Week in Pop: Plains, Proudest Ever, Tournament

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With Coachella coverage clogging up the feeds & pop culture radars; Impose’s Week in Pop presents the latest breaking media and moves from a few of our favorites. With big scoops in store, we give you some of the week’s biggest buzz with first all the internet-breaking hype and more surrounding the launch of Beyoncé’s Ivy Park athleisure line; Radiohead’s manager announced that their new album will be available in June, promising to be “like nothing you’ve ever heard;” “Girls to the Front” benefit from The Girls Rock Camp Foundation is happening April 29 at LA’s illustrious Chateau Marmont; Mac DeMarco dropped the demo “Rollin Like A Dummy”; YG joining Yo Gotti on G-Eazy & Logic’s “The Endless Summer Tour”; KRS-One dropped “The Phife Tribute” produced by DJ Static to pay homage to A Tribe Called Quest’s dearly departed Phife Dawg; Mitski dropped the Zia Anger-directed video for “Your Best American Girl”; Freeway dropped “First Things” produced by Girl Talk off the forthcoming Free Will album available April 29 from Babygrand; Brian Wilson announced his autobiography available I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir October 11 from Da Capo Press; Lincoln Center announced “The Bells”, an event in the late-great Lou Reed’s honor happening May 4; Jim Jones of Dipset dropped “Finesse” ft. A$AP Ferg, Rich Homie Quan, & Desiigner; Avalanches return & are playing a series of festivals; DJ Shadow dropped “Nobody Speak” ft. Run the Jewels; Steven Soderbergh directed DTCV’s “Histoire Seule” video; iLoveMakonnen celebrated the big 27 with the video for “Solo”; AlunaGeorge & Flume collaborated on the track “I Remember”; Action Bronson dropped “Mr. 2 Face” ft. Meyhem Lauren & Jah Tiger off the upcoming Blue Chips 7000 mixtape; Rae Sremmurd dropped the track “Look Alive” produced by Mike WiLL Made-It; St. Vincent’s Annie Clark is writing & directing a horror flick; Xiu Xiu dropped the video for “Into the Night”; Dev Hynes joined the Haim sisters on their Beats 1 show “Haim Time”; DJ Khaled signed to Epic, Major Key album available later this year; Erykah Badu dropped-in on Newark, NJ’s Malcolm X Shabazz high school, performed “On and On”; Hurricane#1 returns with Melodic Rainbows, available June 3 from Bourbon Sleaze, dropped the single “I Wanna Kill You”; a Bob Dylan TV show is in the making for Amazon; Pantha Du Prince dropped an interactive soundboard, The Triad available May via Rough Trade; Kendrick Lamar sued by Mattie Music Group over a sample from Bill Withers’ “Don’t You Want to Stay” featured on “I Do This“; Led Zeppelin versus Spirit lawsuit over the authenticity of Zepp’s “Stairway to Heaven”; Bono’s plan to beat ISIS; Ciara versus Future continues; and The Ruler himself Slick Rick is now an official U.S. citizen.

Switching gears, it is our honor & privilege to present the following exclusives, interviews, insights, & more from Plains, Proudest Ever, Tidwell’s Treasure, Tournament, Itaca, Levon Henry, Confetti, Fovea, Middle Class Fashion, Miss Jupiter; Roxy Swain, featuring guest selections by Angel Du$t, and more—in no particular order.

Proudest Ever

Proudest Ever's Kelly & Phil are back; photographed by Kelly Jackson.
Proudest Ever’s Kelly & Phil are back; photographed by Kelly Jackson.

We introduced you to Brooklyn’s Proudest Ever last year with their debut Deals EP, and today we present their music video premiere for “Lead With Love”. Formerly known as Ferns, principle members Kelly Jackson (lead vocalist, & video director), and Phil Maves (multi-instrumentalist, also of the bi-coastal NYC by SF group Wild Decade) move conversations beyond the drudges & hang-ups that we all contend with for something more real that reaches for natural discoveries of enlightenment & exhilaration without any trace of sardonic irony. Proudest Ever are that glimmer of pride the shines forth from the most honest of personal places where sung out thoughts about life’s events (from the intimacies of interpersonal dynamics to observances of the minuscule) and occurrences are acted out like true-to-life scenes from the theater stage environments of our own existence. Kelly & Phil focus on the changes in life that spell growth (“Change The Light”, “Fading Name”, “Act To Follow”), opening channels of communication (“Can I Say”), decadence & human delusion (“Pajama Palace”), and learning to find new new standards of self-governance for strengthened bonds, care, affinity, and earnest attraction (“Lead With Love”).

Kelly Jackson’s video for “Lead With Love” features Proudest Ever’s singer & director along with Phil dancing in front of a backdrop that alternates between a projected Mario Kart game and a blank background canvas. While taking us for a Mario Kart spin through Neo Bowser City, Proudest Ever entertain the infinite possibilities of what could happen if the defenses of our competitive culture were traded for a form of exemplary leadership where all construct barriers of pretension are demolished. “Oh you built so many walls, let me tear them all apart,” Kelly sings with smiling confidence, “Imagine having nothing to protect at all…” The rat race paradigm is rendered between Jackson’s delivery, the action seen from the racing video game, and Proudest Ever’s response depicted in both the choreographed dance moves and their chords of infinite hope and endless possibilities for happiness. Proudest Ever here teaches to us move and look beyond the pettiness of aggressive, trivial sports of competition for what happens when we lay down our own foolish pride and perceived conceits of status for something more substantial. The old proverb of what happens when people stop working against each other and working with each other is exhibited in a song that ponders what wonders may come when conflicts are flipped around for collaborative opportunities. After the following video debut for “Lead With Love”, be sure to read our interview with Kelly Jackson & Phil Maves.

Describe the inspirations of leading and loving that impacted “Lead With Love.”

Kelly Jackson: The song starts with an illustration of personal disaster. It points (dramatically) to the types of events that start the emotional protection process and defense conditioning within us from an early age. We live in a society that often values ideals around being tough; to compete and compare and accept the tremendous brutality in the world as a fact of life. This song proposes the value of demolishing that belief system and those walls. It alludes to the value of what can be achieved through vulnerability and a lack of defenses. What would it mean, then, to lead with love? What would it look like or feel like to have nothing to protect?

Phil Maves: I remember Kelly coming back from a trip out west and describing a conversation she’d had with a friend about this exact topic. It seemed like a great subject for a song. As the music was being written, I remember pushing the chords and arrangement toward a dark-but-driven feel, to underscore what Kelly was putting across lyrically. It seems to me like hopeful defiance, especially with the brighter resolution from minor to major, plus a seventh chord to indicate traces of change, at the end of the song, which supports Kelly’s parting thoughts around opening up. Hold on, I’m being given a ticket for driving too slowly on the pretentiousness turnpike.

Proudest Ever's Phil & Kelly; photographed by Kelly Jackson.
Proudest Ever’s Phil & Kelly; photographed by Kelly Jackson.

How did this become an opportunity to interject some Mario Kart visual performance art for the occasion?

Kelly: We always used to joke while writing this song that it sounded like driving angrily through heavy rain. I play MK8 regularly and I connected the level Neo Bowser City to that visual for the song. It’s also a fitting metaphor for the conditioning of competition and comparison I address in the song. MK8 encourages the take down of your opponents—creating chaos and frustration for others you are playing against online. You are constantly oscillating between protection and aggression. At the same time, it’s visually stunning. I’m certainly not exempt from it, I love playing it.

Phil: Early on, we gave this song a working title of “Large Marge,” in reference to the truck driver from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. With this video, we’ve lapped ourselves and we’re tying the song back to its origin.

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What else is in the works from Proudest Ever? We loved your launch with the Deals EP.

Kelly: I want to make one more vid from Deals. We’re finalizing our song choice currently. And of course, new tunes.

Phil: Kelly and I have been writing new songs as a duo, and we’re working on pre-production now. We may road-test them too. The new material is even more concise and pop-oriented than the Deals EP. It’s probably going to feel less like a rock band, though there is still the same warmth and energy from Kelly’s vocal melodies and lyrics, and my hooks and chord changes.

