Week in Pop: D.A. Stern, Mary Ocher, Natural Velvet

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Week in Pop

Playing it cool with Cool American; photographed by Corbin Corbiin.

Available now from Good Cheer Records, Portland’s own Cool American keeps their self-styled dorito pop strumming strong on the endearing better luck next year vol 3 EP. The book-ending frames of nostalgia met with the doldrums of the present resonate on the opener “17”, the conversational exchanges that rock back & forth on “happy u said it” (complete with subtle, evocative electronic effects), delivering maximum emotional impact with the most minimalist of compositions & executions as witnessed on “every little favor”. Conversations had & withheld are ruminated on the heart-aching “we never talked about it”, as the sound collage interlude of “be good” guides you to the foyer of “focus” that works in the mysterious ways that the band can easily marry their experimental slacker pop with a restrained approached to electronic audio artifices that make for a truly unique experience worthy of multiple listens.

There’s Talk released the new EP bathed water moon that marries the spaces between the expanses of the cosmos & the depths of the earthly ocean dimensions. Olivia Lee, Kellen Balla & Young Lee take the audience outward to the places where the deep sea meets deep space on life changing tracks like “Give it Up” where the art of letting go is portrayed with all the struggles & triumphs that goes with sending your burdens down the proverbial Nile. Ambient frequencies rise like sea levels on “Soundry”, that lead you through the uncertain ether of the hypnagogic realm of “I Saw You There”, right before you our poured deep down into the baptismal of sudden & assured surrender that is the closing “In Your Hands” that bridges the frequencies of the lo-fi & the hi-fi in a matrimony that is beyond conventional description.

Be sure to take in the video for “Soundry” from There’s Talk that bathes the group’s ethereal world in polychromatic splashes of neon saturated luster.

wifisfuneral delivered a look at the Dill35mm & Tdangy video for the Cris Dinero produced track “Friday Take” featured off the upcoming Ethernet mixtape. The home-movie style presents end of the week reflections & lyrical exposition from the South Florida emcee that rolls like a mellow cruise down the infinite roads of evening enchantment.

Fresh off the recent premiere of the single “Call Me Up”, Rachel Stewart, aka Sedona, presents the imaginative big production visual for the track from cinematographer Danyal Niazi, choreographer by Casey Howes & a massive production team. The pop art video compliments the bright & brilliant track as Rachel Stewart is joined by the diverse cast of dancing femmes Joanna Caruso, Dre Granera, Ruby Green, Emily Hoy, Danielle Mareka, Jheyda McGarrell, Ayade Rice, Akua Shabaka, Taylor Snook, Olivia Toups, Annalise Van Evan, Alani Waters & Mattie White. This is a song of empowerment for everyone that has desired something more than phoned-in superficial lip service in the pursuit for something of a greater substance & connection.

Also watch the following footage of Sedona performing her hit single “Call Me Up” at the Mercury Lounge, captured this past February 19.

Chicago’s own Kate Renegade brought the power pop illuminations with their new single “Bow & Arrow” that takes aim at the aspirations of greater heights above all the adversity & struggles that can grind you down. Featured off off the forthcoming Steve Albini recorded album New Unquiet Life, leader Steph Maieritsch’s delivery stands out with a kind of prominence & power that embodies a strength & resolve that is inspiring to us all. Keep a close ear on this band in the day & months to follow.

Presenting the mixed-media video for “Breathless In The Park” from Bhura ft. Benny Boy courtesy of Chill Rose Place. Filmed by Flexin Beats & directed by CRP boss xCephasx; the hedonistic elements of the track are further translated in the visual frame that blends the analog & digital components together in that Chill Rose Place style that fancies vintage thriller films with an eye & ear on the future.

Speedy Ortiz presents the entertaining Emily Yoshida, Jose Gabriel Noguez & Rachel James visual for the new single “Lucky 88” featured off the upcoming album Twerp Verse available April 27 from the venerable Carpark Records. Sadie Dupuis, the band & friends lampoon our mobile phone app-obsessed society where dudes are transformed into slime & the world of catered convenience is exhibited like an installation video art piece devoted to our complacent new world.

Oceanator has joined the Tiny Engines family announced the new EP Lows April 13 with a listen to the honest single “Mistakes”. Brooklyn artist Elise Okusami exhibits all the aspects of shortcomings in electrified manners that resonate deeply down to the core of our being in a statement of humanism.

