Week in Pop: Go Dark, Try The Pie, Tuff Sunshine, Val Hollie

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With Halloween upon us and end-of-the-year listicles soon to follow, Impose’s Week in Pop brings you some of week’s standouts and breaking exclusives. But first, we give you the obligatory rundown of the week’s big buzz headlines, with news that Kanye West presented Yeezy Season 2 silent documentary, also featured in the Travis Scott video for “Piss On Your Grave”; Kendrick Lamar dropped the Colin Tilley & the Little Homies video for “These Walls”; Dev Hynes of Blood Orange droppedSandra’s Smile” track and video; this week 41 obscure instrumentals from the late great J Dilla dropped today on Ma Dukes/Vintage Vibes Music Group release Dillatronic; Grimes dropped the “Flesh Without Blood” video off the upcoming Art Angels album, also dropped “SCREAM” ft. Aristophanes; Erykah Badu said that her new mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone will be available next week; Julia Holter to score the soundtrack to the upcoming boxing film Bleed for This; Prince started his own Instagram account; Panda Bear released “Swallow at the Hollow” (26 minutes of never-heard-before material); Matt Kivel’s new album Janus will be available February 5 via Driftless Recordings, shares title track; Freddie Gibbs announced his upcoming Shadow of a Doubt (available November 20 from ESGN) with a peak at the video, “Fuckin’ Up the Count”; Eleanor Friedberger announced her new album New View (available January 22 from Frenchkiss Records), sharing “He Didn’t Mention His Mother”; School of Seven Bells announced the forthcoming of their new album SVIIB; Pope Francis announced his debut album Wake Up! and dropped the track, “¿Por qué sufren los ninos?”; Jeremih dropped “oui”; ?uestlove to release the book Something to Food About: Exploring Creativity with America’s Most Innovative Chefs April 12; Savages announce upcoming world tour in support of their forthcoming album Adore Life; Meek Mill versus Drake continues; Kelela and AraabMuzik versus Distrolord a&r Gustavo Guerra; Waxahatchee canceled tour on account of health issues; Action Bronson recovering from an emergency surgery; and The Crystal Method are not happy about the Kremlin’s use of “High Roller” in a propaganda video depicting airstrikes in Syria.

Moving onward we are proud and privileged to present exclusives, interviews and more from Go Dark, Try The Pie, Tuff Sunshine, Val Hollie, Born Idiot, Bür Gür, Computer Magic, Correatown, Dreamcrusher, The Fatty Acids, John Felix Arnold III, Mista Stunt, The Maguires, Moonsocket, ONO, Polygrains, Richie Woods, Swahili Blonde, Tempers, Yuzima, featuring guest selections by Dirty Ghosts, and more—in no particular order.

Try the Pie

Try the Pie's Bean Tupou discusses the proper release of her first album, 'Rest', & more; photographed by Rocky Nguyen.
Try the Pie’s Bean Tupou discusses the proper release of her first album, Rest, & more; photographed by Rocky Nguyen.

San Jose’s Try The Pie released one of the year’s best and most important albums this past spring with Domestication and today we premiere the semi-acoustic minimalist wonder of “It’s Been Days” from the album Rest recorded between 2005-2008 in San Francisco. Originally released in small batches on CD-Rs distributed to friends & roommates of frontwoman Bean Kaloni Tupou now sees a proper and wide release from Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records (HHBTM Records responsible for putting out Bean’s previous band Sourpatch) on November 13. The early recording from Tupou highlights the sincerity and genuine expressions of truths (personal & universal) that has become a touchstone of Bean’s work beyond the Bay Area scenes but through championing causes for the disenfranchised, people of color, transgendered persons, to the gender neutral, and anyone suffering from systematic institutions of oppression. Acting locally and globally while consistently making an inspiring array of sounds; Try The Pie has earned the honor and right to be the group and force for good that should be a household name before 2016 even arrives.

Those familiar, and those that are just discovering, one of the most anticipated albums of 2015 Domestication are all advised to hear Bean Tupou’s early bedroom recorded beginnings. “It’s Been Days” coasts of breeze swaying strums that showcases Bean’s affectionate and endearing conversational delivery that trades in the lyrical exchange of sentimental yet stubborn confrontations. The DIY code of home room made art is on full display complete with surface hiss, and all the environmental unintended sounds that contribute to the heart spurned nature of the song. “Sometimes you can hear someone doing dishes or the beep of a dying smoke-detector”, Bean describes, “This album is an example of the slow, whispering tempo, slanted harmonies and embellished metaphors that I grew up listening to. I wrote the songs over a duration of three years (2005-2008) and recorded it in the last year by myself in my room in San Francisco.” Tupou further elaborated on the concepts present on the album; “alu’a” is the Tongan word for goodbye when you are staying and the other person is going. Rest is an album dedicated to this sentiment.” The quandaries of staying and/or leaving are exhibited in poetic portraits of natural splendor that carry on through all of life’s changes featured in the lyrics, “and birds will sing to the flowers in the spring and the stars will blink more times than you can even think.” In between the chorus questions of “hey, hey, hey, why are you acting this way?” Bean recounts confessional feelings among observances of the physical sciences that connect earthbound nature to the stars that shine forth from the regions of outer space. Following up Victoria Ruiz’s conversation with Bean Tupou from earlier this year, we caught up with the inspiring artist/activist to talk about the state of Bay Area affairs, organizing your own scene, causes worth fighting for, and much more after the debut of Try The Pie’s “It’s Been Days”.

Tell us about your new (but older from what we’ve been informed) album Rest. What was the making of this album like in relation to your recent album Domestication, and how do you feel the various recording sessions influenced each other?

This was the first album I ever made and it was made about seven years ago. That feels like a lifetime ago. The album feels a lot more novice compared to anything else I made but I really don’t even know what that means because I still feel like a novice. Maybe it just feels really far away.

The creating process was private for Rest, which is the main difference from Domestication. I did everything myself. I didn’t know how to play a drum kit, so I had to record each part of the drums on different tracks. I played around with different filters, noises and utilized any items I liked the sound of, like butter knives on a dictionary as percussion with a lot of reverb and distortion.

The DIY savior of San Jose & beyond—Bean Tupou; photographed by Rocky Nguyen.
The DIY savior of San Jose & beyond—Bean Tupou; photographed by Rocky Nguyen.

You’ve said that this album showcases some of the “the slow, whispering tempo, slanted harmonies and embellished metaphors that I grew up listening to;” how were you able to channel these sorts of minimalist-yet evocative-vibes from a room in SF?

I saw my cousin last week and showed him some of my music. He just kind of said that music runs in our blood, I really believe that. It’s not really channeling it as much as it is accessing it because it’s always there.

How did the partnership with Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records (HHBTM Records) come about?

Mike has put out several releases by Sourpatch, which is a band I was in for many years. We met that way.

Try The Pie's Bean Tupou; photographed by Rocky Nguyen.
Try The Pie’s Bean Tupou; photographed by Rocky Nguyen.

What inspired you to title the album Rest, compared to say a more charged title like Domestication?

I called it Rest right when I made it because that’s what my dad would always tell me to do. He thinks I do too much. The original cover I made for it was a sketch I drew of him holding my brother when my brother was just born.

The word Rest is applicable for many reasons though, the whole sound of the album and the content puts the subject at a resting state, sitting in a kind of deep contemplation. It’s not about movement or moving-on as much as Domestication is.

Tell us about the latest happenings with your Think and Die Thinking collective, and raising money for the Billy DeFrank Center. You remain an inspirational activist in your San Jose community, and far beyond; tell us about the art of organizing, booking, planning, and more events from your cafe, Chromatic Coffee.

Think and Die Thinking wouldn’t be possible without the many people, bands, artists and activists who come through for it every year. In July of 2015, we were able to raise an amount beyond The DeFrank Center’s expectations which felt really good. I’m excited for next year.

I just got back from a tour so I’m going to try and take somewhat of a break from booking this Fall/Winter and continue writing and working on self-care. I’d like to look into doing other forms of community work though.

Conversing with Bean Tupou; photographed by Rocky Nguyen.
Conversing with Bean Tupou; photographed by Rocky Nguyen.

I like how the guitar strums and tempo of “It’s Been Days” really counts the seconds, minutes, and moments that documents all the ennui and minutiae of those in-between moments of waiting, patience, and examination of intimate sentiments, inquisitive observations, etc. What are some of your recollections that inspired this dreamy song?

Thanks! The song is about someone being stubborn and inflexible when you are trying to make amends, which is real. I’ve kind of lost the exact recollection on the song because it’s been so long though but it’s definitely a theme that is applicable throughout my life.

In a world of so many pretenses in art, music, film, and all sorts of media; what is the importance and challenge of making honest, personal, and real music?

I guess the importance of honesty is for everyone to decide individually. I find that questions of authenticity come up a lot when people want to belittle something they want to take power from. It seems as though we should be looking inward when thinking about authenticity. It’s good to self-assess and ask ‘why do I think this thing is more legitimate than that thing,’ or ‘what made me think this way.’

Also, sometimes pretense and make-believe can help people cope or exercise their imagination so I don’t want to write it off completely.

