Week in Pop: Boy Romeo, ETA, iji, Sarah P.

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Henry Hall, Mark Cone, Sexy Dex & The Fresh, Swan Lingo, guest selections by Total Slacker.

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Sjimon Gompers | July 29, 2016

Northern California's new power pop romantics—Boy Romeo, clockwise from top, John Steiner, Matt Maxwell & Patrick Shelley; photographed by Danny Offer.

In our continued efforts to increase the peace & PMA in our world, Impose’s Week in Pop closes out the week with breaking media exclusives & artists here to bring the best news you’ve heard, seen, or read since last Friday. With first an obligatory rundown featuring some of the biggest buzz-lines around, Japanese Breakfast announced a tour with Porches featuring select dates with Mitski & Jay Som along with the Out of Town Films video for “Everybody Wants to Love You”; clipping. announced the album Splendor & Misery available September 9 from Sub Pop / Deathbomb Arc & dropped the Cristopher Cichocki video for “Baby Don’t Sleep”; Frankie Cosmos dropped the Eliza Doyle video for “Sinister” ft. Don Martone; Kanye West returned with a new Balmain fashion campaign, & dropped the Steven Klein music video for “Wolves” ft. Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Cindy Crawford, Vic Mensa, Sia, Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls,off Life of Pablo; Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick dropped the video for “Grown Up Calls” off the upcoming live album Toro Y Moi: Live From Trona available August 5; Boyz II Men helped opened the DNC, Alicia Keyes introduced Hillary Clinton; Burial & Zomby dropped their collaboration “Sweetz” off Zomby’s upcoming album Ultra; Mac Miller announced the forthcoming album The Divine Feminine available September 16 & dropped “Dang!” ft. Anderson .Paak; also catch Anderson .Paak freestyling over J Dilla’s production for the Slum Village track “Players”; Angel Olsen & Bobbie “Prince” Billy announced their Mekons cover album Fanatic Voyage available September 16 from Sea Note under the moniker Chivalrous Amoekons & they dropped “Love Made An Outlaw of My Heart”; Bonnie “Prince” Billy also announced his live album with Trembling Bells titled The Bonnie Bells of Oxford available October 20 from Tin Angel; The Radio Dept. announced the new album Running Out of Love available October 21 from Labrador Records & dropped “Occupied”; Lee “Scratch” Perry announced the new album Must Be Free available September 23; Warpaint delivered a “heads up” message that indicates that new music is imminent; Baltimore by NYC’s serpentwithfeet (oka Josiah Wise) announced his debut EP blisters available September 2 from Tri Angle Records & dropped the title track; Crystal Pepsi returns with “Summer of ’92” at NYC’s Terminal 5 ft. En Vogue, Salt-n-Pepa, Biz Markie, & Lisa Loeb; hype for Seattle’s Seagaze Festival July 28-31; Portland Psych Festival announced their July 29-30 event; Nas & Erykah Badu dropped “This Bitter Land”; How To Dress Well’s Tom Krell announced the new album Care available September 23 from Weird World / Domino, & dropped the Ben Tricklebank video for “Lost Youth / Lost You” ft. choreography by Jos McKain; D.A.R.K. dropped “Gunfight” off upcoming album Science Agrees available September 9 from Cooking Vinyl; Phantogram dropped “Run Run Blood” off the upcoming album Three available September 16; Ice Cub is producing the upcoming VH1 game show “Hip Hop Squares”; Arkells dropped the video for “Drake’s Dad” that actually features Drake’s dad Dennis Graham from their forthcoming album Morning Report available August 5 from Last Gang Records/eOne; Ducky dropped the Alex Girav video for “Bliss” off the upcoming album Don’t Give Up available August 12 from Secret Songs; JEFF The Brotherhood dropped “Idiot” off the upcoming album Zone available August 12 from Dine Alone Records; peep The National’s Grateful Dead tribute/documentary Day of the Dead ft. Courtney Barnett, Real Estate, Wilco, etc; The Game announced a tour; Conor Oberst announced tour; Motown animated series is in the works; Trainspotting 2 buzz; celebrating 25 awesome years, queercore trailblazers Pansy return with word of the new album Quite Contrary available September 9 from Alternative Tentacles & dropped “He’s Trouble”; Woodsist fest moved to Point Reyes on account of the Soberanes fire in Big Sur; Dr. Dre searched by the police in an alleged road rage incident; a bunch of arrests were made at the Guns N’ Roses show at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford; I.C.P. are planning a Washington protest September 17; Justin Timberlake got slapped; we mourn the passing of legendary producer Sandy Pearlman; and Morrissey announced a world tour spanning from August 16 through November 23.

Listening & looking ahead, we are honored & privileged to bring you the following exclusives, interviews & insights from Boy Romeo, ETA, iji, Sarah P., Sexy Dex and The Fresh, Swan Lingo, Del Bel, Henry Hall, Mark Cone, Matsu Mixu; featuring guest selections by Total Slacker, & more—in no particular order.

Boy Romeo

Norcal's newest & coolest new power pop threat—Boy Romeo; press photo courtesy of the band.

Norcal’s newest & coolest new power pop threat—Boy Romeo; press photo courtesy of the band.

Boy Romeo began with word of mouth swirling around friends of friends of friends about John Steiner from Satan Wriders starting a power-pop offshoot. This was confirmed when home recorded demos began floating about on the phones of various musicians praising the new pure candy-chord configurations and earnest attitude that has already attracted fans from bands that dot the map from Sacramento to Seattle. From listening to the tinny blare from built-in smartphone speakers or eardrum piercing earbuds, feelings of joy began to set it when the single “Ghosts” materialized in full energetic form. Providing to be the title track from an upcoming EP of the same name, Steiner announced the forthcoming release that was the result of working with Dylan Wall where power chord classic forms are given the California sun-baked treatment. Joined by bandmates Patrick Shelley on drums, Matt Maxwell on bass, & Adam Jennings on guitar; John debuts a new kind of Casanova creation carved from the sentimental power chord progenitors of the great rock canon of legends, heroes & villains alike.

Presenting us all with the world premiere of “Answer”, Boy Romeo delivers a botanical bouquet of radical riffs as a response to any inquiries before the questions can be asked. Those familiar with Satan Wriders’ own sunshine pop moments (as heard on “Sun Coma”, “Freeway”, etc) will discover Steiner & company tightening the fidelity to a higher definition of sound where the melodies, harmonies & rhythms strike every bar & note with immense clarity. “Answer” is the epitome of everything the band Boy Romeo is about. Like the image of the speeding motorcycle rolling under a bright sun as seen on the cover art, “Answer” imagines the bike with it’s sunglasses-bespectacled rider & passenger enjoying the open roads on a summer day where anywhere is the limit and everything is open to inifnite possibilities. Then for everywhere that wheels alone cannot take you, Boy Romeo takes you by the hand for a stroll in the sun as you begin to recite the ear-worm chorus refrain of; “My eyes are seeing traces, my mind is more than wasted but when you’re here it’s clear & true…”

On the aforementioned Boy Romeo single “Ghosts”, an attempted haunting occurs that the protagonists in the song will have none of. Paranormal activities are happening everywhere while John, Adam, Matt, & Patrick rock out as if no one from the material or immaterial world is watching or listening. The perceived presents of ghoulish spirits and the like turns everything into a comedy of errors, where one imagines the Boy Romeo gang posted up at a house party just wailing away while the guests are running amok amid unexplained disturbances. Quicker than you can ask the rhetorical who you gonna call question, be sure to read our recent interview transcription with Boy Romeo’s own John Steiner featured right after the jump.

How has your scuzzy Satan Wriders styles informed and impacted you own approach to songwriting?

John: Don’t play too many notes. Use different pause types. When in doubt, rip off the hits. We all learned these and many more handy songwriting tips through trial-and-error at Satan Wriders Corp. I’d love to share and discuss these tips and more with interested parties via email at boyromeoband@gmail.com.

Describe the experiences of working with everyone from Dylan Wall to Justin Paul Vallesteros on this power-pop labor of love.

