dwight Yoakam and Lupe Fiasco, which I thought both performers were amazing. And we’ve still got people in town making great music like Antlered Auntlord, Shehehe, Grand Vapids and Hunger Anthem.
Marie: Ever since I moved here I’ve felt like Athens was a good music scene to try anything you wanted to try in. I think it’s very easy to get involved, if you try. I just played a first show with a new band last month and it had been awhile since I did that—I used to be in a lot of bands—but it was still fun and exciting to try something new. I think that other people feel the same way about it, that it’s easy to try new things, whether it’s because they feel they have a close support network or because here’s kind of low stakes, by which I mean no one’s going to make fun of you or ban you from playing a venue if your first show doesn’t go smoothly. I think that encourages a wide variety of performers. Today, though, the weather is amazing, and I think everyone in town comes alive when it stops being so cold.
Other artists, & media that the rest of the world should know about?
Marie: We just went on a little tour and played with some really great bands Haybaby, Cool People, Parlor Walls, Soccer Tees. We played with Feather Trade from Athens who I hadn’t seen in a long time and they were great. Bee Terror Thing and Leisure Service. Witching Waves, Cowtown, and Good Grief are all from the UK and have all put out something new recently and they are all great.
Jake: Good Grief, Martha, Cowtown, Soccer Tees, SLUGS, Cool People, Grand Vapids, On The Watchfront, Witching Waves, Kleenex Girl Wonder, T-Shirt Weather, Not Sorry, Mammoth Penguins, Evans The Death and The Spook School are all great and worth your time.
Eureka California’s new album Versus will be available March 25 via HHBTM Records.
Perhaps somehow out of weathering the chaos of life’s storms, maybe these experiences help us to become our own shamans and faith healers. Michael Friedrich launched the multimedia ensemble of Gurus after a therapeutic process that brought him both on a path to a newfound sobriety and embarking on the opportunity to record with a new cast of characters. Friedrich has orchestrated a world that stands for the Gnostic Urban Reformation of Unconditional Surrender, as the words Unconditional Surrender are also the name of the upcoming May 6 album from the group. Recording with Studio G’s Gary Atturio, mastered by Josh Bonati, with Michael joined by collaborators Chris Bordeaux, Brian Davis, Allison Gray, Ben Haberland, Tim McCoy, Destiny Montague, Steve Nolan, Jon Pastir, & more—Gurus takes a on a deeper tour of their cryptic communities in the video premiere for their single “Believers”.
Steve Nolan’s video for “Believers” drags the listener/viewer out to a Brooklyn warehouse where Gurus first gathered. From here the ritual motions are conducted, where stubborn will becomes met with the invocations of new faith for a new recovery and the chance for new results. Beneath the dark cloaked mystique houses the strength of the human spirit that seeks an outlet for identity to prosper in a sustainable setting. Gurus harness the mystery, the weirdness of the clandestine communities that offer therapy and new leases on a brand new shot at life in an aesthetic sound and visual presence that functions in manners similar to the world’s greatest and most elusive secret societies. Watch the band functioning like their own cult collective, waking one another up, and congregating around a dining room in their compound. From here the rituals are carried out between the members, done in time and measure to sizzling synths and tribal drum rhythm gallops. Join us immediately after the video debut of “Believers” for a very personal and candid interview with frontman Michael Friedrich himself.
Describe the process of isolation, therapy, & recovery that would lead to the seven member strong formation of Gurus.
Immediately before I formed Gurus I was in a pretty dark place, full of fear, spending a lot of my waking hours trying to stay ahead of anything I didn’t want to think or feel. Mostly I was doing this with alcohol and drugs, but also by trying obsessively to arrange my environment for my own comfort. Believe it or not, this wasn’t working very well. Even when I was surrounded by people it was a lonely place to be. That’s what isolation means, as far as I can tell.