Rodney Cromwell delivered a listen to the electro-bright synth single “Comrades” featured off the Rodney’s English Disco EP available through the artist’s London imprint Happy Robots Records. Everything from motorik rhythm sequence & keyboard loops enter the audio picture in a track about colleagues & liaisons that soars like a paraglider through the deluge of overcast skies.

Ruler returned with the new single “Petrified” featured off the upcoming debut album Winning Star Champion available May 25 from Barsuk Records. The sentiments of being scared & taken by surprise are countered with a confident & lively arrangement that will help you to conquer whatever fears might be weighing you down in life.

Shapes in Calgary announced a new EP arriving this spring with a listen to the illuminating synths of “In French”. The Brooklyn duo of Gary & Alyssa Atturio send out sentiments to warm the winter freeze with earnest expressions that will wash over you in ways like candid conversation shared with a close friend.

Seen touring with Fairport Convention, the duo Winter Wilson provided a view of their Wilsoncroft Films video for “Ghost” off the album Far Off On The Horizon. Kip Winter & Dave Wilson provided acoustic strummed slices of wonder that marries the pangs of nostalgia with the challenges of the present that pave ways for futures of earnest intrigue.

BARDZ remixed Blonde Maze’s single “Thunder” that works in ambient rhythms & audio waves of wonders. The pensive reflections that take place during winter storms can be felt all throughout the remix that offers some warmth until the spring dawning arrives.

King Princess presented the reflective video “1950” from Clare Gillen that ruminates on styles from the golden era & far beyond. Mixing home videos of various film mediums, filters & more; the Brooklyn artist shares sentiments of love beyond the binary boundaries & a host of affectionate aesthetics featured off the forthcoming EP arriving later this spring.

TØMA delivered a listen to the nostalgia gazing new single “Book Of Yesterday” from their forthcoming EP. The Austin quartet exhibit the reflective reflexes of memory & sentimental thought through pop tropes that glimmer & glow like hallmark family heirloom charms that continue to shine after all these years.

Rock out to the power-pop bliss of “Big Cloud”, a collaboration between Wavves & Culture Abuse via Ghost Ramp. Catch Culture Abuse touring with Turnstile & Touche Amore & get lost in the clouds with the west coast’s purveyors of all things poppy & punky.

Off the recent Trippple Cross mixtape, ATL’s own Young Scooter gets all Breaking Bad in the visual for “Plug Lingo”. The bubbly track blends a hedonistic approach to the pedantic that riffs on illicit production for profit that bounces between the lab & the classroom over an addictive back beat.

RF Shannon shared the haunted introspection of “Cold Spell” featured off the new album Trickster Blues available May 4 from Cosmic Dreamer. The sounds from the dusty trails of life echo in ways like rolling tumble weeds that roll across the desolate highways to nowhere (and everywhere at the same time).

For Esmé announced the upcoming album Righteous Woman May 25 & dropped the synth-sewn single “Doubtmouth” that brings an anthem for all femmes & anyone breaking out of the societal modes & outdated systems. The gospel of doubting the archaic anachronisms & institutions of the ancient orders are heard in a series of affirmations that shatter the patriarchies to create inclusive platforms for a greater tomorrow.

Courtesy of Jansen Records, hear the track Hajk single “Untouch” about the areas where bonds both meet & break apart. Emotions are applied in earnest in evocative ways where the process of holding on & holding tight can be felt from the ephemeral arrangement.

A Beacon School is Brooklyn’s Patrick J Smith who recently announced the album Cola available March 23 from Grind Select & offered a listen to the beautiful single “Algernon”. The looping chords collect in ways like fluttering butterflies & fireflies that circle around your mind & spirit with an arrangement that will raise you up toward the atmospheric echelons of infinity.

Once and Future Band are re-releasing their EP Brain March 9 through Castle Face Records sharing the atmosphere floating single “Destroy Me”. The Oakland group grooves in ways that recall your dad or granddad’s prog rock records that mesmerize in arrangements of the sublime that send you to places of beguiling discoveries in the theater of the mind. Catch Once and Future on tour in the UK now through March, joining Castle Face boss John Dwyer & Thee Oh Sees for a few dates on the Castlemania tour with further dates in April on the As the Crow Flies Tour with Chris Robinson.

