Jump starting your Memorial Day weekend off right, Impose’s Week in Pop provides you with a one of a kind soundtrack for your holiday weekend. In the week’s big headlines, we saw Killer Mike discuss hip-hop history with Bill Maher; Green Day returned to 924 Gilman; Ghostface Killah addressed the stark similarity between his delivery and Action Bronson’s; Twin Peaks reboot is apparently still happening; Björk surprise DJ’d Tri Angle Records fifth anniversary party; everything is now cool between Marina Abramović Institute y and Jay Z; Daft Punk’s limited edition skateboards; Public Image Ltd. announced the new album, What the World Needs Now… available September 4; Win Butler and Diplo’s b-ball sesh; Jamie xx versus the Persuasions; 35 years on from Ian Curtis’s abrupt passing, his Macclesfield home has been purchased for £190,000, and will be turned into a museum; David Letterman signed off from his duties at “The Late Show”; and we mourn the loss of Coke Boys Chinx Drugz, and Tranquility Bass, aka Michael Kandel.
Looking ahead, we proudly present the following exclusives and interviews with Br’er, Kinski, Qual, Swiftumz, Wing Dam, Dream Cult, Estates, Karen Meat & the Players, Kevin Krauter, Mune, Nerve Leak, Ancient Sky, Blue Smiley, Carlos Forster, Elecampane, Howth, Oracle Room, Novalima, featuring guest selections by Ava Luna, and more — in no particular order.
Introducing Baltimore’s Wing Dam, the trio of Austin Tally, Sara Autrey, and Abe Sanders who give us the world premiere listen to their forthcoming 7″ single, “House Boat”, that sails the waves and tides on a floating abode. Available May 26 on Slow Knife (the first band on the imprint not from Chicago), the group’s Bandcamp, and through Dischord, as well; Wing Dam straps on a life vest, and drifts out with the ebbing retraction of the sea’s might to keep a home on the high seas afloat.
“House Boat” moves like a barge that leaves the comforts of being docked at the bay for self-actualization and solace that extends far beyond the land locked grids, populated places, and complicated people. Wing Dam sings in the spirit of untethered existence, where relationship stress tests are asked in the invitation for a life spent sailing at sea in a home perched atop the water’s ever expansive span of wavy surfaces. The trio harmonized out as far as the horizon can hear, or see as the feeling of being removed from the time clock punching world finds hands being untied to take on easy riding riffs that make the move for the greatest distances, in a ship that offers all the accoutrements and amenities of track home comforts. Wing Dam has made the anthem for your next cruise liner adventure, sailboat soundtrack, or the perfect single to share with that one quirky frend who actually lives in a bonafide house boat. Right after the following debut of the single, read our interview with Wing Dam’s Abe, Austin, and Sara.
How did the three of you find each other, and what initiated the world of Wing Dam?
Abe: I moved in with Austin as we had a mutual friend in the living across the hospital up north in Bmore. We bonded quickly over music, herb, doing dishes and frying eggs. Started jamming on riffs and spliffs. Appropriated some old Wing Dam with drums/made an LP with Which Magic. Sara eventually came in on the bass/keys/ bass. Sara was side swiped by a vehicle breaking her arm forcing her to play keys for a bit.
Sara: Austin and Abe lived in a house I had just moved out of, and Austin and I were chillin’ on the regula’. They started jamming and since I was around being awesome and looking good they asked me to jump in and do some shit instead of sit around looking amazing. I already played guitar (see: Which Magic, Bitch Cave) so learning bass was mad easy. Then, yeah, some buttmunch swiped me off my bike, and I broke my arm so I played bass-y keys for a little bit in the beginning. We all vibed pretty dopely.
Austin: I’d gotten tired of playing as a solo musician, looping tons of stuff live – I missed the rock bands I used to be in back in school. The energy of playing together, that loudness you can only get from cymbals. Going deaf together. And I’ve always thought that, like De La Soul says, three is the magic number. Three-piece bands have all they need. Nothing unnecessary. Sara and Abe and I all worked together so well from the start; it just made sense. Everyone brought something to the table.
What does the name come from?
Sara: Ask Austin.
Austin: A wing dam is a type of dam on a river. I grew up near the Delaware River, in New Hope Pennsylvania, and the wing dam there was the place everyone went to hang out with beers or weed and get chased by the cops or just vibe on nature. When the level of the river rose it just barely covered the dam, and you could walk halfway across the river on the water. (I’ve attached a picture of the particular wing dam in question)
Give us the story on recording “House Boat”, and “All For”, and what inspired these righteous assemblies of striking riffs?
Abe: I was presented with some riffs and we all worked to create the full songs.
Sara: “All For” is about our awesome month-long nationwide tourcation that Wing Dam did last summer. Dude I swear a tour can make or break a band, and we got so close and tight…(insert joke)….we really got to know each other a million times deeper because we were basically in a three way 24/7 relationship for five weeks straight. Anyways the song’s about losing boundaries and making it through some fun shit and some tough shit. “House Boat” is about this one time I got really excited about getting a houseboat (never did, never will) and Austin wrote a song about it…I think…Austin? Am I right?
Austin: Yeah, we were getting bummed on the rent and looking around for new living situations but not seeing anything. I mentioned that I’d always had a dream of living on a boat at one point in my life, and so Sara and I started looking at how much houseboats cost (not that much) and how much they cost to maintain (a crazy amount). The idea is there though. Feels like it’d be further from the grid to be living “off the land.” Who knows — one day I may end up on one, skin like leather, and all full of daiquiris, and Jimmy Buffet lyrics.
As for the recording process, we are all real psyched on how well Chester Gwazda wizarded these two songs into creation. We tracked instruments (although we usually record live), because it’s just his way of doing things. So we put everything in his hands and just threw down the parts. The chemistry of the three-piece band was still there, but now he had more control of the mix. And then he just slayed it.
Thoughts on the Baltimore scenes, and how perhaps the recent upheaval of events have affected the various communities, and how the aftermath has been treating everyone?
Abe: Scenes are beautiful. Wish I carried a camera around and was willing to shoot what I saw without the lazy eye syndrome. My community is enraged, confused, and starved of understanding. Many efforts went into the days after schools were closed to provide kids with a place to go for the day and learn as if it were a regular school day. They weren’t regular school days. Military state isn’t always so in your face.
Sara: Baltimore’s amazing. Everyone’s got each others backs all the time no matter the band no matter the scene no matter the whatever. The upheavals and uprisings and unrests have made everyone more aware and empathic I think. On top of that tons of people have pulled together to have benefits, and cleanups, and talks, and marches, and everything ever that makes a difference. We got this. I think we’re setting an example in tons of arenas right now.
Austin: I hope the city will become an example of change in the future — especially in terms of the relationship between the police and the public. We have the whole country looking at us now. Baltimore is a beautiful place full of strong people, and there has been a lot of effort to band together in the face of everything that has happened. We played a benefit show on Wednesday where all proceeds went to a fund set up by the Baltimore Community Foundation, to come to the aid of small business owners whose shops were destroyed in the looting, and more. Recently our homies Future Islands just auctioned off some neat stuff to benefit the same fund.
Meditations and posi-thoughts, hopes for brighter futures?
Abe: Haven’t popped a bike tire in three days (very big deal). Haven’t smoked a cigarette in a week and a half (very big deal). Been eating salads. Pushing on up. Planking in out. Work needs to pick up, and everything is gravy.
Sara: I don’t have the attention span for meditations but I just pulled my amp up to my sparkling princess palace, so I’ll play more guitar and write some new really realness. That’s as close to meditation as I’ll ever get besides fantasizing about sex in hot yoga. I also quit smoking! Haven’t had a drinky drink in 15 days (not for long though mwahahaha). I’m getting a puppy soon, and I hope that my puppy and I brighten the futures of many!
Austin: There’s always hope for a bright future. Shades on. SPF Infinity.
Further insights into the ethos and mantras of Wing Dam?
Abe: What’s a Wing Dam mantra? Shit, what the fuck is an etho?
Sara: Dinnnnggggg, waaaaammmmms, wiiiiiiinnnnng, dinnnnnnngssss, wiiiiinnnnnggggg, niiiiiiiiiggggght!
Austin: As I lay me down to shred
I pray for strength to bang my head
and then to dive from off the stage
I pray to never act my age
What to expect next from Wing Dam?
Sara: More T&A, twerking, touring, glitter guns, SICK fucking jams to be recorded, and DEFINITELY a new music video featuring yours truly setting things on fire hopefully.
Austin: Yeah! Summer tour in July, national tour in the early fall, new songs. We’re getting pretty close to having another album’s worth of new material, so look out. Things are getting heavy. Hopefully Abe will get a headset mic for all the banter he’s been cooking up.
Catch Wing Dam playing the following dates:
22 College Park, MD @ The Mad Ox
28 Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
30 – Baltimore, MD @ Ladyfest
12 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
11–19 Summer Tour (Dates TBA Soon)
Bay Area local idol Swiftumz, aka Chris McVicker has been known to play with many of the local musician luminaries (too many to name drop), who released his new album this week, Everybody Loves Chris, from Melters. Premiering the Vincent Martini directed and Taylor Landesman edited video for “Taste The Gray”; get ready to enjoy a wild time rambling about the casinos, bars, and schmaltzy hotels of Reno with one of indie pop’s finest heroes. Swiftumz brings his own meek vocal delivery, heaps of fuzz guitar from the Bay Area shores to the bright lights, gaudy carpet designs, and neon allure of Reno’s illustrious array of tourist traps aplenty. And as “Taste the Gray” brings a scuzzy humbled touch of gentle human reflections to the wild, zoo world of drunken out-of-towners, games of chance, and bar room breathalyzer machines.