John: Dylan rules, he mastered the Baseball Gregg LP and both of the Boy Romeo singles so far. Definitely hope to work with him more.

Justin, Frankie (Surf Club) and hecka other people were nice enough to listen to demos and offer advice and criticism. Sam (of SW) probably got the most “listen to this” messages with all the countless re-mixes and such.

Eli Wengrin and Erin Hallagan have both helped so much with the visual aspect, too. They’re both amazing artists/designers and I bother them to make Boy Romeo stuff way too much.

boy romeo week in pop 1

What sorts of questions and answers provided you with the epiphany and chord ripper that is “Answer”?

John: The lyric for “Answer” is about a specific night within the context of loving someone and being bold and sassy. I wrote this particular song very casually over the course of two years, letting the main riff marinate and the melodies and turns come naturally. Usually I try to write songs in one go but this one was just a riff that expanded over time.

Also tell us about what sorts of sick slacker-alt-rock styles and hauntings inspired “Ghosts”?

John: The main musical ideas for “Ghosts” also came out of nowhere, but the lyrical idea took work. It has a fun lil story if you listen closely. Sonically it’s a homage to the big sound of rock’s dying days, the Weezers and Jimmy Eat World’s of alt-radio-rock around the turn of the century.

boy romeo week in pop 3

Tell us about how the band dynamic of Boy Romeo has guided the sound you all are striving for.

Matt: If I were to compare us to any band I would have to compare us to Led Zeppelin. Why? Good question. Patrick easily fits the mold of the playboy drummer. Late nights, expensive cars and line after line after line of cocaine. I’m the dour and watchful bass player. Adam is a bit of a mystic dabbling in the occult and the black arts. Then we have John. What a fucking freak of nature. Not one to compare to us mere mortals. John is a golden god with an impressive banshee like wail.

John: Patrick, Matt and Adam definitely are instrumental to the sound and vision I have in mind for Boy Romeo. They understand and contribute their own styles and I think aesthetically we’re on the same wavelength.

How do you all know when a Boy Romeo song has become realized & ready for performance & recording?

Matt: I’m glad you asked that. Patrick once said to us, Ultimately I just want to make everyone horny. He kind of let’s us know when he thinks it’s finished. Sometime we can just tell when he thinks it’s finished.

John: Usually, I either demo the song or write it all the way through and bring it to the band. We’ll spend a good amount of time woodshedding, changing structural things and getting the fine details perfectly tuned. Usually the song just feels right, and I feel like if it makes us all horny then it will probably make everyone else horny, too.

What have been some power pop songs lately that you all have been playing and perhaps discussing among yourselves?

Matt: New Radicals, “You Get What You Give

John: Marshall Crenshaw, “Cynical Girl” and Snuff Redux “How Could it Be

Adam: Tenement, “Garden of Secrecy” and Judy and Mary, “Overdrive

Give us the the Boy Romeo campaign plan to takeover the world with potent-power-pop.

John: The goal is to turn around material as quickly as possible. So far, that hasn’t worked super well but we’re making plans to record our first LP and I’m a bunch of songs deep into writing another one. We’re gonna hook people in with our cute charisma and charm, and they’ll stay for the music and cool pics, hopefully.

Favorite moments so far from the Boy Romeo summer?

John: Playing the Sacramento bike kitchen, riding down to the American River, seeing my people Snuff Redux play, and watching the movie “Central Intelligence”! Also just staying up late and writing songs on the porch.

Best things you have heard, seen, read, and so forth lately?

Great Spiders, “Peep Show“, Bend Sinister, Kamaiyah.

Parting bits of wisdom & advice?

John: Drink a lot of water, pet a cat. smell the roses and moisturize daily!

Sarah P.

The always incredible Sarah P.; photographed by Schall & Schnabel.

The always incredible Sarah P.; photographed by Schall & Schnabel.

Continuing our coverage of Sarah P. (fka Keep Shelly In Athens), the artist brings us an exclusive & insightful look at her illustrious three part music video cycle for her single “Golden Deer” from Berlin’s visual art team Schnall & Schnabel. Found off her breakthrough debut EP Free, Sarah presents three alternate passages into an alternate dream world where kaleidoscopic pop-art designs & textures encapsulate the artist into an electronic European forest of fascination & ineffable delights. Act I for “Golden Deer” finds Sarah entering the forests of illusion as the prisms frame & encase our heroine. Act II for “Golden Deer” is something of a contemporary Euro-pop rave of sophistication that would surely garner the envy of the Material Girl herself. For Act III of “Golden Deer”, Sarah P.’s artistic dance moves are illuminated in overexposed lights that blend all the blue & red hues together as the entire event becomes mystical in the same way that abstract memories leftover from visions of the unconscious continue their cryptic dalliances in the awakened mind’s eye.

Pierre Horn & Eileen Huhn from Schall & Schnabel provided the following insights on the making of the videos:

With our video, we visualize a dream. The colors, the pictures, the visual elements layer and in their multiplication a crazy interaction, and new associations. Some sequences remind of coral reefs, others of a kaleidoscope. A very own, powerful, poppy, and experimental image language and dynamic was created, bringing an atmosphere that is charming and playful at the same time.

Sarah P. shared the following generous preface & subsequent introduction for each of the three “golden Deer” acts with the following candid perspectives:

“Golden Deer” was inspired by a dream I had about this deer leading me to a magical forest where everything was possible. I guess, following the deer symbolized tearing down the fences I’ve built around me because of my fears. Throughout Free there has been this steady but slow walk towards the light. If “Dirty Sunday” that serves as the opener of the EP is dark and heavy, “Golden Deer”, the final song, is like an excited heart that’s pumping for the new beginnings.

It’s all about the person who goes to sleep, the “dreamer”, as I like to call him/her. Because everybody dreams of something in the end, even if they don’t remember it in the morning. Funny thing all people have in common.

Berlin by Athens icon, Sarah P.; photographed by Christoph Neumann.

Berlin by Athens icon, Sarah P.; photographed by Christoph Neumann.

Act 1

“Golden Deer, you run free—away from here, where you go is a mystery.
In my land, in my fantasy, I come with you—you show me my destiny.
Beautiful scheme—I shouldn’t have been here, I shook up my fears.
Hide & seek—my scheme became sheer, I smell love and myrrh.
I see you in the dark so clear, your golden color paints my tears.”

The dreamer goes to bed. The dreamer is still at the first stages of sleep, kind of trying to manipulate his/her subconscious. Everything seems clearer. Almost real, Almost tangible. There is at least some basic coherence—whatever coherence means when one finally closes their eyes after a hard day of work. Slowly the colors start fading and the dreamer, hypnotized and tired of trying to avoid attachments and feelings, allows him/herself to curl up in Morpheus’ arms.

Sarah P. – Golden Deer (feat. Hiras) in Act 1 deliver kaleidescopic visuals from the team of Schnall & Schnabel.

Act 2

“We move, we dance, we fall apart—we’re drunken souls in one heart.”

Stages 3 & 4 of sleep. The dreamer is now deep in sleep, walking towards the dream land. Everything seems so serene. The dreamer’s breath has slowed down, the dreamer’s pulse is normal, his/her body temperature has cooled down. He/She is ready for the crazy adventure that’s called dreaming. The dreamer is like a rocket that’s about to launch and explore the universe.

Act 3

“Hold on me—maybe we see something—I don’t know what that could be.
Stay with me and maybe we see something—I don’t know what that could be.
Just stay with me—stay with me—maybe we see something I don’t know.”

The REM has begun and so did the peculiar tricks of the dreamer’s mind. Colors and events pop out of nowhere, welcoming the dreamer to the best and most exciting part of his/her sleep. Let the trip begin, let the journey start with shapes and reflections that surely have a meaning if one looks them up. The only condition that’s set reads that the dreamer has to remember what happened during his/her dream. But will he/she? Will he/she remember?

iji

iji

Photo by Erin Birgy

iji just released their new already much beloved album Bubble today from Team Love Records and we present you with the following limited time album stream. Zach Burba and his fellow Seattle posse present what we have been told is the culmination of the band’s transcribed collective dream journals where R.E.M. fantasias guided the narrative that awaits you ears, mind & spirit. For those arriving late to one of the best kept open secrets of the northwest, there is no better time than now to become the biggest fan of iji’s peaceful & transcendental vibes that finds the group constantly challenging themselves to change creatively & naturally.