Stimulator Jones delivered a look at the sultry Steven Seymour & Sam Lunsford visual for “Soon Never Comes” featured off the release Exotic Worlds and Masterful Treasures available April 27 from Stones Throw. With a set appearance slated for Stones Throw’s SXSW Showcase on March 16; SJ shares the sentimental rhythms & blues with a mix of DIY visuals that further accentuate the sensual nature of the track that exudes the enticement of evening endeavors.

Wellness is Jordan Gatesmith from the Minneapolis group Howler who just joined the Forged Artifacts family with the announcement of the upcoming Mall Goth EP available April 6. Delivering a look at the Carley Solether video for “Fake Flowers”, Jordan showcases a cool group of mall goth bladers & boarders portrayed by Allison Goldfarb, Sarah Vande Kamp, Daniel Pope & Daniel Scarano that get involved with midnight-garb-clad rivals to beach-side séances set to the dreamy Wellness score.

Pale Houses played into our affinities for new romantic obsessions with their new single “The Ocean Bed” found off their upcoming Songs of the Isolation available March 30. The feeling of falling head over heels into the ocean deep are felt like the sentiments of sinking down deep into the sea’s floor & mingling with aquatic species that you have never before known.

Take a ride on a morning tram with Otzeki in the visual for “Pay the Tax” from Christian Cargill, Geoffrey Sentamu, George Service & Alex Young. The feeling of the working class struggle is seen on the daily/nightly tube twisting grind that allow Otzeki’s expressions & frustrations to ring through from car to car in transit to new horizons & destinations.

New Jersey by NYC’s The Foxfires shared a look at the Ryan Kroll & Tyler Zettler visual for “Don’t Give Up / Choose Love” that basks in the art of the performance visual in a sincere & minimalist manner. Inviting their friends to join in on all the fun, the group brings an upbeat sound of hope for the hopeless & offers a sound that you can believe in. Listen & watch as a million overcast days are transformed into an infinite array of sunny afternoons to spend with those that you love & cherish the most.

ANML delivered a listen to the urgent new single “Face to the Pavement” featured off the April 27 slated RELEASE! EP. Late night moods & ruminations are expressed in synth-baroque that surrounds like the shrouded backdrop of the darkest evenings imaginable.

LA’s Ecstatic Union brought us the energetic psych-styled new single “Desert Queen” from the Neurons EP available this June. The swinging sounds from the summer of 1968 are matched with the allure of what we imagine the forthcoming 2018 season of sun might sound like with plenty of electric dazzled-licks galore.

Tel Aviv’s theAngelcy presents a look at the Indy Hait video for “Dreamer” that focuses on that feeling of falling that are often experienced deep in states of R.E.M. levels of sleep. The rustic song is visualized with a sky-diving sense that descends from the clouds, illustrating the sensation of fear & panic where endless introspection moves down from the heavens & into the asphalt cradle of endless skyscrapers & buildings.

Nightmare Air announced the new album Fade Out available now from Nevado Music sharing the following new kinetic dream singles. Questions of affections & those involved are heard & on the inquisitive “Who’s Your Lover” that soars like a derelict love-note Valentine’s paper airplane sent across stormy skies.

Nightmare Air’s “Sir Excellent” battles for perfection & excellence in a consortium of electrified amplification that pushes the band’s gritty & gaze-y sounds toward their most refined level to date.

Shehzaad Jiwani from Greys is Golden Drag who shared the single “Aphex Jim” that features Twist’s Laura Hermiston, Julie Fader’s Chad VanGaalen, Glocca Mora & Dogs on Acid’s Neil Dionne. Available via Buzz Records, the track “Aphex Jim” ascends upward toward heavenly heights with harmonies & an electronic arrangement that will sing to your heart & head.

RVG presented the James Thompson video for “IBM” that presents performance visuals as seen through a vintage television tube lens. Musings on processors & interpersonal relations are told between a glam rock delivery & a curious collection of infectious & affectionate chords.

Experience Tourist Kid’s Crude Tracer courtesy of the imprint Melody As Truth that will add some ambient meditations to your day. From the opener of “Example” to the concluding “Petrol”, an entire new green world of spirit illuminating sensations will wash over your ears & the entirety of the senses.