Someone suggested a way I could stop drinking, a group of people who would share their recovery, who I might even connect with spiritually, whatever that meant. This sounded like the edge of sanity to me. I didn’t want it at all, so I tried it. It felt like a cult, but I was free to leave any time, so it wasn’t really a cult. I kept showing up, people shared with me, and little by little I started to get sober and heal.
For a long time I had been making music from that place of isolation but I had stopped connecting with it—I was fighting and it had gotten exhausting. Meanwhile, what I was doing in recovery made it clear that I needed something bigger than me in all the areas of my life. I needed a fresh start with music, and Gurus was a step in that direction. I thought maybe we could have a community of musicians that made something big with everyone contributing small, simple pieces. That was a hopeful, freeing idea.
Tell us about the compromises and tribulations that informed the making of the Unconditional Surrender album.
It’s been said to me that surrender is like when you’re swimming in the ocean and a big wave is coming, but instead of fighting it or trying to swim against it, you let go and it washes over you. Writing and recording the album felt that way, like a surrender. A lot of musicians I’ve known for a long time played in Gurus at some point along the way, however briefly. They all added something, but it took a while to find a stable group that fit together, and especially musicians who were willing to play the street percussion parts with that trance-like, meditative quality they require.
So the compromise in working with a big group to make the album—lots of people with their own sets of ears—was coming to realize that it wouldn’t emerge exactly how I envisioned it, and that in fact that made it better. Someone will always hear the song from another direction and it’ll change. Oh! Today the sax is treated with this chaotic looping delay. Or now the bass syncopation changes the whole feel of the song. That stuff used to bedevil me. It still can. But beautiful things happen in that discomfort. With Unconditional Surrender, I trust it turned out the way it’s supposed to—that it tells some truth beyond whatever I consciously think I’m trying to say. We did our best to honor the sounds we heard. Beyond that, the outcome isn’t up to me.
Can you perhaps elaborate on both the band’s and your own creative song development methods?
Each song is different, but typically I begin them by recording a rhythmic drone or a repetitive piece of a melody. That’s what gets me open and feeling vibrations. Sometimes I’ll put some layers of synth or bass in there, or some repeated vocal phrase. Then I might play it for Jon Pastir, the synthman, who will grin and tell me my synth sounds are a little silly. We burn some sage, make a juice, and he’ll conjure deeper sounds. We make home recordings of all the songs, and usually—as was the case with “Believers”—the guitar and saxophone come at the very end. For this album, I wanted to use those traditionally melodic instruments almost exclusively for texture and dynamics. Otherwise they’re far too familiar and you wander into cliché. And then, since there’s so much dense patterning in the percussion, at some point we have to start playing the song as a group and see how it locks together. Is this a communal song? Sometimes it works; other times it’s a mess. So that’s where some more compromises and tribulations come in.
What was the process of making the cultish Brooklyn warehouse video for “Believers” like?
Most of us are looking for our own cult—some power that drives us. Even without spirituality most people are seeking something. The song and the video are a reflection on this—how we can find meaning in community, togetherness, and ritual. Those are certainly the things that give me a sense of purpose these days, at least when I can tap into them. But the video also looks at how that impulse can get sinister when we heap meaning onto a single thing or person, especially a self-appointed truth teller. It can be a fine line.
So we thought what if Gurus is this future urban cult, seeking redemption from a troubled and distracted world. We did something we’d wanted to do: got together in a simple room, invented our own “trust building” games, cooked this absurd gruel, and made a sort of waking dream of the day. Steve Nolan, who plays sax in Gurus, directed and shot the video, and he has a really playful way of putting it all together, layering images, pointing to our favorite pieces of Lynch and others. It was a good was to spend the day together and build collective consciousness. Soon we won’t even have to practice.
Summer plans for Gurus?
We’re planning a cabin retreat together up north where we can practice archery, maybe learn from a friend who fire-walks, cook some food, and build new songs. We’ll also be performing in New York and playing select shows out of town.