63-Try-The-Pie-walter-wlodarczyk-2015-08-08-1385Bean Tupou; photographed by Walter Wlodarczyk.

As someone who is such an active part of your local community, has played in great acts like Crabapple, Sourpatch, and a band like Try The Pie that has expanded personnel wise and influencing fellow artists and fans alike; what is the current state of affairs in San Jose regarding cultures, scenes, body politik, movements, and more?

Because of big business (ie: big tech) San Jose is getting readily gentrified and its sad. A lot of us who grew up here have family who cannot live here anymore because it’s way too expensive, so with that comes a shifting and loosening of histories. Also, a lot of us who live here work a lot to sustain living here and so any work we do on movements can be slow moving.

There are still people here doing amazing work involving youth of color, queer folks and music. There are a group of young people called RAD (Regeneration Against Destruction), and they were present all three days of Think and Die Thinking this year. They are a youth lead organization that is devoted to regenerating their communities through social justice
work and I respect what they are doing a lot.

What right do you feel are some of the most important causes for folks locally and globally to pay attention to act on right now?

I think it’s important to pay attention and notice systematic oppression of black folks, transgendered folks and indigenous folks worldwide. These folks are the most vulnerable to institutionalize do violence. You can start small by questioning the status quo and opening dialogue and examining internalized oppressions and abuses.

Try the Pie’s Rest will be available November 13 on LP, cassette, & digital via HHBTM Records.

Go Dark

Go Dark bathed in blue and pink; photographed by Luke Judd.
Go Dark bathed in blue and pink; photographed by Luke Judd.

Doseone (Anticon co-founder, real name Adam Drucker, collaborator of Tunde Adebimpe, Subtle, Themselves, cLOUDDEAD, Nevermen with Mike Patton, etc) and Ash Gallegos are Go Dark who present the premiere of “Mr. So & So” that collects together classic vocal pop delivery with future forward production. Found off their Brightwild EP that features remixes from CloZee, Loden, Andrew Broder (Fog), Koloto, and Set In Sand and a video game; Ash and Dose fuse together electronic essences that consume the darkness of night with swaths of pure digital light.

“Mr. So&So” opens with synth keys descending to earth among faint hums of fuzz distortion. Rhythm decay is featured prominently on the beat that hangs off of Ash’s delivery about moniker reference preferences where the atmosphere sustains rise up and about the entire mix. Doseone savors the percussive programming in section bursts where the drum breaks hit like drum & bass rolls fed through muffled and muddied filters. The ode to “Mr.So&So” arrives like a host of angels extending introductions in an experience that stands between the spaces of the overarching heavens and rhythms of earth. The character of “Mr.So&So” has a nameless quality that swings from a chain-gang refrain to a beat suite feast for the ears, body, and mind. Join us after the following debut for our interview session with Go Dark’s Doseone and Ash Gallegos.

How do you both describe the genesis of Go Dark?

Ash: We met a few years ago in downtown Oakland watching some dudes fight. A year later I played dose two demos that I had been working on with piano, 808 and vocals. He asked for them, opened them up, we worked on them together and then one of those tracks turned into “Mr.So&So” which is actually on Brightwild, and we been rollin’ hard since.

Dose: Yeah, the first BeatSkeleton’s I got from Ash just had a certain ‘something’ to them, that made me want to take them into my lil’laboratory. After that we both began to swap BeatSkeletons regularly, work on them separately and together, then make songs out of the ones that rose to the top…

Describe the creative collaborative synergy that exists between you two when you’re both in the proverbial ‘zone’ or whatever you two would like to call it.

Ash: High speed, seat of your pants and very free. The music is constantly being handled by one of us so the ideas just shoot out and ping pong between the two of us as we record.

Go Dark; photographed by Luke Judd.
Go Dark; photographed by Luke Judd.

What is a normal tracking session like in the world of Go Dark and any accompanying friends?

Ash: Hot potato. One of us will start a beat, I will then sit with it in my studio working on harmonies, riffs and the general direction of the song. Once that shit is fire, I send it to Dose then we hash out lyrics and hone in on the structure, cadence and content.

Dose: We both make different feeling beats, but they have a lot in common as well, so I try to lean them toward each other till they all sound like Go Dark. Once a beat has mood and catchy and angry and pretty parts to it, Ash writes melodies we then explore as we turn them into lyrics while we re-sequence the music, makes for an organic 50/50 feel to our process.

Go Dark; photo by Luke Judd.
Go Dark; photo by Luke Judd.

How is it hearing your music further re-programmed by talents like CloZee, Loden, Andrew Broder (Fog), Koloto, and Set In Sand?

Ash: Its like having someone new take off your clothes for the first time…but with drums!

What is it do you feel remixes reveal to you as a musician and as a listener/appreciator of sounds?

Ash: Its an amazing medium to transform within. Its the exquisite corpse that just keeps on giving. Its exhilarating to listen to what someone else hears in music you create and then you start getting new ideas….

dose: I love listening to a RMX for the first time, it’s the closest I get to the ChristmasMorningFeeling in adult life. So much control and decision making goes into a DONE song, and then to hear it “inside out” and reDONE in RMX form, always puts a smile on my skull.

Next big thing for Go Dark?

Ash: Looking forward to doing more touring, Go Dark goes euro in spring 2016! Meanwhile we are knee deep in recording our first full length and I wanna get a dragon.

Dose: We are nearly done with our web site, finishing up some new videos, EP vinyl, tours but most importantly this full-length tho and beats, beats, beats…

Go Dark’s Brightwild is available now. Play the game here & below:


moonsocket Eurydice week in pop 1

Canada’s Chris Thompson (of Eric’s Trip, The Memories Attack) returns with the first Moonsocket album in 13 years time with the gorgeous and personal song cycle Eurydice premiering here in an album stream advance ahead of the November 6 release through Noyes Records. From his Take the Mountain album from 1997, seeing the album Love Tara from Eric’s Trip re-released on Sub Pop (plus reunion tours) now shares a heartbreaking ode to his wife that he lost to illness some years back. The internal reckoning that exists between the heart and mind is on full display, grappling with issues and meaning found and sought in loss.

From the moment Eurydice begins with “The Way is Shut”, the sparse melodic presence begins the welling up tears that addresses the paths of life that become permanently closed. Then the real tears fall on “The Future Isn’t a We” that deals with the discontinuity of being separated by something outside the bands of control, continuing the “I can’t come back to you” cathartic acoustic chords on the finite “No Way Out”. This is continued on the rain drop chord strings on “Beautiful One” that muses on items like “she has gone where I can’t be, eyes are closed and I can’t see, why did she have to go and leave me alone?” Affections are shown continuing onward in absentia on “Valentine’s Day”, forelorn plunked notes of sadness on “The Garden Fails”, also including the decidely more electric rockers of “Our Hearts Are Stripped”, to the pen stemmed therapy sessions of “Scratch The Pain Into Your Book” that works through the hurt even though “words don’t come easily” as Thompson finds. The healing can be heard on “Our Great Mess” that moves forward despite the disasters of life, moving even further and transending the darkness of mortality on “Death Or Happiness”, to the closing reckoning of lingering influence and the impact the most intimate loved ones have on ourselves with the final curtain call “Shaped By Your Love”. Rigth after the following debut listen to Eurydice, read our candid interview with Moonsocket’s Chris Thompson.

How have you found your contributions and audio aesthetics from Eric’s Trip and The Memories Attack making their way into the sounds of Moonsocket, and vice versa?

I would have to say it’s the other way around since Moonsocket is the starting point for all of the others songs. With Eric’s Trip a lot of the time Rick would hear me playing something and ask what it was and then proceed to say that Eric’s Trip is going to do it. Not that I had many songs for the band but it was great to have Rick as my champion. The first The Memories Attack record was different. Those songs were originally going to be a Moonsocket record but I chickened out and I think Ron had said that we should do something together since he had some songs as well. Ron has also been a great champion of my music. Those guys really made me feel like I could do this.

How did Moonsocket initially come into formation?

Basically it was when I bought my own used 4 track cassette recorder to try and figure recording out. I just starting making up songs and played some for Rick. He wanted to use a few for Eric’s Trip but also said I should them out as a solo thing. Mark (our Eric’s Trip drummer) had been calling me Little Hodgekins as a nickname for some reason so the first thing I put out was under the name Christopher Hodgekins. Shortly after that Eric’s Trip were driving home after a show in Connecticut I think. It was about three am and we drove by a sign giving directions to Woonsocket, RI and I wrote it down on a pedal box in the dark cause I thought it sounded kind of cool. Months later Rick and I were recording something and got my pedal box out and he said something like ‘What’s Moonsocket?’ and that’s where the name came from.

What was the personal process of making Eurydice like for you, and how did you find a healing catharsis through this selection cycle of songs?

It’s almost always the same for me when writing songs. I’m usually playing guitar, not really paying too much attention to what’s going on, and something catches my ear and I work on building on whatever it is. Most of the songs are done within a couple of hours, though I may go back and re-record them later to make them sound slightly better. Everything was just recording using my laptop mic since I didn’t have a recording setup at all. Later on I did get to borrow some mics and a firewire interface so I fixed up a couple of the songs a bit.

