Here to distract you from the glut of depressing media and the ensuing threat of Fall descending upon us, Impose’s Week in Pop brings you a look at and listen to the future and today’s most promising artist breakthroughs. But first, we’ve got some of the biggest buzz around with our news round-up where Heems announced that 20th Century Fox bought his story rights for what might be an upcoming sitcom based on his life; Lil B is living up to his “Gotta Make the NBA” dream by trying out for the Philadelp9hia 76ers’ D-League team—the Delaware 87ers; Grimes discussed more details about her forthcoming album and other revelations, also launched Eerie Organization artist co-op with Nicole Dollanganger’s Natural Born Losers slated to be the first release October 9; Kanye West to receive the honor of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at this Sunday’s 2015 MTV Video Music Awards; Run the Jewels, Nas, and Leif dropped Riot Boi, and released the video for Sophie-produced cut “Koi“; with Zack de la Rocha collaborating in the studio; Dr. Dre apologized to “women I’ve hurt”, ex-fiancée Michel’le responded, and Dee Barnes also responded; Bat For Lashes debuted “Sexwitch”; Azelia Banks rescheduled her tour; Tyler, the Creator cancelled four of his UK dates citing “circumstances,” then later revealed that he is banned in the UK for 3-5 years “based on lyrics from 2009”; Glenn Danzig slated to guest star on “Portlandia”; get ready for a six-disc Velvet Underground Loaded boxset in time for the holidays; director of an unreleased Majical Cloudz video alleges plagiarism on the Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” video; new Adele album slated for November; One Direction hiatus appears to be on the horizon; Eazy-E’s son Yung Eazy claimed his father was killed by Suge Knight; Morrissey’s novel List of the Lost has been announced for release September 24; and we continue to celebrate the life and indelible influence of Aaliyah 14 years after her untimely passing.
Shifting our consciousness to the present and near future, we are proud to present the following exclusives, interviews, and more from The Black Ryder, Blasteroid, Pagiins, Solvey, Threading, Daddy, New Move, El Tryptophan, Behaviors, The Fashion Focus, Jesus Sons, Lanterns On The Lake, Luwum, Shanee Pink, Xarah Dion, featuring guest selections by Fielded and more—in no particular order.
The Black Ryder
(The Black Ryder’s Scott Von Ryper & Aimee Nash at Mercury Lounge;p photographed throughout by Jeanette D. Moses.)
As they prepare to embark on their September tour dates with The Jesus and Mary Chain; The Black Ryder duo of Aimee Nash and Scott Von Ryper presents the world premiere of the Suzy Poling directed video for “Until The Calm Of Dawn”. Featured on their album The Door Behind The Door released earlier this year, the Ryders’ grandiose landscaping sweeping sense of sound and sci-fi lullabies becomes transformed into a multi-dimensional art exhibit attraction experience. Poling’s take on “Calm Of Dawn” discovers a sweet and soft surrender through a French new wave film approach where abstract dishes of whirring light designs, oils, paints and other types of medium textures, and multi-sensory effects are all brought together in play.
Aimee and Scott’s duet “Until The Calm Of Dawn” becomes a window view feast for the eyes like watching a blizard of various shapes, lights, moving surfaces made up of various markings and fracture lines. The duo’s assurances of “don’t cry, don’t hurt yourself” and “everything is fine” become treated by Suzy’s aesthetic interpretations which find what resembles at times the various indescribable things observed from peering through the skin lid curtains of eyes closed and shut tight. The Black Ryder’s appointed music box opening begins the image collage voyage, where circled dots of lights move in horizontal paths and cycles at various timing, distance proximity, and speeds while the b/w luster of chard celluloid descent of materials descends in a downward motion. While Aimee and Scott create a cradled disarming sense of safety in their bedtime benediction, the various array of vagueries in the artistic imagery take the form of dream stream types of fabric that keep moving even after the waking mind has retired from the duties, and stresses of the world. The Black Ryder took a moment to chat with us while on the road in an interview featured immediately the following video debut for “Until The Calm Of Dawn”.
First things first; tell us all about what this epic North American tour has been like with The Jesus and Mary Chain?
I don’t think we could have hoped for a better tour to be apart of. The Jesus & Mary Chain have been a long time favorite of ours & were an inspiration for wanting to make music or even play in a band in the first place. It’s an honor & quite surreal to find ourselves on tour with them.
They’ve been really lovely with us & the shows themselves have been powerful & inspiring. The audiences have also been very open & warm with us so it’s felt like a perfect fit.
Any anecdotes of interest? Possible collaborative air happening at all between you two and the Reid brothers? Favorite road moments thus far?
I never thought I’d be standing on a stage with the Mary Chain singing ‘Just Like Honey’, so that’s been quite a highlight.
Other than getting to see them play so many great shows & feeling like we’ve played some great shows ourselves, another highlight was when Jim Reid & members of JAMC + crew surprised us by turning up to our in store at Amoeba Music in San Francisco. Jim very kindly bought our CD & had us sign it, which was very sweet & generous of him & it meant a lot to us.
Honored to premiere the beautiful, lush, & abstract pop art video from Suzy Poling. It feels not only like such a mixed media extension of your album The Door Behind the Door-but almost like you’re in a living multimedia art installation piece. Tell us about how Poling’s video adaptation came about, and how you both feel it adds onto the mythology at work on The Door Behind the Door.
Thank you! Suzy & I connected quite randomly & auspiciously on a day out in LA. We didn’t know anything about each other, but we knew that we clicked & had an instant connection.
In addition to working on our album I’d had my head in a lot of art books & was doing a graphic design course, so I was immersed in all sorts of visual art. I had a particular fondness for James Turrell. I’d seen the Turrell exhibition 3 times here in LA & although I’d been a long time fan of his work, I was so inspired by seeing his art in person, experiencing the way he works with light, darkness, color & perspective had a profound effect on me.
Suzy and I have a lot in common, and the more we got to know each other the more we started talking about collaborating. Suzy is an incredible artist & she has such a wonderful imagination & so many amazing talents. Given the music we’re making represents light + darkness & duality it made perfect sense to have that same dynamic present in the visual accompaniment to the music.
In addition to Suzy creating our album cover artwork that represented a portal / doorway into another dimension (which she achieved with absolute aplomb & we were so thrilled with the final outcome) she also made these amazing films which have become part of our live show. They certainly add something extra special to our shows.
What have you two been listening to a lot of while on the road?
I find myself listening to a lot of binaural beats, drones, sitar, Ravi Shankar, meditation material because I feel like my brain needs a break from listening to music when we’re on the road. It’s what I listen to at night because it helps settle my overactive mind.
I did enjoy listening to Rick Bain + The Genius Position Crooked Autumn Sun because it’s one of my favorite albums & it’s one of those records I could never get tired of listening to. Santo & Johnny also helps when you want to drift off to somewhere dreamy. Howlin’ Wolf & Lightnin’ Hopkins sound pretty great on any road trip. Comedians like Patton Oswalt, Mitch Hedberg, Jeff Ross, because laughter comes in handy when you’re on long drives.
Is there anything that you can tell us about the follow up to The Door Behind the Door?
Our final headline show is this Friday at the Roxy in LA, then we have 6 more dates with The Jesus & Mary Chain which will be our last shows for the year. It took quite a lot of effort & hard work to release this album on our own label (The Anti-Machine Machine). A lot of business, deadlines, pressure.. so I’m actually really looking forward to getting back to the creative side and less business. It’ll be nice to work on some new music, visual art / graphic design, films…it’s been a great experience to play the shows we’ve played this year but I’m also really looking forward to having some time once again for working on some new creative projects. I’m not quite sure what the new music is going to sound like, but I’m excited & inspired about making something ‘new.’
Any other privy insights into the creative processes and constructive song building techniques that you both employ for The Black Ryder?
I suppose the approach I’ve always taken is that I completely immerse myself in whatever it is that I’m doing. Not compromising & not doing anything half-assed is essential because I’ve always wanted the best result that we could possibly produce. There are no set formulas to what we do, but there’s a lot of persistence, hard work & integrity in the way we approach things.
We’ve definitely done this our way & we made music that was emotively inspired as opposed to trying to write ‘hit’ songs. I think that to create something honest & original you have to be prepared to take some risks, not be afraid to fail or worry about how people will judge what you do. Music to me has always been a place for honest expression.
Once your music is out, people will love it, maybe even hate it, and it’s best if you’re prepared for that & just make the kind of music that you want to make. You can’t please everyone, but if you’ve done your best & you can make something you believe in and feel proud of then you’ve already succeeded, & if you make something that’s good enough it will find it’s audience.
The Black Ryder’s The Door Behind the Door is available now from the duo’s own imprint, The Anti-Machine Machine.