Other artists & events & more that you all are pretty jazzed about right now?
I’m looking forward to seeing the Laura Poitras exhibit at the Whitney. I’ve been looking at Kehinde Wiley’s work, although I missed his show at Brooklyn Museum last year. I like Quilt’s new record. Steve has been turning me onto Flatbush Zombies. A friend just invited me to Henry IV Part II at BAM. That makes it sound like a sequel. I guess it was a sequel? I don’t know a thing about those Shakespeare histories but I’m excited to see Falstaff onstage. The world needs that kind of identification and relief.
Soda Shop makes music that makes us happy, the effervescent feeling of sipping a home made Italian soda of fresh fruit juice twisted into carbonated mineral water cocktail. What began as the duo of Maria Usbeck & Drew Diver has grown to sometimes include Ed Chittenden & Marty Martier to create a sound that resembles the feelings behind memories and the restless anticipation of the future. Heard recently remixing Fine China’s “Are You On Drugs”, Soda Shop turns the world into a bubbly place once again where even the temporary touches and aloof aptitudes hold a relevant reverence kept in mind & heart. Further evidence can be heard on their premiere of the single “Wistful Past” available April 1 from Velvet Blue Music b/w the unreleased track “Die Alone”.
“Wistful Past” brings a boat full of wistfulness courtesy of Maria’s delivery that mixes the sad with inklings of possibility with a warm sort of hopelessness. Drew’s guitars also evoke the emotive mood that creates the perfect for comfort and company for anyone that has ever needed the perfect song to be play in order to feel all the heartbroken feelings they need to feel (as it suits each respective situation). Soda Shop’s “Wistful Past” collides those past and present feelings like an eruption of tears and nostalgic picture shows projecting their images in the mind on overtime. The NYC group specializes in creating songs have an instantaneous way of affecting the listener in the most sensitive and subtle of manners that sings to the bruised and shy parts of the heart. After the following debut listen to “Wistful Past”, read our recent interview with Soda Shop’s Maria & Drew.
Describe how you two formed Soda Shop, and how it has expanded.
Maria: Drew and I met through friends at an Air France DJ set. We had technically seen each other before but never spoke until then. He told me about his project and I was immediately curious and that’s how I got the first demo and we started working together. It’s always been a duet the only crucial expansion worth mentioning is that our friend Ed helped out with some bass lines in some of the newer songs.
Tell us about the wistful sentiments and inspirations that informed the beautiful “Wistful Past” and the preoccupations on mortality that gave rise to “Die Alone”.
Maria: A recurrent feeling that inspired “Wistful Past” is regret. A wish to hop on a time machine and be able to change the outcome of a love affair. “Die Alone” is a song that portraits sickness, physical and mental as a demonic possession over someone’s body. The idea that at times we wish to play with the thought of death vs. dealing with our current reality and the fear behind loneliness.
Describe the creative Soda Shop process to making such sparkling and shimmering sounds.
Maria: For the most part it starts out with Drew sending over a bass line or a guitar demo to me. Which I work off of to create vocals. Then we refine from there.
Drew: It’s all about getting the right blend of reverb and tape echo. Less is always more. No distortion, just knowing how to work your amp.
Other acts in NYC and beyond that you all are in love with right now?
Maria: Hard question, I’m having a moment with Gigi Masin. Who is technically not new but just had a few records re-issued.
Drew: Right now I’m really into The Tills, they’re from North Carolina and in NYC part time. Also I’ve really been into a Texas band called Narrow Head, they remind me a lot of early Hum meets early Starflyer 59.
Next big moves for Soda Shop?
Drew: There’s a lot in the air at the moment, we like to meditate heavily on the ideas and song writing, I guess time will tell…
Soda Shop’s “Wistful Past” b/w “Die Alone” will be available April 1 via Velvet Blue Music.
