Week in Pop: Zola Jesus, Fanzine, J Dilla

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Winehouser on a good one in Belgrade

Summer is here in full force and look at the effect it has had on our beloved pop glitterati. Amy Winehouse performed a gig in Belgrade in a stupor while hackers went wild on her website, Justin Timberlake purchased a chunk of the ailing Myspace, while Thom Yorke DJ battled the James Blake juggernaut in a fight to be crowned the anglicized dub step champion. Sure the reappropriations and re-inventions of sounds and styles can try even the patience of the purest of pop music hearts, but let us now move on to the forces we must all reckon with from the week, in no particular order.

Recently discvored Fanzine from the UK, who just dropped a self-released 4 track EP called The Low EP, showcases some fun British grunge and American garage reworkings. In the world that heralds Yuck as the summer's decided saviors, our best thoughts and big time hopes are with Fanzine that they will be the next breakthrough act this July so we can hear something other than “Living in America” from our local alt radio stations.

Recently we introduced EAR PWR's latest single “National Parks” and today we are happy to bring you the music video. The video is equipped with everything you are looking for: near naked hipsters running amok in the woods will turn you into a real American National Park preservationist. You don't have to be John Muir singing hymns to the redwoods to get behind what EAR PWR is putting out here, but you might consider becoming a volunteer for your local park, writing a letter begging enviromental awareness to your congress person, or, if you are anything like me, firing up Hulu and watching reruns of Parks and Recreations to get in the spirit.

We have received official word about the future Zola Jesus album Conatus coming out October 4 on Sacred Bones. Nika Roza Danilova continues to dazzle, amaze and even frighten us with her own brooding style that makes even Siouxsie Sioux blush and or squirm. Rumors surrounding Conatus promise more elaborate production, all stops pulled, no holds barred, and suddenly October sounds like the best month ever. In short, we can hardly wait.

Gem Club is a band from Massachusetts that has just signed to Hardly Art for the advent of their debut album Breakers, which crashes on shores September 27. Comprised of Christopher Barnes with a little help from Kristen Drymala on cello and Ieva Berberian on vocals, the trio makes beautiful music that evokes lonely walks on the beach and the mellow Side B of your latest mix cassette.

MP3: Gem Club, “Breakers”

Before Beirut heads out on tour to promote their upcoming effort The Rip Tide, they want to officially share their latest track from the album, “East Harlem”. Joining front man Zach Condon on this tour will be Perrin Cloutier on accordion and piano, Paul Collins on both electric and upright bass, Ben Lanz on trumpet, piano and tuba, Nick Petree on drums, as well as Kelly Pratt taking care of trumpet and euphonium duties. Gauging from the sound of “East Harlem,” you can expect an album and tour of rich instrumentation and possibly some damn good summer time vibes. The Rip Tide can be found August 30 via Pompeii Records.

We have enjoyed Class Actress’s 80s disco ball debut EP Journal Of Ardency and are overwhelmed with excitment for Elizabeth Harper's full length LP Rapprocher out October 18 on Carpark. Making the jump to Carpark from the Terrible Records label, Harper's electrophonic sound is even glitzier than before while her voice will posses you and keep you hostage while you play the following track “Keep You” on repeat.

Then there is that damn club banger “Hypnotized” from Krista who is doing everything to steal the diva thunder out from under Gaga and K.Perry. This week she released a remix by Johnny Vicious that is sure to drain the seratonin from you rave-heads out there while sending the rest of us shut-ins fleeing to our Karen Dalton and Fred Neil record collections.

Hypnotized-Krista-Johnny Vicious Remix by Johnny Vicious

Received word from Ghostly International that they are set to release the LP Work (work, work) from HTRK this upcoming September 6. HTRK, or “hate rock” if you will, have finished their new album in the wake of losing bassist Sean Stewart to suicide last March. From what we can glimpse from the lead off track “Eat Yr Heart,” there is a cathartic murmur that permeates the entire track, accompanied by keys that squeak like door mice amid the solemn dark vocals provided by Jonnine Standish. Our prayers and best thoughts go out to HTRK at this time.

This Tuesday on July 5th, Blackfire Revelation will release their their shred-fest shelved 2006 self-titled follow up to 2005's Gold and Guns on 51. A New Orleans band torn apart by Katrina, BF get to enjoy their Fat Possum debut and previously unreleased s/t drop on the same day courtesy of Southern Reconstruction.

Flood by blackfirerevelation

If you would like to experience a glimpse of the Revelation live, here's the band performing “I Want You Right Now” live at El Matador Lounge in New Orleans, LA. November 2, 2003. Lots of MC5 love, I think you can even hear the front man John R. Fields yell out “rama lama fa fa fa” toward the end. Rob Tyner would have been so pleased.

Seattle's Unnatural Helpers makes fun, brief pop that never overstays their welcome and keeps us coming back for more. They have set out on a West Coast tour, so check your local listings to get on some of their unnatural but always helpfully fun rock n' roll.

Also check out the Unnatural's video of relationship woe, “She Was Your Girlfriend.”

AM & Shawn Lee announce release details of their first collaborative single, “Dark Into Light” and have provided a steam here on AM's SoundCloud. The single will be available July 19 and the album Celestial Electric drops August 30 all on ESL Records. You can see the process of recording the Dark Into Light single here:

We also just got the low down on I'll Be Your Mirror, a curation by All Tomorrow's Parties set for September 30 through October 2in Asbury Park, N.J. The tentative lineup is as follows;

Bonnie Prince Billy, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Shellac, Chavez, A Hawk And A Hacksaw, Cults, The Album Leaf, Factory Floor, Awesome Tapes From Africa DJs, Reggie Watts, Hannibal Buress, Rory Scovel, Portishead, Ultramagnetic MC's, Battles, Swans, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog, The Horrors, The Pop Group, Oneida presents The Ocropolis III, Silver Qluster, Beak>, Colin Stetson, Foot Village, DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Mogwai, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Earth, Deerhoof, J.G. Thirlwell's Manorexia, People Of The North, Anika, DD/MM/YYYY, DJ Shepard Fairey, I should have been warned months back of Baltimore's Marlon Rando. Baltimore guitarist/singer, Greg Timmes and New Jersey drummer, Jeff Wilkins

Marlon Rando is not just another band with an altered famous moniker, but a duo comprised of Greg Timmes and Jeff Wilkins who make what they like to refer to as “mid-fi” pop. They have the garage thing happening as well as some melodic elements within the the fuzz and lyrics that spiral around things like “Weird Science,” “Time Machine” and monster guitar riffs like the ones on “Safe and Sound” that are anything but safe.There will also be a Marlon Rando EP release party July 13 at 10:00 pm at Bar Matchless in Brooklyn, and you can download it from their bandcamp here.

And lastly, we have the result from the Stones Throw Video Contest that started April and ends today. The featured track is J Dilla's “Last Donut of the Night,” from Donuts and submitted to Stones Throw by Tuomas Vauhkonen and Jeremias Nieminen. Enjoy folks.