The visions begin on the opener “What’s Real”, to the dizzying flight of “Free Screening”, taking you on the trip of “Wild Music”, or the awakening found on “The Pattern Grows Clearer”, to moments where time become immaterial as heard on ultra-tender and lovely “Losing Track of Time”. Zach & company keep those good vibes grooving as heard on “Orange Peel Moniker” that moves with pep, soaring in slow motion on “Stretching Out”, forever branching out & blazing their own particular trail patterns like the flicker of “Candle Flame”. The feeling is always fun & friendly as enjoyed on the anything but stoic “Cold Statue”, the wild world of “Whooping”, the melancholy signs of the times as sung on “Notice Of Proposed Land Use Action”, right before leaving you with the bubbly finale of “What’s Happening” that will continue to jangle in your heart long after the album concludes.

Zach Burba provided the following insightful introduction to the new iji album Bubble and how dream journals played a crucial part to the records inception & realization:

Our keyboard player, Curran Foster, encouraged us to start writing down all of our dreams in the same journals on tour in 2014. Every night they would place one of two dream journals within reach before we dozed. The entries would be occasionally read out loud in the car and, often times, I wouldn’t even recognize my own dream until I saw my handwriting. Dreaming became a central focus of our trip. Life started to imitate dreams. The world became unbelievable.

For the five or so months that followed our return I practiced turning my mind off in a way that would produce lyrics that I can’t immediately detect significance in, but felt sure were important clues pointing towards what I needed to say. This process felt similar to deciphering dream images. I hoped that writing these songs would help prolong the feeling of blissful disconnect that enchanted that period of my life and at the same time bring some understanding to the confusion that came with it.

The new iji album Bubble is available now from Team Love Records.

ETA & Eddington Again & Tomemitsu

Out & about with ETA; photographed by Tony Manis.

Out & about with ETA; photographed by Tony Manis.

Known for his music videos made for various west coast artists and his recent foray into the world of audio arts, ETA returns along with collaborators Eddington Again & Tomemitsu for a roundtable interview & world premiere for the expansive desert atmospheres of “secondwind” ft. allswans. The music of ETA populates those inner reflective places that we all hold tight, near & dear. These insights & musings that are rarely expressed to the outward world are heard like streams of sleepy thoughts that move at the rhythm of breathing patterns inhaling & exhaling while wandering about the worlds of dreams. ETA & allswans together duet like a lysergic Lee & Nancy if they were placed in a spaghetti western scored by Ennio Morricone & directed by Sergio Leone. Made with collaborators Jazzbo & the silk-streaming vocals from allswans, ETA’s latest offering from his upcoming Past Hype EP presents future audio-engineered environments that paint nu-western frontiers for tomorrow’s derelicts, desperadoes & dilettantes alike. Subtle percussive gallops propel the journey as sparse chords spill slowly to create sparse moods & trail winds that lead the way (when the lanes, roads, freeways & paths disappear).

That similar dusty groove can be heard on ETA’s “dyin (goin thru it)” where Errik & Tomemitsu create a rhythmic structure created out of a clamor of chords, decaying percussion claps, & keys with enthusiastic vocal support from the energetic PMA king Eddington Again. The percussion kicks up against atmospheric keys and strumming strings as ETA & Eddington reflect on the notion of mortality in a transcendental manner. With production that is ever mercurial & shifting all throughout, ETA, Eddington Again & Tomemitsu together create their own dance of the dead that gives a testimonial to the feelings & needs found in the awakened & enlightened life of the living. Joining us after the following spiritual gospel session is none other than ETA, Eddington, & Tomemitsu for an insightful round of discussion.

Describe how the three of you first met.

ETA: Tomemitsu and I met in school. I went over to a girl’s place I was kinda talking to at the time and he answered the door with that same warm, easy Tomemitsu smile. That’s about it—like 30 seconds. We ended up Facebook friends though and when I decided I needed practice directing and veered into music vids, he crossed my mind and I reached out. Like a lot of people, “In Dreams” really resonated deeply with me. That convo led to our collabo on “Discover”, his Seaweed Salad project, which was my first official music vid and also intro’d me to this Week in Pop phenomenon.

Tomemitsu: It had been years since I had met Erik at USC before reconnecting. When he reached out to me it was truly a surprise. He has it together—ideas/planning/organization—so I knew whatever he did would be in good hands.

ETA: I met Eddington at Tomemitsu’s show at pehrspace around the time I finished the edit on the “Discover” music vid. We met on a corner both on separate liquor runs and hung out the rest of the night. After the show we bounced to South LA/Mid-City somewhere to another show at this corner store hip hop spot where there were like dusty Above the Rim soundtracks and DJ Quik CDs still in the display cases and Jon B. on antiquated listening stations. It felt weirdly lost in time. Anyway, the owners booted everybody out as soon as we got there and people ended up just freestyling on the street. One dude, whose bars were mostly social justice tinged, had this refrain like, in 2020… this or that was gonna be rectified in society and we’d see clearly. That’s when that tangible and symbolic timeline really clicked for me. I think there’s a lot of signs pointing to that year being a major, consummating pivot for us. That’s part of why I remember that night so vividly.

Eddington: That’s what I like about ETA, he romanticizes everything. That was a fun night though. I’m gonna miss that pehrspace location for real. A lot of memories.

ETA: How’d yall meet? I’m curious too, I love meet stories.

Tomemitsu: I’ve known Eddington from my group of friends and musicians in Echo Park. He’s the type of person who challenges your ideas of space and identity. He will get you to open up and try new things—all while wondering—why is this guy nibbling on my ear? That pretty much sums up the first few times I hung out with Eddington.

Eddington: [laughs] Gotta keep pushing the envelope.

Catching up with the always awesome Eddington Again; photographed by Alec Arias.

Catching up with the always awesome Eddington Again; photographed by Alec Arias.

Give us details on how the three of you approach the collaborative process.

ETA: It varies, but generally, I’ll come to Tomemitsu with an aesthetic in mind, some references, and then we kinda go after it from there. He calls them song treatments and I guess I approach it in a similar way I do directing. For this song, I had a simple, folk riff and wanted to see how hard country and folk would sound collided with trap and hip-hop elements. I brought Dan Bodan “Catching Fire” into the session. Dean Blunt’s “Blow” was another one. I wanted single-note guitar harmonies surfing through beats in that type of way. It’s a unique collaborative process. We’ve kinda developed an intuitive shorthand, but it’s definitely buoyed by Martin’s remarkable patience and mental agility.

ETA: Martin, what do you think about when trying to transcode my mumbling?

Tomemitsu: When we work together, Erik comes in with his director’s mind and references, some YouTube videos, or an abstract idea for a scene or sound. It’s a fun puzzle to try to create the things he describes and references. I always try to achieve the aesthetic he wants without copying, and to inflect my own tastes on the finished product. With Eddington, he just kinda pukes up these great verses so all I do is loop a beat or the song and let him do his thing and then we edit and reorganize till we get things just right.

Eddington: Sometimes I’ll write something beforehand, other times I just ride the wave when I’m there. Erik sent me this beat and I thought it was interesting. He kinda told me what he wanted to express in it when he sent it, but when it got to recording I just vibed out and did what I felt like doing.

ETA: Eddington’s lightning in a bottle. For “dyin (goin thru it)”, once Tomemitsu and I got the foundation of the beat down, I knew it was a song I wanted him on. It almost didn’t happen. Even the take we used, that was the last take of the night. He did a few alright passes before it, but I wanted something more unhinged. I dunno if it helped, but I gave him a hard, firm slap on the butt before he went in for that last one. Which ended up being the one.

Eddington, did my ass slap have any effect?

Eddington: [laughs] Maybe.

What sorts of life and death continuum notions informed the haunted & electric “dyin (goin thru it)”?