We closed out 2015 by introducing you to the world of Stockton collective Confident Hitmakers, lead by Logan Wells (fka of MLTD) working with a rotating cast of talented artists, characters, friends to make music that excels ahead of the constraints of genre and the trappings of a singularly selected style. With the launch of a new site, & talk of much more music and media on the way; Confident Hitmakers return with the Las Vegas mash-up of visuals for the new CHM single “Vegas Big Shot”. These are your champagne wishes, caviar dreams, and VIP desires playing out in the decadent oasis land surrounded by desert sand.
Sporting Spaghetti Boy made visuals, “Vegas Big Shot” provides another hypnotic dimension to the crew’s ever evolving approach to sound design, audio expansion, & active production evolution. A method of recording with whoever happens to be around and available to contribute, Confident Hitmakers add another star to their velour vests with “Vegas Big Shot” that provides a conscious reeling walk through the rows of neon lit glamour and the allure to partake in games of capitalistic risk and rigged sports of chance. The slowed pitch drop on the track combined with the Vegas visuals creates the effect of going on an authorized tour exploring the houses and mansions that win the earnings of wide-eyed hopefuls every time. Stay tuned for more big things to come from Confident Hitamerks and visit their new website.
Logan from CHM shared the followings thoughts on the making of their new single, “Vegas Big Shot”:
The whole track is mostly just a Sakamoto song cut up and pitched shifted and stuff, there’s also two Phil Elverum samples for the same song and just some like basic midi stuff to just kind of dress the samples a little. I called in to work and stayed up till like eight am fucking around with the harmonizer and autotune I was using on the vocals i sang and once those were done I kind of just felt like the song was done. I did this one by myself, I started last Saturday morning and have kind of just been hiding out in my room working on it by myself.
Listen to more from Confident Hitmakers via Bandcamp.
Austin’s Bloody Knives are ready to present their latest collections of audio carvings and cuts with news of the cutthroat album I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This available April 15 from Saint Marie Records, and we have the world premiere listen to the massive, mammoth of a single with “Black Hole”. The outer space adventures exploring depths of great density sees Preston Maddox, Jake McCown, Jack Ohara Harris, Martin McCreadie, & Ritchard Napierkowski reining in an entire funneling stratosphere of sound that composes a score to soundtrack surviving a natural weather disaster of some sort. Bloody Knives continue to sharpen their chops in orchestrating those many moods that catharsis itself cannot contain or assuage.
“Black Hole” starts like the sound of cruising through a super-tube tunnel corridor of the future, as Bloody Knives send out an array of electric items of debris & instrumentation. The wind tunnel effect continues with sparse vocal utterances that fade in & out of the atmospheric ether that Bloody Knives lord over like mythological deities battling it out for dominance over the overcast skies. As the song picks up more and more steam, further amplified notes and echoed sustains are sent speeding by at accelerated rhythms like a high octane car chase. As more synths become signaled into the song, “Black Hole” begins to glide toward a safe aircraft carrier like landing closer to the seven minute mark. As the track begins to make it’s descent, the storm begins to subside as the tempest becomes settled, things slowly begin to turn back to normal while you piece together the six minute and forty-four second trip that you just embarked upon.
Bloody Knives new album I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This will be available April 15 from Saint Marie Records.
From Madison, Wisconsin; we give you a cycle of songs from Paul Smirl and friends predominately recorded in a Janesville, Wisconsin silo and later developed in Madison, Waukesha, Appleton, to Boulder, CO and even New Orleans. The result is the painstaking work of heartbreak and human trials titled I’m Going To Regret This Later.