Other artists that have been catching both of your collective ears & eyes?

Kelly: It’s no secret I’ve been obsessed with Grimes this year. I actually won her guitar on Amazon Music. It was quite the moment!

Hollering & singing with Proudest Ever's Phil & Kelly; photographed by Kelly Jackson.
Hollering & singing with Proudest Ever’s Phil & Kelly; photographed by Kelly Jackson.

Phil: I go through probably 15-30 seconds of each song on the Spotify charts, just to get a sense of production and arrangement sensibilities that people are up to. I also started listening to old-timey 1940s radio dramas and detective serials. So yeah, I regularly change gears between being a sugar-addicted child and an old man. Is that what all those coked-up record execs in the 70s were like? Maybe I missed my calling and timeline.

Further insights into the Proudest Ever creative process?

Kelly: I’m trying to dig deeper into my chosen themes and explore points of view that I haven’t had the chance to consider fully.

Phil: The Deals EP was the first step toward Proudest Ever, away from our former band. The writing process had changed by the time we recorded those songs; Kelly was sharing lyrical themes and melodies in order to kick start songwriting, and I had moved into a multi-instrumentalist role and was instigating chord changes and riffs, and actually finishing off songs. Kelly and I ended up spending the last day in the studio for theDeals EP, along with our engineer, re-recording and refining some of the songs. Our drummer, Brandon, had given us a nice rhythmic foundation to work from. On “Lead With Love,” for example, I ended up re-recording all the rest of the instruments minus drums, while Kelly added harmonies to her lead vocals, and I dubbed in backing vocals. It gave Kelly and I a chance to work out our own collaborative dynamics, and move forward from the old working method, and into Proudest Ever.

Kelly & Phil of Proudest Ever having a stare down; photographed by Kelly Jackson.
Kelly & Phil of Proudest Ever having a stare down; photographed by Kelly Jackson.

Summer/fall plans for Proudest Ever?

Kelly: We’re really enjoying using technology like Periscope to invite people to enjoy our songs. We also really want to continue developing visual content along with our new material.

Phil: Absolutely. More songs, more content, more social media adventures. Follow us on Periscope for live insta-shows. Feels good for us to be behind the wheel and ahead of the curve.

Proudest Ever’s Deals EP is available now via Bandcamp.


Presenting Plains, L-R: Travis Swinford, Tony Hernandez, Drew Price, & Sam Douglas; photographed by Philip Palma.
Presenting Plains, L-R: Travis Swinford, Tony Hernandez, Drew Price, & Sam Douglas; photographed by Philip Palma.

Originally featured off of last summer’s album Delicate Living from Happenin Records / Lolipop Records; Plains today premieres the smiley-faced mask romanticism in the video for “Oh Camina”. Directed by bandmate, local Birmingham, Alabama legend, & solo artist in his own right Drew Price; we are treated to a romantic afternoon in Avondale Park with Plains leader Travis Swinford strumming his guitar, hanging with his pooch, skating about, while wooing the lovely Camina. Price’s timeless vintage style displayed in the analog video texture, classic shot composition, camera handling & editing techniques perfectly alludes toward the natural, organic, time-warp-radio-station sound of Plains.

The romantic interlude aspect of “Oh Camina” is played up to the hilt, where the entire loverly lounge quality is brought to the green pastures, forests, brush, lakes, and trails of Avondale Park. The calming chords, and soothing half-awake delivery delve into those lo-fi places of intimacy, like those favorite obscure Ebay purchased classic & clandestine stacks of wax that you reserve only for play while by your lonesome (and every so often reveal such wonders to a trusted party/best friend/lover. So spend a day in Avondale Park with Travis & the woman after his own heart, Camina, as they spend hours getting to know one another on a bench, a wall of stones, and in the company of trees. Wearing an emoji smiley mask for the bulk of the video, a boat ride journey out on the lake is initiated with the invitational of “let’s mess around,” where Travis, Camina, & company are all seen donning yellow-cartoon-faced emoticons displaying varying visages of happiness. Once our adventure and heart warming tale draws to a close, we are treated to an arbitrary obituary for the GOP candidate/ real estate magnate Donald Trump that makes for a ridiculous closing non-sequitur. Following the debut viewing for “Oh Camina”, read our interview with Plains’ Travis Swinford right after.

Tell us whose idea it was with the whole smiley-face mask component here, & describe the Avondale Park video shooting event for “Oh Camina”, and what you all really love about the park.

Drew and I came up with the idea of the video as soon as we saw the emoji mask. We took it to Avondale Park because we needed a nice nature spot and it’s located very close to us. It’s a beautiful park! There are lots of secret spots to chill/grill and let your dog off the leash.

Plains' Travis Swinford; photographed by Neil Jackson.
Plains’ Travis Swinford; photographed by Neil Jackson.

How did the the death of The Donald come about with the video?

We were pretty—leveled up—and had just wrapped up editing the video when I suggested that Donald dies in the video. I tried to put the years he was alive, but I couldn’t remember when he was born. I think he was 16 or 17 years old when he left us. :/

What else is in the works from both Plains and Drew Price?

An EP is going to drop at any minute. Who knows? 🙂 Plains also has a quickie little getaway tour coming up. We’re going through a few chill towns to play with some friends, visit some new spaces and enjoy spring in the south. We have some great Birmingham shows coming up with Mild High Club, Colleen Green, Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser and Laser Background!

What else are you all excited about right now music/film/book-wise?

I (Travis) have been into Anderson .Paak and Knwledge’s collaboration called NxWorries. Especially the song “Link Up”. It samples a beautiful song called “Onda” by Cassiano. Also into Tiny Buzz on Facebook [laughs].

Join Plains & Drew Price on The New Love Crowd Tour 2016 via the following dates:

24 Macon, GA @ Fresh Produce (w/ Drew Price)
25 Athens, GA @ Go Bar
26 Asheville, NC @ Sly Grog (w/ Drew Price)
27 Charleston, SC @ Makeout Reef
29 Auburn, AL @ Red Clay Brewery

Plains’ album Delicate Living is available now from Happenin Records / Lolipop Records.

Experience it now, if you haven’t yet:


The tourney & journeys of TOURNAMENT; photographed by Mikaela Barish.
The tourney & journeys of TOURNAMENT; photographed by Mikaela Barish.

From their recently released album Teenage Creature from The End Records, Brooklyn’s Tournament present the premiere of their Mike Nirenberg-directed video for “Sean’s Place” that enlists the star-power of legends Lloyd Kaufman (king of the Troma empire) & an appearance from GWAR’s own Sexecutioner. Bookending the comically chaotic cautionary tale is Lloyd in the role of the overbearing, man-splaining paternal curmudgeon accompanied by a nitpicking, yet nurturing mother—played by Alan Rowe Kelly—that leave their daughter home alone with stern orders and warnings. What transpires next is something out of an absolutely mental twenty-first century, Fellini-esque house party bash that is set to a soundtrack supplied by Montana Masback, Jordan Lovelace, Sean Kraft, & Ryan Kelly.

The video for Tournament’s “Sean’s Place” begins with papa Lloyd Kaufman and mama kvetching, dictating orders and demands before leaving their darling all by her lonesome. But as soon as that front door is closed, the most massive and well-attended house party begins to rage. Montana, Jordan, Sean, Ryan, & company together extol the home values of accelerated & ultra-amplified riffs to be played at the loudest allotted decibel level in the comforts of your own abode. Director Mike Nirenberg has the camera stumble and pan through the many decorated rooms where an array of finely dressed eccentrics, dancers, debutantes, debonair dudes, a Sexecutioner cameo, and party-centric revelers create an overwhelming sense of barely containable chaos that feels as if it is one long inebriated take. We follow our heroine as she ventures through the various soiree suites, while Tournament’s tune rages onward as the apex of the anarchic shindig reaches it’s explosive finale. As the obedient daughter makes her way to hurl the contents of an upset stomach out the front door; her puke showers her parents Kaufman & Alan who have arrived home early, and are in for a shock at the ensemble that awaits from within their home. Read our interview with Tournament’s Montana Masback, Jordan Lovelace and Sean Kraft after the following video debut for “Sean’s Place”.