ETA: Lyrically, just being in this oppressive space feeling like I was in this ironic middle ground somewhere between the past and future. Positive moments didn’t seem like they were happening fast enough and the future felt so capricious. It’s like that feeling when you get hit on your funny bone or you’re in a transition that rocks you to the core. Like this self-effacing pain. You try your best to narrow down your focus to the present and littler moments, but there’s so many remnants of time floating around you. It’s definitely something that came outta me as a response to the retrograde that transpired around that time. A good ol’ anthem for rebirth.

I should also plug that Porcelain Pale remixed “dyin (goin thru it)”. That should be coming out sometime soon. It’s syrup.

Erik, what things do you have cooking in the ETA audio & visual camp?

ETA: I gotta new track called “secondwind”. It’s cool because that beat was actually the first one I ever made and the first thing my longtime friend, Jazzbo, and I collaborated on for our BUFFALOES project back in the day. I got allswans to feature her vocals on it and she knocked it outta the park. Tomemitsu and I are also working on a new song that I’m feeling really has the potential to be beautiful. It’s probably gonna be the last song we finish up for Past Hype. I think that’s what makes this EP intriguing in a way because it’s this mix of really old, kinda old, and brand new material. I’m hoping to have the EP done by Kobe’s birthday.

Other than that, I haven’t touched a music vid this year and I’m still unsure if I wanna. I’m probably subconsciously in self-preservation mode so that I store up enough psychic energy to write my next feature. I do have a couple that should be coming out soon for Joey Dosik and Pegasus Warning, though. Joey’s vid has some cameos I’m excited about.

Eddington, what do you have cooking up in the works?

Eddington: I’m working on my new EP, Pepe Le Pure. It’s got some Chlorine Mist and Friendzone beats on there, a Tomemitsu beat, among other producers. Hopefully I get ETA to do a damn video for some songs.

Tomemitsu, what creative projects can you tell us about right now?

Tomemitsu: I am going to finishing promoting my sophomore album, Loaf Eye, and the I’ve tracks produced with these two knuckleheads, I’ve got a lot in store. This fall I’ve got a split album coming out with another dream-pop artist, Alexei Shishkin, from New York. This will be my most electric guitar driven stuff since the Seaweed Salad release. The winter will bring me back to my roots, a very minimalist three song EP tentatively titled The Cave. This one relies only on acoustic guitar and voice and features lyrics that chronicle escaping a bout of depression. I plan to release my third album next spring and it’ll be the most hi-fi record I’ve ever made. I loosely refer to it as my Wilco/American album and I’ve been writing recording and setting aside those tracks specifically for the album. I’m really excited but I have a lot of work ahead of me.

The legendary Bay Area by LA artist Martin Tomemitsu Roark; photographed by Tony Manis.

The legendary Bay Area by LA artist Martin Tomemitsu Roark; photographed by Tony Manis.

Other awesome happenings in LA that the rest of the world should know about?

ETA: I dunno man, I’ve been basically a shut-in the last year or so. I’m probably at the dog park more than anything. I see people seeing Frank Ocean around town though recently. That’s cool he’s back. Other than that, the Lakers youth movement—really excited about that. Definitely think D’Lo, Jordan, B.I., Larry, and Zublocka have a bright future together. Been telling y’all—ice. In. My. Veins!

Tomemitsu: If we are talking world I need to mention that there is a remix 12” being released on Mireia Records in Germany that I’m super stoked on. It should be out before the end of this year. One side will have the remastered version of “In Dreams”, the other a remix done by the Berlin super group RSS Disco. Apparently it’s not uncommon to hear “In Dreams” as people leave the clubs.

I’m also hopefully working out a deal to have my albums reissued in France through a small label, and would like to follow that up with a European tour.

Hopes and prayers for the rest of summer, fall, winter and 2017?

ETA: I’m a part of it and breathing, so I gotta stay optimistic, but the world’s a disheartening place right now. I feel like we’ve reached another definitive boiling point. in history. It’s hard because there’s so much going on out there in the world that I wanna help affect in the positive, but everyone has their own personal issues too and I’m just in a low place right now. I’m gonna try to be as active a participant as I can in the meantime, but I’m just praying the world begins comprehending the best pathways for a better sense of social justice and that I can get myself together soon enough to be a real force in helping that happen. All the #bernieorbust peeps, do not ride the pine on this election. Go vote Hillary, it’s paramount.

Tomemitsu: Practice peace, positivity, and the golden rule. I’ve been taking primarily public transportation around LA for the past two years and I’ve learned that a smile and open mind will open up many doors.

Eddington: What they said, pretty much. Raising my spirit to a higher point. Feeding my soul. Being kind.

Hear more from ETA via Soundcloud & check out all of his music videos via www.etawashere.com

Catch up with Eddington Again via Soundcloud.

Tomemitsu’s Loaf Eye is available now via iTunes.

Sexy Dex & the Fresh

Getting to know Sexy Dex and the Fresh; press photo courtesy of the artists.

Getting to know Sexy Dex and the Fresh; press photo courtesy of the artists.

What started as Dexter Gilmore’s solo endeavor under the moniker Coldiloqs rapidly grown into the retro-futurism in a blender force of nature that is Sexy Dex and The Fresh. Gilmore mastered the DIY bedroom pop arts of making tunes that leaned to the left of the radio dial to resemble the audio-acrobatics enjoyed on your favorite public radio stations (played post-watershed when the FCC has already gone to bed). Sexy Dex and The Fresh evolved into their current form around April of 2014 with Evan Cvitanovic contributing percussion to Dexter’s guitars & vocals, later joined by co-vocalist Gabrielle Washington, bassist Andrew Landry, and the now-signature chirping keys supplied by Ben Buchbinder. The Fresh in full where their eccentricities proudly on their sleeve, like a group you would learn about from New Orleans’ Offbeat Magazine where the group dominates their own self-styled groovy-gumbo of sound surrounded by their own prestigious contemporaries like Big Freedia, Caddywhompus, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, and numerous other local notables.

With news of a new tape arriving this August, Sexy Dex and The Fresh take over the sound-waves with the wild world premiere of “My Bae-B”. From the opening synth sustain, to the moment Buchbinder hits you with the rhythmic keys—Dex, Gabrielle pour on their zany duet harmonies while Andrew & Evan keep the entire rhythm section bumping & thumping all the while. Gilmore & the gang go back in time when analog-electrics were still king and digital amenities were an aloof luxury, as their caffeinated sound runs amok like a romantic slapstick farce that sings & squeals like a controlled arrangement of chaos committed to cassette to tape. Free-form displays of frantic exchanges go back & forth like overclocked & super-turnt-up r & b where the tempo speeds are measured & timed in tune to O.C.D. arrangement protocols. Joining us right after the following debut for “My Bae-B”, check out our interview discussion with Sexy Dex himself—Dexter Gilmore.

Give us the full story of the evolution from Coldiloqs to Sexy Dex and the Fresh.

Coldiloqs started as my solo bedroom project. I wrote all the music and played/programmed all the parts on my laptop using Studio one for audio and Reason for drums. I didn’t have any nice microphones or recording equipment so the lo-fi sound was mostly out of necessity. I never really intended it to be a band, in fact, it was my drummer Evan’s idea. We wanted the band to have a similar aesthetic to Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti or Prince and the Revolution which made it fairly difficult at first who to choose. Evan and I were already in a band with Andrew [bassist] called Glish so his addition was pretty obvious. Gabrielle [vocalist] and I grew up singing old r & b songs together and I needed someone who understood that level of performance. I saw Ben play house at a party and knew right away he could handle the synths parts without having to explain much.

What is the story behind the flashy name?

Part of it is just a play on that style of band naming. We figured it would make us look like a New Orleans funk band on a flyer and get us some sweet paying gigs in the tourist circuit. It didn’t work.

A candid conversation with Sexy Dex, oka Dexter Gilmore; press photo courtesy of the artists.

A candid conversation with Sexy Dex, oka Dexter Gilmore; press photo courtesy of the artists.

Describe the creative process involved with making such a infectious & catchy cuts.