The stories of lives flashing right before your ears and eyes commences the album with the song “Gillie Josh Jessica Corey” that toasts those gone too soon, to more local lore of mythic vehicles on “Long Lost Pontiac”, to dream-streaming celestial strums of grace on “Close My Eyes”. Further thoughts on dreams and realities ring out on “Lay Way Down”, to more sentimental musings on “Moscow”, as the specter of discontinuity re-merges on the solemn choral piece about a man killed by an officer on, “Tony R.”. Matters turn toward the existential on “Drinking Coffee, Wonder Who We Are”, the departed isolation of “Leaving All Alone”, to the living alone indolent behaviors of “Lazy”, and the rustic, raging folk title track, before closing with a song dedicated—sort of—to “Taylor (Swift)” and the various pop culture and social media diversions that exist in our worlds. Paul Smirl and company have made for us a staggering example & representation of what outsider American primitive pop can be.
Paul Smirl wrote us the following introductory preface to the album I’m Going To Regret This Later:
I’m Going To Regret This Later is about my life, my friends, my passions, my confusion, and my hopes. It’s about looking back at old mundane times with those closed to me and contrasting them with chaotic and traumatic experiences such as the deaths of former classmates or the death of Tony Robinson at the hand of the police in my neighborhood in Madison, WI. Basically, I wanted to make a record where I could write about both eating burritos and police brutality and not have any of it seem crass or out of place.
Plus, I wanted to have it be both an audio and print experience which is why there’s a companion art book to the album. The visuals are taken from the lyrics and include everything from lines about the smell of Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, to pictures of Aaron Rodgers, and photographs of the silo in which we tracked the music. The music was produced by multi-instrumentalist JP Merz who was a major force in crafting the overall sound of the record. He and I will be on tour from March 19-26!
19 Boulder, CO @ The Laughing Goat
20 Wichita, KS @ Kirby’s Beer Store
21 St. Louis, MO @ Foam
22 Chicago, IL @ Emporium Arcade Bar
24 Minneapolis, MN @ Reverie Cafe + Bar
25 Madison, WI @ The Frequency
26 Milwaukee, WI @ Riverwest Public House
Mr. Lif dropped the jam “World Renown” ft. Del the Funky Homosapien taken from the forthcoming first solo album in seven years-Don’t Look Down available April 15 via Mello Music Group. The two emcee titans connect the coordinates of their chemistry that Lif reflected on with the following words:
Brought my portable lab over to Del’s crib to capture this madness. Wore my engineering cap & wielded my poetic license simultaneously to harness the chemistry of what has now become a long friendship between Del & I. Our goal was to bring you the raw.
LA’s Zoolay pay tribute to Group Home’s DJ Premier produced album with the release of their THXbeats (of Drop City Yacht Club) produced EP Still Livin Proof, sharing the “Suspended in Time” video. With some classic emerald sparkling production from THX, the Zoolay crew expresses an array of wisdom, lessons to live by, and words of caution for those that have grown stagnate without seeking their own personal advancement. The group spilled it to us like this:
While in the studio with THX of Drop City Yacht Club, we were discussing our favorite 90s hiphop albums and soon realized that Livin Proof(LP) by Group Home was a favorite of ours. So why not make a project paying homage to DJ Premiere, Lil Dap and Melachi? Shedding a little more light on this hip hop masterpiece.
Uncivilized is a collective of artists produced and engineered under the guidance of Julian Cubillos, delivering the happenstance/impromptu experimental-instrumental fusions found in the collisions made by Levon Henry’s bass clarinet, Casey Berman on tenor sax, Tristan Cooley on flute, Nick Jozwiak on cello, Rachel Housle’s percussion, and Tom Csatari electric guitar compositions. Authenticity questions in the great search for the genuine article are played out in emotive punctuation on “BrandCore™”, followed by further musings, and brass inflected notes, and orchestrations of controlled micro-doses of chaos.
From NYC’s own Charles Griffin Gibson, aka Chuck; hear the peppy and DIY poppy song “Rich Kids” about the joys of being young, down, and out. “It’s about being a depressed middle class teenager in the suburbs,” Chuck described to us, “but it’s kind of fun!” The envious spills and vicarious thrills here are expressed through catchy licks, buzzing synths, and up-kicking drum machine sequenced rhythms.
