Week in Pop: Bad Cop, Crescendo, Deep Cuts, KINSEY

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With the industry showing signs and previews of spring amid the winter slog, Impose’s Week in Pop further entertains the seasonal shift with all the latest breaking media. But first we bring you some of the week’s biggest buzz with word that Rihanna postponed her world tour until March on account of “production delays”; Kendrick Lamar received the key to the city of Compton, then later debuted a new track during his Grammy Awards performance; Taylor Swift wins the Grammys; FKA twigs dropped new song and self-directed video “Good to Love”; the big Kanye West show continues, hints of upcoming collaborative work with Drake and Future, or Yeezy’s SNL backstage meltdown audio leak, plus the curious folder leak of recording sessions; Animal Collective dropped “Golden Gal”; Drake rapped a portion of “Back to Back” with Shaquille O’Neal on the beatbox assist; Mac DeMarco covered Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg for a Planned Parenthood benefit; Samiyam’s new album Animals Have Feelings will be available March 4 from Stones Throw, hear “Dartgun”; J Dilla’s “lost” album The Diary will be available April 15 through Mass Appeal, featuring Madlib, Snoop Dogg, Pete Rock, etc, hear the single “The Introduction”; Rhymefest on Yeezy; Sky Ferreira’s new album, Masochisms, will apparently be available this summer; Har Mar’s April 8 album Best Summer Ever via Cult will be produced by Julian Casablancas and feature Karen O; Holy Fuck’s album, Congrats, will be available May 27 via Innovative Leisure, hear the single “Tom Tom”; Tyler, the Creator announced a California tour and revealed insights behind “Yonkers” single; The Miami Fraternal Order Police are apparently not stoked on Bey’s upcoming April 27 show at Miami’s Marlins Park; Lush announced the Blind Spot EP and shared “Out of Control” video; LCD Soundsystem signed with Columbia Records; Morrissey x Supreme advertisements emerge, Moz then issued a statement on the matter; and we lament the passing of Vanity, aka Denise Matthews.

Here to bring us happiness and hope for all seasons, we present the following exclusives, insights, and interviews from Bad Cop, Crescendo, Crashing Hotels, Deep Cuts, KINSEY, Square Peg Round Hole, Technicolor Hearts, Astronautalis, Camp Howard, Lascivus, Los Angeles Police Department, Reighnbeau x BK Beats, Sean Nicholas Savage, featuring guest selections by Porches, and more—in no particular order.


Crescendo's Olive, Gregory, & Jess; courtesy of Jorge Meza Photography.
Crescendo’s Olive, Gregory, & Jess; courtesy of Jorge Meza Photography.

Some might recall when Crescendo began as a project of Gregory Cole, releasing the beautiful album Lost Thoughts that provided drawings and sketches of great things to arrive. The LA artist made a local and international name for himself from throwing lucrative DIY home parties, to launching the DreamGaze Festival (in LA & SF), and eleaborating the Crescendo to nearly unimaginable heights with the talented assists from Olive Kimoto, and Jess Rojas. As of today this newly realized form and sound of Crescendo is here thanks to the Italy by SF label We Were Never Being Boring‘s release of the magnificent album Unless, and we are proud to present the world premiere listen.

The second awaited album from Crescendo opens with a sparkling, celestial blessed synth “Intro”, complete with analog percussive rumblings that keep the intro organic. Then you are hit with the mega-lithic single “Repulsor” that people have been talking about/tweeting about/blogging about/txting about/and more and will continue to as it stands as the scepter in the band’s sound trophy case. The sound that Unless dwells and dotes in throws the entire Lolipop/Burger catalogs at you while making bright musical statements that stand in an aesthetic order that is situated and sitting pretty next to the recent spate of prolific releases from their northern California style cousins The Bilinda Butchers, Jay Som, the Confident Hitmakers collective, Satan Wriders, Surf Club, Nicholas Fisher, and practically anything that Justin Paul Vallesteros is producing right now. The even bigger Crescendo spell is cast on “Tell” that kicks up the rhythm tempo with an expressive sound of ever-shining and everlasting warmth, while “Last” could have been an alternate track from the Butchers’ Heaven sessions where Crescendo falls and rises in ways that rock and feel like a favorite family wooden chair that comforts one on the porch after a difficult day. By the time you arrive to “Haunted”, the band lives up to the track’s name by fully immersing the listener in a refined 8-bit wonderland that imagines your favorite 80s video game heroine/hero dancing on their own pixelated grid in some far away dream world.

LA's new DIY hitmakers, Crescendo.
LA’s new DIY hitmakers, Crescendo.

The dances of discourses and exchanges continue on with Crescendo’s comet storm rainfall of endearing ambiance that play with the he said, she said back and forth ping-pong matches that caught in the whirlpool refrain of “it’s all I do” in a guitar blizzard that could have been the sequel to Surf Club’s “Heaven”. Film samples and sound collages roll out on the “The Morning Sonata” and into the vignette galactic-guitar and rhythm machine valleys of “Space Cadet”, right before you brought to another big time single with “Pressure”. Like Crescendo’s previous referenced nod to favorites and friends, Frankie Soto from Surf Club shows up that further catapults the entire song into something that could have been the Factory Records golden band, the Sarah Records group that got away, or the late 80s Creation it-sound that McGee never signed, etc. And Crescendo keeps that Lush/Ride drive of guitars coated with feeling in high gear on “Transformer” that rolls right into the slip-stream portal of “Yet”, as the closing “Softly” delivers Crescendo’s endearing style of sleepy lidded duet styles that carry on with guitar hooks and title chorus refrains that keep the dream world affects alive in the awakened state.

For more on all this and much more, read our following reflective interview with Crescendo’s Gregory Cole & Olive Kimoto:

Tell us about the histories from playing festivals in the backyard, to events at The Smell, warehouses, the DreamGaze festival, to how Crescendo first began.

Gregory: Last year Be Forest from Italy played in my backyard (so we threw a DreamGaze festival), and the cops came and they were talking to me and I was just like hey whatsup, this band came all the way from Italy to perform, and they were super cool about it! They were even cooler about Young Lovers performing a cover of “Tonight Tonight” by Smashing Pumpkins, and enjoyed it from their squad SUV later mentioning how good it was, all the kids were hanging from my roof legs hinged over the stage singing along with Jonny Higa under the stars. The weather always tends to be exceptional when we throw events. So yeah it started there, and then we moved onto 10 band bills in Los Angeles & San Francisco with the SF co-founder Jared Padovani of Balms (whose DreamGaze Festival Debut in SF sold out), which Millionyoung from Florida flew in to headline. I imagine by the time this article is published, we will have revealed the 25+ band bill for this year in Los Angeles 3/31-4/4 with Part Time, Brothers in Law (Italy), and Millionyountg headlining over 25 bands including favorites from Impose. I have always been obsessed with monumental gatherings of people having a great time, so we work daily to recreate these life changing gatherings. Most of all DreamGaze Music & Arts festival is community focused, we draw inspiration from The Smell and Coachella, and the bands that perform end up getting real serious into record deals and label representation, its incredibly rewarding to see everyone grow.

A backyard happening with Pesaro, Italy's Be Forest crashing the LA festivities; photo courtesy of Crescendo.
A backyard happening with Pesaro, Italy’s Be Forest crashing the LA festivities; photo courtesy of Crescendo.

Man, the house shows are always the best. Sure its impending doom of the cops rolling it are always a drag for a reason, because they’re so outrageous you don’t want them to end. I remember we threw a rad house show with some DJs on the roof, and it didn’t get rolled by the cops it was awesome. The police have been very nice to us anyway, and that particular party went on til 5am. The Smell is legendary like, if you’re playing the smell you’ve contributed significantly to the venue and to the community. The venue has so much clout and history that volunteers gladly operate it daily with leadership from Jim Smith the founder & GM. The Smell is great in so many ways, from being community focused to a guaranteed teenage mosh pit every weekend, whats not to like? The bands are some of the hardest working because they literally come from DIY and The Smell creates a place for people to grow infinitely through mentorship & teaching. Jim Smith is just one of those community leaders that pays it forward and is action oriented.

Doing it DIY in mom's living room; courtesy of Crescendo.
Doing it DIY in mom’s living room; courtesy of Crescendo.

Like most dream pop gaze projects, Crescendo started in my bedroom as I used my guitar and instruments to create sounds that would hopefully allow me to escape Los Angeles, I thought of my bedroom as a landing pad for NASA. It wasn’t long before I met Olive Kimoto, since we were both some of the most passionate people about Dream Pop, Post Punk, and Gaze in Los Angeles. Everything was pretty automatic between us, including our deep deep appreciation of The Radio Dept from Sweden. Then one day our mutual friend posted about my favorite video game, Final Fantasy 7, and Jess Rojas publicly displayed her appreciation for it. I thought to myself wait a minute theres no way, what a small world for someone to appreciate the same monumental video game as I, and then we found out she played guitar and sang, it inevitably led to her becoming Crescendo’s lead guitarist. Final Fantasy 7 is one of those intricate storyline games that teach people life lessons and pierce your hearts to inspire you to do great things, I’ve met nothing but powerful people who have had the chance to play it. It’s never a coincidence that if you’ve played the game, you’re incredibly ambitious or considerate.