Tell us about the making of your album Teenage Creature, working with Jordan & Kyle Keayes Hagerman, and how your NYC surrounds and environments impacted the recording.

Montana: We have been recording as a band with Jordan at the helm for a long time. Having Kyle sit in on the session made things so much easier. Before I would have to check drums wile Jordan got sounds. Kyle has a great ear and some really cool outboard gear that we were able to use, so that’s always fun getting to play with new / very old toys. Living in New York we work long hours, early mornings, endless weeks, so when we were getting together to record “Teenage Creature” it was fun, as recording always is. We also made sure to keep the essence of these songs at the forefront of our mind; the good, the bad, the terrible, and the worst. We had to make sure that the initial design and feeling of these tunes made it to tape.

Jordan: I was driving myself crazy running back and forth, trying to wear two hats at once being the engineer and the drummer. Maybe if I knew how to do my engineering job better at the time it would have been easier, but it got to the point where I had to ask for help. Kyle and I were working on a bunch of records together at that point, so it seemed natural to have him come in and assist. Thanks Kyle!

What can you tell us about the post-Teenage Creature recordings, and what we all should be expecting next?

Montana: We have a 5 song EP that hopefully will be out this summer or early fall, and we are very stoked about it! Sarabeth Linden singer of the Brooklyn based band known as Tower sings a duet with us ha ha ha. Imagine a shittier snotty Ike, meets Judas-Priestess Tina Turner…

Alright, we want to know all about the making of the epic house party video and what was it like getting the Troma king himself Lloyd Kaufman to cameo in the video?

Montana: The video was shot in a disgusting house venue in Bushwick called Suburbia, ironically named because the 10 scummy vision men who live there truly never left their parents basement. So when we told the “residents” of 230 Melrose Street of our far out plan to have a party at their house including some of the Troma Team, the Sexecutioner from GWAR, and a boat load of friendly local idiots.. It seemed to go off without a hitch. Having Lloyd was awesome, he’s a pro in a sport he invented, all the dialogue was improvised and pretty much done in one take. Lloyd connected by way of our director Mike Nirenberg. They have worked together before on one of Mikes short films called “Clown Dad”. Would also really like to thank the rest of the cast, Allen Rowe Kelly, Sara Edwards, Millree Hughes, Annie Rodriguez….the list goes on.

Shredding & thrashing with Tournament; press photo courtesy of the band.
Shredding & thrashing with Tournament; press photo courtesy of the band.

What are some of the favorite Troma films over there in the Tournament camp?

Montana: Class of Nuke ‘Em high, Flesh Eaters From Outer Space, Surf Nazis Must Die, of course Toxic Avenger, Sergeant Kabukiman…there’s so many rad Troma films.

Jordan: Still haven’t seen Killer Condom…really curious about that one.

Best things about Brooklyn right now that you all are stoked about?

Sean: High rents, income inequality, the closing of venues, record store day and crowded subway cars.

Any new sounds & sites you all would like to recommend?

Sean: Tower and KDH are the best rock bands in New York right now. Different ends of the spectrum but both equally as ripping check them out for a good time.

Any last shout outs, or parting words of advice/wisdom?

Sean: Big shout out to our fearless director Mike Nirenberg and his amazing crew (John Torrani and Flynn Hundhausen) for making this a reality.

Tournament’s album Teenage Creature is available now via The End Records.

Miss Jupiter

Catching up with Miss Jupiter; press photo courtesy of Don Q. Hannah Photography.
Catching up with Miss Jupiter; press photo courtesy of Don Q. Hannah Photography.

Introducing Chicago by way of LA’s Miss Jupiter, oka Michelle Rose who also operates the boutique, Spacedust, serving as the costume designer for not just her own musical pursuits but dressing up local talents Deap Vally, Fever the Ghost, making custom print tees, buttons via her Naked Merch line of DIY supporting wares. The multidisciplinary textile maven/musician today presents us with the premiere for the Miss Jupiter double feature of “Sunshine/It’s All In You” that cranks up the sun-psyched song that surveys all the inherent potential in all that exists under the blazing beams of the sun. Michelle creates an entire cosmic mythology to surround her rock & roll alter-ego, crafting an inter-galactic tale about a dwarf star that inhabits an earthling to provide her surrounding world with songs, magic, words, and a vibration that unites all through shared sensation to deliver to the people what she refers to as “the concept of massive power despite diminutive size or circumstances.”

“Sunshine/It’s All In You” begins like something that descended from Death Valley, the outskirts of the Mojave desert, or a proclamation from a Joshua Tree oracle; Miss Jupiter arrives on earth to encourage all to seek the inspiration from within. Beginning with the suite of “Sunshine”, cryptic solar messages and signal are brought by Michelle’s otherworldly, tough-as-nails presence. Picking up where “Sunshine” leaves off, “It’s All In You” is the anthem for anyone and everyone to entertain their inner abilities that often go unheeded on account of numerous other diversions. Rolling on the horsepower of galloping guitar rhythms, the mean-seeming momentum is the motor by which Miss Jupiter uses to illustrate the natural tenets of enlightenment that all posses. “When you see the light, you will know what’s right, when you see the light, it’s all in you now…” Following the debut, read our insightful interview with Michelle Rose.

Tell us about realizing your calling as Miss Jupiter.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t singing, except when I felt imprisoned by the garment industry job for which I’d moved to LA from Chicago. One day, a few years in, I noticed that I’d become silent during my commute—traditionally a time when I’d drive my car with vigor, singing along to my carefully curated playlist. The sudden awareness of my unconscious silence brought about the stark realization that my soul had been going numb, and it wasn’t until I quit that job that I began to feel alive again.

After leaving fast-food fashion, I did a 180 and refocused all my energies. I found that my depression was caused by my own adherence to a system that taught me that I need to live a safe life in order to survive. I uncovered a very basic truth that is probably universal to all people—that all the things I wanted to do when I was a kid were the same things I want to do as an adult—make art, write, sing, and perform. The trick is, to be a part of today’s society—we must make money too. I’d always been an entrepreneur, but I’d blocked my heart from fully expressing itself.

It was in the haze of decompression from that job that I flung myself into the local music scene, and words & melodies began to flow to me again. I realized that I hadn’t written any poems or songs since high school, and that made me uncomfortable. But in this time, an innate inspiration gradually returned and I found myself writing songs every day. While trying to form my own band, I joined a couple others to gain experience as a backup singer. Isaac Rother & The Phantoms gave me an education as a dolled-up doo-wop rock & roll performer, while Honey Child provided precision in the form of angelic choral arrangements. These contrasts helped me immensely in exploring my skills and boundaries as a musician.

Describe your collaborative music approaches with contribution from Rachel Fannan, Angelica Tavella, Quincy Larsen, & Andrew Vega.

Singing and performing in any capacity fulfilled me, but after many starts and stops in trying to form the Miss Jupiter band, I began to question whether I’d have to shelve that dream again. But on the verge of another depression, my virtuoso friend Rachel Fannan offered to play with me, and that’s how it got started about a year ago. I’d met Rachel years prior and she was one of the local musicians I admired most for her crazy vocal abilities, stylings and range with Only You. Angelica Tavella, a recent LA transplant from Oakland, joined on guitar; and Quincy Larsen, who I met shortly after she moved here from Austin, became our bassist.

It was a huge learning process for me, as I worked with these dedicated talents to fill out the songs I’d written. I showed them demos on which I played what I call very janky or haphazard guitar, and I guided them toward the visions I had. I could hear every song fully arranged in my head, but not being an experienced player of any instrument myself, it’s been challenging to translate! But isn’t that how we grow? I had to become uncomfortable, let others guide me, and be open to new possibilities in order to reach my potential.

Miss Jupiter painted in pastel hues; photographed by Lauren Wade.
Miss Jupiter painted in pastel hues; photographed by Lauren Wade.

Give us the cosmic tales and insights about the making of your new double single odyssey, “Sunshine/It’s All In You”.