Start the adventure with Swiftumz on “Taste the Gray” that provides the guideline for feeling alright all the time. Vincent Martini uses the wide angle lens on his camera to captured all the excitement of Chris enjoying NCAA tourneys, hotel room hangouts, back steps sneak-a-tokes, epic beer pong matches, all the liquid consumption, and plenty of oddball, intoxicated tourists. The Swiftumz song brings slices of genuine feelings, and observation about life placed in the strange settings of capitalist depravity, and barflies, that exist in a world of lights, and rigged skill games where the house always wins. The savage heart to the American dollar sign dream finds Swiftumz in chill, ecstatic modes that are edited with the odd lighting arrangements, displays, curious couples, and trashed gambling denizens strutting their stiff necked stuff on the dance floor. Amid the chaos of all the surroundings, Swiftumz provides a kind of anchored reality of familiarity, that faces the strangeness, and pseudo-surreal with a smile, and an electric, echo-laden rock ballad to go with. Chris was cool enough to catch up with us to talk about the new album, and more, following the video debut of “Taste the Gray”.
What did you learn about yourself, and what kind of life discoveries were made during the making of Everybody Loves Chris?
I felt more urgency to get this record out for some reason, I learned a lot about communicating ideas with different people. Some people it’s like you are reading each others mind, other people you really need to explain, and show them what you want. Some or parts of these songs were conceived years ago so different songs point to different micro periods of my life.
Tell us the unseen and until stories of making the video, “Taste the Gray”.
Vinnie Martini directed the video, Taylor edited the video back in NYC. Ha ha ha, my friend Vinnie was visiting from New York so we had an idea to take a weekend trip, and make a video. We were originally going to go to LA, but Reno sounded easier.
In addition to the fact that regardless of where we went I was gonna want to watch the NCAA tournament the whole weekend anyway. Honestly there was not too much debauchery we were stoned the whole time the packs of goateed males were freaking us out. We got called morons, which was awesome. An underused word. We ended up watching hoops in the hotel suite until nighttime, cracking jokes, telling stories, and ordering lots of room service.
What is the attraction for artists, and non-artists and the allure of gambling town Americana a la the Reno and Vegas obsessions, and indulgence of ultra-American hedonism and financial abandon?
Well there’s a couple things that are legal there that aren’t here , but I don’t really wanna fuck a prostitute…I probably can’t afford it anyway. Gambling is cool I kinda understand it, and can play black jack alright, but I don’t really find Reno/Vegas that relaxing or interesting. You’re being watched everywhere even more than you are here, and there are roving packs of lunatic drunk tourists that I’m trying not to make eye contact with, or interact with in anyway. At least I know how to treat service people well, and tip correctly so the bartenders and staff always love me. I think SF or any big city has more opportunities for genuine hedonism than a place like Vegas or Reno. Don’t get me wrong though, I can have a good time anywhere, and have always managed to in Nevada.
What have you found inspires your own kind of stream of observation thought lyrics, and ever evolving sounds?
I like to keep things simple, maybe build on classic lyric cliches that have always worked. I like to make things even timed and rhyme. Poetry for dummies. Sometimes I’ll have one good line and the rest will write itself. And most important is the hook! Everything else is just filler. Trying to get into more storytelling type stuff but that more like actually “writing” so I’m taking my time to get it right.
Apart from the Warriors making the Western Conference Finals, what else, and who continues to keep you believing in the Bay?
I love the Bay’s area (there’s actually seven bays). Growing up in the west delta, Sometimes I feel more comfortable in Vallejo or Fairfield than I am in a hip or elite part of SF or Oakland. I like knowing my way around this whole area from Sacramento to San Jose and knowing cool stuff to do in most outposts of the bay I’m kinda treading water in SF cuz ifmy rent control ever runs out I’m not gonna get to live here anymore…but as for now this city still rules, I know my spots and I have an amazing group of close friends here that are family to me.
Top five favorite Bay Area artists right now?
Janelle Hessig, Brian Walters, Mel Buford, Liz Thayer, Jess Scott
Top five favorite artists not from the Bay?
Michael Coomers, Dawn Frasch, Jesus and Mary Chain, Teenage Fanclub, Bob Dylan.
I have always found their to be an interesting intersection of personal intimacy and humor in your music, and wondered how you are able to tap into your inner tunesmith?
I used to write a lot of funny songs and one day something clicked and it felt good to express emotions in songs about having my heart broken or feeling hopeless and lonely. I mean The main thing daily is you gotta keep laughing and not think about shit too much. I can be really funny but I’m pretty sure I used to be a lot funnier maybe ten years ago. As you get older all your humor starts to turn into a jaded rant. I’m thankful to have a few hilarious friends that get my fucked up sense of humor.
As someone who has collaborated with so many artists…who do you think you’ll collaborate with next?
Anyone with mutual interest and time!
Preview of Swiftumz best summer ever?
Fly to NYC to see the entourage movie opening day with Vinnie, then fly back to LA the same day to see it with all my girlfriends who moved down there. Then I would give my mom a million dollars, and rent Disneyland for the weekend for my nephews and nieces. The rest of the summer maybe just chill and listen to tunes watch dumb movies and laugh a lot. I’d trade it all though if Tony Molina would text me back once in a while.
The new Swiftumz album, Everybody Loves Chris is available now from Melters.
Catch Swiftumz playing SF’s The Knockout for the release party of Everybody Loves Chris with Dirty Ghosts, Flesh World, Kiss Cam, and DJ Gourmet on May 28.
Seattle’s prolific audio voyagers Kinski release their forthcoming album, 7 (or 8) (a play on their extensive catalog of releases) on June 2 via Kill Rock Stars, and we are thrilled to premiere the masterful twelve minute epic, “Bulletin Of The International String Figure Association”. Also kind enough to join us for a roundtable interview session after the debut, Chris Martin, Lucy Atkinson, Matthew Reid-Schwartz, and Barrett Wilke describe the latest dynamics on their new album and the various components that comprise their sounds that have graced the world for over a decade and a half. “Bulletin” provides that fusion memo where the group combines visions, and parts that begin as sparse, and disparate entities that converge over the course of audio epics that build in spaces that break the ten minute barrier markers.
On the debut of “Bulletin Of The International String Figure Association”, the elements slowly gather into place to create what sounds like the northwest winds playing about the chimes, and reeds that over look the Pacific waters. The guitar chords enter the frame, to create a further musical dialogue amongst chords, and the sparse Fender Rhodes keys. And after seven and half a minutes in of instrumental dialogues; that is when Kinski moves into their classic, heavy mode, but not after making sure all the right ingredients are etched firmly in their proper place. The final four minutes combines the thunder of percussion, the roar of guitars, and the swirl of keys into a whirlpool of wonder where the dirge of notes progressively become louder, and larger than the conventional containment of audio alone. “Bulletin” sends out a memorandum for everyone around the world to attend a meeting of mythological proportions according to the band’s own made up, “International String Figure Association”. Immediately after the following debut listen, read our entertaining interview with Chris, and Lucy to get an unique view into the group’s latest developments.
How did you all go about staging, writing, arranging, and then executing the slow building/burning, “Bulletin Of The International String Figure Association”?
Chris: We needed another song for a split we were doing with the band Sandrider. I had the basic riffs and pieces to “Bulletin” but they didn’t really flow. The space we rehearse in had just gotten a Fender Rhodes so Matthew started playing that and the song started to fall into place. We spent some time on the arrangement but it was still pretty loose when we went to San Francisco to record. So it still had that raw, nervous energy! And we liked it so much we decided to keep it for our full length record. (Though we like the songs on the Sandrider split as well!)
Lucy: After a few run-throughs of the riffs Chris brought in we didn’t think it was coming together at all. The parts didn’t flow. When we dusted off the Fender Rhodes, Matthew’s lines seemed to magically make it all make sense to me. The essence was there when we went to record. At the studio I think we saved half a day for that song alone.
With such an expansive (and confusing to keep track of) output, tell us more about the joke behind the name of your new Kill Rock Stars album, 7 (or 8).
Chris: The photo on the cover of the new record is so strong, any title we used seemed to comment on the photo in a way that we didn’t like. We thought we’d just call it Kinski, but that seemed like a bit of a cop out. Then we thought we’d go the Zeppelin route but we couldn’t agree whether it was our seventh or eighth record, hence the title. We’ve put out some improv records, split EPs, etc. so, like any band who’s been around a while, our discography can be a little confusing.
Lucy: Someone in the band thinks we’ve done seven full-length releases, I think eight…
Having recording some seven, eight, or nine albums together as Kinski; how have you all observed the evolution of your sound, and how do you feel the band has grown?
Chris: I think we’ve come full circle more than anything. We’ve always had a kind of ‘song-ish’ sense to our music. Early on we were interested in combining hooks with drone and noise. After we lost our first drummer we played a bunch of shows under the name Herzog and were doing improv which was really fun and we learned a lot from. Alpine Static had a lot of riffs and was different than what we had done previously. Now I think we pull from everything we’ve done in the past and just try to write good songs.
Lucy: As long as we rock, I’m happy.
What has changed about how you all make, arrange, and draft out your music?