Describe the creative development from your own frontline perspectives on the progression from illustrious Lost Thoughts to the dream machine overdrive vision-pop of the ambitious Unless?

Gregory: Okay, two completely different worlds. It’s kind of like two debut albums, two freshmen releases from the same band, and I say that because I didn’t even know Jess & Olive when Lost Thoughts was released, Unless was a full on collaboration between all of us and our producer John Kunkel of The New Division, whom is an absolute workhorse and could make anything we said a reality in the production, even in life at times. It’s crazy how you write a record that you don’t understand until years later after its release, its a powerful way for the subconscious to communicate with your future self. I used to think that Lost Thoughts was about me trying to escape my bedroom in Los Angeles through space travel, romanticism, and science fiction, then at the shows people started dancing and crowd surfing, then I stopped falling in love with women and started falling in love with music and growing the community. Unless til this day continues to surprise me, I literally had no expectations, I was just like okay, I’m going to just be myself, were going to write this record, if people like it great, if not that’s fine too. So in short, Lost Thoughts was a solo bedroom project for healing and travel, and Unless was a monstrous collaboration all the way up to former Craft Spells founder and Surf Club frontman Frankie Soto. Hopefully you can give me your perspective as we’re genuinely interested.

Crescendo's Olive Kimoto; courtesy of Jorge Meza Photography.
Crescendo’s Olive Kimoto; courtesy of Jorge Meza Photography.

Olive: After performing Lost Thoughts with Greg, an album I had a lot of fun dancing to on stage, I was really ecstatic when he asked me to join him creatively for the second album. I think we were able to keep some of the signatures of the Crescendo sound, but I was able to supply some hazy, moody melancholy to it as well. Greg really brings out the pop-sensibilities in me, and I hope I was able to bring out some of the darker parts in him!

Gregory: Olive totally did, “Haunted” and the diabolical dark dance of “Said”.

I’m interested in hearing insight to the Crescendo style, as your music feels reminiscent of the new dream-pop adventurers of today with an ear and heart for so many great 80s underachieving heroes. What sorts of influential considerations and perhaps inspiration osmosis is at work when it comes to composing Crescendo songs?

Gregory: Okay, so either Olive, Jess, or I will come up with a skeleton for a song via keys or guitars, and well take the initial feeling we get from it whether its spooky, punk, or fictional, and go full blast on it. It’s no mystery that I’m addicted to fast drumming and BPMs, it’s always what drove crowds in the backyard at shows or at The Smell, so a lot of energy also inspires the writing. We know right away when we hear something that has potential, and well stop everything and record it and move forward. Huge fan of the 80’s, I was introduced to The Smiths at a very young age, there’s too many inspirations to choose from but we can all certainly agree on The Radio Dept. Certainly our lives have a huge impact on the songwriting, for me I always put my heart into it, influenced once again by science fiction, space travel, romanticism, and our love for people.

Backyard balls, & more crowd surfing; photograph courtesy of Crescendo.
Backyard balls, & more crowd surfing; photograph courtesy of Crescendo.

Olive: I remember the way “Haunted” came to be, was that the band was over at my apartment, and I was sort of just fucking around with my Yamaha keyboard and playing whatever felt right at the time, and Greg just stopped me and said ‘Olive; What were you playing? We’ve got to make that a Crescendo song.’ I’ve been playing the piano since I was four, but was always very reluctant to call myself a musician. Greg has always really fostered my creativity and voice as an artist, and “Haunted” might have never been written if it weren’t for that! As far as what influences me, it’s always been pretty eclectic. Whether it be films, my day to day interactions with living in this city, strangers, dreams, idealizations, my upbringing, the ocean, the weird parts of the internet.

How were you all able to channel the multitude of feels and striking emotive audio inflections of familiarity created in pop note-coated hooks?

Gregory: We were just being ourselves, there’s no secret, this is actually all new to me, thank you so much.

Olive: I think just being in an emotionally vulnerable state while writing always helps. Metaphorically vomiting out your feelings come pretty naturally in such a case.

Crescendo's Olive, Gregory, & Jess playing DreamGaze Festival SF; photographed by Christina Marie Klein.
Crescendo’s Olive, Gregory, & Jess playing DreamGaze Festival SF; photographed by Christina Marie Klein.

And what kinds of developmental process have you all adopted as your regiment from sketch to conceptualized and realized form?

Gregory: Honestly we just always go with what feels right, were grateful that people appreciate the science fiction, romanticism, space travel backdrop. Huge fans of the twilight zone and such.

Olive: Honestly, it seems we sort of just dive in head first and see what happens. It usually works out okay.

Give us the lowdown on everything the entire world needs to know about the LA DIY scenes right now.

Gregory: Let it happen. I’m no expert, there’s people that are fully submerged into the DIY world, however if you want your venues to sell out, it starts here, so don’t hold artists and bands back that are doing everything they can to grow, the way they know how. Also DIY teaches people so many things, so many principles that prepare artists for whats to come. Respect being one of them, as well as being considerate of others. This isn’t just for LA this is for the entire world. DIY events are where people fall in love with live music in the first place, its where it all begins. Also the vibe is always righteous and punk, then the pit breaks out which is one of the most important channels in live music. I am very proud and appreciate everything happening in LA right now DIY or venues, I don’t know how it is on other parts of the world, but LA has unlimited opportunities. The city certainly does and has the characteristics to champion artists.

Olive: The low down? It’s lit.

Thoughts, concerns on the state of the scenes in LA, and what must be done to keep these movements and scenes flourishing?

Gregory: I don’t consider myself in a position to answer something like this but for any situation, paying it forward and being considerate of others is a great recipe. What works for DreamGaze Festival is working directly with the community, inviting everyone to participate even if they are bound to their relationships, and creating a place where artists and people can grow infinitely. Ignore all the hearsay/negative energy, and make something happen. Very inspired by everyone nonetheless. If you don’t do it, no one will.

Olive: I suggest we allow puppies into venues.

Crowd surfing at DreamGaze LA; photo courtesy of Crescendo.
Crowd surfing at DreamGaze LA; photo courtesy of Crescendo.

Tell us about the process of making DreamGaze 2016 happen, what that’s been like, and what sorts of struggles and breakthroughs you’ve experienced thus far.

Gregory: It’s actually a labor of love. I love throwing shows, and it sucks when all your friends cant be on the same bill you know? ‘Cause its like usually three to four bands play per night, so when everyone can play, the energy is indescribable. Planning, planning, and more planning. Biggest struggle is juggling this with our lives, full-time school or work, the band, getting enough sleep. The breakthroughs never end, its unbelievable how many friendships and people you meet through these events, I guess that’s why its so easy to keep doing it because it feels so freaking good. It’s a lot easier to book too when you know all the bands, we went from 5 to 25 in one year. Just never ever, for any reason at all, ever go back on your word, reputation is everything.

For you all what is the importance of bringing so many communities and groups together from all over the world over shared things from DIY festivals, to just local shows?

Gregory: Growth. I’m obsessed with growth for everyone, imagine music festivals never happened? What a tragedy that would be? One day, there will be events for music even bigger than a festival. Why would anyone wanna stop that from happening? There is literally so much growth opportunities from the show goers to the people who perform, everyone wins. Also imagine you’re touring from thousands of miles away and you end up at a music festival surrounded by hundreds of people that wanna dance to your music and hang out with you? It’s a fantastic feeling that takes a lot of hard work to replicate.

How can everyone actively making an international impact by contributing on a local scale?

Gregory: THROW A DIY MUSIC FESTIVAL FOR YOUR COMMUNITY! VOLUNTEER AT YOUR DIY VENUE! they all start at these places, including your backyard. BE A GOOD PERSON! Create magical realms that people can enjoy themselves in.

Olive: Be kind. Don’t—cool guy/gal/nonbinary—people, be inclusive. I don’t know.

Crescendo playing DreamGaze SF; photograph courtesy of the band.
Crescendo playing DreamGaze SF; photograph courtesy of the band.

What is the 2016 to-do/must-do list looking like?

Gregory: Hang out with my mom, Tour nationally, play more music festivals, make more music festivals, dance as much as possible, write music, get more college degrees, eat really amazing food, tour europe, meet people, love people you already know, and pay it forward.

Olive: Play the jams to peeps who care, make pals that will last a lifetime, have conversations that go on til eight am, get Greg to eat his vegetables, pet puppies, acquire the meaning of life and keep it a secret.

Crescendo’s new album Unless is available now from We Were Never Being Boring.

Deep Cuts

The first cut is the deepest—Houston's Deep Cuts; photographed by Lauren Holshouser.
The first cut is the deepest—Houston’s Deep Cuts; photographed by Lauren Holshouser.

A new media event from our longtime friends Deep Cuts from Houston should be treated like something of a bank holiday. With that attitude in mind, we present the world premiere of Deep Cuts’ music video their 7″ “While the House Fills Up” directed by Adam Intrator (of Triathalon) & filmed by Christian Alexander at Houston locales from The Galleria mall & The Boulevardier (a bar that also is hosting the video debut tonight). A song inspired by the local floods experienced in 2015, Adam’s video portrays Chase Harris as a motivational-speaker-like mega-star equipped with a headband mic banding about with Chase DeMaster, Austin Garrison, Gabriel Lopez, Zach Alderman, & Jordan Brady all embracing their own inner-modern day Merry Pranksters.