Catch The Black Ryder playing tonight in LA at The Roxy Theatre, and the following dates with The Jesus and Mary Chain:
22 Philadelphia, Union Transfer
24 NYC, Terminal 5
25 NYC, Terminal 5
27 Washington D.C., 9.30 Club
29 Boston, House of Blues
30 New Haven, College Street Music Hall
Introducing Brooklyn’s Blasteroid, a trio who couple asteroid blasts into the raging comets of sound. Presenting a first listen to their single “Oaf” from their forthcoming Pretty Good EP available this fall; Troy Chryssos, Jesse Bielenberg, and John Shankman build upon their band pact (that was made over the phone on Christmas Eve, 2014) and commitment to kicking out solar system scorched sounds according to their own bonded trifecta. Recording at Tarquin Studios and anywhere else they could, the three received a tracking assist from Greg Giorgio, Peter Katis, to getting their EP christened by Deerhoof’s own Greg Saunier during the mastering process. The group rides off the indolent slacker chords subjects and reflective objects of indolence that become draped by effects laden avalanches of distorted progressions and sections that create cause for repeated and closer listens.
Blasteroid’s “Oaf” takes a fantastical and imaginative route down the avenues of indecision and the emphasizes the importance of indolence. Discussions and inquiries into life choices and career options are thrown to the wind like the way nature it’s own wild whims into the arbitrary directions that get caught in a mariner’s sail. Blasteroid’s Troy, Jesse, and John turn up their razor sharp riffs to encase their verses in pure blistering barrel fulls of relentless scuzz. Global investments, pressures from peers and family to win at life, dream-like mind theaters of the absurd eschew the conventional paths of the straight and narrow for a fist full of wild cards. Questions of academics, religious impositions, the sour punch sting of cold coffee and wake up calls to smell reality are turned into stream of consciousness recitations of latent visions that surface into the conscious frame where harmonic choruses provide a floating emotive tone that becomes quickly bookended by movements of and methodologies to steer the distorted oars of “Oaf” into terrains that resound as something like the stomping ground abodes of extra-terrestrial lives existing in alternate dimension and/or galaxies. Immediately after the following first listen to Blasteroid’s new single, be sure to read our epic interview with the band’s own Troy Chryssos.
Prior to those epic Pretty Good EP sessions; tell us about that fateful Christmas eve when Blasteroid was formed between the three of you. What sort of pacts over musical abrasion and distortion affinities would give rise to Blasteroid?
In the weeks leading up to that Christmas, the three of us had been working on writing songs for a folk-rock band we were a part of at the time. As we got closer and closer to our self-imposed end-of-December deadline for having those songs completed, we realized that we had totally failed to write any decent folk songs, but had written some really out there post-rock/shoegaze stuff. Once we got home for the holidays, those early concepts really started to germinate, and we began sending voice memos back and forth to each other. On Christmas Eve the three of us hopped on a conference call and agreed that screaming, metric mods, and guitar feedback were way more fun than being Wilco-lite. We didn’t really come up with a solid plan other than “we should buy more fuzz pedals, make a new band, and make sure we’re never upstaged at a gig again.” We realized we had become enamored with the ability that bands like MBV or Deerhoof have to hold their audiences in rapture. It’s like a kind of sorcery activated by musical aggression. That’s what we wanted for ourselves. We yearned for that power.
Give us stories from Tarquin Studios, and the various basements, and apartments that created the the Pretty Good EP, and what working with Peter Katis and Greg Giorgio, and then later Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier for mastering?
I think one of the defining moments in finding the sound of the EP came when Greg Giorgio started having us record guitar takes through this broken preamp which ran into an old Victrola horn. We were using these toy guitars and the sound coming out of this horn was just vile; a screeching, slashing, velcro-y sound. Once we heard that it was sort of like “Oh so THAT’S what the EP needs to sound like!” Peter and Greg were good at that kind of thing- giving you these absurd tools at just the right moment.
The vocals were recorded back in our apartments, but we ran into interesting noise issues thanks to some odd neighbors. John lived above a barbershop on Avenue D at the time, which happened to be the neighborhood hangout spot. They would pull cars up onto the curb way after the shop closed and just blast Bobby Shmurda, Romeo Santos, crazy dancehall music, whatever, while they hung out and smoked cigars. You could hear it in the tracks we were recording so John stomped on the floor to get them to turn it down and apparently almost knocked some of the barbershop mirrors off of the wall.
When we finished the mixes there was a lot of debate about what exactly we wanted out of mastering. We know some mastering engineers who can make these messy records totally beautiful, but we ended up deciding we wanted someone to take a hatchet to the thing and just obliterate it. We loved the way Deerhoof’s records sounded, so our manager, Jenny, suggested we reach out to Greg (who has mastered almost all of them). It was a shockingly simple solution to the problem: want to sound more like Deerhoof? Get Deerhoof to do it! We emailed Greg at like 11pm on a Tuesday or something and he responded at 6am the next day telling us that he thought the record sounded really cool and that he was down to master it. We just went into a tizzy. It was like your dad telling you he’s proud of you.
What impact do you feel that Saunier, Giorgio, and Katis had ultimately on the EP?
Peter and the Gregs are just total mad scientists. Peter and Greg (Giorgio) set the tone of excess and lunacy. Broken guitar amps, quadruple tracking everything, distort on the way in. We knew we wanted the songs to sound big when we wrote them, but Peter and Greg made them these giants with mangled guitars for feet that crushed the screaming villagers below. They took a very no-holds-barred approach to recording us that let things get so out of control in the best possible way. Greg Saunier was the King Kai to our Goku: we had this crazy potential in these mixes, this explosive force that was destructive but unfocused, and Greg took them to the next level. He honed the mixes so that the songs hit you with this razor edge, they snap you to attention. The mastering is super unorthodox in terms of filtering and distortion, which heightens this whole off-kilter feeling that we were pushing with our arrangements.
Tell us about you how you built “Oaf” out of answering the age old question of “so what are you going to do with your life now that you’ve graduated?” through the quandaries of pursuing a financing gig, playing Mario Kart to writing a ripping refrain surrounded by controlled mountains of scuzz?
With Oaf, it all started with the refrain riff. I had purchased this Boss Heavy Metal pedal after reading that all these Swedish black metal bands used it; apparently turning every knob all the way up is the so-called “Entombed” setting, named for the most prolific users of the pedal. Whenever I got frustrated with other records I was working on, or stressed about finding work, I would play with this pedal as a mental palate cleanser. It was basically a distraction from my responsibilities, and when I finally found a riff worth saving I decided the song should be about the anxiety that had inspired its creation. Jesse wrote the chorus chords, and the juxtaposition of the two sections reminded me a bit of an unruly child fighting with a patient parent. That’s where the lyrics started: my immature brain throwing a tantrum over being forced to grow up and the fear that goes with that, while my rational brain wrestles with that same fear but in a more detached, fatalistic way, as if explaining it to my therapist.
Can you tell us about what sort of groundwork is being set for a Blasteroid full-length?
Full lengths are a tricky business. While I’m disappointed that we live in a singles-driven music culture (I think it discourages serious engagement with music as art, yada yada), I also think making the case for a traditional ten to twelve song, forty-five minute album is tough. Putting together a dozen truly worthwhile songs is incredibly difficult, and there are more compelling packages for music than a traditional LP. I don’t know what that will / would be for us, but I’ll let you know once I figure it out. We are writing more songs though, which maybe gets at the heart of your question. Maybe we’ll just put out EPs forever. I know Radiohead joked about doing that once.
Notes from the Brooklyn scenes that you all are into right now?
There’s a lot of compelling, progressive shit happening in New York. There’s a willingness to experiment coupled with a critical ruthlessness that I think is pretty unmatched in other scenes. We definitely look up to acts like Leapling, Tiny Hazard, Celestial Shore, Ava Luna, JOBS, and a bunch of others who are writing really incredible, catchy songs but are totally willing to make audiences work for it a bit. We love being immersed in a scene where that sort of musical identity is appreciated and encouraged. Jesse specifically points to Freddy’s in South Slope as a place where he can casually go and listen to avant-garde noise and jazz. We’re definitely in good, loud, weird, company.
The dao of Blasteroid, or any wisdom you all can impart?
It’s not about how distorted it is, it’s about how distorted everyone remembers it being.
Blasteroid’s Pretty Good EP will be available later this fall.
Catch Blasteroid at their following upcoming shows:
22 Brooklyn, NY – Shea Stadium
29 New York, NY – Elvis Guesthouse
Arkansas’ own rambunctious wild ones Pagiins return with their new album Opium Den Pool Party on September 4 from Old Flame Records, and we proudly present the following advance premiere full listen. Having debuted the video for their song “Open Up Your Mind” two years ago; Leif Hinshaw, Chris Wood, Aaron Smith, and Dick Darden take you on a journey through the alternate worlds and zones of the DIY Fayetteville, Arkansas lesser known, let alone sung outside of the southern word of mouth territories. An adventure two plus years in the making of, Opium Den Pool Party is the wild soiree you have waited for that delivers the decadence of self-guided energetic pop garage vignettes to keep your fall soundtrack schedule cool.
Games of waiting along with the merits and pains of patience are on full display in the quick acting pacing of “In Time” that rocks and revels at a pace that has little need for conventional time keeping. Leif and company keep an open mind and ask their fellow listeners to do the same as they begin to dip into the Nuggets terrain of garage psych slices of fun on “Open Up Your Mind”, as they slowly crank up the distortion on the shit disturbing “Clicks”. Then like a nice hot grande size cup of coffee, “Wide Awake” jolts you into shape with a big and bug eyed rip ride through pepped up morning caffeinated jitters with a tough biting edge. “Things I’ve Learned” is that song you swear came out of that golden SST age to your favorite UK independent label band from the mid-to-late 80s that issues cold hard tough love wisdom with an anthemic and confident attitude. And while Pagiins leave you looking for comparative contemporaries, songs like “Hidden In The Dust” have the four horsemen making their own jittery sped up southern style of trad, continuing forward on trailblazing their own righteous riff rituals with the addictive “No Change”. With guitars and harmonies that stick with you, “Cigarette” takes a break for a quick puff where the group dabbles further in their surf punk rapid rally cries that lie between the beach and the beckoning of complete oblivion.