Chris: Not a lot has changed on how we go about it. Things come together a lot quicker though. There’s a shorthand that we all have with each other now that we didn’t have before.
Lucy: Chris usually brings in riffs, and often a basic structure to a song. As a band we fill it out from there. That, pretty much, has been the way its been all along.
What else are you all listening to these days that is causing all kinds of excitement from within the Kinski camp?
Chris: We all listen to pretty different stuff. I’ve been on the African reissue kick, as well as music from the Middle East from the 20s to the 70s. I’m kind of bored with where rock is right now but there is so much music being reissued from around the world now that I don’t care!
Lucy: Jazz. Old and older.
The Kinski philosophy, at this juncture in time?
Chris: Stop worrying so much, and take precautions to avoid nasty hangovers.
Kinski’s new album album, 7 (or 8) will be available June 2 via Kill Rock Stars.
Catch Kinski on tour via the following dates:
24 George, WA @ Sasquatch
04 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
05 Portland, OR @ The Know
06 San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
24-26 Seattle, WA @ Capitol Hill Block Party
The forward thinking nu-industrial minds at Avant! Records have given us Hot Guts, the dark cloaked EBM of Phase Fatale, Dream Affair, Scorpion Volente, and more; we are pleased to bring you the premiere of “Desolate Discotheque” from Qual. Taken off the off the upcoming Avant! album, Sable, available May 28; Qual’s William Maybelline trades in his vocal work from Lebanon Hanover for a dour, delve into the deep internal citadels of despair, and dark towers that provide different levels and tiers of electro decayed dance floors. William takes his musical perspectives down to the bottomless caverns of multi-floored basements without end, and damned ziggurats that rise up with an infinity reach toward an empty heaven.
Vitriol and chaos conquers all in William Maybelline’s world of Qual, where the “Desolate Discotheque” feels likes a haunted house dark right through an enchanted mansion of many ballrooms. Drawing upon grimy times experience by his Northeast UK upbringing, Qual exchanges guitars for synths, and unforgiving drum machines that hurdle you through what feels like an urban exploration mission through one abandoned night club quarters, and into the next. Every striking notes reverberates the feeling of abandonment that matches Maybelline’s brooding vocal presence that relays an isolation found throughout the ages, prior to the host of conceptual ‘dark wave’ micro-genres. The rendering of destitution, and ominous key arrangements provides the perfect framing for Qual’s Mephistophelean demeanor, that begs for an over the top visualized counter part. Following the debut of “Desolate Discotheque”, check out our chat with William Maybelline.
From Lebanon Hanover to Qual: tell us about the catharsis you have found with this solo project.
Lebanon Hanover is a lot more delicate roughly speaking based on sensuality, sensitivity and sensibility, a lot of S’s there. Our manner of music we treat with elegance. Using a variety of instruments.
On my side I have a burning desire to always be overly somber, if you have heard Lebanon Hanover it is not just what we are about, the band is broader than just being dark. Having said that I also consider Larissa to be enchantingly nebulous. But what I mostly wanted to channel was ultimate darkness, and so I had the plan to make a dark solo album. I also specifically did not want guitar in the mix. Lyrically I also differ from Lebanon Hanover as I tend to be more vitriol and chaotic.
It is important to not connect the two, as what I am doing is something else. Along with a different mind frame and ideas. I consider Lebanon Hanover and Qual separate entities, and I shall keep it this way.
What sorts of destitution and desolation informed the heavy electro environs of “Desolate Discotheque”?
I have a friend in Athens with a disco for a living room, mixing facts with exaggeration I started to fantasize.
How do you go about channeling sorrow, and cry for help arts into real, tangible audio?
I’ve lived through a lot of grim times growing up in the north east of UK, I mostly just be myself, tell it like it is and connect with the chords that speak like they’re suffering. Until their screams become twined with mine.
Qual’s upcoming album Sable will be available May 28 from Avant! Records.
Washington DC’s Br’er debut the hazy and heavy, “Chanel Divinity”, featured on their upcoming album, Masking, available September 1 from Blight Records, the imprint founded by the band’s own Benjamin Schurr, and the venerable Gabby Smith (Eskimeaux, Frankie Cosmos, member of The Epoch). A group known for their manipulation of unconventional objects of instrumentation (vibrators on metallic surfaces, firecrackers, crossed with heavy synths, something, anything, whatever is around), create transcendental ode to combat the agents of intolerance through a heroic ballad.
The indulgent organ sustains, cool and cold keys, and emotive punched delivery on “Chanel Divinity” pushes toward a celestial nirvana, inspired by intense real life events and incidents. In our following featured conversation with Benjamin Schurr, he described the song’s inspiration based upon a news story that ran about a transwoman’s vicious murder as a way to provide an edifying, and uplifting epitaph that soars above the shear brutality, and callous nature of the crime. Through a hymn like gesture that points toward a new dimension; “Chanel Divinity” plays out like an out of body experience that moves from tragedy, and toward a place that rises above violence, rise above discrimination, rises above the constructs of gender, and above all ascends the conventions of mortality’s temporary shell. Read the full interview, right after the following premiere of, “Chanel Divinity”.
Describe for us your unique approaches to fusing conventional and unconventional instruments, and non instruments together in your sound.
It’s always been the mission in Br’er to create something new, seeking out the tension that occurs when creating new combinations of sounds that wouldn’t normally be found together. Br’er started in the Philly noise world, morphed into chamber pop, and now has slithered onto the rocks of a more groove-oriented, electronic realm, so its checkered past often rears its head in unexpected places in our current lineup. But each incarnation has always stemmed from an obsessive love of sound and wanting to push the limits of musical decency.
“Chanel Divinity” itself is a very idiosyncratically arranged number…how were you all able to channel this kind of enlightenment?
Chanel Divinity was written after reading a story about a young transwoman who was brutally murdered by a gang of young men simply for existing. The story really upset me, and I went up to my room and wrote Chanel Divinity in about an hour. I really wanted it sonically to have a dreamlike, nostalgic haze, and there’s a lot of nauseating, fuzzy vibrato effects on everything to varying degrees. The goal was to show a sense of heavenly relief musically as a bed for the lyrics so the protagonist has a sense of peace considering the lyrical subject matter.
Take us through the making of Masking, and what sorts of unmasking were at work here?
The title Masking came from a friend of mine in Asheville who was experiencing a manic episode but refused to be medicated. When I asked him how no one noticed that he was going through an episode, his response was “I’m really good at masking.” That really stuck with me, and I knew Masking was going to be our next record, although we had no songs yet. Gradually, songs starting coming to me about the different ways that people hide inside various lies, delusions and facades just to maintain some sort of social order. Most of the lyrics were written while doing moving work, walking through some luxury condo, lifting boxes and singing the mantra “Hate Finds a Way”
Thoughts on the ever fascinating state of the DC scenes?
I ended up in DC a very bizarre way. I was playing in another band called Eskimeaux when we hit a deer on our way to DC. While waiting for our van to get fixed, I was offered both a job and a place to stay at an amazing house space called the Paperhaus, so I just went for it. It was the best impulsive decision I’ve ever made. There is an incredible, young DIY scene here that, true to DC, is incredibly organized and dynamic. I’ve had the good fortune to work with some of the best, most shit-together bad ass musicians over the two years I’ve lived here, and it has pushed me to evolve and grow in ways I never expected.
Summer plans for Br’er?
We’re going to be touring in August and September for Masking, releasing new videos, and working on a new single/EP (depending on…well, life!).
Br’er’s upcoming album Masking will be available September 1 from Blight Records.
Watch the lyrical video here for “Chanel Divinity”:
Cleveland by Medina, Ohio’s Chomp is made up from former Cloud Nothings member, Joe Boyer, with Jeff Latimer, and Scott Reid, who premiere the wild, weird, and erratic Ken Wendt video for “Epidural”. Found off their upcoming 7″ single available June 9; Chomp takes a big bite of gritty garage antics with plenty of attitude, and aggression to boot. Boyer’s exit from the Nothings after getting caught up in some legal fracas have given the artist a freedom to make the kind of cathartic, bone crunching sound that dives, and DIY venues the world over were placed here on this planet for the aformentioned liberating reasons, and more.
And like a shot to the back to alleviate the aches and pains of strenuous labor; Chomp’s “Epidural” video pairs the day-today chores with television zone-out sessions, followed by all kinds of masked destruction. From being fixated by the television static; Joe, Jeff, and Scott, get proactive by doing the dishes, shaving, doing the laundry, cleaning the floors, brushing their teeth, male grooming, engaging in band practice, recording, and performance sections, and more. In between figuring out how to make home-heated crispy crust pizza, the scary masks come on, as the Chomp trio takes sledge hammers and more implements of destruction to demolish an old organ in their garage practice space. Chomp conquers the pain, and fear through an “Epidural” procedure of sound that asks for wisdom in their spines while going HAM at home on a classic organ. From the ordinary monotony of the day, and visual ‘to-do’ list routines; Chomp breaks the monotony literally and figuratively in the following video from Ken Wendt, followed by Joe describing post-Cloud Nothings life, and more in our interview session.
From post-Cloud Nothings to Chomp; how did this trio come about?
After my jail time, Scott started coming around my place in Medina more often when he heard about my accident and legal troubles. He and I had been out of touch for awhile and since neither of us really had any friends left that we hadn’t alienated, we decided to start playing music together again for the first time in about seven years. From there we reached back out to Jeff, who I had started my first band with back in middle school. It was a breath of fresh air, everything felt right playing with these two guys again. I felt so stifled and out of place in Cloud Nothings, and with Jeff and Scott we’re all on the same page; there is absolutely no bullshit involved. I can’t say enough about those two.