I’m not sure it was all that cathartic doing these songs? Maybe? They did need to come out but I wasn’t sitting around thinking about how to do it. Maybe I should have? I do know that afterwards a lot of times there was me listening to the recording on my bed sobbing and wishing that Dawn could hear these songs. She would have been very happy with what I was doing. Before I was always trying to form songs so people would like them but these I just let happen. Which is what she ALWAYS told me I needed to do. Dawn always new best and once we started seeing each other was my biggest fan and my biggest critic.

2016 projections and prospects for Moonsocket?

I’d really like to do another record before 2016 is done. The only thing holding me back is my own crippling self doubt. I want to play more shows and hopefully figure out how to do a tour of some sort. I would also love to play music in friend’s bands and collaborate with people on musical and other projects. We’ll see what happens. Fear is a very real problem for me and I’m trying to overcome it. At least a little bit. Right now I am making music with my amazing Kate. She is going to keep me going. Trying. I feel like Dawn brought Kate into my life somehow.

Moonsocket’s Eurydice will be available November 6 from Noyes Records.


Angela Correa, of Correatown.

We bring you countryside visuals for “Eyes to the Sky” off Correatown’s forthcoming album, Embrace the Fuzzy Unknown available November 27 from Highline Records. Angela Correa’s new album follows up Sleep and Other Drugs from 2014, 2012’s Pleiades, Spark. Burn. Fade, where she now emerges from the sea changes that life brings after a European tour, getting married, becoming a mom, and documenting her observations on life through this new collection of songs. “Eyes to the Sky” keeps a close eye on the solar and lunar signs that beam through the atmosphere layers with illuminating signs sent from the universe.

A mystic retreat shown in the video for “Eyes to the Sky” finds Angela in the company of friends tending to horses in the Malibu hills bathed by sun’s sepia soaked shine. The songs’ appeal to the universe to cast signs and answers from the void of the infinite is presented in the coolest friendship bonding weekend where kicking it with horses evolves into a visually altered portal of special hallucinatory-like effects. Angela and company full off the effect in sound and visual that euphoria and intrigue of what happens after attempting to stare into the sun for any amount of considerable time.

This video was filmed in hills near Malibu California just a few weeks ago where I attended a very special Mystic Cowgirl Camp retreat with a group of friends. We did some badass energy work with horses over the weekend. This song is about yearning to know what will be and wondering if meeting, sparks, and chemistry will become magic and longevity. The weekend with horses was about being open to whatever life brings you and staying present.

Correatown’s new album Embrace the Fuzzy Unknown will be available November 27 from Highline Records.

Tuff Sunshine

Tuff Sunshine; photographed by DSR Photo.
Tuff Sunshine; photographed by DSR Photo.

Tuff Sunshine are Johnny Leitera, Ani Cordero, and Turner Stough whose first album Fire in the Hero Building sees self-release from the trio tomorrow October 31 and we are proud to present the world premiere of the video for the title track Directed, choreographed, and performed by Stephanie Sleeper alongside fellow dancers Diane Skerbec and Violeta Tellez; Tuff Sunshine’s song of heroics and high stakes is put to interpretive dance moves, color and lighting effects and more that add to the epic nature of the song. The debut album of the same name follows the EPs Half-Mast Steadfast, Kids Know, with news of Tuff Sunshine’s recent signing with Portland’s Marmoset Music. The sun kissed sound created by Johnny, Ani, and Turner brings about a sound that breaks the lanterns of the obvious where every movement brings surprises and the kind of tight artistic chemistry where all three move from sections of musical minimalism to grand audio displays of great proportions.

Leitera took inspiration from a dream about the tragic fate of a fictional character called Nancy Needle who tragically perishes in a blaze that breaks out in a mythic ‘Hero Building’ that all existed in the span of a dream. Conveying what felt to the artist like a real event in song, Tuff Sunshine’s tale of things breaking away are brought to further life with Stephanie’s performance piece edited to create an accompanying visual dimension to the song. Dances and dramatic motions created from a Williamsburg studio in Brooklyn bring about performances that couple the sentiment of solemnity with grandiose chapters where every instrumental item from guitars to keys rises from the ashes like a phoenix soaring like a hot air balloon. The creative ballroom avant-garde adds layers to the song’s own cryptic mystery where the feeling of loss and transcendence are given equal weight and merit in a sound that exists outside the convenience of pigeon hole tags, and pretentious micro/sub-genre adjectives. Johnny’s grand vision, met by contributions from Ani (of Cordero, touring member of Man…Or Astroman?, Os Mutantes, Rasputina, etc), and Turner (who plays in a variety of NYC groups) together create a sound that plumes upward like blanketing cloud billows of smoke with an original arrangement that burns with a brightness that sends infinite light into a bleak world of endless night. After the debut viewing of the video for “Fire in the Hero Building”, read our interview Tuff Sunshine’s John Leitera.

Tell us about the process of translating the feelings and senses of loss experienced in a dream about an ill-fated protagonist Nancy Needle dying in a “Fire in the Hero Building” into a song, and then wrapping a whole album around these ideas.

The dream was non-visual; that is, I woke up and it was just knowledge in my head that this woman had died in a fire in a building called the Hero Building. You know how you wake from a dream that seems so real—but this one had no context. So there was a sense of loss without a reference point, I guess. I started by taking the opening lines of the verses from a fire extinguisher at my parent’s house, and it went from there. The record is by no means a concept album, but I felt that this song summed up the overall feel and dynamic of the record.

Tell us about your own techniques in taking minimalist pop and expanding it to an entire big orchestral sound.

I like to think that Tuff Sunshine is about creating these ‘mini-epics’ at times—that is, the song structure doesn’t always follow a verse-chorus-verse arrangement but we also aren’t really an experimental band, either. I think sometimes people expect either a three minute pop-song that fits the traditional pop-song format—which we for sure do have those type of tunes—or a 10 minute epic track that is all over the place. I say why not a little of both? If it works, as I think it does in the title track, it’s a nice middle ground.

Talking with Tuff Sunshine; photographed by DSR Photo.
Talking with Tuff Sunshine; photographed by DSR Photo.

How did the visual component from Stephanie Sleeper come about, and how do you feel her altered-choreographed performance images enhance the ghost-like quality of the title song?

Stephanie—full-disclosure, she is my significant other—had choreographed this dance a while back, and I liked the idea of a dreamy kind of vibe for the video for this song. A lot of what I write is literal—or at least has a narrative—but this track does have that dreamy non-linear backdrop lyrically so I thought this fit well. She edited it and tweaked it a bit and the flow fits the song nicely, and allows you to sort of just process the song gently. Visually it’s a nice counterpart to some of the other ‘higher production’ videos we have released so far.

Will there be a sequel to this conceptual release in the same vein, or perhaps there’s another song cycle in the works informed by characters in a dream?

The whole dream thing can sound trite—I think the difference here, for me at least, was the dream was non-visual, as I mentioned—I literally awoke with this ‘knowledge’ that this event occurred, and felt it was an interesting way to navigate writing a song. I always allow words and signs and other stimuli to find its way in, like any writer does, but as far as song cycles and such, well, that’s a little prog-rock for us maybe? Not that there’s anything wrong with it!

2016 plans for Tuff Sunshine?

Well, we leave Friday for some Midwest dates and a Daytrotter session, then we are back and working on new material for the next release. Hopefully more tour dates by Spring. Right now the record will only be available on vinyl as we look for assistance getting it out through other media. It will come out as a limited release on cassette on Brooklyn boutique label Shorewave Records in 2016 as well and we are psyched about that. More NYC shows as well. Trying to get so busy that’s there’s no room for much else!

Toughing up with Tuff Sunshine; photographed by DSR Photo.
Toughing up with Tuff Sunshine; photographed by DSR Photo.

Best things you’re listening to, watching, reading right now, etc?

I’m always singing the praises of New Zealand’s The Phoenix Foundation, and their new record is killer. I’m always listening to Paul McCartney’s Ram. I’ve been meaning to start reading the Ernest Tubb biography as well. And watching any Tom Lehrer Electric Company videos to clear the palate!

If there was ever a Tuff Sunshine philosophy what would it be, and why?

Although this is an ideal time to use a Spinal Tap quote…I’ll be honest…my philosophy and I think I speak for Ani (Cordero, drums) and Turner (Stough, bass) as well is, do it honestly, do it without regard to what seems hip at the moment, and most importantly, keep doing it as long as it feels right. Although that’s hard to fit on a bumper sticker, I guess…

Tuff Sunshine’s Fire in the Hero Building will be available on October 31 (Halloween).

Val Hollie

Val Hollie's Peter Campanelli.
Val Hollie’s Peter Campanelli.