It differs from song to song. Sometimes I start with playing guitar and beat-boxing the drums at the same time to get the idea. Other times I program the drums on my computer first, then I’ll write and record parts with members of the band on top of that. We listen to a lot of funk and pop from the 80’s. So many of those songs of the time had a raw edge, simplicity and groove that just feels good to us. We try to emulate this in sound and attitude. No wasted space, just keep it simple and be effective.

What sorts of romance inspired “My BAE-B”?

Well I think it’s pretty safe to assume that no one really knows what they are doing in relationships. I wanted to capture that through a light hearted song because I feel that most things we argue about with our loved ones are kind of silly and don’t really matter in the grand scheme of life.

What else is good right now in New Orleans that the rest of the world knows little to nothing about?

I would check out Shuvuuia. They’re probably the only group in New Orleans making vaporwave right now. Val Hollie is making some cool dream pop. Harbinger Project is a Loop Based Hip hop duo with keyboards and beat-boxing. We’ve also been working with producer Jneiro Jarel (Dr. Who Dat) on his latest project Microclimate.

What else can we expect from the upcoming Sexy Dex and the Fresh tape?

Better production quality and pop sensibility.

Listen to more from Sexy Dex and The Fresh via Bandcamp.

Mark Cone

Introducing Mark Cone, oka Jackie McDermott; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Introducing Mark Cone, oka Jackie McDermott; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Jackie McDermott from Urochromes and The Sediment Club just released the solo EP from his alter ego Mark Cone, with Mark Cone Sings from the DIY imprint on the rise—Nicey Music. Recorded with Peter Nichols at Nicey Studio in Los Angeles, McDermott brings a trusty Casio & 8-bit drum machine combined with Nichols’ own outsider approach to innovative arts that invert the pop norms turns the MC experience into a carnival punk ride with plenty of pep, chills, spills, & thrills. McDermott takes the role of some kind of circus conductor who orchestrates a dadaist post-punk/freak-beat/no-wave party where perceptions of sounds & sensory is sent into a fun house managed by Peter Nichols (of Grape Room, fka The Great Valley) & Louise Chicoine (also of Banny Grove, fka Rabbit Rabbit).

Mark Cone Sings wastes no time getting to where it wants to go as Jackie kicks down the doors of convention from the brass hinges with the high-proof of “XXX”. Like a haunted house full of arcade machines & DIY shows, the world of Mark Cone spins around like a merry-go-round tricked out with skateboard racing bearings. “Come On Aileen” is not the spun-out Dexy’s pop that you might mistake it for as the Mark Cone trip takes an alternate path into the lo-fi lands of chirpy synths & the clamor of conjoined vocals. The fright night follies keeps on trucking with the midnight ramblings of “Stalker’s World”, right before bopping & bouncing about uncontrollably on “91”. Take a stroll through the psych ward of “Walking in Hadley”, before taking a dip down deep into the abyss-like depths of “Downer”. Stay with us after the following listen as we caught up with Mark Cone’s Jackie McDermott while on the road for an interview session.

Describe the experiences of recording Mark Cone Sings at Nicey Studio.

Recording at Nicey Studio was hot and fruitful. Louise and Peter are infinitely generous with their time and talents and there were numerous friends passing in and out of the studio to bounce ideas off and bring into the project.

How has your work in Sediment Club & Urochromes informed your output as Mark Cone?

Not at all. For me Mark Cone is about fulfilling musical or performative desires that my other current projects aren’t capable of on a personal level. I’ve tried to make conscience decisions to avoid lyrical or musical choices that would be natural in these other projects so I can more fully explore this new territory.

What was the key in achieving those minimalist haunted-Casio tones & textures?

Peter and I began by trying to remain as true to the minimal set up as possible—drum machine, Casio, and vocals. Afterwords we imagined how the songs would ideally sound in a live context and listened to some live performances of some of the groups that directly inspired this material. We mixed the material to try to strike a balance that reflected this ideal live sound while remaining true to the instrumentation.

What have you been absolutely obsessed with right now?

Nothing! Obsession doesn’t come naturally to me and trying to force it has rarely been productive. I like to take in what comes my way and sometimes find myself not taking much in at all. I like spinning the radio dial. I like to see what happens creatively when my current influences are a bit of a mystery to me and make a point of not thinking too hard about what they might be.

Next big moves we can expect from Mark Cone?

More live performances with a mix of the songs from the record and some new material in the works. More members will be added for live performances and recordings alike.

Parting advise and wisdom from the Mark Cone camp?

Music is everything, but it’s not enough.

Mark Cone’s Mark Cone Sings 7″ EP is available now from Nicey Music.

Henry Hall

Introducing Henry Hall; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Introducing Henry Hall; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Henry Hall recently graced the world with his Introduction EP sporting atmospheric electronic production from Ellis, presenting us with the with the video premiere for “More Tiny” that was captured all utilizing Snapchat/MSQRD video technologies. Hall’s music entertains the introspective side of song composition where all the seemingly incidental errands & business is brought about in a fractured & broken up narrrative where all the pieces slowly put themselves together as the verses continue forward. The son of Julia Louis Dreyfus & Brad Hall finds his own artistic footing in NYC as documented in the collected Snapchats series compiled, complete with complimentary MSQRD effects.

Henry Hall takes his Ellis produced track “More Tiny” to the tourist trap of Times Square to take us deep into an alternate augmented reality version of one of the most commercialized metropolitan sectors. Full immersion in the saturation of advertisement central is spun into the further hyperbole through the MSQRD animated face lenses that heightens the level of absurdity. From Henry singing with a Minecraft head, a face painted like Brandon Lee from The Crow, salon face masks, animated eyes, bunny ears, plenty of puppy dog features, singing poo, panda heads, & of course all the rainbow puke you can handle. From impromptu disco poses in the streets, random scuba diving sessions to casting the effects on unsuspecting passersby; Hall’s bears his heart & soul while singing of the day to day hassles and the feeling of being small while standing in the company of skyscraper giants. Henry shared the following insights with us on the creation of the mobile phone shot video for “More Tiny”:

Snapchat is the way every young adult interacts, but there’s also something very kid-like and silly about it. You can use it for actual communication or you can use it to make yourself look like a dog and barf rainbows. Serious and outrageous. It’s totally paradoxical and that’s what makes it interesting. Jack Coyne and I wanted to have similar juxtapositions in our video. So, we thought of this character who sort of mopes around Times Square, one of the most exciting centers of the world, and also has these childish, novel Snapchat/MSQRD filters over his face the whole time. It’s, sad, funny, nostalgic, silly and serious all at once. The song itself has same contradictory feeling of yearning/nostalgia and humor/irony, both melodically and lyrically. It has lyrics in it like “let me be little again” and “I am nothing but a fruit roll up.” Screaming and calm falsetto. Distorted guitar and reverb-y surf guitar. Serious and funny. We’re really, really, really smart.

Swan Lingo

Catching up with D.C.'s one & only Swan Lingo; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Catching up with D.C.’s one & only Swan Lingo; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Taken off Swan Lingo’s debut EP Spirit Plug available now through WeDidIt Records, behold the susdante video for “Fidelity'” that flickers with that warm VHS glow. Lingo is seen enjoying the sunlight, posting up in an elevator lift, taking the escalator in a department store, trying out the bed displays and flirting with the display mannequins. We see our lo-fi singer grabbing a bite, hitting up the arcade, hanging around the parking lot, and making a full day out of hanging around the mall. Swan Lingo provided us with the following exclusive reflections on the “Fidelity’ video:

Filming the video was crazy! Although the mall cops were chasing us out of every store we went into, including the food court, we still managed to accomplish everything we set out to film.

Matsu Mixu

Introducing Michelle Yue & Mat King of Matsu Mixu; press photo courtesy of the artists.

Introducing Michelle Yue & Mat King of Matsu Mixu; press photo courtesy of the artists.