Story behind the onomatopoeic name, Chomp?
I really like the bluntness. Its just got really good imagery and aesthetics tied in with it. I’ve always liked singular and simple band names, ones that will allow freedom to evolve musically while also maintaining a certain feeling.
Give us some insights on the making of the wild, organ destroying, scary mask antics, and couch chilling video for “Epidural” from Ken Wendt.
There’s the everyday monotonous routines we all have to go through, the stuff that makes you feel like you’re in some slow motion fog, the type of things that can lead you to such desperate outburst where you can turn into someone else and wind up destroying the thing you love. In between these two extremes are the moments where we feel the most normal and content, and that is playing and working on music. Ken Wendt did a fantastic job shooting, editing, and putting up with our shit throughout the process. His website is www.filmmyart.com.
What is the story behind the song, “Epidural”, was it inspired by any real life epidurals?
We had written the music and realized the songs vicious nature but didn’t know where to go lyrically. Jeff had just gone through an epidural for his back and suggested that as a title and it just started rolling from there. Basically it’s just a song about being frustrated with where you are in the world and looking for a release. “When will i feel alright?”
What can you tell us about regarding any upcoming Chomp releases for Future Boy Records?
No one knows. Future Boy is a very….nebulous entity, to put it mildly. I can say that it has put out the most influential music of my life, hands down. Bands like The Hitchcocks and The Freakin’ Conniptions made me feel like I could actually be in a band.
The latest from the Cleveland scene reports?
Couldn’t say. I live in the suburbs and haven’t had a license in over two years. I don’t really get out much unless we’re playing a show.
Other artists you want to give a shout out to?
Nervosas from Columbus are kicking so much ass right now. Also, Big Ups are really onto something special, and all the guys in METZ are great and absolutely formidable live.
Top 5 best things you have heard or seen lately?
1. “You’re done in a few weeks” – my probation Officer
2. “Tastes iron-y” – Jeff after eating an ant
3. “You’re getting all rah-dee-dah” – my boss at work
4. “You sound like Together Pangea fronted by Billie Joe Armstrong” – fan at our show last month
5. The mounting consciousness of Americans as a whole
Chomp summer plans, 2015?
Playing as many out of town shows as we can, writing more songs, and as always, continue work on becoming the best band in the world.
Chomp’s 7″ will be available June 9, with a release show June 10 at Brooklyn’s Palisades.
Jackson, MS band Dream Cult are playing Pianos in NYC tomorrow, May 23 and we have the debut of their single “Breathe”, that exhales some shiny pop tones from their upcoming album. Formerly known as The Weekend Kids, the freshly christened Dream Cult follows up their Fat Cat single with something to either catch or lose your breath to.
“Breathe” spares some air, and seeks some of that oxygen that inspirations are made of. The excitement of evenings that continue for what feels like eternity, and those moments that you never want to end are propelled to the high headed stratospheres of crisp guitar tones, and studio studded magic. The exercises of inhaling and exhaling are put to the pop practice of transforming involuntary natural functions to the larger than life radio ready platforms that makes the act of breathing sound like a dreamy ditty found on the FM dial.
Dream Cult’s Justin Moreira wrote us the following about the evolution from The Weekend Kids to Dream Cult, the making of their upcoming LP, with a few thoughts on their upcoming string of tour dates:
Hayden started writing some songs in the summer of 2012 and called Travis and Cody to see if they’d be interested in playing some Beach Boys inspired tunes with a modern spin on it. Although they were unsure of the idea at first, the songs won them over instantly. After about a year of playing local shows and two releases under our belt, Hayden’s brother Micah, our third guitar player, left the band to move to Orlando. After writing some new material and getting Justin to pick up where Micah left off on guitar and keys, we noticed that the songs weren’t sounding like the happy-go-lucky songs that The Weekend Kids were known for. We decided it was time for a change and Dream Cult is what came of it.
Our new full length is our first official release as Dream Cult and we think it fully encompasses the new sound that we were going for. We’re really excited for everyone to hear some songs off of it Saturday night at Pianos! Hell, we’re excited to be in New York City at all and are super grateful for the opportunity to play. I think we’re most excited to meet some new people and share the stage with some incredible New York locals.
Catch Dream Cult playing the following dates:
22 Greenville, NC @ Limelight Greenville
23 New York, NY @ PIANOS
24 Nyack, NY @ Olive’s
25 Hamden, CT @ The Space
26 Philadelphia, PA @ Connie’s Ric Rac
27 Montclair, NJ @ The Meatlocker
28 New Albany, IN @ New Albany Production House
29 Nashville, TN @ The End
30 Atlanta, GA @ Swayze’s Venue
You may already be familiar with Richmond, VA by Brooklyn musician Nerve Leak, aka Sam Friedman’s music released via Bad Panda Records and Warminal Records; and today we bring you the premeire of the title track, “Disconnected”, from his June 23 slated EP. Through a calculated transference of restrained electronic pop production, Friedman portrays the states of disconnection from up close and personal perspectives, where heart, soul, and emotions are laid out on the line. The accumulated feelings that hold tight to understanding the self, amid the motions, and turns of cogs in the machine are moved from the workweek grind to the bedroom sketched songs of desiring to feel something more; something real; something you can feel; something connected. Sam is also curating a community writing project that responds to the EP track, “Snow / Sun”, titled Snow / Sun / Words that deepens the connective engagement geared toward an international community of writers, and music appreciators to provide their own interpretations of the Nerve Leak song.
The debut of “Disconnected” takes us to the point of the closest sensations where substantive feeling and meaning is often found. The intimacy is scene through chorus pleas of “baby please, stay with me,” where attempts to break down the walls of miscommunication, and crossed wires provide obfuscated hindrances of open dialogues, and reception tuning that informs the responses of the senses. Sam’s raw, untouched vocals exist in a production of sparse acoustic chords, and an ambient, all-encompassing cloud of sustaining keys, and background hums that provide a backdrop/background for the waving notes to wade in like turtle doves reconnecting in a bird bath. Nerve Leak emits raw, honest expressions that forever seeks the kind of two way street of connected communication between all respective parties; a conundrum of contemporaneous affliction where individuals minds are tuned into technological platforms, as opposed to one another. We were able to have a conversation with Sam Friedman, featured after the following listen to, “Disconnected”.
From Richmond, VA to Brooklyn; how did you progress from playing in various bands to your solo labor of love, Nerve Leak?
Up until recently, I’ve always made music with a band. Each band focused on playing shows and never really put emphasis on recording or production. I was playing guitar and singing. When I started creating music as Nerve Leak, I was working alone just in my bedroom, which made the music more personal, and also, vulnerable. It was entirely electronic: just headphones and a laptop.
After two serious bands dissipated, I decided to experiment with combining the electronic production of Nerve Leak with the guitar and vocals of my previous bands. Now, I am focusing on writing, recording, and producing, and it’s all on my own. Though, every song I write goes through series of drafts that I send to a handful of friends and mentors.
After finishing undergrad, I wanted to leave my hometown, explore, and pursue music in an environment like New York. I’ve had my eyes set on New York since first visiting — I was captivated, like many, by the contagious creative energy in the city’s veins. Also, Brooklyn’s music scene is so exciting. There’s so much great electronic music coming up, and the lines between pop and experimental are blurring more and more.
Is the idea behind the name a conveyance of leaking the feelings of the nervous system through sound?
“Nerve Leak” is actually the title of a singer-songwriter song I wrote during my freshman year of college. I was creating electronic music without a proper name, and one night, I performed the song at an open mic. My girlfriend at the time suggested calling the project Nerve Leak, and it stuck.
The chorus read: “Your nerve’s washed away, a leak in your mind. Your nerve’s washed away, a tear on the inside.” For me, it refers to losing your confidence and the “nerve” — so to speak – to be yourself and strive toward your aspirations. It’s a feeling I’m constantly trying to overcome. Also, my music has typically been more on the experimental side, and the notion of nerves leaking suggests an abstraction of feelings and sensations that I love to experience in music.
Everyone has their own individual approach, but I’m interested in hearing your approach to bridging that gap between the human and computer elements in your music, and how you bring those disparate worlds together.
In my creative process, the electronic component is the authority. When I record vocals, they’re never left alone. I mold them to fit with the electronics, as opposed to the other way around. While I know dry, untouched vocals have their place; I really admire artists like James Blake, FKA twigs, and William Arcane, who transform their vocals to create unique soundscapes and textures. In a sense, they recreate the vocal recordings into a new sound, which is what producers typically do with samples. For example, you take a violin solo, pitch it down, reverse it, and cover it in effects—all of the sudden it is a completely different sample.
When bringing the two worlds together, it’s always important that the atmosphere is well blended. An acoustic guitar doesn’t always naturally go with a reverb-drenched 808 clap. I have to treat the guitar accordingly to blend the two; though there are times when the sharp contrast is attractive. My goal is to make it seem natural—like you don’t really question the genres being crossed—it just sounds like it should.
How have your previous releases through Bad Panda Records, and Warminal Records, impacted and influenced the work on the EP, Disconnected?
It’s interesting because my music has changed so much since I first began this project. In the beginning, Nerve Leak was a secret outlet for me to create dark, ambient, bass-heavy music. It was completely electronic, and I made it a point to tell no one that it was my work. I was so inspired by Burial’s music, as well as his decision to remain anonymous.