Behold the sparse & powerful video from Tim Hsuing for Kwesi Foraes’ “Devils Child” from the forthcoming EP 27 available April 29. Foraes takes us to his own designated acoustic baptismal where the minimalism finds a gospel-folk inflected approach to a stripped & bare approach to song delivery. Kwesi’s testimonials of demon wrestling illustrate a potent type of devotion and perseverance that rises like a dove from the most harrowing of circumstances, events, and depressed phases laden with down trodden feelings.
In case you missed it, spend some time with the Melbourne artist (also a classical composer at Melbourne University) that makes music under the handle Asdasfr Bawd, presenting his Solitaire Recordings EP, Underpass. The action kicks off with the drum kicks of the title track, right before tumbling you into the d & b fields of “Sayer”, frolicking through the big beat of “Negative Energy”, dazzling with mind-flipping “Sly Defender”, the sample du jour rhythm gymnastics of “Alsp”, closing with the synth-dramatiste curtain dropper—”Packed Heat”. Once again Melbourne, Australia proves itself to be the one of the world’s most intriguing DIY communities around.
From LA, check out Slow Talker who delves into some emotive expressions from front woman Leah and the full band’s lush and yet economic instrumentation. Unorthodox instrument interplay is employed on “Need Melanie”, the opening of their self-titled EP, traversing into the dream glam terrain of “Mannequin”, the hazy views of reflection on “My Only Memory”, the dulcets of “Frosted Cake”, leaving you with the wind tunnel whirl of “Never In My Hands”. Slow Talker are a quartet that influences talk in both hushed & loud tones.
Johnny Nicholson from California along with Germany’s Jörn Bielfeldt together have created ECHOREV that continues the contemporary nu-gave chronicles of international artists continuing the lineage of dream diary journeys. Their recently released single “D.O.L-2016” is bathed in neon cast motorized stage light tones that emulate the euphoria heard during an M83 performance, or that echoing reverberation that bounces from trees, hills, creeks, and stones of sound emanating from festival PAs. Johnny Nicolson shared the following thoughts on their new single:
“D.O.L” is a song about euphoria and fear. Living somewhere between fantasy and reality, in search of someone, in search of catharsis, until somehow the cure becomes the addiction, only overcome by the power of light, and love —I feel like everyone can relate to that somehow in their own way.
Casting some of the last remnants from this past season’s tall winter shadow; watch the video for MUNA’s “Winterbreak” of cold weather wonders and LA adventures.
Check out the Sean Pecknold video for Helios’ “Embrace” video taken from the Unseen Music Yume album. Observe as environmental locales that exist in the corners of heaven, space, and the outer expanses of earth are fully embraced.
Sasha’s Scene Delete will be available April 1, and you are invited to get lost in the various chapters and levels chronicled and experienced in songs like “Pontiac”, “Werewolf”, and more.
Brooklyn’s Young Runner crew of Chris Ceballos, Robert Fleming, Patrick Grant-Musso, and Richard Porteous dropped the thrash & trash glory of “Post-Op”. This is the panacea that you have needed for your own experience of coping here in the modern paradigm of odd existence.
LA’s The Golden Tongues present the beautiful single “Always On My Mind” ahead of the forthcoming Novella EP. From here tranquil frequencies intertwine with chords and keys that cluster together in glittering alliterative illuminations-courtesy of Christopher Garcia’s visions.
Bristol/Brighton’s Ink Project’s album Soul Food will be available March 13 from the imprint Blind Colour, and we give you the following preview listen. Coreysan, FiFi Rong, Melanie Dymond continue to make progressive electronic music that breaks through the parameters of genre for new grooves and sensations that exists beyond the signifiers of glitch, d&b, and more. Get ready to get lifted.
Check out the Daniel Wilson video for Virgin Kids’ single “Cracks In A Colour” that brings you to all of their wild antics in-door a sky-high-rise off the forthcoming album GREASEWHEEL available March 11 from Burger Records / Fluffer Records.