Captured in classic, stunning VHS; Deep Cuts’ “we’ll be alright” sentiments fly high and care free to the top of the rafters in the video adventures for “While the House Fills Up”. The Cuts here are presented as something of a throwback supergroup from the slippery transition era of when the 80s became the 90s. Mastering the vintage modern radio pop guitar tones, thoughts left over from the great flood becomes inspirational fodder for the mall ice rink where Deep Cut carryon their show of exuberance . Adam Intrator’s video keeps with the group’s analog cues, providing anachronistic edits and effects that maintains the ’87-’93 aura. From the scenes and strolls about the mall like rockstars (getting escorted out of The Macy’s), Deep Cuts take the party to a local pub, before taking their jolly (and intoxicated) party back home. Though created out of the experience of a local natural catastrophe, Deep Cuts deliver a PMA approach with a shrug at the matters that stem outside of control reach as expressed in the infectious sing-along style chorus of, “we have another, and then one more, while the house fills up , through the windows, through the door…” We had a chance to catch up with Deep Cuts’ own Chase Harris in an interview featured right after the following video debut for “While The House Fills Up”.

It’s been a while. Tell us all the latest happenings with Deep Cuts.

Lately we’ve been playing a ton of shows and releasing music exclusively to physical format… While the House Fills Up is seeing it’s online/ digital debut today but we released a 7″ single of the song in Houston back in August of last year. We also did physical only with a cassette we released called the Gulf Coast Companion, which goes online today too. The release shows for these were insane and it’s been cool seeing people respond, knowing they probably personally obtained the music from one of us rather than anonymously online.

Describe for us the making of the song “While the House Fills Up”.

There was a massive flood in Houston last year. Entire freeways were underwater. Our house was spared but I remember drunkenly airing up an air mattress and floating it halfway down our street with my girlfriend before capsizing. So, Zach had some serious Jumanji-style inspiration when he penned the words to this one. We tracked the drums at SugarHill Studios and the rest of the song we did in our home studio.

And then how did the video version from Triathalon’s Adam come about, and how did the whole Galleria and Boulevardier get involved into the planning and execution of this video?

Adam from Triathalon is our homie. He flew out to come hang for a few days and shoot the video. When I picked him up from the airport he only had a VHS camera and an all-white Marc Jacobs outfit that he wore the entire stay. We thought it’d be sick to go get some intense ice skating footage at the Galleria, but were convinced we’d get kicked out. However, we got there and the staff at the rink helped us out by bringing us an extension cord and encouraging us to shoot. Macy’s security escorted us out later. The bar in the video is a newish Houston spot called The Boulevardier that my friend Christian manages. They hooked us up by opening the bar on a closed night and letting us shoot.

What’s good in Houston right now?

Chase DeMaster, Deep Cuts’ guitarist, has a label called VeryJazzed, which is now a part of Frenchkiss label group. I think this is a huge boon for Houston, because we finally have a tie to something bigger than our scene. Hopefully this can propel some of the talent here beyond loop 610. Bands you should check out: United Waves, children of pop, The Lories, John Zambrano, Guess Genes, Ak’chamel…lots more.

What’s next for Deep Cuts?

Next up is the full-length record we’re currently working on, which we plan to release this summer. Touring. Conquering the entire gulf basin. That, and Dark Souls III.

Catch Deep Cuts’ video premiere in Houston tonight, February 19, for “While The House Fills Up” at the pub featured in the video, The Boulevardier. Check out the event page via Facebook.

Listen to more from Deep Cuts via Bandcamp.

Bad Cop

Bad Cop & Jeffrey Drag Records boss Adam Christopher Moult.
Bad Cop & Jeffrey Drag Records boss Adam Christopher Moult.

In the half year or so of waiting for a new Bad Cop album, frontman and Jeffrey Drag Records operator Adam Moult presents the premiere of an unreleased home recording from summer 2012 titled, “Ain’t from Here”. It’s one of those songs that makes you realize why you feel in love with Bad Cop from the beginning. It might re-open your eyes to the holy church of rock & roll and why it remains a necessity in all of our respective lives. It will re-invigorate your belief in the goodness of Southern rock, exhibiting an amp & alcohol addled outlet of constructive aggression that comes from a place more raw than typically heard or seen on the east & western coasts.

“Ain’t From Here” takes a classic punky turn through the vintage vinyl section of counter-culture heroes to take on the bridge & tunnel bunch. The snide chorus call of “they don’t understand, ’cause they ain’t from here, man,” rails against the yippy-class takeover of town that poses any threat to the character of Music City. Protesting against the squares with big rowdy chords and angry progressions and clamoring percussion, Bad Cop rails against the man and takes the power back while preaching the blues to the clueless. “Ain’t From Here” is an anthem for everyone anywhere that is watching their beloved communities becoming over ran with start-up junk offices, excessive influxes of luxury commuter vehicles, odd waves of evictions, and a world that conforms to the influx of out-of-town money looking to buy up the entire town. For more on this, with insights into the forthcoming Bad Cop album, stay tuned for our recent interview with Adam Moult featured right after the following debut.

Tell us everything you recall about the making of this summer 2012 unreleased beaut, “Ain’t From Here”.

This track was made with an older lineup. It features Alex Hartness on guitar, Mikey Owen on guitar, Mike Gicz on bass, and Kevin Kilpatrick on drums—all incredible musicians—check these guys out. Much love to all of them. Honestly..I have no idea why we never went forward with the track, 2012 was a crazy year…so was 2013…and 2014, ha ha…the track was written pretty randomly. We had just got off our first huge tour so we were all hyped…we got together, jammed for a while, and recorded it over the course of a couple hours. Sorta crazy it was written and recorded in one day. I’ve always loved this track, so I feel privileged to be able to show people some old b-sides I was able to make with some of Nashville’s most talented musicians.

I wrote the lyrics to this song in the height of Nashville becoming an “It- City” (hence the title “Ain’t From Here”) sort of venting a little frustration with “out of town yuppies” coming to Nashville and trying to “steal the sauce,” turning Nashville into Williamsburg part two.

…You can move to the south, buy a cowboy hat, Neil Young record, and some boots.. but you’ll never understand what it’s like to grow up in the dirty, dirty…It’s a different world. But, I think I’m beginning to ramble…

bad cop week in pop 2

Tell us how you felt Bad Cop’s sound has progressed from the time of this home recording from 2012 to now.

Bad Cop has progressed an insane amount since this recording. So different. First off, I am now playing with new members, notably Charlie Abbott…he’s a wild man. As far as the sound, we’ve strayed away a little from the proto-punk based rock n roll, and been crafting more pop structured songs. I feel they’re more accessible, as I was in an obsessive White Album and Thank God For Mental Illness phase while working on the new stuff. It’s two totally different worlds. But I love them both. The songs and sound is ever evolving, that’s what I love about Bad Cop. It’s my split personality… I feel it’s similar to Brain Jones Town Massacre in that way. Any haters of BJM, I’m sorry, but they’re one of the greatest bands of our time.

What information can you officially/unofficially leak about the new album.

What can I leak? As Kanye would say, it’s gonna be a masterpiece ha…but seriously, it is. It’s been a work in progress since 2013. I spent from 23-26 working on this album. I put everything I had into, treating it as if it’s my last statement or piece of work.

We actually just finished with the mixes prior to me opening up this interview. It was recorded with one of my favorite producers, Chris Grainger, throughout summer 2015. It features Matt Erickson, Charlie Abbott, Alex Hartness, and some other amazing musicians. I don’t know if I can say too much more other than it’s filled with “Gemini-Syndrome”, and I am more confident in this record than any piece of art I have ever participated in.

Next in the Jeffrey Drag Records camp?

We just released a single from an incredible band called “Liqs”. Next up we got… BukuSteez, Scotty Rockwell, The Slovaks (our first UK artist), and Dan Luke and The Raid. All of those aritst have something very special about their craft, and are fascinating characters, along with being incredible artist. I can’t wait to show them to the world.

We are also starting a new division of Jeffery Drag that will be called Gemini-Eye-Records, which will primarily be focused on rap/trap/hip hop, whatever you wanna refer to it as. That should be a big move. Shout out to Cropsey for helping me mastermind Gemini-Eye…and remember these names—BukuSteez, The Slovaks, Scotty Rockwell, Dan Luke and The Raid, Liqs.

What are you absolutely ecstatic about at this moment in time?

Ummm, So many things. Life. Being (somewhat) sober and clearheaded, the Chicago music scene, THE SLOVAKS (the UK’s finest), Chris Grainger, not having to get Tidal to listen to TLOP, all the beautiful women who’ve moved to Nashville, Adam Saylaby, and taking Jeffery Drag down to South America this year, but that’s a suRprise for another time. I guess I am really ecstatic about a lot of things. 2016 has this incredible energy to it. Everything I do I base off energy and how it feels, and curating art with my best friends…feels really good right now. The energy is at an all time high. I fuckin’ love it.

What’s the greatest thing about Nashville right now?