Here to help contribute to the festive harvest season of gifts and offerings, we bring you the world premiere of “Stepping Outside” from Val Hollie that sparkles with the AM radio frequency glow that makes autumn exciting again. Comprised of New Orleans’ Peter Campanelli who recorded the album with Ross Farbe in a house they converted into a studio of their own devising. With their self-titled EP making it’s way out into the world on cassette and digital November 13; the two transcend the cliches of strictly garage scuzz for the makings of a genuine analog sound that resonates in tones reminiscent of listening to the radio, 8-track, or old cassettes in an equally antiquated vehicle with a blown out sound system. The result is a mesh of 60s pop kernels that pop in time to peppy guitars, Peter’s upbeat delivery, and unexpected outbursts of old school synth-squeals.

“Stepping Outside” is a smart track that steps out of time, and out of the contemporary mind for a bouquet of catchy chords and synth keys soaked in the hue of happiness. Songs of insecurities, questions of feelings, and discourse are described in Peter’s lyrics while the arrangement keeps the mood high with every rhythm and note bouncing and bubbling like a shaken-up liter of ultra-carbonated soda. The old independent schools and classes from the sound of young Scotland (circa the post-punk era) and 70s pop adventurers can be heard here in fanatic spirit where Peter, Ross and friends combine all the instant-hitting pop action they can muster in one minute forty-five seconds running time. Right after the following debut listen to “Stepping Outside”, check out our conversation with Val Hollie’s own Peter Campanelli.

What prompted you to start Val Hollie?

In early 2014 NOLA homie Chris Rehm and I found this ratty house in Pigeon Town that had been completely gutted. It was one humongous room covered floor to ceiling with spray foam insulation, and at the time it was basically being used as an indoor junkyard. We eventually talked to the owner and hashed out a squatter’s agreement, and with lots of help from Ross we cleared the space and slowly began moving in studio equipment. I guess you could say that’s when Val began.

Tell us about the making of the Val Hollie EP with Video Age’s Ross Farbe in Pigeon Town, New Orleans.

Ross and I have collaborated off and on over the past six or seven years, so after an older project fizzled out I asked him if he’d be into recording some new shit I’d been working on. At the time I was really into the way Eno created Here Come The Warm Jets; he basically just invited his favorite musicians to the studio and without much direction they would record a bunch of wild shit. Nonsense, really. But he cut the tape together and formed the songs almost completely in post. This is pretty much the same approach we took with the EP. It’s not the most efficient way to record—we spent a stupid amount of time mixing and trashed maybe of the half songs that were tracked—but we ended up coming out with this chorus-heavy guitar pop sound that I’m quite pleased with.

val hollie week in pop 2

What sorts of stepping out influences and the sort inspired the DIY pop of “Stepping Outside”?

I had Dirty Mind on repeat around that time, and was also way into Postcard Records and that Glasgow post-punk scene. I think artists in that era and of that mindset—specifically Prince and Orange Juice—and Paul Quinn’s solo stuff—are so good at not taking themselves too seriously; they’re creating truly great pop music that is very tongue in cheek, these finger-waggy, upbeat songs that are thematically very cynical, morose, and kind of defeatist about life and human relationships. That ‘Everything’s fucked up, isn’t it funny?’ kind of feelings is something very familiar to me, and that’s the feeling I was trying to convey with “Stepping”. I’m making fun of myself for being depressed. A lot of this EP is very sarcastic in that way, me making fun of myself for being dramatic and emotional about something that doesn’t matter. I think constantly taking personal inventory and shitting on yourself is an important part of being self-aware.

How did Val Hollie expand to be a quintet?

At the beginning Val was purely a recording project. We really weren’t considering how the songs would translate live. It was actually something Ross and I would consciously try not to think about. But when it came time to put together the live lineup I had a pretty good idea of who should be involved. Andrew Landry (Glish, Shuvuuia) is one of my favorite musicians, and also happens to be one of my oldest friends in the city. He had just bought a bari guitar and an Oberheim DX, earning him the open invite to all Val sessions, and those instruments are certainly present throughout the EP. From there the band developed kind of naturally, adding previous Glish members Evan Citanovic and Dexter Gilmore, as well as Tyler Scurlock (Shark’s Teeth) who is a mad genius circuit bender/synth shredder. Playing with these dudes is unreal. I get to be in a band with all of my favorite musicians.

val hollie week in pop 3

What can you tell us about the forthcoming Val Hollie album?

The new songs we’ve been writing are a little darker sounding, somewhat of a departure from the über pop you’ll find on Val Hollie EP. Evan has been putting me on to a lot of different music over the past few years, getting me into more internet genres like vapor wave and PC Music, and we’ve been combining those aesthetics with the sounds we’re already working with. I’m definitely looking forward to collaborating with Ross on a full length. Don’t want to get into too many specifics regarding a release date, but we’ve been actively working on new material and we plan to follow this EP closely with another release. I’ll keep you posted.

The Val Hollie self-titled EP will be available November 13.

The Maguires

Introducing The Maguires, fronted by David Reihm.
Introducing The Maguires, fronted by David Reihm.

from Encinitas, California; introduce yourself to David Reihm, aka The Maguires who debuts the single follow up to his debut album The Bump (released earlier this past summer) with the slick and sophisticated cool club cut, “Groove-Footed Cutie”. Moving from the templates and techno-centric electronica, David’s new sound finds further defined resolution and audio details that push toward the depths of rich production that creates a full encompassing feel of sensory that surrounds the listener (especially when enjoyed with one’s favorite pair of headphones).

It begins with the beat, as “Groove-Footed Cutie” finds it’s footing on the ground where suddenly all the surfaces of the world feel like one big dance floor to enjoy and explore. Samples begin their cycle in circular motions as perssuive accessory sequences start to glitter in communion with additional synthesizers and more hushed (and treated) vocal samples thrown into the ensemble. The most inspired and talented groove-steppers are exalted here amongst a plethora of keys and a mix that slowly rises to the big heavy hitting sections where all involved drum beat components are switched on for maximum effect. Leading you through the selection of varying tempo determinates is the interplay of vocal loops that act in accordance to what the keyboard progressions are doing at all times. After the following debut listen to “Groove-Footed Cutie”, check out our interview with The Maguires’ own David Reihm.

Tell us what first lead you to the electronic audio arts.

I got my first copy of Pro Tools when I was 14 and began recording my own music then. During high school a buddy of mine began to show me albums like “From Here We Go Sublime” and “Geogaddi” which ended up sparking my interests in electronic music quite a bit and eventually led to me wanting to try it out.

What was the making of your first album The Bump like, and what did you learn about yourself as an artist?

The Bump was a cool album for me personally. It only took me about two weeks from start to finish. It was the first time I had decided to work no longer than a day per song in hopes that I wouldn’t get too burnt out on the material. It was also the most minimal set-up I had used up to this point.

How have your experiences during the process of making The Bump have an impact on your new single “Groove-Footed Cutie”?

The Bump was the album where I was just discovering what I wanted to do with dance music. I feel like that album really helped get me in the groove of what I’m currently doing. That being said it’s a little more rough around the edges then say “Groove-Footed Cutie” and my next album.

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Can you give us some insights into how you begin to approach your own musical drafting and brainstorming process?

Generally with this stuff, I start with a beat, and then I record the guitar/bass/synths/vocals. However, lately I’ve been coming up with just the beat and vocals and then record the rest around that. I try not to spend too much time on the brainstorming process and just record what I’m feeling in the moment so I don’t get burnt out on the track.

What can you tell us about other tracks in the works right now?

Currently I have a second album that is completed and I’m just waiting for it to be mastered so it can be released.

2016 plans for The Maguires?

I will be releasing my second album and hopefully some singles and an EP.

Listen to more from the The Maguires via Bandcamp.

John Felix Arnold III

"Emotional Crowbar", by JFAIII.
“Emotional Crowbar”, by JFAIII.

Bay Area by NYC artist John Felix Arnold announces his new show “From Here”, a brand new solo exhibition that opens November 5 at Joseph Gross Gallery in Chelsea, NYC. Featuring new works made from wood panels & paper depicts Felix’s own evolution and growth in art through the transference of pain to enlightened paths. Presenting the projected constructive depictions of purpose wrought out of struggles, JFA III returns to his beloved NYC art community for the opening reception being held November 5 at the Joseph Gross Gallery at 548 W28th St. Read Felix’s own foreword on the upcoming exhibit and what NYC means to him:

It is profoundly important that this body of work be shown in New York City, as NYC has been such an integral part of my life since the age of six. This work marks a great shift in my life, as an artist, as a creative energy, as a human. What you will see is the result of some eye yanking tumultuous events that brought me to a psychological and emotional bottom which through work and willingness became an awakening like none I have experienced yet in this lifetime. These pieces are truly a shift into deep process, losing the image in a myriad of ways, and placing the narrative lens on myself uninhibitedly letting out my most honest, painful and beautiful truths. It is about embracing change, letting go of the past and a sense of “self willed reality” so as to open up to the universe and let what is good and meant to be become me. It is a raw, unfiltered, real in the moment performance of sorts showing my very personal process of feeling, accepting, changing, growing and awakening from deep within my psyche. It just plain feels good and I am proud to be showing it with Joseph Gross Gallery who have been very supportive of me over the years. Come see what’s inside and reflect on your own story while viewing mine.