Henry Green shared the Hattie Ellis visual for “Another Light” starring Maisie Walker & styled by Vanessa Lloyd. Featured off the debut album Shift available March 30 from Akira Records, watch as Green & Walker take their reflections to the extents of the shore where the earth & waters in meet over a subdued electronic score.

Well Well Well’s Seton Edgerton delivered a listen to the lovely acoustic EP Just Love recorded with just a $20 Paracho classical guitar with trumpet & accordion accompaniment provided by David Tcheng & engineered by Blake Dean. Emotive tracks like “Fearless Instinct” meditate on the animal nature of our collective characters, to reflections on strength with “Fortified”, to the old world brass & strings of “Not You Not Me”, pondering truths on “Truth in Pain”, to the closing “My Two Cents” that sends out a song of experience into the evening ether.

San Francisco’s Le VICE delivered a listen to their new single “Always There” co-produced by Donnie Scantz featured off the forthcoming Boys & Girls release. Electric feels that circle about the importance of being there for one another are illustrated in electronically expressed tropes of comfort & care.

Aileen Bryant presents a look at the self-directed music video for the beguiling “Galiano/ Gibsons”. The Vancouver artist takes a host of harmonic hums & places them in conjunction with a minimalist visual involving improvised dance motions that showcases the artist’s interpretations performed in front of both checkered & gallery-white backdrops.

Meyhem Lauren & DJ Muggs delivered the latest look from their Soul Assassins album Gems From The Equinox with the visual for the catchy “Redrum”. The dynamic duo rolls hard with plenty of attitude & life learned wisdom that mixes the old school boom-bap with the new school mentality of hard-knocks.

From Marmalakes’ upcoming album Please Don’t Stop available May 11 from Austin Town Hall, the group shared the anthem of respectfully autonomy with “Not Gonna Control You”. The Austin duo of Chase Weinacht & Josh Halpern illuminate the listener’s mind with a creative arrangement of sweet-sweeping electric vibes that sway with a whole lotta heart & a poignant passion that is like the sound of a love letter in audio form. Also check out the Marmalakes’ live video for “Not Gonna Control You” courtesy of a KUTX pop-up session.

Chris Orrick, formerly Red Pill, dropped the track “Bottom Feeders” feat. Fashawn produced by the Exile featured off the upcoming album Portraits available May 4 from the prolific Mello Music Group imprint. Also featuring production from L’Orange, Nolan the Ninja, Apollo Brown & Onra; the Michigan emcee rails against the societal injustices that pushes for the people (both local, national & international) to seek greater sky-high aspirations & stronger substances of character. In Orrick’s own words:

I tried to strip everything down to what I think I’m best at: simple, concise portraits of who I am. Whether that be finding myself through self-portraits, portraits of everyday workers, portraits of the current political moment or portraits of myself told through the eyes of people I encounter daily.

Ottowa, Canada’s Paragon Cause delivered some rays of light with their ethereal sound-scape single “Sunny”. The song moves in ways like an out of body experience, where one imagines themselves floating high above their environment & gaining a unique perspective that they have never before witnessed.

King Shelter turned heads & caught ears this past week with their new single “Blue Pigz” featured on the group’s debut album $hame available March 30. Employing big time power-chords with an enthusiastic delivery to match; King Shelter prepares to close out the hectic March Madness month with a slam-dunk of sound.

BOYS shared the tinsel-town dreams with their new single “Hollywood” that offers the feel of cruising leisurely down the extents of Sunset Blvd. while you are bathed in the glow of city lights. An ethereal arrangement met by chords that careen gracefully with the entire delivery; champagne visions of opulence are about to unfold before your very ears.

Catch Coast Modern’s MGMT cover of “Electric Feel” that explores the other ethereal & electric opportunities inherent in the pop hit. Mixing everything from dream & dance components, CM sends the contemporary classic outward into the oblivion of tomorrow. In the group’s own words:

Honestly we don’t remember making this. A few days ago the mastered file mysteriously appeared in our inbox. Electric Feel is one of those songs that doesn’t even need to be covered, the original is a psychedelic jewel. Anyway, hope we did it justice…power to the people!