BukuSteez. That kid is the truth. The blooming hip hop scene, Bolton’s chicken (as usual), Scotty Rockwell, and Daniel Shultz…Daniel’s technically from Bowling Green, but I just adopted him as my son, so he counts for Nashville. I could keep going, there’s so much positive energy here, but we’ll wrap on that.

Hear more from Bad Cop & more via Jeffrey Drag Records.

Technicolor Hearts

Technicolor Hearts from left; Joseph Salazar & Naomi Cherie.
Technicolor Hearts from left; Joseph Salazar & Naomi Cherie.

Austin by LA duo Naomi Cherie & Joseph Salazar are Technicolor Hearts, presenting the world premiere of their self-made video for “Would you come back to me?” full of vibrant colors, textures, and various designs. Naomi you may remember from her work with Agent Ribbons, Scotland’s Camera Obscura, and Joseph from Death—together the two create droning electric pop vignettes that ride from Joseph’s expressive guitar work, Naomi’s intergalactic vocal delivery, and spaced out sustained synths that create atmosphere throughout their work. The following video finds the two having fun in an unfinished office shooting an artful assortment of effects, and Warholian pop art adornments that makes for something of a performance/installation piece from the duo.

Technicolor Hearts’ visualizations for “Would you come back to me?” create a kaleidoscope of images coupling the duo’s penchant for minimalist sounds and visuals together in a bouquet of transcendentalism. Eye close-up images flash on the screen through flashing effects of an inverted luster that flickers in time to the drum machine’s programmed skip & trip mode. Naomi’s song of exquisite, exotic & elaborate peace offerings are treated to floral-goggled visions of psychedelic sequences of dance motions, tape speeds, various frame shapes and more that adds to the immersive experience. Multiplicities can be seen of Naomi and Joseph presented in every available cinematographic trick that the two can conceptualize. Creating visuals that not just compliment the sound as adjoining accompaniment (or a companion piece if you will), but conjure together an aesthetic that matches the intended sentiments surrounding their chosen moniker. Both Naomi and Joseph from Technicolor Hearts took the time to chat with us in our interview featured after the following music video debut.

Describe the LA by TX connection of Technicolor Hearts, and how you two first began this musical connection.

Joseph and I had been friends and collaborators for a few years. I had recently stopped touring with my previous band Agent Ribbons and his band Death is not a joyride had been slowing down. We had talked about starting a project for a while but found ourselves living together and the spark just happened. We stayed up all night and wrote our first song together “Pretty.” We haven’t stopped playing since. Through lots of mutual friend connections and family living out on the west coast we spend a lot of time around LA and tour up the west coast oftentimes more than we play in our hometown of Austin.

Describe bringing “Would you come back to me?” to visual life with this super fun video.

So far, we’ve shot, directed and edited almost all of our music videos ourselves. In the past we’ve put together dramatic narratives that took the viewer on a journey through faraway fantastic landscapes. For this video we wanted to do something that was more of an art project that focused more on colors, lights, shapes and the rhythmic aspects of the song. We wanted to incorporate movement, dance and performance. We shot this video in the middle of the night all in one session in an unfinished office building and played with a lot of new editing styles and techniques. I feel it offers the viewer a new and unexplored version of our band that hasn’t yet been met with our past videos.

Technicolor Hearts' Naomi & Joseph create a self-portrait out in White Sands, New Mexico.
Technicolor Hearts’ Naomi & Joseph create a self-portrait out in White Sands, New Mexico.

Naomi, tell us about how your experience as a violinist with Agent Ribbons and Camera Obscura (Scotland) has impacted your current musical visions, and Joseph, how have your experiences in Death is not a joyride impacted current musical directions?

Naomi: My journeys with my past band Agent Ribbons and as a guest violinist for Camera Obscura took me all over the place. In Agent Ribbons I really got to use my orchestral background to conjure up some lush string arrangements on the studio recordings which was really inspiring. Most of all my classical background and 12 years in orchestra throughout school informs my current work. As a duo, Joseph and I have to utilize all we can to create the depth of sound we want to achieve so I have had a lot of fun experimenting with loop stations and octave pedals and learning to build up an orchestral sound on my own as a single violinist.

Joseph: I definitely learned a lot about writing and performing in my last band DINAJ. In that band I was able to work with a great group of people who really enjoyed experimenting with song structure and different approaches to instrumental arrangements and exploring sound in various ways. I feel like with Technicolor Hearts, it is very similar but there is more space to work with, because it is just two of us instead of five. I think that after working with a full band, I was really excited about working in a project where I could communicate more directly with one other person. I’m very glad that the timing worked out and we were able to start writing music together.

Best things happening in Austin and LA right now?

In LA, we have some really talented friends called Inner Ecstasy who always put on very neat underground shows in DIY spaces. We met the cellist of the band Isaac when he was playing with Chelsea Wolfe a few years ago and they had stayed at our house in Austin during SXSW. His new band is really amazing and we always meet very genuine and art minded folks through him. Our friend Eliza Rickman, one of our favorite songwriters, mostly stays in LA or San Diego, but tours a lot. If she is coming to your city on one of her upcoming tours, go see her! She puts on really amazing, intimate performances. We did a little tour with her the last time we were out on the west coast and it was a really special experience. In Austin, we love putting together shows with a circle of our hometown friends who are all really talented musicians– Les RAV, The Human Circuit, Francine Thirteen, Slooom and The Clouds are Ghosts. It’s a lot of fun to curate shows and hand pick bands who all share common creative ethos and are all creating really exciting work.

What might we all expect next from Technicolor Hearts?

We are currently working on something pretty different and new for our next EP. Expect a darker more organic version of things with some familiar sound themes tying it all together. Our next project will be a concept piece that will express a lot of raw emotion that’s needed to come out for a very long time.

Keep us with all the latest from Technicolor Hearts via their site.


Out in the pastures with KINSEY, aka Nick Kinsey; photographed by Noah Kalina.
Out in the pastures with KINSEY, aka Nick Kinsey; photographed by Noah Kalina.

Nick Kinsey, or just his surname KINSEY if you please presents the premiere of the Nikolai Vanyo video for “Eat Your Heart Out” off his self-released album My Loneliest Debut. The artist you know from Diamond Doves, or playing drums for Elvis Perkins in Dearland, AA Bondy, A.C. Newman, and much more sings songs that fly forth from the heart’s most precious and places that retain that spark of life (against all odds). Scenes of joie de vivre from flash mob street scenes, lovers embracing embracing at home, at shows, and more are collected together in a sardonic yet sweet take on the vintage love ballad form that might make even Bob Dylan himself crack a smile or chuckle, or two.

KINSEY’s video for “Eat Your Heart” begins with a pair hugging in the middle of a busy NYC cross walk, to another pair practicing exercises together, to Nick laying on the floor, boxers, eccentric wrestlers, crowds, and more that are all introduced in the video as the song carries onward. The motif of connections between people are seen from pillow fights, jovial sparring, selfies, an array of inmate shared moments between folks, and a woman that appears to be literally eating a heart as a confused pooch watches nearby. KINSEY’s song of surveying the sad seductions”, grand ol’ times, and bad productions are all wrapped here in the visuals from couples getting gross with the PDA, absurdist costumed wrestling matches, and a plethora of warm awakenings, and cozy cuddling—Nikolai’s visuals match the yins & yangs explored by KINSEY’s song that practically finds the artist ripping his own heart out onto a silver platter. We had the moment to catch up with the talented Nick Kinsey in an insightful interview session featured right after the following music video debut of “Eat Your Heart Out”.

Describe the feelings and thoughts around the Nikolai Vanyo video for “Eat Your Heart Out”.

Well I met Nikolai this past fall when my friends Delta Spirit asked me to join them for their “Delta Spirit and Friends” show at Warsaw in Brooklyn. I played the tune “Eat Your Heart Out” with the guys and Nikolai dug it and asked if he could make a video so he did. I think we were trying to explore human contact in all it’s strange and colorful variations. When I watch the video I’m reminded of all the mysterious ways we communicate with the people around us outside of language.

How important and/or inspirational is it to do the whole proverbial act of eating your feelings? I feel like we all do it, even if we don’t fess up to it, ha.

Well, I think that today, arguably more than ever, people do eat their feelings. Social media invites us all to express ourselves, but it seems people end up posting links or whatever to someone else’s statement deflecting any actual self expression. Eating our feelings might be the only alternative to casting them out into the public forum for everyone’s evaluation and judgement. But I will say that “Eat Your Heart Out” is more about trying to understand why we sometimes willingly, and even excitedly put ourselves in totally compromising situations, situations we know will hurt ourselves and others.

Percussive moments of reflection with KINSEY; captured by Noah Kalina.
Percussive moments of reflection with KINSEY; captured by Noah Kalina.

How have you noticed your previous experiences and work ghosting their way on your album My Loneliest Debut and elsewhere in your solo output?

Every time I work with someone I try to get a sense of what makes them tick musically and where their priorities are. It can actually be startling how different people’s intent can be with music. I feel like I am constantly learning and borrowing from the folks I work with and hopefully the feeling is mutual. Ultimately, all the best artists have a real individuality so these folks just challenge me to get closer to the heart of my own creativity.

From your storied work with Elvis Perkins, My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Okkervil River, your band Diamond Doves, and more, what are you working on now, and currently playing with?