Matsu Mixu proudly present their self-made music video for their beloved debut single, “The Fried Chicken Dossier” from MANIMAL. The Portland by Texas duo of Michelle Yue and Mat King can be seen striking poses in video images mixed together from found footage of dance parties, catwalk fashions, and flashing lights & visuals that might trigger epileptic response for those sensitive to that kind of thing.

The ghostly qualities inherint already in the audio of “Fried Chicken Dossier” are brought further fruition where images of crowds, selfies, clubs, & performance clips of Matsu Mixu bring their electronically imbued arts & sounds to sights seen & edited to fit the rhythmic frame & tempo. The funky-deep-fried poultry obsessions are played out like something straight out of fashion week where hi & lo aesthetics are on display in ways that introduce their listeners & viewers further to the cryptic & wonderfully weird world of Matsu Mixu. Definitely a duo to keep a close ear & eye on in the day & months to follow.

Del Bel

Catching up with Del Bel; press photo courtesy of the band.

Catching up with Del Bel; press photo courtesy of the band.

Ontario’s own soundscape engineers Del Bel bring about more audio textures of breathtaking beauty with their cover of Mazzy Star’s “Look On Down From The Bridge” that showcases the way Hope Sandoval’s classic number continues to resonate into the post-millenium chambers of tomorrow & today. Comprised of Lisa Conway, Tyler Belluz, Ira Zingraff, Mike Brooks, John Corban, Karen Ng, Joe E, Laura C Bates, Ruhee Dewji, & Adam Hindle; the result is their beloved style that many dub as “cinematic noir” or “film scores with vocals” that works like innovative audio schemes for auteurs & inventors.

Del Bel’s take on “Look on Down From The Bridge” finds friends in ebb & flow synth-tides that loop to create the feeling of glancing down from on high at the stretches of waters & earth. The sentiment of solitary patience is displayed in a manner of perseverance as the collection of strings and keys contribute to an atmosphere that creates electronically imagined terrains and structures created from the culmination of all involved instruments. The digital percussive tick that spurns on all other elements creates the full on feeling of solitude awaiting on the return of a promised presence that might never arrive again. Join us after the jump for an exclusive interview with Del Bel’s Lisa Conway & Tyler Belluz.

What brought you all to cover Mazzy Star’s “Look On Down From the Bridge” and how has Hope Sandoval’s music inspired you all?

Tyler: Being a relative newcomer to Mazzy Star’s discography, I somehow felt an immediate connection to this song. There is something about the simplicity of their original take and vocal styling/ melodic lines that instantly reminded me of our singer Lisa’s pacing. We originally tried the same tempo to completely match theirs however given our thicker arrangement, it seemed to lag pace wise. Once we pushed the tempo, the track started to organically layer itself on its own. Mazzy Star has such an iconic/ understated sound that I thought it could interesting if we interprete it by utilizing tones sought in the golden era of hip-hop, along with the mixing treatments found on classic trip-hop albums.

Having finished your third album what have you all discovered about yourselves as artists, and the sorts of growth observed?

Lisa: After years of performing together, I think we have an audible musical chemistry and cohesiveness that was in a stage of infancy on our past albums. We’re all bolder and braver – both individually, and as a group.

Describe for us further this new chapter that you all have entered as a group.

Lisa: While making this record, we arrived in Del Bel territory that was both familiar and unfamiliar in a very organic way. All of us are involved in a wide array of other musical projects, so it was natural to explore some of those external interests in the new songs, and stretch the sonic palette. I think we’re getting better at stripping things back. It’s always tricky to have a neutral ear, though – this record just sounds like us playing songs to me.

Describe for us the creative fusion between you all that allows for those cinematic soundscapes to be a reality.

Tyler: I think it’s really a combination of a few factors, such as musical education, approach, experience (individually + group), and most importantly having the ability to bring something to the table (creativity wise) if it is of value. Although certain songs could be thicker in overall sound, doesn’t mean we haven’t painfully (or more often than not, naturally) utilize only what elevates the music. Regardless if that means stripping down or layering on top of another. Oddly enough, we’ve never jammed a single song (new or old) in our lives. In the event of tracking songs or preparing for a show, there is never a String Cheese Incident style moment.

Other awesome artists in Ontario right now that you all are really into?

Lisa: There’s so many! Maylee Todd, Lido Pimienta, Isla Craig & her new hot band, Andy Shauf, Bernice!

Tyler: Fet.Nat, Jennifer Castle, BADBADNOTGOOD, Dan Edmonds…

NYC city’s Glass Gang stepped back into the daylight with their new single “Wild Light” that was produced and mixed by Sonny Diperri (Flood protégé) that sees the trio bending emotive & solemn chamber hymns with an acid-house addled manner of abandon. The GG-3 take you back to the days when your favorite 80s underdogs discovered the liberation that dance-geared music allows. Catch their UK debut performance will be November 8 in London, Stoke Newington’s The Waiting Room.

Having rocked LTD Los Angeles with Rodney Bingenheimer (complete with a replicated version of Rodney’s 70s English Disco courtesy of artist Dennis Hoekstra), Rachel Mason returns with the video for “Tigers in the Dark” courtesy of auteur Matthew Spiegelman. Found off Rachel’s forthcoming album Das Ram from Cleopatra Records; Mason falls to earth as a feathered creature singing songs about tigers lurking in the dark who breathe fire. Spiegelman’s video frames our pop artist heroine performing various interpretive dance maneuvers that are cast amid images of flame, fiery patterns, and plenty of emulated hallucinatory effects that compliment the rhythmic freak beat that Rachel keeps lit (and shining bright like a bonfire on an eve of absolute darkness). Follow all of our Rachel Mason coverage here.

Israel by America emcee Kosha Dillz just dropped What I Do All Day & Pickle via Oy Vey! the artist takes a brief break from jarring provisions to spill some words of visions. Working with producers Curtiss King & Yuc Beats, Dillz delivers insights that flex between personal narratives, toasts of the good life, with rhythmic rhymes on the artist’s own daily grind.

Wyatt Blair dropped the super-VHS video “Dancing on A Dream” directed by Alfredo Lopez and found off Wyatt’s upcoming album, Point of No Return available August 5 from Burger Records/Lolipop Records. The visuals match the vintage audio aesthetic and the pure leather-glove-fisted ethic of pure rock & roll. From the fancy opening logo from Kevin Kearney to the “only the strong survive” intro; this is the sound of the anarchic 80s you miss and love.

I, CED’s new What Are You Looking For? will be available September 23 from the artist’s own MoveNext Media label and have you listen to the head lifting single “Forever” ft. Thundercat & Om’Mas Keith. The result is some of the most psychedelic tapestries tangled together that strike in the most unusual ways (echoing similar atmospheres, piano and and string rhythms heard also via Keith’s work with the cult pop SA-RA creative collective) that opens your mind and piques your attention to a realize that also features appearance from the artist’s inner circle that includes (but not limited to) Quelle Chris, Suzi Analogue, Jimetta Rose, Black Spade, et tal.

Leena Ojala presented us with the remix from Sweden’s own Saturday, Monday for the single “Little Place” that seeks the finer things found in humble & familiar spaces of memory and sentimental connection. The subtle beats & keys collect around those points of nostalgia that light like pins on a map that indicate the directions that lead toward home.

The Album Leaf just dropped the Dntel remix of hyper-rhythms for “Never Far” taken off the the new album Between Waves available August 26. The Dntel x Album Leaf connection brings about ethereal elements that are met with drum & bass textures that brings about a visceral drum series of sequences.

Chelan graced the world with the electrified single “Won’t Break” found off the forthcoming Vultures album available August 26 that promises further synth sound structures built on solid foundations. “Won’t Break” is the stress test told through synth swashes of moody keyboards and electronic effects that explore the strengths and expanses of the strongest bonds in the world.