But Pagiins keep everything tight here, featured in full blazing form on “Idiosyncratic Ant Blues” where imaginative lives of insects and anxious deliveries run hand in hand together. The Pagiins keep it delightfully rowdy and always real without sacrificing any of the weirdness on the pure abominable snowman pasta fun of “Yetti Spaghetti”, right before dipping their toe into the virtually radio ready power pop clutches of the infectious “Safety Nets”. Compromise crafts and compliments keep on keeping on with the “Give And Take”, right before the southern dudes leave you with the sundown song of bittersweet parting on the closing familiar sway of “Good Things Take Time” that was practically designed to become a last call jukebox staple from now and forever more. Right after the following debut stream of Opium Den Pool Party, check out our interview with Leif Hinshaw as we get all caught up on what’s been going on with the band over the past few years.
Walk us from when we last talked around Good Things Take Time and Bad Things Don’t and Opium Den Pool Party?
We’ve been busy since Good Things and Bad Things. After we played SXSW, we did a month long tour with Holy Child and Sleeper Agent. Pretty much immediately after that tour we recorded Opium Den Pool Party at Living Room Studios in Atlanta and then did a short tour with Atlanta locals The Coathangers. But unfortunately, one of our drummers left unexpectedly and we ran into some financial issues, which caused us to push back the release of the album quite a bit. But after almost a year of being in post-production limbo, Opium Den Pool Party is finally seeing a release on Old Flame records and we’ve also just recorded another EP which should be out by the end of this year. We plan on hitting the road later this October and focusing on touring and working on another album for right now.
Do you feel that the enlightened punky party sound of Pagiins has increased with time?
Yes. Playing with two drummers allowed us to play a lot more aggressively, but now with one drummer we’re getting back to the sound we had back during the recording of the first EP. But we’re still bringing that energy we had with two drummers to our live shows and trying to entertain while also getting back to our roots musically.
Give us the latest scoop on what’s good in Arkansas these days?
It seems like people aren’t into the bar scene as much as they used to be. Fayetteville’s DIY venue, Backspace, has become the place to play lately. There have been a lot of really awesome touring bands come through the area. It seems like there’s a wider palette of acts passing through than there were in recent years.
Local artists you all dig?
Our newest favorite is Bik Fliqqr. These guys have all been in awesome bands in the past, and I love anything with Brian Abel in it. There’s also Prahnas, which is a punk band with a constantly changing lineup that never practices and chords are just yelled out before the song starts. It’s probably the most punk thing I’ve seen in town in a while. There’s also Ten High, High Lonesome, and Bombay Harambee, our buds from Little Rock.
Some privy insights into the world of Pagiins that we should know about, pagan rituals, routines, etc?
We never practice on the day of a show. Aaron never bathes or changes underwear on tour. Also, a couple of us have different colored converse that were given to us by an ex band members mom that we always wear during our shows.
Pagiins’ album Opium Den Pool Party will be available September 4 from Old Flame Records.
Solvey, aka NYC artist Jessica Zambri, proudly presents her world premiere of the video for “Late Night” directed by Nira Burstein that finds a kind of fantasy and comfort for quiet and lonesome solitude. The solo project from Zambri that Jessica shares with her sister follows up her recent video for “Til the Sun” from her recently release Killer Wail Records self-titled album, that depicts a playful yet personal reflection on those eras where the most intimate exchanges occur as a heart warming love story behind the artist and the personified character of a blue pillow.
Solvey’s “Late Night” blurs the places of reality and pretend where states and places of solace turn into worlds of make-believe manifested from the hallucinations of the heart. An evening at home with Jessica Zambri begins with cooking a home made meal for an appreciative plush head rest come to imaginative life who showers our heroine with guests, and exchanges of cartoonish expressions. A ballad about a private life lived home alone when it feels like there’s nothing else out there in the world tells the story of Solvey and the gallant pillow with a heart of gold. From the good times, the emotional times, the conventional ups and down span of a relationship can be seen as the emotional weight of “Late Night”‘s heavy heart is felt with every note and utterance.
Jessica described the the evening ambiance, and pangs of solace that inspired the song and video for “Late Night” with the following words:
When you spend enough time alone you can really mess with the weight of reality and fantasy. At the end of the day the only thing that seems to travel are the things you believe to be true. The good moments and the bad, have a shelf life.
Solvey’s self-titled album is avaialble now from Killer Wail Records.
Introducing Brooklyn’s El Tryptophan, the operating project of Gryphon Rue who premieres the title track from his forthcoming fall album Guilt Vacation, along with the convention crumbling cut “Wrinkle in Time”. Rue works in a re-envisioned approach to the rustic American folk arts, born from the lineage of Alexander Calder (he is his great-grandson), studying the tenets of electronic music composition with Marina Rosenfeld, Richard Teitelbaum, and Zeena Parkins at Bard College, his gig doing sculpture restoration, visual arts work and more; El Tryptophan is Gryphon’s own trip into these creative dimensions where new art forms are created.
The path of the avant-garde approach begins the album with title number “Guilt Vacation”, where Rue taps into that high from too much turkey consumption to issue a soft and sudden step into his world. Slight foot step chords, delicate string touches begin an odyssey into the experimental ether of mellow distortion adaptations and arrangement edges. Delving into the gradual sink of deeps sands and mind plagued granules of guilt absorption, Rue throws in sporadic chorus alt. pop hooks to mind-scapes that begin to open at the opening song’s end. In some ways, “Guilt Vacation” can be seen as a study of making a memorable and original opening track fit for an LP, or an art film intro segment.
The El Tryptophan ride continues on with the debut of “Wrinkle in Time”, where working within a three minute economy Rue keeps the dials and knobs place and time turning. Gryphon’s reaches toward breaking new sorts of sound barriers and special segmenting of various styles can be heard from the ambient sustain hums that keep the cinematic aspect much intact throughout. A found sound sort of loop of percussive fluttering noises are stitched by the constant present of atmospheres, as the flying and dipping swarms of sounds make continuous audio design patterns. Sparse strings emerge, as do big banging electronic digital bass bursts that still remain tightly sewn into what feels like an all organic affair. Venture further into the wonderful and sometimes weird world of El Tryptophan with our interview with frontman Gryphon Rue heard after the following “Wrinkle in Time” premiere.
How on earth did the whole inception, realization and creation of El Tryptophan come about, and what is it about this turkey-associated sedative sensation that inspires you creatively?
I was speeding through Nevada, eager to get to New York, trying to stay alert by listening to Todd Barry and Maria Bamford. I have a habit of recording myself talking to later excavate phrases for songs, call it a stream-of-consciousness method. I remember doing 90, babbling to myself, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear-view, and I said El Tryptophan. I looked like a werewolf or a stranger. I burst into a fit of laughter, and I guess the irony was I needed a good joke to keep my eyes on the road. I later find out L-Tryptophan is the compound for the herbal supplement you buy in the store, which I oddly didn’t know at the time.
What kind of time wrinkles and worm holes were running through your mind during the initial phases of making “Wrinkle in Time”?
Probably a grotto in my brain devoted to wondering what constitutes a ‘quarter life crisis.’ I composed “Wrinkle in Time” in a primitive way, editing without a grid or metronome. Most of the sounds are real instruments—violin, organ, percussion. I ‘heard’ the beginnings of the hustling flute beat that makes up “Wrinkle in Time” in a blip of Luc Ferrari’s Petite Symphonie, and I expanded the half second blip to craft the beat. It was a revelatory moment. My friend Ben describes the song as ‘elves frantically hammering at typewriters.’
What kind of guilt became the inspiration impetus for Guilt Vacation?
I feel a shapeshifting, reliable guilt. I say reliable because it is one I can escape into (a wormhole, if you like), an omnipotent, private purgatory. Surely this is a common problem connected to feeling pleasure and enjoyment. Even with loveliness, leisure, beauty, and good health, we can feel anxious, guilty, and ambivalent. Paradises surround us, but we still see garbage and corruption. Elvis Costello said ‘The only two things that matter to me are revenge and guilt.’ I like psychological lyrics, but I’m not a vindictive person.
Tell us about your time working with composers like Marina Rosenfeld, Richard Teitelbaum, Zeena Parkins, critical acclaim from Peter Himmelman, your time Bard College, etc; how have these combination of influences impacted your own musical studies, surveys, and works?