Jaye Bartell dropped the single “Laundry Line”, offering the latest stripped down/stripped up/minimalist gem taken from the forthcoming Light Enough available April 29 from Sinderlyn that lays all the clean & dirty laundry to dry out on the line in ways that Dylan never thought of.
Tokyo by NYC artist Ken Herman is Exitpost who shared the xylophone shimmering beat splendor of “Comfortable” featuring Unmo. Taken off the forthcoming EP Nami available March 31 from Newlywed Records, listen as moods become elevated to higher states and superior comfort levels.
Get a look at the Dionne Farris video for Count Bass D’s title track “Instantly New” off his new album in half a decade available now. With a tour happening now through April 27, watch the Count get his hair done, thumb through wax stacks, and delivering the tenets that make up his motivation in a video done up like an elaborate series of screen test portraits of the ATL-based artist.
Soft Fangs dropped the slow burning solemn serenity title track “The Light” available on the album of the same name out today via Disposable America / Exploding In Sound Records. Let John Lutkevich lull you gently to a sweet, sad sleep written and recorded in the confines of the artist’s home.
We bring you the video for “Jell-O” that Maïa Vidal made with Hayden Miller that features the artist singing amid a darkened backdrop. The Franco-American electro-pop artist will release her new album You’re The Waves in June via Crammed Discs.
In more Crammed Discs news, Belgian pop group Amatorski gave us the “Hear Me” single along with the Julia Holter remix. Hear how synths and vocals move like the vapor bodies of fog that float through the branch and leaf strewn paths of a European forest in the transitional changes that spring brings.
Tune into Telethon’s conversational and colloquial rhythm walk to of stories and thoughts on the power-energy rocker, “A Funny Thing Happened To Me Today” from the forthcoming album Citrosis available April 1.
Summer Cannibals’ new album Full Of It will be available May 27 through Kill Rock Stars with a spring tour planned & plotted with The Thermals spanning April 16-May 20, and we have a listen to Jessica Boudreaux and the band’s new rager, “Say My Name”. The sound and SC attitude gets louder and more turned up, as the Cannibals’ pen even heavier licks and hooks that are buried beneath the scuzziest of electric layers of blissful fuzz.
Feast your eyes and senses upon natural surroundings and sweet sounds of a certain ancient sort of serenity with the Evan Chapman video for Rosu Lup’s gorgeous song “In Dreams” found on their self-released album Anything Real available as of today.
Hear the lazy afternoon strum & strut strolling song “Elodie” from Ten Fé available today from Bad Life Artists. The song illuminates those places where memory meets the rising tides of present predicaments and predilections.
Presenting the Massimo Scoposky video collage for “Lost E” from My Cruel Goro’s upcoming second EP available soon. The band’s heavy guitars, tough delivery and more are given a visual treatment full of all kinds of vintage film reel delights.
Chris Pureka shared a listen to the title track taken off her sixth album, Back in the Ring available April 1 that describes the resilience of a boxer with a steadfast heart that presents the things that exist even beyond dedication.
Belgium’s Soldier’s Heart delivered the Leonardo van Dijl video for “Randy” of amorous, dream driven desire off their debut album Night by Night available April 22. This is the synth pop vignette night call designed for all overly-infatuated lovers.
Austin’s Star Parks dropped the moving single “Theoretical Girls” this past week from the forthcoming album debut Don’t Dwell available April 29 from Paper Trail Records, that slowly rises to become this amazing piano lead, tambourine shaking mega-hit sounding single complete with a brass section.
The Veldt’s Week in Pop
Dream pop veterans The Veldt return with word of their new album, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation mixtape EP on April 8 via Leonard Kully Records. We are proud and privileged to present the following Week in Pop guest selections courtesy of the legendary twin brothers, Daniel & Danny Chavis.