Well I’m sitting in my studio right now with a batch of new songs taking shape so I am excited about that. Hopefully I’ll have an EP or two to out in the near future. Otherwise, I spent a lot of last year playing drums in Sam Cohen’s band. He’s such an incredible talent and that lead to me playing on the forthcoming Kevin Morby album Singing Saw which Sam produced. I love Kevin’s writing and am so excited to have played on that record. I really think it’s gonna blow some minds. I’ve also been recording Donny Dinero’s (from Mail the Horse) solo record at my studio in Stanfordville NY. He moved up here not too long ago and it’s nice to have another rock musician in town. Also I think the Elvis Perkins team might do some recording here soon which should be good.

Living the natural life with KINSEY; photographed by Noah Kalina.
Living the natural life with KINSEY; photographed by Noah Kalina.

What are you really into right now, from books, music, movies, etc?

Well as far as books are concerned I’m just finishing up Mystery Train by Greil Marcus which is so good and so far ahead of it’s time. Required reading for anyone interested in songs or is an American. On the music tip I am having a full fledged late 90’s/early oughts lo-fi/hi-fi quasi-psych revival. Basically what I was listening to freshman and sophomore year of college. You know Sparklehorse, mid-period Flaming Lips, and yes even Grandaddy. Sparklehorse in particular is sounding better now than ever to me, and it’s a lead to a full on obsession with The Optigan (a strange keyboard that plays optical floppy discs produced by Mattel in the 70s). Anyway, it was a funny in-between period for the music industry and music production; when labels were throwing real money at these weird mostly self-produced sonic tinkerers and home recording was getting really advanced but not everyone had garage band on their computer. That stuff is sounding so good to me right now and I’m really appreciating how nerdy it is compared to how cool and poppy even more avant-garde stuff sounds these days. But the early 90s are hot right now so it’s only a matter of time before the kids make this little period cool again.

2016 wishes/hopes/blessings/meditations/mantras?

Well, Mitchell Robe, who plays keyboards in the current Elvis Perkins band and played with me on my US and EU tour dates this fall, hipped me to the notion of “Radical Acceptance”. It’s pretty much what it sounds like, you know, accepting life on it’s own terms and reconciling with what you cannot or choose not to change. It’s a surprisingly useful head-space when you’re on tour and don’t have any autonomy.

KINSEY’s My Loneliest Debut is available now via Bandcamp.

Square Peg Round Hole

Square Peg Round Hole's Evan Chapman, Sean M. Gill, & Carlos Pacheco-Perez; press photo courtesy of the band.
Square Peg Round Hole’s Evan Chapman, Sean M. Gill, & Carlos Pacheco-Perez; press photo courtesy of the band.

Philadelphia’s Evan Chapman, Sean M. Gill, and Carlos Pacheco-Perez create moving instrumentals together as Square Peg Round Hole that both inspires and infiltrates through the ear’s defenses for tones and feelings that resemble rapturous rhapsodies. Premiering the epiphany-emerald glow and shine of “A-Frame” off their forthcoming album Juniper available March 25 from Spartan Records; understated percussive undercurrents guide the way for a song that finds synths being responded to with xylophonic/vibraphonic considerations of keys, more drums additions, more synths, and more chiming notes that are made to ring throughout you with every strike.

“A-Frame” begins with tempo frameworks established by drum machines that bring about Square Peg Round Hole’s call for all to listen forth. Synthesizers are slowly steeped into the mix that begins softly like the metronomic toe-tapping of song being started out in a state of infancy. As vibes and more keys are introduced to the equations, swashes of sound suddenly pour out from what seems like the heavens as the stratosphere sends down elements of sonic audio light that glimmer with every key and progression couplet. Slowly creating and setting up a melodic foundation by way of musical dialogues, Square Peg Round Hole continues about building upon the motif that the trio works hard to establish that ultimately becomes something of a celestial soaring-ship of sound. We had a chance to talk to SPRH’s Evan Chapman in an interview round featured right after the following debut of “A-Frame”.

Tell us of the jubilation and form that would inform the moving single “A-Frame”.

The writing process for “A-Frame” started out with just the melody and was actually intended to be a serene, somewhat melancholic song. When it was time to put some type of percussion in the song, Carlos messed around with a bunch of options until he somewhat accidentally created the bouncy electronic drums used in the actual song. It totally changed the attitude of the piece for the better and became the joyous song it is today.

Tell us about what sorts of organic earth and sound sciences were involved with the conceptualizing and creation of Juniper.

We have always enjoyed rolling up our sleeves and finding new unorthodox materials to hit, scrape, sample, bow, etc. A few examples from Juniper are: tuned metal pipes, bowed glockenspiel, a field recording of waves, children’s desk bells, a Nebulophone, and a melodica. The recording process was organic in the sense that it was tracked by ourselves in our own home, mostly in full, live takes.

What sorts of recording and arranging techniques do you all employ to make a kind of sound like this?

The three of us have always been drawn to the compositional techniques often utilized in minimalism and post-minimalism. The way that composers such as Steve Reich, David Lang, and Philip Glass develop rhythmic and melodic themes is very inspiring to us, and those kinds of methods can be heard in a lot of our music. Some of these techniques include phasing (when the same material is rhythmically shifted against itself), additive/divisive pattern development, playing material both forwards and in reverse, and more.

In terms of recording, the three of us in Square Peg are intrigued by finding ways to process samples and add an electronic touch to real, organic sounds. For example, we will often take recordings that we’ve made of various percussion/keyboard instruments and play them in reverse, shift their pitches up or down, chop them up and play them on MIDI keyboards, etc. We also try to apply those same concepts to the ways we actually perform our instruments. For example, we’re regularly stacking different cymbals on top of each other or placing them on various drums, and our Rhodes is usually being run through a slew of pedals.

Describing on how Square Peg Round Hole’s instrumental game has expanded over time.

Square Peg has significantly evolved as an ensemble over the past few years. What started as a percussion quartet performing avant-garde chamber music in conservatory concert halls has now become a loud three-piece rock band whose live sets are placed alongside rock, punk, electronic, and fusion bands. To accommodate this direction, we revamped and simplified our instrumentation, which has been inspiring to us.

On our 2013 debut full-length, Corners, the instrumentation was very much a free-for-all, with members jumping around from setup to setup depending on the track. However, with Juniper, the three of us honed in on our respective instruments (Carlos primarily on Rhodes keyboard, Sean primarily on vibraphone, and Evan primarily on drum set), and composed according to that setup. The result of this is a much more cohesive and distinguishable sound.

What’s the coolest thing about Philly right now?

We love Philly! We love the food, we love the music scene, we love the art scene, and we love the location. We’ve lived in the city for less than two years but it already feels like a cozy home to us and our music.

What else should everyone else be doing, listening to, watching, reading, etc?

Check out the playlist we created for Lot Riot to dive into the music we’ve been inspired by recently! We’d recommend checking out any and all of those artists.

Square Peg Round Hole’s new album Juniper will be available March 25 from Spartan Records.

Crashing Hotels

Crashing all the parties and the swankiest front lobbies—it's San Francisco's Crashing Hotels.
Crashing all the parties and the swankiest front lobbies—it’s San Francisco’s Crashing Hotels.

San Francisco based Crashing Hotels are Ao Anderson & Tony Bednar who debut the single “Never More” & the video from Anderson, Brian Chu, Terry Barentsen as a Werehaus Production, starring a feisty & fired up Anastasia Albert. As described further in our following featured interview with the Hotels, the exaltation of energy is placed on a pedestal taller than structure where the “Never More” exists like a rising weather event where all the involved elements build a prosodic and rhythmic entry into a cyclone of electric keys and heavy riffs.

The Werehaus visuals for “Never More” takes the SF group’s sound to the NYC streets, & subways following the lead of a pint-sized protagonist. Strolling up from the underground, Anastasia skips tough with a mean step while making up an impromptu dance to Crashing Hotels’ jam. From Slurpee pit-stops to mouthing the lyrics sternly into a cell phone; twirling maneuvers bring cause for temporary rest during the song’s break down, right before before bringing the real rage and running about for the song’s big finale. The can’t take it no more sentiments here stew from the stifling routines of city life that seek to break forward the humdrum mechanisms and systems that supplement and support the status quo. Read our interview with Crashing Hotels right after the following debut look & listen.

Listen to the audio only version of the “Never More” single from Crashing Hotels:

Tell us more about Crashing Hotels birth out of stillness, emerging from the deep unconscious corners and sections.

There’s really no thought put into the music we play. I write from a place where I basically black out and just let things do their doings. I think the best music is honest and the easiest way to be honest is to react to feelings and not think about them as they bubble.

Describing the Crashing Hotels art of creating something that is antithetical and a counterpoint to say the instant gratification tech-based b.s., the app obsessed indolence built around false prosperity, and more that San Francisco contends with.

I rather be broke and have a whole lot of respect. I’m not worried about trying to be easy for people to fuck with even though our sound seems to be making people open up and have a good time at our shows. A lot of our songs don’t have proper structure but it really doesn’t matter. We played Webster Hall studio in NYC last weekend and had an amazing response. Everyone there had never seen us live and they weren’t worried about song structures at all.. they were stoked off the energy. Energy over structure always.