For about a year these three amazing musicians helped me hack out my dreams as we grew together. “Sunshine/It’s All In You” was one of the first songs we recorded, last autumn with our friend Scott Barber in his Echo Park studio. Everything was completely new to me, but I found that friendship, enthusiasm, and mutual understanding are the most important elements to any collaboration. The song itself begins with the realization that some of the things I’d devoted my life to ended up depleting me rather than nourishing me. We all change, and sometimes something feels right for a while, until it doesn’t feel right anymore, and we have to recognize our power to control our own destiny. That’s why, when Rachel created her newest project The Bomb and needed to leave MJ at the beginning of this year to nurture it, I knew I’d miss her, but she’d given her time generously to me for as long as she could, and it was her time to refocus herself. The second part (“movement”, if you will!) of this single is a call to action for anyone who’s ever felt that they’ve relied on others too heavily—to recognize the power we all have in ourselves, to curate our lives and limited time with the people & activities that fulfill us most. In turn, as microcosms of greater purpose, the very act of attuning our energy to our selves and our growth ripples outward to empower others.

How do you begin to manage both your focuses as Miss Jupiter, while running the LA boutique Spacedust, Naked Merch, & serving as chief costumer for outfits such as Deap Vally, Fever the Ghost, etc.

As someone who’s recently been brought out of a dark time, I feel like my overarching duty is to encourage others to do what they love, which is why opening my store Spacedust in September of 2014 was a huge element to my rebirth as a creative entity. There I champion local artists, independent designers, and essentially anyone who creates anything consciously. It has been a majorly back-breaking endeavor, but it’s my big fuck-you to corporations, mass manufacturing, and sweatshop labor. It’s also been a great relief to be able to base all of my work out of one location that isn’t my private space, so I can relax more when I’m at home. Everything I do, from making clothes to sell at the shop, custom stage costumes and merch for bands, using my voice to champion greater causes—it all flows together as an expression of me. Everything I do is supported together in this weird system, and it’s my ultimate goal to keep it all going in tandem and touch as many people as possible. I’ve finally recognized my worth as some sort of DIY maven, and biting off more than I can chew—but remaining careful to choose the best flavors—is paradoxically how I stay sane. Work is no longer a four-letter word!

I talk to many people who feel stuck in their jobs, lacking in passion for life, who say they don’t have the resources to pursue their own interests, or are waiting for the right time to crossover into happiness. Being a prime example, I have to suggest that it’s not until you really, wholeheartedly take that leap, that you’ll find yourself working harder than ever, and time just seems to open up in the perfect way when you follow your true path. Of course we all rely on others to support us, to work and play with us to reach our goals, but the right support will come about naturally when you’re operating from love instead of fear. The one thing to remember is that your dreams are right therenot at all far from reach, if you just make the first move. Believe in yourself, and trust the universe to guide you. That which you seek is not over the horizon; your happiness is not dependent on others; everything you ever wanted is all in you.”

Other LA artists that might take over the world?

The multitalented Andrew Vega, who also plays with occult outfit Sisters Ov The Blackmoon, joined us in February to record drums on the remaining tracks of the debut album, and is now learning the guitar parts as Angelica’s new band TV Heads is taking more of her time—and they’re one of my favorite bands in LA right now so I’m happy to take a backseat to that! We’ve brought in a sick new drummer, Rufo Chan, Jr., and Quincy remains a force of nature as she balances her creative job, school, and participation in both MJ and her synth-driven project Future Shoxxx. I’m proud to say that every single Miss Jupiter bandmate I’ve worked with has had other projects going on at the same time, but while many bandleaders might feel marginalized, that’s something I welcome wholeheartedly. I love that my players are multi-faceted creative individuals, with a range of talents and interests that extend beyond music, because that’s who I am too! I feel incredibly lucky and honored by any precious time that anyone spends with me to help spread what I feel are important messages sent to me by the universe.

Listen to more from Miss Jupiter via Bandcamp.

Middle Class Fashion

Saint Louis, Missouri's fashionable Middle Class Fashion; photographed by Henry Cook.
Saint Louis, Missouri’s fashionable Middle Class Fashion; photographed by Henry Cook.

From director/editor Caitlin Funston and make-up/lighting expert Meagan Impellizzeri; we bring you a view of Middle Class Fashion’s TRON-like fashioned video for “Don’t Stop It”, taken off their upcoming self-released album iii (available May 20 via Bandcamp). The Saint Louis, Missouri electro-afficionados Jenn Malzone, Katie Lindhorst, with Lindsey McDanel & Brad Vaughn own up to the aesthetics of median income Americans while making the most of their working class means by showering their sound & look in pure in a wash of neon colors.

“Don’t Stop It” is the anthem for perpetual motion, advocating for all and everyone to embrace the allure of electrically accelerated rays of lush light. Funston & Impellizzeri’s video turns a Middle Class Fashion live show into something that appears to be ripped straight out of a vintage arcade game. Observe as outlines of the band become enriched by glow-stick style illumination, where heart struck impulses and urges are illustrated reasons to keep the MCF party hopping. The video turns one of the band’s performances into a multi-media event where the special lighting effects consume everything from the instruments to the surrounding pinball machines in the light-dyed glow of inert monatomic gas.

Middle Class Fashion; photographed by Henry Cook.
Middle Class Fashion; photographed by Henry Cook.

Middle Class Fashion shared the following insights on the new video and their forthcoming album, iii:

“Don’t Stop It” was filmed in St. Louis, MO by artist Caitlin Funston (with help from makeup artist Meagan Impellizzeri). This first single from our upcoming album, iii, is a synth-heavy pop song, exploring the push and pull of a collapsing relationship.

Electro-adorned fashions from Middle Class Fashion; photographed by Henry Cook.
Electro-adorned fashions from Middle Class Fashion; photographed by Henry Cook.

For the video, Funston combined neon images with lots of blacklight paint, creating the perfect contrast of bright color against darkness. Footage taken of the band hanging out on Cherokee street (playing pinball, walking through alleys, sitting in a bar) is darkened and animated with sparking flashes of color. This video is your weirdest synth-pop dream.

Middle Class Fashion’s new album iii will be available May 20 via Bandcamp.

Levon Henry

An intimate conversation with Levon Henry; photographed by Ivy Meissner.
An intimate conversation with Levon Henry; photographed by Ivy Meissner.

You are most likely aware of Levon Henry’s work with folks like Meshell N’Degeocello, Joe Henry, Bettye Lavette, and Blake Mills, and now the saxophonist/clarinetist, composer, songwriter, tune-smith, singer, & dreamer readies his upcoming album Sinker for Tiny Montgomery Records, April 22. Presenting the premiere for “Short Fiction”, Levon Henry provides mind opening short stories of chords and keys that glitter & shimmer like the morning sun reflections on the sleepy seas.

“Short Fiction” is the kind of story song that makes everything else around you dissolve into the ether while the warm instruments take full, front, and center of the mind’s attention. Henry displays a composition mastery that utilizes some smart knowledge of classical components to create an arrangement that moves through the ages as lyrics observe life from an out of body perspective. Commitments and commentary on contentment are sorted out in a song that seeks to discern the real and now from the fictitious statements of appeals and feigned affections. Join us after the debut listen to “Short Fiction” for a candid interview with Levon Henry.

Describe your composition process that created Sinker, and how this solo experience is different from your other collaborative work.

My composition process for Sinker was and still is pretty irregular. As an instrumentalist first, and with an interest in (mostly un-rhymed) poetry that predated my interest in songwriting or lyrics, the most difficult element for me is the integration of words and music. I used to try and write either complete words or complete music independently and then add whatever the missing half was, but I’ve come to believe that both elements have different jobs to do in the presence of the other. When I would let the cement dry on either before introducing the other, I continually felt like I wound up with songs where the music didn’t need the lyrics or vice versa. As a result, the most consistent part of the process for me is trying to strike a balance where the two feel equally weighted I don’t feel like one is being subservient to the other and neither is destroying the tone of the other.