Check out the Joseph Gross Gallery site for further details.


dreamcrusher week in pop 11

Brooklyn, NY by Wichita, KS group Dreamcrusher releases their EP Hackers All of Them Hackers today on Fire Talk Records, sharing a following listen plus an insightful interview round. A group that emerged during the mid-oughts under a banner of “NIHILIST QUEER REVOLT MUSIK” embodies the non-binary, genderqueer cause of that embraces abrasive electronics and searing electric industrious effects for further measures. Their new EP begins with ear scorching blasts of “Fear (And No Feeling)” that casts all things into the uncharted void of uncertainty. Melodic synths muddle amid a constant onslaught of distorted squelch on “Adore”, right before tossing the listener with gleeful abandon into the dire pits of trench dug dissonance on the all out war of “All Covered In Red”. The back and forth rope tugs of power exchanges battles forth on “Vaccuum”, right before the floor and ground give way like a hellish sinkhole on the humanity ingesting closing cut “Trapdoor” ft. Secret Boyfriend. After the following listen, get to know these crashers of dreams a bit better in our discussions session with Dreamcrusher.

Describe the crusade that Dreamcrusher has been on lately with the new album Hackers All of Them Hackers.

Still new to NY, but not new to music. I’ve been ‘the most exciting new artist in noise’ for like twelve years, ha ha. Booked a one-way ticket to NY and said ‘all or nothing.’ This record is a reflection of that. There’s no real concept for it other than a collection of recordings I made during the most enlightening, difficult and intense time of my life.

Please explain this whole approach to transcending the internet for visceral open mind and body experiences you refer to as NIHILIST QUEER REVOLT MUSIK.’

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, everything I create is for people who think of themselves as ‘other,’ that’s where NQRM comes from. The internet thing pisses me off because people come to my shows thinking shit won’t get lit, especially in gentrified Brooklyn, and when I start thrashing—the Urban Outfitters/vintage shop twee fuckers get scared and don’t know how to react, ha ha . My shows are meant for you to dive in and lose yourself. Forget about your life and thrash like you have blood in your veins. I’m not background music for yuppies and posers, but I’ll gladly take their money!

How do you go about finding patterns of melody within such arrays of blissful dissonance?

Sugar, spice and everything nice!

dreamcrusher week in pop 2

Describe the progression in all the various Dreamcrusher chapters to now.

I think since the beginning I’ve always combined every kind of music I like into one mass trash heap of insolent shitwave and distortion with a beat underneath. I’ve made so many records over the years fleshing out and releasing what’s in me that it’s much more apparent that my influences are all over the board. It’s all nostalgic for certain niche eras of weird-dom. I think it’s just a lot less intelligible and less easy to label now; which is good, I invite that. Fuck genres, fuck gender, fuck ethnicity, fuck class. Let’s die or whatever.

Thoughts on the nature of culture hacking, trolling, phreaking, and the like and how it’s affected our globe on a local and universal level?

A certain degree of all that is necessary, but it should be done with that same degree of humor and play too. Generally you shouldn’t do think you wouldn’t normally do unless it’s a natural progression for you and what you believe. But yeah, #HackThePlanet, #DoxxTheRich.

What’s next for Dreamcrusher?

Still swimming in a bucket off piss, hopefully I’ll have a place to live in NY and put on overpriced shows for Swedish paralegal Billburg-ites and play international festivals and experience 90s era racism and cis-male auto-gendering worldwide. Playing Boston hassle fest November 6, playing with B L A C K I E at trans pecos November 8, playing NYU November 13, playing way too many shows throughout the year because I’m not Beyoncé. Debut album next year, gonna dig a hole and isolate myself for that.

Crushing it, with Dreamcrusher; photographed by Walter Wlodarczyk.
Crushing it, with Dreamcrusher; photographed by Walter Wlodarczyk.

Dreamcrushers’ new EP Hackers All of them Hackers is available now from Fire Talk Records.


The latest from NYC's fuzz pop conductor—Yuzima.
The latest from NYC’s fuzz pop conductor—Yuzima.

NYC’s Yuzima gives us a first debut listen to “Tracy Chapman (no)”, the second single off his forthcoming Behemoth” {Insta-Album} (available soon) that ponders our own pop-cultural absorption, hero worship of famous icons, and more, all revolving around wanting to take a selfie with Tracy Chapman. “She was hanging outside of my building. I walked up and told her I loved her and was just listening to two of her more obscure tunes, ‘So’ and ‘The Love that You Had’, and that I’m a musician too,” Yuzima explained to us. “She looked at me like I was a weirdo and turned me down. “I know she’s private, so it wasn’t completely surprising but it still caught me off guard. Tracy went on to perform ‘Stand By Me’ later that night on Letterman. Funny thing was a couple of weeks later I got one with Patti Smith, and I used some of Tracy’s own writing tropes in the song.”

True to the artist’s own proclivities for dousing his works in plenty of carefully applied distortion and tinny-echo effects; facets of the pop legend’s melodic delivery are counter measured by daliances in dissonance that bring emotive and visceral passion with a home brewed panache. The story of a chance encounter with the artist’s longtime hero is turned into a tale about a “number one fan” being denied in the chorus refrain of reciting the artist’s name and the humorous chant of “I asked for a selfie and she said no.” Riding the experience out for all the fleeting moment was worth and more; Yuzima brings about an interesting survey that combines our self-centered idolatry in conjunction with our own excessive celebrity obsessions.

Computer Magic

Exploring tall heights with Computer Magic's Danielle "Danz" Johnson photographed by Mo Goodman & Chad Kamenshine.
Exploring tall heights with Computer Magic’s Danielle “Danz” Johnson photographed by Mo Goodman & Chad Kamenshine.

Brooklyn’s Danielle “Danz” Johnson, aka Computer Magic recently released her album Davos on Channel 9 Records, sharing the clandestine electronic world of “Secret”. The artist takes her Claudius Mittendorfer produced sound that surveys the hidden places in between everything that doesn’t meet the eye as it pertains to interpersonal relations to perhaps a digitally encoded algorithm that embodies the new lush CM sounds. The real “Secret” at work is the way Danz sews a ghost in the machine approach with her sounds where the plugged-in universe of electronically expressed feelings creates a digital diamond that encases the most guarded treasures of the heart.

Computer Magic’s Danielle Johnson shared more exclusive words on what the album Davos means to her:

It’s hard to sum up Davos with one meaning specifically, the songs on the record all have their own behind them. “Bionic Man” for instance, is about a man/machine living in Japan whilst Spaces is about realizing how small you are in the universe. A new video comes out soon. This year we’re going to tour Japan again and hopefully play some festivals in the summer!


ONO in the 80s.
ONO in the 80s.

From Chicago’s own shit-disturbers and radical champions of human rights; ONO present the premiere of the Amanda Gutierrez video for “Ma LaVeau (Tell God she fix’t it)” off their new album Spooks available now from Moniker Records shown through distorted views of collected vintage film. As Ono carries on the noise-dub groove of their ever evolving manifesto of sound, resilience, and perseverance in the face of all adversity and obstacles; fixations on mending broken items is presented with images of baptisms, animated symbols, and more distorted views of vintage films reels. Rituals and relics from the past play out here like words of warning for modern times told through the scuzzy aesthetics of sound and video arts.

Ono’s audio and visual presentation of “Ma LaVeau” promises an experience of life changing and mind altering visions that move between militant mind sets and other-worldly push toward metaphysical breakthroughs. The plight of Travis, P. Michael Grego and Shannon Rose Riley, Rebbecca Pavlatos, Jesse Thomas, and Dawei Wang push together discontent, disarray, and more forgotten and demolished histories together in a context where ghosts of the past are brought to new life in the present through a/v channels of resurrection. Travis’s dead pan delivery rides along the rock road between rap and punk recitations where spoken words are reinforced through a demented dance scheme skanking bass synths and saturations of fuzzy effects. “Ma LaVeau” rises from Travis’s own ongoing project of drawings, diary entries, photos, words, and plenty of blessed noise to go around ripped from experiences from the Vietnam War days. Enter the anarchic citadel now.

Ono’s own Travis shared with us the following statement about the inception behind the audio and visual for “Ma LaVeau”:

“Ma LaVeau” originated within an ongoing, unpublished 200-page travisDjPTSD project that includes diaries, words, noise, photographs and drawings. I posted original “Ma LaVeau” words and sounds to Afro Punk and Soundcloud in 2013/14, along with a couple dozen other therapeutic DjPTSD experiments. (I use AfroPunk and SoundCloud as easily accessible holding tanks for sonic experiments related to traumatizing, life-changing Vietnam-era U.S. military experiences from 1963-69; thus DjPTSD.) At some point, P. Michael Grego, Leader of ONO, spotted Ma LaVeau online. He composed an alternative score and added MaLaVeau to ONO’s oeuvre. On 29AUG15, P. Michael showed me online videos created by Amanda Gutierrez, friend to ONO member DaWei Wang. I agreed that Ms. Gutierrez should have complete artistic license to create a music video based on ONO’s version of MaLaVeau.