Gosh, that’s a mouthful. And it covers about half the history! I toured with Peter Yarrow (the man who wrote “Puff the Magic Dragon”) in Vietnam as a teenager to raise money for Agent Orange victims, and I was deeply into folk revivalism like Phil Ochs and Mississippi John Hurt. I had a stepfather who owned and managed the Gaslight Cafe and later Max’s Kansas City, and a grandmother who I performed folk songs with. Before that, I played bluegrass banjo with Bill Keith in Woodstock and was a jazz drummer at a socialist boarding school in Vermont. After moving to Bard from Naropa, a Buddhist University in Boulder founded by the Beat poets, electronic/avant-classicists like Marina and Richard challenged me to focus on atmosphere and texture, and exposed me to composers like Eliane Radigue and Maryanne Amacher. Zeena Parkins encouraged me. As director of an ensemble of 30 people—for which I was a drummer—Zeena controlled the chaos. Bob Bielecki—an electronics mastermind and a very kind man—was my primary mentor; Bob told delightful stories about the commune where he partnered with Laurie Anderson, and he inspired me to try a Vipassana meditation silent retreat. Peter Himmelman is a lifelong friend, and I’m fortunate to have his wisdom as an emerging musician. Truthfully I have no idea how this eclectic mix of people came into my life. I try and take something from each of these experiences and translate it into my music.
Describe for us what set the stage for the making of Guilt Vacation.
After recording an EP called Good mourning, Short Companions (including a song with Dean & Britta), I reacted against its mellow, mid-tempo quality like finding a beetle in my mouth. I had to record something more encompassing and experimental. Guilt Vacation was spurred by a couple prickly ‘romantic’ experiences that left me feeling like a shell. The chorus, “Issue me a warning, before I hurt you” eventually replaced “You make me horny, it’s true”, which was an ironic, temp lyric. Well, Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” began as “Scrambled Eggs”, so maybe I’ve got an excuse.
As a great grandson of Alexander Calder, I’m interested in hearing about how he helped to shape your electronic and organic aesthetic styles.
I’m delighted that you see a relationship between my music and his art, I think spiritually Calder’s work definitely has a similar aesthetic to the one you mention, even though he worked before electronics. I spent 2013 studying and writing about Calder’s relationship to sound and twentieth century music, and particularly to his close friend Edgard Varèse, who was composing Ionisation (1929-31) when they first met. This process revealed to me the poetry in his disparate beasties, how he synthesized weight, form, size, color, motion, and noise. He was making sculptures like the first-ever hanging mobile Small Sphere, Heavy Sphere (1932-33) that performed real-time improvised music twenty years before John Cage’s chance pieces.
For you, how do you describe the Gryphon Rue aesthetic method?
Hmm…sounds a bit like a breathing exercise! I’m not sure I have one, I’m trying to focus on the process being a pleasurable experience. There are 20 musicians from hardcore, jazz, folk, improvisational, and electronic backgrounds on my album Guilt Vacation, and at the very end of recording it I was listening to Here Come the Warm Jets, where Eno used a similar approach, directing musicians from eclectic backgrounds. Eno played with doo-wop vocal quirks, and improvised his lyrics in the studio to suit the arrangements, whereas the lyrics on Guilt Vacation were fleshed out before the songs were recorded. The process was collaborative until I got to the cutting room, to shape and sequence the thing. Music and the whole process has always felt like what Zappa said about ‘sculpture for your ears to look at.’
What do you find to be the most inspiring and amazing thing about Brooklyn right now?
The people. I love Manhattan, but I can see why my friend Paul calls it ‘Work Island.’ And yet, if Brooklyn is anti-Work Island, shouldn’t that stance be more radical? My friend Jenae said that if a person fills their day with acro-yoga, coding class, and burlesque theater, Manhattanites don’t respond like, ‘wow! It’s wonderful that you’ve got all these interests!’ but rather;’ She doesn’t have her shit together. She’ll never succeed unless she focuses on one skill.’ I think we Brooklynites need to maintain our work ethic but resist the backasswards, guilt-laden pressure of Work Island.
What’s next for you after the release of Guilt Vacation on Wharf Cat?
Wharf Cat is doing vinyl distribution. I’m in the process of filming a video of Dean Wareham, Christine Sun Kim signing lyrics in ASL, and a children’s choir for a song off the album called Google Portrait. I wrote lyrics and played guitar for Will Epstein’s (High Water) debut full-length, co-produced by Nicolas Jaar, which will be a very exciting release. I also have the pleasure of curating an exhibition opening at Ballroom Marfa in Fall 2016. Since we are talking music, I’ll mention that amid sculpture, film, and tapestry, the show will include new sound artworks by Lucky Dragons and Haroon Mirza. Haroon is planning a circle of 9 boulders set in the desert producing electronic music in accordance with the solar cycle.
Parting words of wisdom?
Meditate daily, and take disappointing text messages with a mound of salt and a fucking lime.
El Tryptophan’s Guilt Vacation will be available this fall.
Michigan’s Threading returns with a world premiere listen to the ceramic shattering “Porcelain” off their forthcoming You Are Never Enough EP available September 18 from The Native Sound. We last heard from Tyler and the gang last February with their Unconditional Arms split, and now the band continues weaving their dream soaked tapestries established through their catalog that counts the EPs Willing In Woe, Azure, where colors and woe find deeper, and more expansive channel chambers to fire from.
Threading’s Tyler, Brett, Grant, and Jake share one of their biggest sounds that finds a balance between the hushed melodic verse delivery and sections of big emotive guitar weights that crush like electric anvils falling like rain into dense oceanic waters. “Porcelain” shatters in a major way, where the guitars gradually howl a bit louder in a growl that is tempered by the omnipresence of feelings that make every note charged to incite a host of internal reactions and responses. The art of letting go of superficially established loves is cast into a free fall form, lamenting that certain beautiful one that got away and disappeared into the confusion and mysterious blanket of night—never to return. We once again were able to catch up with Threading’s Tyler in our latest conversation featured after the following debut of “Porcelain”.
Tell us about what’s good these days in Michigan, and how Michigan has inspired the You Are Never Enough EP.
Michigan is…interesting. It’s generally pretty uneventful here. Extremely humid during the summer and very cold in the winter. Although there’s a few wonderful things about Michigan overall it can be relatively miserable. At the same time, how uninspiring a place is can sometimes inspire you in certain ways if that makes sense.
Tell us about the road to Never Enough, from Azure, Willing In Woe, and how you feel your sound has progressed further into these sonic realms.
Azure was our first record. It was just three of us then. We just wrote a few songs together and put it up. It wasn’t much beyond that. Willing in Woe was our first release with a solid line up. Those songs were definitely just us feeling each other out and deciding what we really thought we should be doing. I honestly think that EP is probably everyone in the bands least favorite thing we’ve done. You Are Never Enough was planned out much more than anything we had done before. We spent a few weeks writing with the intent to have all the songs somehow work together. The other change was us going into a bigger studio. We spent over a week at Rancho recording these songs we had written. We spent full days just figuring out guitar tones for the songs. I feel as though this was the hardest thing we’d ever done together. Some of the songs were basically re-written while recording. And it seemed we had all reached our limit at a few points in the process. But I will say there was a lot more thought and emotion put into everything musically and lyrically. In the end I think we came out of it with something we were all pretty proud of. We’ll probably hate it in a week though.
Give us the story behind “Porcelain”, and what sort of porcelain objects informed this number?
“Porcelain” follows the main theme of this entire EP which is sex, love and lust and the ground in between. “Porcelain” in particular focuses on a past love that cannot be forgotten and is continually revived by lust alone and hence cannot be mended due to the absence of a true love.
What does a usual Threading brainstorming, practice, song sketching session look/sound like? Any preferred rituals we should know about?
Usually it involves me (Tyler), Grant and Brett drinking too much wine and playing some random riffs until they somehow work together. Our drummer Jake is one of the most impressive musicians I’ve had the opportunity to work with so we just give him free range to pull it all together. We are fueled on Gin and Pinot Noir.
Further fall and winter plans for Threading?
We’ll be on tour supporting You Are Never Enough at the end of September. You can keep updated on dates and shows via any of our social networking sites.
Threading’s You Are Never Enough EP will be available September 18 from The Native Sound.
Meet Daddy, aka Saleh Ramazani who just dropped the first track off his forthcoming EP Youth FM: A Teen Odyssey with the sparse beat deluxe boutique of “I Think I’m In Love”. Born in Egypt, brought up in Ireland, a stint in the ATL to currently residing in NYC where Saleh dabbles in photography, stand-up comedy, films, and music arts; Ramazani as Daddy takes the patriarchal role of further nurturing his inner producer, writer, and performer. Known too for his work with his brother Benji (who also mixed and mastered the track and EP) under the title as the Ramazani Bros; together they trip up the step of the classical modern beat mode into new patterns, and sequences that keep the evocative aspects of Daddy’s r n’ b pop heard through slightly echoed and muddied effects (even including strings that appear in the background) set of lenses.
Give us the break down on the passion that informed “I Think I’m In Love”.
Firstly, thanks so much for taking the time to listen to my song. ‘Trying to get to you feels like I’m walking on the moon, I know you saw my text it says you read it at noon.’ That feeling you get from an unanswered, yet read message is something my generation is the first to ever experience. It’s a terrible feeling. My parents don’t know anything about that. For them it was unanswered phone calls from the person they liked. But with the read receipt you immediately know this person doesn’t mess with you anymore. I was thinking a little bit about my last relationship but mainly this girl who just reads my messages on Facebook all the time and doesn’t respond, although things were good and I didn’t do anything to her. I guess she just got over me.