Outside of my overall writing process, this record in particular is influenced by the wake of Sandy Bull’s early records with Billy Higgins and Astral Weeks. Those records really bridged folk and jazz in a way that mysteriously appeared and then disappeared, like it was discontinued or nobody grabbed the torch, not even Van. He and many others including Joni Mitchell all started or continued to adopt a jazz influence, but very suddenly the influence was that of dense harmony, electric keyboards, and smooth saxophone; it was all int he vein of jazz fusion. Eventually people like Tom Waits come along and invoke jazz again as an earthy compound, but by then it’s living alongside swampy roadhouse R&B and the smell of gasoline so it’s a different ingredient entirely. By then, Astral Weeks feels a million miles away in that it’s the first and last time for a long time you heard a swing feel on the ride cymbal behind someone singing when it wasn’t purely a jazz record. Jazz influence on those terms is more in the vein of the early Ornette Coleman quartet where jazz had a folkloric feeling. The ride cymbal on Ornette’s “Ramblin'” doesn’t feel tonally that different from a cow bell. It isn’t so surprising that Sandy and Van wanted to tap that vein as Don Cherry referred to himself as a folk musician, many of Charlie Haden’s records involve samples of field recordings, and Billy Higgins was a multi-instrumentalist who sang and played a diversity range of folk styles from around the world.

That’s all a very long way of saying: there is an overlap between these worlds that are presented as very far apart but which have a good bit of connective tissue between them. As a jazz saxophonist who had a latent awakening to folk music I’m compelled to that overlap, and also surprised that it hasn’t been more explored. When I met RJ Miller I felt immediately struck by that spirit in his playing and with him as the known center I was able to imagine the rest of the album around it. It’s exciting for me to be a musician at this time because there are a handful of musicians on both sides of the instrumental-jazz and vocal-folk spectrum that are also riding the same border (Sam Amidon, Ryley Walker, Robert Stillman, Bill Frisell, and their music has been a huge part of my development. The lyrics are a whole other story.

As far as differentiating it from my collaborative work, there’s a pretty straight delineation there at the moment because I’ve never really written music in a collaborative way, so the role I play in other people’s projects is not as a singer or songwriter, but just as a sideman reed-player/arranger and in those settings the songs have always been finished before I entered the picture.

What brought you to the instruments the saxophone & clarinet?

The saxophone and clarinet were actually somewhat of a thoughtless choice. I’m a bit of a late bloomer to music, and even though I grew up around it, I didn’t pay it much mind. I started playing clarinet in 5th grade band because my friends were starting band and clarinet was randomly chosen out of the 6 options: alto sax, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, flute, and snare drum. I stayed in concert band but still wasn’t a “music fan” and didn’t listen to records or anything like that. My relationship with it was mental and I enjoyed it like I enjoyed math, so by 7th grade I wanted to switch from my middle school’s concert band to the jazz band because the music was more challenging. The teacher didn’t allow clarinet in the jazz band so I switched to the Tenor Saxophone because it was the easiest crossover to make. At that point I started listening to jazz and became more passionate about music overall.

Catching up with Levon Henry; press photo courtesy of the artist.
Catching up with Levon Henry; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Tell us about the facts & fiction that inspired “Short Fiction”.

Facts and fiction behind “Short Fiction”: The word fiction was the maybe the last word I wrote in the song, I started singing it instead of the word “friction” in the final choruses when I would perform it. ‘As good as it gets—with anybody else—there’s plenty of room—in the divided self—enough of a rub—between my hand—and my glove—for a friction/fiction like love.’ I guess that song as much as any sums up the lyrical perspective of the album. Near the end of writing all the songs, I noticed that I had been writing to work through and process how I feel about the relationship between the physical and the emotional, which at that moment in life was something I thought about a lot. Though it’s always been a part of human behavior to have a wide spectrum between the connect and disconnect of those two things, I think the portion that separates the two is more visible as we become less and less private about our sexuality. I don’t really hold to the opinion presented in that chorus, or any of the other lyrics in the album to be my own personal opinion, but part of figuring what you actually resonate with is stepping inside the vast array of opinions, so the process of exploring these different potential voices is what feels uniformly personal to me about all these songs.

Other things the world needs to hear/see/read.

Charles Lloyd and Billy Higgins, “Which Way Is East”—Jazz as true Folk Music or vice versa.
RJ Miller, “Ronald’s Rhythm”—Glad to know drums as mythic instruments still exist.
Jib Kidder, “Teaspoon to the Ocean”—The best and worst kind of thing to discover near the end of making an album because it makes you want to change everything.

Photos by Elena Montemurro and Ivy Meissner—They understand the humans and their faces.

Paintings by Peter Doig—Reminding us that we come out of the land and disappear back into it.

Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion—Inspires a lot of thinking about the narrative of one’s life and the flexibility we should bring to it.

Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood: In it she says “Free will does not mean one will, but many wills conflicting in one man.” which is worth the whole price of admission.

Levon Henry’s album Sinker will be available April 22 from Tiny Montgomery Records.

Tidwell’s Treasure

Northampton, Mass. meta-groovers / thrashers—Tidwell's Treasure; press photo courtesy of the band.
Northampton, Mass. meta-groovers / thrashers—Tidwell’s Treasure; press photo courtesy of the band.

Sean McMahon, of Workman Song has returned to his home base of Western Mass and has re-launched his meta-groover-thrash act Tidwell’s Treasure, premiering the new single “Radical Ron” from their forthcoming digital album. McMahon and his jazz school dropouts make the kind of scuzz brass that stirs up a racket to get the entire music college faculty all fired up. Tidwell’s Treasure drop a little something for all the cynics and naysayers out there that complain about there not being enough brass in their DIY jams (excluding the awesome Downtown Boys, of course) by showcasing the alternate audio forms of controlled free-form, fuzzy minimalism.

We all should be so lucky that a track like “Radical Ron” exists. It is the multi-formed freakout of many faces, and an oddball narrative to compliment these uneasy times about an unlikeily superhero and his fight. A song about about duking it out with Clark Kent after his departure from the Daily Planet for CNN initiates a full on war of weirdness and paranoia. As the title of “Radical Ron” is shouted during the chorus bursts, every involved instrument takes on the characteristic of rapid running like some kind of surrealist acid trip take on our current era.

Sean McMachon dropped his two cents on the new single with the following thoughts:

There’s no other way to describe it than old school nightmare metal. It’s about an ordinary man turned superhero named Ron who goes to war with Clark Kent after Kent leaves the independent Daily Planet for corporate CNN. “Turns out Clark Kent is not just Clark Kent, he’s Superman,” go the lyrics, “You know we’re all so fucked when the nuke gets into the wrong hands.” The fight ensues.

Listen to more from Tidwell’s Treasure via Soundcloud.


Berlin based duo, Itaca; photographed by Red Your Blues.
Berlin based duo, Itaca; photographed by Red Your Blues.

After Jimmy Turturici’s recent world tour, we were introduced in turn to Berlin’s Itaca, the duo of Ossi Viola & Lo Selbo. A pair of lovers who met in Rome, they make music that takes on Homerian proportions as they make music that presents the quest of their own odysseys toward the mythic land of their namesake, Itaca. Working in a kind of operatic synth pop, sung in Italian; we were smitten with their cassette Big In Itaca, with tracks from the opening “C’è vita in questa macchina”, where the mission kicks into high gear on “Continuerò”, the punchy beat dynamics on “Forse Forse Forse”, to the thriller realms of “Sanremo fantastico”. Itaca pushes to make a sort of synth-song world of their own that is “Bigger than Life”, bringing the emotion and the international pop on sparse grooves like “Ecco è l’acqua”, the metropolitan dramatics of”Entra nella città”, leaving you with the curtain closing “Ispirami”.

With Big in Itaca seeing a wider release in the coming weeks, the Berlin duo has recently released the single “Mi Manchi” that works in understated Italo-Balearic grooves made for those treasured holiday escapes that diverge from the plan for new expression and newfound excitement that exists off the grid. Itaca harmonize like an angelic heralding coupled with precise use of synths to project a kind of synergy that only their Viola & Selbo. Itaca’s Lo Selbo joined us for an interview round featured after the following listen.

Describe how the two of you met, and how you both arrived upon the formation of Itaca.