Experimental Performance, NOISE, and
Industrial Poetry Performance Band;
Exploring Gospel’s Darkest Conflicts,
Tragedies and Premises.

Ono’s new album Spooks is available now from Moniker Records.

Richie Woods

The rich & wild world of Richie Woods.
The rich & wild world of Richie Woods.

Meet New York’s new lo-fi maestro Richie Woods, who just released his wow cool album via the usual digital channels with news of a limited run tape release in the coming months from Atelier Cisceaux. Recording in Oregon at locales from Portland to Canon Beach; Woods’s DIY vision was mastered by Foxes in Fiction’s Warren Hildebrand who further nurtured the warmth at work on this shambling opus. Turning the sound of falling apart into an excercise art of unabashed honesty; stream of consciousness expressions are king throughout where Richie straddles the lines between sincere and a slice of home-spun surreal.

Richie starts the album with daddy issues worn weirdly on his sleeve with the parental strangeness of “thanks dad”, rolling deep into the no-fi zones on “turtleneck”, to the washed out, frayed, phazed, and faded “im yr dog”, to the intoxicated romanticism of the heart melting “wendy”. Cuts like “money is everythign” (misspelling intentional) bring a kind of cadence of an alternate winter holiday sort of feel, whereas “witchypunk” sees Richie coming up with a name for his own micro-genre, playing it strange with the just-in-time-for-Halloween haunts of “black dog”, that then ascends into the lemonade soda spring high of “pink fizz”. Edible obsessions and oral fixations carry over on “pineapple slush”, to the savory stag flick sensations that shimmer on “food porno”, before taking a detour into thoughts of mortality on “rip richie” (featuring the voice of Frankie Cosmos’ Greta Kline), more funereal musings on “bury me”, feline fellows on “yr a cat”, apoligies and lamentations on “sry seymour” (also featuring vocal samples from FC’s Greta Klines), right before closing up shop with the “it’s gonna be fine” benediction of “peach overalls”. The disconnected style of delivery will try the nerves of some, while the meta narrative element that fluxes between thoughts on food, drink, and the human condition will have others fascinated.

Rich was ever so kind as to take us inside the strange, surreal stream of sorta-fi consciousness with insight into what the making of wow cool was like with the following words:

I started recording the album after the end of a serious long term relationship in late 2013. Within the same week of the breakup I’d moved away from home, got a new job and moved into my own apartment for the first time. I wasn’t taking the breakup well, but had promised myself I wouldn’t make a breakup album but to instead document my new life, however strange, mundane or drunk it was. It was a very surreal year of numbness and strange experiences, trying to learn how to be a full person again and find my own version of happy. I was working full time, then coming home to drink, record, and watch movies with my cat and whoever would come over usually until the sun would come up. Other nights I would call a friend and we would drive in a random direction to a new town to see what we could find. By the time I started wrapping up the album I’d connected with some new people and dogs who sort of brought me back to the surface and helped me see beauty in life again, and I think a lot of that inspiration came through in the album.

wow cool is available now via Bandcamp and soon from Atelier Ciseaux.

Swahili Blonde

Swahili Blonde's Nicole Turley; photographed by Heather Cvar.
Swahili Blonde’s Nicole Turley; photographed by Heather Cvar.

Swahili Blonde announced And Only The Melody Was Real available January 22 from Neurotic Yell Records. Nicole Turley follows up her EP Deities in Decline examines a breakup where co-writing credits are shared with Turley’s close friend Jennifer P. Fraser to elaborate on the illuminating points of these experience of departures, and hands held in congress. “The Diamond Room” is the perfect introduction, where the shadows fall and a glittering dream realm opens up lined with many jewels, and the rarest gem stones of indescribable luster. “Diamond Room” moves between an ever morphing treasure trove of illuminating synths that bridge the ground between dreams and the sobering light of intense realities. Join us after the listen for our latest discussion with Nicole.

Tell us about the process of recording your full-length off the heels of your recent EP.

And Only The Melody Was Real was very unexpected and surprising in every way. Nothing about that record was like anything I had done before. Because I was traveling at the time, it was unexpectedly written and recorded outside of my home studio—in beautiful Savannah, GA and Manhattan, NY—my home away from home. And later ended up being mixed and mastered at another studio in Brooklyn, NY. Because I had very limited access to instruments during travel, everything on the record, except bass and vocals, was composed and performed through a MIDI keyboard. Never did that before. All songs were written drums first, when usually I’d write all my songs on bass first. And also for the first time, I used this amazing orchestra program called East West, in composing various parts and arrangements for classical instruments. That was really neat. Probably my favorite part in making the LP.

Tell us the story & places that inspired the bright shining pop of “The Diamond Room”.

“The Diamond Room” was one of the last songs written for the record. It’s a song of healing. During the time it was written, I was being treated by this wonderful woman named Charisse, who does body and energy work. I was going through a very emotionally heavy time and my body was letting me know- by way of intense stomach issues and back pain. Charisse gave me some valuable tools in self healing- believing the mind, body, and emotions are all housed under the same roof. And it is when they all work together in synchronicity, that we as human beings thrive. She gave me the tools to help myself- which was a great gift. And because I’m a very visual person, a lot of the exercises we would do were visualizations. So “The Diamond Room” is recounting various things I would see during these visualizations- floating peacefully in space, being connected to another person soul to soul, filling yourself up with love and acceptance, giving everything you have so you can be open to receive.

swahili blonde week in pop 1

Insights into your own creative song craft methods?

For a long time, songwriting to me was basically like writing short stories to visuals I’d imagine. It kind of felt like scoring films at times. But on this new album, the songwriting is very different than anything I’ve done before. As it’s essence lies in the ending of a relationship that meant a great deal to me, it’s by far the most personal thing I’ve ever done. It’s the most vulnerable I’ve allowed myself to be in music. And it was the most raw I’ve been while creating. At times so painful, I couldn’t sing. No sound would come out. So I wrote and recorded an instrumental version of the record first, then went to NY and worked on the lyrics and vocal melodies with one of my closest friends, Jennifer P Fraser. Having her love, support and creativity, especially when I felt so raw and messy, was incredibly healing in itself. And as life cycles forward, I’m sure the next record I make will be it’s own unique experience with gracious things to offer and teach me.

What are you listening to obsessively right now?

Lately it’s been this LP by Bobbie Gentry called Fancy. Miss Gentry was one of the first women to write and produce her own music in the country scene of the 1960s and 70s, which I find very inspiring. The production on that record is so good. And the lyrics are haunting. What a great writer. Bobbie’s a pioneer. An OG punk.

Bür Gür

bur gur week in pop 1

Just in time for Halloween, we bring you the video for “Neighbors” off Bür Gür’s upcoming early 2016 slated album Have You Lost Your Faith in God?. Directed by Dustin M. Krapes (fomrerly of Habits), weirdness abounds as a dude become haunted by the same strange fellow every he goes. A cast of characters that include Ryan Lars Bergmann
, Phil Miller, 
Le’lani Lan’caster, 
Dustin himself, 
Bruce the Ceramic Dog, 
Makan Negahban, 
Corbin Clarke
, and Jana Jordan make for a memorable ensemble that adds to your seasonal viewing of suspenseful media.

“Neighbors” begins with Ryan enjoying some french pressed coffee before noticing the appearance of the mysterious Phil Miller popping up everywhere he goes. From taking out the crash, to a brisk morning job, in the bathroom, in the laundry, at a restaurant, in a porn flick, and everywhere he doesn’t want him to be. As images in picture frames, and magazine covers become plastered with Phill’s image, things turn tense, and destructive where Ryan’s secret sharer even appearances beyond the threshold of the life and death continuum.

Dustin, and Makan Negahban from Bür Gür discussed the making of the video with the following insights:

Dustin Krapes (director):

In first conceiving ideas for the “Neighbors” video, Bür Gür and I agreed that we wanted something that would play in contrast to the sweet and dreamy feel of the song. With the premise of the protagonist (Ryan Lars Bergmann) seeing this “figure” (Phil Miller) everywhere, we tried to make each other laugh coming up with different scenarios that would build into a more imposing, absurd and brutal situation. For me, the video is meant to playfully represent a struggle with inner conflicts and lingering feelings of fun stuff like fear, guilt and doubt.

I love working with the Bür Gür dudes. It was a joy to bounce ideas off each other for this video, and to work with friends and actors who were very gracious with their time, down for weird shit, and getting a little messy.

Makan Negahban from Bür Gür:

I thought of an idea of an ordinary dude getting stalked and the fun of “revealing” this strange almost comatose looking stalker in a bunch of situations which would ramp up in absurdity and then the protagonist would erupt in a brutally violent explosion of frustration. Dustin took it from that tiny little concept and really fleshed it out and brought it to life.

The best little bit was the porn scene. When Dustin told me about that idea I literally lol’ed. Weeks later, when he showed me the dailies I literally jumped in the air and roundhouse kicked the air out of sheer excitement.


Polygrains' Vasilis Moschas.
Polygrains’ Vasilis Moschas.