Give us the story about your globe hopping journey about being born in Egypt, raised in Ireland, a stopover in the ATL, to your academic/musical/comedy/photographic careers in NYC.
I was born in Egypt then my family moved to Ireland when I was three. That was weird. A black, Muslim, family (well my mom’s a Christian) in Egypt moves to Ireland, the whitest and most Catholic country ever. We were the first black family in our neighborhood and my brother was the first black kid at his school ever! There’s a newspaper article about us in the Irish Times. But by the time we left in 2007 it was super diverse. I loved it.
We moved to Lithonia, Georgia in 07, an all black community. It was our first time really living around black people and we were excited but it also broke our hearts to see how divided black people in America were. Our house got broken into like three times in one year, I saw shootouts at the movie theater a few times, and went to school were there were gangs and drug dealers. Big change that we didn’t see coming. We just thought it was gonna be a regular suburb. So we moved the hell out of there to the suburbs in Marietta, Georgia which is more diverse but mainly southern, white, conservative families.
Up until junior year of high school I had no clue of what I wanted to do in life. I was this shy and quiet straight A nerd. Then I got inspired to start doing stand up comedy but I was still shy and wouldn’t tell anyone my jokes and had nowhere to perform because I wasn’t 18. That year Tyler, The Creator’s music came into my life, then I met him on the street and got a 30 minute lecture about life and dreams from him. I immediately burst out of my bubble and became loud. Everyone in my family was shocked. I started shooting music videos for my brother and his friend who would encourage me to study film more because he saw that I had an interest there. I discovered NYU and cancelled my original plans of aiming for Harvard and Columbia where I would’ve hated myself (I visited Harvard this summer and can confirm that I would’ve hated it). NYC is where I really learned that age doesn’t matter and you can really be who you want to be and do what you want to do which is something I talk a lot about on Youth FM. I really found myself in New York.
Where do you find your many travels have impacted your own variety of arts?
It’s really made me a people person. I think I got to understand how we all relate. My first language is French, I lived my childhood in Europe, I’d spend most of my summers as a kid visiting family in Belgium. I’d see how American entertainment was so dominant in the lives of people who didn’t have a full comprehension of what a lot of the content was about. At the end of the day it’s about the feeling you give to people who encounter your work. I got called “white boy” a lot growing up because I didn’t only like the things that a young black boy is “supposed” to like. I’ve always mixed and matched with my interests, clothing, taste in film, and culture so my work in the end is always a combination of various styles and interests.
Describe what it was like for you recording Youth FM: A Teen Odyssey.
In June I bought myself a pink electric guitar and decided to teach myself to play. At first I was just making random love songs because I’m a sucker for 70s and 80s ballads and I was still dealing with feelings from my last relationship. I had found the name for the project, then I went to Montreal (my first getaway from New York in a long time). That was a spiritual journey and I got to do a lot of thinking about my life and where I was at, as well as what that title of the EP really meant to me. When I got back I booted the original songs on the EP and started talking about how I really feel (the good and the ugly). Every morning I’d wake up, turn on my laptop, grab my guitar, sample some drums and distort the hell out of them, eat a bowl of Coco Puffs, add some super distorted 808s and then figure out some pretty melodies on my guitar as well as pretty synths because I love noise and cute/beautiful sounds. I’d write a song everyday and let it be the soundtrack for that day. It was a very personal recording process. Just me by myself in my room. It was my first time actually singing. I’ve always wanted to sing but was always afraid but my brother just yelled at me enough that I finally stopped being scared.
Fall winter plans for Saleh, your other artistic pursuits, and your work under the moniker of Daddy?
I’ll be making a short film in the fall which I’m excited about because I’m finally finding exactly how to tell the stories I’ve always been interested in that I don’t see portrayed on screen. I want to work harder with stand up and stop slacking off with it. I’ve got friends that I met when I first got into stand up who literally get on stage every night now and I need to get back at it like that. I’m directing some music videos for Ramazani Bros. (my Pop-Rap duo with my brother Benji) as well as releasing our EP later in the year. As Daddy, I’m still wrapping up my EP but I want to release more content from it soon in a cool and interesting way. That’s all I can say for now.
Describe the collaborative connection you and your brother Benji share, both on your individual projects, and together as Ramazani Bros.
Benji is my best friend and older brother so he’s really the only person in the world who completely gets my weird ideas and me, vice versa. Together we handle all aspects of our projects (writing, producing, recording, mixing, mastering, cover art, etc.) Whenever he’s involved in anything that he sees a future in he drags everyone around him into it. But he’s so tough on people that the weak usually leave quickly and I was stuck in the end, which is how Ramazani Bros. started. He literally made me cancel my Spring Break plans in March (I paid for a flight and everything) and we trapped ourselves in our bedroom at our parents house and started making our EP which we wrapped up in the summer. We both love different styles of music. He’s a purist and loves the classics. I’m the opposite. So that brings a cool mixture when we blend our tastes together as well as our humor because we’re so damn immature at times. He’s currently working on his first solo project in a while, trying to reinvent himself so we’re just whipping him all day every day to bring the heat. He’s literally the best singer, rapper, and producer—not beatmaker, I mean Quincy Jones level—he’s insane and his project is gonna blow people away.
Introducing Portland, Oregon’s New Move; from the vision of Jesse Bettis, who presents the world debut of “Take What You Can Get” that embraces the new lease on life one gets in the face of any uncertain circumstance. His forthcoming December 11 slated self-titled for Bug Hunt was supposed to have been released months back, but was delayed after encountering an unfortunate, life threatening event. A party hosted at Jesse’s home was interrupted by an intruder who stabbed Bettis in the ribs before taking off into the night. Meditations of life pursuits, mortality, and more in the hospital and during recovery provided a new outlook on life and a deeper immediacy, urgency and dedication to the rise of the New Move. From this musical platform, Jesse embraces the thrill of being alive by continuing the great modern traditions of songcraft that are penned and fashioned with the real heart and projected meaning.
“Take What You Can Get” exudes that take it as it comes approach to life but with an added zest and invigoration. Jesse gets the New Move moving on a power pop rhythm style progression that relies on the piano keys as much as the drums as overdubbed backup vocals create a haunted background chorus throughout. The post-Electric Light Orchestra career of Roy Wood could be utilized in comparison to the sound design Bettis creates where sincerity is pronounced through Liverpool by Birmingham by Portland scopes of sound where every note is struck in earnest. The needs of people are displayed in manners that mirrors life’s trials of happenstance, decorated by ornate LP style pop that makes even the most down cast clouded days of rain feel adorned with a dose of sunshine. “Take What You Can Get” reminds us that there are no guarantees for our respective wants and dreams while holding tight to those possibilities of the somethings and someones out there yet to be discovered. And what’s more, Jesse even breaks it all down at the very end to provide an element observation of the various instrumental parts that make up the full embodiment of the New Move.
Jesse Bettis provided us with the following thoughtful introductory preface reflection on the process of healing, and the new day/new dawn of the New Move:
Getting stabbed has a way of sharpening your perspective. It really isn’t very scary, in fact I often laugh when I think about how absurd life can be. Its important to me not to take it too seriously. This experience, more than anything, brought my priorities into the forefront of my mind and left me confident knowing that the most fulfilling thing I can do is to make music for the rest of my life.
The self-titled New Move album will be available December 11 from Bug Hunt.
Montreal’s Xarah Dion presents her self-directed, Emad Dabiri produced, featuring camera work by Paula Mera “Paularoid” video for “Sillage Et Caprice”—a new single that follows up her solo album released on Xarah’s own Zodiaque Music imprint. Featuring appearances from Anomalie Courante and Motorkiller Mood, the late night outings of adventuring into the evening streets, and public fountain bathing revelry provide dark sky inspirations to keep your inner summer goth spirit shining for all seasons. Xarah’s previous collaborations with Jerusalem in My Heart, and contributions to Les Momies de Palerme continues her aesthetic path toward making synth pop pearls that brighten the night’s sky further by bouncing rays and vibes forward from the moon’s reflection.
The Paularoid video for Xarah Dion’s “Sillage Et Caprice” scans the city landscapes with looping sinewy synth hooks that refuse to quit. From bright city squares, the company of friends Anomalie and Motorkiller take to the courtyard to the graffiti scrawled brick walled alleys, to neon color close ups of bug life; Dion crashes together the worlds of the magnified, the magnificent, as well as the microscopic. The Play about the fountains is flirted with throughout in between screen test negative prints, where eventually a lusty baptismal exchange between the lovebirds take place literally in the fountain itself (as if it were jacuzzi). Join us after the video for our interview session with Xarah Dion.
Give us the story on collaborating with Jerusalem in My Heart, your work in Les Momies de Palerme, to going solo and release your first on album on your Zodiaque Music label.
For the past years in Montreal, I was very eager to collaborate, try new ideas, build with many other people’s vision. I also had put a lot of time and energy in building a community around the now closed La brique loft. I had to go solo to explore my own psyche and musical connection and create a sound that would reflect my aesthetics and values. It came together with focus, a lot tears, generous collaborators and constant work.
Tell us about creating the incredible single “Sillage Et Caprice”, and what informed it’s inception for you?