Albertine and I, we’ve been a couple long before we sang together. We are both Berliners but for some reason met in the city of Rome. Much later Albertine decided to study in Rome and live there for a year. That’s when I made one or two songs in Italian fantasizing that I would visit her in Rome and take the city by storm. It turned out it was way more fun to do this and potentially deeper than I expected. So I worked really hard on these songs. And I lobbied Albertine to sing with me. Albertine is doing different styles musically, I play drums in her band, but her approach to music is very different than mine. I think it took two years to convince her to go on stage with me. The moment she did that I consider the first formation of Itaca. That was new years eve 2013 in a club in Berlin Ostkreuz. Our second formation was when we sang for the first time in Italy. I was in the summer 2014, we were afraid as hell to play in front of an Italian audience. It was a festival (Ostiapalusa festival) with hip hop, punk and metal bands, mostly from Rome. And here come the German guys with Italian lyrics and pop music. We were scared. End of the story is that there was a huge party in front of our stage. And the next night in Latina (city close to Rome) it was similar. Basically I decided to quit my other career plans after that and here we go.

Tell us about the inspirations behind the name, and the mythic like island of Itaca that is enriched in the music you make.

About the time I did the first songs Albertine and I we were reading Homer’s Odyssey. It’s like the period table of drama elements. I could totally relate to the stories in there. In our songs we often refer to names or parts of it. In a love song we would sing things like Ulysses had a great plan, but there was no market for it. Itaca is the Italian name for Odysseus’s home island and ultimate destination. The name of this destination also embodies things about Berlin and the DIY scene in the city. Like Odysseus, everybody here is planning some breakfast at Tiffany’s but somehow gets stuck at the cyclops’ table.

A minor reason to use this name was that a similar sounding word “itaka” is an old-fashioned term Germans used for Italians (“italienischer kamerad” = Italian comrade). It didn’t always have the nicest connotation, but its also used with some respect and I like the aggressiveness that comes with it.

Describe the Italo-German-Euro fusions at work in your sounds.

I think our music is mostly inspired by British and American bands. But when you sing in Italian, the language immediately has an impact on the melodies and the sound. Italian is incredibly rhythmic and beautiful and it forces everything in its way to gain style. just try and take your favorite track, translate it and sing it in Italian, you will be amazed what this language is doing. One of the reason for that is that 99% of Italian words end with an “e”, this is really a game changer in terms of melody. If we would sing our songs in German or English, it would be very different.

I don’t know if there is anything particularly German in our sound. we love Kraftwerk, we can fully relate to the european attitude of Kraftwerk, they are also one of the few German bands that sang their tracks in Italian. but my main influences are the Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, A-ha, Yazoo, The Knife, Animal Collective, Deerhoof, Blonde Redhead, Queen, and the Beach Boys. When we started with Itaca we were not knowing a lot of Italian music, but there is some very very fine stuff that I got to know since then that really hit me deeply, like Krisma. Also Italy’s most famous Lucio Battisti or the songs that Morricone wrote for Milva, this is all gold, in my opinion anybody writing songs can profit from listening to this.

How do the two of you usually musically collaborate together?

We are a couple, and we are both a bit stubborn; for us generally it is not very natural to collaborate. Still we have mutual admiration for our music so we decided one should help the other. We have two bands, in one Albertine is the principal and makes the musical decisions and I just try to not get in the way best I can. The other band happens to be Itaca. so with the songwriting and melodies its basically me giving instructions and Albertine just doesn’t get them.

We do not rehearse, we practice singing in the car going to the gig. When we make and record the music, we are both doing it alone by ourselves. With Itaca it’s me sitting in a room without windows with two synthesizers, a guitar, a bass and a drum set. I do a lot of self-talking. These days Albertine is recording Ataca vocals for some new songs in her basement. Sometimes I visit her to bring a pizza, we talk about the song and five minutes later we fight. She has a drum set there too so we jam some krautrock to calm down.

In short I’d say our collaboration is not so much on specifics of music but more general: we help each other when we are having our downs after a bad day in studio or on even worse days when we didn’t make it to the studio in the first place. And we collaborate a lot more closely doing the booking, artworks and how to do the live show, the costumes, lights, etc. Albertine is looking a lot into different Berlin scenes, be it music or theater or dance; while I am mostly on YouTube at some Queen gig.

Out of the silhouttes with Itaca's Lo Selbo & Ossi Viola; press photo courtesy of the duo.
Out of the silhouttes with Itaca’s Lo Selbo & Ossi Viola; press photo courtesy of the duo.

Please give us insights into the making of Big in Itaca.

Big in Itaca is a collection of our first songs. When I started to make it I was 29, I had never used a synthesizer before, and I had written hardly more than three songs in my life. I used to be a guitar player and drummer in bands, which where all dead by that time. So “Big in Itaca” is an account of me learning how to write a song completely on my own and how to use these electronic instruments, how to mix. I recorded it probably 15 times. I could do it way better now, but I decided to say goodbye to them and make new ones. So this is it. Most of the songs are written on guitar, and then I spent the summer in the studio to arrange them as electronic pop songs. This translation was a very complicated procedure, but I think you can hear that these are not tracks but real songs. You could probably do a flamenco version of them and they would still work somehow. The name Big in Itaca is a reference to the term “Big in Japan”, and it makes fun of the fact that nobody knows us but we act like we are fame. I am pretty convinced that we are big in Itaca.

What else have you two been listening to?

The last things I really enjoyed were Panda Bear’s Grim Reaper album, the album Love is a Fridge by a German pop-band called My and My Drummer, and one particular concert I’ve been to with two fantastic bands, one being Italy’s Sax’n Bass nerds “ZU” and the other the mega-entertaining sludge band “Arabrot”. I realized that lately Albertine is listening to a lot of “Chinawoman”. There is also some very fun new stuff of the Roman band “Lapingra”, they shot a whole musical on their own in which a gladiator supposedly falls in love with a Peruvian girl; I guess I don’t have to add anything to that… 😉

What’s next for Itaca?

In winter we’ll have a new album and we’ll organize a tour through Italy. We already have published a first song of the new record with a beautiful video done by Christine Gensheimer who is a very talented animation-filmmaker. See more here.

Furthermore I am currently working on playing stages bigger than 12 meters. I know that nobody ever asked me to play that kind of stage, but, you know, I’ll be prepared. This is Berlin spirit, there is always a lot going on, especially in people’s heads.

Listen to more from Itaca via Bandcamp.

Roxy Swain

The rocking sway of Chicago's Roxy Swain; photographed by Molly Kate Lane.
The rocking sway of Chicago’s Roxy Swain; photographed by Molly Kate Lane.

Chicago’s Roxy Swain recently dropped their Ben Chandler video for “Set The House On Fire”, from their album Beneath Full Moonlight that shines an intimate view of the band during a privy performance session. Roxy along with Matt Walters, Chuck Harling, & Jeffrey Altergott expresses the yin & yang of the hot & cold rollercoaster ride of the most intimate sort of relationships, & their fallout. Roxy & company bounce back and forth between the strengthened resolve of burning it all up and staring again, & the enamored aftermath of adoration, and repeat as necessary. Roxy Swain rocks the pendulum of emotion to and fro in a familiar way that takes the good with the bad in the name of moving forward.

Roxy Swain shared the following insights on the song & album:

Our song “Set the House on Fire” was written to be an anthem about ending a relationship. It juxtaposes a verse part that expresses the anger, hurt and indignation of the heat of the moment with a peaceful chorus that basks in the glow of the resolution that follows. The band accordingly chose two jarringly different styles to marry those concepts together, and our video is the visual representation of that marriage, with the time lapse tricks acting as the visual cues.

The parent album, Beneath Full Moonlight, is an song cycle that echoes a theme of a mature resignation and reflection. Our last album, Restless Hearts, was one that centered on longing. This one deals with a lot of loss, as well as new experiences one has as one matures. We wouldn’t call it necessarily a negative album thematically, as there is still a lot of hope in the songwriting, but it is a song cycle that is definitely colored by a wider range of life experience.


Fovea; photographed by Zoë Adel.
Fovea; photographed by Zoë Adel.