Hear the new single from inc. no world (fka inc. and Teen Inc.) who shared the tranquil spring gardens of “Waters Of You” that brings about certain shades that this listener finds reminiscent of Greg Dulli’s Twilight Singers offshoot. Listen for this and further introspective items on inc. no world’s forthcoming second album As Light As Light available September 9 through their own imprint No World Recordings.

iji just released their new already much beloved album Bubble today from Team Love Records and we present you with the following limited time album stream. Zach Burba and his fellow Seattle posse present what we have been told is the culmination of the band’s transcribed collective dream journals. The visions begin on the opener “What’s Real”, to the dizzying flight of “Free Screening”, taking you on the trip of “Wild Music”, or the awakening found on “The Pattern Grows Clearer”, to moments where time become immaterial as heard on ultra-tender and lovely “Losing Track of Time”. Zach & company keep those good vibes grooving as heard on “Orange Peel Moniker” that moves with pep, soaring in slow motion on “Stretching Out”, forever branching out & blazing their own particular trail patterns like the flicker of “Candle Flame”. The feeling is always fun & friendly as enjoyed on the anything but stoic “Cold Statue”, the wild world of “Whooping”, the melancholy signs of the times as sung on “Notice Of Proposed Land Use Action”, right before leaving you with the bubbly finale of “What’s Happening” that will continue to jangle in your heart long after the album concludes.

Band leader Zach Burba was ever so generous in presenting us with the following insightful introduction to iji’s latest full-length:

Our keyboard player, Curran Foster, encouraged us to start writing down all of our dreams in the same journals on tour in 2014. Every night they would place one of 2 dream journals within reach before we dozed. The entries would be occasionally read out loud in the car and, often times, I wouldn’t even recognize my own dream until I saw my handwriting. Dreaming became a central focus of our trip. Life started to imitate dreams. The world became unbelievable.

For the 5 or so months that followed our return I practiced turning my mind off in a way that would produce lyrics that I can’t immediately detect significance in, but felt sure were important clues pointing towards what I needed to say. This process felt similar to deciphering dream images. I hoped that writing these songs would help prolong the feeling of blissful disconnect that enchanted that period of my life and at the same time bring some understanding to the confusion that came with it.

Bringing their first listen since Perpetual Surrender from 2013; Diana are back on the scene with the ultra cool & keen new single “Slipping Away”. This is the dance track to get your night started no matter how late in the evening or how early in the morning it might be.

Elephant Stone presented us with the Chris Antonelli lyric video for “Manipulator” from their forthcoming album Ship of Fools available September 16 digitally and physically November 25 via Burger Records. Playing with a visual concept surrounding the correlation between Pokemon GO and mind control; ES paints the technocratic mobile gaming overlords as being the “Manipulator” of their vast fanbase.

SLC’s own Fitionist’s just dropped their big poppy Free Spirit EP that stomps the festival stages with the big time summer pop you crave. Letting liberty ring loud & proud right out the gates with the title track, followed up by the vampirical style carpe diem of of “We Can Sleep When We Die”, to tipped up noses of distinction on “High Society” that all draws to a close with the Utah band’s own declarations of independence and the like with the moment stealing song of “Right Now”. These are sunshine ultra-pop that will be played ad nauseum on the overhead sound systems of every department store this fall.

Chris Staples shares a jangly “Park Bench” full of strings and illustrations of moments shared off the forthcoming album Golden Age available August 19 from Barsuk Records. Staples brings about privy expressions that extend beyond the contrivances and cliches that reach towards things of greater meaning and pertinence.

Signals Midwest gave us some songs of seasonal desire, despair, and foolish hope with “West Side Summer” found off the upcomingalbum At This Age available September 2 from Tiny Engines.

ATR31 shared the soothing drum & bass frequencies with the single “Warm Waves” found off the self-titled EP available August 26 available MANIMAL. Tranquil vibes cascade like a waterfall positioned above a hot spring that brings descending minerals that pour down like celestial sensations.

Brooklyn’s own Big Eyes just released the single “Behind Your Eyes” taken from their forthcoming Stake My Claim album available August 19 from Don Giovanni Records that rocks with a righteous fervor down the winding thunderous road. Power chords lead the way with some of the catchiest riffs that roll with serious attitudes that seek the substance beyond gaze of the eyes alone.

Copenhagen by Seattle’s Communions have signed to Fat Possum Records with word that their Don’t Hold Anything Back / Eternity 7″will be available September 16 sharing a listen to the anthemic a-side. Brothers Martin & Mads Rehof with childhood chums Jacob van Deurs Formann & Frederik Lind Köppen pour on the big time sentimentality in a fist shaking push & plea for unfiltered expression.

Succumb to the scuzz storm summoned by Musk with the following few samples from their forthcoming album Musk 2: The Second Skumming available August 19 from 12XU. “Hip Pain” charges like a flashing montage of infomercial visuals. The Oakland hip shakers stir up a ruckus of energy & sneering attitude that sounds like a garage practice sesh gone awry.

“Raw Nite” sees Musk entertaining their inner raw power instincts. Delivering the danger & the Detroit dirty-dirty; “Raw Nite” is the cut to crank up with full watts blasting.

We bring you the following two songs that didn’t make it to Matt Kivel’s Driftless album Janus with the stream twinkling visions of futures soon to arrive with “Things To Come” before sweeping your mind & conscious with “Indigo”. Kivel’s music strums & resonates those ultra-intimate places that embody & encapsulate experiences of deep solace & introspection.

Grieving released the debut EP Demonstrations today, and the band turns on the proverbial Eno-esque warm jets with “Warmest Jets”. Rocking sharper than the needles in the camels’ eyes; Grieving gives us a little something to make life’s mourning processes feel a little lighter.

Watch Mylko’s video for “Bloom” directed by Pablo García Robles full of silhouettes and texture sequence poured over -and skylines. Taken off the debut album Contrast available September 30; listen & watch as the smooth-synth-pop is represented by colorful animations and image overlays that make for a fully entertaining experience for the ears, eyes & open mind.

James Chen just dropped the Taiwanese Folk Syle cassette via Moon Glyph where Chen brings reflections of his home in Chia-yi, Taiwan to the states fleshed out by his son Hewson (from The New Lines) & buddy Davis White. An album billed as 30 years in the making, traditional Taiwanese folk styles meet with western touches that make for a transportive experience from the feelings on “Summer in Taiwan”, the sentimental “By The Sea”, the social simmer of “Chat Salon”, encouragement on “Don’t Be Discouraged”, to the green glow of “Grass Mountain”. Heart can be heard everywhere like the timeless & debonair “Love At First Sight”, the homeward bound happiness of “Going Home”, before bring it all back home again on the fall frame of mind found on “Autumn Nostalgia”. This is the perfect tape to help transition your summer into the solstice of descending leaves.

In more Moon Glyph news, Corum shared some VHS-processed visuals for the meditative “Grand Vudu Staircase” off of Coastal Vudutronic Voyage, Grant Corum from Million Brazilians’ own labor of love. The results here appears be a melange of images altered and arranged in a way that compliments the environmental audio essences at play.

Da Dreak & Rahzil Blackwell are readying their collaborative album Love-N-Drugs August 12 from W.A.R. Media and the two together pop some bottles in a gather around invitation heard on the piano note adorned track, “Celebration”. For everyone that could use some more celebratory smiles in their worlds—this one’s for you.

Seattle artist Tay Sean announed the album Leavings available September 20 from HomeSkillet Records sharing the early morning rising of purpose and electric inspirations on “Um Tryin” ft. JusMoni. The producer, emcee, everything visionary delivers those sensation of what it feels like when the sun hits and jolts us out of our nightly coma to greet the sunrays of a brand new day.

“Break Down The Walls” with VARA’s visuals for the song in question that brings low-lit emotive moments & breakthrough views of the vast expanses of world that extend beyond the obstacles & obstructions of barriers.

In case you missed it, indulge yourself in the bright new Kiwi pop fresh from New Zealand with Shapeshifter’s electric-form evolving single “Stars” streaming now for your enjoyment.

DIVAN shared some “Shards” of moving pop sounds taken from their upcoming release Modern Knowledge available August 19. The fragments of feelings and audio collect together to make for a codified experience of collective feelings gathered closely together in unison.

For those in need of some romantic excitement & atmospheric moods, then perhaps Folly Rae’s single “U” might reach out to your most guarded chambers of the heart.