I started writing the lyrics on a train from Luxembourg to Liege in May. It was a very slow train that nevertheless took me to through the most charming desolate mountainous landscapes and tunnels. I kept working on the words during the tour, collecting from moments of contemplation and ecstasy. The music came to me later when I got back to Montreal. I wanted to write a song that would hypnotize and do well for spoken voice. I recorded at my home studio and brought in Xavier Paradis (Automelodi) to collaborate on the mix.
Give us the story too on making the video with Emad Dabiri and Paula Mera (aka Paularoid), with Anomalie Courante and Motorkiller Mood. The visual component for “Sillage et Caprice” is really cool in this familiar, futuristic kinda way.
I had a first vision on a relatively decadent night where my friends and I ended up bathing in that fountain we see at the end of the video…Paula took a picture of Anomalie that immortalized the moment and came to inspire the fountain scenes. With the video, I wanted to capture some sense of yielding oneself to the unknown, the pursue of desires from alienation to transformation. I chose the settings and directed most of the scenes, while leaving space for the crew to improvise and bring forward their personality. We did two nights of shooting in a state of emergency and intoxication, locked into trance. The video was then edited and put together by Emad Dabiri in Berlin. Emad brought in futuristic treatments, extra footage and also contributed to the storyboard.
What else are you recording right now?
I’m currently recording a new solo album I have played in concert in Europe and in Montreal this year. It is a very coherent group of songs I wrote during the endless winter. I’m using the same analog instruments as in “Sillage Et Caprice” : Juno 6, SH101, micro brute, volca beats and elka rhapsody. The album should see the day before the end of the world. I am also in the process of recording a first EP with my doom metal band Saw Mass.
What are you listening to a lot of right now as well?
Being a resident DJ at Casa Del Popolo in Montreal, I do research for my sets in order to bring the best music to the party. My focus these days is underground dance music polarized around synth music, pioneers in their genres alongside contemporaries. I play post-punk from Italo to EBM…anything that draws you in…and when I’m not working, I listen to rebetiko and mostly ΦΩΤΕΙΝΗΣ ΜΑΥΡΑΚΗΖ. You can hear 50 minutes of her voice quenching the thirst for life here:
What are you most excited about for your forthcoming European tour with Godspeed You! Black Emperor?
Godspeed You! Black Emperor has had a profound impact on me as a young adult. Their esthetics, mystique and politics have been a source of inspiration, solace and reflection to me. When they offered me to go on tour with them, I received the news with much excitement and wonder. I am delighted to travel and share the stage with them.
Cool things happening right now in Montreal that you are excited about?
I will be curating a series of musical performances at Casa Del Popolo for Phenomena festival this fall which will bring together cutting edge artists from different backgrounds. The programming will be up soon here.
LA’s Shanee Pink just released her new EP Twin Flame and gives a first listen to her single “Brutal Heart” that rips the heart out Temple of Doom style in a pop tune tale of fierce attractions and attachments that encompass the most complicated of fiery desires. The artist who hosts the Laurel Canyon music scene’s month gathering titled “Laurel Canyon Music Revival”; Shanee keeps the kick and fire inside burning bright while fostering the same for her local peers.
“Brutal Heart” is for all intents and purpose a pop song. What is interesting is what lies within the views and angles of the production. Smoky see-sawing synths set the stage for the displays of the most aggressive sorts of amour are wrapped in a consiousness dividing whirling blur of dissonance. The rollercoaster romance is heard in the ultra-pop fast lane that reaches out to the title allusory twin flame soul mate character that remains offstage from the synthesizer buzz.
Shanee Pink provided us with a preface style introduction to Twin Flame:
Music can entertain but more than that it can soothe the soul. Making music has always been like medicine to me. It’s a way for me to purge whatever is boiling up inside me instead of suppressing it. I’m sure a lot of people would agree about the healing power of listening to music. How many times have you heard a song come on the radio that expressed exactly what you were feeling in that moment? I think it’s really cool that one persons experience can be understood universally. I tried to keep that in mind when I worked on this record. At first I had set out to make an album that was fun and exciting to listen to. But I was also writing about a death and a rebirth that I was experiencing in my personal life, and I tried to work that into every song so that maybe other people could relate to it too.
Follow Shannee Pink via Instagram.
Jesus Sons are readying to release their new album Bring It On Home for Mock Records and we have a listen to the southwest rolling rocker “Randy’s Blues” followed by our most recent interview with frontman Brandon Wurtz. Celebrating their forthcoming record release September 10 at LA’s The Echo, the Sons keep on the right side of post-religious rituals with their new album recorded at El Segundo’s The Cave by Rob Good where the spirit of gritty rock sleaze that spans the roads from Sunset Strip rippers, Bakersfield blues, Muscle Shoals styles and NYC art damaged undergrounds. With “Waiting For The Man” piano progressions and a whole lot of howl and snarl, we catch up on everything Jesus sons with Brandon in our latest discussion featured after the following listen to “Randy’s Blues”.
Describe for us the homeward bound/down-home rock and roll feelings and inceptions behind Bring It On Home.
We spent some time on the road developing our sound in the past year. That lead to us bunkering down and cutting these songs. Every song on this record is a story in itself, so that’s why we figured “Bring It On Home” felt like an appropriate title.
Favorite moments from working with Rob Good, recording in El Segundo’s The Cave?
He’s the man. He’s super patient with us. We tend to get drunk and rearrange songs until we catch a groove, which sometimes leads to the songs taking a whole different vibe. Anytime we had an idea of what we wanted it to sound like, he always knew what we were talking about and made it sound killer. Like for instance making stereo drums on an 8-track Tascam 388 sound as big as some of our favorite old records. For just 1/4″ tape versus 2″ tape he made it sound huge.
Tell us about how the Jesus Sons summer of 2015 has treated you all.
Getting all our ducks in line.
Favorite things you have heard/seen/read in/around LA as of late?
A lot of killer bands and good attitude towards music. People are buying records, enjoying live shows, and writing some timeless stuff. The Creation Factory from Echo Park are a perfect example.
The fall / winter battle plan for Jesus Sons?
Hitting the road and recording more tunes for y’all!
Meet Behaviors, who just released the single “Don’t Fight It” that delivers an end of summer/beginning of fall cut full of all kinds of feels to help transcend the ebb and flow of solstices and tides of sound. Comprised of former members from Cassette Kids; Daniel Schober, Daniel Deitz and Jacob Read-Harber present their best pop savvy behaviors (with an assist from Frans Mernick) to bring their respective Sydney and NYC backgrounds a little closer together. With their self-titled slated for release later in the fall, “Don’t Fight It” is the sweet sensation of a surrender where the culmination of everything happening around one’s environment is adhered to with a live and let live mentality that allows aural outpour to fall upon the listener like the feel of standing beneath the waterfall that pours from the clearest, and most glorious of mountainous springs.
Behaviors described to us the process of recording their self-titled, and the fight or flight sentiments that informed “Don’t Fight It”:
“Don’t Fight It” is a song that champions positivity. “The light is shining / So please, don’t fight it” ; all of us find ourselves in dark places throughout our lives, to be cast out or not accepted. It was written with an intent to connect in solidarity with anyone who feels this way, and elevate the listener.
The track was born from a 16 second guitar loop that was ultimately assigned to the bass. It was one of those rare moments where we immediately liked the direction so we began to build layers of guitars and subtle percussion. As happens often, particularly with independent New York bands, much of the song, indeed the record was built inside the box. We would take what studio time we could to demo out the guitars, synth and bass and would choose a drum loop to work from.
When we got the tracks for the LP to a place of near completion, we spent time with Ben Goldwasser to flesh out the synth work and contacted great engineer and friend Matt Boynton and tracked out the live drums, percussion and mixed the record at Vacation Island Studios in the summer of 2014.
It was exciting to take on the challenge of independently writing, funding, recording and mixing a full length and to now finally share it is truly satisfying. We hope that people are enjoying Don’t Fight It and look forward to the record release.
Jesse Miller, aka Luwum dropped the lo-fi weeping and wailing guitar intrigue of “The Band” that presents miller embracing the merits of the one man band and the benefits of a good 4-track cassette recorder. Born to missionaries in Uganda, making traces across the states from Texas (formerly of the Denton, TX band Señor Fin), to Seattle (where he currently resides), and so forth; Luwum’s propensity for travel invites a kind of global spark that permeates his solo work like an artist who finds various degrees of ineffable fascinations—no matter where he travels. Places Worn from Luwum is available as of today from Olympic Dreams Records.
Earliest memories of Uganda, and the story behind receiving the name Luwum?
My family moved back to the U.S. when I was a one year old, so I have no memory of living in Uganda. I have been back to the village where I was born, though, which was really moving and kind of surreal. Everyone remembered our family and knew exactly who I was and was excitedly saying “Luwum!”and greeting me in Luo in high pitched voices. I felt really welcomed and loved and weirdly at home in a place I have no memories of living. It was my Luo grandparents, Tito & Min Jen, who named me Luwum, after Janani Luwum. My sister’s given name is Atim.
Like the title and sound throughout the album Places Worn; tell us about how your travels have impacted your overall sound and perception in terms of how you approach song craft.