Crashing Hotels crash in; press photo via the band.
Crashing Hotels crash in; press photo via the band.

Tell us more about the art of creating authentic rhythms, and the importance of human communication, and music that illustrates the literal link we all posses to each other, and still more…

Music is the oldest for of communication. There are so many ways to communicate via energy, frequency, and vibration so the art of making something unique is within the practice of being your true self with no hesitation.

Describe the making of the single “Never More”, and what sorts of Poe inclinations or otherwise informed it?

Never More, like all of the music I write wasn’t thought out. The feeling came and I didn’t hesitate to let it happen. It holds the energy of frustration and a day dream that one day everyone will be treated equal.

What hotels and dives and practice spaces can we expect you all to be crashing soon?

Any hotel that is $99 or cheaper a night. But really…hotels are lame because there are too many rules that don’t really make any sense. But as for bars we’re either tearing it up with martinis at Blondies if we’re in San Francisco or El Cortez if we’re in Brooklyn…

You all have stated in your manifesto the implicit art and act of playing “for the primacy of peace.” Can you all expand upon this for us?

We’ve never played a show and seen people bummed out. It’s amazing how positive music can make a person feel. We really do play to make people smile and think about new ideas. If we can use our music to make people meet and love each other then we are doing our job because when people are smiling, they typically aren’t fighting.

Crashing Hotels music video release party for “Never More” is happening tonight, February 19 at San Francisco’s PianoFight. More details via Facebook.

Keep up with Crashing Hotels via their site.

Sean Nicholas Savage

Montreal's Sean Nicholas Savage; photographed by Molly Nilsson.
Montreal’s Sean Nicholas Savage; photographed by Molly Nilsson.

Montreal artist Sean Nicholas Savage this week presented the Angus Borsos video for “Romeo” found off his album Other Death via Arbutus Records that provides a host of cinematic lead-ins that sets up the stage as if you were watching a brand new art house flick. Borsos combines a combination of classic ad fare to cozy up next to the timeless coos & croons & keyboard cast expressions. Utilizizing a fleet of styles and visual formats; Angus makes SNS’s “Romeo” portrayal more abstract than the original Shakespearean tragic hero.

Director Angus Borsos said this of the video:

Of all the oddities to be found on Other Death—”Romeo”, in my opinion, is its greatest hit. It’s a a slow diffusion of indistinguishable sentiment, a whale call…something of a seismic anagram, part horizontal—part diagonal. I tried to mirror the feeling it gave me by visually representing it in a strong array of blurbs and announcements—layers that lure you into the music on different horizons—soothing temporal zones, condensed evocative instances, and dispatches of cinematic devices strung together in such a way that they might be effective in any order—a fuzzy disruption to linear experience. What is it? I don’t know exactly…

Sean Nicholas Savage chatted with us over long-distance cables with the following interview talking about the new music video, and working with Agor from Blue Hawaii, Ramona Gonzalez (aka Nite Jewel), TOPS’ Jane Penny & David Carriere, and more:

What sorts of thoughts & bliss/life and death considerations informed Other Death?

Agor and I went to the beach almost every morning to stare at the waves. Ssometimes it was a bit smoggy when we’d go for a walk, & it looked like walkin’ on the sands of time.

I’m not afraid of death, not spiritually, I don’t believe in the ‘end of the world’,
or the end of my life, nothing ever really dies, it just gets all fucked up n kickflips, n shove its.

Tell us about how contributions from Doldrums, Blue Hawaii, Nite Jewel, and TOPS impacted the record.

Airick came down and we like sat around in this empty living room mindlessly jamming,
and that’s one of my favorite memories of the record, ’cause that’s just what I was hoping for—freedom.

Then I longed for more hits, so Agor (of Blue Hawaii, the producer of DEATH) remixed this demo I had done with Ramona (Nite Jewel) the year before, she had played all the music on that, and sung, and then when we were like done the record, but we squeezed on “Don’t B Sad” with Tops back in Montreal, still greedy.

Describe for us the making of the “Romeo” video, and how Angus Borso’s visualization affected your song for you.

I think it was very late, as it often is with me n’ Angus. We were staying at his brothers place, where we did the rat video…I love the ‘ad’ feeling, ’cause I used to love when we’d tape movies in the 90s and then you’d re-watch all the old shampoo adds etc years after. It’s mostly a Borsos creation, he just used me a little bit, but I do love the “Romeo” video and how it turned out.

What else have you been eagerly working on/and/or excited about lately?

I’ve been seeing somebody I really adore! And recording new tunes, and I got some fun new clothes, and still getting pretty tipsy on the regular, but less when I can, and I started running to save my health somehow, but it’s just given me more energy to destroy myself ha ha.

What’s good and awesome happening right now in Montreal?

First of all, the night life in Montreal is electric, absolutely electric! And then when you’re all burned down and you can’t take the heat? You’ve got friends on every corner, just hanging out, chillin’, sometimes eating.

Sean Nicholas Savage’s album Other Death is available now from Arbutus Records.

Reighnbeau x BK Beats

reighnbeau bk beats week in pop 1

Keeping up with the Reighnbeau and BK Beats collaboration of forward thinking productions, we give you a listen to their brand new Sleep EP that takes us through the dream world cycles of rapid eye moment conjured sounds, vibes, visions, and more. The two have introduced us to their creative fusions in recent years, and today present some of their finest made sounds to date.

“Pizza Supper” is filled with enough enthusiasm and joy as one might exhibit while indulging in a freshly delivered cheese, sauce & dough disc. The title track “Sleep” bounces with a mash-up of samples and vocal edits that run up along harp pieces and big dominating synths that bring big well springs of bass thundering upward to the surface in a sub-atomic scale. The sound gets glamorous on the expression flashing and dashing haze of “That Look”, to the big ceremonial synth-snazz of “Vault”, that ends on a big collection of percussion assortments and deep dish bass on “Haunt” that opens up trap doors to the infinite underground chutes to that drop you through abysses with depths and dimensions of scale unknown to many.

We wanted to make something soothing that would represent a time and place for us, while expressing our individual aesthetics. Throughout a year of combining our worlds of influence; meshing synths and voices with the warmth of live instruments like dulcimer and harpsichord, this project became very special and personal to us. We really hope you enjoy it.

Reighnbeau x BK Beats’ Sleep EP is available now for stream/download here.


Meet Denver's Lascivus; photographed by Matthew Novak.
Meet Denver’s Lascivus; photographed by Matthew Novak.

From the mile high city, we bring you the latest sensations to provide you with some comfort for that winter chill. Meet Lascivus, comprised of Kim Phat and producer Usurper (oka Matt Johnson), who work in sonic textures that could have been something from the Holy Underground collective or out of the entourage of Pictureplane disciples. Combining the emotive presences of being lost in the woods with expanses of nature both organic and electronic; we bring you Lascivus’s “Forest” directed by Bindle Punk.

Lascivus takes you deep into the woods, the rustic outlying areas to home bound images and sullen scenes. From the great wide plains of wilderness, introverted moments, and the more intimate aspects and behaviors of depressions that are rarely talked about. As Kim croons “dilate your eyes baby, I want to see in side your soul”, you see the gulf between substance abuse imbued sadness and the twilight shadows and low lit lovers that remained obscured and lost in the dimming light like two ships with mismatched coordinates. “Forest” in sound and vision takes the audience to those places where feelings and lost sentiment go to rest in that ever-wondering world of unanswered questions in the wake of a breakup, or losing the most beloved person you have ever known in your life. We got to know Lascivus’s Kim Phat & Usurper in our interview featured right after the jump.

How did the two of you join forces together to create Lascivus, combining the powers from the Dirty Few and Usurper.

Usurper: I randomly met Kim at holiday party when we started talking about everything from Aaliyah to Jessie Ware. All I knew was she sang in a garage punk band, but that was the extent of it since we kind of hang out in different music scenes. When I threw out the offer for her to work on a few tracks, I didn’t expect things to come together the way they did.

Kim: All I knew about Matt (Usurper) was that he was a genuinely nice guy and he had great taste in music. We ran in different social circles but somehow wound up in the same room multiple times. For me, Lascivus gave me the opportunity to actually sing rather than be a professional yeller, or whatever it is I do in Dirty Few. I really enjoy 90s R&B and diva pop so it put me in the seat to actually do it and I took it! A bottle of wine also helped. What can I say? I’m a pretty shy girl when it comes to doing new things.

Take us through the making and influences that gave rise to the Lascivus self-titled.

Usurper: Kim always has a hook or a verse on the tip of her tongue. I would show her tracks and she would start ad libbing or trying things out; other times we’d start with a vocal pattern and co-create from there. I was always adding and subtracting elements to finish tracks, lots of re-recording too. We weren’t listening to anything in particular at the time of recording the EP that specifically influenced us.

Kim: It seemed so natural, right? I’ve been making up songs in my head since I could talk, so I easily adapt to whatever is thrown in front of me. Not being an instrumentalist, I could just make sounds until a melody felt right.

Usurper: I would say the main theme of the EP is owning your feelings–the good and the bad–and not feeling sorry for yourself. All of the songs deal with concepts of rejection, loss, or unrequited love presented in a dignified way, without self-pity.