Now, my songs feature my own voice and instrumentation. They’re still ambient — and bass-driven, but they cater more to pop. The tunes I put out on Bad Panda and Warminal were made under the notion that I personally would have no association with the music. But with my newer work, I’m putting myself at the forefront of the project — my voice, my words, my life—it’s much more personal.
What sorts of disconnections inspired “Disconnected” for you personally, and creatively?
“Disconnected”, lyrically, refers to the feeling of being unable to connect with a lover. The line, “Like a broken bulb, there’s no light from your mouth, as I kiss you,” is about physically being with someone, but feeling numb to their embrace. A kiss no longer has energy — it’s just the sensation of lips touching. You yearn for the connection, but your attempts to recreate it are futile—so you’re left with this lovelorn frustration.
But the EP is also titled Disconnected, which has a more personal concept. When I wrote this EP, I felt like I was living two different lives. I was working a draining nine-to-five job, compromising my musical aspirations for job security, and still living in my hometown. I felt trapped—physically, creatively, and emotionally. Though I knew I’d be leaving my job and hometown to pursue music in New York, I had financial obligations that required me to stay put for months, after I’d already moved out in my mind.
It wasn’t torture by any means — I had a job, friends, a home, and good health. But internally, I knew I was living a life meant for someone else, and life is too fragile to be disconnected from yourself. I aspire to be in touch with my identity, and just by putting out new music, I feel closer to who I want to become — which ultimately is myself. This EP is about being in the thick of that state of disconnection.
And tell us too about the community writing project responses for the EP cut, “Snow / Sun”.
Typically, when I put out a song, it gets a handful of plays and attention, and then it just sort of collects dust. I understand — when I get a new piece of music, I play it on repeat, but often don’t revisit it for a while afterward. I wanted to think of a way to turn the creative process outward to extend the life of the song. Next to music, poetry is my favorite form of art. So, I asked to writers to listen to “Snow / Sun” and share their own words with me.
Some people rewrote the lyrics, but kept certain lines and themes. Others completely invented their own version. It was so inspiring and humbling to read the words people were able to come up with for this project. Each poem comes with a modified background of the original “Snow / Sun” artwork, equipped with rain-like textures. As part of the EP, I will put out the e-Booklet for a free download.
What else can we expect in the near future from Nerve Leak?
I’m self-releasing Disconnected on June 23. The four tracks on this EP reflect the very particular mindset I was in—hungry for creation, urban stimulation, and identity. I’m planning to book some shows this summer in New York, and to start working on my next release, which will hopefully feature some collaborations with other producers and musicians. I’m aiming for a late fall release.
Nerve Leak’s Disconnected will be available June 23 via Bandcamp.
Milwaukee’s Estates present the full stream premiere of their upcoming album, It’s Great To Be Alone, available May 26 from Flannel Gurl Records. Recorded by Shane Hochstetler at Earth Analog with mastering by Carl Saff; Mike Carini, Charlie Markowiak, and Matt Tomashek follow up their first album, Gleam by turning their guitars, bass, drums, vocals, and anything worthy of amplification up toward the points of pure, power force fury.
From the very get-go, “Tuesday” delivers the feeling of near-midweek business, a blistering soundtrack to keep you company during the minutes, hours, seconds, and endless stretches of time that comprise durations of class, work, and responsibilities of that ilk. The action slows for a heavy lull where the trio unleashes their bursts of timely audio attacks through the tried, tested, and true methods of ‘quiet, loud, quiet’ and the like to give stripped down emotion baring sections that fuels the unleashed strength of unharnessed emotion. “Scared Tell You” provides some of the vulnerable expressions that many close friends, and partners keep from each other, while proving Estates are making some of the finest flannel alt. rock pop hooks at the core of their towering infernos of unbridled attempts of communication.
The evolutions and domesticity of life are raged and rattled against on, “Change You”, to the sorrowful slow moving all apologies molasses quicksand that grips, “Full of Apologies”, to the insomniac tosses and turns on the sentimental, and sleepless, “Sandburg West”, that ends by repeating the album title. Oversleeping and mixxed alarm clock cues create the succinct cataclysm, “Slept In”, to the frost bite chill that freezes about, “Colder”, like a cold snowed-in day experienced during a winter in Wisconsin. Compromises give way to the polarity pendulum swing of the mighty, “No In Between”, to the longings, and earnest glances of the closing track, “Looking”, that seeks that familiar embrace from a lost friend. Guitarist and vocalist Mike Carini of Estates took a moment to chat with us in our interview that immediately follows the debut album stream of, It’s Great To Be Alone.
What for you and the band felt different between the shift from Gleam, to It’s Great To Be Alone?
We’ve had Charlie in our lineup for bass since Gleam, and he’s contributing to writing songs. Gleam was an album that Matt and I put together in a few months of starting the band with our original bassist. The songs on It’s Great to Be Alone have a different feel with a slight punk vibe and shorter run time. It’s much more of a punch in the face than Gleam was although both albums have ear shattering guitar and drums.
What sort of things about the self can be gleamed from solitude?
It’s easier to deal with my own problems when I don’t have others creating them. I sounds selfish but I’ve found a way to surround myself with friends, and family but still have time to be alone. It’s easy to do what I want to do and make myself happy.
From the motions of romanticism to departures; how do these events impact you creatively, and personally?
I use lyricism and music to channel a large part of emotion. It’s easier to spew emotion during a song if it’s about something that greatly impacted me. Playing shows is one of the best releases of energy and emotion. On the other end, I enjoy reading artist’s lyrics and finding meanings behind their songs. Endserenading from Mineral is both blissful and crushing in the most beautiful way.
Favorite things about the Milwaukee scenes these days?
Lately I’ve been enjoying catching up with old friends in the Milwaukee music scene and finding out about exciting changes in their lives. Many friends are graduating from college and moving on to better jobs. I feel a great deal of joy in these conversations and it makes me proud to be a part of a scene with such amazing people. We’ve had a ton of continued support from friends in the area that have made so much possible for us.
Summer plans for Estates?
We are touring towards the end of July and playing shows around the midwest and east coast for a couple weeks. I’m especially pumped to hang with the fantastic people of Flannel Gurl Records and familiar faces.
Estates’ new album, It’s Great To Be Alone, will be available May 26 from Flannel Gurl Records.
Kevin Krauter of the band Hoops released his Winspear Records album, Magnolia this week, and we give you a full stream listen, accompanied by a foreword from the artist himself.
The album begins with “Haec”, a slow wooden sailboat drifter that floats long from stream to shining stream, inviting the evening sun fall of moon dominated ordinances that casts a beam on, “Nightly”, to the calming blue waters of, “Lazy River”, to strumming, and hopping along to the breeze of, “Wind”. Aspects of chronology and time are cast into the ever elusive ether, “Time Piece”, making one last final appeal for anyone and everyone with ears and open hearts on, “Let Me Be The One”.
Kevin wrote us the following about the new EP, and more:
Before the release of the EP, I had no huge plans of pursuing solo music. I play in and write for Hoops, and I’m always working on something on the side just for my own sanity. In a way, that’s what this release feels like for me. Some of these songs are over a year old, some of them were written just before going into the studio, And, of course I would make demos of just about everything on Garageband, figuring out what kind of sound I wanted and trying my hand at amateur production. But to have an official release of them feels very cathartic, like I had taken six deep breaths over this past year and was finally able to let them out. Late last year, sometime in November I think, I was approached by my buddy Joe Trinite. He and I currently go to the same school (Ball State in Muncie, Indiana) where he is majoring in audio production. He asked me if I had any songs that he could record for his semester project.
Like I said, I didn’t have any plans regarding my solo music at the time, so I was tentative in agreeing. I revisited a few of my old demos and finished up a couple other songs I had been working on, and eventually I came up with the six that appear on the EP. Keagan Beresford came in on two of the tracks to play some guitar and piano parts. I didn’t have anything worked out for them yet, but he caught the vibe instantly and laid down some amazing stuff. Seriously, it blows my mind how talented he is. And working with Joe was wonderful. The whole time we were recording and mixing he was stoked on all of the songs and really cared about making a great sounding album. While we were in the whole process, I was chatting with Ben Wittkugel and told him about the project. He asked if I wanted to release it through his new label, Winspear. Recently, Winspear had released some great records by bands like CARE and Thunder/Dreamer so I felt really honored and excited to be a part of their roster.
Kevin Krauter’s Magnolia is available now from Winspear Records.
Karen Meat & The Players
Karen Meat & the Players, lead by Arin Eaton (Nashville by Des Moines, Iowa artist known for her work with Music City’s Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp) premieres the video for “Pizza & Beer”, from her Karen Meat & the Computer cassette. DIY songs of experiences, “If I Were Yours”, “The Prettiest Song”, infectious and affectionate, “Your Blood”, electro indie dances like, “Brad’s Last Waltz”, all point toward the “Pizza & Beer” ethic of consumptive self-medication.
Karen Meat and her crew of Players and Computers provide the minimalist audio, and visuals for the “Pizza & Beer” video that involves a mess of PBRs, Miller Lites, Budweisers, and delivery pizza, and a predominately fixed camera on a tripod. The self-aware states of eating too much, and drinking too much are explained in a kind of honesty heard in the manner of west coast style indie girl rock that can be heard from the Southern California coasts, through the Bay Area circuits, and to the north left scenes of Seattle. The song on the surface has a catchy and funny mode while there is an autonomous statement that lies beneath the slacker-like minimalism. The law tables of attraction and affection are overturned with an autonomy mission that says ‘take me as I am’ in the lyrical, and conceptual subtext, heard loud and clear by the final tongue in cheek line,”I’ll get really thin, maybe you’ll like me then”.