Thanks! Yeah the title is supposed to be kind of a double meaning. I was traveling and moving around a lot last year kind of ‘wearing’ different places and experiences, and I think the songs that came out of it came at times where I felt he most ‘worn’ and tired and frustrated with change. The album is about change and about waiting and restlessness. I think the quality of the recordings reflects that restlessness, too. A lot of the songs were written and recorded in a day or two, without too much concern for recording quality or meticulous arrangements or anything.
Give us the story too on making the jump from playing in the Denton band Señor Fin to flying solo.
I’m still actively playing and writing songs in Senor Fin. We all moved up to Seattle together to keep things going on the west coast. Senor Fin is super collaborative, which I love, but every idea or change has to be filtered through five different creative minds. Luwum is purely my thing, which is nice in a different way because I can just do whatever I feel like. I like having both. I also play in Sheridan Riley’s band PEG and Jordan Garrett’s band Hat Hair. Shout out to the homies.
Pros and cons of being a solo recording artist?
As romanticized as it is, holing up in a bedroom by yourself and recording music for hours on end can really take a toll on your mental and physical health. I get pretty obsessive about it and tend to forget about the need to be with other people, and it just ends up being a big ego trip when you spend that much time working on something that is a projection of your darkest feelings and worries. But it’s that dark, personal depressing stuff that I end up listening to all the time, and I think people like to get wrapped up in someone else’s angst. Playing in a band is more fun ha ha.
4-track tricks of the trade you can share with other aspiring artists?
Don’t be afraid to bounce tracks together and keep layering things on the 4-track before you move it to the computer or whatever. The more track-to-track bounces you do, the more compressed and saturated sounding the recordings get, which can be really spooky and cool. Listen to Guided by Voices, they did it right.
When we weren’t looking our good buddy Sam Higgins, otherwise known by his SMLH moniker dropped the following Staring Thru The Wall EP with the following introductory preface:
Staring Thru The Wall’ is an extended player comprised of four songs that were recorded at home between July 5 and August 6 in the year 2015 using a Tascam 388 and a computer program. There are many other songs but you’ll have to wait.
What you have here are ambient electric exercises like “Year From Now”, to the strangeness of post-punk styling anarchy “Novelty Beat / ‘Hey You!'”, to the echo-y empty chamber pop of “Rearranging”, to eight minute jam session that experiments with sustains and abstract arrangements on the closing number, “Russian Flashlights”. As Sam tells us there are more songs on the way; but for now we must all wait.
Emcee Ras Kass and esteemed producer Jack Splash are Semi Hendrix, who just dropped the title cut off their first album called Breakfast At Banksy’s. Available October 16 from Mello Music Group, the titular track features Coast Contra & 4Rax who help bring a post-modern signifier free form/free play with an overall feel and aesthetic of something backpack mic commanders and beat-smiths haven’t normally brought us since the days they decided to make acid rap / trip hop informed concept albums.
The Fashion Focus
LA’s Brian Young, aka The Fashion Focus lent some synth drenched dreams with “The World Outside” that recalls Berlin-trilogies of the past and a future frontier of electric pop sensations from Young’s forthcoming album available in February from Academy of Sound.
Recorded in Brian’s own home studio located up in the San Bernardino Mountains; privy views of intimate interiors are heard in a mesh that couples it with the outside realms of forces, and components. Like an update or sequel to Bowie’s “Heroes”, the heroism rides on a valiant steed where the synths meet the perfect rhythmic roll of guitars and percussion that is made with the focus to embody everything you loved about the post-punk, new-waves, and DIY dream pop eras past, and everything that has still yet to arrive on the precipise of our ear buds and ear drums.
Brian was kind enough to share some thoughts with us about the focuses that created The Fashion Focus, and a few insights on the impact of the outside world, and how it informed “The World Outside”:
Growing up on the outskirts of LA I always felt a bit like an outsider. There have always been different music scenes going on around me, but I couldn’t attach myself to any one in particular. I never quite felt accepted. Rather than trying to fit in, I would just take the bits and pieces that I liked about them and pull those into what I was doing. I would lock myself in the studio, a sort of little bubble where it always felt like me versus the world outside. When recording for the album began, I had been listening to a lot of 80’s post-punk and electronic music. I was fascinated by how those post-punk albums were created and the technology behind them. Computers weren’t involved, programming consisted of turning knobs and cutting tape, and post production techniques like vocal tuning and quantizing weren’t available yet. They were really pushing the limits of what they had to work with. When you sit and listen to those early 4AD records, the Cure, PIL, and stuff that Brian Eno had worked on, you can hear it, it was all perfectly imperfect. I wanted to make an album that felt like those classics without being retro. I originally set out to make a minimal electronic album, just me and a few synthesizers, but after recording a few songs they seemed naked. Quickly most of the songs were reworked and it didn’t take long for the guitars and drums to entwine their way onto them. Once that happened “The World Outside” took shape and The Fashion Focus was born.
The Ice Sculptor recently dropped the cassette Live in Tokyo, France via Splash Tapes that presents mashups of familiar samples brought together in a free-play edit of contemporary noise ambiance. From the Special Agent Dale Cooper opening on the a-side, an entire world opens where both the familiar and the strange collide in a melting pot of vibes that reminds you of everything heard at friends houses, festivals, or from radios and portable devices played at various volumes on public transit vehicles. This is the maximum full-fi experience that the maximalist pop movement forgot. The Sculptor himself Brian Wakefield described the tape with the following intro piece:
This tape opens with a familiar voice and a overall dream feeling as if you we’re about to experience your whole life in a blink of an eye. The grooves within the each track begin to move you back and forth, helping you through the hazy world that Ice Sculptor has built before you. “Live in Tokyo, France” is a must have for you tape collection.
Lanterns On The Lake
Lanterns On The Lake bust out the plate-tectonic shaking pop that draws lines in the sand with “Faultline” from their upcoming new album Beings available November 13 from Bella Union. The Lanterns cast a light on the lines being drawn and crossed by lovers former and current in an epic odyssey of expression of dynamics, dissolves, and discontinuity between the most story book fabled tales of lovers and the divisions that lie in the wake of their partings.
Lanterns On The Lake wrote the following introduction Beings with the following words:
I always find it difficult to explain the meaning behind songs or a record – I tend to think that if I could explain what it was about then there’d be no need to make it in the first place. That’s the point of art—it’s a way to communicate the indescribable. But I’ll do my best and in the broadest sense tell you that this record is us trying to cut through the superficial and the shallow. It’s about love, culture, politics, music, friends and our place in this great puzzle of existence. It’s a genuine soundtrack of what was going on for us at the time.
We made this record in our rehearsal room and in our homes in Newcastle. Paul (our guitarist) mixed and produced it, so we were working in our self-made little bubble. We prefer it this way. With it being our third record I think we were a little more at ease with how to go about it. At first we brought ideas to the table and fleshed them out with no real expectation of how it should turn out. Once we got into the flow of it all we could see how the record was shaping up and we got a clearer idea of how things should sound. We worked quite slowly—demoing songs and reworking them in different ways to get the best results. I think that could drive some people crazy but that’s just how we like to work. We’ve always felt that the most important critics to impress are ourselves. If we can satisfy our own creative itch and feel we’ve made our best work collectively and individually then that’s enough for us. I think we ticked those boxes with this record.
Watch Sea Moya’s video for “‘Do Things” off the upcoming Twins EP, available October 2 that features the neon spiked board moves of Byron Keith Sidney. The German trio’s electro vibes are brought to the countryside setting to inspire skate tricks, hill coasting maneuvers, and the encapsulation of everything you wanted out of summer 2015 can continue onward into the fall.
Meet Houston, TX by Abu Dhabi, UAE vocalist Jae Franklin who couples western pop canons with a global sensibility that paints coasting sound craft of nu-chamber r n’ b that spans influences from adventures from South Korea to the United Arab Emirates. On her breakout single “Music & Love” that boasts Wax Mantic production; Jae shows that she can teach the lover’s rock style tradition a thing or two with some of the warmest, and soothing vocal textures that are fit for carnal sports of amour or the sensation of something resembling true love while all alone. Stay tuned for more future vibes.
Sharing an unreleased track from his split with Lou, Chuck (full name Charles Griffin Gibson) dropped the shout-out to Stephen King’s It and nostalgic teenage vibes on “Seventeen”. Gibson reflects on the plot, and makes a soundscape that echoes the reflective mode of what suspense thrillers and awkward acne speckled vibes were once like once upon a time ago.
Indianapolis by LA’s Mars and The Massacre (aka MATM) dropped the track “Basset Case” that brings spaced out vintage pop licks, and styles held over from your favorite sacred 70s and 60s pop rock/singer-songwriter wax standards. Recorded with Eric Johnson at their hometown’s PopMachine, the trio bring about the last bits of summer breeze to hold on to during the cold seasons with hazy chords and a pleasant dose of word play.
Hear “Beautiful Jazz” from Waterchild that presents all the beauty and jazz that slowly rises like a morning sun that slowly wakens the spirit and soul.
We bring you the executive order and model of the song “Presidential Model” from NYC collective Company of Selves’ debut album, Butterfly Handlers & Memory Travelers available September 25 from Fleeting Youth Records. “Model” provides a look into the group’s organic and slightly psyched out sound that finds surreality in the ever opening eye and essence of the natural orders of our shared realities.