Today Polygrains, aka Vasilis Moschas releases his EP Screen Fever and we are thrilled to present the following listen plus a few words from the artist. Following up our last listen to the single “Mirage”, the Thessaloniki by London based artist continues to craft granules of audio into electronic hives to hear and behold.

The screen cast visions of Screen Fever commence with “Some Good Old Pistachios” that finds Vasilis fusing a collection of rumbling percussive sounds into a focused sequence of synths organic sensations. A degree of restraint and minimalism remains at work on cuts like “Come On” that move in bubbling electro-bass ways, right before “In The Fertility Zone” experiments in audio enrichment sequences that flutter with a cluster of activity like a menagerie of digitized insects buzzing about. The parallel worlds of film and computer game soundtracks simmer on the home garden bloom of “Flower Pots”, noodling about with new noise patterns on “Defunct Trunks”, to the underground hope chests and war chests of “Playground”, continuing to straddle the spaces between ascension and subterranean descent on the closing track “Studio Pain”. Moschas entertains on the EP the environments of some kind of alternative nether-world that exists somewhere beyond the static of sight and sound.

Polygrain’s Vasilis Moschas shared with us the following preface piece that introduces the Screen Fever EP:

Screen Fever is a contemporary condition. It’s the addiction to the screen, to the internet, it’s an illusion, a pseudo-activity. Constantly connected, online, on standby, half present,waiting forever for the important email, or the best Facebook notification you will have ever received.

Typing, scrolling, interacting, while an infinite flux of information is streaming through, banging you from left and right, while the rhythm of life strives to remain steady, trying to fob off distractions, but at the same time evoking them.

Pleasure and disdain. Black and white. Shoes without socks, sandals with socks, information and knowledge, father and cousin, original and facsimile, best friends and lovers, sugar free waffles.

And this is the soundtrack to all this. Or not.

Born Idiot

Meet Rennes, France's Born Idiot.
Meet Rennes, France’s Born Idiot.

Lucas Benmahammed of Betty The Nun from Rennes France is Born Idiot who recently lent a listen to the single “Peter Pan” that discusses the topic of never wanting to grow up. The fears of traversing through cognitive stages of development is expressed in honest tones, harmonies, and an interplay of guitars and electric organ that handle the coming of age apprehensions in a gentle, and sincere honesty. The cassette will be available soon from Citrus City Records, and you can read our long-distance interview with Lucas after the jump.

Give us the story on making the jump from Betty the Nun to Born Idiot.

I would say that I wanted to compose songs that came 100% from me, and I think my fingers makes it sound more ‘pop’ & ‘smooth’ than Betty The Nun.

Tell us what Rennes, France is like.

Rennes is the place in France where true music really exists, we see a lot of garage rock bands, indie bands. This is a city of art, a great city to evolve. Even if sometimes, you wake up and the streets smell like shit. Too much alcohol I guess, a good business here.

What sorts of ‘I don’t wanna grow up’ sentiments and inclinations informed the song “Peter Pan”?

When I wrote ‘Peter Pan’, I wanted to explain feelings like fear & being lost when it’s about growing up and finding a stupid way. So I made it in a funny way, talking about my mum who tells me to grow & I answer that I prefer live in cartoons.

Your songs revolve around this embracing of youth, why for you do you feel these impressionable years have such a prominence in your songwriting?

Because I guess I still feel and I will feel this sensation forever, of being a child in my way of thinking. It’s like people tell you to move on but innocence wins every time, I think we’re all stuck into our childish dreams. And that’s why it inspires me, I’m living it at this time. What am I gonna do? Who gives a shit?

What else are you recording?

We made a live session video in campaign that is coming very soon. The song is called “Ice Cream”, you should like it! And we’re also setting out an album for 2016. Surprise…

Other local groups we should be listening to?

Here are lot of great bands in the west coast like Boca River, Her, Beach Youth, Mannequins, The Slow Sliders…and you know the best: Betty The Nun.

The Fatty Acids

the fatty acids week in pop worst part

From our friends The Fatty Acids, get a load of the Kelly Michael Anderson video for “Worst Part” that features all the energy, chutzpah, and moxie that you know and love the fatties for. From performance footage, special effect wackiness (as seen in our premiere of their video for “I Try Not To Freak Out About It”) where visual effects and alterations keep the mood and vibe fun, freaky, and just free.

Director Kelly Michael Anderson and Josh Evert from The Fatty Acids provided the following exclusive insights on their new video:

Kelly Michael Anderson

The Fatties boys are some of the most motivated and creative people in town and I’m lucky to have been close to them for so long and totally ride their coattails. There has never been anything short of a sense of grandeur when it comes to the level of commitment and love they put into their work. From the songwriting, to the instrumentation, to the album/poster/digital art, not to mention their plethora of music videos, there’s an equal sense of importance and genuine hard work brought to each iteration of work. I think these boys are very visual people, too, especially Cole, who I went to film school with, so its not surprising that they seem to want to make visual media constantly. We are also friends with a lot of crazy talented and productive people who like working with Fatties and many other Milwaukee bands on projects like this.

Pretty much ever since Fatties have been making music together I’ve been sticking my camera in their pimply faces, so there are elements of all of this footage in the video. Its mostly stuff I shot behind the scenes on the many music video shoots, though. And live shows. A lot of the footage is stuff I shot on set for Kurt Raether’s Oven Mitts. I was on site for most of those music videos and was always shooting stills and behind the scenes footage, so all of that is me shooting while still trying to be helpful and not completely in the way. There are a couple lovely shots that I stole from Ryan Reeve, shot on the Riverwest Side Story Fatties/Sat. Nite Duets music video that I also shot a lot of. Otherwise, there’s a lot of footage from the boys playing live at Summerfest years ago, as well as Mondo Lucha, live basement junk and just a lot of being college kids at Kribber’s and being dinguses on camera, playing with my Canon right after I bought it. There’s probably a lot more footage I shot that made it into this that I forgot about, like shows at Club Garibaldi’s and Mad Planet, etc.

A lot of it was footage I hadn’t looked at or thought of for years. It was challenging taking this footage and trying to make something more than simply a highlight reel of the many years of Fatties concerts and music videos, which I don’t know if I succeeded in.

Josh Evert

The text at the beginning was something I shot in Josh and my backyard one day last summer. We just shot straight down at a white canvas with Josh squeezing blue paint into the shape of the title we wanted and then he went through and traced it with his finger. I just keyed out the blue and white and fucked with the color in final cut to make it the title text.

As for the faces being masked out it was pretty much the same process but I was lucky in that that was footage I shot on the set of Kurt Rather’s “Worst Part” video where the boys were already getting their chests and faces painted blue for similar reasons. I pretty much stole that idea from him. Thanks Kuuuuuuurt! I then played with layering all that archive footage and a buncha random video I had lying around under the keyed out faces, etc.

Here’s the behind-the-scenes video I made a long time ago that I took a bunch of this footage from:

Mista Stunt

From LA’s Gabfest crew, Mista Stunt dropped the video for slapped-back track “Broke” (ft. a supporting vocal cameo from Jimmy Turturici) off the Slam Identity Records album Invasion of the Chain Snatcher that drops a DIY look and listen at a group that lifts themselves up with humor and poetics of the universally identifiable human need for subsistence and survival. Watch as things get zany and weird in the second chapter.


NYC's Tempers, featuring Jasmine Golestaneh & Eddie Cooper.
NYC’s Tempers, featuring Jasmine Golestaneh & Eddie Cooper.

Tempers’ debut album Services is available now from Aufnahme + Wiedergabe with a release show happening October 31 at Brooklyn’s Aviv withPop. 1280, Bootblacks & Dreamcrusher; we bring you the video for “Undoing” from Eva Munz that was shot on Fire Island to capture the clandestine worlds that exist between the blankets of night and cast shadows.

We had a moment to catch up with Jasmine and Eddie of Tempers earlier this week in the following conversation:

Tell us what sorts of temperaments and the like gave rise to Tempers.

Hot headed introversion, psychic-social euphoria, the search for phlegm, and love.

What sorts of services & notions of servitude informed the album Services?

Servitude to a lashing muse, service to a community that likes to wander and discover holes, church-like respect for the power of music to heal the pain of ambiguous romance and fear/longing for love thing.

How do you feel the video further brings out the unraveling subtext from the song, “Undoing”?

It puts the subtext of escapism and insatiable desire into a symbolic shadow world, where the lines between natural and supernatural are hazy and fumes are boiling from the seaweed.

2016 hopes & wishes?

We’d like to become famous rock stars and pee on hotel furniture and break windows and hearts but get away with it.

“For Your Eyes” by Bart Skils gets the We Are Temporary remix treatment originally found off the Drumcode Shadowprint EP. WAT / Stars & Letters boss mark Robert kicks “For Your Eyes” to be mind opening and full body moving dance experience designed for only the most sensible and stylish dance floors.

Filmed by William Knutson, Nate Packard, & Blair Davis; watch the video for Cities Aviv’s “Survival Fit” off the album Your Discretion Is Trust that takes you deep into the electro-pulse stream of preserving and fighting for what you feel is cool.