Brooklyn’s Fovea present their cover of Bowie’s “Heroes” that first began as a rehearsal cover session on the eve of the icon’s passing that became a recording. The result is a fuzzier, DIY-funereal effect where the Eno arrangements becomes spaces for extra distorted dissonance. This is the scrappy, but certain & confident rendering that we hope the late great Mr. Jones is hearing from the great beyond and casting down light beams of delight & favor. Jake Denicola of Fovea described the creation of the cover with the following words:

The first time we played this song was in rehearsal the night before Bowie’s death. When we woke up the next morning and heard of his passing we knew we needed to pay homage by recording Heroes in his honor/memory. RIP David Bowie.


Confetti, photographed by Brandon R. Miller.
Confetti, photographed by Brandon R. Miller.

You are invited to experience the L-SE EP from LA’s Confetti collective (spearheaded by the Banta siblings who are behind LAGF & more). The largely instrumental five track song cycle was explained to us by the group’s own Trevor Banta with the following insights:

It’s about a couple as they lie in bed on a rainy evening. The first four tracks are instrumental as they exist in her dreams, while the last track brings us back to reality, as he lies restless and wide awake.

Banta wrote and performed all songs that go through the emotive terrain between our wildest dreams and the restless awakening of reality. Trevor created all the visual artwork himself from his continuing #errorgarden series, created using Boys Noize’s photo app #error. Dedicated to his grandmother, the EP is free but all purchased downloads will be donated to Parkinson’s research.

Keeping up with the tradition of their own sort of weekly good Friday series, Confident Hitmakers keep the eclectic array of hits rolling every week with the intimate views that Logan Wells provides with “Live Slowly”. The artist who often is joined by a vast arrange of collaborators is here depicted on his creative lonesome to provide some inner-views with emotion heart-string plunking synth hooks. The ever-evolving group can make some of the most mind altering music you have ever heard, to recording sparse slow jams for introverted lovers. Even as this feature goes live, we recommend stalking the Hitmakers’ site & Bandcamp for all the latest leaks & more.

Releasing his first solo album in the past seven years, the Boston emcee has been seen touring about with Thievery Corporation and now Mr. Lif released his new album Don’t Look Down available today from Mello Music Group. The former Def Jux artist paints landscapes of the places traveled, where stories of ups, and downs work their ways out of the abysses and pratfalls for the sustainable ground of self-preservation. Listen as Lif delivers knowledge & wisdom at the speed & rate of real life.

Presenting Prism Tats’ “Never Been Shy” taken off the the self-titled album available April 15 from ANTI-, delivering the energy and action that springs form the shelves of introversion. The result is an angular guitar rhythm drive that musters up the courage that defies the planter box status quo of wallflowers everywhere.

Weaves returned with some scuzzed-up “Candy”, taken from their upcoming self-titled available June 11 from Kanine Records / Buzz Records / Memphis Industries. The band takes you to thoe places beyond the sugar coated lines of existence.

We bring you Yung’s bed-headed scuzz-sonata “Uncombed Hair” from the debut album A Youthful Dream available June 10 from Fat Possum Records. This is that frayed, dazed, confused, and outright indifferent ode that updates the slacker story dynasties that so much of DIY pop has been founded on.

The Dan Ryan is Nathan from Hospital Ships who shared “Tidewater Rain Love” from his forthcoming Cosmic Dreamer Music album available May 27. The song is a tambourine-trance-shaker that you could zone out to on a transcendental quest to all night long (if you wanted to).

Dead Waves new Martin Bisi produced joint drops May 27, and we have a listen to “4 to 5” to entertain you with that sustaining buzz & fuzz relationship that we all collectively fiend for in our attractions toward our most favorite jams. The track sea-saws with that vocals-in-the-next-room-over sort of effect that makes for all the other chord narratives furthering the emotional reservations that remain in a wavering limbo of utter-fascination.

Eskimeaux’s Year Of The Rabbit is available today from Double Double Whammy and we are proud to present the following stream that features the latest from Gabby Smith & the family-like collective she is a part of The Epoch, not to mention her work in Frankie Cosmos and so forth. The title track alone is enough to capture your heart into the frame of the now, before going into the weird ambiguity fields of “WTF”, the feeling that formulate around thoughts of “Power”, the intoxication and complications ad infinitum confessed on “Drunk”, right before closing with the matador like strength & resolve as heard on “Bulldog”. Gabriel Smith’s Eskimeaux phenomenon continues to keep the entire DIY world entranced in a realm of wonder and belief where anything can happen.

Odonis Odonis have signed to felte, sharing some of their newer directions with the single “Needs” that takes the urgency passed the point of want and desire for something that extends beyond the industrious, cryptic worlds of EBM sounds and more. Announcing their third album Post Plague available June 12, let the latest dark dimensions from Toronto’s OO consume every part of your being with some of the most visceral electronic essences you might hear all month.

In more felte news, watch the Jonathan Correia & Daniel Selleck video for Sextile’s “Can’t Take It” off their album A Thousand Hands. Observe the artistic performance piece that moves from images of the band’s silhoutte form to flinging about paint and flowers against a blank canvas.

As Dowsing prepares their forthcoming album Okay for Asian Man Records, and shared a listen to the kicking & screaming “Red Legs Kicking”. From the band that just about called it quits in 2013 with I Don’t Even Care Anymore, the band brings all the angst of perseverance to keep the faith and fury burning bright.

Fresh from Fly Never Dies’ The Love And The Stars EP available May 3, check out some of the star-sparkling-fade of the track “My T-Shirt” that sports some production from Dan Edinberg of The Step Kids.

KYOSi presents the video she made with Richie Beretta, T. Antisdel, Dan Freshman, Justyna Augustynska for “Early Riser” that provides an intimate and inspired look at a productive early morning in the life of KYOSi. The Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College learned artist presents a view into her home studio work to the natural sun-rising joys that are involved with seizing the invitation to adventure that a new dawn brings.

Watch the Christofer Nilsson & Mohave Media video for Flora Cash’s “Pharaoh” as the Swedish duo brings some haunted-hallow sounds to strike the confines of the world’s dives and derelict parlors. Experience more from Stockholm’s Shpresa Lleshaj & Cole Randall on their debut mini-album Can Summer Love Last Forever? available now from Icons Creating Evil Art.

Hear the song “Heart To Love” from Heaven’s Jail, found off their upcoming fourth album Widow’s Work available May 6. The wordplay on the single title alludes to the difficulties in paired bonds and the problems that stem from both issues involved with both being or not being in a loverly relationship backed up by the following musical narratives.

Word is out that Leapling’s second album Suspended Animation will be available June 10 from Exploding In Sound Records, and we have the single “Hey Sister” from the Brooklyn band. Leapling once again reminds us of all those understates senses that brought us to identify with alt/college chart cuts back in the day, and even more so today in our continuing daily walks about in the great world.

The Hotelier’s Goodness double album will be available May 27 from Tiny Engines, and we present their video for “Piano Player” from Christian Holden & Xirin. Watch as an assemblage of home videos of vacations, adventures, and escapes takes off with thrill-seeking abandon. Highly reccomended for letting the good times roll.

From Hallowed Bells’ (comprised of former Br’er members) contribution to the Blight Makes Right compilation, you are welcomed to meditate to the radiating & levitating single “Radiolaria” courtesy of BLIGHT. Records. This is the track you want to have on your next kinetic mix for all aeorbic and any quasi-athletic relaxation techniques.

We bring you more from Donnie Kalash with the mighty earth-mashing single “Border”. Kalash unleashes the power of pure catharsis as every utterance of sound & note strives to send forth emotions through conventional & constructive outlets. Listen for more from Kalash on the way soon.

SF’s thrash & dash fuzz-masters Useless Eaters are ready to bring more deluctable & desirable dissonance with news that their forthcoming Relaxing Death album will be available June 3 from Castle Face Records, delivering the sound of 1976 for 2016’s audiences with a listen to the track “Moist Cuts”. Useless Eaters hone in on that special time when the punk rockers became the post-punk artisans of breaking the ground for legions of anarchists to take cues of action and pure inspiration.

NYC’s EMEFE, commanded by Miles Arntzen delivers a slice of “time” caught in a jar like a live and bright firefly fluttering about the confines of the transparent mason jar glass. Find this and more on the upcoming new EP available in May also titled Time.