Polaroid Summer presents a look at their Angie Duong video for “TIDES” that takes on the codependent components that connect us & break us. The process & pains of overcoming addictions are exhibited in jarring performance arts that focuses on the long painful journeys of reconnecting ourselves once again back to the beings that we wanna be. The group provided their own reflections:

“TIDES” is a song that represents the struggles of addiction, depression, anxiety and other trials that drastically affect our young community today more then ever. Although the track portrays struggles, it’s also a song about healing and how important it is to make a change for yourself. The chorus line Tides turning for the inside portrays just that. Our hope is that this song will help others through their internal struggles making them aware that they are not alone and to encourage them to open up and talk to someone.

Never Betters present a look at their Justis Krar video for “Pictures” featured off their split with local London, Ontario group Grievances available March 16. Featuring photos supplied by April Romano, the song & visuals reinforce the senses of nostalgia and the way that we crystallize & encapsulate those moments that stay with us in the most mystic of manners. Director Just Krar shared the following reflections about the making of the video:

The video for “Pictures” portrays common narratives we go through in life. Heartbreak, finding autonomy, shitty relationships, and reckless choices come to mind. Often the nostalgia felt for these memories is influenced by movies, TV and music, rather than our own actual experience. Pictures allow us to have our own story, not someone else’s fiction.

Announcing the new album Path, Kraus, oka Will Kraus, wowed the world with the dreamy new single “Bum”. From the upcoming album available March 9 from Terrible Records; Will textures music in ways that are uplifting in the mesmerizing senses that angle dissonance upward toward the towering atmospheres of eternal bliss.

Introducing SPAER, comprised of members from Psymon Spine, who delivered a look at the video for the new single “For You” off the forthcoming SPAER Vol. 1 available April 13 via Axis Mundi Records. An electro stew of creative intrigue is coupled with illustrious animated arts that compliment the glitching rhythms & electronic elements at work.

Swoll, from the people who brought you Paperhaus, Deleted Scenes & The Effects continue to capture our attention & affections with the gorgeous new single “You’ve Gone Away”. Featured off the self-titled album available March 9 from BLIGHT. Records, Swoll offers a sound that makes the heart grow fonder with dwellings upon the notion of absentia & the feelings that abound in the void of missing a special somebody in your life.

Jorge Elbrecht released the album Here Lies Out Now full of bright pop tones that will light up your mind & spirit. Featuring a creative assist from Tamaryn & Geneva Jacuzzi; Elbrecht’s latest record offers some of the year’s most inspired productions that runs the gamut from sound cycle that starts with “Endless Fire” to “Mirror”.

With their music played across a variety of platforms & programs, FOXTRAX delivers more of their big electric-main stage sound with “Lonely Man On the Island”. The sentiments of isolation & the emotion waves & thought cycles stream with a well tailored caliber of grit & a tight arrangement.

Spacebomb, aka Andy Jenkins graced us with the new down home single “Ascendant Hog”. The Richmond, Virginia artists steadily rolls with a nu-folk style & a straight off the farm approach that resonates with an endearing sound that imagines transcendent livestock coexisting in harmony.

Montreal by Ottawa’s own Future States shared a slice of “Heaven” with us via their new Golden Brown 7″. With a tour in the works, groove now to the subtle psych sounds of high flying celestial sentiment.

In case you missed Strawberry Mountain’s Live on KEXP sessions, feast your senses on the Seattle band’s new single “Long Ago”.

Also catch Strawberry Mountain’s KEXP session for the song “Bruce Springsteen”.

Boston’s Luke O’Neil & company, aka no hope / no harm, just released the EP Swimming In The Charles that brings about a batch of emotive power pop that sings to your most guarded sections of sentiments. Opener “Toxic Baby” is a jam that Bob Mould would probably adore to no end, to the heart-wrenching “I Know That You Don’t Care”, the anti-fascist anthem of real awakenings on “Punch a Nazi in the Face”, the painstaking vulnerabilities of “Pony Boy”, the self-image battles of “Our Vile Body”, to the finale that ruminates about the pains of living the modern age on “This Living Wage”. Movements to be kinder to one another are illustrated in a series of instances of the encounters & weirdness that keep us up at night.

Victoria Haynes & Shode Non delivered another EP via Dog-Hat Bootlegz with the Loco Motion EP that presents new ambient pastoral for daily meditations. The synth cathedral incantations begin with “Forget Or Drive” that moves in a variety of inspired directions that stirs feeling of fully realized environments of feeling & conscious thought. “The Point of Walking” works to conquer the sum of all our fears that resounds like a DIY exercise of braving the outdoors & the places that are away from our comfort zones of operations & abode.