Karen wrote us the following on the video and song:
Pizza and beer: the recipe for not giving a fuck. An anthem for those who have given up on pleasing others. A staple of benign indulgence to lull yourself into blissful oblivion, to wake up and try again when you might give more of a fuck. At its best, the fuel for a warm and happy buzz between buds who don’t give a fuck, together.
This song came about when I was delirious, singing in the car about myself, my thoughts, my feelings, my pizza, my beer. It’s become something greater than that. Whether it’s that you’re fed up with a significant other or a job — or it’s simply that you love pizza and beer — this is a message that everyone can relate to in some sort of way. Who doesn’t love pizza and beer?!
Karen Meat & the Players’ cassette, Karen Meat & the Computer is available now via Bandcamp.
Toronto’s six piece Mune premeire their single, “Fool My Senses” off their upcoming album, Falling Through, available June 2 from Culvert Music. Recorded by Josh Korody at Candle Recording, and Max Fruchtman via Rouge Valley Studios; Mune worked closely with Emilio Guim to create a kind of sound that creates the kind of euphoric bliss, confusion, mind lifting sensations that mark the inexplicable feelings noted at the beginning and end of a relationship. The confusion of the senses stirs a kind of dissonance here conveyed through a a stream of gentle and soothing overtones and overtures that soothe like the alluring and elusive songs of sirens.
Mune conveys their stream of feelings, and thoughts in ways like a multi-layered harmonized duet where the woodwinds, synths, and understated chords shine like a trove emeralds. The attention, distractions, diversions, and infatuation takes a course through what feels like the sound of magical kingdoms, floral fields of a bountiful luster, and the abandonment that comes from leaving behind all baggage of wordly cares. “Fool My Senses” embraces the enticing reasons why we fall for one another, we fall out of love for one another, while all the while respecting the nature of feelings and thoughts that cannot be relayed through conventional language outside of vague approximations. Mune joins right after the following debut for more on this, and other tales from Toronto.
Give us the story on how you all formed, and the meaning behind the name, Mune.
Stephen, Amanda and Brandon had been playing music together for a few years when they met Greg and Eytan, who were in other bands at the time. Eventually they were convinced to join the dark side (moon pun!), and shortly after that we found Felix through a ‘drummer wanted’ ad on Craigslist (it really does work!). In regards to the name itself, there isn’t any hidden meaning behind the band name. However, it was the first of at least a hundred names we came up with while trying to decide on one. Its a little funny that after a few weeks of firing off ideas, we’d arrive back at the start.
What has the past few years been like, recording the album, Falling Through?
The recording process for Falling Through was a slow journey. We were still writing half of the album as we went so bed tracks ended up happening in two different studio sessions as the songs were being completed. We did the majority of overdubs at our rehearsal space and in our homes. It was great to work in comfortable environments like that, allowing us to take the time to explore different ideas, sounds and textures that we may not have come up within the confines of limited time at a recording studio. When we reached out to mixing engineer Emilio Guim about editing and mixing the album, he had just moved from Toronto back to his hometown in Ecuador but once he got his studio up and running he went to work on it. We never imagined this would become a project spanning two continents!
What sort of trickery of the senses inspired, “Fool My Senses”?
The sort of trickery that happens when, while in a relationship, you become unsure of yourself and where your feelings for your partner begin and end.
Favorite things about the Toronto scene right now?
We feel that there’s a change coming to the scene as a whole. There’s such a wealth of indie electronic artists, and producers who are moving up, and that vibe has definitely been a big influence on us, and the newest music we’ve been writing.
Mune’s album, Falling Through will be available June 2 from Culvert Music.
From Elecampane’s upcoming High Hopes EP available June 8 from Family Tree Records; peep the Caen, France band’s Renaud Jaillette video for “Out of Control” that involves a strawberry short take backyard party with copious amounts of bottles, and good times captured on vintage video at a slow pitched speed. From sparkler blazing deserts, motorbike delivered gifts, lots of laughs, tough looks, and more; the group caters to every celebratory cool cat DIY aesthetic where everyone exudes a kind of grungy sense of style and attitude that you can never get too much of, ever. The band joins us for an interview session after the jump.
What can you all tell us about the scene in Caen, France?
There are lots of bands and more broadly artists, video makers in Caen but even if we all know, it’s difficult to say that there is a scene as such as can be seen elsewhere. We will say that it’s a social scene with a sum of disparate creations.
Walk us through the making of the High Hopes EP…what was it like for you all?
We wanted to go to the essential, avoid going through the traditional steps of a recording. We have all the instruments in a large room and play once or twice every time to capture the moment that seemed right. We wrote and composed the songs in six months, recorded in 3 days. We decided to rely on the first intuition, far from the usual recording not only by conviction but also we didn’t have any money for that.
How has the environments of Caen and elsewhere contributed to the influences present in your music?
Actually, Caen has no influence on our music except for the fact that our music would allow us perhaps just to see something different than our everyday life here. This is a small town where everyone has his habits and where life can sometimes be quite boring. The songs come more from our experience we have had on the road across Europe with other bands we play with, disillusionment, the difficulty of being away from people we love, loss of self.
The Renaud Jaillette for the “Out of Control” single is top notch, super backyard minimalist, yet effective with the strawberry shortcake sparklers. Give us the scoop on adapting that single for the visual treatment.
I have to ask Renaud… We just wanted to create anxiety during a time that is not, like a birthday. For strawberry cakes, you take just the most mature almost moldy strawberries, it creates a natural saturated strawberry without effects. You avoid eating them, the birds will do that for you.
What are some of your top five things you all are listening to right now?
LiLiPUT, “A Silver Key Can Open an Iron Lock Somewhere”
Kourosh Yaghmaei, “Gole Yakh”
Perfect Pussy, “Driver”
위댄스 (wedance), “준비됐나”
Joanna Gruesome, “Wussy Void”
Elecampane’s High Hopes EP will be available June 8 from Family Tree/ Aka Publishing.
From Third Floor Tapes; Philadelphia’s blue smiley busts out the slacker-core casual suits with their album, ok. Keeping in touch (or out of touch and detached) with the mode of these ambivalent-aggressive times; keep on your mean side with the alt-era-aping “demon”, spinning some unusual and surprising progressions on the red flag waving, “warn”, and even stranger, and more abrupt on the follow up track, “control”. More stark surprises abound on “flower” to shake things up, as “ghost” gives up a treated sample interlude that drops you into the stratosphere of Stratocasters of, “air”, keeping the all-alt-everything ethic in full form on, “bad”. And even as the album draws to a close; Bryan, John, and Matt keep you dazzled by keeping you tumbling down one rabbit/worm hole after the next; continuing the momentum on “hurt”, and keeping true to their platform to defy any and all expectations of the audience on the beautiful post-prog, post-post-rock damn near perfect DIY pop, “rain”. An experience for all aspects and attitudes of every component, and facet of the human, and otherwise senses.
Bryan Nowell wrote us the following on the making of, ok, the Philly scenes, and more:
The inspiration for ok was mainly an interest in a term that can simultaneously signify resignation and satisfaction. We were thinking a lot about the correlation between contentment and complacency and how much one must be willing to surrender for the sake of pleasure. It’s humbling (to say the least) to be part of such an inspiring and diverse scene in Philly. Our music is heavily influenced by the talented artists and friends that we’re able to learn from on a regular basis.
The cassette for Bad Smiley’s ok will be available June 1 on Third Floor Tapes.
Hear the lumescent rage from Ancient Sky’s “Two Lights”, off the upcoming album, Mosaic, available June 9 from Wharf Cat Records, with a record release show at Brooklyn’s Union Pool June 6, and playing Northside at Shea Stadium June 13. Recorded with the influential Ben Greenberg at Future-Past Studios in Hudson, NY; “Lights” finds the group hitting harder than before with a might that moves mountains, and quakes the lay of the land that makes up both heaven and earth.
Brian Markham wrote us the following behind the scenes look at the making of their new record:
Mosaic is our fourth album and was by far the easiest and most fun one to make. We wrote the album in less than a year, recorded and mixed in less than a week, and now are beginning to write the next one. Working with Ben Greenberg really helped us focus and pushed the band to be well rehearsed. Aside from minimal overdubs, Mosaic was recorded live to tape in an old church upstate. “Two Lights” came quick and reflects the anxiety one can feel living in the city. I wrote the lyrics soon after reading White Nights by Dostoyevsky.
Off their just released album, Not Now from Terrible Records; we bring you a full stream listen to Regal Degal’s new album. Get into the regality and decadence on the old world vaudevillian intro of, “Delicious”, that sends you head first into, “Ruining My Life”, leaving you tough as nails and too-cool-for-school on, “Wide Awake”, through brilliant illuminating weirdness of “Pyramid Bricks”, shining more bright pop lights with the self- barricading, “Defense”, the tooth and nail plod stepping, “Girl With The Teeth”. The Brooklyners keep things wheeling and dealing with, “Deal Of A Lifetime”, spinning around the arrangements on the euphoria inducing, “Sit Like a Chair”, spinning you into the slow falling meteor maelstrom of, “Oprresive Living”, taking you to the big dramatic finale of, “Flavor”.