Former Belle is CRUISR’s guitarist Bruno Catrambone’s offshoot, who recently released the debut EP Foreign Bed via Randm Records, presenting the video for “I Woke Up In Chicago”, directed/animated & animated by Jon Lewis ft. additional original artwork from Jacob Robinson. Images from forelorn moons to the Philly artist interacting with surroundings in a new tone where the introversion feelings of “you just want to hang out alone” are met with a mingling of the public. The pains of being a troubadour are spelled out in a kind of loneliness where thoughts dwell upon an absent other left back home, or fled for a new foreign home & bed.

Feast your senses on Annika Zee’s new one off single “Assembly”, that requests a sort of congress through intimate notes on keeping in touch translated to sophisticated and electronically liberated expressions. Listen for more to come from Annika and read her Week in Pop guest selections feature here.

NOTHING dropped by the new single that features a whole new set of melodic dissonant obsession with “ACD (Abscessive Compulsive Disorder)” featured on their forthcoming album Tired of Tomorrow available May 13 from Relapse Records. The fixations and compulsions collide toward the hole in the soul places of pondering meanings and orders in the fray of perpetual disorder.

We bring you the Huse Monfaradi recording session-style video for Michael Kiwanuka’s “Love & Hate” featured off the upcoming album Love & Hate (an album produced by Brian Joseph Burton, aka Danger Mouse, alongside with the rising talents from Inflo) available May 27. The visuals allows the listener/viewer to drop in on one of Kiwanuka’s sessions that delivers an intimate portrait to the creation of songs that deal with disparate feelings.

Stockholm’s Magic Potion dropped the fun in the sun sentiments on the “Cola Boyys” single that echoes summertime fun and all the upbeat feels. Find this and other songs to close out your best summer ever to on the Potions’ upcoming debut album Pink Gum available May 27 from PNKSLM Recordings / Beech Coma.

J Rawls drops The Essence Of… 15th Anniversary Edition on April 16 (Record Store Day), and we got the video for the remix of “Rio”, sporting cameos from cool Brazil based characters Kamau and MC Marechal, Lil Mila, the crew from Curitiba, and more. Filmed on location in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by J Live & directed by Chuck Ew; the artist/producer takes the audience on an extended spring break fling to remember that marinates on some fifteen plus years of creating sounds to transport you to your own vacation getaway. The fifteenth anniversary addition will also include never heard before work from Talib Kweli, Makeba Mooncycle, Doseone, Rubix, Wordsworth, and so forth.

Chymera, born Brendan Gregoriy, is preparing the electrical-ambient cycle APEX available June 10 from A Strangely Isolated Place, created under the alias of Merrin Karras. Not unlike fellow synth-master John Carpenter whose Lost Themes II sees release today from Sacred Bones; the world of Merrin Karras is one that provides what sounds like stockpiled soundtracks for yet-to-be-realized and conceived cinematic masterpieces as heard on the incredible adventures in audio that await on cuts like “Void”.

NYC by Berlin’s Sebastian Kreis & Ahmad Larnes are Schwarz Dont Crack who shared the great escape running video for Getaway” that makes a tragic run to the woods. Like a Kafka tale of current day tensions between cultures, peoples, heritages, races, classes, etc; SDC entertains all of our own escapist urges through heated electro-pop tinged rhythm & blues with an underlying message of humanist unity.

Party-up pilgrims, because you know it’s a good time every time we have a new BRONCHO jam, and their new single “Señora Borealis” steals all the attention with very austere and focused rhythm riffs that ride the frets, replete with a dirty-dive-reverb bathed deliver. The band brings you something of a dream that happens when gazing a little too long at the northern lights that ignite the sky with the beam shine of one thousand lighthouse beacon-bulbs.

Watch the Adam Christopher Seward video for Programm’s synth swirling & towering single “Jukai” off the upcoming debut album A Torrid Marriage of Logic and Emotion available April 22 from The Hand Recordings. Working with Alexandre Bonenfant (the producer/engineer whose credits include Crystal Castles, Metz, etc), clusters of synths swarm and surround the listener as the senses are treated to the lyrical and visual battles between reasons and clustered feelings in a very emotional, and personal order and arrangement of sensational sounds.

For those looking for some big but restrained gate smashing sounds, then listen for the big battle cry from LA’s VARA with “Break Down the Walls”. Listen and imagine the rise and fall of kingdoms & legends past, present, & future.

From Krano’s Maple Death Records album Requiescat In Plavem, feast your senses on the film short directed by Samuele Gottardello for the LP opener, “Mi E Ti”.The next following seven minutes take you deep into the brush and thick of the Piave forest, where Krano himself is placed in the middle of World War I as a wandering soldier who strikes up a close bond with an acoustic guitar that is discovered in the water. From scenic cinematography to vintage period appearances, the video for “Mi e Ti” is not to be missed.

Hear Niv Ast’s synth-swaying essences that rise up like ghost-tinted vapors on the ephemeral, “It Won’t Leave Me” taken off the Tel Aviv artist’s forthcoming Fearless Love Stories EP. Through the medium of keys and confessional lyrics the hurt and pain is channeled in the delivery as the notes and solemn scaling progression seek a certain sort of solace.

Stella Diana issued the new gnostic-cosmic single “Dedu’n”, taking the title from the African deity Dedun (or Dedwen, dating back to 2200 B.C.E.), featured on the upcoming Nitrocris album available April 29 from Vipchoyo Sound Factory. Summoning the god of incense, “Dedu’n” works in ways where vocals, bass lines, and chord progressions are exhibited like vapors and smoke that speak of ancient deities and archaic writings.

Observe the lesser seen aerial footage of Kremenets, Ukraine captured by Alexander Kretov & Anatoly Lukaschuk aligned with the awe-striking notes heard on Ummagma’s “Galacticon”, found off of Frequency. Sounds with instruments & minds pointed skyward are treated to the floating perspectives of witnessing both the rural and municipal worlds caught in the clutches of winter. Snow slowly flutters down from the celestial unknown, as the resonating ambience of Ummagma can be heard virtually ricocheting from the hills, valleys, streets, & buildings from Kremenets.

LA’s Traps PS are Miles Wintner, Andrew Jeffords, & Daniel Miller who forge together a smart brand of infectious & electric economic punk dynamics that take on a pointed, utilitarian approach. This can be heard from the opening thrill ride of “Hiss Involvement”, the addictive “New City”, the post-apocalyptic “Neat Humor”, dystopian algorithms on “Absolute”, that roll all the way to the big two minute firework-finale “Horses”. Stay tuned for more great things on the way from Traps PS & members.

Bask in the pure bliss of “Pleasure and Pain” courtesy of Denmark’s Lightwave Empire available via Copenhagen Records. Out of life’s balancing acts & scales that hover between agony & ecstasy, Lightwave Empire makes some of the brightest lit rays of audio light to emphasize more of the pleasure-not so much the pain portion.

Twin Wave is fronted by Billboard Magazine editor Nick Williams who recently dropped the new single “Matador” that features production from Tommy Eichmann. Featured off the forthcoming five song EP Pour Out The Dark, catch Twin Wave casting gemini tidals tonight, April 15 at Baby’s All Right, and listen to the the following sincere slice of pop made for dancing and tangoing with the most wild of creatures.

Angel Du$t’s Week in Pop

Angel Du$t gathering together; photographed by Kali Kahn.
Angel Du$t gathering together; photographed by Kali Kahn.

Angel Du$t (the combined powers of members from Turnstile & Trapped Under Ice) follow up their 2014 debut A.D. with their forthcoming new album Rock The F**k On Forever available soon from Pop Wig Records, & we now give you their own exclusive Week in Pop guest selections:

Some shit rocked a long time ago, and some shit just started rocking. This is my “Week in Pop Wig” list of shit to Rock The Fuck On Forever to.

Tony Molina

Angel Du$t; photographed by Shaun Regan.

Big Bite

photographed by Shaun Regan.


photographed by Shaun Regan.


photographed by Shaun Regan.


Angel Du$t live; photographed by Shaun Regan.


The Screamers

Angel Du$t; photographed by Shaun Regan.

Iggy Pop

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