It was a difficult task to actually pin down when punk and new wave started to effect us. This is a comprehensive vid list of what I can remember being some of the hardest hitting music of our lives. Basically I can honestly say this is the fabric and background that actually made The Veldt develop their punk/indie roots. And this isn’t even all of them. It would have started earlier with gospel and r&b, but that should be a given. But nowadays one would be surprised.
79-78, “Adam and the Ants”
The style and interesting rhythm of African and possibly Gaelic drumming was astounding. I remember seeing on the news they announced that ‘Ant fever’ had taken over the West Coast on the news. It was a big black ant on a red background that they showed on the TV and that was it. I was hooked from then on but it would take a copula years for me to really grasp my own style and original ear.
The Pretenders, “Talk of the Town” & “Message of Love”
This came on a TV show called the new rock of the 80s and it was them and The Clash and a whole lotta new English bands that were fuckin amazing. I sought out ways to find them in any store, and luckily I had made friends with all the peeps at The Record Bar in Crabtree Valley Mall and Schoolkids. I remember when Pretenders II came out, I used to go and look at their picture every other day so I could possibly get that poster. I though she was so fucking hot. Then they came to Greensboro but the drummer smashed his hand on a lamp so I never got to see them. I was still too young anyway. I bought the single “Message of Love’ at the mall and wore it to shreds. Soon after the bassist and guitarist died and that was it for me. I’m still a fan tho and always will be.
Duran Duran, “Planet Earth”
Pretty much like “Japan”(Whom I loved as well) before them, Duran Duran encompassed everything I loved about style as well. I thought some of their songs were lacking but I love a lot of their other stuff anyway. I used to get all of their LPs and song books and shared them with the cute French girls at school… boy was that fun.
The Cure, “The Figurehead”
There is not much I can say about the Cure other than it is part of the fabric of the sound we still have. There is so much to be said about Robert Smith’s guitar sound that has been left unsaid. “Figurehead” and all of “Pornography” heighten the harsh lyrical sensibility that rears its head in many a Veldt composition. For me it was definitely “The Top”.
Love, “Little Red Book”
My brother and I went to follow the Paisley Underground in the mid 80s after leaving high school. We were aware that Love was from LA and we were and still are huge fans. My brother came home with their LPs and we listened to them all the time. I finally had the honor to meet Arthur Lee before he died and gave him our first EP where we copied the Love logo. Needless to say he was an odd character but nice nonetheless. Love had everything – style, songs and image to boot; we still copy some of their stuff.
Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth / Mr Soul”
We have always been a big fan of The Buffalo Springfield along with Love. We loved their style song arrangements and overall image in the early days.
My Bloody Valentine, “We Have All the Time in the World”
In the late to mid 80’s the term shoegaze came and went and was never heard from again. It was a couple of articles in the NME that my brother and I watched intently. My Bloody Valentine was at the apex of the article along with Slowdive, Chapterhouse just to name a few. Bobby from The Mary Chain had just left to form Primal Scream with a string of pop gems and to say the least MBV’s classic LP was in top form. They had a lasting effect on my brother’s sound for sure.
Cocteau Twins, “Peppermint Pig”
For those of you that know us, this band has been at the epicenter of our inspiration and sound. Needless to say there are significant others but no other comes as close. besides knowing them and working with them in the past and Robin as of recent, that sound will always have a definite imprint in one way or another. It would be Garlands and The 4AD compilation, It’ll End in Tears that would significantly influence the sound of The Veldt. Picking up singles and EPs from The Cocteaus like “Peppermint Pig and “Hazel” would also guarentee the harshness of the sound we would later give birth to.
A.R. Kane, “Lollita”
Ray Schulman and Robin Guthrie divided production on this jewel and our fate was sealed. Rudy Tambala and Alex Ayuli made up the band A.R. Kane and “Sadomasochism is a Must” was the song that did it for us. It was to be the combination of all the above that would give us the boost we needed to know we were to go in that direction and to them, we are grateful.
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