Regal Degal’s Jamen Whitelock, Josh da Costa, and Josiah Wolfson wrote us the following on the new album, and more:
We made the Pyramid Bricks EP very casually, i.e. each track was a little project, each one operating on its own independent timeline, spread out over the course of a year — and at the end of that year we threw a few of them together, called up Ethan, and called it a record. Needless to say, without much of a unified vision or a mission statement, it sort of vanished into the ether. As a reaction to that, we were determined to make a bold statement and to collaborate with Terrible from the ground up instead of doing all of the work remotely and handing in a finished product without other peoples’ input. So we incorporated two of our favorite tracks from the EP into this greater, more inspired album, crammed a lot of material into a week’s worth of studio time, and — with serious intention and focus — banged out a full length. That being said it took a while to fine tune everything: the overdubbing, the mixing, even the packaging…but eventually it all came together and I think everyone involved is very happy with the end result. At least I am.
Not Now, while technically not at all our first album (and in fact our sixth release including one LP, two tapes, and tw EPs), feels almost just like that to me. The recording and production process consisted of several first time experiences — things as simple as having our sessions concentrated into a few days as opposed to at our leisure over time, having a fully realized and incredible sounding studio at our disposal, having an ace producer and engineers to aid and inform us. Even though the process found us delving into new settings and manners, and put us in the most collaborative position we’ve been in on one single project, I think that as a record it sounds the most definitively like ‘us’ at a given time than anything else released.
I mention that because prior to recording this album, I think we were perhaps a bit more protective as a group of our sound direction and musical identity. I love to remember the story that Chris Taylor, who recorded, produced, and mixed this record with us, reminded us of halfway in — that a few months before we began recording, he had been talking to us about the possibility of producing our next record and, to put it politely, we did not respond with the immediate enthusiasm he expected or was showing himself ( I’m pretty sure we just sort of smiled and nodded). At that point I think we were imagining that bringing in somebody from outside of our trusted circle would warp our output, but the making of this record has shown me that other people can illuminate your style for you in ways you couldn’t imagine. I learned a lot from these sessions and have nothing but the best memories of tweaking frequencies with Chris, getting hyped to do more than seemed possible in so little time, talking shit and having fun. Most importantly, I have a lot of pride in the results as being both an opening up and tightening up of our sound.
After releasing the Pyramid Bricks EP with Terrible there were always talks about releasing an LP next. In pure Regal fashion we started recording demos and pieces would most likely be transformed into the real album cuts, then Chris Taylor stepped in. His idea of the next Regal LP would be about showcasing the band as a band, I know that sounds like common sense but you’d be surprised how far off the deep end a band can get in a studio setting.
So we would track everything live in the beautiful big room at Gary’s Electric, do overdubs in Berlin, plus the Grizzly Bear’s church, literally a big ass church. It was so nice to do things this way. the album sounds great.
On June 2 at Shea Stadium, Carl Creighton’s Howth celebrate the release of the Trashy Milky Nothing Town (otherwise affectionately shortened to TMNT for referential pop culture’s sake), with Oracle Room, Chimneys, and more. The passion of one of Howth’s secret underground, under the sewer-like projects surfaces with cuts like, “April I Will”, the super hero power ballad, “Superfreak!”, more heroic odes like, “Leonardo”, telltale referential “Teenage Mutation”, the shadow grooving, “Chiaroscuro Heart”, replete with a demo rendering of “Tourist Town” that delivers extra helpings of noise, and blasting guitars. Carl described the album to us the other day with the following words:
I spend a lot of time trying to understand my role as a consumer of pop culture. Why do some things become popular and what does it say about me and the rest of the world?
Like Ninja Turtles, Barbie and Starbucks. These things at some point became monoliths, unquestionable fixtures of the public consciousness.
But why? Simplicity, maybe. The need for an ideal. But at whose expense?
Everybody’s impacted by what’s popular whether they know it or not. And that’s what fascinates me.
Oracle Room, from the creative mind of Alex Nelson also releases the Have Everything EP June 2, and we have a featured listen to the title track. With percussion from Zach Fisher, and co-production considerations from Derik Lee, the world of oracles at Delphi proclaim great wisdom of items, and desires that exist beyond the material wants. “Have Everything” stakes a claim in the land of plenty, in a world where can have everything if they truly seek it out put to an arrangement that moves in ways like a ghost within the machine of the production console. Following the jump, read our interview with Alex.
What sort of declarations founded Oracle Room?
The main goal is empower and to uplift. I believe our planet and all of its inhabitants are going through a major transition right now. It’s a really wonderful, powerful, and sometimes difficult change. We’re all ready for a new way of life on this planet. Some don’t acknowledge it or are too caught up in the grind to notice, but a lot of people are aware of this. It’s very easy to get bogged down right now, to be overwhelmed and confused. I usually write songs to encourage people to stay uplifted, to harness their full potential, to embrace love, express compassion, and to really come into their highest being right now. This is what will facilitate the transition we are all looking for. It is very unfulfilling for me to make music to fuel my own ego. This project is about the bigger picture for all of us.
I’m sure everyone asks, but what’s the story behind the name, and how else has Greek mythology perhaps impacted you all as a band?
I was reading about an ancient subterranean cave in Malta called The Hypogeum. There are a series of connected rooms, one of them is called the oracle room. It’s distinct because it produces an incredible dynamic acoustic resonance when any vocalization is made inside it. The room was most likely used for sacred purposes and whoever built it had an incredible knowledge of acoustical properties. I really took to the idea of a space which creates a warming, resonating sound for the purpose of connection with each other or with higher realms. I try to create a similar space with my music and live shows.
We’re really coasting on that song, “Seeds” from the upcoming EP. What moved and inspired you all during the making of Have Everything?
Very cool to hear you like Seeds, it’s one of my newest songs. Everything about the making of this EP has been moving and inspiring. Before the EP I wrote songs and recorded demos for years and I hadn’t done anything with them. I had been in NY about six years and was really ready to leave city life. I had played in a number of bands over the years, but knew I could never live with myself if I didn’t truly make my own music a real whole hearted priority in NYC. It was then that I ran into my good friend, Derik Lee who offered to help me make my EP. He’s a very accomplished sound engineer and very busy, but he wanted a passion project which he could help to shape and have a fun and relaxing time working on. I had hit a block, and running into Derik really changed everything. The two of us spent the past couple of years working on this material together here and there, with Zach Fisher of the current lineup playing drums. When you want something so badly and it finally happens due to the generosity of others it’s just so joyful and humbling. Working on the EP gave me the push to put together an amazing group of musicians who now make up our seven piece band. They’re just the greatest people, and what we’ve accomplished in our short time together blows my mind. We’re mixing material for another release right now. The whole thing came together so gracefully. It’s extremely inspiring to let go of fear and feel that everything is in it’s right place.
Best artists, bands that the world needs to hear right now?
Oh I love this one, I’m a huge audiophile. It sounds like you’re talking about new music or lesser heard music. I just played a show with Throw Vision, and they are definitely a band to see live in NYC, really unique special stuff. I’m a huge fan of UK musician Laura Groves, everyone needs to be checking her out. I’ve been enjoying Gabriel Kahane’s album LA Ambassador a lot in the past month. In terms of lesser known up and coming bands I’d check out Har-Di-Har, Half Waif, Bells Atlas, LIPTALK, Teletextile, and Cuddle Magic to name just a few.
Available from Wonderwheel Recordings June 16; we bring you a few select listens from the New York based Afro-Peruvian group Novalima’s album, Planetario. The sweetness of embracing the goodness of others and life begin the ceremonies on “Como Yo”, providing a convergent blend of the collective’s voices, subtle electronic applications, and a collection of rhtyms that bridge the continents, and musical traditions of South America and Africa. Listen as the multitude of drums, visions, and lyrical prayers take on a mode of sainthood-like mythological level on the metaphysical manifestations of transcendence on, “Santero”. Grimaldo del Solar wrote us the following on fusing the traditions of pan-global African influences with their Peruvian array of sound:
The initial challenge was to mix the Afro-Peruvian rhythmic patterns and percussion instruments (cajon, cajita, quijada, cowbell) with electronic beats without loosing the original African grooves and the roots sound. What we did was to build new music layers of different styles like jazz, reggae, dub, rock, salsa, son and electronica on top of this traditional rythms creating an organic mix between all this various genres. This resulted in bringing Afro Peruvian music to the present, preserving our culture and attracting younger crowds into our traditional music all over the world. After 15 years of continuous musical research and 5 studio albums we’ve been able to evolve, blending our own with the African Diaspora Music legacy throughout the whole world, in the end all music has a common origin to our understanding. Touring has also enabled us meeting and knowing new artists and new music which finally has resulted in our latest work: Planetario. This album compiles all of our effort and experience so far and promises to delight crowds all over the planet.
From the band For Stars, hear Carlos Forster’s cover of The Flaming Lips’ “Ego Tripping At The Gates of Hell”, recorded at home with Michael Mullen and John Murry. To match the sentiments stirred by his acoustic piano rendering, he includes a b/w video that involves a collage of images from mountains, trees, a boy suspended in air, and more to reflect the far off sentiments that send the head strong egos toward a drift of scratchy film images. Carlos described the cover to us with the following words:
I am not exactly sure where, when, and why I decided to cover this tune. I do remember singing it around the house and it feeling natural coming out of my mouth. I don’t know how many times I thought, “Oh… I’m gonna cover something like “Send in The Clowns” or something ironic like Def Leppard only to realize I sound foolish and it’s not funny (or enjoyable to listen to). These are whims and I know with time if I can just hold on long enough and not act on them I will have dodged a potentially humiliating experience. “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell” was different and withstood the test of time… and my tendency to impulsively meander.