In case you missed it, revisit the lovely familial traces of the gentlest dream pop you might have heard all summer on “Sisters” from Funeral Advantage’s recently released Body Is Dead album from The Native Sound.
LA’s latest pop Tower lended us an early listen to their single “Teenage Miracle” ahead of it’s release October 2 on B3SCI Records that gives you all those leftover/hungover summer festival vibes of ear worms that remain in your noggin long after the celebrations has ceased.
LA’s XL Middleton dropped the cut “Psychic” from his upcoming album Tap Water available October 30 from MoFunk Records that packs a new school Pasadena based flavor to your favorite vintage funk phenomenons. With production that might sound at home in a mix next to Raleigh, NC’s rising nu-funkster Boulevards, XL expounds upon the dazzling rhythm templates designed by the great modern electric masters.
Yumi Zouma are set to release a deluxe 12″ bundle of both of their EPs together on one singular wax disc on September 18 from Cascine, featuring the lush and sincere following previously unreleased outtake, “Right, Off The Bridge”. The Yumi Zouma sound here is heard on full blast where the most enduring beautified sentiments take over between the duet of back and forth conversational lyrics that dovetail seamlessly between the synths and hot spring rhythmic rushes.
Yonatan Gat was cool enought to send his new ultra-monster jam “O” from an upcoming mini-album collaboration with drummer Gal Lazer, and recorded by none other than the great Steve Albini. Lazer provides the perfect percussion wall of stone that is more than your standard drum beat backboard but paddles ahead with a driving motor that eggs on Gat’s grinding guitar chord improvisations (and a host of expressive mood and style variations). Their collaborative release will be available September 18 from Joyful Noise. Catch Yonatan, Lazer, and friends on the dates, places and times available here.
We give you Here We Go Magic’s new single “Ordinary Feeling” off their upcoming album Be Small available October 16 from Secretly Canadian. The group coasts on no ordinary vibe or progression as the sentiments slowly built from the central rhythm guitar strums that becomes mixed with the overwhelming feeling of rising sensations that continue the path and Here We Go Magic legacy.
Jaime Fennelly with Circuit des Yeux’s Haley Fohr are Mind Over Mirrors who present their video for “Strange(r) Work” that features stop-motion animation and video work from Timothy Breen. Found off their upcoming The Voice Calling album available September 18 from Immune Recordings; watch as an assemblage of cut out paper is collected into a variety of shapes and fire orange and red to tell a story of earth quaking proportions done like an abstract animated short in time and tune to MOM’s instrumental experimentation.
Small Black delivered the single “No One Wants It To Happen To You” from their forthcoming October 16 slated album Best Blues from Jagjaguwar that provides a series of synth encrusted swarming exterior bubbles of protection and enchantment.
Undesirable People dropped the track “We’re All Cut From The Same Cloth” that count the similarities and connective tissues between two people with all the airs of angst and mutual histories revealed off their forthcoming self-release album Eternal Vision of A Blind Future available September 22. Listen here as the desires between misfits and outcasts are met somewhere at that fabled perpendicular crossroads that lies somewhere on that in-between grounds.
Unalaska from Edo Van Breemen and Zachary Gray release their self-titled EP October 16 via Light Organ, and we bring you the bare rhythmic bones and synth-sensations of their single “Skeleton”. From the two playing a fictitious band in the cult indie flick Afflicted, the Brooklyn and Vancouver based artists make music that takes cues from theatrical dramatiste inspirations and the elements of surprise that rides amusement park waters like music for a dark boat ride or a fall music festival.
Mr. Divisadero dropped first single “Dreams” off his self-titled available September 4 from Axis Mundi that brings visions of the internal atmospheres that manifest in sound in the external world. The sound of southern garage pop and more comes to a dramatic cataclysm where an outpour of visions and emotion once sequestered to the shelf pours out like a waterfall of feeling and an electrical plugged-in vibrancy.
Gramma’s Boyfriend dropped by the tune “Forget The Stones” that hums and buzzes in cryptic ways and audio runes from their forthcoming album PERM available October 9 from Graveface Records. The synths roll like stones from sacred tombs and relics of feelings and thoughts that were once forgotten and rediscovered again like a dust caked lost-and-found scrap book of charged memories.
Check out the late night/early morning odes to maidens that rule the evening time on Late Night Cable’s big time pop jam “All Nite Girl” from the duo’s upcoming debut EP produced by Anthony “Rocky” Gallo available in September. The sound of neon lit memories and memories yet to be made become lit up with the big power ballad styles that just go for the big dramatized delivery and closing.
From her debut album Recollection Room available now, watch the Kiyota Sage video for Kate Copeland’s “Breaking” that captures the event of parting loves that examines the broken bonds and departure as what happens emotionally at that instance, the delayed effects of feeling, and what still remains in the aftermath.
Recorded on reel-to-reel tape in Natalie Mering’s Rockaway Beach home studio; Weyes Blood presents the acoustic strums and modern hymn hums on the title track “Cardamom” from her upcoming Cardamom Times available October 9 from Mexican Summer. Summoning the powers of ancient spices and a holistic transcendental aura; Natalie continues to build upon everything you loved about the folk music canon (but never wanted to publicly admit in front of your cool friends) with an arsenal of woodwinds, and organ kissed touches that make for an entrancing invitation to what feels like a whole other world.
Synkro dropped the spiraling design descent drop assemblages of spinning shapes and forms in a video from Mike Harvey for “Midnight Sun”, from the forthcoming debut album Changes available September 18 from Apollo Records.
Library Voices dropped the ode “Oh Donna” that toasts a special someone who has “got a taste for the night” and a whole lot of other rad attributes expressed in the contemporary model form off their new album Lovish available November 6 from Nevado Music.
New York’s Grassfight dropped the cool cut of clandestine liaisons with “Please Don’t Tell” from their forthcoming EP of the same name available October 9 from Cold Records. That NYC groove of dance-y percussion progressions and slightly distortion treated vocals provide the kind of cool head nodding action to fulfill the soundtracks to your evenings of utter abandon, and excessive self-indulgence.
Check out HÆLOS’ video for “Earth Not Above” from the debut EP 12″ available from Matador that traverses up to the surface with underground pensive electronic backing that explores the nether-realms of night time terrains.
From Nodaway’s 500 Days of Whatever EP, watch the campy video for “Hairspray” of hair raising antics on the set of a commercial for the style-staying product of the title’s namesake that gets out of hand. Chris Jobe’s romantic dance pop hooks here are visualized by a spray that brings everyone together in a harmonious union love live on the set.
From Portland’s heavy country wranglers The Lonesome Billies, have yourself a hootenanny to their new rambling gambling jam “1922” from their September 1 slated album Its Good To Be Lonesome. Here the gang jangles up a bunch of twangy chords that recalls old flames, departures, crying the name of loves lost and what becomes recovered from the fiery wreckage of formerly held hands that become unclasped out of congress.
Recorded by the influential Chris Woodhouse, hear “Thrash Master” from Spray Paint’s fifth album that presents the Austin dudes thrashing about with lots of attitude and anarchic values done right.
With our Philadelphia DIY hero Alex G’s anticipated new album Beach Music available October 9 from Domino; we bring you the Micah Van Hove video for “Bug” that was shot in Ojai, California that presents the strange little notion and thing that some folks call love. Micah wrote this about the video:
The music of Alex G carries such vivid stories, fleeting moments and cunning characterization that one can’t help but think visually while listening. The idea here was to explore the cyclical nature of a relationship, the addictive quality of love and the joy and confusion it brings. To experience one full turn of the clock, toying with commitment and the flighty nature of the self. We shot over 2 days in my hometown of Ojai, CA on 4th of July weekend with an extremely hardworking and talented cast and crew.
Fielded’s Week in Pop
Fielded might have won the week/summer/2015 with the hotly anticipated release of her Boy Angel EP, the launch of her clothing and music imprint Universally Handsome, and more. After an epic interview/premiere feature in Impose and last night’s Cameo Gallery release show; Fielded, aka Lindsay A. Powell proudly presents her following exclusive Week in Pop guest selections:
Sweet Feelers of the World, longing season is coming; I can feel the crisp effervescence in the air and I remember the drama of isolation. Our planets all start to feel a little further from one another yet again. Let it be known that your desire to be understood is sacred and beautiful. The Full Moon in Pisces totally gets you, and so do some (probably most) of these freaks below.
I love watching a Performer Perform about Performing. Shirley Bassey is the Queen.
Ann Margaret literally throws baked beans at herself and humps a chocolate-covered throw pillow, what could be better?
Don’t ever stop.
He knows, he definitely knows.
I love this video, it’s so beautiful. The song is incredibly haunting and poignant.
I always think, “this song makes me feel good” and then I think about all the people who’ve misunderstood my project name as “Feel Good” instead of Fielded and it makes me want to start a band that sounds like this called “Feel Good.” Anyone interested? Call me on the banana phone.
Was your last Tinder date kinda like this?
I know it’s only ten but I really wanted to throw a final shoutout video in for all my Burners out there in the Desert on that morning rave tip. This one’s for you—Happy Burning Man to All and to All a Gentle Comedown:
Follow Fielded via Twitter.