Rock along to the free & feeling brought about by The Tigerlilies as they share the single “Easy As It Seems” found offf their upcoming 123456 EP available September 2. Equipped with a host of harmonies & catchy licks; Tigerlilies pick out crunchy-rock pop blossom to make your summer & fall days feel more ornate.

On the heels from their Fractured Fairytales debut; Cherryade bring a bit of that schoolyard back & forth/call & response that reiterates that is indeed all about “The Crown” in this town by extoling the tenets of matriarchal fixations.

Aldous Harding brought some strums of care & comfort as heard on the single “Stop Your Tears” that offers to dry the eyes of all sorrowful hearts. Taken off Aldous’s upcoming self-titled album debut available September 30 from Flying Nun Records, Harding’s nu-folk vignettes chronicle feelings and thoughts that pass through the mind & heart’s own theaters direct from New Zealand’s Southern port of Lyttelton.

Nots bust out the inherent truths & more on the raging rally rouser “Inherently Low” found off the forthcoming album Cosmetic available September 9 from Goner Records. Natalie Hoffmann has no time for convenient or inconvenient truths as the Memphis group brings us down to the low-laying places of feeling and being in an a lo-fi frenzy of frazzled & frayed coolness.

Fialta delivered the Marion Gruber video for “Another Lonely Heart” taken from the album Shadow of a Drought where a love story narrative of paper plane notes of amour are seen sailing through the early morning air. Fialta’s bright punchy pop shines through like moonlight beams that signal the dawning of dusk atmospheres that break the spell of the night to bring air mail notifications for all involved lovely hearts.

Izzy True’s debut album Nope will be available August 5 from Don Giovanni Records, and we bring you the following advance listen. With an upcoming release day show at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium with Haybaby, Retail Space & Cameron Wisch (from Porches) where you can catch Isabel Reidy (also of The Realbads) bringing about a delusion smashing DIY sound rife with honesty and alt. rock era idolizing pop truths.

Natti Shiner along with her Fickle Friends bring about all the tears & pop tones to get the waterworks reeling & streaming with “Cry Baby”. Dedicated to everyone who has found themselves sobbing like a cherub in arms at their own party.

Available now from Inflated Records, hear Video Age’s new album Living Alone, that opens right out of the gates with the chord crushing cool of “Living Alone”. The bachelor life enters the singularity phase heard on the electric arching single “Virtual Man”, that sucks down a second wind with “Regulars”, as the New Orleans duo of Ross Farbe & Ray Micarelli run through all the various facets of pop fidelity and mercurial (and somewhat mysterious) styles that give this record plenty of replay value as “Reprise” encourages the listener to get the disc revolving all over again.

Catch the pharma-esque audio-narco waves on the single “Red Vermin’ courtesy of the supergroup Pfarmers. Made up folks like Danny Seim from Menomena & Lackthereof, Bryan Devendorf from the National, and Dave Nelson whose played with David Byrne & St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, etc ready this electrical emerald and more with their second album Our Puram available August 12 from Joyful Noise Recordings.

Featured on their recent 7″ from Joyful Noise Recordings, watch Busman’s Holiday take a stroll with the Bloomington, IN fourth of July parade for the Eric Ayotte & Dave Walter video for “Beach Song”. Stirring up some excitement for their forthcoming album available in October, watch the Busmen get the best float award while marching along with the jubilant Limestone Beaters Brass Band.

Keeping your summer nights lit, HØØNCH keeps their Audio Paradiso party popping off with “Beat Goes Drop” that keeps the party pushing. For those nights that feel like they could go on for an eternity; HØØNCH further entertains those feelings of forever through sensation simulating synths and restrained holiday percussion considerations.

Manchester’s Politburo present an advance listen to their forthcoming album Barrington Way available August 19 from Leonard Skully Records that offers up an eclectic array of styles that expresses an alternate reading of pop conventions. From the opening of “Umm, Rhombus?” to the title track closer; Nick Alexander & band orchestrate together something of their own Sgt. Peppers where they conjure together a concept album that sounds at home in 2016 as it might have in 1967.

Denmark synth-poppers Perpacity ready their album Arise for release October 7 sharing the “good to be alive” recitations of the track “9725”, to the more sinewy synthesizer sounds heard on “Eternal” ft. Nordik Fire. Perpacity’s Ian harling & Martin Nyrup brings about a UK & Scandinavian take on electronic syntheses that travel further into the esoteric undergrounds.

Stereolab icon Morgane Lhote is Hologram Teen who was ever so generous in presenting a listen to her upcoming Marsangst EP ahead of it’s September 9 release from Happy Robots Records. Morgane brings about more spaced out & candied-out synths to the occasion & equation as heard on the opening title track, to the punchy rule breaking “Hex These Rules”, before drifting ahead on the form-shifting “Scratches en Série”, right as “Franmaster Glash” cools the party down with a scoop of vintage rhythms & twinkling glimmers of sound crystals yet to be discovered from the rough.

Hear the chamber pop essences found on the just released self-titled EP from ESH that brings about melancholic comfort for moments of extreme solitude. “Trigger” presents cinematic sweeps of decisive action, followed by the Olaf Stuut remix that discovers a whole new dub odyssey, with the closing cut “Fall” bringing about an electronic hymn for the ensuing fall solstice.

Available now from Breakup Records, treat yourself to the mind expanding compositions from Seattle’s Alex Pinto as he presents the following leisurely listen to Parkside. Beginning with bluesy “Parkside (Blues for Camille)”, that delves into dedicated smooth jazz numbers heard on “For Claude”, to the chord clusters of “Garage By Midnight”, sharing requited illustrations of expressions on “Unconditional”, before leaving you with the cascading notes & serenity found on “Loop Head”. Rest your stresses upon the sounds of Alex Pinto right now.

Total Slacker gave us the mountain hiking epic track “Olympus Hills” from their upcoming album Parallels (available August 19) that features Sunflower Bean’s own Nick Kivlen supplying some added guitar. The Slacker sound becomes more refined and focused where a dreamy DIY approach to new romantic constructs is employed to maximum 80s pop effect. Join us right after the listen & jump for a Total Slacker total Week in Pop takeover

Total Slacker’s Week in Pop

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Total Slacker live in SF at The Rickshaw Stop; photographed by Greg Chow.
Having just shared their cool new single off their upcoming August 19 slated album Parallels, Total Slacker’s own Tucker Rountree proudly presents their following exclusive Week in Pop guest selections:

Kurt Vile, “Pretty Pimpin”

It was so much fun opening for him at TBD Fest, I’ve always respected his musicianship and songwriting style.

Haircut 100, “Fantastic Day”

The modulation in this piece turns me on.

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Total Slacker performing at The Studio at Webster Hall; photographed by Georgia Hinaris.

Catherine Wheel, “Crank”

A friend of mine named Kyle Wenski showed me this early 90s shoegaze gem.

The Highwaymen, “Highwayman”

“… or I may come back as a single drop of rain, but I will remain…”

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Total Slacker at SF’s The Rickshaw Stop; photographed by Greg Chow.

Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Israel”

I’ve always enjoyed early 80s English music.

The Police, “The Voices Inside My Head”

I’ve always appreciated the depth of Sting’s songwriting and musicianship, I really like early Police.

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Total Slacker playing SF at The Rickshaw Stop; photographed by Greg Chow.

The Used, “The Taste of Ink”

This band is from Utah, and I love the early 2000’s sounds here… wonderful formula in this one.

Pat Metheny, “Lone Jack”

One of the most harmonically sophisticated composers of our time. I’m very influenced by his guitar tone from this era (late 70s), but also influenced by his use of Lydian.

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Total Slacker at SF’s The Rickshaw Stop; photographed by Greg Chow.

Haybaby, “Stupid”

Been listening to these friends for years, always put on a great show!

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Total Slacker at The Studio at Webster Hall; photographed by Georgia Hinaris.

For Against, “Sabres”

An obscure band from the midwest in the late 80’s, that should have had a larger audience.

Catch Total Slacker playing NYC’s Market Hotel August 12 Friday with SKATERS, Boulevards & Imagist.

Follow Total Slacker via Twitter.

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