Kim: Around then, I was going through some identity crisis, ha. With our self titled, it was mostly self-centered themes and everything was about me and what I was going through at the time. And through all that, I never really show my emotions to anyone or rather, tell. Music is always a great outlet for things like that and it was a release to utter those words at first and after a few takes, it just pours out. Everyone feels these, it just varies at levels of projection. It was almost like I was telling my secrets.

Interested in hearing your thoughts on “Forest” being adapted to the trippy late night world created by Bindle Punk’s visuals.

Usurper: I think “Forest” is about trying to hold on to that last moment in a fleeting relationship; Bindle Punk and I turned it into a day in the life of a kid and his cyclical, substance-induced fantasy of this girl he presumably lost. There’s still a universal theme about the ephemeral.

Kim: It was really great seeing his interpretation of the song and the story that the video tells relates to so many people, I think. Especially in today’s world, with instant gratification and the longing for a true romance among millennials, I kind of hate that word but it targets a specific age group. Sometimes those feelings and substances blend together all at the same time and you’re not sure which one you’d rather have more.

What’s good in Denver right now? Other rad acts and arts coming out of Denver that the world should know about?

Usurper: Definitely Check out Felix Fast4ward, Ancient Mith‘s project Yawl (currently on tour in Europe), Man Mantis, CRL CRRL, and Cop Circles.

Kim: Felix is definitely a favorite of ours. I personally dig Sur Ellz and I also have to step away from the electronic side and throw out some garage bands too: Colfax Speed Queen, Ned Garthe Explosion, Space in Time…the list is endless. There is a surge of great music in all genres coming from Denver so look out, world!


Astronautalis, aka Andy Bothwell; photographed by Megan Thompson.
Astronautalis, aka Andy Bothwell; photographed by Megan Thompson.

We bring you one of the first looks at Astronautalis’s video for “Sike!”, directed Isaac Gale that A calls a “post-apocalyptic public access show.” The Minneapolis artist otherwise known as Andy Bothwell drops his The Sike! EP today via SideOneDummy, that finds Astro working with producers from the Netherlands’ Subp Yao, Portland, Maine’s GodDamnChan, and Bird Peterson that lend backdrops for A’s lyrical mischief. The title track featured here in the video is produced by John Congleton, with beats by Adam Pickrell where Reggie Pace’s brass blasts everything along down the proverbial highway to hell.

“Sike!” video sees the Midwest emcee rolling along a highway surrounded by what appears to be forest fires as all the various scams in life are mused over in an irreverent fashion. From A-Rod’s alleged comeback to the MMG don’s correctional past, to the very green screen that is used to make the video; Astronautalis keeps the humor in tact while poking fun at the paradoxes and parodies that are in truth the realities that surround us.

Astronautalis shared the following words on The Sike EP:

Whenever I make a record, there is always a few songs that come out nicely, but can’t seem to fit on the album. Instead of seeing those songs collect dust in a hard drive, we decided to cluster them together, along with some remixes from a few of my favorite producers out there. Really wish I could have found a place to put “You Know What It Is” on the full length, but it just never found a place to sit, so now it just bangs out the end of this little cluster of tunes before the remixes start up. As for the remixes, Subp Yao is a pretty mind blowing beat maker from the Netherlands, it is safe to assume that you will see us working together on some actual tracks in the future. GodDamnChan is a fantastic up and coming producer from Portland, Maine. I was turned on to him by my guitarist, and have been burning up his soundcloud ever since. And last, but not least, I have been an obsessive fan of Bird Peterson’s work since he first started dropping his legendary “Drankenstein” mixes for Mad Decent. Those mixes were miles ahead of their time for rap production, his album is amazing, and I am honored to have his drum programming on my album, and his remix on my EP.

Los Angeles Police Department

LAPD legend, Ryan Pollie.
LAPD legend, Ryan Pollie.

LA’s beloved Los Angeles Police Department (not the notorious strong armed militants of the LAPD forces you might be thinking of) has released a slow jam ballad that pulls out all the stops to bring a song that tackles the struggles and difficulties of being in love on “Hard”. The track moves from the sentimental sad string baroque that serves vintage synth section bursts in between the emotion tear-jerking emotional majesty that LAPD have masterminded here. The trials and misgivings that arise amid these connective bonds are brought out in the most masterful of manners heard in a while. LAPD’s own Ryan Pollie was ever so kind as to share the following words with us on the new single:

“Hard” was a song that ended up being about a projected future with my girlfriend—one where I can’t keep her happy and she eventually leaves me to go have kids with someone else. real happy stuff. These deep fears tend to manifest in my songwriting, but its cool because I get to listen back and think about them and kind of get over them and move on. I also wanted the breakdowns to be a sort of ode to my favorite album.

Camp Howard

Camp Howard's hatchback haul of Nic Perea, Matthew Benson, Brian Noble Larson, & Wes Parker; photographed by Drew Scott.
Camp Howard’s hatchback haul of Nic Perea, Matthew Benson, Brian Noble Larson, & Wes Parker; photographed by Drew Scott.

Richmond, Virgina friends Nic Perea, Wes Parker, Matthew Benson, and Brian Larson are Camp Howard, sharing their first single “Veins” ahead of their forthcoming self-titled. Available March 11 from Citrus City Records, Crystal Pistol, & Bad Grrrl Records; the band bring about that electric fuzz guitar resonance that enters your ears as chemical agents of sound and courses throughout your being. A DIY band that adheres to their own brand of attitudes, Camp Howard promise all kinds of surprises with their arrangements that keep you engaged with every chord, bar, and movement. Read our interview with the band after the following listen.

Tell us about how all you friends first met each other, and how Camp Howard began, and the story behind the name, and whether or not there actually is a real Camp Howard of which your moniker has been inspired by.

All of us all went to high school together in the suburbs south of Richmond, VA. Nic, Brian and Wes met in middle school and the three of them started playing music in high school. Matt and Wes became friends in high school when their parents started dating. Eventually Matt met Nicand Brian through Wes and the four of them started playing together in college.

We started playing house shows in Richmond and not long after, decided on a name. As Camp Howard, we started to play more shows at venues and began working on our first album.

The name comes from a place owned by a friend of a friend named Howard out in the Mountains of Virginia. Howard owns a small cabin on a plot of land by a river, which he jokingly refers to as Camp Howard. Over the summer we spent a few days there. We basically just drank all day, went fishing, and eventually all decided to get naked and go swimming. That place is paradise. The sentiment we share for Camp Howard kind of eliminated any other options for band names.

Give us exclusive stories on the making of your self-titled.

We recorded at a studio out in Mechanicsville called the Virginia Moonwalker with Russell Lacy. It was our first time recording together and it was all on tape. We spent a few full days tracking and at night we set up a nest of hammocks in the tracking area. We tossed the ol’ baseball around when we needed some fresh air. The whole recording experience out there felt like a getaway.

How did you all rope in Crystal Pistol, Citrus City, and Bad Grrrl Records for the release?

We are good friends with Justin and Pete from Crystal Pistol and Manny from Citrus City. Tim from Bad Grrrl Records reached out to us about printing our tapes and we were able to work it out with all three of them. They are all really great guys and we are grateful that they wanted to support us.

What’s the latest exciting things about Richmond right now?

Lots of cool stuffs been happening in Richmond, there’s a lot of buzz around Lucy Dacus and lots of other cool bands like Antiphons, Recluse Raccoon, Collin Thibodeauxx, Night Idea, Pete Curry… the list goes on. There’s tons of great shows going on all of the time. The scenes kicking for sure, so many cool people making it go round.

Camp Howard’s self-titled will be available March 11 from Citrus City Records, Crystal Pistol, & Bad Grrrl Records.

Burger Records‘ fourth annual Burger Hangover Fest is happening March 20 at Paper Tiger in San Antonio, TX bringing the boogaloo and Burger-rama action down south. Featuring 30+ bands, 3 stages from Shannon and the Clams, La Luz, Night Beats, White Lung, No Parents, Guantanamo Baywatch, All Dogs, Pizza Time, Go!Zilla, Froth, American Sharks, LA Witch, Vaadat Charigim, and more; go to Paper Tiger’s site for further details, and peep the following flyer.
burger hangover flyer 2016

Touring with Le1f from March 6 through April 16, Junglepussy dropped the SuspectsNYC video for “Spicy103 FM”, the opener from her second release Pregnant with Success available now. J drives a message home for true gentleman to be true to their loved ones old through romantic r n’ b modern day phone dialogues, roses, and more. Perfect for your post-valentine’s day bummer-hangover.

DITC continues to drop an new track a week leading up to their upcoming DITC Studios compilation dropping “16 & Out” featuring A.G. (Show & A.G.) sporting Lord Finesse production. The crew rolls forward with full confidence like a loaded locomative with the cow-catcher flipped forward that rides on rails manifested by Finesse that sounds like Knight Rider meets the Southern Pacific railroad chic.

ÅRABROT presents the single “I Run” from the forthcoming album The Gospel available February 26 via Fysisk Format. Let Kjetil Nernes bring you a biblical slice of the goodness with some of the heaviest notes, tones, and feels you might have experienced all week.