The Legends return, aka the vision of Stockholm’s Johan Angergård who follows up Facts and Figures, Public Radio, Up Against The Legends, etc, with the upcoming EP, It’s Love available June 30 from Cascine. Angergård continues to do emotive, and evocative things with the electronic tuning studio options that provide an interesting reverberation of the delivery that creates a chemical like reaction with the subdued and serene keys, and softly sewn and strummed strings.
Let out your inner car-lot-air-dancer on the Michael J.S. Murphy video for Total Babes title track, “Heydays”, available off the album of the same name from Wichita. The air dancing promo puts his art, and heart on the lane, that includes an endearing few moments between the air-streaming product pusher, and garage pop royalty, Colleen Green.
New York’s own Toby Goodshank dropped a power pop EP that features music to pump your fist, that beats to the time ticks of your heart. “Minus Días” gets the party started before going into our personal fave, “Baby I Feel Like I Just Got Cut In Half”, kicking it with the cooled down, “Paul Reiser (DJ Cleric Balls Out Remix)”, wheeling dealing strum and twang, “Big Deal”, drive-in/drive-thru/love-in/bottoming out of, “Cave-In”, to the electro tele-tapper, “Telepathic Guilt”.
Also watch the animated video for, “Baby I Feel Like I Just Got Cut In Half”from Toby Goodshank’s new EP directed by Thomas Bayne.
Hear the epic anthem pop from London’s Kid Wave who have been making their own waves of mutilation, built from the framework of ‘name-your-favorite-90s-idol-here’ mentality on the sweetness of, “Honey”, off their Wanderlust album available June 2 from Heavenly.
More alt throwback guitars and vibes abound on Kid Wave’s “Best Friend”, about shared bonds, and collective visions.
With more tracks, and live show assemblages in the works; watch the Gareth Goodlad video for Stillhound’s “Seethe Unseen”, filmed up in the snowy Scottish highlands featuring the band’s own, Fergus Cook. The synth pop stems descend like beams of sun to warm up the ice and snow laden land, as Stillhound provides a full audio/visual experience of wintertime solace to provide snowstorms to last for all the seasons.
Lawrence Kim, aka Scam Avenue dropped the Brad DeCecco / EyeBodega video for, “Mercury”, sharing mercurial b/w vibes to bounce along with the rhythmic keys, and arty screen tests to compliment the forthcoming EP of the same name, available June 1.
Hear the a-side of Mourn’s new Captured Tracks single, “Gertrudis, Get Through This!”, that continues an overwhelming out-pour of feeling, affection in ways that only the alternative mediums of rock can convey. The band keeps their fire burning bright while providing some real, visceral support for the dearest of friends that run up against tough times. Running from July 12 through 22, catch the quartet from Catalan touring the States.
Watch the wild animated video for “Melted Rainbow” off mr. Gnome’s latest LP, The Heart of a Dark Star from El Marko Records, that shines in various cut out modes of celestial multimedia triptychs and more in Sam Meister’s self-made video for, “Melted Rainbow”. Nicole and Sam’s surreal pop vision sweeps with the electric organ sprung mode, as their sounds collage an image of abstract, yet earthy, skybound sentiments that keeps the spirit ascending for a higher level of consciousness, and understanding.
Following up her Volcano, Andrea Balency returns with Rob McAndrews (co-founder of James Blake’s 1-800-Dinosaur) for the single Simone, that feels like wandering about a zen-rainforest-garden of inexplicable wonder and delights.
With the Luis Vasquez and The Soft Moon on a massive international tour through June 20; experience the jagged, synthesizer razor’s edge from the Dave Clarke remix of “Wrong”.
Watch nav/attack’s video for “Newsbreak” that lampoons the information overloads in a parody of news cycle demigogue vampires, featuring the talents of Adam Goldberg, Colin Burns, and Christina Offley.
Touring through July 11 with Quintron & Miss Pussycat (featuring select dates with Black Lips and Cold Beat); check out a listen from Memphis’s Nots’ upcoming Goner 7″, “Virgin Mary” that throws caution and conventional reverence to the wayward winds in favor of a noisy, garage glaring affair that whirls with sounds that stem from outside of this world.
From Louisville, KY; catch the eye opening vision trip of Old Baby’s “Someday”, where that fatefull day that cometh is seen from across a thousand horizons, and spanning a few more thousand sunsets.
Heyrocco unleashed the single, “Loser Denial”, providing all the whining, bedroom boarded up power pop single from the upcoming album, Teenage Movie Soundtrack available June 2 from Old Flame Records.
Off Juan Wauters’ album, Who Me? from Captured Tracks; watch the good man performing “I’m All Wrong” while riding his bike along Flushing Meadow Park, and strumming his stuff to a tune that feels like it descended from another time.
Mammut’s River’s End EP will be available June 1 from Bella Union, and we have the new new single, “Blood Burst” that continues the band’s brand of Icelandic, translated and adapted for all English speaking ears while retaining the nordic sponaiety of spirit and sound. Read our previous piece on their single, “Salt”.
From their upcoming album, Home Economics, available June 9 from DFA Records; check out the Shit Robot remix for Prinzhorn Dance School’s “Reign”. The beat gets ripped up, and wavy as synths wash across the central beat like psychedelic windshield wipers.
Night Beds presented us with the “Tide Teeth” video in anticipation of their forthcoming album for Dead Oceans. The band takes you to special moments, sacred places, fields, neighborhoods, and caverns with the “and I’ll go wherever you want” philosophy. The song’s building synth and sentiment push of emotion constructs a house of togetherness, only to burn it down in the heartbreaking aftermath of bonds broken, and undone.
Briana Marela is readying her Jagjaguwar album debut, All Around Us, available August 21 from Jagjaguwar, and we are pleased to bring the sweet confident resolve of, “Surrender”. Marela’s vocals are displayed amongst a back drop of her own over-dubbed, looping vocals that make circles that set the framework for a mesmerizing experinece of astute hooks that appeal toward those vulnerable corners of the heart and soul.
From the Gabfest crew, take a look at Mista Stunt’s self-made video for,”The One and Only,” the first single off his debut solo album, Invasion of the Chain Snatcher. Mista stunts hard, representing the west coast frames and states of mind with a dazzling display of comparative studies pop culture lyrical pastiches.
Check out all the chic club-nouveaux business on Wild & Free’s Low Press EP available now from RIS Labs, with the sparkling title cut that is followed by the electronic synth tropics, of, “Tropique.
With Architect available July 17 from FatCat, check out C-Duncan’s single, “Garden”, that lets you lie down in golden, green, psychedelic pastures.
Cordelia Vizcaino’s band, Cordelia and The Buffalo roll with influences and momentum that span Mexican Indian tribes, Native American styles, and other traditions into the modes of pop that command the stages of the global circuits as heard on the family band style single, “Take It Up A Notch”.
We gave you one of the first listens to NoMBe’s single, “California Girls”, and now give you all the west coast infatuations you can handle with the Luca Repola video for the single off the Mood Indigo EP. NoMBe’s spring-fling mode of delivery, and summer breeze production is lit alive with all the sun bathed beauty of the mythic natural splendors that are often propagated by the board of tourism for The Golden State. Also read our interview with NoMBe, aka Noah McBeth here.
In our continued efforts in covering Little Racer’s upcoming Foreign Tongues EP available June 16 from PaperCup Music; practice your fancy swan dives, cannonballs, and more off the hi-dive of the band’s new single, “Jack Knife”. Wade and the crew turn up the sun to the umpteenth degrees as the celebratory season of endless holidays begins as soon as you press the play button.
For those nostalgic for all of last month’s “4:20” thrills, chills, and stoned spills; check out Streight Angular’s song of the same name about telling mom to chill out and relax.
Hear Nick Diamonds’ “Bohemian Groove” from the upcoming album, City of Quartz, available June 16 from Manque Music, where the Islands and Unicorns artist takes you out toward the plentiful pastures of delightful, pop.
Having recently spoken to the great Matt Mondanile of Ducktails (and Real Estate, and the label, New Images, etc) about the new single, “Headbanging In the Mirror”; we now are thrilled to give you the following visualizations from Rose Schlossberg that match the song’s “afternoon interior dream”-like quality. From the forthcoming Domino album, St. Catherine, watch as Matt is chauffered about his new Southern California digs where the world of arid landscapes, and palm trees contribute to the ever unfolding sweet feelings that pour from every sun-dazed note.
Norwegian imprint Balsa Wood dropped their first release with the Cascades from Norway’s own Boska. The producer moves from the ambient subtle worlds of the title track, to the spirited machine dreams of, “Saviour”, the brain drfiting, “Face Value”, moving the beat down the more complicated cooridors of, “Anima”, to the final curtain dropping slow simmer, “Righteous”. Cascades washes it’s electronic rains down the faces of mountains, cliffs, and bluffs like digital waterfalls.
Ava Luna’s Week in Pop
This is Carlos from Ava Luna, sending in some picks for our Week in Pop, thanks so much for having us!
Dome, “Cruel When Complete”
Palberta, “When I Come”
Cymande, “For Baby Woh”
ET Anderson, “It Don’t Even”
John Coltrane, “Ole”
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