Delray Beach by Miami’s Treasure Teeth are comprised of Barbara Elting and James McKillop who Transatlantic Consultant/Romantic Impulse available November 13 from Other Electricities and we have the single “Call To Worship”. The electro signals swarm like a collection of digital fireflies to congregate together to partake in a benediction of their own. Barbara shows the way amid the electronic ether and reciting the lyrical poetics of, “suitcase in hand, tumble down here, open your case, call to worship.”

With their debut EP available November 2, hear Jolympix’s single “Waiting” full of musical particulars that comprise the essence of patience and the feelings that occur when anticipating specific items that exist in some form of queue.

Meet Nashville’s The Pressure Kids who just released their Tiger EP who share songs of wonder, bewilderment, cause and effect calamities, and romantic garage-guitar penned symphonies for those sentimental at heart. The introductions are made with “Big Sky” creation of an atmosphere that Tiger exists in with “Consequences” reeling in the real affectionate passion that concludes with the expressionistic ode “For Kim”.

With news of a new album in the making, and a November 6-21 tour; Elephant Stone return with their own second coming resurrection and the light with the satanic majesty of “The Devil’s Shelter” that features The Black Angels’ Alex Maas. Listen this next to your favorite transgressive albums, eras, heroes, etc.

MED and Blu and Madlib’s album Bad Neighbor is available now from BangYaHead, and we bring you the track that features Anderson .Paak called “The Strip” that is the ultimate cut to help get the work week over and done with with that super-kush Halloween weekend riding smoothly in toe.

Margie plays Shea Stadium on Friday November 6 with Howth and we give you the Patrick Arias video for “I Can Do Anything” that finds Margie boasting her diverse talents off her album Radio Ratchet.

Touring through December 12 with Modern Baseball, PUP and Tiny Moving Parts; Jeff Rosenstock dropped the public access styled video camp for “Hall of Fame” off his SideOneDummy album We Cool? released earlier this year. The VHS schmaltz gets strange involving a strange and deranged puppet cook that is not your kind and venerable Swedish Chef Muppet.

Lane 8 follows up the album Rise with a Matthew Dear collaboration featured on the release Undercover and all the subsequent remixes from Wankelmut, Yotto, and Eekoo. Wankelmut kicks the cut into the deep club territory, Yotto explores the collaboration’s most epic expanse of proportions, to the future-tek atmosphere worlds found on the Eekkoo remix.

Stream Mikael Delta’s Life is Now album available now from Inner Ear/Rough Trade that features the Greek composer/electronic artist moving into the terrains and territories that swim past the constructs of post-rock and post-electronic innovations.

Hear a bit from Airbird & Napoleon’s debut album Mr. Foolish for Cascine that finds Joel Ford and Ian Evans pushing the realms of collaborative production possibilities and fusions to new levels. “J. Park” is the soundtrack to the best day off ever, with “Only You” providing alternate love song electro universes, to the solar bound “Go To The Sun” journey of fame and fire, to the action-packed punch and pow of “POWer”. A collision of two titans not to be missed for anything.

Get wild with Sunny Gang’s “Soap Scum” that declines to measure the level of intoxication that informs this wild pub-punk rager fro their Party/Animal album.

Check out the skate adventure of TOWER’s video for “Teenage Miracle” that presents primordial style bust-ups to the adoration and support of a cheerleader force.

Biggs has been dropping a slew of singles lately in anticipation of what might be his next project, but today we bring you “Pimp By Blood” produced by RICH5. Biggs rides that executive limousine ride life coupled with narratives surveying and relaying tales of that street life.

Berlin producer C.Y.T. dropped the sweet and sensual sound of togetherness on the dance-ready jam “You And I” that features Nina Rotner’s vocals that reaches for higher bonds of understanding and earnest communications that are wrapped up by the electronic environment of calm and reassuring digital feels.

Italo dreamers Stella Diana have signed to Raphalite Records with news of their Alhena EP available November 27 and a listen and look at their video for “Shohet”. Cobblestone alleys and streets are seen from a biker’s point of view as Stella D’s sound swirls all around like a daydream turned reality.

SPELLES just released her self-titled debut EP and shared the single “Oh, These Monsters” for all of your fancy Halloween weekend fright night flights of fancy. The big band treatment rolls with a richly arranged production that takes off like a big Broadway style heroine’s theme that plays while she conquers the villainous hordes of antagonistic monsters that stand in her way.

Anna von Hausswolff dropped “An Oath” from the upcoming album The Miraculous available November 13 from Other Music/City Slang/Pomperipossa where the artist paints a portrait of Scandinavian tales her parents taught her where she relates epics of king, country, peasants, and uprisings in a heroic manner.

Ghost Against Ghost (Christopher Bono, Mercury Rev’s Anthony Molina, and The Mars Volta, Trash Talk’s Thomas Pridgen) provide the following sneak listen to five minutes of their upcoming 17 minute master jam from their upcoming still love EP available soon from Our Silent Canvas. Pop music tropes blur together against dramatic and cinematic sound scores that stirs deep sentiments that churn from within and surface with an unbridled electric baroque execution.

Pepi Ginsberg new project is called N-A-R-C and this week she presented the eye-popping visual excitement for “Venus, TX” from Studio Junbi directors Kyunghee Jwa and Rodan Tekle off her forthcoming New Age Real Change February 26 from INSCAPE. Inspired by the Korean, Mukbang trend; Instatiable urges and a cornucopia of food are displayed in bright visually arresting bursts of constant ecstatic jubilation as Pepi indulges her inner ultra-pop singer-self.

The legendary Lizzo’s Big GRRRL Small World album will be available December 11 through BGSW Records and we got the new single “Ain’t I” that Lizzo describes as, “the thesis of the album, Sojourner Truth’s witness. All of my blackness and my womanhood crammed into 3 minutes and 56 seconds.” Lizzo unleashes an unrestrained manifesto in verse and rhymes featuring production from Sam Spiegel, Jake Troth, and BJ Burton. Once again Lizzo emerges as one of the most important voices and talents of truth out there in the game.

Watch the Jon Danovic video for Pom Poms’ “Betty” that brings modern throwback golden-California pop expressed through Marlene Gold’s delivery and Billy Mohler’s instrumental arrangements. The b/w video and classic pop sound create a frequency that allows you to slip into a time warp to a west coast beach where summer stays for forever.

Kishi Bashi shared their baroque cover of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place” of their upcoming album String Quartet Live! available November 13 from Joyful Noise Recordings that delivers the new wave classic cut with a new orchestrated sense of wonder.

Off Madegg’s November 20 slated album NEW via Tokyo label flau; hear the first single “Dragon” that finds the Japanese producer exhaling digital smoke and flames in some of the most abstract but enticing electronica you might hear all month.

Dirty Ghosts’ Week in Pop

dirty ghosts week in pop 1
Our friends Dirty Ghosts from San Francisco recently released their new album Let It Pretend on Last Gang Records and we are proud to present Allyson Baker’s following Week in Pop guest selections ripped straight from the tour van:

These were the songs in heavy rotation this week in our van on our US tour.

Dirty Fences, “Deep In Your Heart”

Erin (McDermott, bass player) caught Dirty Fences live pre-tour and has been raving about them since, leading to a heavy presence in the stereo rotation. It’s huge-sounding with killer hooks and melodies.

Butthole Surfers, “Lonesome Bulldog parts 1-4”

“Part 1”

“Part 2”

“Part 3”

“Part 4”

From the criminally-under-appreciated late 80s Butthole Surfers album Pioughd—the record’s centerpiece is 4 versions of the endless wheezing country waltz “Lonesome Bulldog”, a true test of endurance and perfect for any stubborn BHS fan.

Dirty Ghosts
Dirty Ghosts portrait, backstage at TIMF – photo by Jenz

Kim Mitchell, “Go for a Soda”

All Canadians born after 1984 are issued this single at birth by law. Classic anti-drinking and driving anthem from the Great White North which, incidentally, Andrew (Moszynski, drummer) needs to learn as a member of Scharpling and Wurster’s backing band for their Toronto date (hence the repeated listens). Nobody hurts, nobody dies!

Six Finger Satellite, “Parlor Games”

A band that was way too ahead of its time—if they were putting their records out now nothing would prevent them from total world domination. Repeated listens led to countless stories of Andrew and I seeing their intense live shows in the 90s in Toronto.

Neil Michael Hagerty and the Howling Hex, “Out of Reach”

A really great catchy tune with the touch of NMH weirdness that makes him so great. A killer guitar player and songwriter.

Killdozer, “A man’s got to be a man”

Another classic band Andrew and I have a deep love for. A gruff and heavy hilarious 3-piece singing in what I could only describe as a throat punch victim or someone’s terrifying father. So good.

Liam Lynch, “United States of Whatever”

We were big Sifl and Olly fans when that show was around on MTV. To compliment our touring lifestyle, we lean heavy on American themed ‘anthems’ while driving through the country.

Trey Parker, “Freedom Isn’t Free”

Another cartoon anthem we use to learn about the ins and outs of American patriotism. #buckohfive

Jeff The Brotherhood, “U Got The Look”

Nashville genius brothers with an endless reserve of perfect heavy pop songs.

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