Hear The Coathangers’ title track “Nosebleed Weekend” from their upcoming Suicide Squeeze album of the same name available April 15, bringing some of the band’s heaviest attitude and sounds to date. It’s all the thrills and chills of a happening surf & sand beach party with intimations of decadent Saturdays & Sundays, and lots of crunchy chords.

Audacity brings us the latest from their Ty Segall & Isaac Thotz produced & mixed album Hyper Vessels (available April 1 via Suicide Squeeze) with the single “Umbrellas” that brings an array of anthem-adorned hooks. “Umbrellas” has all of that inexhaustible Ty ferocity while working within Audacity’s style and attitude that exudes some serious west coast leaning states of mind/presence.

For those looking from Norwegian sleazy rock & roll, then look no further than Death By Unga Bunga’s ridiculous 60s-loving power-shredder “Lady Fondue”> Found off their forthcoming album Pineapple Pizza available March 18 through the imprint Jansen Plateproduksjon, following up the group’s Tell Me Why EP with all kinds of snotty & psych-y licks.

Greek artist Stella Chronopoulou, oka Σtella follows up her self-titled with a listen to “Works For You” taken off her upcoming second album from Inner Ear. Σtella’s trad style song here is co-produced by NTEIBINT, where Balearic traces of Mediterranean nights, holidays, and weekends play out in tranquil-twilight-delights before the ears of the listeners.

Sound of Ceres (Karen & Ryan Hover from Candy Claws, members of Apples in Stereo & the Drums) return with the single “Dagger Only Run” that dashes with a synth-inspired sensibility and sensuality. Found off their debut album Nostalgia for Infinity available March 4 from Joyful Noise Recordings, you can find Ceres playing SxSW, and can experience their key-cascading/note-fluttering fun now.

Konono Nº1 meets Batida is an upcoming collaborative album available April 29 from Crammed Discs that finds the Congolese band working with Angolan/Portugese producer Batida to create while sound-scapes of rhymes and equally rich arrangements as heard on “Nlele Kalusimbiko” (short version). Vocalist AF Diaphra with guitarist Papa Juju stir “Nlele Kalusimbiko” about & around to create a musical spinning top of sorts where every component of sound in the elaborate audio fabric whirls in vibrant motions on their own joyous accord.

Hear Mr. Bones’ latest power pop gem “12” off their upcoming Good Cheer Records album Bites available February 26 where all the licks you have loved from the Big Star, Dwight Twilley, The Scruffs, etc continue onward in what is the Ardent sound saluted onward to present day.

Bringing the beat all back home and to the main coronary corridor to the heart on “The Homecoming”; the big single from Wolkoff’s upcoming album Without Shame available April 15. Wolkoff gets you running to her trademark beat-adorned vocals delivering the inspiring chorus of, “This is the start of it, this is the great escape, this is the homecoming…”

Colin McCann of Lord Dog Bird, Baltimore’s Wilderness, Beth Ferreter, & Francesco Lanzisera are Reggae 90210 and share with us “Untitled III” off their self-titled debut from Moon Glyph, that brings about heavy vibes recorded in the unincorporated territories of Helltown, California by the great King Hopeton. The result is an artistic fusion that will instill feelings of awe and wonder that will vary per listener.

For those looking for some acoustic ballads for weary travels, old & new souls alike and more; let Dan Lipton sing and strum you a few Americana tunes on “Shade In The Shadow” off the upcoming album Breathing In available February 17. Lipton picks strings for ever road rambling woman or man making their way from coast to coast, from the midwest and to the south to sounds recorded from Maine to Virginia.

Penny and Sparrow and the Austin twosome of Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke who continue their bond from being UoT roommates to penning the forthcoming Let a Lover Drown You album available March 11, and sharing the single “Makeshift”. Baxter & Jahnke here take a kind of American primitive approach here where through the utilization of what sounds like ‘around the house’ instruments becomes something of a transportive and moving experience in sound.

Thea Stapnes shares her recent work with producer Øystein Skar (of Highasakite) lending a listen to the big-glossy Euro pop shimmer and shine from the single “Follow The River”, available now from Norway’s Brilliance imprint (home to Slaughter Beach, Novo Amor, Interwine, & more). Created at Odd Martin Skålnes at Lydriket Studio, and mastered by Alex Wharton via the esteemed Abbey Road Studios; the perseverance reinforcement is in full force here as the audience is encouraged to follow their favorite tributaries that lead to life’s great mysteries.

From Agent blå’s debut Luxury 7″, we bring you the unharnessed and relentless frustrated energy d energy of “Frustrerad”. Alluding to the stifled states of lacking in visceral action and adventure; the Agents will have you singing the hedonistic power call of “please fuck me, fuck me, fuck me up…”

Taking the conversation to something that is deeper in discourse and meaning than our “Netflix & Chill” excuse for so-called connective bonding; we give you Xavier White’s new single “Is That Love?” that explores the real hearts of the matter that often go unsung, unsaid, unheard, silenced, or forgotten by the steady stream of clamor that we all collectively invite to obfuscate realities.

SIBA delivers some bright fruit punch audio blasts chocked vull of vitamin C and plenty of that minimalist/maximalism with the glittering single “Mango” from the forthcoming Fruits EP available March 18 from HEET.

Hospital Ships is the collaboration of Justin Geiger (Appleseed Cast, Shearwater, Des Ark) and Thor Harris (Swans) whose album The Past is Not a Flood will be available March 11 from Graveface Records, and we bring you the single “All in Time”. Being the two artists’ sixth record working together, listen on “Time” as mortal reflections are played out in echo-inflected electro notes and buzzing hums that make the life/death continuum sound a little cooler.

Also check out the video for Hospital Ships’ “Long May You” performed acoustic wise that presents an intimate look and listen to the evocative recitations of “long may your rise” to lift your mind & spirit.

Catch the season shifting glimmer and pop shimmer on the understated “Give It Up” off Goldensuns new upcoming EP available this spring. Goldensuns continue to make a perfect economy out of every iota of audio for an experience that is engaging like you would want and expect from some of your favorite desert island tunes.

Watch the sleepy-eyed & light headed visuals from Matt Bauer for Melaena Cadiz’s single “At The Symphony” that brings acoustic songs of experience and wisdom. Taken from Melaena’s album Sunfair, she sings here of what thoughts and observations walk here after falling asleep at the symphony after partaking in a joint. Cosmic nu-folk for all who desire their sounds to be organic in heart & soul.

Producer, pianist and composer et aliae continues upon her paths of creating some of the emotive and electronically affectionate audio essences around with the striking single “Sober” created as a collaboration with the influential D∆WN (oka Dawn Richard). The clusters of key sequence fall like relentless and unforgiving rains as et aliae absolutely crushes every part of your most protective emotive cores with the closing lyrics of “no matter how the love goes, it still comes out cold, and even though I let go the feeling still takes hold…” The debut et aliae EP Rose will be available March 4 from Cascine.

For those in need of big helium floating pop dreams and preliminary spring breezes, hear the title track from Kylie Odetta’s new EP, High Dreamer that brings piano inflected essences for tomorrow’s new chamber choruses and ambiance for sparse and posh spaces.

And in case you missed it, here is that big Tsar B single “Myth” that brings those big enveloping bass synths you crave.

Check out RYAL’s video for “Lonely Love” from Anana Kaye, Irakli Gabriel featuring low-lit moods to compliment the electro-pop painted expressions of heart and solitude with make-up work from Jenni Shaw & flashing visual sequences. Her self-titled EP is availble now.

For those in need of some winter pop comfort, consider the ultra-electric pop of Muna’s “Winterbreak”. A project from three gals who met at USC, the school-break sensibility and electric-inspirations ring out as reprieve from the usual studious regiments.

Sydney artist Mossy dropped the psych-punch of the single & Kris Moyes video for “Electric Chair” from the self-titled debut EP available May 9 via I OH YOU. Inspired by Grecian mythos of Narcissus and Echo, watch the action unfold to the pulse of Mossy’s undulating electric styles.

Hong Kong by New Zealand sister act Purple Pilgrims dropped the video for their single “Forever” that brings about low-lit/flashlight-lit fun from the most sacred places of night and twilight fall. Find this and more from the mystic duo on their upcoming Not Not Fun album Eternal Delight available February 26.

Porches’ Week in Pop

Photo by Jessica Lehrman
Photo by Jessica Lehrman

Upon Porches’ release of Pool on Domino, we invited our longtime hero Aaron Maine to provide some Week in Pop guest selections, and our gallant champion presented us with the following picks:

Rihanna, “Needed Me”

Porches, photographed by Edwina Hay.

Kelela, “The High”

Porches-3Porches, photographed by Edwina Hay.

Arthur Russell, “Losing My Taste for the Night Life”

Porches, photographed by Edwina Hay.

Neil Young, “Barstool Blues”

Porches, photographed by Edwina Hay.

Young Thug “Best Friend”

Porches, photographed by Edwina Hay.

Grimes, “Belly of the Beat”

Porches, photographed by Edwina Hay.

Girlpool, “Chinatown”

Porches playing Prospect Park Bandshell; photographed by Dana Pacifico.

Empress Of, “Kitty Kat”

Catch Porches’ national tour from March 9 through April 15, dates available here.

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